For a quick re-cap of what it is like to begin parenting a child who is already an older boy. Elijah is much bigger than I expected. We are guessing that he is at least 7 if not 8 years old. My friend did an amazing job putting nearly 6-8 pounds on the boy in just a months time. His behavior however, is very delayed. This afternoon, after playing with blocks, I asked (through sign language) for Elijah to help tidy up. At first he seemed some what compliant, but it did not take long before he decided he really did not want to tidy up. I told Elijah "no" and a tantrum followed. After praying and giving a hug, I decided that I would hand Elijah the toys one by one (while rubbing his back) and encourage him along. It worked! I also introduced coloring to Elijah today. He did a fairly good job staying in the lines. However, I wrote his name at the top of the paper and when he tried to copy it, it looked like something a baby had scribbled. Ezekiel, my 5 year old, tried doing phonics cards with Elijah during school time, he got no where. Outside play was fairly constructive although he show signs of overstimulation. Imagine living in the bush all your life, more than half of those years spent running from rebels. A mother killed. A father dead from an unknown illness and knowing nothing more than one meal a day, a dirt floor to sleep on and a home made sling shot as your only "toy." The Lord is going to have to remind me a lot that I must be patient. I want to give this child the love and nurturing that he never got from a mother....but to be honest, I do not know how. Thankfully, I can ask the Lord for wisdom and He PROMISES to give it to me.
Bath time was a hit today because we had running water and hot water at that. After showering down the first nine kiddos, I made a lovely lavender bath for Elijah. I started with scrubbing his feet and scalp. He seemed to enjoy the attention. After the bath Elijah got a coconut oil massage on his arms and legs. I am sure he wonders what kind of lady I am :-) We also discovered that due to severe malnourishment, almost all of Elijah's adult teeth are completely rotten. I fear that his first dentist appointment will not bring good news--I have never heard of an 8 year old boy with dentures :-) We are also going to have him tested for hepatitis as he eyes look very yellow.
Although my day began with a feeling of utter anxiety, as I looked out at ten children running around in the yard, I found a moment to sit at my Savior's feet and I allowed His peace to wash over me.
Please, you mama's that have adopted older children, I would love to glean from your struggles and wisdom.