In just a little over a week, Noah will have been home for 4 months. He continues to thrive in his new environment and just today we spoke to his preschool teacher. She went on and on about what a change she has seen in him, how talkative he is now, and what a smart little guy he is. What a huge answer to prayer! He even seems disappointed now when he doesn't get to go to school (which is every Friday).
Along with his English skills improving has come lots and lots of questions, as I wrote about in the last post. Not all of them are easy questions. Some, in fact, are very difficult questions to answer.
Noah has asked us several times why he was older when mommy and daddy came to Ethiopia to bring him home, as opposed to Caleb, who was much younger when mommy and daddy brought him home. This was a new question for us, as Caleb was so young when he was adopted that he has no memories of his life in Ethiopia. We told Noah that he was older when he was adopted because he had a mommy in Ethiopia who took care of him as long as she could. Then we came to Ethiopia and brought him home so we could take care of him and be his mommy and daddy. Not sure if this was the best answer, but it seemed to satisfy his question at the time. Then, of course, Caleb wanted to know why he was a baby when he came to live with us, instead of being older, like Noah. This question was a bit trickier to address, as Caleb was found abandoned, and we honestly do not know anything about his birth family. So, we just told him that he needed a mommy and daddy when he was a baby, and for a three year old, that seemed to be a good answer.
Noah has also asked when he is going back to Ethiopia. When he asked this question for the first time, my heart sank. I was not sure if he was asking out of curiosity, or because he wanted to go back to Ethiopia to live. So, Zack and I gently probed with additional questions, and it seems that he was just wondering if, in fact, this was his home now, or if he would be going back to Ethiopia to live. He seemed glad to know that this was his home, though at times, most of the time when he is being disciplined, Noah will mumble something about wanting to go back to Ethiopia. I have heard other adoptive parents of older children speak of this happening as well, and usually it is no need for alarm, but it is hard on a parent's heart to hear those words.
No doubt these questions and issues will arise again and again, and will require more thorough and detailed explanations as the boys get older.
Trying to explain to young children the loss they have experienced in a way they can understand is both difficult and saddening. But the one thing I have been reminded of through these difficult questions is how thankful I am for the miracle of adoption, that God can turn such loss into such joy, hope and love through the blessing of family. Not only this, but that God is faithful to strengthen, guide, and equip us for what he has called Zack and to do, which is to be a part of the wonderful, though not always easy, blessing of adoption.