Wednesday, August 13, 2008

better for now

Thank you everyone who has had such nice words for us. It really does help to know that you aren't the only one who wants to just scream out of sheer frustration sometimes. Today Mom and I had a lot of heart to heart about how miserable and depressed I was feeling today. I cried a lot, I screamed even more and now have a migraine from hell. Mom was crying when she picked up Anteneh and I think it finally hit him that he is making us miserable with his stupid acting out. He came home and started cleaning up and apologized to me. We will see how long this lasts but I think things are okay for at least a day or two. Now on to the pictures.


Friedlings said...

I can (and likely will) get better.

We adopted a 15 year old 7 months ago and we never really had a honeymoon period where he was open, friendly, confident, but he was aware of the expectation that some folks had drilled into him that he should be happy to sleep on a mat in our basement... he should help constantly... he shouldn't ask for anything. Clearly, I wasn't wanting a servant. I wanted a son... but I understood he needed to find a balance between feeling like an equal member of the family and feeling like he was contributing.

It took time for him to wade through everything. For months it was a daily rollercoaster between feeling like a guest then a family member then a prisoner.

I don't know what he experienced in Ethiopia as far as the influences of women. I can tell you my son quickly came up to speed. He sees I'm a strong, loving, capable and smart woman. If I do his laundry,he knows it's an act of love - not the expected task of a servant. It's clear, though, that he feels loved when a pile of sweet-smelling folded clothes appears in his room. He feels mothered.

It helps that he's seen my husband wash dishes, massage my feet, fold laundry, etc. He's had many Ethiopian men tell him that things in America are different and EVERYONE must pitch in to make a family work.

Not to scare you, but for us... month 3-5 were the WORST. There was angst at the point where you are at.. but the poop hit the fan several month later. After the storm passed and we had managed our way through some very difficult issues, life now is pretty darn great. We're getting used to his quirky ways and he's getting used to ours, but it too many months and we're still deep in the process.

I'm happy to share lessons I've learned from other adoptive families and some from very, very wise Ethiopian mothers.

The single most useful skill I'm fine-tuning is learning to give him the attention he craves when he "asks" in a positive manner. He doesn't really "ask" so much as give me clues as to what he's fishing for... but I had to learn to ignore the pouts and huffing and silent treatment. When he resurfaces as a person inclined to be in our family, I show I'm delighted with extra smiles, nudges, treats, etc. It's a dance we do and we had to learn the moves together - over the course of several months.

If it helps you mentally, I'm absolutely LOVING parenting this older boy. It's challenging and often frustrating - but we're both learning so much from each other.

Keep your chin up. I'm happy to chat if you like.

Randi - Mom to five
Suddenly parenting a teenage boy since January 2008. (I shared many of the lessons I'm learning here)

Wilson's said...

Cute slideshow. Mayla was watching it with me and said, "No mommy, I want to stay here"??? I am not sure if she thought that was Ethiopia or what, but she looked all scared when she heard the music. wierd!