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.


Becky Dietz said...

Thank you for sharing Robert's story.

Father, thank you for Robert's life. Thank you for the deep-seeded desire to "protect" You've instilled in him. Draw that out for Robert's benefit. Resolve the struggle going on in his heart. Redeem and restore what the locust have eaten and use all these things for Robert's benefit. And give his mom peace of heart as she watches You do these things.

Rachel said...

I agree with Becky in prayer Lord. Amen.

amy wright said...

God has such great plans for Robert. Why else would He have taken him out of a bad situation and placed him with a godly family?
I love how much ALL of your kids look like they have the same parents. If I didn't know that your boys were adopted, I never would have guessed!

Enjoying the journey... said...

We look forward to meeting Robert!! Please tell him "THANK YOU" for his service to protect us, our land and our freedom. I hope he knows how grateful his nation is to him and his fellow service men and women. It is a priviledge to pray for them!

Dawn Lowe said...

I love learning more and more about your family. Robert IS a handome man and from the pictures, you would never know there was any anger seeded deep down in him. I am thankful for families like yours who are able to take broken and abused children and show them love and security and the Lord. I LOVED the family picture! You are such a great looking crew!

Rebecca said...

You know that God made your family special. It takes such a special love for children to take in a child who is not of your own blood and love them as if they are your own. Some people are never able to draw that kind of love from within them. I want to cry when I think about them and all they have been through, because I can picture myself in their position and how they must have felt, scared and alone, unwanted, unloved. For a child, feeling unloved must be the worst possible feeling. Truly you both must have remembered Jesus' words, that Heaven's kingdom belongs to those with childlike heart. I must say that I am so glad that you raised these boys! The one son I have met is wonderful! Good job! As for Robert, I have spoken with him many times, and am gradually getting to know him. I think as a mother, it is so hard to see your child floundering and struggling to find their purpose, their belonging. The worst thing, to sit back and ALLOW it to happen! You are doing all you can, and the only thing you can add, is a plea to the Lord each day to take your son's life into His hands. Remember, "train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from him." He knows the way that we each take, and He is holding Robert in the palm of His hand. He also holds each tear you cry over your son in His hands! "The prayer of a righteous man avails much!" Remember that! I have all faith that He will hear and answer our prayers for Robert. Just know that I will be praying for him.