Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pick Up Trip Ups and Downs

Well, I finally got one good night’s sleep last night so I’m back to blogging about our pick-up trip with our three boys. Yesterday was a rough day for Norman and me. After five nights in a row of getting about 3-4 hours of sleep, we were barely functional. And then I had a three hour stand-off with Benjamin in the morning. It ended fine and he started behaving well but I was so exhausted, and I will be honest with you—I started wondering if we had made a big mistake in adopting three children. I started imagining in my mind that every day of my life was going to be like this with him….and I thought “how on earth will I be able to handle this boy along with having six other children?!” I started praying to God telling him that maybe the decision to adopt them was all me and not from God—and asking him to help me….just help. I had known that I was going to feel regretful at times once I had the boys….but knowing it in your head and feeling it are two different things. In a way I hate to even be posting this honestly—because I read so many other adoptive moms’ blogs and they sound like they are absolutely SO in love with their precious children all the time….and it makes me wonder if I am just a little different than the average adoptive parent…..less naturally loving….or too much of a perfectionist….or too selfish……or maybe I just need more sleep than everyone else! But I want to be honest in case maybe someone else will or has felt like this—so you know you aren’t alone. Yesterday we got the boys to bed very early and there was a 100% difference in how easily they fell asleep—it was like God moved things in fast motion for the sleeping adjustment orphanage children must go through when they go to a new house. Tonight as well, they went to sleep with NO issues—praise God. So last night we got a great night’s sleep and today felt so much better. Benjamin only had a few minor episodes of acting out with Norman but none of them lasted more than 2 or 3 minutes.

A little about the boys….first Josiah, the littlest one. He’s six but he acts and looks more like a four year old. He really does have a big vocabulary, only you can’t understand him because of his cleft palate—he barely pronounces any consonants. But he’s a smart little guy and uses gestures to get his point across. The funny thing today was that, I had already been accustomed to the way that he asks to go to the bathroom, but then today he asked in English—and I had no idea what he was saying…he repeated himself a couple of times and then pointed “down there” and it hit me, “he’s saying ‘I have to go to the bathroom!” How cool! Josiah is a great eater—very independent, uses the bathroom himself, walks around singing sometimes, loves to wear the sunglasses he got at the 3D movie, LOVES doing puzzles on the Kindle. Yes, I KNOW that real life puzzles are much better for children and that real life experiences are much better than those on a screen….but Norman and I knew that we had a nine hour flight, along with two other short flights ahead of us….and everyone knows what good babysitters computers are…..AND can you imagine what the place would be like with 101 REAL puzzles lying around the apartment….and YES I am allowing their use much more than I should be….but everything they do on it is educational so it’s win win! Josiah also loves to be carried and he’s very affectionate and very easy to get along with….not demanding and he knows how to take “no” for an answer….much to his credit since we can’t explain ourselves to him and give him any good reasons. I wonder if anyone was brushing Josiah’s teeth in the orphanage because when we did it the first few times he squirmed and grimaced and gagged as if he’d never had a toothbrush in his mouth in his life. But today he watched me brushing my teeth and we watched me brushing the other boys’ teeth and he did a lot better. Then in the afternoon he asked to brush his teeth himself, so I let him, and then he wanted to keep doing it throughout the day. The other “first” for him as well as for the other boys was taking a real bath—they just get showered at the orphanages. And oh how they LOVE the bathtub. Josiah was in sheer delight—I mean he was going to hurt himself—he kept standing up and throwing himself down into the water—Norman had to hold onto him so he wouldn’t kill himself! His main issues are the medical ones—and they are very serious. We are laying hands on him and praying for his healing….asking God to give us faith and wisdom in how to pray and what God would have us do. We really appreciate your prayers as well and will give specific details on how to pray after we meet with the cardiologist. For now, pray that this enormous hernia we found on him will resolve itself and go down and not give him any problems until we can get him to a doctor.

