For our detractors, who said "you're crazy", when we announced we were adopting a teenager, this post will probably make them smile, pat themselves on the back, and say "I told you so".
But neither will I paint sunshine and roses all the time, when it's not.
At some point since my last post, things have changed. Not horribly so, but enough so that I, at least, am concerned about NingNing (even more so than before now). After the initial jump start of using English, that I posted about on the 12th, he quit again, for no apparent reason.
Then this weekend, he's acting like he's totally detached from us; won't engage, won't respond verbally at all; basically doesn't want anything to do with us. And it all started apparently because Jr got on his case a bit about deleting pictures from my camera (a BIG no-no). Now, if one of the other kids had done it, we probably would have yelled at them, because they know better. We know NingNing does not necessarily, so my husband simply asked him not to, but didn't smile as usual when he said it, so N would know he was more serious this time.
Since then, we've had this "detached" behavior. I discussed the incident with him last night and thought we resolved it; I told him I love all my kids and like to take their pictures so I will have them to look at when they are all grown up. Perhaps it upset him to be reminded of when he would be on his own someday? Perhaps the idea frightens him? Certainly understandable, but it's a fine line between allowing him some "space" and condoning rude behavior (ignoring us as much as possible all day). Is he a typical teen? Oh yeah! Teen attitude? Yeah, it's there! Are the rose-colored glasses beginning to crack? Definitely....
So here I sit, at 4am, typing, worrying, considering,thinking, worrying some more........if our bio son were acting this way, we'd let him have his space, but eventually demand at least a minimum of respecful behavior. We expect no less of NingNing at this stage of the process.
The biggest challenge is figuring out what the problem is when the person in question is not sharing their feelings; is he mad at us, mad at himself, both? Or is he depressed; sad; maybe missing when he celebrated holidays in China (though we know they didn't do much where he was). Or just maybe the whole family togetherness was too much; maybe he felt (even now) that he still didn't quite belong when we got on to him about the camera. It's like playing 20 questions, but with no real solution, and a lot more at stake.