Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Not Titled One

I've learned at least two things about myself since I started blogging.
I can't remember the first one, but the second one is that I like to give my post a title before I write it. 
Stupid idea. 
I know where I think I'm headed when I sit down to type
...but it isn't always where I end up. 
(like yesterday...after I published my post, I had a much better title in my head. But I was in bed at that point and just didn't think you'd mind a poorly titled post...again. So I decided to retitle it today--but, of course, I have no idea what that superb title I had last night might have been. C'est la vie!)

I've decided to write this post first, then choose the title.
(I will confide that I think it should be "Constant Faith and Abiding Love")

It drives me a little nutty when I don't think I have expectations, yet I get into a situation and find myself perturbed that someone doesn't act/think/say/do what I thought they were going to. 
I am begin to see: if someone's behavior isn't what I thought and it bugs me...I must have been expecting something--

So, I have begun to distill some of this gobbledygook to find 
the nugget of truth I need to deal with within myself. 
Hypothetically,  this is about me and you.
I get confused when you don't act the way you did last time. 
Therefore, no matter how hard I try not to,
I must have expectations...
I expect you to act the same, or at least somewhat predictably, 
with each similar interaction we have. 
I personally want the freedom to be spontaneous and unpredictable,
I want you to be same-same and boring.
I can be capricious when you are constant.
I guess the reverse is also true. If I am predictable, you may feel the freedom to be impetuous.
(FYI: I prefer being the spontaneous one, okay?)
So, how does that work in parenting these kids of ours, Maylin specifically?
I set myself up for conflict (either within myself, or with the child) when I treat her as if she is the same person today that she was yesterday. I can go on and on about her growth, and how we're heading in good directions...
yet still act with the mindset that she will respond just the same way today as she did yesterday.
Our survival (I'd like to coin a new word here:
thrival~I want more than just surviving~) may be dependent on my willingness 
to be fluid in my interactions while I am constant in my expectations.

She needs constant from me so she can be variable in her responses. She needs to try out different actions to "see what will fit" both her personality and the course in which I am steering her. She needs to be unpredictable at this stage so I can respond positively (or negatively)
to her attempts in find her new social, and family place. What worked, or even what didn't work, in the orphanage needs to be attempted, and discarded if need be. That's her job for now.
It can make me a little crazy.

She needs me to prove to her the same thing I pledged to Mark 26 mostly-wonderful years ago:
"I promise you my Constant Faith and Abiding Love."
She has to learn that I will be pointing her in the same direction EVERY stinkin' time. 
She has to believe that I have faith that she'll make good choices.
She needs to know we will always be there. Always.
She needs to "feel the love," so to speak.

I had a thing about Ben and Beth at the times of their coming home (each as newborns) that I was going to tote them around more than I had our biological kids. I shared my other children pretty freely with those around us. Not Ben and Beth. They needed to be in my or Mark's arms and no one else's. They had learned their birth mothers' movements, and sounds for 9 months prior to arrival in our family. I was going to "give them 9 months" in my arms to learn me and my movements. I felt the same way about Matthew's first 12 months apart from us. 
If that was sound reasoning, then I have at least a 6 year investment ahead before I can expect her to fully trust our constancy and love. In some ways, I think I have to "oulast" the caregivers who "abandoned" her at 6 years in order to prove I won't. 
I'm sure I can do that. Now, she needs to be sure.
And it may take us awhile.

One day, Maylin's one weakness may be her fondness for our dog, Lucy. 
Today, a 15 second pat/rub on Lucy's side was enough.


  1. All of the above puts Maylin's discomfort with going to someone's home into perspective for me. She left her known (orphanage) with people she knew (director) and was taken to a new place (the hotel in Hohhot.) She was then left with people she had just met (us.) It makes perfect sense that she's unhappy at my friends' homes. She doesn't know if I'll leave her, or not.

  2. Our youngest daughter, now 6, was the same way. Home was her comfort zone. No matter where we were, she would have rather been at home. The minute church was over she would pick my things up, hand them to me, and say "home now". :) It has taken awhile but she has blossomed into the most beautiful little social butterfly. It was likely watching a flower bloom...a beautiful thing. I am praying for you and for Maylin. What a bouquet you will have to look back on!

  3. dorothy, i love reading your thoughts on this. you put words around what rocked me for a while. i wish i had had the clarity then that i do now. and that i do even more so now through your writings. thank you for sharing this!

  4. "She has to believe that I have faith that she'll make good choices."

    This is a statement that I'd love to pick your brain about.