Stranger Sense of Belonging

P1010971The last two days, I’ve gotten little tastes of what it might be like to see the world from Soccer Boy’s perspective.  Yesterday, we spent some time with some chaperones and today we had a picnic for several hosting families.  In both places, there was a lot of foreign language flying around.

I felt out of place.  Strange.

Yesterday, we took two chaperones to the Carnegie Science Center.

It was strange to hear Lana correct Soccer Boy in a different language.  To hear her talk to him and ask him about his thoughts and his feelings.

I can’t do that.

But as he wandered around the museum and they talked, she turned to me and said, “He keeps telling me ‘nein’ to everything I suggest we do.”


I could have told you that’s what he would do.  There were crowds.  He shuts down and gets impatient.  He hates lines.

I already knew that.  I knew because he belongs to me for this summer.  He is mine.

I didn’t need to know his language to understand that.

And what made him finally wait?  Knowing I would be waiting with him.

After the museum, we went to Point Park.  He loved the fountain.  I knew he would.

Then we went to the Duquesne Incline.  It was his favorite part of the day.  I knew it would be.  It’s a vehicle, it moves, and such things fascinate this little boy.P1010988

I knew because he belongs to me.

But I’ve also seen different sides of him.  Strange sides.

We went to a picnic today, just the two of us, and there were eight people there speaking other languages.

I saw Soccer Boy trying to impress.  Trying to be a big man.  A tough guy.  He is small to begin with, but next to the towering teenagers, he looked like a slip of a thing.

Yet, he taunted.  He took on the biggest guy there, saying things in I’m sure it’s a good thing I didn’t understand.  But he wanted to be seen.  To show he was brave.

Not the preferred way to do it, but I understand his desire, his need to belong.

How refreshing to hear one boy, adopted and here for a while, say to the lifeguard, “We are all from Eastern Europe.  There are many of us.”

There are many.  Doudz and doudz.

They are not the strangers.  We are.

And yet we belong to them.  We are there because we love them.  And they love us.

And we belong together.

As I sat and talked to my friend Kristi, dearer to me every day, and we discussed our struggles, we found that they are different, yet share a common thread: it’s not about us anymore.  It’s not about our plans and our thoughts and our families and our dreams.  It’s about what is best for these kiddos.  It’s about helping them thrive.  It’s about figuring out how to help them.

Our dreams and our prayers have become about the best way to be there for them.

Because they are ours and we are theirs.  It is strange, this sense of belonging to something and someone so foreign, yet knowing that somehow, we are all home.

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