We're coming up to 5 months since Isaiah came home and he is such different child now. There were always little glimpses of the real Isaiah peeking out. Looking back now I can see he was grieving, but grief is hard to identify and understand in a two year old.
My social worker told me he would grieve for his foster mom and in theory I know this would happen. I imagined Isaiah would be shy and insecure at first. I remembered my training and had a plan. We would be joined at the hip and I would work hard at attachment. I'd read the books after all. I knew the stages.
I didn't expect the pushing and pulling. The melt down because he wanted a cuddle this instant only to be pushed away with an angry hand when I went to give a hug. Or the morning Isaiah pointed to the picture of his foster mom and I said, "Yes, that's Ms Debi." And he screamed back at me "No! Mommy!" Or the way he grieved for his foster siblings and refused to play with other children. If they approached him he would yell, "No!" and hide behind me.
I didn't expect the separation anxiety. I couldn't even go to the bathroom without Isaiah desending into a full blown panic attack. Or the nightmares when he would start screaming and hitting something imaginary. Refusing to be comforted when we came to him.
By the end of the most days I didnt want to see Isaiah anymore and I didnt like myself. I felt like a failure. Afraid to say anything because prior to Isaiah being placed with us we had worked hard to convince social workers that we would be great parents. Sure they told us they were there to support, but I lived in fear that they might think they had made a wrong decision and take him away.
It wasn't all bad though. The real Isaiah was always there, just under the surface. And at many points throuout the day he would be his silly happy self. And more than anything I loved him despite the difficulties. I just didn't understand that the moodiness was grief.
I write this because today Isaiah is a totally different child. He is confident and open. He is happy and inquisitive. He charms everyone he meets and although we still have temper tantrums they seem to be the normal two year old kind! Isaiah is a delight to be with and I miss him when we're apart. I can't get enough of him and love when he scoots up into my lap for a cuddle.
From the moment I saw Isaiah's picture I knew he was my son and desperately wanted him. I have loved him from that very moment and feel priviledged to be his mommy. I see plainly that yes, adoption is wonderful. We have a son and Isaiah has parents. But adoption is born from loss and grief is a fact of life.
Thank God that he is in the business of making beauty from ashes. That He knows the condition of our hearts and loves perfectly. That He sets the lonely in families and tells the most amazing stories with our lives. I feel privileged to be Isaiah's mommy, but even more so to be God's child. Adopted into His family. Welcomed home and my grieving and broken heart made whole.