The one thing that I want more than a lot of other things is to not feel like an adoptive father. Oh I love my babies as much as life itself. I hug them, kiss them (to distraction), talk to them (to boredom sometimes), laugh with them (or at them), scold them and watch them sometimes as they sleep. But what I want sometimes is to feel so normal that I forget that they came here by our choice and God's providence.
I know that it will never happen, it is just a wish. Feeling like an adoptive father takes prayer, concentration, work, effort, strength, and more prayer. I can't just watch them in action and just laugh or cry. I have to think through the glasses of an adoptive father. When they tell me something, I can't just say, "Yeah, uh huh, that's nice sweety." I have to stop and think of what they told me and why they told me or why they told me instead of Mommy . When I listen to two of them squabble, I have to stop and try to think about all the factors.
It's a lot like the project chart...
Were they raised together before coming here? If "yes", go to action set A, if "no" go to action set B. Are they within about a year's age difference? If "yes" go to action set C, if "no" go to action set D. Did either of the children have attachment issues upon arrival? If "yes" go to action set E, if "no" go to action set F. Was child A raised with a father? If "yes" go to action G, if "no" go to action "H"... and on and on until I come up with a plausible response or action. This of course doesn't guarantee a successful outcome. Oh, on the contrary! But if I just hamfistedly handled things without giving these factors any thought, I know I would be wrong most every time!
When I persistently ask my girls for kisses, I do it for a purpose other than to just embarrass them. When I ask my sons to assist me in a chore, it's more than just raising boys. (I kiss them too, by the way). Nurturing my babies is more than just being in their lives. Developing bonds and attachment with older adopted children is a TON of hard work. As the saying goes...this ain't for wimps or for the light of heart. I have to hold my ego aside and forget the thought that I'm the daddy and they are just supposed to love and adore me. They don't. Though I love them eternally and unconditionally, I have to earn their trust and respect - and with that may come real love.
I have to measure my words. I stop and think, how will this affect them, how will it affect their relationship with me, with their mom, with God?
When I think about their possible paths into adulthood, I have to even ponder the possibility that one or any of them may not fully appreciate what was done for and with them. They may go on about their way and never look back. I've read stories like that. But the only way for me to get them to love me whole-heartedly is to give them my whole heart to do with as they will.
Jesus is teaching me life lessons through this whole thing. He adopted me, loves me and does everything He knows to do for me and it's up to me to stay with Him and love Him. I'm watching, listening, and trying to learn...but MAN is this tough and tiring! As the Army ad used to say..."the toughest job you'll ever love."
Lord grant me the grace and strength to be the son you want me to be. Grant me love and strenth to the husband my wife needs be. Grant me the wisdom and strength to be the father and dad my children need me to be.