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Melkam Gena!
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Why I Run
Chad Dykstra - 2012-10-03

It's All About the Injera
Chad Dykstra - 2012-03-09

Expectations and Reality
Chad Dykstra - 2012-02-15

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Expectations and Reality

Chad Dykstra - 2012-02-15
2 comment(s) - View or write a comment

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update.  I even have one or two blog posts written in a mostly finished state that never got posted.  Maybe I’ll get them posted eventually, or maybe I just needed to write them for therapeutic reasons.  Thus is life – you get into the daily grind of life and things like blogging get put on the back burner.
Disclaimer:  This is not a happy-go-lucky blog post.  If you’re having a great day and are looking for something upbeat, I’d suggest you stop reading now, or maybe just skip to the very end.
Over the life of this blog, I’ve talked a lot about expectations and reality.  Most definitely, there were things we experienced that we were not expecting.  I’ve written about some of these over the past year.  We did expect upon returning home from Ethiopia that our world would turn upside down. It did, and that was OK. We expected life to be really hard.  It was – and we were ready for it.  We expected there to be a lot of transitions.  There were.  Some of them were easy to work through, some not so much – but we were expecting them.  We expected after a few months for things to start to get a little easier.  In many ways, it did.  We expected by a year to be settling back into somewhat of a “normal” life.  This is where things get a little fuzzy.
A year is a magical length of time.  One year from the day you were born, it’s your birthday!  Just like that, you’re a year older.  Maybe more mature.  That one day older makes all the difference.  Just like a birthday, a year after the “gotcha day” is a special day.  Any adoptive parent can attest to that.  We hoped that a year later would prove to be that magical milestone in our journey.  Things would keep improving.  Our life would begin to take on some form of normalcy.  But you know what?    Those were expectations and not reality.
Life after a year has continued to be really hard.  Many of the things we battled plague us still.  Many of the things we hoped would go away haven’t.  Starting at one year, many things seem to have even gotten worse.  It can be really hard to have expectations that things will get better and be taking steps backwards.
On a daily basis, we still deal with multiple tantrums.  We still deal with extreme fairness and selfishness issues.  Our biological children are still learning bad behaviors.  We still deal with physical and aggressive behavior toward siblings.  We shudder to see the school’s number come up on caller ID.  We get notes from teachers.  We’ve seen letters from the bus driver.  Just in the last few weeks, we’ve begun dealing with repeated stealing behaviors.  Some are minor, but some are not.  Bad choices follow more bad choices.  Fight or flight takes over so quickly, and things just spin out of control in an instant.  Emotions are like a light switch.  Big straws and little straws keep piling up and the camel’s back can only take so much.
Every day we look forward to 11:55am when the school bus comes.  The house is quiet for a few hours, but 3:57pm is coming, and along with it that big yellow bus.  Life is chaos until bedtime, and by the time the kids are finally in bed we’re so exhausted that we usually just collapse into bed ourselves, even if it’s only 9:00. Get up in the morning and do it again.
Through our family blog, I’ve tried to be honest and real about our feelings and experiences.  I know there are other families who go through these things too, and there are families that will be going through them.  I really wish I could put a nice big bow end of this.  Give it a little “turn-around” or pick-me-up moment at the end saying how we’ve solved all our problems – and maybe world hunger too. I’ll do my best – but unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a magical fix or an easy button.  It’s a battle a day at a time.  We are doing the best we can with the tools that we have, and we are expanding our toolset through reading and counseling.  We have a very supportive family that we’re so thankful for.  We love the opportunities we have for “date nights” once in a while.  We usually just sit across the table from each other in silence, but that’s all we really need.  Sweet, sweet silence.  We both exercise regularly to help our sanity.  I am running 6-7 days a week.  Lora goes out with her mom’s group a once or twice a month, and I get out with the guys a couple times a month as well.  Every opportunity to get out of the house or get away for a few minutes and unwind is really a blessing.
Thanks for sticking with us through this journey.  If you’ve made it this far into this blog, you must really be with us for the long haul.  We appreciate you more than you know.  Now I’m off to hit the treadmill for a much needed sanity break.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update.  I even have one or two blog posts written in a mostly finished state that never got posted.  Maybe I’ll get them posted eventually, or maybe I just needed to write them for therapeutic reasons.  Thus is life – you get into the daily grind of life and things like blogging get put on the back burner.
 
