Adopting an older child from foster care brings with it a unique set of challenges. A child with a past is often a hurt child, a child who hasn’t been able to count on anyone in his life often behaves in challenging ways. With my son schoolwork is one of his major battlegrounds. Sometimes at the end of an afternoon wrestling with my son over his assignments I feel like I’ve been going toe to toe with a ten-ton gorilla. His dad comes home from work and all I want to do is toss the baton of parenthood to him and flop in a soft chair to remain motionless for the balance of the day.
Toward the end of this school year I’ve been backing away from forcing him to study well for exams, or be as complete as possible with assignments and have allowed him a bit more leeway to let the chips fall where they may with his grades. He needs to have an 80% or better average to play sports, and he knows the standard, so when he’s in the mood to do a slacker job on his work I’ve told him what I would like to see done but that I will let him make his own decision about how much effort he will put forth. It’s been kind of challenging, and as we are nearing the end of the year and his efforts aren’t as diligent as I’d like to see I’ve begun to wonder if I’ve helped him this year at all.
And then as I’m going through his papers I find this…
My teacher Mr. Jones asked us students to write about who is a good influence in our life and so that is what I will write about for our journal topic today. The person that influences my life is not my dad or uncle or cousins, they make influences to me. But the real person in my life is a person I see every day of the year who lives in my house would be no other than my mom! The way she influences me is by caring about me. She helps with my homework and expressing my feelings. She is my favorite person in the world! Other than God! She loves and cares about me with all her heart! She encourages me to do my best with everything in school like math because I’m not good at that subject.
And did I mention that he’s been alter serving at every Mass we’ve attended since he received the sacraments of initiation at Easter Vigil, and all the little old ladies of our parish have co-adopted him and are praying for a vocation to the priesthood for him? I guess the gorilla wrangling is paying off after all.
Thank you Lord for this child and the gift of motherhood.