Yesterday, when I said that the kids were doing really “well” with the transition, I meant that they are on par with where they should be given the circumstances they find themselves in- living with strangers in a new place, with new clothes, new beds, shoes (they had none before), socks (hilarious to see them check out… boy twin, called “Wasswa” in Lugandan because he is the “first born of twins,” tried to put on his brothers socks today because he was so fascinated), all new foods… basically nothing is the same. This is the third time (to my knowledge) in their little lives that they’ve had such drastic changes of scenery. Imagine what that does to a kid!
So like I was saying, “well” means “on par” which means… things are hard. I felt my post yesterday made it seem like things are all rosy here, and to be honest, that is just not the case. There’s a lot of crying and screaming happening (from the twins, ha). There’s mistrust, fear, frustration and sadness. It’s normal, sure, but its so hard to see in a kid, and it’s hard to navigate as a parent. Dave and I have had to switch our parenting strategies and handle these two babies completely differently than we did Macy and Owen, which seems like a no-brainer (they are different kids with different circumstances after all), but when you have a system that has “worked” in the past, it is super hard to depart from. Even just the mental shift can be a challenge. I find I’m continually reminding myself that when the twins act certain ways it is not comparable to Macy and Owen acting that same way. It’s a learning process.
Being out in public here as a white parent with a black child who is screaming is super interesting. Already, many Ugandans are hesitant about international adoption (I can’t wait to write a post on this soon… wish it weren’t so late tonight!), and it seems that when one of my kids is acting out people must think I have no clue what I’m doing. I get more unsolicited parenting advice (and commands) than I’ve ever gotten at home, probably with both of my kids combined. Sometimes I receive it graciously. Other times I want to let the person know that my child has some uncommon struggles and so common solutions just don’t work the same way. An easier answer I’ve come up with is just to say, “he/she’s not feeling very well today.” Typically that evokes a more compassionate than judgmental response.
We did venture out to church today with some new friends from here. All the kids loved the music and the dancing and the energy level, so much so that I had to exit the building when it stopped because, you guessed it, a major meltdown occurred. We found popcorn on the patio though, and the world was quickly restored to its right order (another interesting thing about our food issues: any time we see food in a public place, or see someone eating something, it triggers the scarcity response. If I don’t have food on hand, it’s severely distressing for the kids, particularly the girl, “Nakato,” which means second born of twins).
The afternoon and evening were spent at home because we needed to recover from the morning out (did I mention we had no power all day long?). The big kids swam, the little kids napped, Macy went to a friends house to play (yes! the family next door has an 8 year old daughter). It was a good afternoon. When the sun set, we busted out a few flashlights and put a movie on the lap top. Macy proclaimed once again (as she has every day of this trip) that “this is the best day ever” and I was suddenly thankful for a little thrid-world disruption. A neighbor even showed up at our door with a lantern to borrow because he wanted to make sure we were ok (#takencareof)! I was reminded at this point that yes, we are in fact ok. This is an adventure I keep reminding myself to lean into. It’s wild and unpredictable and oh so fun. It’s beautiful and tragic, and messy and, well, straight up crazy. But when you see all four of your kids wrestling each other and laughing on the bed at the end of a long day, it doesn’t really matter what came before that moment. #itwasagoodday
Note: “Wasswa” and “Nakato” are NOT their names, they are the traditional middle names for twins here. These names will be part of their given names for sure, but are not the first names we will be using. Just didn’t want anyone to feel misled.