Breaking it in

I studied abroad in Spain for a semester in college.

I can remember reaching a point partway through the semester when I had made some Spanish friends and I remember thinking one time that I felt like I was around people a lot, and hanging out with people a lot, and having a lot of fun and traveling to other places and having a ton of invaluable experiences, but how I felt like there was kind of a wall I’d hit, because in Spanish I was basically kind of like an 8th-grader, language-wise.

Typically I am a very VERBAL person (no way hyuk hyuk) and I was kind of thinking how I could get to a certain point with certain friends, but then my humor just didn’t come across, or I wasn’t sure what my stilted language was doing to my personality, or I would be listening to some kind of political or artistic debate and I had so many VIEWS but I just didn’t quite have the language to bust in and share them, or I would just get frustrated at trying to get my point across with utmost clarity and just kind of quit on the conversation, and we all know that early-20-somethings are nothing if they can’t pontificate with vigor, persistence, and irritating frequency.* 

Anyway all that to say. People are so nice. We are finding more and more opportunities to hang out with folks. The sea of faces from the stage at church is slowly resolving into more and more recognizable ones, and even some with names! But it still kind of feels like that thing in Spain – like there’s a little bit of a wall. 

We have to go through the stuff, every time, the “How old are your kids,” “What do you do,” “How long have you lived here,” “Where is your family,” and we have to do that because it sketches the outline of the person that could some day be our Robin and Greg or our Jon and Denise, but I’m pretty eager to get to the part where — Ok so for example: We went to a wedding this weekend. Dane was a groomsman. It was for my cousin. Now, a lot of people in Dallas, if they said “Hey, what are you doing for the 4th,” and I said “I’m going to Walter’s wedding,” their eyes would well up with tears, and they might hug me. Because a ton of them spent years praying for my cousin, and others of them went to Honduras with him right after he successfully completed rehab and heard his story. Some of them remember when he painted the sets during a good spell while he was staying with my parents. These are the things. You skip to 15-feet deep without so much as a word. 

Good Lordy but I am impatient. 

As you all probably know, we are (still) [interminably] {like it’s our job} working through getting back on the list of waiting families for little foster kiddos. 

Here’s the God’s-honest. You don’t come here for rainbows and butterflies. To be honest, there are parts of me that are like “give me a baby to snuggle!”** but there are BIG parts of me that are just a teensy bit utterly and abjectly terrified at the prospect of that SHIFT. The shift is not easy. The shift from 3 to 4; the shift in sleeping schedules for pretty much everyone involved; the monumental, tectonic shift ONE of us has to deal with from Mom-and-Dad’s-Only to Not-Any-More; and of course the usually-underemphasized shift ONE (or two) of us has to deal with from The-Only-Place-I’ve-Ever-Known-with-my-Own-Actual-Family to Total-Strangers-in-Strange-Place-with-No-Warning-and-No-Comprehensible-Explanation. 

There are big ole parts of me that don’t want to MAKE new friends in a new place, and don’t want to BRING another kid in, but I want to HAVE DONE those things. I want to skip the itchy, grouchy, ill-fitting, unfamiliar, weird-smells, frustrated-plans, not-what-I-expected chapter. I want to jump past the part where your kid(s) is(are) miserable and you pretty much just don’t have an answer or a solution, and BE a family of 4, or 5, who have friends who show up at my house and get food out of my fridge without asking and holler at my kid if he’s asking for it.

This is expected. I knew we’d be fine, I knew people would be friendly, and I knew we’d have some time before depth happens because good things are earned and there’s no shortcut. I knew fostering and adopting would take longer than we wanted them to, and we’d feel like we were going in circles; I knew these things. But that’s kinda where we are at the moment.

There have been some great moments of just what we need when we need it – like this wedding yesterday, right when little man hit the pinnacle of “I want to see my FRIENNNNNNDS” and bam! Out of nowhere, a day and a half of cousins and all the family, all at once, in a place where we slept next door to each other and had nothing to do but hang out. 

Today we were going into church, and for once I wasn’t in the band, and on the way in I was talking about Sunday School, and he said “I wanna stay with you.” So we talked about how if he wants to stay with me, he has to be quiet in big church, and he can’t change his mind a bunch of times, and all his friends are in Sunday School and they’ll color and play on the playground and play with toys… but he wanted to stay with me. So since we had the luxury of that option this time, I took him into big church.

After one song, he was just so droopy with his head on my shoulder. He looked up at me and said “I don’t want to go to this church, I want to go to our OLD church with my FRIENDS.” I thought about it for a minute and finally I just told him, you know? It is crummy, and it is hard, and I am sorry. Daddy and I miss our friends at the other church too, and I know that it’s sad. But the truth is people here are just as awesome as people there, and all of us have to work pretty hard here at the beginning, and keep showing up even when we’re kind of tired and kind of sad missing people, because we have to try to get to know them as well as we knew the other people in Dallas. It’s hard for me and Daddy too but we have to work on it so we can get to where these people are just as awesome as the Dallas people because this is where we live now. 

He looked up and saw a friend, another dad, who is quite tall, who we ate lunch with last week, all the way across the room, and perked up visibly. “Hey, I know that guy!” So I said yes, you do, and you know X and Y and Z, who will be in your Sunday School class… and he chose to go to his class. This is the first time he went in without a big to-do since we moved here, and I didn’t feel like I was peeling him off and shoving him in to get on stage on time (which makes me feel like a MONSTER). 

So we will get there! Also, we are painting basically our entire house this week while my in-laws are in town, so we are quickly making this house OURS whether it likes it or not. 

That said – be ye Houston or Dallas – come visit! Come and populate our house. If you’re new (to us), come be awkward for a minute so we can clock those hours and get to the good stuff. If you’re old (to us) our guest room is now fully furnished and will be painted within the week. I got a chalk board for the door so I can personally welcome each of you. Eventually we’ll even have a table to eat dinner on. 

———————————————————————-

*Another phenomenon I have witnessed every time I’ve been somewhere away from home for more than about two weeks: When you hit right around that 2-week mark, you start seeing dopplegangers of everyone from back home. This even happened in Romania. It was like everyone had turned into darker-complected, dark-haired, tall thin supermodel versions of themselves, but we all at the same time started to be like “she reminds me SO much of ______.” “He looks SO much like ______.” Has anyone else experienced this?

**Tbh I’m not a huge fan of the babies-only deal in theory, sometimes, because it’s not honestly where the need is, but every single errbody recommends keeping your oldest oldest, and knowing my kid which I flatter myself that I do, I do think that would be best, so we are looking at requesting placements that are a decent bit younger than he is, maybe 2 & under? Although the first time around we asked for 7 yrs & under sibling pair and got a single 3-month-old, and while they DO respect your wishes if you stick to them, the foster system enjoys having a big guffaw at people’s ideas of how things should go, so who knows.

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One comment on “Breaking it in
  1. Editrix says:

    I think basically the same time A was missing here, NotDane started singing “All the Poor and Powerless” and made me cry because it was NotDane and that’s Dane’s song. So.

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