The one-year-home anniversary was met with, as is typical in international adoption, a mild freak-out by the kids. Lost focus, disruptive behavior at school, resistance to authority. You know, the usual.
And then, it stopped.
The kids are now getting high grades at school, coming home with good behavior reports (except for one who is chatty, ahem), cleaning their plates and their rooms, learning their memory verses, reading books without being told.
They are bickering over opinions (in English!), playing “I Spy With My Little Eye,” and love playing board games because they can now count and know their colors. They love swimming, snuggling with the dogs, hate bedtime, and can’t get enough of Leave It to Beaver.
Our lives are becoming surprisingly, well, normal.
No one has tried to jump out of the car at 45 miles an hour, refused to ask to get down from the table for 90 minutes, spit food at me, or purposely peed on furniture in a pretty long time.
It’s almost like we’re, well, normal.
The only time I feel not-so-normal is when talking with other parents of biological children. While others worry about play date partners, getting a pet, or screen time, we are working through issues of death, abandonment, starvation, child labor, and violence from our children’s past. As our kids master increasing amounts of the English language, they can now communicate that their past is anything other than what would be considered normal in first world countries. Their previous life is almost surreal. I don’t know what it is like to parent a “normal” child.
And yet they giggle at squirrels, are engrossed by the symphony, and play like they have not a care in the world. As if all that had happened to them was, well, normal.
Will our children ever escape the chains of their past? How can we facilitate healing of wounds that are so deep?
I don’t know why God chose Ken and I to be the parents of children with so many wounds. I feel so inadequate in many ways. But the truth is, I don’t have to be adequate, because He is. As much as I love Addie and Palmer, I am not their Redeemer. Jesus is. And I get the joy of walking down the road toward the Ultimate Healer with them. I don’t pretend to comprehend the mysteries of God’s grace and healing. I’m glad I don’t have to. Somehow, our prayers intertwined with the Holy Spirit’s intercession combined with the unmerited favor God has granted is healing the wounds of our children’s past. We listen to the kids, we give permission to grieve, and sometimes we just cry for them because they have no more tears left to cry.
I suspect if things were ever really “normal,” we would never know the deep dependence on God we’ve experienced in the last year.