I would like to be able to say that we always have a very happy, harmonious family. But that just ain’t the truth. Now, before Caden came along I probably could have gotten away with that statement a little bit easier. My older three kids all get along really well together and there’s very little arguing between them. That relationship does apply to Caden and the oldest two. They have formed the sweetest bonds, and Chloe is like a little Mama to Caden. And Eli is just a wonderful big brother all around.
But Caden and Eva…that’s another story. There has been a rivalry there almost since the beginning. My mother-in-law attributes it to the fact that Caden replaced Eva as the “baby” of the family. I think it’s a whole lot more simple, though. Caden and Eva are both pretty good at dealing out their share of crap, and neither of them has much patience for anyone’s crap but their own. Eli and Chloe are two of the sweetest, most laid back children you will ever meet. Eva and Caden are both impatient and want to call the shots. They are perfectly happy as long as they’re getting their way…but if one of them’s not, then there is a problem. And truth be told, if one of them isn’t getting their way the other is usually to blame. When it was just the older three, Eva could dominate a little bit more and the others just went with it. And Caden always gets his way where the oldest two are concerned. But Eva can’t dominate Caden, and she doesn’t give in to him.
The relationship between Eva and Caden is the one I worry about the most. For example, awhile back Eva said to Chloe, “You can have Caden and Cora will be mine when she comes home.” Chloe did put her foot down on that one and insist that Cora gets to be her sister too. And Mama explained that a family doesn’t work that way.
Last night, we went to a party thrown by some adoption friends of ours. There was SO much to entertain the kids that Mama could send them on their way and talk adoption with the other ladies. Andrew had to work all day…and into the evening…yesterday doing inventory at work, but I didn’t sweat it. We were on a few acres with hayrides, bounce houses, zip lines, a rock wall, one of those bungee/trampoline things, and all the hotdogs and smores a person could ask for. Our hosts had even hired some people to help manage things.
I was chatting with another mother of five about Cora’s adoption, when all of a sudden Eva ran up to me in tears. I could tell by her demeanor (and lack of drama) that whatever this was, it was serious. I didn’t even have a chance to ask her what the problem was when she sobbed out, “Caden’s in the bounce house and it’s going down.” I looked up, and sure enough…the bounce house that Eva and Caden had been playing in while Eli was on the zip line and Chloe was doing the bungee thing had TOTALLY collapsed. With my baby trapped inside. The generator providing it with air had run out of gasoline. I took off running, and the woman I was chatting with followed right behind me. We climbed into the bounce house, both of us searching for Caden. There was no sign of him.
I stuck my head outside and asked Eva if she was SURE that Caden was in there. She assured me that he had been playing by the slide. Sure enough, in the back corner there was a huge pile of plastic that had once been the inflatable slide. By this time, the crowd had been alerted and others were trying to help. The “staff” was trying to get the compressor going again so that the bounce house could be aired up, while some men and I were on the outside of the bounce house trying to manually pull up the plastic Caden was trapped under. Finally my new friend (who was still inside the bounce house searching) saw Caden’s foot and grabbed hold of it, pulling him out from the pounds of plastic that were smothering him.
As soon as he was loose, I ran back in the bounce house to get him. There was just enough air inside by that point to remind you of a deflated waterbed or air mattress, but with some of the men holding the top of the bounce house up for us, we were able to get out. And right there…waiting for us when we came out of the bounce house…was a still hysterical Eva, and her slightly less hysterical older siblings.
In that moment, I knew the grafting was complete. My worries had been in vain. There may be rivalry. There may be disagreements and drama. But Eva’s heaving sobs last night communicated something to me…my little BROTHER is in danger, and I’m upset about it. She didn’t want to trade him in for someone else, and she certainly didn’t want anything bad to happen to him. He was a part of her, and she was a part of him.
Until…of course…a little “squall” erupted between them this afternoon.
Tara Anderson began a journey of grace over 20 years ago when she walked the aisle of a little country church and gave her heart to Jesus. She is a stay-at-home mother of four, the youngest of whom was adopted through the China Waiting Child Program in November 2010, and they are waiting to bring home Cora who is currently at New Day Foster Home. Not too long ago, Tara knew exactly who she was and exactly what she wanted out of life…but now she’s just trying to figure out who God intends her to be, and what He wants from her. You can get better acquainted with Tara on her personal blog, Following Our Leader.