Or more accurately, Thoughts on Mothering a Child Who Speaks a Different Language. But that’s a mouthful, so I’ll leave it as it is.
I’ve found myself lately to be revisiting feelings I had when Bubba was in his most difficult years. The feelings of not being good enough. The feeling that God should have chosen a better mom; perhaps someone with more experience with special needs kids. This time around my doubts come from my identity here as a foreigner. My Thai language experience is lacking. I don’t always understand the customs or rules of the country we live in.
How do I tell our new foster son that we’ll be here for him when he’s sick? When he has a special award in school? How do I express how very grateful I am that he always washes his own dishes, or plays Uno with Calico? It never feels like a simple “thank you” really expresses it.
In times of doubt I flash back to a radio ad that often played around the time we were preparing to move here. In an effort to get more people to sign up as foster/adoptive parents, there was a whole series of ads that told of parents making mistakes. These people were far from perfect. The slogan was, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” (Can I insert a Praise Jesus!?) In these times I feel a little bit better about not remembering to get his regulation brown school shoes for two weeks, or constantly having to use Google translate for more than a basic conversation.
We are learning more each day about showing love in a variety of ways. Big smiles, homemade treats after school, high fives, pull-up contests (that would be with Ethan, not me!), inclusion in all family activities, and teaching him how to ride a clutch motorbike. I pray we are filling his heart with what has been missing from his life before this.
And when I take a moment to lift my eyes away from my own shortcomings, I see the beauty that God has surrounded us with: six unique blessings. I’ll never be a perfect person — and that’s okay. And maybe with LOTS of practice and self-discipline, I’ll someday be able to speak the same language as all of my kids.