People sometimes ask me why we chose to adopt internationally when there are so many children in need of families right here at home. When I don't feel the relationship warrants an honest explanation, I usually joke that I need to adopt internationally because it is so much harder to give them back when you have a bad day.
It is a joke. We are committed for the long haul no matter what it may bring. But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit to having moments when the thought of giving her back flits into my head and needs to be forcibly banished.
Yesterday, Claire appeared in my room at 4 am. She didn't want to go potty. She wasn't wet, and she did not want to snuggle in my bed. She kept singing out, "Wake-up. Wake-up." After putting her back to bed twice, and only just getting drowsy again before she would show up singing her wake-up song, I decided to get up. Mopping the floors before 6 a.m. makes you feel like you have accomplished much!
When I put her to bed last night, I reminded her that there is no waking up before it is daylight.
This morning, I woke up and saw Claire standing in my doorway. It was daylight, so we were good.
"What d'ya need?" I asked.
She didn't answer. So I went down the usual list. Do you need to go potty? Are you wet? Do you need dry clothes? Do you want to come in and snuggle? She would not answer me. She would not come into the room when I asked her to come over to the bed. So, we got up early again.
After breakfast, we went in to brush teeth. She brushes her teeth every day. I always brush after her to get the places she missed, but at least she tries. Today she refused to put the brush on her top teeth. I explained. I cajoled. I took her fingers and helped her feel where her top teeth were. I put the brush on her top teeth and she turned it over so it only brushed the bottom. Then, when she spit, she bent over and carefully positioned her mouth to spit on the outside of the sink—several times.
At this point, I told her she needed to brush her top teeth and couldn't leave the bathroom until she did her best. Then I got a book and sat in the doorway reading. She stood there on her stool, looking in the mirror, waving her arms, and making faces at herself for nearly an hour. Then she said she had to go potty. I called her bluff on this one because she always says she doesn't need to go if she really does. The "I need to go" usually comes up when she doesn't want to do something, or wants to get attention away from whatever you are doing. I just moved the rug, letting her know that it would be easier to clean up the floor in case she had an accident before she decided to brush her teeth. She waited a few more minutes before she went ahead and brushed her teeth. Good job, Claire!
The rest of the day she was annoyingly clingy. She leaned on me, stroked me, pulled on my clothes. I had promised myself that if she was clingy, I wouldn't pull away but think of it as a request for more closeness. So, when she was almost knocking me off my chair by leaning hard against me and rubbing my hand, I put my arm around her. She pushed my arm away and swatted me around the face. I grabbed her wrist to tell her not to hit, and she started scratching with the other hand. H-m-m. I guess she really didn't want any closeness.
At supper, we could clearly see that she wanted another roll. But she refused to ask. Then, she wanted to get up. We allow her to get up and walk around at dinner because sometimes the talk can get long. All she has to do is say excuse me. Think she would do that tonight? Well, twice she said it while someone else was talking. We told her we couldn't hear when she spoke during someone else's turn. When we paused a long time, she remained silent. When we asked if she had anything to say, she ducked her head under the edge of the table. So, she stayed at the table.
In hopes of inducing her to speak, Kelly got an ice cream sandwich. He was fully prepared to give her one if she asked. She can ask. She has asked many times before. She remained silent until we were clearing the table and everyone was leaving. Only then did she say, "Excuse me."
While cleaning up the kitchen she waited til Kelly left the room and then asked for an ice cream sandwich. I told her she needed to ask Daddy. She asked Ben and me several times, but refused to ask Daddy. Bummer. No ice cream sandwich.
After cleaning up from dinner we headed to the bathroom for a shower. She had been wriggly so I asked if she needed to go potty. Of course, she said she didn't. She got undressed and I was removing the hair clips from her hair so we could wash it. She looked up at me and peed on the rug. Guess I shouldn't have put it back in there after the tooth brushing incident this morning.
We wiped up and got her shower. After drying hair, getting medications, etc, we asked her to go potty before going to bed. She refused to wipe herself. Again, this is a skill she has been doing for several weeks. When she got off the toilet, Kelly told her to sit back down and wipe. She wouldn't. She just stood next to the toilet. So, he got a book and sat down to read and wait her out. She recognized that this technique could last a long time, so she got on the potty and wiped correctly. At last—bedtime. I was never so ready to kiss her good night and walk away for a while.
No matter how miserable this day was, I can't give her back. I don't want to—not really. It just gets so discouraging.
That is why I was so encouraged by Romans 15.
I had never noticed the reference to God as a "God of endurance" before.
Endurance is just what I need right now. This isn't time to get discouraged and give up. This is the time to prove our love.
No matter how hard Claire tries to push away, we will show that "love endures all things."
- We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
- Let us each please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
- For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.
- For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction that through endurance and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
- May the God of endurance and encouragement grant that you live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,
- that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.