Friday, April 12, 2013

Piecing It Together

The adoption of a child with special needs is like having to put together a giant puzzle. Each piece of that child's past, present, and future must somehow all fit together as it was meant to be. It is up to us, the adoptive parents, to lovingly, patiently, and carefully put it all together. What we so often forget to realize is that the puzzle was created by an awesome God who already knows the end result of His great masterpiece.  -Jenny Monier

Adoption is a wonderful blessing to a family.  So much joy, love, and happiness.  So often we read adoption blog after adoption blog of a journey that is just so blissful and perfect.  Adoption soon becomes romanticized.  But I want to take a moment and share the stark reality that adoption, while wonderful, can be messy, painful, and enigmatic.  Most adoptive families are not very quick to share the tough times because that can illicit a negative reaction from friends and family.  Today, however, I want to share some difficulties with you all.  It is my hope that if I share my struggles it can somehow bless or encourage someone else that may be facing the same struggle.

For those of you that are new readers our son, Dima, has Down Syndrome and no other health issues.  We adopted him when he was seven years old and he is now about to turn nine.  He is an energetic, clever, very verbal, and a very high functioning little boy.  Dima currently attends a typical school and is in a self contained ESE classroom that has multiple grade levels though technically he is in second grade.  When it comes to academics he is doing extremely well.  He has had straight A's, can grasp a new concept that is at his level with ease, and he enjoys learning.  Our family is so proud of him and all that he has learned this first year of school.

Behaviorally, however, he struggles at school (not at home).  I do not think the details are important but suffice to say he can be disruptive and unkind.  His teacher, the ESE specialist, and I have wracked our brains for months attempting to figure Dima out and why he does what he does.  We email back and forth, we have phone calls, we have IEP meetings, and yet Dima's behavior continues to decline.  I will not lie, it has been trying and very stressful.  Sometimes we wonder if Dima even understands that he is making poor choices.  But today something hit me.

Dima is a huge, complicated puzzle.  A puzzle so complicated it takes a very long time to complete.  It is not a 100 piece puzzle that you can complete in one afternoon.  The pieces of this puzzle represent his past (a very abusive and traumatic time in his life), the present (a time of adjustment and learning), and the future (a time of reflection on the past struggles and success; having overcome the past).  Moreover, the individuals responsible for piecing it all together, Eric and I, must piece it all together.  Carefully, patiently, lovingly, one piece at a time.  What makes it all the more complicated is that there is no completed picture to look at as we work.  Eric and I are merely trying to fit the pieces together without forcing anything together thus ruining any of the pieces.  The good news is that there is Someone who knows what the end result will be.  God.  The Creator of all things!  He is able to guide our hands as we painstakingly piece together this extremely complicated puzzle.  All we need to do is ask for His help and ask often.

There has been tears, trials, smiles, laughs, pain, mistakes, and even times of doubt.  But ultimately God will not allow us to fail.  In fact with Him we cannot fail.  Not if we are truly seeking Him in all situations.  Not if we trust Him to guide us.  We as parents also must believe that God did not bring Dima into our family to fail.  God has a plan for his life.  This holds true for all of our boys!  

So this afternoon as I walked into the assistant principal's office to get Dima, it hit me.  My puzzle was sitting in that chair writing his name over and over again, somewhat aware that he was in trouble for the hundredth time this week.  I wanted to scoop him up and cry.  Instead I firmly told him it was time to go home.  We drove home in silence for a bit but then I blurted out how much I love him and it makes me sad to see him making poor choices at school.  As I glanced at him in the rearview mirror I saw two brilliantly blue eyes looking back at me.  Dima said nothing.  At that moment I would have given just about anything to read his mind but I could see the gears turning.   I think sometimes he is just as confused as I am.

There is one truth about our adoption that I am certain of:  Dima was meant to be a part of our family!  Dima is pretty sure about that, too.  In time we will figure it out and Dima will heal.

Someday we will see  this complicated puzzle completed and whole.  Someday we will understand all of the nuances of how each piece fit together and give thanks to the designer!  Until then.....

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