About half way through last semester Amos started wanting a new backpack and complaining about the one that he had. I told him that he didn't need a new backpack because his wasn't even a year old and it was in perfect condition. That's what we do here at the Ivey house, we wear it/use it until it doesn't work anymore. Frugal people. There are four children here.
After a few more complaints I finally asked him why he wanted a new backpack. It was bothering me how much he was bringing it up. I was thinking he was ungrateful or didn't clearly understand that his backpack worked perfectly fine. Cayden has had his backpack since before kindergarten and he's in second grade. Works fine, so we're still using it. That's how I roll.
He told me he wanted a backpack with someone on it. I was confused, so I asked more questions. He told me all the kids had Spider Man, or Bumblebee, or Transformers ….. SOMEONE on their backpack and his was plain grey with NO ONE on it.
OH … he wanted what all his friends had.
So, then my speech changed from we have something that's perfectly good, to the speech about not wanting what others had. You know the one. We need to be grateful for what we have … blah blah blah blah. You've given it, you know you have.
Fast forward a few weeks, and he is still talking about it. In fact some days he's quite sad about it. I stuck to my guns. Your backpack works fine. It's new. It's in great shape. Who cares what others have. It doesn't matter.
A few days before Christmas I was searching for the perfect gift for Amos and literally all I could think about was him talking about wanting SOMEONE on his backpack. As much as I tried to tell him it didn't matter if his was different, to him it did matter.
Being different REALLY matters to Amos. We have seen this play out at other times in his life, but more than any other kid in our family, it matters to him. Amos wants to be accepted. Amos wants to be “normal”. He wants to be like everyone else. I admit that I struggle with this sometimes too, but for Amos it's more than just normal issues of wanting to be accepted. He truly desires to be included. Not to be left out or forgotten. In his eyes his backpack set him apart from the other kids in his class. He was the different one.
You see, I'm convinced that the four and a half years he lived as an orphan changed him. There is a huge void in his heart and the longings to be wanted, accepted and a part of something are constantly nagging at him. Even having a backpack that's different is really hard for him. Plain grey just doesn't make him like the other kids. In his sweet little six year old mind only Transformers can connect him to his friends.
Aaron and I can love him and accept him and nurture him all day long, and that hole is still there. It's big. Some days it seems much bigger than other days. I am 100% convinced that there is only one person that can truly fill this hole in Amos' heart, and that is Jesus. I am confident that Jesus can do it, and I'm praying heavily that he will do it sooner than later. When Amos sees the love that his FATHER in heaven has for him, this hole can be filled. When Amos sees the acceptance that we have from God and the family that we belong to with him, this hole can be filled.
Jesus loves Amos dearly and desires the best for him. My prayer is that not only will Amos see this one day, but that Aaron and I will remember daily that our God designed Amos perfectly and put him in our family for a reason and that he has great big plans for our sweet boy. God is way bigger than any hole in my sons heart. He is way bigger than abandonment and feelings of not belonging. We have a big, big, big God that will not leave us where we are.
So, as I was walking around looking for that perfect gift for Amos I ran across a backpack at Wal Mart that was $10 and will for sure fall apart in about 6 months, but it had Transformers on it and I just knew that Amos would freak if I got it for him. On Christmas morning, this was the one gift I was looking forward to being opened. I couldn't wait for Amos to see his new backpack with Transformers on it. I didn't care one bit that his old backpack was in perfect condition, my son wanted Transformers to feel more accepted and so that's what his momma and daddy got him!
I’m glad he got one for Christmas, otherwise I would have had to get one and mail it to him. I follow your posts & your blogs and have a soft spot in my heart for Amos & Story.
The thing I LOVE most about this blog is that God is using you to prepare me to bring my children home from Haiti. When we started this process we were not prepared…AT ALL. Honestly, we’re still not. However, everyday I come and read your blog, and God says “Cynthia, remember this.” Or, “Cynthia, you’re gonna need this later.” He is preparing us to bring home our children through you. I think we were very naive beginning this process. But God is using you to enlighten us. He is preparing us for our children through you. Thank you so much for your transparency. I don’t think you will ever know how much of a difference it is making. Not just in our lives, but in the lives of our children when they get home. You are a blessing.
What a sweet blog!
I have a special needs son and I have a tendency to do this on my own. My daughter, not so much, but with Cade, I feel like he is already going to stand out, so I do my best to help him fit in. I guess in a sense I feel like I’m protecting his little heart as much as I can!
I love this! It made my heart smile 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
I totally get where you guys are coming from (I am the same way), but also get how much of a big deal these things are to kids. I am working thru a few things with my kids right now & am trying to “pick my battles” & “loosen up a little” (food is a BIG thing for me…my poor kids are deprived when it comes to sweets or anything not insanely healthy). We all want the same things for our kids…healthy, happy respectable kids. So, I am glad Amos got his backpack with someone on it. I may even let my kids eat something not so healthy today. OK, maybe not…but I will think about it. 😉
I just thought of something you can do if indeed, the backpack falls apart in 6 months…there are transformer patches that can be sewn on! http://www.amazon.com/Transformers-OPTIMUS-PRIME-Figure-Embroidered/dp/B003OCMZZ4
You know Jamie, I think when we’re talking about parenting kids that have been through trauma or hard stuff, we can’t always follow the “rules”. I agree that sometimes you have to look at what is going on in the child’s heart and try to minister to the need that is there. They’ll get the other life lessons we want them to learn as well, and be more secure for having their deep need seen and met.