I was thinking of what to call this post because I experienced something that, to me, felt rather profound. And profound blog musings should be prefaced with a profound blog title. It wasn’t a far leap for my mind to recall one of my favorite C.S. Lewis books, entitled A Grief Observed, probably because of my undying devotion to all things he has written. When I get to heaven, and the lines are backed up with people to meet Paul or Peter, I’ll be happy sitting in the “Lewis” line content to wait however long need be. I just love how he captures exactly the thing I always mean to say, but never can. Anyway, read the book!
One thing JD and I have been warned about as being the hardest part of our adoption process would be helping Rhome deal with grief over the loss of his family. My first thought was, “Really? Toddler’s grieve? Are you sure that’s not just a theory devised by psychologists to expand their market to make more money?” (I’m sorry, I did actually think that). Even after attending all the training it just seemed like too weighty an emotion to attribute to a toddler. I could imagine them being sad or confused. But grieved? I really didn’t get it. I tried to find out what it would look like or how we would know… and what our role would be when it hit.
The more we get to live with our little guy, the more we’re seeing evidences of what (we think) grief looks like for him. Today was probably the worst, I think it could have been a result of all the caseworker visits we had this morning, which always signals to his brain, “Pack your things, it’s time to move again.” I came to get him from his nap today and he awoke with an awful cry… he looked devastated. I was trying to place what was wrong when he sat up, went completely quiet and just stared at me for what felt like hours, with empty eyes and a lifeless body. I tried talking to him but his posture continued and I started to get scared. I remembered my sister’s night tremors that had us all terrified for a while and wondered if that’s what was happening. For ten minutes he just sat there and then I asked if I could sit next to him. He didn’t respond, so I got on the bed and just sat there, for another ten minutes afraid to touch him because the one time I tried he completely stiffened and looked terrified. After awhile I asked if he would like to sit on my lap, and he slowly rolled over and leaned his back into me and I just held him silently and sat there listening to his shallow and raspy breathing. I have no idea how long I sat there, as still as could be, but after a while he squeezed my hand and looked up at me and said, “I’m ready.” I was really shocked, first of all because I’ve never heard him say, “I’m ready” but also because I wondered what had happened in his brain to make him go from so afraid to feeling “ready.”
We’ve had a few of these moments where he would just immediately stop everything, climb into our laps and just sit like a statue for a while… and he would occasionally cry and then quiet, and then return to crying again. On and off. I still am not quite sure of all that he’s thinking, I wish I knew, but I feel so blessed to be the one who gets to be there. To be there and not need to say anything, and to wait for him to reach out and give family life another go. I hope we don’t disappoint – especially because being parents has already exceeded our expectations immeasurably. We are so grateful.
And… a post isn’t a post without pictures. At least, according to my Mom. So I thought I’d post a few more. 🙂
Little man LOVES to eat!
A sweet friend mailed us some toys. He bonded with the vacuum above all the others. He is an obsessively clean baby, he must make sure all the cabinet doors and closet doors are closet, there aren’t ANY crumbs on the floor (he runs to them to the trash right away) and he always straightens the entryway rug after the dog runs across it.
Playing around after dinner time.