He lets me feed him breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks. He comes and finds me if he has lost a toy or if he wants his shoes put on. He enjoys the routines of getting ready, taking a bath, and going to bed. He looks into my eyes, laughs at my silly antics, and plays with me if I play by him. But he does not seek out my affection, miss me, run to me, or cherish me. Because I am a babysitter, someone who can trust with the basic stuff but not with his heart.
And that is the battle in adoption, well, in all parenting: the battle for the heart. This adoption has been my easiest and my hardest all at the same time. The trip itself was hard. The little boy who grieved for a week was hard.
But now that we are home, he's pretty easy. He doesn't fuss a lot. He is very capable of independent play, of falling asleep on his own. He is pretty clear that he doesn't really want too much help with eating or drinking.
I know what you're thinking. That sounds great! So much easier than a baby. And it is. Way easier than my other two who clung to at us, who wanted to be carried everywhere, who were not all that independent, who almost always craved affection. But in a lot of ways, that also makes it hard. It is a concious choice to parent him with what he needs versus parenting him with what he appears to need. The appearance is that he's fairly self sufficient and requires only minimal help from us. But the reality is he stills sees us in a caregiver role not a "my mama and papa are the most precious things in the world!" to me role. He chooses us because he has no choice not because he desires us. It is a thinly veiled tolerance, based in a trust that thankfully his foster family grounded him, a trust that says "I can count on others to meet my needs." But it is not a love affair. There is no romance, no swooning, no heart beat that says "I need you with all my being."
It will come. It's like most cases of falling in love. It doesn't happen overnight. It's wooing and pursuing. But sometimes the pursuit is hard. Sometimes this mama wishes she didn't have to pursue, that it just happened on its own, without my instigating and insisting.
Believing 1 Corinthians 13 to be my prayer today, for myself not for him...
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.