Theo was adopted from China by WACAP staff member Elizabeth Rose and her husband Steve Mohundro. Last year, for Mother’s Day, Elizabeth shared her thoughts about parenting this bright and spirited boy. This Father’s Day, we hear from Theo’s dad, as he reflects on how Theo has grown, and how life has changed since Theo joined the family.
Thanks to Steve for sharing, and happy Father’s Day from the WACAP team!
Play. I used to think I understood what that meant, but my son Theo has shown me the full extent of its definition. This is a boy who plays hard, plays creatively, and is always up for playing with Daddy and Mommy.
It’s been 19 months since we handed a little boy a toy motorcycle in a Civil Affairs office in China, and to sum up how much life has changed for all of us in that time would use “too many words” – one of my failings. When you look at where we are today, it’s hard to see the specific milestones – emotional, physical, intellectual – he has made along the way.
He can tell wild tales, he can belt out songs from “Frozen” like every other five-year-old, he can do just about anything. (He can even reach the light switch now.) Our Theo is dramatic, creative, and a clown—he is meant for the stage, or maybe the circus given his acrobatic leanings. Being a Daddy to such a child is a challenge in ways I didn’t realize. I thought I was prepared for his particular special need and the layered, complex package of challenges that come with adoption (attachment, grief, culture shock, identity, and more). What I wasn’t ready for was how amazing the actual kid is in person. And exhausting.
If it isn’t raining or freezing, a park is on the agenda. If a park, we almost certainly need to bring a toy or piece of sports equipment. If we’re stuck indoors, the family room tumbling mat is put through its paces or my board/card game muscles get a workout. He is physical for sure and super observant. He kills at Memory, and he’s getting better at tennis.
With Kindergarten in the near future, his growing seems to be accelerating. The stroller is starting to gather dust. The turns of phrase out of his mouth are incredibly complex and mature (in a clean way). He is writing his name and interested in words. He tries new foods—and likes them! The babble and constant carrying of 19 months ago, even a year ago, have been replaced by this independent, capable, smart individual.
When a child is adopted at three and a half, you fully expect some regression and rapid development. These kids need to start at a more basic level with you and then work really hard to catch up. While he was catching up, we were figuring out how to be parents. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner (Elizabeth) and teacher (Theo) on this crash course in being a family.