If you have made it this far … I sincerely thank you. I have SO MANY things to share about others and about where this journey is taking me– its very exciting.
Going through customs in Dallas, my parents had to go one way and I had to go another… that is when Jason decided it was time to play “limp noodle”– he was so tired (been up for 24 hours) and had no interest in walking through the airport. We made it through to find my sister and her family and a group of friends waiting to meet Jason. They immediately took to him and he to them- welcome to your new home Jason, welcome to America.
The adjustment period... during the home studies, the social workers were great in helping to prep you for this time. All of the commotion could scare them– the TV being on, the dogs, the people, the noise that they are not accustomed. The insecurities of being alone in a room, the food that their digestive system is not used too, the language barrier, their need to feel touched or NOT want to be touched.
How to respond when people say “where is his mom?” “is he your real son?” Sounds stupid– but it happens from complete strangers especially if they don’t look like you. (And yes it did happen to me standing in line at Chick Fil A).
I was scared that I was going to do or say the wrong thing… then my wise father made a comment to me which I think about a lot as I start this blog “All kids need is love.” So simple and yet so true..
So? I have given Jason that.. more unconditional love than he can comprehend. While I didn’t have my own biological children, I can not imagine loving another human being more than I love my son. How is that different than being their biological parent?
The social workers prepped me for the adjustment period for HIM but I failed to realize that there would be an adjustment period for ME! I scheduled to take 8 weeks off of work and help him make the adjustment. (note the key word scheduled – more on that a little later). I went from being single and care free to oh my– a 2 year old who gets into everything! I quickly learned about “confinement”- high chairs are a beautiful invention!
There were many firsts– a first haircut which he screamed like they were cutting his ear off! The first time for McDonalds– he hated it! ( Parenting tip: I should have left that one alone); first fireworks, first Halloween…… (Jason thought this America thing was pretty cool– you just knock on doors and people give you candy– he thought it was an everyday thing.)
Jason and I often road with the car windows down- he loved the breeze! However, many times I made it home with one sock and one shoe… he was notorious for taking his shoes and socks off and throwing them out the window! ( I had to get those adidas back!)
Jason’s favorite story that I tell…. I was sitting at home on a Saturday and two of my dear friends called and asked me if I wanted to go to lunch… I said “sure.” I went to the garage, got in my car and pulled out into the alley when I suddenly remembered that I had a sleeping child in his room! OMG parental fail!
Jason didn’t speak English and the adjustment period was not as bad as I expected…. if I acted things out– he seemed to understand. Once in a while he would get frustrated and fall onto the ground with such drama… but that’s probably normal for a 2 year old.
One of the best programs I enrolled him in.. was ESL (English as a Second Language). Being from Texas, I always thought this to be offered to Spanish speaking children who were now residing in the US. Not true, as a taxpayer– I was allowed to take him to the local school district 2 days a week and they worked with him on his language skills. This was instrumental in getting him on track.
What I realized after 5 weeks off is that Jason was used to structure in the orphanage. So I went back to work after 6 weeks and enrolled him in a Montessori school in Plano. This school was staffed with international teachers who looked like him. This was one of the best decisions I made– I was a better mom when I went to work and came home. And Jason was more stable going to school and coming home.
I pray for Jason’s biological parents- I can not imagine having the courage to give up a child that you know you are incapable of raising… in hopes that they have a better life somewhere. I hope that they are at peace and somehow know that their biological son is just fine. I thank them for their courage.
Remember.. “all kids need is love.”
Next: The court day and becoming a US citizen