>Adoption Adjustment: Branches

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Vincent Van Gogh, Almond Branches in Bloom, c 1890


So we have been home for almost a month now. And while I am sure it is no surprise to you all, it comes as some surprise to me that we are still adjusting, in a big way. We have adopted a teen but we are making toddler baby steps, forward and backward and sideways….occasionally falling flat on our backsides, occasionally grinning wide with surprise.

I can’t process it all well enough to post coherently. I haven’t come to any great or profound conclusions (as if I ever do, doh!). I am still very much in the “do the next thing” mode. But I am sustained by all your prayers and thoughts and unspeakably grateful for them and beg you, any or all of you, to not quit!

Anyhow, everyone keeps asking, “How it’s going?” And, “Is it all settled in now?” and all those sorts of questions. Frankly, at this point in the process, if I think someone is about to ask me that sort of question, I tend to want to turn on my heel and skedaddle as fast as possible. Because I have no good or reliable sentry on my mouth. While I can be discreet for others and their private issues, I tend to just honestly answer anything that most anyone asks me.

This trait makes my husband, dear Coffeedoc, kind of nuts. He always points out that I don’t have to answer EVERY question I am asked. And yet, I feel compelled to do so. (Yes, I am aware that some therapist could earn themselves a condo beachside w/ this…thank you.) Now, my lack of desire in answering this sort of question is not because it’s too horrible to answer, but just because it’s (the whole adjusting process to this new member of our family) still all murky. It’s a mixed bag of good, hard, funny, frustrating, strange, and sweet. And that’s hard to answer in a short polite social response. But then again, I would have loved to know or read some of this when we were in process, the first half of this process.

So, in no coherent order, here are some notes on the process:
The language thing is still in a ridiculously difficult spot.
I am speaking more Amharic to her (pidgeon amharic, simple poorly constructed baby talk level) than she is speaking english.
But I think her understanding of english is increasing.
She is doing better at Rosetta Stone.
I believe we are in the “silent phase.”
But that phase has rapid fire machine gun bursts of amharic from her.
Which is confusing and frustrating for us both.
Marta loves to swim and boat, she has an adventurous spirit.
However she cannot swim at all and has to be watched closely so she doesn’t splash and drown in her enthusiasm.
Which is mildly nerve-wracking.
She loves music.
By which I mean: loves loves loves music.
Marta sings along to her ipod just like Buddybug used to when we drove on road trips: meaning loudly and just slightly off key.
She has started piano lessons and is very happy about it, music is the universal language is it not?
I love our piano teacher for being a good sport.
Marta loves sports; like watching sports on tv, especially football and basketball.
This is going to make for a fun football season, go Irish!
Shooting hoops is pretty fun too!
Teen sisters will always have issues juggling a shower and sharing a bathroom.
Girls loves shoes.
Marta will always be a tiny person.
She is picking up knitting amazingly fast, which makes me feel a little guilty for being such a crummy inept knitter.
But it will be nice to have one competent crafter in the family.
Sweet potatoes are disgusting.
Salsa is dangerous.
Ice cream is nothing but wonderful.
Marta is not a night owl.
Neither is her mother.
Marta is an early bird.
So am I.
Marta, still, loves going to Mass.
It is probably her very favorite thing.
This humbles me.
She is learning the rosary.
This amazes me.
I am getting pretty fast with a language dictionary.
Marta is not.
Emergency dental surgery is scary and hard.
Doctor appointments are not fun, and a little scary too.
She is definitely a teen, with the requisite moods and drama.
We have finally made it to the point of feeling safe enough to cry frazzled tears.
We are glad to be there, but it is hard to watch and makes us worry too.
It all still feels a little, or a lot, strange.
We are hoping that ends soon.
I wish we could fast forward the clock many days, to a time many months from now, where we are all used to each other.
The best thing about Marta is her disposition: joy.
Coffeedoc and I think that is simply remarkable.

It’s totally dopey, I know. But, it occurred to me today that this adoption process is all very much like a bunch of tied together branches. It’s not your normal family tree….some branches are strong, some fragile and tender, some bending and trying not to break. We are branching toward each other, just barely beginning to sprout anew, still raw in places from the grafting. I pray our roots and the seasons will help grow us all together.

14 thoughts on “>Adoption Adjustment: Branches

  1. >I love this post. Direct and off-the-cuff with not attempt to over-analyze anything.Prayers still coming your way.Difficult labors often result in delayed mother-child bonding, but it does come; wonder if this can be true of adoption…Marta seems wonderful. Once she has a command of the language she is going to blow you away with that joyful spirit of hers!

  2. >Thank you, thank you, thank you! These are the posts that I am reading over and over again as I wait for a referral!! When I read blogs that say things are just perfect, I want to scream..that isn't realistic. These are the things I like reading…so when my daughter does come home, I don't feel like I am alone out there!!It sounds to me like you are doing as you should be doing…keep these posts coming please and then write a book that I can buy:-) Ok, you don't have to write a book, but it never hurts to ask!!!

  3. >Beautiful….and truthful………and I can totally relate, especially the part about wishing you knew some of this before hand! Amen!We are still speaking broken and pathetic Amharic to Little S…but she is starting to grasp a better knowledge of English words. People aske me what she says, and I smile and say "I don't know."Laughter is infectious…..I can totally relate to that too!

  4. >Great update…I love that Van Gogh! Hang in there…definite progress!…Very impressive with the piano lessons and knitting…we haven't started any kind of lessons, yet.Thinking & Praying about you,Cami

  5. >Love reading your posts. Love hearing of the transition and I can so relate! I have said to others that I really wish we were six months down the road, even though I don't really want to wish the time away with my kids. You know what I mean! It was good to read that in your post so I am not the only person who feels that way.BTW, we finished four days in a row without a tantrum! Woo Hoo!But so wishing the language communication were easier. I think the kids would like to express their feelings sometimes or talk about somethings and choose not to because it's frustrating.Thinking of you guys! Much love-

  6. >Thanks for the real post, for sharing honestly about it all. We are adopting a sibling group and though not a teen there will be difficulties. I am so glad to be able to watch, learn and grow from those who have gone before us.I love your analogy of the branches being tied together~some being strong, some fragile and tender, some bending and trying not to break. Grafting is painful but God is making your family tree beautiful and it will be strong in His time. We will continue pray for you and your sweet family! God is good!

  7. >Your family are in my prayers. I shall add you to our prayers during our weekly Holy Hour. I read your post and I am so feeled with joy. Your husband and you are proof of God's work. He has set this beautiful family to do wonderful things. To bring some of his sheep closer to home. You are an awesome example of what we all can do.By the way…the picture you used for the Feast of St. Dominic was very cool!!ElizabethCA

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