Wenxin loves his siblings -- I'm sure of it. But like most boys, he's more likely to stick a note that says "kick me" on his sister's back than give her a hug. And he's more likely to try out a new joke on a sibling than say, "I love you."
Actually say, "I love you?"
It's taken a good two years for Wenxin to develop a sense of security in our family -- to get to a place where there's even a chance he might display a little love for the other kids. Is it really possible for a kid to show love to his siblings, if he feels threatened by them? If he's not really sure deep down in his heart that Mom and Dad's love for him is just as strong as their love for THEM?
I'm not saying we've arrived or that Wenxin (or any one of the other kids for that matter) feels 100% secure in our love, but something happened around the time of Julia's birthday that filled me with hope.
Wenxin decided to get her a present.
In our family, I usually buy one present for the birthday child and say it's from the whole family. But in recent years, from time to time, one of the kids will decide to give a personal gift to the birthday child. I don't insist on it, and it's usually never fair -- one kid may get more gifts on his birthday than the others -- but I don't worry about that too much.
For example, Nathan scored big getting $50 in cash from his siblings last birthday. Both Julia and Katherine gave him $20 bills and Wenxin offered $10. Unfortunately for them, Nathan didn't return the favor -- at least not to the same degree -- when their birthdays rolled around.
Oh well, some of us are more generous than others, and I feel if I get involved and try to force things so that everything is fair and equal, the gifts lose their meaning.
Well, the week before Julia's birthday, Wenxin began to remind me daily that he needed to go shopping. I reminded him that I'd be getting Julia a nice present, but he insisted that he wanted to buy something "just from him."
Armed with a twenty dollar bill, we went to Target where he spent $13 buying her some "Littlest Pet Shop" animals and a bottle of white "crackle" nail polish. Delighted to have money left over, Wenxin chose some candy for himself on our way out.
Side note: I love watching Wenxin decide what to do with "his" money -- a luxury he didn't have two years ago.
The night before her birthday, I helped him wrap, and a little while later, I noticed him busily making a card.
That yellow pocket tape on the side is where he slipped a little more cash, just so Julia would be sure to know she is loved.
He really loves her. And. . .
He's finally secure enough to admit it.
Most Sundays at my church, we close the service by standing and singing the following words.
As you are loved, so love.
As you are blessed, so bless.
Once without grace,
Now you're embraced.
As you are loved, so love.
Brings tears to my eyes every time.
What signs have you seen that indicate your adopted kids are developing a more secure attachment? Leave a comment to share!