I have been marinating on this post for quite some time. I hesitate to write it because of they way it could be received. I also hesitate because one day my children will grow up and possibly read all that I have written here. So, with caution, I will share my heart with you about loving and not liking (at times) our newly adopted son.
Before we ventured off to China, I wrote a post about what love is. I am so thankful that God had laid it on my heart that love was not a feeling, but an action. I have held on to those thoughts often these last few months. There are many days that I do not like Nathaniel very much. He has many very annoying behaviors.
When we first adopted Lily, I was taken back by some superficial issues. I didn't immediately love her, but I quickly came around. My love for her overflows now. I can't imagine my life without her. Mae was pretty easy to love right off. She hated me, but I could see past that. Her deep brown eyes pulled me in. I loved her the moment she was in my arms.
It was different with Nathaniel. I was too busy with Mae those first two weeks to be able to bond much with him. That, of course, changed quickly once we came home. He has now completely bonded to me. He often tells me that he loves me.
These past two months have been quite the adjustment for us. Nathaniel's world has been expanded greatly and he is constantly testing his boundaries. He does things that irritate and drive me batty. I struggle to not want to just walk away and not engage with him. I have to be careful to not show favoritism to our other children. There are days when I just don't like him. I love him, but I may not enjoy him.
I think it is important to share these struggles because I know that I am not the only one. I know there are others who can relate. It's ok to struggle. What's not ok is acting on the feelings of wanting to disengage. It is these moments that I must pull him in closer and give him a hug or kiss. I must engage with him in play or read him a story. I must lay down my feelings of irritation and frustration before the Lord. He is more than capable of handling them.
I am not worried about my relationship with Nathaniel. God will work out the details and the feelings. Each day I will act in love towards the little guy who has been entrusted to me. You see, we did not set out to adopt in order to fill a void in our lives. We set out to adopt to purposely love a child, to give him a father and mother, and to teach him about Jesus. It is our responsibility to love Nathaniel regardless of his annoying behaviors. It has nothing to do with how loveable and endearing he is. It has everything to do with setting aside myself and what I would want from this relationship.
I may not always like my son, but I will always want the best for him, fight for him, and love him with all my heart.