This post contains the good, the bad and if you last and read it to the end, a lesson called the POO. Let’s start with the BAD. I like to get the bad out of the way first. It’s like ripping a Band-Aid off or quickly drinking the NyQuil dose with your nose plugged.
It starts with a confession… I am weak… any strength I have is truly a figment of strength I’ve created. When I feel uncomfortable or out of control in life, I will do anything to crawl, grope or dig my way out of the situation. I am rather adept at managing a lot of things, and I’m a little (okay, a lot) hyperactive and this helps. Give me large projects or crazy chaos and I get excited to create order. This is why I did Children’s Ministry for 7 years and why I also have degrees in teaching and in nursing. We all know that nursing and teaching are synonymous with organized chaos.
When we first picked up Israel, I was scared, sleep deprived, sick with the flu and absolutely at the bottom. The first night in the hotel room, he raged and screamed at us for over an hour. This little boy was smelly and to be quite honest very unlovable. Our room sounded like a torture chamber as he vented his fear through angry screaming. I thought the hotel staff was going to send the police and they would take Israel back… ok, honestly I kind of hoped they’d send someone to take him back. We slept very little that night. The next day, after minimal sleep I lay in my bed sick and puking. My body was absolutely beat and so was my mind. So completely exhausted and I could not sleep, so I just lay there too tired to move. All I could think was, “Oh God, I asked for this… I can’t fix this, how can I get out of this?” Embarrassingly, I then had a complete emotional breakdown at 2 in the morning. I texted my best friend and told her I couldn’t do this and that I needed to figure out how to give him back. I’m sure she thought I’d lost my mind with my incoherent ramblings on a text message. Darren found me sobbing in a corner at 2 am with my phone. He held me as I begged him to drive Israel back to the orphanage. And then my husband and best friend talked me away from the edge of the cliff and back to God’s plan. It was not my place to control this situation; instead it was an invitation. God was inviting me to take a giant leap of faith and give up any control I thought I could create. And I did just that, but very slowly. In fact, 1 month home and I still find myself trying to wrench back control. But each day, I sit with my Lord and I pray that He not let me take over, because He knows the mess I can create. It’s a good place, this weakness that I sit in. In fact, God had to call me to something pretty scary and huge to accomplish it. This is because I am a control freak: I’m sure Darren can attest to that.
The GOOD…Israel. Oh how I have fallen in love with this boy. Here is a child that has spent 4 years, 23 hours a day, and countless minutes caged in his crib. Can you imagine the complete deprivation? He was allowed out of his crib perhaps a handful of hours in a day, and only in one room. He was fed a liquid diet, because that’s faster and less messy than teaching him to eat. He is the only verbal child in his section and yet he has some language. Self-taught, self-preservation, self-reliance, survival at all costs. And now bursting onto the scene, a mom who is going to teach him love. And here we can see God smile and say, “No, Stacey, I am going to teach YOU LOVE.” And He has, because every little triumph and victory makes my heart sing with love for this little boy. So let me share with you a few of the triumphs of a first month home.
Okay, if you’ve made it this far I guess I can share with you the POO… Now is the time I’ve decided to share my first lesson in parenting a child with Spina bifida. Rule #2(pun intended), do not place your child into a warm bath water with an older sibling when this child has been recently started on a new regimen of Miralax. Yes, I did this. I didn’t even think about it… And when I walked back into the bathroom to check on my boys, my chin hit the floor. Both boys were in a soup of poo, and absolutely unaware. Brown bubbles of poo and I almost puked. I quickly pulled them both out to run them to our shower that is across the house. As I’m packing Israel, he is laughing at me jogging him across the house and I’m just dying as the poo is dripping to the floor. At this point, my older son, Joel (7 years old), knows that something is amiss and starts questioning why I removed him. Quickly I explain that they were “too dirty” for just a normal bath, and inside I’m just dying. Next, I spent 30 minutes bleaching everything. And now I have this image of poopy bubbles and cheeky grins on both boys. Absolutely unaware of their surroundings, like the proverbial frog in the pot of slowly boiling water….
So this mama is keeping it real and learning every day. And mixed with the love and the POO is a family learning a new normal. We appreciate all your love and encouragement.