Friday, July 23, 2010

these are the days

Not long ago, I wrote about how lucky I feel to have moved past all the "firsts" that came with our first year home as a complete family.  And it is completely true.  Life is good as we move into the routine of family life.  But I forgot a few important details...

You see, our first summer home was pretty great.  We had an amazing summer together camping, fishing, swimming, biking, and doing all those things that families do.  But not quite all the things that families do.  Karl and I had  made a very deliberate decision to make that first summer very laid back.  This wasn't too hard, as we are indeed pretty laid back in general.  But it did change a few things.

One of the biggest things it changed was our summer weekends up north.   Last summer, we specifically only did camping trips with the four of us.  Don't get me wrong; we had some great times.  And it was completely intentional: we wanted Chris to see how we camp.  We wanted Chris to rely on us for direction.  We wanted the kids to play together and bond.  We wanted to make sure that Chris was not confused about who to ask permission for various things.  We wanted him to see how we camp/vacation/etc.

He obviously got a chance to meet and spend plenty of time with our friends and family.  We weren't hiding him from the world by any means.  But there were certain areas we knew would be too hard for him to manage himself in if let too loose.

All this to say, this summer we got a chance to show him a new side of summer.  The side where we go up north to stay at friends' cabins and go camping with big groups of people - more kids, more parents, more friends, more everything.

And woah, boy! Were we right.  Last year would have been too hard.  But even better? This year was just right.  He knew to ask us before accepting a Sprite offered by a friends' mom.  He knew to check in with us before riding bikes around the cabin property.  He knew that he should put his life jacket on before walking out onto the dock to get in the boat.  He knew that no matter how many times someone else offered him a s'more, he needed to check in with us to see if he had reached his limit for the night.

Last year he would have only been able to watch from the boat as kids (and grown ups) went flailing around behind the boat on tubes.  His English would not have been strong enough - nor would we have trusted him to know what to do when he went flying off the tube.  He would not have been able to understand that riding a four wheeler doesn't happen every day - just up north.  He would not have been able to understand that each family has different rules for just about everything without feeling like it wasn't fair in some way.

Yes - this year has allowed us so much more freedom.  And these are the summer days that we will remember.

All three of my boys behind the boat tubing...


Adoptive Parents of Three said...

What a FANTASTIC post!!! This is exactly how WE felt. Tomorrow we're attending a company picnic where I can freely let my kids go behind the boat and not worry about them not understanding basic rules.
Last weekend we attended a baby shower and someone next to me heard my kids tell the hostess that they are not allowed to drink Soda when she offered them a drink.
She was SO impressed that her jaw dropped open.

These are things that they don't write about in adoption books. You just live through it and learn. But your post should definitely be read by anyone adopting.

Q said...

Congratulations on the fruit of your labor . . . wise decisions do, indeed, pay off!

Tom and Kara said...

This WAS an awesome post. Even though we hope to adopt a younger child, I am set in my plan to limit the time we spend with our extended family and friends for the first 10 months or so, even thought I KNOW people will be “chomping at the bit” to see us. I really want us to bond together as a family of 3. This is positive reaffirmation for me!! I love the picture of your boys tubing!

kelly said...

What a great feeling! So happy to hear such great news! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

James and Melanie said...

Thank you so much for sharing! It's always such a blessing to read such beautiful posts of adopted children adjusting so well! Children are so resilient! May God continue to bless your family! The tubbing looks like a blast! Can we join you? LOL!

Shelly said...

I totally feel ya'. Getting into the groove of being a full-fledged family is a great feeling. Enjoy the rest of your summer.


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