Life with four kids has been an adjustment (understatement). They’re still learning house rules, discipline techniques, schedules, new foods, expectations. We’re still learning how to manage laundry, house rules, laundry, discipline techniques, laundry, schedules, laundry, meal times, laundry, expectations… Not to mention all the laundry!
Lyberty and Raj came with so many labels, or near labels that we were certain it would be hard, hard, hard. But really we’re finding that they’re simply scared, angry, sad, frustrated, confused children. Lyberty is not abusive to us. Raj is not potentially autistic. Lyberty is not a wild savage child. Raj is not inarticulate. They are still clearly the product of half dozen moves in their lives. Their risk accumulation is through the roof.
They don’t know how to behave around strangers. Probably because there have been so many strangers in their lives, they don’t know what to expect. New places make them squirrely. Probably because they never know when they’re going to be left in a new place. Bathrooming is a major issue because it appears they’ve been potty trained – sort of. They have the right idea, but the actual process is a bit messy and unfinished. How does one un-potty train a four year old?!
Anyway, we’re all still getting to know one another. Occasionally we get a glimpse of the big hurts and fears these kids guard close. Recently, Raj took an empty peanut butter jar out of the recycling bin. He hid it under his bed. He lied. He blamed Simeon. He blamed Lyberty. Leo gently pulled the truth from him (an almost imperceptible nod). He was told that all was well, he wasn’t in trouble, and thanks for the truth. A hug. The end.
That’s when the wailing began. That deep awful cry. Leo gathered Raj in his strong arms. There was no reason to fear. There was no trouble. All kindness.
That’s when our sweet boy confessed: I don’t want to be a bad daughter.
And while the statement seems nonsensical. We’re guessing (that’s all any of this really is) that he’s afraid being “bad” means he moves to a new home. Being bad means he meets new people who may or may not be kind. He may or may not receive good food, appropriate clothes that fit, affection. Being a bad daughter, or son may be the reason he still doesn’t have a family. Or so he thinks. Can you imagine at four years old bearing the failure and abandonment of all the adults in your life? Unimaginable!