I can’t believe I’m actually sitting here and writing! Writing out to the big, black void of cyberspace (and the always present gnawing that no one will actually read this?!), but it’s cathartic just the same. Yes, I’m writing and it only took almost two solid months, Colby going out of town and me putting my kids in the bed at 7:02. Ha!
I can’t even really put into words what the last couple of months have been like other than reminding you all of the wise words of our dear friend, Jon, that I shared with you quite a while ago:
Gotcha Day isn’t the first day of “Happily Ever After”,
it’s the first day of Rehab.
There have been some really, really sweet days like giving Titus his first ice cream cone in celebration of him officially becoming a U.S. Citizen (yay!). There have been really, really dark days like the one where, for some reason, I could only sleep 3 hours after working the night before and after I picked the big kids up from school, all I could do was lay paralyzed on the couch in our dirty house while the kids watched TV. Those moments are hard to share, hard to lay bare and be vulnerable, because those days hurt and I feel like I’m failing.
The longer Titus is with us, the more we can see just how behind he really is….and the likelihood that he will catch all the way up eventually becomes smaller and that is really hard some days. Today, I got the long awaited call from the Special Education Department in our county to discuss the findings of their evaluation. He scored “poor” in his gross motor and “very poor” in fine motor and adaptive skills. And, while the Diagnostician did acknowledge that his social history was a very large component, his language delay cannot only be attributed to his adoption and time in a non-stimulating environment. In one way strange way, it was a relief. A relief to hear that all of our observations at home were not just us being “paranoid” or “not giving him a chance to catch up”. On the other hand, this is an emotion I’ve been familiar with since I became a mom….you know in your heart that your kid isn’t “typical”, but they are yours and it hurts your heart to see it there, staring at you in black and white.
Every single week, I’m interacting with people from work, church and other places in my life and they all want to know: “How’s it going with Titus?!” I can see, with most of them, by the excitement in their eyes that they are expectantly waiting and hoping to hear, “Oh, he’s just perfectly adjusted, speaking and learning English great, and I’m just back in the swing of things!” It seems silly to see it written that plainly in black and white, but I’m telling you the truth! I’ve struggled with how to answer people and walked away at some points with guilt on my shoulders for sharing the hardness of this road and feeling like I can’t quite convey the beauty the way I want to. So, I’ve started really letting people know: This journey has been a HUGE spiritual journey for me. Why? Because I see myself in Titus.
I can see myself: spiritually helpless and handicapped by the marred and messy world I was born into, then bogged down with baggage and issues, wrong ways of thinking that had needed to be undone, and desperate for someone that would take me in, challenge me- even when I pitched a fit-, love me, give me a new home, a new name, a new identity. I am no longer a spiritual orphan, but a daughter in the Family of God. On those dark days that I’m frozen on the couch, and I think I cannot do it, that I don’t have what it takes…He gently reminds me of this. And that the same power that raised Christ from the dead, now lives in me- the Holy Spirit!
The next 7 days at our house are going to be action packed with hard, important things, and I’m feeling the maternal weight of them, and need your prayer. Tomorrow, I’m heading up to the big kids’ school to have Judah’s kindergarten transition meeting. SERIOUSLY?! How is by baby getting ready to transition to kindergarten?! I was reading through his final evaluation at The Rise School this morning and I’m so, so, SO proud of him. He has either accomplished or made great progress towards accomplishing ALL of the goals for this year. The boy who would run away crying “I can’t do it!” while coloring in a coloring book is now writing and beginning to read words. The shy kid on the play ground is climbing rockwalls and ready to play soccer?! I’m so proud of him, but my momma heart has been dreading kindergarten since the day he was born. He’s ready…but I’m not! haha
Next Wednesday, we are starting the morning with a “play date” at the Rise School to see if Titus would be a good candidate for a student next year. If he is accepted, we are awaiting and praying so hard for the Lord to make a way through financial aid offered by the school. We are trusting in Him to open the right doors. Then in the afternoon, we will have Titus’ first ARD meeting. This is when he will be officially admitted into the Special Education Department and where we will discuss in depth the evaluation I received today and the services that he will be eligible to receive through the school system. This is so important, and hard as parents to go in ready to advocate for everything your child needs. Please pray for us!
I’ve started saying this line in my head, “This is my life.” Some days, it’s out of near despair because, if someone had told me 10 years ago that I’d be a mom of three stair step kids- two of which have disabilities- living in Kyle, Texas that wears yoga pants and old t-shirts about 5 days a week with black bags under my eyes, I’d have probably laughed at you. I used to pride myself in being a “doer” and keeping my life neat, tidy and organized, but the Lord had different plans for me…plans to show me just how amazing His power is and how dependent I am on Him! And then there are days where I shout it joyfully, “This is my life!” because I look in my rearview mirror and see three of the most adorable kids you have ever seen (I mean, is anyone gonna argue with me about that?! Anyone?! Didn’t think so haha), and we roll down the windows and sing silly songs at the tops of our lungs. Or Judah draws a picture of Jesus crushing Satan, the serpent, with a cloud of Heaven above witnessing it all. Or Eden loving and praying for every.single. homeless person on every exit ramp of I-35 and asking if Jesus said to love them and give generously to them, as if it was Him, then why can’t we bring them home to our extra bedroom?! (Umm, yeah, I’m regularly wiping away tears at the red lights on exit ramps.) Or Titus independently saying and signing simultaneously “All done!” at the end of lunchtime, or saying “I maaaa muuu too!” (I love you) while insisting on kissing my nose. Or we stop at the park on the way home from school and all three are giggling and laughing as a push them high on the dish swing together. Or at the end of the day, I look over at a man who has been standing with me through it all, pointing me to Christ (and somehow looking more handsome?!) and he holds me and tells me I’m doing a good job.
It may not be exactly the one that I had planned out for myself in my mind all those years ago, but I’m so thankful life doesn’t often go according to my plans.