Friday, July 12, 2013

Shattered Places

We had been having a fun day together when it all came to a screeching halt as Cava got angry with Benjamin while they were playing baseball and he threw the ball at him. I happened to be outside with them when it happened so I saw him do it. This meant he had to automatically go to his time out corner. When I told him this, he began to hit at the plants and then at me with his plastic baseball bat, which I immediately took from him. Once inside, he went over to the corner, grabbed a globe Danelle had given me as a present from before we were married, and threw it. I watched as it hit the floor and broke into pieces. This was the second time that he had broken an object that had sentimental meaning to it and I was crushed.

This summer has had very little of these type outbursts from Cava, so it's always heartbreaking when one occurs. As he stood in the corner, he stomped his foot and shouted defiantly at me. It took awhile for him to calm down and be quiet. It took even longer for him to say that he was sorry for what he had done.

After he'd apologized, I told him that hitting someone with anything be it a baseball or any other object is just as wrong as hitting them with his fist or kicking them. "What those kids who hit and kicked you in Ukraine did was wrong, but it is just as wrong for you to do the same thing here. Cava, you're a good boy, but you're making bad choices. Did anyone ever tell you that you were a good boy when you were in Ukraine?"

"No," he replied.

"Well you are. And we love you very, very, very much."

To my shock, he then asked, "Then why did you leave me behind?"

"What do you mean?"

"In Ukraine. How come all of you left before Mommy came back for me?"

My heart broke. This little boy has been holding this pain inside of him for nearly seven months and had never said a word about it. When we left him, this was something all of us were worried about: that he would think we had abandoned him.

"Cava, do you remember the first time we met you?"


"Well, we had only been there an hour before they asked us if we wanted to adopt you. We told them, "Yes," and if we could have, we would have taken you home with us then, but we couldn't. Ukraine has a legal process that we had to follow." I explained as simply as I could the system we had to go through in order to legally adopt him. I told Cava how we desperately wanted to do nothing more than to bring him home to live with us, but that, even after the judge declared him part of our family, we still had to legally wait 10 days before he could come to the United States. I reiterated again and again how it was not us but Ukrainian law which kept us from doing so.

"Ukraine bad," Cava said.

"No, those laws are there to protect children," I said, "and because we followed all of them, you are now legally ours and are American. Even if you went back to visit Ukraine, you are still ours and still American. No one could take you back. Not even if you went to visit the boarding school where you were. We have documents stating that you are forever ours."

"They couldn't read them because they're in English."

"No, we have them in Ukrainian and English so, yes, they could. Cava, you are part of our family and will always be a part of our family. We would never send you back and they can never take you back. All of us love you and would be extremely sad if you weren't part of our family." I then told him about all the people who had been so excited about his coming here (family, friends, people at church) and Cava liked hearing all of this. He needed to hear all of this. Once more, he struggles with the fear that he could be sent back and this was, yet, another opportunity to explain to him that he never will.

As much as I hated to see that globe broken on our living room floor, I count that loss as worth it if it has helped Cava to understand that we did not leave him because we didn't want or love him. It was worth it if this moment has helped him to further understand that we will always love him no matter what. Despite the loss of the globe, I think it was worth it since this provided an opportunity for Cava to express his fears: fears he has never mentioned before and I got to explain to him why things happened the way they did back in Ukraine.

Once more, I am having to learn patience, forgiveness, and to seize even the worst moments as ones that can be used to show my son that he is loved and accepted.


  1. Wow, what a powerful message! How incredible that you were able to respond with such patience and kindness in the heat of the moment, getting to the root of Cava's outburst rather than reacting in anger. I read your blog regularly, and admire you greatly. Bless you.

  2. I second the comment I admire your patience and love! You guys are doing a great job!!

  3. Your response was amazing...way to turn around that hurtful moment into something very powerful!