Tuesday, August 9, 2011

spare a thot for dad's

spare a thot for adoptive dad's.

sometimes, if we are lucky, our children will come to dad's easily.  but most times not.  it's a natural reaction, albiet one that is frustrating to work through.  most of these children were raised in orphanages where their primary, if not only contact is with women.  so to see a man, let alone a man who is a different colour and speaks funny, is often a difficult path for our kids.

i know it isn't that way for all, but it is for a lot of families, and it was for us.

i really felt for scott.  if my presence was tolerated, his was not.  Lea would cower from him, scream if he picked her up and just generally wasn't afraid to let him know in any shape form or fashion that his presence was not appreciate or wanted.

this shot is from our time in Manila. it is important to us because it is the reminder of how he was forced to experience the first few months with Lea .... from a distance, behind a camera (or video).

walking through the streets, or just in the hotel ... she would not allow him to do anything for her ... to help her, to hold her.  nothing.

he would sit and watch as she would allow me to do her hair or help her get dressed.  you could see a sad happiness in his eyes.  so happy to have his daughter .... so sad to not be able to show her his love with touch and play ... or to even be able to give her a hug!  having to bide his time ... till????  who knew at that point.

but he was a good dad, a patient dad.  and knew that biding his time was probably the best thing that he could do.  he did what he could to help me (he was on extended leave when we got home) ... because i had this leech attachment to my legs.  so where and when he could, he would do what he could.

but one day, about two weeks after getting home .... i was sick.  i was run down and i just needed to rest.  i told Scott .... you're just gonna have to find a way to deal with her.  i have no energy and i feel like death warmed over.  he understood.

i went and layed down in bed .... quietly shutting the door
no more had i shut my eyes than i heard a blood curdling scream
Scott's, not Lea's
she got scared
he tried to comfort her
she bit him .... hard

ah look..... we laugh now.  even threaten to tell the story at her 21st b-day party and embarrass her infront of all her friends.  but at that moment .... at that time.  i can't imagine how gut wrenching that was for him.  she was so terrified that she bit him .... and bloody hard at that!

so we went back to routine.  there were little progressions.  conversations that were safe from across the table, or she would sit next to him .... but not too close.  all little signs of a growing comfort factor.  but time still dragged on.

one day i was in the kitchen trying to cook dinner.  Lea was excitedly saying something at me jumping up and down .... "ilaw, ilaw".  i had no idea what she was saying and she was so emphatic about wanting me to pick her up and "ilaw, ilaw" ..... huh???  i asked Scott if he knew what she was talking about or could he try and figure it out.  he quickly saw that she was pointing at the light switch and before she could say anything he scooped her up and took her over to the light switch and showed her how to turn it off and on.

eyes got really big  
looked at the light switch
looked at him
decided that the magic of turning a light switch on and off 
was more important than her fear of him

for the next 30 minutes they went all around the house turning lights on and off.  wow ... did we waste a lot of energy that day!  but oh so worth it.  there was no turning back now .... he got to hold her in his arms for 30 minutes easy .... i quietly put dinner in the oven to keep warm until they were done with their game.  that was a good moment .... and i'm pretty sure he even got a good night kiss that night.

these are pictures from a road trip we took about 4 months after getting home.  the look on both their faces sais it all!

so spare a thot for dad's.  their road, i suspect, is at times much harder than ours as mum's.  we have to work hard.  they want to show their child how much they love them .... but often initially it is rejected.  dad .... thy name is perseverance.

1 comment:

  1. This post is VERY familiar! For us it took 3 months. Thank you for writing about such an important issue!