As in a new son!
Right???? I know!
There have been a lot of things going on around here lately. New son, oldest daughter graduating high school, me trying not to spend too much time crying in the bathroom because the oldest daughter is heading off to college on the other side of the country in two months. Lots, and lots of things going on here.
But right now? Today? In this, the first post on LFG in for-freaking-ever? Let’s talk about the new son.
It was a whirlwind domestic, private adoption. We first heard of him in mid-March and had him home by the end of May. Crazy, no? Yes. But no. He’s almost eight years old so he comes with quite a story, at times horrific but always sad. I’m not going to share a lot of his story because it’s his, but there are a few things I want to document as we go along on this latest journey. I thought about starting a new blog, a slightly more anonymous blog, to write about all this. I even set the blog up. But people! A new blog? It was too much. Voice? Tone? I just couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t write it. I don’t know how to do non-LFG blogging.
So here we are.
First things first (and this is the whole reason I originally considered a new blog): this is a re-adoption. I know, I know. I know there are a lot of strong feelings out there about re-adoptions, and I even have a lot of my own feelings about re-adoptions. You think it’s a horrible thing, I think it’s a horrible thing. But at the end of the day? When you have parents who have given up to the point that they hire an agency to help them find a new home for the child? Well, that child really needs a new home.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Hell no! That child needs for his parents to stick by his side, figure it out, tough it out, be the forever family they promised to be.” I won’t argue that point, but when the parents have reached the point that they are saying, “We won’t do it anymore — can’t do it anymore — take our money, let us pay you to find somebody else to take our kid,” when the parents are that done, the kid pretty much needs out. The kid needs another shot at a family.
So. Here we are. And I want to be very clear: it is not my intention to pass judgment on the previous parents. They did what they knew how to do. They did the best they could. There are things we have done differently so far, are doing differently, and will do differently. That is not meant as an indictment against them. It is merely our best, and our best is different. We think it will be better for him, but only time will tell.
Well, actually, time is telling us a little bit already, but we also know we are firmly in a honeymoon period. So, there’s that. I want to document what is going on, however, whether it’s a honeymoon thing or a permanent thing, in case our experiences can help anyone else (whether that means sharing ideas of things to do or sharing ideas of things to not do).
At this point, you’re either mad about the whole re-adoption issue (just keep your nasty comments to yourself, because I won’t approve them if you’re new here and I will delete them if you’re not), bored to death, or wondering what we’ve been doing differently already. Maybe there is another option, but I’m not a mind reader.
Before we made the final decision to go through with this adoption, before we took custody of our new guy, we were told that, among his many difficulties, he uses food as a control thing. We saw it firsthand as we visited back and forth. They would tell him to eat, and he wouldn’t. At one point he was eating, albeit very slowly, when one of his non-parental family members told him to eat. He didn’t touch another bite after that. Not at that meal, anyway.
Fast forward to the day we picked him up, as in took custody of him. We took him out to lunch and let him pick the restaurant. He ate. We took him to the store to get snacks for the trip and let him pick out the snacks, but within my parameters of what is and isn’t acceptable road trip food, and he ate. We got pizza for dinner. He ate. The next morning, as we were getting ready to head down to the hotel lobby for breakfast, he informed us that he didn’t want to eat. We told him that was fine, but he had to come with us because he couldn’t stay alone in the room. Het ate three quarters of an orange. Then he ate some snacks on the road. When we stopped for lunch he told us he didn’t want anything. After double and triple checking that he was sure, we didn’t order him anything. Then he wanted McH’s fries. They shared, and he ate more snacks.
When we finally got home, the other kids were waiting with their grandparents. While the new guy (he needs a blog name, no?) was riding bikes with the other boys, we made some side dishes and started a fire to roast some (nitrite/nitrate free) hotdogs and make s’mores. We called all the kids over, and our new little guy — let’s call him Spuds for now — said he didn’t want eat.
“You don’t have to eat,” I said, “but if you don’t eat dinner you don’t get s’mores.” I could see him weighing his options, so I added, “And, dinner time is family time. You don’t have to eat anything, but you can’t ride your bike right now. You have to stay here with the family. But the eating? Totally your choice.”
He ate dinner. Lots of it. And s’mores.
We went into this knowing that food was a battle for him and knowing that it was a battle we wouldn’t fight.
He hasn’t told us he doesn’t want to eat since that very first meal at home. He eats all the time. He asks me to make strawberry smoothies for breakfast. If I put grapes out for the kids to snack on, he devours them. He eats meals. We let him choose which cereal he wants for breakfast (he does not get to choose the cereals I buy, and he has heard “no” many, many times already in the grocery store), we let him choose what he wants for lunch (within reason — I don’t cook lunches, but if he wants carrots and blueberry cream cheese? sure!), and we let him choose his dinner greens if he doesn’t like what I’m serving (broccoli). He informed us one day that he won’t eat broccoli, so we let him choose spinach instead. At first he didn’t want to eat that, either, so my trusty husband gave him the Popeye speech. Spuds shoved the stuff in his mouth after that. Our rule is that you have to eat something (naturally) green at dinner, but we let him choose his green, and it’s all good.
I know we’re only a few weeks into this brand new realm of parenting, but for now I think the food control issues are a thing of the past.
Tewt the Newt is knocking on wood.