You already know a little about Benjamin, our ten year old, but that was just the bad stuff. I have to make many allowances for him, knowing that he comes out of one of the worst orphanages in Bulgaria. We really felt it when we were there in December….he was the one I really cried about when we were leaving….because I couldn’t imagine leaving him there. I remember the children running wild and the teachers having no control—sometimes it felt like wild animals the way they were acting. And our Benji was so sweet, we honestly thought he was the angel of the orphanage. He did not display one negative behavior at the visit in December. But looking back at how the other kids acted, it isn’t surprising that he’s had his moments now with us. Plus, the director said that there are so many children and that they go around from teacher to teacher asking for what they want until they get it. She said the teachers don’t care that much about the children so they finally just give in in order not to be harassed anymore. So Benjamin has been doing that with us….and yesterday I think his world was just rocked when it didn’t work and he didn’t get his way. I wanted to explain to him that Norman had to take Josiah to get an important document and that as soon as he came back we were going to McDonald’s and a park….but of course I couldn’t, and I didn’t have the cell phone with the facilitators’ numbers so I couldn’t call anyone to help me explain. All he knew was that Norman and Josiah went out and they left him behind. Let me brag a little on him now—Benjamin LOVES to help. This morning he made all the beds in the apartment….then picked up everyone’s dirty clothes and brought them to the washer….then washed all the breakfast dishes (I did rewash them)…then swept everywhere—all of that without being asked to do any of it. He is very affectionate, but right now that affection is indiscriminate, as he hugged a man at the doctor’s office, one at the grocery store, and a couple of ladies as well. He says hello to people as we pass them on the street, and if you know anything about Europeans (so sorry if I am overgeneralizing) they aren’t as friendly as Americans are. I couldn’t believe how person after person after person would literally look him straight in the face after he told them, “Zdrasti” (hello) and they would not say a single word or even smile at him. Benjamin can eat non stop, and I realized today that I am feeding him too much—just because he can put it down doesn’t mean it’s good for him. He needs an enormous amount of food before he says he’s had enough. So I need to just give him normal portions for a 10 year old but add lots of olive oil and high calorie foods to help him gain weight—poor thing is only about 48 pounds. With him and Steven we feel like we are nursing children who lived in Auschwitz. The facilitators assured us that the children eat well in the orphanages here….but that studies have been done showing that it is the lack of nurture, and not the lack of nutrition, that makes the children fail to thrive. Benjamin has loved everything I’ve served him so far, except for dinner tonight. I made pasta with meat sauce, which my children at home love…..but he did not care for it at all and he did not want to eat it. Now I know that many parents would say that since it was only his third day, we should probably just give him something else to eat….and I can see their point. But Norman and I made the decision that better sooner than later he learn that we don’t run a restaurant and that if he doesn’t want to eat, that’s fine with us, but there will be no dessert or alternative meals. That’s what we did with our other children and they now eat absolutely everything. So we were very sweet and kind to him but told him that he’d have to go to bed without any dessert and he just cried and cried. I know for sure that he was still hungry and I wondered how that was going to make the night pass for all of us….and it was tempting to just give him some bread and butter or a banana and be done with it, but we decided better to just rip the bandaid off quickly and get it all done at once rather than prolonging the inevitable. So after he had his pajamas on and the other two boys were in bed and we were about to brush his teeth, he asked me for a piece of chocolate. I took him into the kitchen and showed him his plate and said once more, “first pasta, then chocolate.” And he said, “dah” and sat down and ate his food right up and then got a banana and some chocolate. “The end doesn’t justify the means” some might say, and I agree with that, but for Norman and I this brings the most peace to our family at dinnertime and better to get it over with in the beginning.

Steven, our newly turned 13-year-old is, as my mom put it, “A ray of sunshine soaking up all the love and radiating joy.” He is so happy to be adopted and going to “America.” He is very sweet with his younger two brothers and helps them in many ways. And they both like him very much and go to him on occasion for affection. All the boys get along very, very well. Today, Steven got to skype with some people from his orphanage, and he was proudly showing them his two brothers. He is very affectionate, but not indiscriminately like Benjamin. And when we told Benjamin not to hug strangers, Steven told him, “Mama and Daddy will be sad if you hug other people.” Lol Steven speaks English whenever he can and he is constantly telling Benjamin to say things in English!!!! He is really looking forward to getting home and playing with our 11 year old, Luke—who will definitely be the “big brother” of the two. It’s amazing how awkward physically and socially these children can be….but I know that that will change once he’s had better modeling and nurture from a family. Today there were a few times that he decided to ignore us when we were calling him. I’m not sure if it’s because he sees the other two doing it at times and so he feels like he needs to get in on all that….or if he’s just testing us or what…but we are showing him that we are not happy when he does that—and that does seem to matter to him—he is eager to please in the end. His main issue is his vision. According to the report he is practically blind in one eye and has extremely limited vision in the other. He is very tactile and auditory—one reason why I guess he learns the language so quickly. But he does puzzles and walks around fine and notices many details so I’m interested in seeing the ophthalmologist to find out exactly what’s going on there.

Some people might wonder why on earth we decided to adopt three unrelated children at once. Well, for us, just seeing the plight of orphans made us want to do everything possible. I guess we kind of said to ourselves, “What is the absolute most we can do without literally killing ourselves,” and for us three was our answer. For some, one might be the answer, of for some five might be the answer, or for some they might not be interested in having a near death experience—and that is totally fine as long as they are answering the call of James 1:27. Also, financially it makes sense to adopt more than one. Adopting three at different times would have cost around $90,000, while doing it all at once should have cost around $40,000 (it actually ended up being like $50,000 due to an issue we were unaware of). But money isn’t really the issue—when you are doing the work of the Lord, he can make 90K come just as easily as he can make 40K come. Money is really nothing to him—we are the ones who make a big deal about it. I have more to learn in this area.

Anyway, pray for us that things continue to smooth out and improve throughout the week and that God gives us mercy once the Kindles die out on the airplane on our trip back home!! Blessings to you all and thank you for your prayers and support! No time right now to upload pictures on here, but I’m sharing some from my husband on Facebook so please check there to see some new pics! I’ll try to add pictures to this post in the next day or two :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reader Comments

Sorry to all who have left comments on my pages over the last few years. Once I moved my site from Bandzoogle to Blogger, I lost all of them! Please feel free to leave a new comment above!