He used to live with the other Maxim in the institution in Torez. He's 11 and its been 20 months now that he's been living his new life.
I wanted to touch on something that's not spoken to me much but I know it's a real thing and just recently Pat Robertson drove it home when he spoke of adopting children who were brought up "weird." His word, not mine. One of the greatest fears I have heard from families adopting is what if the new child does something to my existing children? What if they require so much that we just can't handle? (I am quite certain it is more than you can handle. God only calls you to things HE CAN REVEAL MORE OF HIMSELF IN. It was never about you.)
I have had the "weirdest" conversations of my life with an 11 year old. Weird only because they are conversations you have more like with your 4 yr old or conversations you'd never imagine having, period. Everything from why there are stoplights to why does my body want to rock when I get into bed?
Without a doubt, Maxim has affected our other children. They have had a first hand glimpse into the reality of what life is like for a child starting out a decade late in life from a "weird" place. (Thanks Pat!) And to tell you the truth, I don't think it's so bad. They have had to have more patience than they've wanted to have. They've had to slow down and wait at times. I have often found Liam taking the time to teach on the simple things that I am sure he wouldn't have otherwise. I hear "watch out" and "look where you are going" pretty often from both Holden and Liam as they have learned to keep their own eye closely observant.
Most certaintly sacrifice has been involved. All great things take some sacrificing, don't they? I know that anything I have ever really wanted to succeed at required time, patience and diligence and a giving up of what "I feel like." I'm thankful that we didn't wait until our others were all grown up before we took our "chance" on adoption. I'd hate for them to miss out on learning all about perseverance and prayer.
The other night he was angry because he had not obeyed when it was time to get ready for bed. When he becomes angry sometimes he shuts down and just stares. His eyes will start to look glassy like I once knew and this is when I know we don't have our Maxim with us. I didn't want to put him down to bed this way because I knew the rocking would start, being in the frame of mind he was. Randy and I put the others to bed and had him with us in our room.
After some fruitless attempts to get his attention, I did something I didn't plan to do. I just started apologizing. It went something like this:
I am sorry no one was there for you when you were scared.
I am sorry your birthparents could not take care of you.
I am sorry that you do not remember having birthday parties.
I am sorry that you were not able to go to school.
I am sorry that you did not have a doctor help you with your cerebral palsey.
I am sorry that your feelings were ignored.
I am sorry that you didn't have a family that loved you.
I am sorry that you felt hungry and thirsty.
I am sorry that you felt cold and lonely and scared of the storms at night with no one to comfort you.
I am sorry that no one taught you how to care for yourself.
Everytime I said each of these I paused and looked right into his eyes.
His body began to shake. Not like a tremble of fear but more like a touch of the Holy Spirit.
The glass look in his eyes began to transform into soft brown yearning eyes. He was drinking my words. His spirit NEEDED them. He didn't have a need to speak but he wanted to hear more. Whatever I was saying, it was exactly the medicinal application he had longed for.
I love you so much. Can you believe me when I say, I will never leave you? His eyes grew larger and he said emphatically, "I know you would never leave me." I knew in my heart that these were not the words trying to please but words he could find immediately because it was truth to him. "And Maxim, I love you so much, that I want you to learn all of the things that I would have taught you if I had been given the pleasure of having you since your were born." He replied, "I wish I would have learned all of it when I was little too. It's hard. I don't know why I do the things I do sometimes. I just don't think." I shared, "Sometimes you think you know, but you don't. It's better to just ask than to not and find out you messed up."
"Mom, why do I keep rocking when I don't want to?"
Grace at 17 months (size of a three month old)