There are. No way around it. There are just hard days. Normally there are hard days, and then adding an internationally adopted toddler into the mix makes it hard. I think any parent of a toddler would tell you that days can be rough. Throw in language, cultural, and attachment barriers into it all and it is a wonder that there are easy (or I’ll say easier) days.
And it’s not like this is a surprise, we knew it was going to be tough. Kind of like I knew residency was going to be hard, or marriage, or labor and delivery, or running ½ marathons, or any number of hard things in my life (although this one is pushing the top I must admit). But talking and knowing that I’ll be working 80+ hours with no sleep for 4 years is one thing, actually living (or more or less surviving) residency is a totally different ball game. I read I don’t know how many books on marriage before I got married, and yeah, marriage is super tough and sometimes one just throws the laundry (and the laundry basket) at their husband just because even though all the books say to do other things. And we won’t talk about 41 hours of labor….or long races (especially mile 10, don’t know what the deal is with mile 10 but man that is the toughest mile of any race). But knowing it is going to be tough and living it out is different.
And it’s not like we haven’t made progress. We’ve come a long way, and there is a lot of growth. And it was a huge blessing to hear someone say on Sunday at church “he sure seems to have calmed down and is not so frantic and anxious like he was even a couple of weeks ago”. To have someone else notice the changes is huge. But just like telling myself that mile 10 is the same distance as the previous 9 that I’ve already run doesn’t suddenly make the pain and the doubts and the struggle go away.
But there are nights where I sit by his bed waiting and waiting for him to fall asleep. And now knowing that the restlessness is his anxiety and disconnection that he felt throughout the day coming out. I wonder how long it will be before he feels safe and secure and knows that he is home and he is loved and always will be. And wondering how many times will I have to say “no we don’t push those buttons” or “no we don’t stick things into outlet plugs” or “please don’t throw things at the chickens” or “sticks don’t go in your mouth” (especially after the expensive dental work that was done a week ago)? I feel sometimes I’m living on constant repeat, that everything I said “no” to or removed him from the day before is being tried and tested yet again. I sit there worrying about the speech and delays, especially when I reflect on where he seems to be and where he “should” be, and wonder how on earth are we going to climb that mountain. And what does attachment actually look like and lived out in a day to day real life.
It’s not that he wasn’t waited for, longed for or loved before he came, which then at times for makes me feel guilty for my doubts and struggles. And while I feel like I can’t complete two sentences in any sort of logical manner (unless you count “No Edric, let’s not throw rocks at the chickens. Or stick them in our ears. Or really do anything with them” as real sentences). And the struggles and hills that we have to climb doesn’t change the love and longing that has been his since before he was born or joined this family, it is just part of the process.
And so we keep climbing the next hill, and keep running through mile 10 and pushing on. And soak in the good moments and know that they are much more frequent and far more sweeter and will only continue to be. One step and prayer at a time.