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Sunday, September 21, 2008

a new chapter

in our crazy little story.

After the horrible freak out last week (see post below), we all had some major talks around this house. Jackson, who always feels like he is being attacked when we try to have family talks said he wanted to go back to Ethiopia. Mom, who is going back to Ethiopia in a month or so for work, said okay fine, calling his bluff. He admitted that he didn't want to leave, he didn't know why he acted the way he did. I think seeing me hysterically crying, for like, hours, really helped him to understand how much his "little games" have been hurting us. I told him that I loved him, but I couldn't keep living like this, that I was scared to come out of my room because of him being so mean and it wasn't fair. I feel like he hasn't been helping enough around the house, and that he treats our family kind of like a guest house. The next day, he was up at 7, dressed and ready to go. He has consistently helped out more, in cleaning, doing his homework on time, not whining about his obligations, and helping with addis. His ESL teacher said he has become really motivated. On saturday, I was really really excited about this cheesy, apple picking festival that I wanted to go to. Well Jackson really didn't want to go, and complained the whole time. Granted there were no other 10 year old boys there, but I really wanted to go as a family. I told him that he hurt my feelings by asking every 5 minutes if we could leave, and basically not sucking it up and doing something because I wanted to do it. He said he was sorry, and then helped me do the dishes. WE ACTUALLY HAD A NON VIOLENT, NON SCREAMING FIGHT! After that, he had his first soccer game, where he scored the only 2 goals!!! Sadly, his team lost, but whatever my brother did so well! As someone very smart once told us, maybe you just have to hit rock bottom to start climbing up... or something like that. I think we are going to start family counseling, because I think there are definitely jealousy issues on both of our parts, and it would be good to talk about our problems in a constructive environment. And I really really hope that is the end of the chapter "I want to strangle my brother," in our family book.

11 comments:

Christy said...

I really hope you guys are turning a corner. You all deserve it! Best of luck!

Lisa said...

Wheww! GLAD to hear it! Hang in there Miranda! Miss you guys and don't think you are getting out of that visit!

Julie said...

Yeah! I'm so glad things are better. I've been praying for you guys!

Peculiar Smith Family said...

It's so good to hear that you've been having some really positive things happen with Jackson! I can only imagine how hard things have been, and you ALL deserve to start a new chapter!

Amy & Amelia AiChun said...

HEY! I think we saw your family at the cheesy apple picking thing! I kept looking at the little girl (now I kow it was Addis!)thinking "I bet she is from Ethiopia" but b/c we get questions all the time, I didn't want to ask! I can't believe I didn't recognize you from the photos. Ah well. Another time! Glad to hear things are improving with Jackson.

Chris said...

Praise God for a good day for you all!! I hope and pray things stay this way!!!

Malia'sMama said...

Good for your mom treating him like a kid, and not an "adopted" kid by calling his bluff. Hope it all comes together b/c I am ready to slap him silly! (nice talk from a pacifist, eh? :)

ellerbee eight said...

I am so happy for you! You are all learning to fight fair. That's when things started getting better for us too. We can have a bad day and it not carry over into the next week/month. We are learning to get over it and move on much quicker than previously, and I attribute that to the fact that we are all learning how to TALK to each other and are getting those feelings out before they have time to suffocate us. Things are looking up for all of us aren't they? Scary thought! Congrats. Here's to the end of a chapter and the beginning of another!

Nikko and Matt said...

oh, I hope this is the start of change. We are having a family intervention with my nephew tonight. Not looking forward to it.

waitingarms said...

I have been reading your blog for about a month and I am glad things are looking up!

For what it is worth, after spending many years overseas, I suspect some of the difficulties with Jackson may actually be cultural differences. In America, children in general are trained to be independent from an early age while generally in Africa, children will be babied longer. For example, in America, children will start self-feeding at around one year old and should be fairly self-sufficient by age two, while in Africa, children are babied longer and may be spoon-fed by an adult until around six years old (I am curious to know how old the children in the orphanage are before they become fully toilet trained at night. In boarding schools overseas, I saw a lot of children who still wet their beds at twelve years old and no one really batted an eye). Children may not get any responsibilities until they are teens in urban areas (though in rural farm communities, children may have to grow up faster so that they can help around the house and on the farm).

Of course this is a generalization and may not hold true in rural areas and in all cases. However, most people living in urban areas in Africa (like Addis Ababa) will have maids and nannies that do most of the housework and take care if the children. My husband on his first visit to Africa a few years ago was flabbergasted to see everyone leave their plates on the table when they were done with their meals! He was also shocked that most of the children he met in the urban areas did not pick up after themselves, because the expectation was that the maid would do it! As people become more urbanized, they become more westernized and the prevailing thought in many African countries is that westerners spoil their children and that the do not get any responsibilities! Of course most of the westerners they see are expatriate workers who have maids, cooks, and drivers and it is easy to think this is the norm in the western world! I am not sure if the children at the orphanage the children are given any responsibilities, or simply have the nannies and workers do everything for them. So depending on when Jackson went to the orphanage and his family history, he may never have learnt to help with chores! There are also the specified gender roles in Africa, where boys in general do not help with taking care of children, so he could be having a problem when asked to help with Addis by thinking this is a girl’s job! Since this is so defined in the culture, he may be having difficulty articulating this, since this is something that is generally a cultural given!

Thanks for sharing your adoption journey—it is interesting reading a sibling’s perspective and your blog title aptly captures your role-you are indeed sistermom!

Sandee said...

Heart hug, Miranda and Grace. I went to my first therapy session with Mary...and already feel hope.

I am glad you had a glimmer of a better day. I pray more of those are coming.