I had to not write for a while, I was worried I would post too harshly about the stress of trying to make everyone happy, while they all adjusted to our new family dynamic. We still haven’t settled in, but we are working on it. I am still overcome with stress and anxiety about not being able to be everything for every person in the house, but a great talk with our parish priest reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to control everything. God knows the plan, I just have to have more faith, and follow his lead.
This is our second Christmas together. Last year was a trial run. A short visit. This year, its the real deal. The kids have been a part of our home for ten full months and while somethings have settled into the “new normal” status, times like these still bring up raw emotion within us all. This time of year is hard for them, because they miss their parents. Its only natural, but in reality, its the idea of a loving family unit they long for, and unfortunately, the biological parents can’t offer that to them. I try to keep that in perspective when they want to hang up stockings for a mother who may or may not show up during the Christmas break.
We’ve been granted full custody. It was a long road, and my stepdaughter still believes she can work her way from her addictive lifestyle back to the role of parent, but the evidence to the contrary makes it hard for us to believe her. The fathers and the extended family members have all agreed that the kids are doing beautifully and they want them to grow up in our house. We explained to the children that this is thier permanent home. The Christmas decorations are their decorations, our traditions are now their traditions.
I read (in Melissa Fay Greene’s memoir “No Biking in the House Without Helmets“), that it takes almost a full year for adopted children and biological children to meld into family unit. In February we will hit the one year anniversary point, and I’m anxious to feel settled down, but I’m not sure if things ever will. Each month has brought new delights and challenges.
The boys still fight (as boys will do) but now its over toys and space in the room, and not who’s Dad is a bigger loser. (those fights were tough to mediate) The older kids hide behind laptops and in the ipods more than I like, but I have to let them cope with things as best they can. My husband and I had a very busy fall and barely saw each other. Our family joke was that our only contact was a high five as we passed on the road as we drove from one activity to another.
Some days are HARD, more so than I thought they would be. Some days are sweet and full of love. This really was like becoming a new parent all over again. I am so fortunate that we have a loving community which has embraced the children and are working with us as we navigate our new waters. We are building family traditions together, introducing them to scouts and sports opportunities they never had.
Today we have fifteen kids coming over to build gingerbread houses. A combination of friends from the neighborhood, scouts and school. I’ve done it with the teenagers for years, but they are too cool to invite their friends over to do it now. So, I get a new group of kids to do Christmas crafts with and sing silly songs. Its wonderful and exciting to keep Santa alive and the magic of Christmas seen through a six year old’s eyes again is so amazing. I said in an earlier post, they needed us, but amazingly enough, I needed them too.