Before I left for Ethiopia to pick up Eli, Obadiah had begun a testing phase entering into the two-year-old realm. Nothing major, just regular two-year-old behavior. While it might have been typical, I was not amused.
I came back from Ethiopia a changed man. You can’t experience the great needs and the extreme tests present there and come back the same. But when I arrived with Eli, I felt this burden to make sure Obadiah never felt left out.
In the last few days, I have found myself not saying “no” so much. Things that annoyed me before I realize were typical 2-year-old behavior and not disobedience. I have found myself reaching for extra hugs or kisses to make sure he knows he is still treasured. I have gone overboard on encouragement towards him for the simplest things that he does. I stop and listen more intently to his stuttering phrases as he attempts sentences to explain what he is feeling.
When people adopt, often people have concern that the children already in the home will be neglected. I can honestly say, Eli has made me a better father to Obadiah. So much attention has to be given to this child that has serious needs, it would be easy to neglect our other son, but I have found out that this process has forced me to be more intentional with both of my boys. It is harder work, it is nonstop, but it is such an honor.
I am thankful that Eli is making me a better father. And I hope my boys are thankful too.
On this day, Obadiah’s 2nd birthday, I pray that I am the kind of father that he can look up to. I pray he can experience my love to comprehend God’s love for him. And I just pray he knows how adored he truly is. Happy Birthday, son!