Life with Jack means seeing things through his eyes. It is sometimes easy for John and I to forget that he has gone through so much in his life, many things we will probably never know about. That means that Jack sees things differently than a lot of other children his age. John and I were confronted with that about two weeks ago. He loves music and so I decided to take my old iPhone and fill it up with music so he can have it in his room. John and I asked him to go upstairs to play or read and he didn’t want to. There is a bit of a landing/walkway at the top of the stairs and he looked over and started to protest and ask why he had to be upstairs. I finally told him I was working on a surprise. My nephews love when I use that word because they know something really cool is coming. It is also a tactic I used in case my original plans didn’t work out, we could go to Plan B without anyone being disappointed or having a clue about what was going on.
Instead of the excited reaction I get from my nephews, Jack got all upset. We had him come down and asked what was going on. He asked why everything had to be a surprise and I told him the truth. I told him I wanted to do something nice for him and I wanted to see him happy and excited. He then said something along the lines of “Oh, like the surprise I got when they took me away from my family.” It had not occurred to us that a word we thought meant all sorts of great things was not a good word for him. Now, when we have an idea, we ask him if he wants to know or if he wants a surprise and we let it be his choice. So far, he hasn’t chosen for the surprise, but I feel that he is getting there.
We were also shocked by his lack of wanting a Christmas tree or lights in the house. We were going to get a small one and decorate, but he wanted nothing to do with it. He likes them in other places, and at other houses, but not in his home. Instead, he picked out a few small sticky window gels that he put up and a tiny green tree with a bit of snow he wanted in his room and that has been the extent of our holiday decorations. He also doesn’t seem all that excited about Christmas other than saying “I want that” every time a cool toy comes on TV.
We can only speculate about what he is feeling. When we ask him what he really wants for Christmas, he only says he wants a family and it makes me both super happy that we are on that track and it breaks my heart that any child should have to have that as their Christmas wish.
We are now one month into the six months we need to foster before we can adopt him. I really wasn’t sure how it would be to have a new person come into our lives. I look at him and I don’t see someone else’s child, I see my son. He calls us “dad” here and there, but not with any regularity. He mentioned yesterday that he was almost adopted before and I can imagine he is keeping is guard up just in case. The only thing that scares me about the whole adoption process is that fact that so much happens that is out of our control. There are so many people looking at him, at us, at everything. It’s all going well and we anticipate it staying that way. He is more relaxed and confident as time goes on, I think he will be relieved, as will we, when the day comes to sign the papers and make our family official.
I really hope it all happens before next Christmas, so he can use his Christmas wish for something other than a family.