Thought I would sign on and let you know that everyone here is alive and well. That has been questionable over the last 3 weeks. 🙂 Jeff and I and the babies have been home from Africa for 2 weeks now. There is a huge gap in my blogging (both on this blog and the adoption blog) on the last several weeks for multiple reasons. Let me see if I can quickly recap. We finished the process in Africa and waited to board a plane back to the states. That last week, I became severely ill. I joke that I was on the ‘African deathbed diet’. I was beyond careful about what I ate or drank, but somehow I still got sick. I didn’t eat for 9 days (still getting sick the whole time), and came back to the good ol’ US of A 15 pounds lighter than when I left. In the end, the illness cost me 18 pounds (several of which I found again), 3 doctor’s visits, multiple prescriptions and a good chunk of sanity. All of that coupled with 3 days of traveling with babies that had no idea where they suddenly were or why, jet lag, 3 bio kiddos who had 5 weeks of attention and love to make up for, and going from 3 to 5 children under 6 all at once left me a bit worn out.
Emotionally, I also wasn’t sure if I was ready to open up about the whole process. This was primarily due to the fact that I was in a dark place. Adoption is HARD. It is REALLY hard. I was prepared for hard, but I didn’t anticipate the correct hard. I write a little bit about that here. If you are thinking about adopting, or you are in process, I would love to share with you some of my experience. I haven’t decided whether I will publicly write about everything yet, but I do feel there is a HUGE gap of information and awareness about the emotional issues on the parental side with a newly adopted child. I’m not sure why it is not written or spoken about more often, except for maybe concern for privacy of the adopted child or due to shame of the adoptive parent. It seems like everything I read or was exposed to addressed how to facilitate attachment for the child or how to deal with a child who is having difficulty attaching to the parent, and not visa versa. Now, if we had known about this issue, it would not have kept us from adopting, but I feel like we would have gone into it a little better prepared. Even writing this, I know I will get emails from people frustrated that I am even alluding to this or suggesting I read more Dr. Purvis literature, but you know what? When you are going to take yourself and your family through the fire, it would be helpful to know that – not just see gotcha day pictures and homecoming videos that exude nothing but sunshine and rainbows. Sorry for the rant. Just felt it was a little necessary. Probably sometime soon I will write more about this, but not tonight. 🙂
Something that has been a delightful surprise is that 5 hasn’t really felt all that much more than 3, most of the time. If we didn’t have the adoption issue stuff going on, I feel like it would be a piece of cake. Granted, if I had 5 bios my body would be torn up, worn out and trying to heal, so I guess I can’t really try to compare the two scenarios. I can see however, that once Henry is adjusted and feels secure and safe here, we’ll be good to go. Not gonna lie – I’m seriously looking forward to that day! 🙂
The kids all seem to be doing well. We have definitely had some issues rise to the surface with Maya. Her feelings were really hurt that we left for so long. She did awesome while we were gone, but since we’ve been back we have realized the impact it had on her. Now, two weeks later, I feel like we have really worked through most of her hurt feelings. We have talked a lot about how obeying the Lord isn’t always easy, but it is always best. She adores Hope and Henry, so I think she is understanding that a little bit.
Maya and Liv both act as if we brought them home two live baby dolls. They are such little mothers. I love seeing it! They talk in mommy voices to the babies, bring them toys and reassure them when they need it. Liv recently went over to Henry, patted his head and said, “It’s okay. I’m here now. It’s okay, Henry.” 🙂 Seeing the little nurturing spirit the Lord puts in girls is awesome! Such sweet design.
Cooper is doing well, but is definitely the most affected by the adoption. We expected this would be the case, and it has proved true. Primarily, Coop and Henry are having issues. Coop takes toys from Henry because in the past, his sisters have not really cared when he did that. He isn’t trying to be mean, he just sees something, wants to play with it, and takes it. Well, obviously Henry isn’t okay with that. Especially because at the babies home, all the kids had to fight for their toys. Henry is extremely threatened by this and retaliates with bites and scratches. Poor Coop gets so sad when he does that because he doesn’t understand that he is actually the one starting it. A day or so this started getting really bad, but I think the boys are starting to get a hang of how things work. Lord willing, through direction and guidance, our little men will learn to coexhist peacefully. Of course, then they will learn how to team up together and destroy the house one room at a time. 🙂
Hope and Henry are doing well, considering. Hope is honestly the easiest baby I’ve ever had. She is super happy and loves to play. Every time we look at her she starts smiling and laughing. She has been sleeping 12 to 13 hours for a good 4 weeks now and rarely wakes at night. She takes 2 naps a day that are usually 2 hours each, and she eats anything we feed her. She is attaching really well and LOVES her sisters. She is crawling a lot and has started standing up by herself, without even pulling herself up on something. I am betting that she starts walking before Henry.
Henry is doing pretty well also. He has had a much harder time transitioning, but has made HUGE progress from when we first got him. When we first met Henry, he didn’t use his teeth at all when he ate, even though he has a whole mouth full. He rarely crawled (if ever), was BEYOND insecure and cried all. the. time. Now he is eating properly and even feeds himself. He can crawl really fast and pulls himself up on everything. He is gaining security and will even crawl in another room to explore cabinets or play with other toys. His sad puppy dog eyes look happy most of the time now, and he is starting learn that we come back when we go into another room for a minute. He doesn’t cry as much now, however this is till a big issue around here. He doesn’t have great tools for communicating so he screams and growls the minute he wants something. This can be a bit grating and has caused me to learn to exercise self-control like I never have before. Even though the reasons he does this are very sad, the way he communicates is extremely angry, so it is difficult to muster up an appropriate response. I feel like the Lord is testing me in this area, and unfortunately, a lot of times I have failed. I do feel like I’m gaining ground in this area and hope to continue improve my responses to him.
We went to the International Adoption Medicine clinic at Children’s Hospital downtown for the babies checkups last week, and it went great. The doctor said that the kids appear to be very healthy and have no noticeable delays. This was awesome news! Children from an institutional background almost always have delays, so I was really encouraged to find out they are doing well. We don’t have blood work back yet, but so far, their health seems awesome.
So there you have it! You are totally up to date on life over here. I can’t really go anywhere with all of the kids by myself because I don’t have enough
restraints hands. I do think I could manage the park or a spray park, so I think I’ll try those this week. These four walls get a tad bit suffocating. Even for Maya. She frequently tells me that “it’s like a daycare at our house.” She has never been to a daycare, but apparently this is how she pictures it. 🙂
Praying for you! I can't imagine how it's been to adjust emotionally and I commend you on being brave and transparent enough to share. No one has probably written much on it for fear of man. I am so proud of you and encouraged to see your submission to the Lord and the things to which he has called you. Continue to keep your focus on the eternal and the life changing impact being made on