There have been so many things that have come up like this that I have been curious about. I kick myself about our meeting with Alexander, the kids birth father, and think why didn't I ask him this or that. So when a mother went to Liberia in January I included another packet for Alexander along with a our phone number. Last night he called and we were able to get through and call him right back. It was wonderful to hear his voice and that all his children are doing well.
The kids tried to hide their excitement, but Abegail just glowed. Then I handed the phone to Emmanuel and he said, "Hi Papa! Can I come back now? I want to come back!"
Abegail immediately covered his mouth. I can only imagine how hard that was for Alexander to hear. I felt heartbroken for him. The rest of the conversation was great and of course I asked about that baby boy and that's how I found out about Levi. Alexander was surprised Abegail had remembered him and told us about him. Alexander said he got all the school work and photos we sent him and he was so grateful. He kept calling me Mrs. Richardson and I was thinking, "I'm the mother of your children, please call me Sue." And then I thought there are so many things weird about that sentence I don't know where to start.
Scott and I have finally given in to the fact that we are in way over our heads when it comes to Emmanuel and his behavior. We are now seeking a counselor for him. Our first meeting was very eye opening and the "I want to come back" comment may be a big reason why he is hard to control. Attachment is key for him - and while he seems cuddly and needy and always wanting our attention, there are definitely some abandonment issues there. Our counselor told us to work on eye contact. Scott and I have both noticed he can't hold it for more than about two seconds. Just like someone you don't like who you don't want to look at, Emmanuel doesn't want to look. Maybe he doesn't want to get too attached?? It is hard to know.
Scott and I go from being defensive about Emmanuel's listening skills to being exasperated. At times we just want to scream, please don't tell us anything else bad about our son, do you know what this child has been through? At other times I will ask anyone to help me because obviously I have no idea what I am doing. Saying things 12 times to get him to do anything is exhausting both mentally and physically. Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, please sit down, Emmanuel, could you please sit down, SIT DOWN!!!!!!!!!! It goes like that with everything, put your shoes on, put your shoes on, please put your shoes on, Emmanuel could you put your shoes on, Mommy asked you to put your shoes on, what are you supposed to be doing now? PUT YOUR SHOES ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This whole situation is a long journey and there are no black & white answers. And if you ask Scott, he'll tell you...I don't know what gray is! This is so gray there are no Hallmark cards for this situation. We continue to get bits and pieces of the puzzle, but really feel in the dark when it comes to a lot of our kids story. We can't help but feel like it is a tragedy for the kids and the Davis family. Scott keeps saying the tragedy is over...but the journey is not over, its only 7 months, we don't know the ending yet. We don't know what their lives will be like in five years, ten years, as adults. Scott keeps quoting the positivity book, "It's like anything else, it's not what happens to you...it's how you deal with what's happened to you that defines who you are."
We don't know what they could have become had they stayed in Liberia. We will never know. We just trust one Papa made the right choice.