As an adoptive parent, it is the 'routine' events in life that grieve my heart the most. They are the promises that we will experience the 'un-routine' as our children's worldview and frame of reference are forever altered to be challenged by the 'routine'. The extreme happy, scary and sad times have proved over the past 7 years of this beautiful journey to ride the highest of highs and lowest of lows (sometimes within the same few minutes, over and over again).
This week, we had a 'routine' well visit (a.k.a. shots) for Bereket and Joey. Joey sits in the waiting room happy and joyful (as usual) - enjoying the extra 2 on 1 attention of mommy in the moment (as the other 4 children were at home). Bereket, on the other hand, is pacing the waiting room. "Mommy, my stomach hurts - I don't like to come here." His frame of reference screams to his soul - 'be scared of this experience as you know it is lonely and painful'. The nurse calls their names and they bound, skip, jump (literally) down the hallway in typical boy fashion to the scales. The nurse is immediately irritated by their 'energy' and my heart sinks as she speaks firmly to my boys. Bereket is fidgeting all over the scales, touching every possible item and speaking in his typically loud and nervous fashion. His frame of reference, since the moment he was abandoned, had bacterial meningitis and 3 long term hospitalizations in Ethiopia with noone to hold him in their arms, sing sweet lullabies of God's promises, and be willing to sacrifice all of their earthly energy to show their precious child he is loved (in the fashion that we, as parents, have had the privilege of lavishing on our biological children) ....is to fear...and shut down to avoid the pain that is too deep to bear of being alone.
We make it through the doctor portion pf the visit (barely). For any of you that parent the wonderful challenge of energetic boys - you know the picture (volume, pitch, activity, redirection, exhausting every bit of energy to find productive ways to entertain in the wait...all a privilege and season the Lord Himself has called us to and equipped us through). Then come the shots...
The nurse walks back into the room...already exasperated by the thought of this experience. She is unaware that I have been praying for her since the moment she called my boys names and made the comment, "boy, they sure are excited." while walking back to the scales. I initial the 5 vaccinations that each boy needs and we proceed. Time always stands still for me in these moments of trauma for my sweet children. Why? I do not know the answer, but I believe the Lord has given me this gift of pain & suffering so that I can catch a tiny glimpse of the pain that my adoptive children experience - so that my heart can grow to a size that is difficult to bear so I can be equipped for the challenge of loving them through the ridiculous that we often experience. It is ridiculous to the world's eyes as they see it as 'behavior' - it is ridiculous to me as I now see it as unacceptable that any child should have to suffer such trauma because their frame of reference as been altered by the devastating reality of sin in this world. Immediately, Bereket goes into panic mode. Screaming, crying, refusing to be consoled. His eyes literally change shape and gloss over as he no longer sees me as mom. He is begging, literally, to be pardoned from this deep pain that is resonating with his soul and it has nothing...nothing to do with the shots he is about to be given. His pitiful panicked voice screams, "no...don't hold me! let me sit up...don't hold me!" The nurse is losing patience and she begins to raise her voice and sternly says to him, "you have to stop!" This is my breaking point. I don't expect everyone to understand, but I have learned over the past 4 years that it is my duty, as his mother, to educate the ignorant (not necessarily intentionally, but ignorant none the less) in the immediate to protect his soul. As I am physically struggling with my panicked (in every way) 5 year old, my eyes meet hers and say, "He is NOT going to settle down. You MUST be patient and DO YOUR JOB right NOW!" When she is finished, I scoop my sweet, BROKEN (again) precious boy into my arms and attempt to console him. He wants me, but is unable to allow himself to melt into me. I hold his stiff little body against mine until he is able to submit while I whisper all the assurances the Lord gives me to tell him. I am making her wait for me to finish loving on him (as Joey is still waiting for his vaccines) and she is speechless. I am unsure if she understands the gravity of the situation, but I pray that the Father of the fatherless is softening her heart as she observes.
Next it is Joey's turn and he clings to me (not resists) as if his life depends on it. When his shots are done, he melts into my arms and KNOWS that he is safe.
It is the 'routine' that I carry the most grief for. I pray, like my very depends on it (because I know that my adoptive children's lives do depend on it), that with each 'un-routine' event in their lives...it becomes more 'routine' as the Healer tirelessly works to bring redemption to their broken beginnings.
This journey of redemption for my children is beautiful...and painful....and I love it, even though it is difficult to bear for I would not understand the love of my Father in such depth if He hadn't chosen me to be their mommy...