Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Want To Love This Child...

In all, Robert is a sweet child who, I believe, means well.  But bringing a 9 year old child into your home, when all you know how to do is raise toddlers, whom you've raised from day one, can be quite a SHOCK to the system.  Before I go on, I need you to understand that I do want to love him.  But how do you make yourself love someone?  You fall in love with your spouse and that love grows.  You fall in love instantly with your children when they grow inside of you, or as soon as you see their face when they enter the world.

The way he treats me, is very different from the way he treats my husband.  He does not question him, does not disrespect him.  It's very clear he has a distorted view of the way he should and is allowed to treat women.  We are very strict with him, as he came to us with no discipline whatsoever.  He has rules, responsibilities, and expectations now.  Making his bed, tying his shoes, eating at the dinner table, cleaning up after himself, brushing his hair, putting lotion on...these are all new things that he has learned since living with us, at the age of 9.  And he still struggles with all of it on a daily basis, and has to be told time and time again.  That's one of the things that makes me the angriest.  I feel like once we've told him a rule, he should know that rule and adhere to it, instead of having to continuously remind him and get on him for it.  I feel like all I do is gripe at him, and how can your love grow for someone when you do that?

We were told during the adoption process, by Grandma, that he is a great student and makes the honor roll. When he legally became ours, we found out it was the complete opposite.  He had failed the third grade and we were going to have to hold him back.  There are so many issues with him academically and emotionally.  He has many baby tendencies, like sucking his fingers when he sleeps, always wanting stuffed animals, talking like a baby when he wants attention, copying my 3 year old and being mean to him.  Academically, there is a huge gap in his early childhood learning skills, from pre-k and kindergarten.  He can't catch up, because he needs to be taken way back to learn the basics.  Homework is very rough, but only when he has to do it with me.  He responds great to my husband.  Bringing home D's and F's is just not something we are accustomed to, nor do we accept it.  He's never been told that you should want to make good grades so you can be successful.  When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he couldn't give us a normal child's answer.  Instead he said, "Boo Boo Monkey!"  WHAT???

At this point, I'm not even sure where I'm trying to go with this anymore.  I just needed to share my feelings, in case someone else out there has faced the same struggles and can relate to me.  I want to love this child.


  1. It's hard to give advice on something that you have never experienced, but being on the other end of adoption I can tell you that Robert is one very lucky child. If my parents hadn't adopted me there is no telling what my life would be like today. I would probably be living a life close to Robert's mother. It was different for my parents because they got me as a baby and could mold me the way they wanted to. Just don't give up on him. He only knows what he was taught as a small child. It will take a lot of work on both ends, but you all will figure it out as you go along. There aren't two people that could be more perfect for raising Robert. I am blessed to call both of you my friends and I am so happy that you all moved here. I love you guys!

    Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

  2. Wow, this is crazy, Amie! That was the verse we studied in church this past Sunday, and I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it. Oh the irony. Thank you for your very personal comment. You're such an amazing friend.

  3. Hollie, I'm going to be dead honest. There isn't anything wrong with the way you feel at all. But I think that part of the problem isn't "Robert" or Robert's behavior, it's that you are used to raising babies and toddlers. Now you have this school-aged child and it's hard. You didn't get to see him enter Kindergarten and slowly test boundaries. You weren't there in first grade to watch him cave to peer pressure or pick up those little bad habits. You've gone straight from having a 3 year old to having a 9 year old and that cannot be easy. Ryan is six and a wonderful kid, bright as can be but he still pushes the limits. He still tests boundaries. He back talks and is rude to his brothers. He has days where he doesn't want to do his homework. He throws fits and screams and generally pisses me off sometimes. Yes, Robert needs to respect you but I think that if you take it day by day, hour by hour and try to let the little stuff go, you'll both do better. I've learned as my boys get older, to pick and chose my battles. If I get after them for every little thing, we're both miserable. I had to learn to relax on somethings. Be honest with him. Tell him that just like he isn't used to having a Mom and a Dad to listen to, you aren't use to raising a 9 year old. That this is hard for EVERYONE but that you are going to try your hardest. He'll see that no matter what he does, no matter how mad he makes you, you are there to stay and you will be there, eventually he will push less and less. And with each instance, I'm guessing you will start to love him more and more. I think you do love him, it's just not the ''in love with my child who can do no wrong'' that you're use to. If you didn't love him, you wouldn't have saved him from a bad situation. You wouldn't be fighting with the school or getting so frustrated. You care about him, and that is love. And it may be more than Robert has ever had before. I think you will do great. And I am here if you need to vent :)

  4. I appreciate your honesty. I think it's freeing to share honestly how you are feeling about difficulty and in the end will allow you to work through it quicker than if you were trying to pretend it's all ok. Brandon and I have talked about adopting and really hope to in the next five years, but I have had the fear that what you are going through is what I will go through. I'm worried all the things you are feeling and experiencing will happen when we adopt. I actually think it's common and happens to families who adopt. Especially older children who have been under different influences than you would like to have your kids raised. He could be acting out because he wants to prove your security and reliability. He wants to know you are for real. As for you not being able to fake your feelings, I know exactly how that feels. My grandma used to tell me 'Fake it til you make it!' and I hated it! I never have been able to fake feelings. It can be frustrating. Thanks again for being honest and open! I think other's will get much more out of that then if you glossed it over and acted like everything was easy and going great.

  5. Oh my I too can appreciate your honesty. What you are going through is natural. I want to agree with Katie as well you love him but just not in love with him YET! As I have taking sometime to respond to this blog, I have thought maybe he is acting out like Kate said for your security and reliability because he has gone through rejection of women in his life. Such as his mother, grandma, and as you said before he has been around women mostly in his life. With the rejection it comes with so much more the disrespect, baby like tendencies and more. Hang in there sis you can do this. Remember to try to make it as positive as you can. Marc is right fake the love because once you do the actions it will come natural. Give him at least 3 positive feedbacks daily, like Robert you did a great job cleaning the table even though you had to tell him to do it. Holiie it will really hard at first. When you look at a person through eyes of appreciation, the list of positives become never-ending. Soon he will respond to your kind words, and you will have more to speak positive about. Also pray and ask God to help you to love Robby. Whenever you need to talk you know that I am phone call away, we figure it out as a family. Cause it going to take all of us to mold him.