6 weeks have come and gone. I can hardly believe it. It has dawned on me over the last couple of days (and nights, ouch), that I thought things would have been different by now. As quickly as the 6 weeks have gone, the "honeymoon" is over ... and I'm just plain tired. I guess somewhere in my vast parenting skills .... I just assumed that we'd get Malachi home, treat him like a newborn, and have the same expected results as my other children. (Well, except Sam ... he was a mystery.) I thought if we just gave him lot's of love, responded to every cry like there was a desperate need, got him on a sleep/eat/play schedule, that he would mold into this perfect child that they write books about.
Okay, so maybe I didn't really have THAT unrealistic of expectations. In all honesty, I didn't know what to expect. But I didn't ever think that 6 weeks in, I would feel every day that with every step we make forward, we often take 2 (or 3) back. I didn't imagine he would still be scared to have me out of his sight (or put him down for that matter) 6 weeks later. I'm making this all sound horrible. It's not. Like I said, I'm tired. All the cute things Malachi did upon his arrival aren't as cute as they were at first ... but perhaps, dare I say, sometimes just kinda annoying. Things like throwing his bottle, or hitting his siblings (or chucking toys at them ... the kid has got an arm!), or pulling my hair while he eats, or his idea of a meal, or his cry that moves from low octave to high in seconds, the way he cries when a stranger even looks at him, and the way he won't let go of my hip. He's still really cute, still really playful and joyful, and still makes us laugh all the time. I'm just tired. I've looked around and realized that 6 weeks later, I still don't know how to cook dinner again, or get the laundry done, or the bathrooms clean. (Good for me, all the books tell me none of that stuff is important anyway.) I still don't know how to be a friend again, or to teach my kids, or to serve again. My, how life has changed since my desperation in our waiting for him to come home.
Now that the whining is out of the way .... let me say a few more things. I ended all of that with - "My, how life has changed since my desperation in our waiting for him to come home" statement for a reason. I still so vividly remember all the feelings that would attach without ending prior to his arrival. The ones of fear for his health, sadness for his life, wonder of the first 7 months of his life, heartache for him being alone, heart wrenching for him not being with his family. These feelings haven't ended. Now I just get to be the one holding him, trying to put all the pieces together ... of his life, of our family, of my mommy heart. I count it a blessing, and joy, and honor to be the one God chose to do this for little Malachi. He has blessed me beyond belief in just 6 short weeks. Perspective is something I'm never very good at. (Anyone surprised? Didn't think so.) But this time around, I know that Christ alone is daily granting me with the perspective I need to continue in this ... especially since all my mommy potions and tactics aren't working this time around.
This is what runs through my head on a regular basis now that he is home:
Imagine yourself as an Orphan. Imagine how many nights you go through your days and nights with cries that NEED response, only no one is there to respond. Imagine being left for who knows how long, probably in the middle of the night when no one could even see you, by someone that was supposed to love you the most and keep you safe. Imagine being so hungry you didn't even know what to do with food when you got it. Imagine forming habits that don't come naturally to most children - habits that are needed for survival. Imagine being found by strangers. Imagine being given to strangers - a lot of them, who happened to be caring for 75 other kids. Imagine doing that again, only with 50 kids in their care. Now imagine it one more time ... this time being given to funny colored strangers who speak in "alien" and with just 3 other kids around. Imagine having attention for the first time in your life. Imagine realizing that you hold a power to make people smile. Imagine everyone that passes you wanting to hold you, and kiss you, and touch you. Imagine eating only new foods. Imagine having someone trying to break you of all the bad habits in attempt to show you love and family and stability. Imagine being scared to go to sleep because your life has proven to you that what is there when you wake up is a mystery. Just imagine.
I do. A lot. And then I realize that my imagination is my sons reality. And my heart breaks for him all over again. So I pick him up again, I kiss him again, I tell the friend who wants to hold him that they still can't, I don't try to make him shake hands politely with a stranger, I tell his siblings he doesn't know better when he smacks them, I pick up his bottle (again, and again, and again...), I keep trying to find foods that he will like, I keep waking up with him for hours on end in the middle of the night when he's too afraid to go back to sleep, I keep whispering at the end of everyday - "I love you, and I WILL be here when you wake." I keep praying his soul gets it.
There is a song that Aaron wrote (well, he sorta stoll some of the words from this one really cool book.... ) that came to my head over an over the last few weeks before getting Malachi. I kept thinking it was strange, as it wasn't all that comforting to me at the time. The song went away for a while, then returned one day amidst a fit that Malachi was having. Now I understand. He now also hears this song daily, along with my whispers.
Bring Peace to My Soul,
Let your Healing Waters Flow again,
to my thirsty soul.
Earnestly I seek you,
my body longs for you.
In a dry and weary land.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
My soul clings to you ,
you uphold me with your right hand.
And I will praise you Lord,
as long as I live.
This is my prayer for my sweet child who has found a home.