Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tightrope walking through adoption

Before I forget I have to tell you all that Cav seems to be a new boy - in Colorado Kindergarten is 1/2 day but you have the option of paying for full day.  We were thrilled he received a full day placement.  

If you have followed our journey you know it has been hard, beyond hard.  One day I was watching Nick Wallenda walk across the tightrope.  He explained how he slid his special made leather shoes  - slid along, feeling his way along the tightrope toes down and heels up.  It was the slow sliding, feeling the rope for direction as he went that struck me.  It is exactly what we have been doing.  Afraid to step to big, to fast but instead that slow almost visceral slide you do when you get up in the middle of the night and know there are lego pieces on the ground.

We tried following the books, finding new resources, meeting new diagnoses head on, but truly for the last almost 2 years we have felt like we were sliding along, our faith as the balancing bar, trying to find our way.

WIthin the last few weeks we have all of a sudden felt like we are at the end of that tightrope and it is exhilarating.

Our decision to put Cav in full day kindergarten (1/2 day is free) in the spring as a last ditch effort just might be the smartest decision since we got home with him.

Our thinking was simple - my worst attribute and biggest issue between him and I (or with our family per say) is that we like to fly by the seat of our pants.

My bio's learned to nap in the car.
Friends who were restricted home from 1-3 everyday made me crazy.
I am not criticizing those who live by a schedule but I just can't seem to get it down.
On our off or summer days - breakfast is at 8 or 10, lunch 12 or even 2, we get dressed when clothes are laid out, and some days we don't get dressed at all.

For a kid who grew up in Cav's circumstances it jsut sets him off.
Let me tell you I have tried -
I have beaten myself up for reverting back to no schedule - and the last thing when you are in the trenches is one more thing to make you feel like a failure 

The other thing we realized is that he still has no idea what to do when he has down time.

We have an entire sunroom with jsut their toys.

In many ways Tao is much further along in his development than Cav.

When there is free time Cav gets into things, destroys things or hurts others.

We have tried to keep him in his own safe area but then more feelings of failure.  He missed out on so much, we want him to play with the others and truly his siblings are the best playmates he has ever had.

They do get tired of his antics, but since there are 3 of them - someone usually has forgotten his meanness and is ready to interact.

Anyhow, Hubby and I started talking about daycare from the time Cav got home.  I just couldn't do it.  Hindsight (and this is why I am writing this) I wonder if that is what we should have done.

BUT we prayed, and prayed and then begged to get him into a full day kindergarten program.

and you know what -

We are seeing a NEW boy!!

Ok the first 2 days were rough but versus Fei's loving year group, Cav's - well it fits him.  He is not the worst of the group and we feel so blessed.

Also we figured out that explaining to him that when the teacher has to talk to someone, she is actually signaling the class that the person is being a baby and not following the rules like a big kindergartener would.

To Cav NOTHING is worse than being a baby!!

I am realistic enough to figure we are in the honeymoon phase of school.  BUT I am also hearing from others with hard kids that school works for them.

Everything is scheduled and that schedule only changes mildly, from when he eats, to when they use the bathroom, and play with certain toys.

In addition, all of our special helpers are in place.  We have a resource teacher (folks, if you have a hard or SN kid this is the person you NEED to talk to!)  When and if Cav loses it they have a quiet room and he can rage all he wants without distracting the teacher, students or calling me.

We have an ESL teacher - we will see on this as he is actually considered Alingual - he heard mandarin around him but no one actually spoke to or required a response from him.

Also he has speech - I wish the district had done speech as he was learning English due to the alingual diagnosis but he didn't qualify.  So he has developed a side lisp - or he sounds like he is talking with a mouth full of slurpy LOL!

Maybe the most important part besides the schedule, is that we have time away from each other.  Instead of the feelings I have fought for the past almost 2 years, I have begun to see the image of the charming little boy who has concurred so much. (to be frank it is hard to see anything positive when you have found feces and marker on the carpet yet one more time.)

THis summer was so hard, and yet jsut like a colicky baby it all has seemed to disappear.  I haven't completely stepped off the tightrope yet, but I am feeling like we jsut might be to the end - can we truly see the end, I know not to speed up but to continue slow and steady.  Praying each step as I feel along.

Can you tell this has been as much of a growth time for me as for him.  It is hard to write these things, but I read over and over again of others in the trenches and my heart aches.  Adoption is hard, others jsut don't understand how terrible it can be, I mean hitting your knees with nothing left to give hard.

We were so in love with this pic of Cav
Some people get way "lucky" (is it luck or does God know how little we can handle at that moment - i.e. Tao's adoption)  but a lot get blindsided by the reality - they think they lack the ability to parent these kids.

They have spent months praying over a picture, working hard to get them home as soon as possible.

Everything is done as a rush, rush, rush and then you land back at home and all of a sudden you find yourself hovering over an abyss holding onto your faith and ever so slowly finding your way one delicate step at a time.


  1. I am sorry Cav's adjustment has been so difficult. Thrilled that he is thriving in school and pray that he continues to do so!

  2. Tears are flowing and ohhhhh such a true post!!!!! It is growing times for all of us isn't it! To understand our children and to help them even when it's not what we think would help. Praying for y'all!

  3. I'm so happy that you continue to be honest and not gloss over adoption issues. We recently agreed to let your 17 1/2 year old (adopted just before age 14) take his GED exam and move to a dorm at a local Community College. Luckily, he's brilliant and can actually do college level work, after only living here 3 1/2 years! But after much unhappiness and trauma, our son is now so much happier living in a more institutional/group/school type setting. He visits a few times a month, and he's a different (happy) kid now.