Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Honeymoon is Over

So yes, I believe the honeymoon is over. Not that things are bad or anything, but the realities of parenting a teen who has grown up in foster care have surfaced. This may also be a "testing" phase of some sorts, as well, since we are due to finalize in a month or so. Let me try to explain a little.
We are just trying to parent Marvel, the same as we parent our other children, but we are learning that we have to parent him differently. Our other kids have been taught our values since birth, so our expectations and hopes for them have been woven into who they are. But Marvel hasn't had that opportunity, and has been taught many differnt morals and values and expectations, so that has helped form him into who he is. So, we have had trouble communicating, because his idea of how things should go is different from ours. We have learned we need to let some things go, and let natural consequences be the teachers. We just want him to know that we love him, and want what's best for him, and want him safe. We will have a few solid rules that will have consequences if broken, but natural consequences will hopefully teach the rest- the things that aren't huge moral or safety issues. It is driving Kevin crazy, because he sees it as deliberate defiance, but I don't believe it is. Marvel is trying to follow our rules, he's not unruly, but we are different than what he is used to. We are a family who strives to be different from the world, we hold ourselves to a high standard. We try to live by God's rules, not the world's, and although he is a very good kid, our expectations may be tough for him. And he's not used to thinking the way we do. This is all still very new, and we know it will take time to get him on board with us. But the bummer is that we don't have a lot of time. In 3 short years, he could be getting ready to graduate high school and go off to college. So we'll do the best we can, and try to keep his heart with us-that's what's important. He has a great heart it's just the little details we are trying to shape, so that's no big deal in the grand scheme of things. What's most important is that we are his family now,  no matter what-and that he knows that. I'm sure he is dying to know if we are really going to be his family forever, cause no one else has ever done that. His "family" has changed every couple of years or so, and so really he probably doesn't even comprehend what a real family is.
He is such a blessing to us, even when we are stressed out. He is doing fine in school, making some good friends, goes to church and a life group willingly, helps around the house, he really is a great guy. We just want him to know that we are parenting him because we care about him, and we have told him that, but whether or not he understands that remains a mystery. We just continue to ask our Heavenly Father, for wisdom and guidance in raising all of our kids. We know that he will give us what we need!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Yes, I'm still here.

I know I have not posted in a long time. I just don't know why adding another person to the mix causes so much more chaos, but apparently it does. I think things are settling down a bit now. We have been busy getting Marvel settled at his new school, which he really dislikes right now, but I'm hoping that will change. He did have some issues with one of his teachers, who, from day one at the school, he did not like. He felt like she picked on him and things were getting bad in the class, so we had him transferred out of her class. The last thing we need are issues at school when we are trying to get him settled into our family and home. We told him (and the school) that school is really not a huge priority right now for us. We want him to bond with us and learn to trust us and love us and that takes precedence over everything else right now. He is a very smart kid and he is doing great in school, so we don't really need to worry anyways, but we want him to know he doesn't need to stress about it. I think he's making some friends also, he does play basketball with a guy that lives right near us, so that is encouraging. Although, there have been some negative social issues that have been brought to our attention at school, but I think it's just a part of him learning who the right friends are. It's so tough to have to change schools mid-year, but he is really doing great, and I think he is so brave and strong and doing just fine.
Other than getting used to a new school, things are really going great. We have noticed a bit of lying, but it's all part of him learning and we keep teaching honesty-every day. It hasn't been anything major, but we do let him know that we know he's not being truthful and that he can be honest with us and we won't kill him! In our family honesty is a priority, even if it means emabrassment, uncomfortable-ness, and other consequences, and I think we are all characterized by honesty. He'll get there, but we just have to re-teach, since lying has become the norm for him in certain situations - no biggie!
He loves to work though! We had a hard time coming up with chores at first, just not knowing what he was capable of and willing to do- but now we know he'll pretty much do anything! See, Bailey has been saving money and doing extra chores to earn money to buy an Ipod Touch and she did it-yay Bailey! Well Marvel has decided that he wants one too, so he is doing all kinds of things to earn money-yard work, washing cars, babysitting, pressure washing, drywall repair-you name it, he'll do it. Kevin has been teaching him all kinds of things (drywall repair, small engine repair), and Marvel LOVES to learn. He really likes having a Dad, and is constantly asking Kevin for more things to do and learn. It's so sweet. He does things for me to, if I ask, but I'm letting him get some good Dad time in. So he earns money and bonds with Dad-what a deal!
We are really looking forward to Spring Break-we all have Spring fever! We aren't doing much, just spending a couple of days at Regal Palms, the resort in Davenport that we discovered last year with a water slide and lazy river-we love it there and it will be Marvel's first time there. Just looking forawrd to doing nothing and then when the kids get back to school it will be freak-out FCAT time-so stress levels will be high. Have I mentioned how I miss homeschooling?
We are looking at finalizing the adoption on May 9th, if all goes as planned. Isn't that just crazy?! But Marvel is the perfect fit in our family, we could not have asked for more! It's funny, everyone makes comments like "You are doing such a good thing for him", and "It's so nice what you're doing"-but we aren't in this for accolades and applause. We are in this to be obedient to God and change lives in His name. Yes, we know that Marvel will be blessed by our choices, but I think we are far more blessed by him than we would have ever imagined. The Lord has used Marvel to change our hearts, and hopefully we can continue to be a blessing to others by being obedient, even when it might be uncomfortable, or hard. Adopting a teen is challenging, yes, but so amazing, and rewarding, also. There are so many teens without families, without guidance and love and support. It takes a lot of self-lessness, but it is SO worth loving them. I know they aren't as cute as a baby, or young child, and yes, they may come with bad habits and problems, but if only they were given a chance most of them would blossom and become more than anyone could ever imagine an orphan could. Marvel is teaching us and our kids about being self-less and loving others. Our family is better now, closer, and united in a way we could have never created or imagined!. We are blessed to be a blessing, not just to keep on getting blessed. Share the love-you have plenty-love is not a pie that gets sliced up in equal parts and once it is given away it's gone......love multiplies-the more you give the more you have! I'm not saying to love so that you can be loved-that's not the goal-the goal is to love....being loved is the reward. Check out 1 Peter 4:8-10. Ok, I'm done preaching-for now. But I believe God has given us this experience to share with others, so that others may experience what we have or better, and so that we can learn to love like He wants us to-so I'm not going to stop preaching about adoption or loving others, so, sorry, just deal with it!
We'd still appreciate prayers for bonding and becoming the family God wants us to be. I'll try to post sooner next time!