The end of the last month, we celebrated N (our foster child) being with us for 1 year. I can’t believe 1 year has already passed by.
It’s been pure joy seeing him grow. But it’s been a lot of work in helping him grow. He came with us with handful of words at the age of 3. Now, his vocabulary has grown and is able to string some words and thoughts together. His personality is showing, he knows what he wants, and he can be bossy as hell. It’s good for him that he’s able to communicate more effectively what he wants. It’s more work for us, though. It was easier when he just did everything we told him to do. Now every time I ask him a question his answer is “No.” Then when he realizes he’s not actually going to get what was offered, he’ll smile and say, “Kidding!”
One evening, after his bed time story and songs, it was time for his bed time prayers. He’s been more vocal about what he wants to pray for. At this point, it’s just shoutouts of his favorite things like firetrucks, garbage trucks, school bus, etc. (He also says “PRAY!” before every meal — he’s a PK after all…). So we’re praying and I ask, “What do you want to pray for?”
“McDonalds. Taco Bell. Chic Fil-A. Panda.”
Whoops. That’s completely my doing. One of my favorite phrases from my wife is, “Hey, why don’t you guys do whatever you want for lunch/dinner when I’m at the meeting.” N doesn’t have much say. I’m going to shorten my lifespan and engage in some self-loathing by indulging in some fastfood. And he’s been my partner in crime. Except now, he’s ratting me out because he can talk a little more.
Every Monday is spent driving 80 minutes (roundtrip) to visit his biological family. The visit is about 2 hours long and usually that 2 hours gives me space and time to write and update this blog — a silver lining.
On the way home, the sun is usually setting. On one particular drive home, the sunset was spectacular. And he kept saying “Sun! Sun! Sun!” (as he’s wont to repeating words over and over and over and over and over and over). I told him that the sun was tired and it’s going into the ocean where its bed is. Now every time he sees the sunset he says, “Sun! Tired. Sleeping. Ocean.”
If he had the language capacity, I’d troll him a little more. (Oh. I call him Monkey a lot. Because, well, he sort of looks like one and he definitely behaves like one. Another evening, we were reading a book of ABC animals for bed time. We get to “C” for Chimpanzee and I ask, “What’s that?” He points to the monkey and says his name.)
What is it about dads that they love trolling their kids?
Calvin’s dad does it throughout the strip — the one above being an example. My favorite:
Recently, N was officially diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. I was in denial at first — because though he was mentally delayed, I’d figured it was that. That diagnosis was given after really only 1 assessment with a child psychologist. At the same time, I’m not completely surprised at the diagnosis. Right now, our main priority is getting him all the help that he can get. With that comes a boatload (interestingly enough, I’ve always thought that it was “buttload”) paper work.
I’d be lying to you if I said that the autism diagnosis doesn’t effect our discernment of adoption — it does. Of course it does. It’s another wrinkle in the discernment process. It makes things a little bit more complicated; a little more difficult.
But we’re discerning and praying. Praying for wisdom and strength and courage. But while we’re praying, we’re making sure that N gets the best help we can get him and that he’s surrounded by the love and care that he absolutely deserves. One day at a time, right?
Though there have been difficult and trying moments, he’s been a (non-stop bouncing) ball of joy. Whatever happens next, whatever path that God has the 3 of us on, it’s been fun being a dad. It’s been a blessing being his dad.
But while we’re still together, I look forward to trolling and messing with him more as his capacity to understand things grow.