The conversation goes like this:
So, how’s Dawit adjusting?
Me: Dawit’s doing great!
Oh, that’s wonderful (or good or great or insert another positive adjective)!
Me: Yes, it is. In fact, He’s adjusting to his new environment way better than I’m adjusting to being a parent of four!
Being a new adoptive parent is giving me a new perspective…a new way of thinking…a new way of living, and I’m taking my parenting lumps along the way.
The words of theologian (errr, I mean comedian), Jim Gaffigan, accurately express what it feels like to be a parent of four children: “Imagine you’re drowning,” Gaffigan says, “and someone hands you a toddler.”
“Imagine you’re drowning and someone hands you a toddler.” That image pretty well captures the chaos in the Cooper house in this season of life.
My new motto for parenting is….(wait for it!)
Evolve or die!
Having an adopted child (who is a T-O-D-D-L-E-R y’all!) added to our family has shown me that our old way of doing things…the system we had that worked for us previously, is no longer a viable or sustainable option for us. New systems, new patterns, new ways of thinking and behaving must take the place of our outdated systems. The old ways of doing and being family simply no longer work.
But, creating new systems is hard work. It’s exhausting.
If I’m completely honest, what I really want is for my new family dynamic to continue to use our old systems, but in new ways. The systems we had before Dawit were good. They worked for us. Couldn’t we just keep living life the same way?
No, not really.
I mean it might work for a time, but eventually we have to evolve or die. In one way or another, we all have an aversion to change, especially when things are going well. The old ways of living, the outdated patterns and systems we put in place cannot sustain evolving family dynamics. Such an effort would be as foolish (to use the words of Jesus) as putting a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, or putting new wine in an old wineskin. When the patch shrank, the garment would tear. When the wine fermented, the wineskin would burst. The old ways/patterns/routines/systems/thinking cannot meet the needs of a growing, fermenting with life kind of family.
On the one hand, I’m overwhelmed by the task of creating new ways of living, but on the other I’m discovering grace to evolve…grace to change in ways I hadn’t expected…grace to forge new paths as a newly formed family brought together by the One who is never overwhelmed.