I love love love to hear our son speak Spanish! It is truly music to my ears. I think my heart actually melts when I listen to him. I wish I could record him speaking Spanish and play it here because I’m pretty sure every last one of you would fall instantly in love. (But I am a little partial)
JMan hadn’t called his most recent foster family in Colombia in about 3 months. We were encouraged by ICBF to end all contact with them while we were in Colombia. I couldn’t do it. He had lived with them, called them Mami and Papi, hermano and hermanas for over 3 years. Their home was the first place where our son felt loved and valued. Our family had communicated with them on a weekly basis for almost a year while we were waiting. My husband and I decided that we didn’t like the message it sent JMan if we were to drop all contact with the only family he has known for the past several years.
We were home for about a week when I explained to JMan that I didn’t agree with ICBF and thought he should be able to call his family in Colombia, if he wanted to. He said yes and called them about every 2 weeks for the first few months he was here. Suddenly, it was a like a switch was flipped and he did not want to call. In fact, he refused to call. I’m still not sure exactly why. I have pieced together from little comments he made that it may have been a combination of things…hurt feelings because an older foster brother asked for something instead of listening to him, a fear of not being able to speak Spanish as well as he used to, a need to fit in with our family and not feel different. Regardless of the reason, I continued to gently encourage him to call but I didn’t make him. I believed he had enough to worry about and I didn’t want him to feel obligated to provide someone else’s happiness.
Tonight, we were sitting together at the computer taking down the Facebook account he created at a friend’s house without our permission (example included to show that we are definitely not perfect and always a work in progress). After banishing him from Facebook, I popped on mine and his foster mother was online. I offhandedly encouraged him to send her a quick chat (fully expecting an adamant no) and was surprised to hear a halfhearted no. Seeing my window, I pulled up the chat box and said, “just say hi”. He did and she was slow to respond so I suggested we just call. And we did.
The decision to allow JMan to contact his family in Colombia was not an easy one. I had to let go of some of my fears as an adoptive mom. Selfish fears. The fear that he may love another mom more than me, the fear that he may realize he would rather be with that family, the fear that our family could never fill up his little heart. These are all valid fears but nothing compared to the loss and fear our son has experienced in his short life.
In the end, the call went through and JMan was passed all around. He didn’t forget his Spanish as he had feared and I realized that I had become attached to this family and missed them as well. We have a common bond…we all love this enchanting little man who is a master of stealing hearts.
Our house was filled with Spanish chatter this evening (we call their phone through Skype and we can all hear the whole conversion, including the barking dogs and Salsa playing in the background). It was music to my ears.
But not as much as the “Mom…I love you” that came with a hug after the call was over.