Some days are better than others.
I would honestly say 90% of our days are good now. A huge leap forward from even a year ago.
Control issues will always be there. Sibling battles will remain. Attachment issues (adoption lingo) will linger. But, really, our boy has relaxed, has been identifing with our family, and has less problem with talking about his frustrations and joys. Being able to communicate is HUGE! And it doesn't go unnoticed around here.
However, I feel like it's only fair to post the reality we face with our boy sometimes. Just like any kid he has his "good days" and his "not so good days". Today we had some issues as we went to do school work. I would call it one of the "not so good" days.
We have been doing school for 9 days now. The difference between what we can do this year and last year at this time is HUGE. I cannot imagine what this year is going to mean for his learning and development. I wish he could see where he was last August and where he is now.
He still struggles with learning and gets mad and takes it out on me when it comes to challenging work. Sometimes I feel like he thinks I'm going to punish him for not understanding. Or he can't stand not having complete mastery of things. (control?) And the fact that he doesn't know something frustrates him beyond belief.
He then says he is not smart. His head is full of lies--I'd really like to know if he has personally inserted those lies or if someone along the way filled his head with this garbage. Or if this just comes with the territory. I feel like a mother bear when it comes to his thought life and Truth.
I want to claw someone's eyes out -- whoever told him he was not smart! I try and try to pour Truth into his head.
Needless to say, today he got angry because he was afraid he wasn't going to understand something-so angry that at one point he thought it necessary to come up from behind me while I was in a chair and attempt to choke me right after he yelled in my face.
Yep! there's reality for you. Never quite had that one before, but yep, it was a little disconcerting. I reacted strongly and he ended up on the floor. I didn't hurt him, but he was surprised. I was surprised at my reaction too. Maybe not my best parenting moment. Just confessing a little:
#1 We are still dealing with issues that may always remain a part of our boy--(but God is healing him over time which gives us hope)
#2 I make mistakes and don't always react like I "should" if he completely catches me off guard like that. Most of the time I can think it through as things are progressing--ie. "is he hungry?" , "is he afraid of something?" - usually I have my "wits about me. This time it was MY Fear response. Things I personally need to work through and I will explain in another post.
For now I think it is important to explain what followed for Lucas.
We worked it through in the moment. He got his school work done and forgivness was given and taken.
Hours later Peter came home.
I never told Lucas he had to say anything to Peter about it.
But, as soon as Peter got home, Lucas said that he had something he needed to tell dad.
Now this is interesting to me.
He wanted to tell dad, even though we had worked through it and it was over.
He also knows dad is going to talk to him and instruct him and tell him he doesn't approve.
But, he also knows he needs to hear the instruction and also realize the forgiveness we afford him. Dad's teaching is important even though he often bucks it.
He totally brought it up without any prompting. And I hadn't said anything to Peter about it during the day.
Peter is so awesome in these moments, because he gives our boys full and complete life lessons. Now this may not be PC, but he told Lucas
"We protect girls".
"We never ever ever hurt girls or hit them--ever"
"especially your mommy"
"you will not be allowed to hurt my wife"
Lucas knows these are the kinds of things Peter would say.
He knows after he goes through this process, hope lies on the other side of the conversation. I think that is why he brings it up. Even though we went through all the confession/forgiveness stuff in the moment, he needed to bring it to his "Father's" attention.
I cannot help but make a parallel to our Heavenly Father.
We often know we have messed up.
We've said or done things we regret.
We have caused pain to another and would love to just start over with a clear head.
We can attempt to "hide" from God, but really,
We know that He knows. We know He has something to teach us in and through it.
As hard as it is to admit...
when we open our hearts to confession, and then 'listen' to what God has to say, we find healing and forgiveness.
The reality is we need to confess to be able to move forward. As much as we like to think we don't need to confess or be forgiven, we do. Stuff naws at us until we face it. Confess to the people we have hurt but also confess to God.
God tells us:
"If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:9
How freeing is that? It's gone!
I've also been teaching him:
"Children Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right"
He is trying to learn so many things and constantly battling something on his insides that makes him choose wrongly. Don't we all?
The challenge lies in the "moment".
When all the garbage comes to the surface
self preservation attempts to win over logic.
When Fear reigns over Love.
When consequences outweigh wise choices.
What's a boy suppose to do?
I'm trying to teach him to
#1 identify his feeling in the moment (not always possible)
#2 step back and take a deep breath and count to 10--walk away if necessary for a few moments.
#3 identify what he is afraid of (being hungry, not being smart, jealousy, being left out of something, etc.)
#4 ocassionally we just use the distract and do something else/or something funny technique. (but that is hard sometimes)
This is hard stuff. Navigating these waters is a challenge. How do I get through it? not well sometimes. But, God shows many blessings through it too. As simple as it sounds, I love our new little kitten. First she is a "girl". Second she is soft and sweet and licks my chin. Third, her antics just make me smile. (she's walking all over my computer right now)--ever see the movie "UP"? that was my "squirrel" moment right there...
I'm learning a LOT right now from this book:
It was recommended by some other adoptive parents and at this point the things I have gleaned from it are very effective.
I'm a consequence girl...
And some things require consequences...but sometimes the list just gets longer and longer and lasts for days, that I wonder about it's effectiveness.
I use the Bible as a guide as well and am a firm believer in it. '
I believe we have been called to Love Well.
So hard in these moments.
When you are dealing with a wounded heart and a ton of "stress" responses, you have to approach things differently. I have a lot to learn.
When it was all said and done...
at the end of the day
He apologized to Peter very sincerely for "hurting his wife"
I found it interesting that this was the thing he heard in the instruction from his dad. The thing that made the most impact...you don't get to hurt somebody else's wife.
He looked me straight in the eye at bedtime and said,
"mom"..."I'm really sorry I hurt you today" tears welled up. It was very sincere
I apologized for what I did too.
I looked him in the eye and said,
"I forgive you Lucas"
and he went to sleep.
Some days are better than others.
the cool thing?
There is always tomorrow.
We can have a "do over" because of the Grace of God. If we did not know Grace, we would not be able to offer it to Lucas. Tomorrow we will wake living by this Truth!
"For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is a gift of God not by works so that no one can boast" Eph. 2:8-9
I'm so glad I have nothing to do with Grace, because I cannot imagine how much work it would take to have it if I had to work for it. Thank you Jesus for your Grace which is so free and all you have done to adopt us as sons and daughters of the King! Thank you for lavishly loving us when we don't deserve it.