Disclaimer:  This is not a happy-go-lucky blog post.  If you’re having a great day and are looking for something upbeat, I’d suggest you stop reading now, or maybe just skip to the very end.
 
Over the life of this blog, I’ve talked a lot about expectations and reality.  Most definitely, there were things we experienced that we were not expecting.  I’ve written about some of these over the past year.  We did expect upon returning home from Ethiopia that our world would turn upside down. It did, and that was OK. We expected life to be really hard.  It was – and we were ready for it.  We expected there to be a lot of transitions.  There were.  Some of them were easy to work through, some not so much – but we were expecting them.  We expected after a few months for things to start to get a little easier.  In many ways, it did.  We expected by a year to be settling back into somewhat of a “normal” life.  This is where things get a little fuzzy.
 
A year is a magical length of time.  One year from the day you were born, it’s your birthday!  Just like that, you’re a year older.  Maybe more mature.  That one day older makes all the difference.  Just like a birthday, a year after the “gotcha day” is a special day.  Any adoptive parent can attest to that.  We hoped that a year later would prove to be that magical milestone in our journey.  Things would keep improving.  Our life would begin to take on some form of normalcy.  But you know what?    Those were expectations and not reality.
 
Life after a year has continued to be really hard.  Many of the things we battled plague us still.  Many of the things we hoped would go away haven’t.  Starting at one year, many things seem to have even gotten worse.  It can be really hard to have expectations that things will get better and be taking steps backwards.
 
On a daily basis, we still deal with multiple tantrums.  We still deal with extreme fairness and selfishness issues.  Our biological children are still learning bad behaviors.  We still deal with physical and aggressive behavior toward siblings.  We shudder to see the school’s number come up on caller ID.  We get notes from teachers.  We’ve seen letters from the bus driver.  Just in the last few weeks, we’ve begun dealing with repeated stealing behaviors.  Some are minor, but some are not.  Bad choices follow more bad choices. Emotions are like a light switch.  Big straws and little straws keep piling up and the camel’s back can only take so much.  We wish we could just enact swift disciplinary action for bad behavior, but it's a gray area. Fight or flight takes over so quickly, and things just spin out of control in an instant. 
 
Every day we look forward to 11:55am when the school bus comes.  The house is quiet for a few hours, but 3:57pm is coming, and along with it that big yellow bus.  Life is chaos until bedtime, and by the time the kids are finally in bed we’re so exhausted that we usually just collapse into bed ourselves, even if it’s only 9:00. Get up in the morning and do it again.
 
Through our family blog, I’ve tried to be honest and real about our feelings and experiences.  I know there are other families who go through these things too, and there are families that will be going through them.  I really wish I could put a nice big bow end of this.  Give it a little “turn-around” or pick-me-up moment at the end saying how we’ve solved all our problems – and maybe world hunger too. I’ll do my best – but unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a magical fix or an easy button.  It’s a battle a day at a time.  We are doing the best we can with the tools that we have, and we are expanding our toolset through reading and counseling.  We have a very supportive family that we’re so thankful for.  We love the opportunities we have for “date nights” once in a while.  We usually just sit across the table from each other in silence, but that’s all we really need.  Sweet, sweet silence.  We both exercise regularly to help our sanity.  I am running 6-7 days a week.  Lora goes out with her mom’s group a once or twice a month, and I get out with the guys a couple times a month as well.  Every opportunity to get out of the house or get away for a few minutes and unwind is really a blessing.
 
Thanks for sticking with us through this journey.  If you’ve made it this far into this blog, you must really be with us for the long haul.  We appreciate you more than you know.  Now I’m off to hit the treadmill for a much needed sanity break.

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Comments


Posted by julie meyaard on 2012-02-15

Love your honesty! Life is hard with many children and to add the adjustment of 2 blessings from Ethiopia is a major one. We are going on 3 years with our daughter home and honestly I think we have made some major break throughs just recently...she is more confident that this is FOREVER and that shows in every way at home. Praying for your family...for the road to get easier and for more moments to be enjoyed as a family....it is not easy but oh so worth it! Blessings!

Posted by Sara Gifford on 2012-02-15

Thank you for sharing "the good, the bad and the ugly" of adoption. ((((((((((((((HUGS to both of you)))))))))))))) Praise God, you have a loving and supportive family.

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