Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Choosing to Love

  • Send my daughter to school in clothes that match.....or let her wear the red Dorothy slippers?
  • Make her eat the oatmeal she requested but now spits out....or pitch it and give her something new with a smile on my face?
  • Insist she nap so I can get some things done....or lay down with her for some giggling and tickling?
  • Get incredibly frustrated when she tries to turn on the computer/dvd/bathtub/videocamera by herself....or praise her independence?
  • Respond to each act of disrespect or disobedience by trying to teach her to behave differently...or just love her...sometimes with no lessons or training or strings attached?

The mother/child bonding is different with a newborn...they're helpless...totally dependent on mommy. Slowly, they begin to assert their independence, all the while understanding that mommy is a safe place to run back to. A 6 year old who has lived as one of the oldest children in the orphanage has had to be totally dependent on herself. Though she still wants a mommy, she also wants to do things her way, and can run ahead at the store and never look back to make sure mom is still behind her.

Loving this new daughter isn't the same as learning to love my other daughters. This requires much more of a choice. Throughout my day I'm confronted with importance of filling her emotional bucket with unconditional love and encouragement...the choice to continue the busy pace of family life, or intentionally (sometimes painfully) slow down to read, cuddle, laugh, and spoil her.

So, that's what we're working on at the Magruder house...that's why we're cutting back on activities and outings, keeping her close to mom and dad, staying home from KidZone or The Edge. We love introducing Selah to all of our wonderful friends, but creating that parent/child bond is something we have to be intentional about..... and it means that even in the little things...the oatmeal and the glitter slippers...I want to choose to love.


krista said...

Wow, Gretchen. I know no one is perfect, but you're an incredible mom with a beautiful heart. Reading your blog encourages me to remember and draw close to God's love...and love others in return.
I needed to be reminded of the big picture of parenting today. Thanks.

Gretchen Magruder said...

thanks, Krista! But I really had to write this out because choosing to love isn't usually my first response....adoption has revealed so much selfishness in my own heart, it takes some real work to do the right thing!

Carole Turner said...

Hey, I found that parenting Abel just like the other kids works best for us. The attachment is different and harder somewhat but just like I make special time with the other two, I make special time with him. Rules are rules, grace is shown to all sometime. I think the key is being patient with teaching him the rules.

I posted recently a post called "the eat crap and die look" it was about eating, you should check it out.


It's been a month and a half since Abel got home and he is doing great. Seems extremely happy and adjusted. And it's a hard rewarding life :-)

Kerri said...

Even after 8 months, I still struggle with some of these things. Thanks for this.

Meg DeZutti said...

Gretchen, you are a daily inspiration to us all. I read your and Amanda Hosken's blogs daily and am learning so much. PATIENCE isn't a word, it is a daily loving choice. We are planning on an older child for our second adoption -- so know we are going to be spending some QT on the phone with you in the years to come!!

Missy said...

Beautifully written...Selah is in the perfect home where God intended her to be!!!

Jill said...

I reading this great book (given to me by an awesome friend) called The Connected Child. I SO wished I had read it months ago but it probably wouldn't have hit home until I was dealing with some of the issues that have surfaced now. Anyway, it addresses exactly what you are talking about...how to guide and correct them in a loving nuturing way. It has been a God-send. It shows you how to create barriers and rules but to do them in a nurturing, fostering way. It's an easy read and would work on elementary age kid just as well as my almost-2 year old.

Justine said...

Beautiful post! I am so glad that you wrote it - sometimes I think this part of the process is often left unsaid because we soo want to romanticize adoption. We're open to a girl up to 4 and I wonder all the time about the adjustment of bringing someone into our family that has already learned to do so many things THEIR way - without us. For me, I feel more prepared when I hear the whole story so thank you for being honest and sharing. You are a wonderful mother. Just make sure to find some time for yourself too.

Ted and Lori said...

Thanks for the comment. I'll look up the song.
This post is really thought-provoking. These are such hard questions, and it really makes one realize how selfless we need to be to be a good parent.

I LOVE YOU said...