A few months ago I went through a phase where I felt like I was working really, really hard with Kai. By god I was going to get him to use his words, learn his letters, numbers and social graces, enjoy snuggling, give good eye contact, and be a more motivated kid. Did we see any changes? Probably.... but I was also extremely drained.....drained and depressed. I remember one particular night of feeling emotionally spent...to the point of being in tears. My husband said to me "Chris, I know...you just want Kai to be normal. You want to make sure that you're doing everything in your power for him to be the best he can be." (How wonderful it was that Scott could articulate that to me, because it was very true.) I just wanted to prove the neuropsych and the folks at the International Adoption clinic at Children's Hospital WRONG. I thought that if I worked hard enough and long enough and put my whole soul into helping my child he would simply just start making gains. I could make him normal....somehow.
As I started pondering about what this felt like, I couldn't help thinking about my relative, who spent many, many years of her life trying to be "straight." Although she dated guys in high school, we found it interesting that she would consistently be drawn to a new-found interest in some female coach or teacher. Her friendships with females were much more intense, and her relationships with boys were more like actual friendships really. Years later while in college, she announced to our family that she was in a relationship with another female, and that they'd be moving in together.....(whoa! In my Catholic family that was like hearing nails screeching down a chalkboard! YIKES!) . Our family went through some difficult times back then. The thinking was that she SHOULD fit into a "hetero-mold" because that way we'd fit the "Norman Rockwell" image. Reality? No way.
Truth be told, she did TRY to fit the "hetero" image for quite a long time. Even after being "out" for over 12 years, she tried to seriously date a guy several years ago just "to see if it would work." We're all glad those days are over and will even sarcastically joke about them from time to time. Thankfully she is finally through TRYING to be who she is not.
My aim here is NOT to air the family dirty laundry!!! :) NOPE....The reason I bring up that little family scenario is that I have had reason to reflect on it recently in light of our own situation with Kai. As long as I was hell-bent on MAKING him "normal," I was unable to allow him the space to become his own little unique emerging self. While I remained focused on how "the world" would view him, I became preoccupied with changing him to fit that mold. While I know we truly want what is best for our kiddos, sometimes our own agendas get in the way.
When I finally accepted the fact that Kai may NOT ever quite FIT, I immediately felt a sense of peace and contentment....Similar to my relative's experience of coming to terms with her own orientation. I can only hope to be able to continually love and accept my children and family as they are, and pray for the grace to embrace whatever that may be.