In our training, one of the things New Horizons told us is that, typically, Week 2 is the hardest week as that is when the kids start to really test you, push the boundaries and see what you’ll do. I couldn’t even imagine that happening with our sweet children. They also told us Week 1 was the “Honeymoon” phase. The only thing they were wrong about is that testing would take up a good part of week 3, as well, hence no blog update until now.
Testing is common for every child, but it takes on another dimension when the child and parents speak different languages and don’t have a history together, or when the boundaries and expectations of the child have been few and far between in the past. We’ve dealt with physical aggression, complete shut down/blocking, pouting, screaming (just ask our downstairs neighbor who has come upstairs to complain a couple of times), jealousy, accusations of favoritism, and complete melt-downs. I’ve done some new things, as well, like issued my first “timeouts” and other things, as well. It’s been a ride!
I was a bit worried going to the dentist. I had heard stories about other kids needing multiple fillings and extractions, and had visions of us visiting the dentist 2 times a week for the rest of their time here. I’m so happy to say that they had such a great report that they didn’t need ANY work done! X-rays were clear and after a cleaning, they were good to go! Woohoo!
One of the things we’ve discovered is that there is extreme competition and jealousy between them. This really comes out at the pool. If Chris or I are playing with one, the other gets mad or aggressive because they are jealous. I also think they’re not used to spending so much time together. One of the things that has seriously helped us this week is that D has been going to Cheer Camp for 3-4 hours in the mornings. This has allowed K to sleep in (which he seriously needs) and given us some time to hang out on our own. So they’ve had time apart and one-on-one time. K and I have been bowling and to the putt-putt course this week, so it’s been really good for him!
In spite of this, we’re learning a lot. The following is something Chris shared with some friends of ours who are also hosting, and I thought it would give some insight in to where we are right now.
I was just reading this morning in Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, and in Chapter 9, the Levites prayed a long prayer after the walls had been reconstructed, reminding themselves and everyone of the miraculous things God had done for them. Verses 16-21 really struck me about God’s character; how long-suffering, gracious, and merciful He is with us… and I believe that this is how we are to be with these little ones who try our patience by reverting to their orphan ways (like “returning to their slavery in Egypt”). At this point, they don’t know any better. It’s what they’ve had to do to survive. But as they rebel against the love we give them (mostly because they don’t understand how else to react or how to accept this love), we need to be long-suffering, gracious, and merciful to not show any “shadow of turning” in our love towards them. Only then will they begin to understand that they no longer have to survive as orphans, but they can thrive as sons and daughters of the High King.