I don't think I really understood how crazy life would be after we brought Amani home. Had I known, I might have issued this apology earlier.
This apology goes out to everyone who is normally in my regular, everyday life. Or even some of you I don't see or talk to every day but every once in awhile. And to those people who have left me message(s) and I still haven't called you back.
And most of you haven't heard from me. Or gotten return emails from me. Or seen me. Or been able to schedule those playdates we used to have every so often.
I'm really am sorry.
I feel like lately I am just doing all I can to keep my head above water. I'm like a duck. When you see me, I probably look calm and put-together... but underneath I am paddling like the dickens just to have my eyes open.
I'm trying to be honest when people ask how it's going with Amani. But when we are out in public, he's in the sling, so he's happy and smiley and blowing sweet kisses at everyone. So it probably looks like I'm lying when I say how hard it's been.
But it is still hard. I just finally was able to return a phone call today to someone who called me while I was in Ethiopia. And it was the first non-family, non-close friend phone call I've returned in a looooong time.
Let me explain what exactly is hard:
Amani is friendly. He loves people. He would let anyone hold him and often reaches out to whoever I'm talking to. That seems wonderful to those who aren't in the adoption world. However, it is very dangerous to allow a child to grow up not knowing the difference between strangers and family. And right now, we really need him to realize who his family is (and what a family is). It's not good for attachment purposes for him to even have little connections with strangers (and strangers right now is pretty much anyone who isn't me or Rob). That's why he is always in the sling... he can't pass himself off to anyone that way. He's been cared for by a variety of women all his life so he has no clue about what a family is. He does great at the church nursery for that very reason... he's cool with a variety of caregivers; that has been his normal. We've asked the nursery workers to page us if he even so much as whimpers and they think we're being over-protective. It's not that at all. He'd be just fine with someone else comforting him. We want that to change so that he can have healthy attachments with everyone in his life.
Also... he still struggles with anything that is different, chaotic (like us trying to leave the house on time every morning), or that he just doesn't like. And he only has one way of expressing that he doesn't like something: absolute meltdown. For example, I'm trying to keep him out of the bathroom. Just turning him around and trying to send him in another direction could provoke a 5 minute crying spell. That's why I'm exhausted all the time.
Please don't read this thinking "gosh, life must be so terrible for them right now." The thing is, it's hard. But it is supposed to be hard. I'm glad Amani is reacting in a normal way to the fact that his world went from one tiny room in an orphanage to our community here in Greensboro. I'm glad he is healthy enough that he's reacting to the crazy change.
Just because it's hard doesn't mean it's bad.
But I do apologize to those of you who might be feeling like I've dropped off the planet. Don't take it personally when I say no to playdates right now. It's not you, it's us (ha ha!)
And we are getting better. Slowly but surely. I'm still praying for compassion and patience and peace every morning but I have a God who grants it. And just having him home brings us so much joy.
He is worth every second of the craziness!