Thursday, March 12, 2009

My stake in the ground

Elaina and Zoya both have new haircuts.

Sergei and I try to spend one on one time with each kid here and there. My focus has been mainly on the adoption these past four months. My kids understand generally and we are all in this together to get Evie home but it still is important for them to get our full attention, at least once in a while.

So we do dates. Me and Elaina at Panera Bread. Serg and Zo at Dunkin Donuts, Me and Zo at a cafe, Serg and Elaina at Starbucks. And we spring it on them. “Guess what? Tonight mom is taking Zoya on a date!” And away we go. We also go on family walks after dinner, read together, eat dinner together as a family almost every night. Most recently each girl had a turn to go with me to get a haircut.

When I’m with one of the girls I try to see how she is doing in general. We talk about school and the adoption, about what they want to be when they grow up (and I might add, these conversations are very entertaining); about shoes or books or music.

There have been a few comments made, either to me or indirectly, about peoples’ concern for our kids regarding the adoption. Some people think that adding another child with disabilities to our family is unfair to the children we already have.

These comments hurt.

But then I have to step back from that hurt and hear what is being said and actually think about it, for all of our sakes.

It would be dishonest to say that Polly’s needs and schedule do not take up a lot of time. It would also be dishonest to act like there is no fear about bringing Evie into our family.

I have felt guilty this year because I’ve only been in Lainie and Zo’s classrooms once each, I never think to set up play-dates, I have no idea who is the room mother for each class.

I think about how it will affect Elaina and Zoya and Polly and Sergei and me to add a sixth member to our family. I think about physical therapy, occupational therapy, developmental therapy, speech therapy, doctors visits, hearing checks, fittings for glasses, ordering orthotics, IEPs times two. Doing all that we’ve done with Polly again. Everything from here on out X2 as far as therapy life goes. Everything from here on out X4 as far as kids go. I do think at times, just like parenting any child, it will be difficult.

When Sergei and I were praying about adoption, before we committed to anything, our kids knew. They prayed about it with us.

We talk about Down syndrome a lot in our house. And Elaina and Zoya have enjoyed the company of many different individuals, various ages and functionality, who happen to have Ds.

Although I don’t volunteer in Elaina’s class like the inner mommy tells me to, I was in tears at her parent-teacher conference, hearing words like “compassionate,” and “thoughtful” being said about my daughter.

“Mrs. Marchenko, Elaina is a joy to have in class. She is always looking out for the underdog and makes sure that everyone is included at all times.”

I remember what I was like in 2nd grade. Words like ‘compassion” would not have been equated with me. In my elementary years, I painfully tried to fit into my new school (my family moved across the state my 2nd grade year). My best stab at fitting in, that is, take the focus off of me, was to ridicule someone else. Usually someone who was slower or un-coordinated or had orange hair or smelled strange. Someone everyone else picked on for being different.

Elaina’s and Zoya are growing up another way.

I sat there, squeezed into the tiny 2nd grader plastic red chair at my parent-conference, trying to hold it together, my heart gushing with thankfulness to God that he is teaching my children at the ages of 7 & 8 what I’ve had to learn in my 30s.

At times, our lives are difficult. At times our lives will be difficult.

I have no idea how I will manage four children daily. I am starting all over with another child with low muscle tone. Who isn’t walking. We may need to use the stander. We’ll be ordering orthotics for Evie and getting her heart checked. There’s possibly another tonsillectomy in our future. And depending on how life goes she may live with us in her adult years. Her sisters may step in at some point and help her and Polly out in life as need be.

But I know God has called us to adopt this little girl. And I believe in my gut that what He has for us is good. He’s called all five of us…Sergei, myself, Elaina, Zoya and Polly to adopt her as a daughter and as a sister.

And that’s my stake in the ground.

God willing, next year around this time, I’ll be writing posts about four hair cuts, about fitting dates in with four little perfect creations that God has asked me, for a time such as this, to mother.

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