July. I cannot believe it is July already! So much has happened in the last few months…
Back in April our family dynamic changed – we now have a 16yr old boy living among us. I know that sounds odd, but 16yr old boys are odd creatures! We’ve been thrown into parenthood quite abruptly and we’ve had to kind of learn as we go.
On April 3rd we drove to Charlotte to pick our soon to be adopted son. It seemed fitting to be Good Friday. At first there was a lot of walking on eggshells trying to gradually get more familiar with each other but now that’s not the case. It took some time to learn our rules and get into a routine. It’s a lot like starting a new job – you’re excited and nervous and really don’t know what you are supposed to be doing yet. It’s hard to know what to expect, all we knew was that things were changing and quickly.
One of the first struggles was school. Most teenagers don’t like school but it’s even more difficult when you’ve been moved around so much. Trying to get a teenage boy to understand how important school is at 16 is more challenging than I had expected, but luckily we made it through that last semester….barely!
Now, think about all those things you use or consume every single day – cell phone, internet, soda, fast food… Imagine never having those things and then all of a sudden having them right at your finger tips. Boy, it’s a like a kid in a candy shop. Actually, candy is another one! As Americans we enjoy those vices all too often and it’s hard to explain to a 16yr old that’s never had those things that there has to be a limit to it. We’re slowly but surely getting there.
Don’t take for granted all those basic manners your mom taught you growing up. You’d assume a teenager would know better than to act a certain way – especially in public. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Behavior (good or bad) is learned. This particular teenager with ADHD was never been taught the proper way to act in a restaurant, grocery store, etc. Or, why it’s not okay to use certain words or say certain things. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves the behavior comes from what he’s seen and heard and he doesn’t always understand what’s appropriate and what’s not or why.
Another issue has been money. Of course we want to give him all the things he’s never had, but at the same time we aren’t rich and we want him to appreciate what he does have. A dollar will burn a hole in that’s kid’s pocket! At least now he understands the difference between wanting something and needing it. No, you want a king-size candy bar, you don’t need it.
There have been some rough patches and every day it seems there is a new challenge, but regardless of what we’re faced with, I’m determined not to give up. This kid has been pushed aside all his life and I refuse to be another person that throws in the towel. We don’t always know what we are doing and we will make mistakes but we will continue to support him and love him no matter what.
He is our son and today was a good day.
“The child who knows unconditional love has the greatest give the world can offer.”