someday up from underwater

By | 3:59 PM 4 comments

I recently read a post from a fellow adoptive blogger friend that got me thinking about something that is constantly nagging in the shadows and cobwebs of my mind. It's about Eli and adoption and feeling that while we have come so so so far, miraculously far...we still have so so so far to go.

I'm feeling vulnerable writing this, as I don't want to betray my sweet son, and one day have him read this and stir up any unhealthy emotions. But then I realize what sweet promise there is in the idea I have of him discovering this one day...

He will have to be able to read this in order to read this.

Duh, I know.

But knowing his start in life and the academic hurdles we are crossing and going to be crossing in the years to come will someday (please God!) lead to him be able to read this himself will be nothing short of a miracle. A moment I will fall apart in and go to the ugly cry. Don't get me wrong about Eli...he is smart. Oh. So. Smart. But he missed every single building block one needs to build the foundation upon which one learns to read in his first three years of his life. No one read to him, sang to him, did puzzles or patterns or even played with him. Those gaps aren't made up easily and without effort. Momentous effort, I am learning...on his and my part. It sometimes feels as though we are inching through quick sand, uphill, barefoot, and dehydrated.

He will have to care about himself and his history and his adoption and me in order to want to read this one day.

And so, I attempt to move on and put to words the feeling that I'm just not able to shake about Eli and me...

I still feel as though I don't know him. 
Like really really deep down know him.
Like I want to know him.

I can look at Ella, Ezra, and Zoe and know them.
I know why they react like they do.
I know their whole persons, ins and outs and in betweens.
I know.
I just do.

I know more of Eli than I used to.
A lot more.
I even told Jeremiah that I really felt like I "got" Eli this Christmas when I bought him his presents...a ninja costume, a microphone, and a spiderman web-shooter. He really really loved(s) everyone of them. It was one of my favorite parts of the holiday...knowing I had finally got him a gift that was...him.

I know that he likes mexican food and superhero movies and playing with nerf guns. I know he is scared of the dark and doesn't like his hair combed. I know he has a fascination with elephants and won't hold an insect to save his life. I know he loves water and never ever complains about being cold or hot.

We've come a long, long way.

But there are still deep closed off places in him, places that he retreats to when confronted with any sort of reprimand or fear.

There are still reactions that I do not understand.

There are still check out moments that cause my heart to clench.

There are still gaps that I am unsure how to best close.

There is still so much I want to know about him. So much I long to know about him.

My friend said it best when she said it was like communicating underwater: both parties can see each other but there is a vagueness and inability to clearly understand each other.

I don't have a magic wand that I can wave.
Time does/is help/ing, but it isn't a cure-all.

Love is here.
The feeling and the choosing kind.

Hope is here.
Not the pie-in-the-sky kind, but a confident and expectant kind.

But reality is here as well.
The reality that it is going to take a lot...
a lot of time,
a lot of effort,
a team of support,
a God of miracles,
and a very very (very) patient Momma.

I just know that knowing him and hearing him above the water is going to be so worth it.

Our first day of getting to know each other. Ethiopia, 2009.

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Emily Minich said...

This post is so true. We adopted two boys from Texas foster care, and I have these same feelings, too. Regarding the deficits in early education, my sister introduced me to "Slow and Steady Get Me Ready" which is a book that goes month by month from birth to age five and gives strategies and games to help a child develop correctly. I ordered it yesterday from Barnes and Noble (amazon was going to take too long to ship) and I can't wait to help my six year old catch up using this book. Right now he doesn't know his numbers or letters. Maybe it can help Eli, too!

Heather said...

Thank you for your honesty. I know God is going to use your openness to help someone else.

So comforting to know that you love and serve the God of miracles. He is your hope! (and Eli's)

Praising God for how far he's brought you all.

mommajeane said...

Ohh I remember that precious little guy when he first came home…My he has changed. Looking at this picture of you and him really shows how vulnerable he looked then.

Briana said...

thanks for sharing this. there is a lot of here that is good. really, healthy, good. Love you. Keep truckin.