Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting Jake

Ten years ago today, I was getting my first baby. I wasn't in a hospital or a midwives' office, but it was a delivery room just the same. Anyone who thinks adoptive moms don't labor doesn't know about home studies, paperwork, background checks, lawyer fees and interstate clearances.
Those first years I spent a lot of time getting Jake bathed, getting him fed, and getting him to (blessed hour!) fall asleep. Then I was getting him antibiotics, getting him potty-trained, getting him some brothers and a sister, and getting him to preschool on time.

These days I am trying to help other people "get" Jake. To understand his words, quirks, behaviors and moods. To help them get the idea that Asperger's Syndrome is part of who he is, but it doesn't define who he is. In the meantime, I am getting him to piano lessons, getting him to do his homework, getting him to eat anything outside the Bagel/Twinkie/Granola Bar Food Group.

Ten years ago, I thought I had this motherhood thing all figured out. Now I realize it's going to be a long-term learning project. I may not have all the right answers when it comes to Jake...but I think I'm slowly getting it.

26 comments:

Jenibelle said...

I remember the first blog I read of yours mentioned that your Mom would ask if you were Sure that Jake was autistic because your brother sometimes acted the same way when he was little. I laughed til I cried. Sometimes even families don't get it!

Jake is a joy, a blessing, a direct answer from a kind Heavenly Father. You waited and waited and prayed and waited, now you have the GUARANTEE of forever, not just the hope. I think he was totally worth getting.
Happy Get-to-be-a-Larson/Halvorson-forever Day Jake!

andrea said...

great pictures!

if any of us ever figures out how to figure out our kids, or what the heck we're doing as their parents, it'll be instant translation. so don't figure it out, because i'd miss you while you were up there being all celestial.

happy bday to jake!

Lindsey said...

Sometimes I wish I 'got' Jaxon! No, I am just kidding.. but sometimes I wish his quirks didn't drive me batty. :) You are an awesome mom, and he is soooo lucky to have you! (Sorry about the car)

diane said...

Jake is a very lucky boy to get you for his Mom.

Hazen5 said...

Diane wrote exactly what I was thinking! He's "GOT" you. You are both so lucky! Happy Birthday Jake.

Meg said...

Awww! I feel the same way about my kids. The longer I am the mom the less I feel I know about how to raise them.

wenderful said...

I love that picture of the two of you. Priceless are the friends who "get" and appreciate your kids. The family too. Though sometimes they are few and far between.
Happy birthday Jake!

martha corinna said...

I love it!
Jake in some ways, sounds like Lulu. We are working on moving beyond the chicken and sugar food groups, and I have to try to not only help others(including my own family) get her, but also try to be patient enough to get all of her OCD and rigidity even though I really don't get it.
The other day on Radio West the discussion was with a gentelman, who has aspergers syndrome, who wrote an article in the New Yorker. Anyway, it was an excellent show and I found myself identifying with so much of what he said. I will go to their website and look it up and let you know the man's name, because he said the article is now online on the New Yorker website.

Bridget said...

That was really sweet. Great references about "getting" your child. Jake is a lucky boy.

Jeanelle said...

Beautiful post. Happy birthday dear Jake! I can't remember if I've blogged it or not but I'm adopted too. I can't wait until Jake comes to the same realization that I eventually came to: how blessed I am to have been adopted into my family. When I think how my life could have been, to not be in the family I'm in, to not have the gospel, to not have been given to a mother who is my best friend -- I weep! How wonderful that both of you (and the rest of your family) "got" each other.

Ilene said...

Give me a fat body and stretch marks any day over having to go through the rigorous process of adoption.

Let me know when you figure the mom thing out. I need some tips.

Annemarie said...

What a sweet boy & a perfect mom!

Kara Jayne said...

My sister "got" her twins through the same kind of labor you were talking about. One of them has asperger's and we are still trying to "get" him. They "got" our hearts though...that's for sure. What a blessing they are. You are truly an amazing person.

Clair said...

Love this. Hooray for Jake!

Lauren in GA said...

So wonderfully written, Gabi. I have never adopted but I appreciate learning from you when you so eloquently explain things like, "Anyone who thinks adoptive moms don't labor doesn't know about home studies, paperwork, background checks, lawyer fees and interstate clearances." Your writing takes my breath away because you help me understand things that I have no experience with. I think it is the splendid teacher in you.

Robin said...

Wonderful post. I get it.

Christie said...

We sure love that cute boy of yours - I remember when he was that little! How is he TEN?

Happy birthday, Shakey Jake!

Amanda D said...

I love this post! You are so good with words. Motherhood is definitely something that keeps changing and evolving. No getting bored with this job!

Lisa-Marie said...

What a beautiful post, boy, mother and relationship. What a lucky kiddo to have been sent to your home.

Happy Birthday Jake!

cami said...

I remember the Christmas before Jake was born when you and Brad announced that you were "expecting". That was so incredibly exciting!!! I can't beleive it's been 10 years. Jake is a very special part of our family and we LOVE him to pieces.

I can totally relate to the labors of adopting right now! I think our hopes of bringing home the kids by Valentine's Day are fading a bit. We were told this morning that the magistrate has still not signed the decree and he would like additional documentation. UGH!

martha corinna said...

The man's name is Tim Page, he is a pulitzer prize winning music critic for The Washington Post. His piece is called Parallel Play, published on August 20, 2007 in The New Yorker. Maybe you already are aware of him and his work, but I thought I would let you know because I found it enlightening and touching to see the world of aspergers from his(an insiders) perspective.

calibosmom said...

I'm glad Jake gets to have you for his mama.

queenieweenie said...

what an angel boy...I'm so glad you guys "get" to go through this life together.

Melissa-Mc said...

I have 2 nephews with autism. One with Aspergers and another with severe autism (15 years old and doesn't talk). Jake is blessed to have you for a mom. You are doing a wonderful job.

jessica said...

I am still "laboring" (crappy agency, attorney's, scheduling home visits) and we've had Camden for seven weeks! Adoption has certainly changed me. I can't wait to see what the next ten years has in store for us:)

Happy Birthday to your boy!

maicher said...

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