Monday, April 6, 2009

Learned Something New Today

Isaac is very protective of Daniel. They have a very special brotherly bond. Before today, I would have described it as unhealthy and codependent because of the way Isaac protected his brother. He would never tell us when Daniel disobeyed because he didn't want him to get in trouble.
One disturbing incident made me realize the seriousness of it. The kids were playing in the front yard and I was sitting on the porch watching them. I had told everyone that they couldn't play in the street, and I got down on eye level with Daniel, making sure he understood the rule. (Daniel is very impulsive.)
When I turned to get the mail out of the mailbox (on the porch), Daniel ran out into the street. I turned to see Isaac watching him, but doing nothing. We had a talk about the dangers of that choice. Isaac didn't want Daniel to be disciplined for disobeying, so he didn't say anything.
When we talked to Isaac about what happened when Daniel disobeyed in Liberia, he always told us that nothing happened. Maya confirmed this. He basically got away with everything in Liberia.
So, Isaac had never seen discipline the way it's supposed to happen. When Daniel was punished for disobedience, Isaac thought we didn't love him anymore. This all came out in a long talk we just had with Isaac.
We told him that we want people to enjoy Daniel as much as we do, so we discipline him when he disobeys. Kyle explained that people who are in jail and who, in general, are "bad people" were never disciplined as kids. They were never taught right from wrong.
We showed Isaac all the Bible verses about discipline and love. It will take time though, for him to see that we discipline because we love Daniel, not because we don't.

Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.
-Proverbs 19:18

For whom the Lord loves, he chastens.
-Hebrews 12:6

What son is not disciplined by his father? But if you are not disciplined, then you are illegitimate and not true sons.
-Hebrews 12:8
(This one is just for your benefit. I thought it was really powerful, but I didn't read it to Isaac, given his background.)

He who spares the rod, hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him properly.
-Proverbs 13:24

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.
-Proverbs 22:15


Sherrie said...


Good post and it makes sense. We adopted our two Liberians a year apart and the older one hates to see the younger one disciplined even though they are not even bio siblings. I think you hit it on the nail that they don't understand the biblical view of discipline since they have never seen it before and it probably seems mean to them. I'm going to have that same discussion with my son... :) Sounds like you had a good conclusion to all this.

musicmommy3 said...

Glad that you got to the root of the issue. :) I'm sure it's a relief to know WHY Isaac was doing what he was doing. :)

Mommaofmany said...

Do you go out of your way to ASK your Liberians about their life in Africa? Daniel was too young to remember anything, I know.

My eldest adoptee was four when he came to me in foster care. He had been physically abused. He is an exceptional kid and I have never had issues with him being mean to others, or being excessively afraid, or ANYTHING!

We did not speak very much about what he lived through, besides that his mother loved him, but couldn't take care of him and his brother and sister because she used drugs. We always blamed the drugs, not her.

He seems to have forgotten much of the mess he lived in (he's 11). Once in a while he will mention something, though, as a memory is triggered. Just a couple of days ago, we drove past a tattoo parlor and he remembered that he'd been in one once and described (accurately) how a tattoo was done.

I just wonder about your feelings. Would you bring it all up with a young adoptee and cement it in their memory or let it go and hope it doesn't cause problems later?

Ginger said...

Yes, we do ask them about Liberia frequently. We want them to know that we haven't forgotten their heritage and that they are free to talk about it as much as they want (which is usually a lot once we get them going). ;)
In your situation, I would talk to my son about his past based on his current age (what he is able to handle), not based on how young he was at the time of adoption. In my humble opinion, he's still not old enough to handle the truth that it isn't really the fault of the drugs.