I have been pondering this post for a while. I was torn as to sharing this story because even though it happened in public it was very personal. But I have decided that it might be useful to others and give a perspective that is not often considered. Now with all that being said let me add one thought before I tell my story. One thing that you read about and learn about in adoption is the child's feeling of loss. Usually it is in reference to what he has lost - birthparents, pictures of early childhood, not looking like his parents, or a cultural heritage. This story is about loss but it is a little different.
As I have mentioned before Andrew is easily frightened with people leaving and wants to know where people are at all times. This fear has reduced but has not completely gone away. He no longer walks down the hall at night to make sure we are there. So we are very careful to tell Andrew what is happening and when it is happening and that we will be back.
With this background let me begin. Have you said to your child when they won't come...If you don't come I am leaving. Maybe you haven't but someone in the mall has or at restaurant has. It is a threat that most parents would not dream of following thru on but is often said. Well we were playing with a friend in the Burger King play area. There were a couple of older boys there with a mom and a dad. Dad says time to go and walks out to the car. Leaving mom to get the boys. Mom begins to tell the boys to come and they refuse. She then makes that famous threat. If you don't come I am leaving. In a flash Andrew is in front of the door telling the mother she can't leave. (At one point in Andrew's life he would have been in tears but this time he is in front of the door). I am sure the mother is thinking this child has lost his mind - I am not leaving my kids I just want them to come. Andrew is thinking You can not leave your children. At this point I tell Andrew to come and repeatedly reassure him with Mom is here and this woman is not going to leave her children. He steps away from the door and I continue the reassurances. The older boys do eventually get off the play area and go with the mother. Afterwards Andrew returned to playing with his brother and Bradley.
So why do I tell this story? Here are a few of reasons.
1. I have always read about a child mourning his loss but Andrew projected it on to these children. He was from my perspective trying to prevent someone else loss. It is not something I have read about so I wanted to share it because there could be another mom who might have the same experience and may be able to handle it better or at least be prepared for it.
2. It shows in a strange way how far Andrew has come in my opinion. I am by no means an expert. He wasn't worried about his loosing his own parents but wanted to protect another. Not so long ago there would have been simply tears and not sure what to do. He had figured out something positive and proactive to do to prevent what to him was a serious problem.
3. I also tell this story to show that for some people what appears to be an idle threat is real. So choose carefully the words that you use when you want them to obey. Don't feed on fears to get what you want. And at least in the eyes of my child this is very real - is what you say real. Can you deliver on your promise or would you even want to?
So if to no other child than mine I am leaving without you is real. But also to my child the words Mom will come back are also real. If my words can be real imagine how much better Jesus' words are in John 14:3 "and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am". God words are trustworthy even when ours are not. If He says he is going He is and if He says he is coming back He will.