Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The other day Abegail happened to mention that her parents had a baby boy before she was born who had died. She said she never knew him. I gave her the third degree just because I was curious. What was his name? How did he die? How old was he when he died? To all of these questions she did not know the answer. We finally found out the Davis' had a boy names Levi who they called Lee. He was born December 20th, 1996 and died January of 1999. Apparently he got sick and died and the family was never able to figure out what was wrong with him.

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'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.


Valerie said...


Right there with ya' Sue. You could have written the behavior piece of the post about Akins and how Lorea and I respond to it. Keep reminding yourselves you are wonderful people, and you are doing the right thing!


The Googeg's said...

It's long, it's hard, it will be the greatest blessing of your life.


Nancy said...

Dear Sue and Scott,
You don't know what Annie's life is going to be like as an adult either, or as a teenager for that matter, any more than any of us know how our children are going to turn out. All you can do every day, is the best you can to give each of your individual children the tools you hope will be helpful to them in becoming the capable, contented adults you hope them to be. And you do know a lot about what E-man's life would have been like in Liberia - just look at his smile and his teeth to remind you of one small example. You are not just seven months into this journey, you are years into it already. It began with the first journey - the Semester at Sea. You were called to do this and if it is taking more patience than you could have imagined, and is more challenging than you ever thought possible or anticipated, well, that is just part of life I guess. You can't get off the plane now, you can't speculate about all the 'what ifs', and one thing I am sure of is that Alexander does not regret his decision because he knows his children are better off now. Remember the son he lost, and how helpless he must have felt because that child died and he couldn't even find out what was wrong. I know that if you just keep on doing what you have been doing from day one, the end result wil be perhaps not what you imagined, but what you hoped for.