Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Two Years of Family

Two years!
Two years ago we received the blessing of a son!
That was a day that changed us all.

Allan has slowly changed from a very afraid and timid little boy into a boy with intense joy and silliness. He can be one of the loudest children I have ever heard one moment and the quietest in the next. There are times we go out into an unfamiliar setting and he steps back into "Timid Allan." When Allan does this he will be a very perfect, respectful, Ugandan child... not look in adults eyes, hardly speak or voice his words and be very quiet and "not seen". Basically, he looks fearful.

He does a wonderful job being respectful by Ugandan standards... but not so by American, because not looking in peoples eyes, not voicing your words and being afraid acting is not exactly normal behavior for a 6 year old in America. Some times I want to say, "Buddy, just please act normal... Mommy is afraid people will think we are mean to you if you act like that!"  Internal cringe!

I often wonder what he is thinking and feeling and why he reverts back to that. It makes me really sad when I see that boy again, I start to second guess all our progress/bonding/attachment. I think I have "missed something" and messing up being a mom to him... because surely he wouldn't still be doing that if he felt safe, at home and bonded to me! Adoption has away of stripping away everything a parent thinks they know and replacing it with doubt and despondency. Hurt is real. Trauma is terrorizing. Love seems to be weak and ineffective at making genuine changes or healing real hurts.

One day I saw something that restored my hope and changed my perspective. We were at a strange place and an adult started talking to him and he became "Timid Allan" again... He looked all timid to the stranger then he looked at me with twinkly eyes and a grin that seem to say, "I am being a very good boy for you mom! See." Then right away again he was "Timid Allan." Then he ran off playing with his brother and "Timid Allan" was dropped like a suit he took off. "Timid Allan" isn't Allan, it is just the best way he knows how to behave for strangers.

Recently I started talking to Allan (and all the kids) about "Love Languages"... that we all have one that we like to be loved with most and that we need to see how others around us like to be loved and to give them that kind of love. Allan was trying to love me, to serve me through the way he knows how and how he was taught by his good grandma for so many years! I sort of laughed last time I saw "Timid Allan," I realized some habits die hard... but love never fails!

Sometimes we just have to speak a different language to understand some dialects of Love!

A few months ago I realized Allan had started being comfortable kissing me, not a skill he came home knowing how to do or feel comfortable with. We ignored his very awkward hugs and kisses for a long time. We also had some 101 Classes on how to pucker up and smack a good one on someone else! It usually ended with giggles and tickles. We are pretty sure he never kissed or saw people kiss before.

A few weeks ago at bed time I forgot to kiss Allan good night, he said in the most demanding way Allan can be (which is really not demanding at all... more of a suggestion), "Mom! You forgot to kiss me!" I stopped dead in my tracks and nearly tripped in my attempt to put on the brakes, "Say what?!? Wow. So sorry! Mommy doesn't want to miss her kiss from Allanee!!!"

It was seriously one of the best things I have ever heard him say... he wanted to KISS me? He wanted to kiss his mama!!! He wanted connection and affection and was demanding it. That boy got some kisses and I went to bed a very happy mama that night!

Amazingly sweet things are happening... demandingness... asking for kisses... saying brother is our best friend... telling others off... using our words to share our feelings... giving hugs for no reason at all... being sad about leaving grandparents... realizing we need each other... being at home with one another.

That is what family is...
Demanding what you want from each other 
and loving each other the best you can!

Well, at least that is the season we are in and I am so thankful to be demanded of and loved even in the Ugandan way!

Happiest Forever Family Day Allanee,
We are all better at loving because of you!

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