Isaiah is going through a rough patch right now. I shouldn't be surprised by it, but I always am. This is how it is with kids, especially strong-willed ones. They challenge you, for a period of time just to see if you will stand your ground. Then, once you show them you really still are the boss, they settle into a season of better behavior.
On the one hand, he is passionate. He is a little comedian and charmer
He loves to make people laugh and be the center of attention
He is loving and affectionate and his smile could melt you into a puddle
He is a risk taker and survivor
All of this means that I cannot let up my guard. I have to be consistent. I give him a millimeter, he takes 10 miles. It is so exhausting to have to be so tough with him all the time. It really limits the ability to be fun and spontaneous and "break the rules." Doing that will set a chain reaction of behaviors that are just not worth it.
I have noticed in the last 3 weeks that he has reverted back to many of the behaviors that he displayed when we first brought him home. He has been living like he is an orphan. He destroys things that others have that he doesn't have. Because if he can't have it, they shouldn't either. He disregards the rules of our household. He talks about going to another family.
All the while, we continue to love him. We prove to him that nothing he can ever do will change that love. I think he is testing us sometimes just to see if we will still love him. We are the 4th caregivers he has had in his life. He has been with us the longest. But that doesn't matter. He still has to be shown over and over that we are his FOREVER family.
I share all of these things because I think it is important for those who have adopted to see that this is normal. I also think those that have not adopted need to see that there are complex issues and struggles that adoptive families will ALWAYS face. Seriously, he has been in our family for 3 years, yet he still doubts at times. He still struggles with his story(what little of it he can understand at this point). He still questions our love for him. He still tries to function apart from the team.
I think there have been a few reasons these behaviors have creeped back in. First, was this:
The 3 year celebration of their adoption
Also, the celebration of a friend's adoption has brought up questions in his heart. Our philosophy is to be honest about his history, but to only answer the questions he is asking. What I mean is, on the way to the adoption, he asked, "What was my first family like?" My answer, "Isaiah, we don't really know. We never met them." Then, he moved on to something else. Now, I could have gone into a long discussion here with him, but I don't think he was ready for that. He was satisfied with that answer and he will learn more as he gets older.
It breaks my heart that he chooses to live as an orphan when he is no longer an orphan. God showed me recently that I do the same thing in my walk with him. I question His love for me. I doubt my place in His family. I try to do things myself rather than relinquishing control to the one that loves me more than I could ever imagine. I choose to do it my way instead of His. All the while He loves me, He accepts me, He treats my as His daughter.
Our family would not be the same without these two!
Oh, and Isaiah is convinced we need to adopt more children. He has been saying over and over, "Mommy, I want more brothers and sisters. I want us to adopt more children and feed them." Recently, in the truck, he even spontaneously prayed a prayer that Jesus would give us more children to adopt. I love his sweet heart. He knows the difference that being in a family can make.