Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Robert, Our First Born.
Alrighty, I already see the irony in the fact that I am writing about our first born son, last. I guess if asked about the order I would probably say that it was just a timing thing. I started blogging just about the time that Peter was coming home, so I wrote about him first and the rest of the blogs just kinda fell into place. In reality though, if I were to be perfectly honest, I would have to say that, Robert is probably our most complex child. Which makes him a little harder to write about.
We are so proud of him and we want everyone to know all about him. There are just many different facets to him. As you see from his pictures, he is incredibly handsome. (How's that for a boastful mom:) (I feel like I am safe in boasting about that because our genes had nothing to do with his good looks. So does that make it OK?:) His heart is so good, but we see a struggling in his identity.
When he first came to live with us, he was three and turned four within two months of being in our home. He was a very angry little boy. He had a very limited vocabulary for his age. The one word he did have down was, "NO". The first few days of him being in our home were marked with his fits of anger in which he would repeatedly scream, "No, no, no ,no!" As brand new foster parents, we had no idea what to do. We were given very little information about him, so we did not even know where his anger was coming from. Sometimes his outburst only lasted for a few minutes, sometimes they would go on for an hour our more. Sometimes he would let us hold him through it, sometimes he did not want to be touched.
As the months went by, we struggled to understand him. Brian and I had both come from very stable families so we did not even really understand that there were little ones being raised in homes that were filled with violence, rage and neglect. So, as we struggled to understand these two little boys who had suddenly come into our world, our eyes were opened to a whole different lifestyle that we did not even know existed.
When were preparing to have Robert and Peter come to live with us, we changed our floofy guest room into a little boy's room. Away went the sea foam green and peach colors and out came the primary colors of blues and reds. The newest 101 Dalmatians movie had just come out so we used that pattern throughout the room. We purchased Tonka trucks, baseballs, in-line skates and many other little boy things for them. We were so excited to have these two little ones become a part of our lives. One of the cutest things we purchased were two little red toddler beds. We wanted the beds to be just the right size for the little guys.
They did indeed seem to like their new room. We noticed something very peculiar early on about Robert. Each night we would tuck him into his bed, pray with him, smooch his little forehead and say goodnight. We would later check on him and his little bother and they would be fast asleep in their beds. Yet, the following morning, Robert would be sleeping on the floor, by the foot of his brothers bed. He could not explain why or even when he had gotten there.
Early on in their stay, their social worker encouraged us to get counseling for the boys. Throughout that year, we learned more and more about their circumstances prior to coming to live with us. We learned that, at the very young age, Robert had attempted to protect his bio mom and his brother from extreme violence that was going on in the home. We do not know, to this day, who was the instigator of the violence. We simply know that it existed and occurred on a routine basis. Robert's lying on floor, at the foot of his brothers bed, was a trait he had learned at a very young age. In his mind, it was his way of protecting his little brother. Robert was only three and he already felt like he was the only resource his brother had.
It took him several months of living in our home before he realized that he no longer had to be his brother's protector. We saw his countenance change, as if a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders. We saw him start to become a little boy who could play without the burden of being a parent to his brother. We also saw much, not all, but much, of his anger begin to melt away.
Looking back on those years, we wish we had understood so many things much better than we did. His counselor told us that, because he saw so much violence during his, "pre-verbal years", he has a hard time articulating his anger. We wish we knew better, back then, how to help him through that. We see him still struggling with that now, and it breaks our hearts.
His heart is so good. We love him so much and we are so proud of him. Our prayer for him is that he would allow his Heavenly Father to unlock some of those hidden closets of his life and be set free. Free to be all that he was created to be.
Thanks again for your prayers.