Some time ago,we mentioned that we had adopted a boy. For privacy purposes for him, we use the name James in the blog when referring to him. Adopting a child at any time following the loss of one, is not generally a wise thing to do. First, a damaged and emotionally raw family experiencing long term loss is not generally flexible enough to provide what a newly adopted child may need. In addition, most children who are legally free for adoption have experienced abuse or neglect to a sufficient degree, that they too are navigating intense loss and grief, also on a long term basis. Consequently, both sides are asked to be uncommonly flexible, when both sides have suffered enough to make doing so difficult. We followed through with the adoption of James because the adoption of a child who needed a home, was something Daniel felt passionate about for a long time. He believed that "good families" should find room for kids who need to see the loving inner workings of a family. Daniel first brought this up when he was four or five, and as a result, we did have a boy with us, when Daniel was five, which actually became a foster situation rather than an adoption, as we had originally hoped. The adoption of older children is important because no one can parent correctly, if we have never seen how. It has been an interesting journey. It had not been our exact intent to being home a child in the approximate age range of Daniel, after his passing. We were actually open to ages 2-12. Somehow though, we located and were matched by the agencies involved, to a boy who was approximately Daniel's age when he passed. Then it took an additional year to process the paperwork. In this case, this went well because James had a year to hear about, and consider our family and moving to another part of the country, and we had an additional year to grieve, which we truly used. Bringing a new child home is interesting, in that a new person, clearly not like Daniel is home, and we laugh and share. Because there is a relative closeness in age, they share certain similarities in likes and dislikes. However, there are challenges in that we are, in some ways, finally free to see exactly how very much we lost the day that Daniel had to leave us so suddenly. James is a great joy to have here and also a reminder of the brother who should be here enjoying his company also. Children like James, who endured abuse or neglect often come with a myriad of coping behaviors and this too can also be a great draw on a family attempting to right itself, move ahead and go on.
I am often asked how James is doing. James is a remarkable kid who is intelligent, perceptive, and who is learning to trust adults. Daniel would like him because he is his authentic self. James has no duplicity, no measuring or censoring of his ideas and words. Daniel would have found this amusing and somewhat refreshing. Daniel would also have appreciated how James cares for what were Daniel's animals, when he was here.
The ideal would clearly have been Daniel and James growing up here together, particularly after the older three left for college, and having them all gather here for holidays, and other celebrations, but this was not to be.
The music for today comes from Andrew Gunadie and Julia Bentley, two university trained musicians who have yet to be signed by a major record label. They have a broad range of interesting works and are excellent writers and producers as well as performers.
This is "What I Learned from Daniel's" one hundredth blog post.