In pursuing open adoption, I quickly realized I was going to have to embrace the concept of it taking a village to raise a child to some degree. Open adoption demands that you take into consideration how roles that other people play, mostly the birth family, can make a positive impact in a child’s life. Well, Turkey-Man is making me dig deeper into this idea.
One of the things I absolutely love about adoption is that our children come to us with few preconceived ideas as to what they would be like. Had we had biological children we would have been looking for similar attributes in looks, personality and interests as hubby and I. With no biological connection, our children are much more a blank piece of paper, waiting to see what emerges from them as they grow. To me, it is awesome getting to watch them grow into their own, individual beings.
I have found, though, that sometimes it can backfire. I know that biological children do not always share in their parents’ interests, but in adoption a child can be born with a wonderful gift that the parents are left wondering how to foster it. That’s where we are at with Turkey-Man.
I don’t think I could call him a “gifted” artist, but it is certainly something the piques his interest. Those who know my son, know well that he is a bundle of energy. He is in near constant motion. However, if I hand him a pencil and a sketch pad, he transforms. Suddenly, he will be sitting still, focused on drawing whatever his mind can imagine and most of the time he is good enough that I understand what he has made with little explanation.
And, then there is me… Our varsity basketball coach taught art. In eighth grade, I took it, sort of hoping I could build a rapport with him that would lead into my high school years of him coaching. I made it all of two weeks before I dropped the class. After much effort, I could not even make a drawing of a tissue box. Years later, I still can’t draw a stick figure that looks right. Hand me a math problem and I can see the numbers in my head, solving it easily. Give me a sketch pad and I am completely lost. I have no idea how artists know how to do all that. My mind does not seem to see things like theirs does.
Adding my son’s interest in art to my inability to draw a stick figure and the result is a perplexed momma. I am re-reminded of the principle of needing a village to raise a child. I find myself talking to his birth mom who has an artistic flair to her. I have been asking my best friend about when to start looking at classes for him. I realize that I am not capable of helping him with this so I have to look outside myself for answers.
Motherhood seems to be a never-ending series of events that leave me wondering what to do. In my pre-motherhood life, there were clear, concise answers that I could open a textbook up and find. I could depend on myself to find a solution and did not have to rely on others to help. My independent nature has had to be put in check in order for me to be a better mother. My limitations have never been so glaringly obvious!
A few months ago, I learned that Proverbs 22:6 (Train a child up in the way that they should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.) really more accurately means to train a child up in the way that they are bent. I thought that was a really interesting concept because our children definitely come to us with predispositions. Our job as parents is to embrace those and help the child learn how to use those traits with purpose.
Adoption adds a little twist because the way the child is bent may be more in line with the way their birth parents were. Certainly, I was not born with any bend toward the artistic side of things, but, yet, I have been given a child that is. As adoptive parents, we have to be prepared that we may have a child with markedly different traits than our own.
We need to be vulnerable and open to the fact that the key to helping our child may not be within us. It humbles us into admitting we cannot do it on our own. It is something that I have a love-hate relationship with. I want to have all of the answers. I crave the independence of not needing help. This twist, though, grounds me into the reality that I don’t always know what to do and it is okay to need others to help. It is yet another life lesson that adoption has taught me.
I am grateful for all I have learned about life through my journey to being an adoptive momma. I am sure there are many lessons to go!
In the meantime, any thoughts on raising an artistic child are welcomed! You all are part of my village and help will always be appreciated!