Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Checking In with the Kids

Way back when, Jess and I talked about doing a year abroad somewhere, just to, you know, have an adventure (whatever that means).  The moment this idea was vocalized, I immediately had visions of lush greenery, mouth watering food, maybe a tropical beach, lots of flip flip and tank top wearing, exotic animals, and well, some sort of adventure.  The next, more realistic, thought that came to mind was how the kids would feel about living somewhere around 10,000 miles out of their comfort zone.  Would we live to regret dragging them halfway around the world?  Would there be a mutiny?  Would the shock of living in a totally different culture trigger some latent anger or abandonment issues?  The resounding answer from friends and family was "Hell no!  They'll learn a lot.  They'll grow as people.  They'll be forever changed."  Of this, I have no doubt already.  So, as we near our one month mark on this year long experiment, I thought I'd delve into how the kids are faring and what their impressions and feelings about their native country currently are.

 The quick and easy response to the question, "And how are the kids doing?" is "They're OK."  In fact, upon reflection, I'd say they are doing better than I thought they would, which is to say, "They're OK."  My fears of a complete and total system malfunction are, so far anyway, unwarranted.  That isn't to say we haven't had tears or some seemingly unjustified lashing out.  Both kids have expressed some unhappiness about being away from home and all that entails.  On the other hand, considering the situation, they've also had a lot of laughs, met some friends, learned a ton, and grown together as siblings.

Case in point:  A few nights ago, Suni was having a bit of a meltdown near bedtime when Radd came in with a glass of water for her, some soothing words and a back rub.  I thought my eyes must be deceiving me.  Was it the heat/humidity combination causing hallucinations?  Nope.  Just a big brother learning how to be a better big brother and maybe a little sister learning how to let her big brother care for her.  Suni has also taken some real giant steps froward, learning some Thai, making Thai friends and showing interest in making her own art supplies (I honestly have no idea about that one). 

Now, is this a direct result of living in Thailand?  I cannot say.  This is something amazing to see, but who's to say it wouldn't have happened at home?  If it were just one instance, I'd brush it off, but what I've seen has been a pattern of behavior that has shifted in some way.  Perhaps it's a feeling of solidarity brought on by the circumstances of being in Thailand, the place where both of them were born and given up for adoption, and where we, Jess and I, came to bring them home with us to start and grow our family.  Or maybe it's the dang heat - I don't know.  But I do know that you all were right.  One month into this, the evidence of the profound impact you predicted is beginning to show.

So far, if you asked them, the kids would still say that they want to go home.  They miss Bozeman.  They miss their friends.  They miss their house.  But the cracks in their walls are showing.  Every time we go swimming, see an impressive sight, meet a kind stranger, experience a new and delicious food or just spend time on the back porch listening to the raucous croaking of the bullfrogs after a storm, I can see the appreciation for this place twinkling in their eyes.  So, I can now say, there's been some lush greenery, almost daily flip flop wearing, a little exotic animal feeding, and a lot of great Thai food.  And the adventure, I've discovered, is watching our kids negotiate their world and turn the experience into knowledge, understanding, and memories that will last a lifetime. 

Now, which way to the beach?



  1. Wow 2 in a row of your superb stories. So happy everyone is so happy and enjoying the GREAT ADVENTURE. My library card is history so keep up writing and find a publisher. It sure beats landscaping. Love you all

  2. Isn't being a parent and savoring (most) adventures and life through your children the BEST????

  3. We love your stories. Gre at to hear things are going well. Uncle Bob, who's head is in a book whenever he isn't working, thinks you have great potential as a writer. Looking forward to more. Take care.

  4. We love your stories. Gre at to hear things are going well. Uncle Bob, who's head is in a book whenever he isn't working, thinks you have great potential as a writer. Looking forward to more. Take care.