We were trained for this right? We were prepared to learn a new language, figure out a new culture, and become experts in communication. We are trained as missionaries to not impose ourselves on another culture, but to be as much a part of a new community as possible, and to walk with them as they and we make new discoveries together. And we were warned about culture shock, that thing that happens when you find yourself in a strange new land and are not sure where you fit in, if you have any value, or how to tell if you are doing a good job. We should be good at this right?
Then why is it that I look down at this tiny little human and wonder if I am really going to do it right? If I am really ready for this new adventure that lies ahead. I am not sure if I can learn baby feeding cues, followed by crying, toddler half talk, and whatever passes for language by the time he is a teenager. I am not sure that our cultures match since he thinks peeing on me is perfectly acceptable when all I am trying to do is help. Who knows what our different cultures will look like when I am half a century old and he only a quarter century. And what combination of language, words, actions, listening, silent and verbal affirmation and discipline will I have to learn to be an expert communicator in perhaps the biggest call that Liz and I will ever have.
And culture shock…I think I was more at home with a four year old who doesn’t speak English than I am with an infant that doesn’t say anything other than AAAAAAAA (breath…is he done?) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Which by the way I am finding out can mean “I am hungry. I am cold. I am hot. I am dirty. I am tired. I have gas.” Or simply “I don’t want you to sleep, I want you to stay up and look at me.” And those are just the ones I am currently working on translating into a workable language.
Liz and I are excited to be welcoming another little man into our family. Kaleb Christopher Soard was born on June 12, 2012. This is almost 5 years after his older brother Derrick, born in 2007. They are both beautiful people and I don’t even know that much about Kaleb yet. There may be times when Liz and I look at each other and think we are crazy, but I think these times will be few and far between when weighed against the times of happiness and joy that these two kids will bring us and each other. Pray for us, this time we are not talking about returning across an ocean, but even more importantly venturing again into the journey of parenthood.