Tuesday, August 16, 2011

when momma doesn't know what to say...

This morning, as I was waiting with my kiddos outside on the porch for the bus, we were talking about making friends. I was giving them the assignment to look around their classroom and see if there was anyone who did not have a friend. Their job today would be to try and include that person with THEIR friends, etc. I thought it sounded great. But, like with so many things with parenting, I got thrown off course.

One thing about adopting older children internationally is the time it takes to be able to understand one another. Canaan is doing phenomenally, but there are still many things he does not understand and his vocabulary is still very limited. Sometimes, when he doesn't understand what is being discussed, he won't SAY he doesn't understand. He'll sit there and LOOK like he understands (oh how I can identify with this tactic--this is how I LIVED in Italy...) but then when he opens his mouth to chime in, he will be speaking of unrelated things, showing that his mind was engaged elsewhere. Anyway, back to this morning. We were discussing the concept of making new friends and Canaan chimes in with "I wish we could BUY the teacher." Emphasis on buy. I stopped, completely thrown off. I tried to quickly search the thesaurus in my mind to figure out what he 'meant' because oftentimes, he cannot express what he really means the first time without guidance. But in this case, I was stumped. BUY a teacher? I remembered that just a few days before when he was leaving school I asked him if he had made any new friends and he had told me that he had "wanted to BUY Tristan but didn't." I didn't stop then to figure it all out--but here it was again this morning!

I expressed my confusion. I explained that we BUY food, we BUY clothes, we BUY things at the store, but we do NOT buy people. Then Iliana sweetly chimed in matter-of-factly that he was saying (because my children are my key translators) that he wanted to buy his teacher just like we bought HIM. *GASP* This was one of those moments that I didn't have words...all I could do was pray...pray for words, pray for wisdom, and pray that my face wasn't betraying the shiver that went down my spine. Did my son really think that he was a commodity that could be bought??? Where had we gone wrong in discussing his adoption with him???

In the few seconds of silence (because in times you would like for things to keep upbeat and natural to relax the situation, there is ALWAYS desperate, uncomfortable silence from ALL of the kids...), I composed my words and did my best. The bus was going to be there any minute (another ridiculous irony in parenting...needing time and never having it in the most important situations but having LOADS of time to teach underarm farting...) so I tried to be succinct..."Canaan, God GAVE you to Momma and Daddy just like God gave Judah and Iliana and Elijah and Eden and Mercy to us." and because I'm fallible, I then asked who he had heard that from and of course, he couldn't answer (when he senses things are more serious and he is confused he shuts down...under pressure you just CAN'T get the words out in another language)...and then the bus came. ARG!!!!!!! I had to send my precious child to school with SO many unsaid things!!! I was/am so frustrated!

So many things run through my mind...Did he hear that in Ethiopia? Did they tell him that the Americans were buying the Ethiopian children? What else did he learn about his adoption outside of my home? WHY wasn't I more vigilant in this?? I absolutely saw God's hand in giving us the money to pay for the adoption of Canaan and Eden. In all honesty, He even gave most of it back through the tax credit so we actually 'paid' more for our three bio kids that we delivered in a hospital without insurance!! HOW do I explain this to my child?? How do I explain that the love that I have for him is equal to my love for my children that look more like me? How do I show him that love can ONLY come from God...it can't be bought?? How do I show him his worth in the eyes of his heavenly Father?

It pains me to remember, long before God opened the doors for our adoption, I was joking with friends who had all of one gender in their family--I told them that they needed to BUY the other gender, it's the only way to be sure to get a mix of genders... The words were innocently said-- It was my way of introducing the possibility of adoption in a light hearted way to people who were not considering it. I thought it was fine...even ADVOCATING for adoption... But hearing the concept from the mouth of my gift from Ethiopia was absolutely mortifying.

So now, if you will excuse me, I must go and eat crow before my Father. I know HE will know what to tell Canaan this afternoon...


Erica said...

You are so right that HE knows exactly what to say and that HE is going to give you the right words for your precious boy- the words that HE wants to speak into his heart today. Honestly, praise God that He brought these errant thoughts to light this morning and not years from now when they had had time to fester and grow into deeper lies. Praise God that He can redeem these lies and heal the little heart that was believing them!!! You are the perfect Momma for your little guy and I'm praying for you today.

The Wagner Family said...

If it makes you feel better, the Bible says we were "bought" with a price. And the way he said it (okay, so I didn't actually hear it) sounds like he sees nothing demeaning about it at all. I'm sure you are doing a great job!

Kim said...

I am brand new to your blog.. we are also using IAG :O).. you have a beautiful family.. I am just loving reading backwards! :O)

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