Friday, January 10, 2014

My Silly Expectations

There once was a mom who had high expectations of her kids. She didn't really think about them being high or even being expectations because her kids, for the most part, lived up to them.

When they were babies, they rolled over and goo-goo-gaaa-ed and walked right on time. 

When they were toddlers they went thru the expected Terrible Two's and wet the bed long after they wore undies during the day. 

When this mom would ask questions of her kids, they would answer age-appropriately and the mom thought this was normal, for it was.

And then this mom (and the dad, because this mom wouldn't have attempted this alone) adopted a little girl from a far-off country. And although this mom had read so many books and articles and blog posts about what adoption could look like and the challenges it would bring, did not really understand the expectations that she did indeed have. Or how they would need to be dragged out to the yard and told never to come back inside.

For this tiny girl had many ages. There was her Actual Age, her Developmental Age, her Emotional Age and her Family Age. 

As you can imagine, this mom with expectations was confused. How do I relate to my daughter? Like a 3 year old? Definitely not like a 4 year old. But today she is acting like a 2 year old. And she has been with our family for almost a year, putting her Family Age at 1.

What can I expect? 

What about training? What do you require out of a child with so many ages?

Helping to take the recycling to the basement is an appropriate chore for a 3 year old but maybe not a 2 year old. We gave much more grace to our 2 year old's potty mistakes then we did to our 4 year olds. 

And the whole emotional age... Wow! Let's just say that you are never too old to throw a cry fest like a toddler. Can we say that? I guess I just did.

What's a mom to do?

I'll tell you what I did. Er, do.

Pray a lot.

And dig out my big 'ole Adoption Bible. Better known as Adoption Parenting. Which I HIGHLY recommend, by the way.

After reading a few articles in the Learning section, I'm reminded that kids who have a rough start in life have years and years of making up to do. They say that if a kid experiences malnutrition in the first year of life, their learning will be effected as well as their attention, often thru their elementary days and sometimes beyond. 

Of course I had read this before but reading it in the middle of my frustration really helped me. 

Because it is really mind blowing when you can say the same thing over and over and over to your daughter, in one sitting, and she still doesn't seem to understand what you want her to do. It is crazy that she gives you the wrong answer to "did you finish your pancake?" when it is sitting 2 inches away from her nose. 

It's hard. 

It's so hard to know. I want to expect good things of my girl. 
I know she's smart. 
I know she really wants to please us. 

But I know I can't put high expectations on her right now. Half of the time I don't really know what to expect out of her at all.

So I'm pushing and shoving my expectations out the front door. 

Because she did have a rough beginning. She was malnourished. There are parts of her brain that will take time to be redeemed. 

So I made a list. Did I ever mention how much I love lists?

Things Eva Learned to do This Year:
1. Flush the potty
2. Turn off the water
3. Give kisses
4. Run
5. Kick a ball
6. Use a fork

And there are lots more. 

I will look at that list lots and lots because it is on my fridge and, yes, I go there a lot. 

I am choosing to see the beautiful things my baby/big girl has already learned and be amazed by those things. Because she really has come a long, long way. 

Our Eva is a brave and spirited little girl and we are so proud of her! 

And she really is a World Changer!

Not that anyone is putting that expectation on her.


  1. I am determined to figure out this parenting gig one day! It sure isn't easy!!

  2. We have the same problem at our house. What do Andrew and Spencer understand? Is it just stubborness? I have decided they have stubborness triplicated because stubborness is found on the 21st chromosome!! I just know it is.

    I have never had typical children to work as a gauge for my expectations. If my expectations are too low, than that is what we will hit. If they are two high - then all we get is frustration all around.

    He in me with his Spirit has to help me. Everyday. We often ask Him to help us help our boys to met His exptectations of them, and that they will be the best they can be in spite of us. It is great to list Eva's accomplishments and focus on the progress rather than the lack thereof. I stopped reading parenting books that describe milestones when Andrew was a baby. I don't want to know what the experts say. We will roll with where we are and not compare to what they "should be doing". Takes the pressure off to work where you are and move forward.

    I love the updated photos you have added. Your children are such treasures!