I can’t believe we have been Autumn’s parents for over two months already. She fits in so well with our family, even as she tornadoes through the house like the Tasmanian Devil. She seems to have grown and blossomed so much in these two short months. In China, she was barely able to jump in place, now she’s jumping off chairs and out of wagons…with wheels…and landing on her face. In China, she cried because I held her, now she cries when I don’t hold her. In China, she learned to climb a small jungle gym, now she’s learning to climb trees (I caught her 20 feet up in our pine tree today!).
She is fearless. I took the kids to the pool last week and she kept pushing my hands away, so she could “swim”. Of course she sank, but then she just shook the water off her face and pushed me away again.
The boys are still struggling with her, but I like to think that it gets better every day. When Sheehan was recently asked what the best thing is about having a sister, his answer was, “nothing.”
Josiah is coming around much quicker. I’ve caught him playing Barbies with her. But, on more occasions I’ve caught him wrestling with her, pulling his signature “pancake move”, which involves laying stretched out, flat on top of her, while she squeals and laughs, and sometimes cries.
But, she’s a tough girl. When the boys take something away from her – that almost always belongs to them – she hauls off and punches them on the back as hard as she can, with her little fist. This has called for a lot of restraint from the boys and they’ve been successful about half the time in holding back on knocking the crap out of her.
Her English is getting better. She repeats everything we say. She asks for water, her shoes, books, etc. Her favorite phrase is, “num-on,” which is another way of saying, “come on.” I never realized how frequently we say this in our house:
“Come on! It’s time to go.”
“Come on! You have to go potty now?
“Come ooon! Don’t lick your shoe!
She uses the phrase very appropriately. I was trying to squeeze her size 3T legs into a pair of size 2T pants, and she squeaked out, “num-on.” I’ve also caught her grunting “num-on,” when on the potty.
She says another phrase that sounds something like “gobb-ee-oh!” We have no idea what this means, probably something like, “stop it!” If I take away something she shouldn’t be playing with or if Josiah plays the drums on her butt, she’ll cry out, “gobb-ee-oh!” I took my phone away from her the other day and she said, “gobb-ee-oh!” and I said, “you, gobb-ee-oh!” Then she said it back to me again, so I’m sure I’m giving in to some form of Chinese sass talk that I can’t translate.
The best thing she does (they must have taught her to do this in the orphanage) is every time she sees a picture of Cinderella or picks up a Barbie, she says, “mama.” Of course, she also says “mama” whenever we read Pajama Time and she sees the gray dog with floppy ears (I felt better when Steve told me that she says he’s the rhinoceros).
The rest of the family is struggling. The boys are hurting. Not getting enough attention. You can see it in their acting out, in their whining, in their pained faces. I pray that God will give them what they need because I cannot. I am worn out, unable to give any more. Autumn gets it all. She does not take a break, cannot play with a toy for longer than 30 seconds, cannot keep her curious hands out of places I wish they weren’t. Only when she sleeps, but by then I’m usually so exhausted that I am asleep. The boys get so little. But, Autumn has gotten so little for the past three years. We try to tell the boys that, but they don’t understand, their little minds are unable to comprehend such lacking. Such lacking, that they too experienced when they were babies.
Adoptive parents learn in class after class that their number one priority is to meet the needs of the child (“at every cost,” is implied, merely because of the frequency you hear it). I’m coming to realize that this is a goal from the pit of Hell and Lucifer himself. I cannot meet all the needs of my children, nor should I. There is not enough of me to go around to meet even the needs of one child, so I surely can’t meet the needs of three, especially when some of those “needs” are desires in disguise. Only God can meet all our needs. I’m learning that sometimes I have to let go and let God deal with my children’s unmet needs or desires. I’m not even meant to meet those needs and can even be downright sinful as I try to usurp God’s job. But, if I hear “I don’t get enough mama-time” in an angry tone one more time, I’m going to slam some plastic plates in the sink and watch them shatter. Oh wait, I did that yesterday.
I found the following in my journal this morning from a year ago, but it felt appropriate for this week. This was what I felt like God was saying to me: ”My child. I love you. You are going through some challenges right now. I see your pain. I am with you. I will never leave you. My hand is upon you. Even as you question me, I still hold you fast. Your heart is precious to me. You are my child. And I will never let you go. I love you.”