Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Living in the Poop

Yes, I did just use the word poop in my blog title.  Some of you may assume it is due to the vast amount of time I spend with Children under 5, but not so.  No my use of "in the poop" goes way back. Way before kids, before marriage even, a gal I went to church with at that time, Andrea, was talking about what she was looking for in a man.  She was hysterical.  I remember laughing until the tears were rolling down my face, but there was so much truth in her hilarity.  She talked about how she often is swimming in the poop of life.  It is disgusting and stinky and messy and it seems to have no end.  She talked about how most guys just try to tell her how to get out of the poop and she lamented, "I don't want I a guy who describes the poop, tells me how I got in the poop, tells me how I could have avoided the poop, and tells me what I should do to get out of the poop.  NO!  Sometimes you just have to wade through the poop to get out and I want a guy who jumps in the poop with me, no matter how messy it is.  That is what I want.  Is that too much to ask?"  I am happy to say, that while my husband is a male and does sometimes put the "fix-it" hat on, usually he catches himself and no matter how messy he is always ready to jump in the poop with me.

Right now, we are kind of dredging through poop.  It is the strangest poop we've every had to walk through, because there are all kinds of treasures we find as we move through it!  Still, it's hard and it stinks sometimes and it's gross sometimes and often we want to find a short cut out, but there really isn't any.

Adoption is a really beautiful thing, but as is true with most beautiful things, it is hard and messy.  Marriage revealed sin issues in me I didn't fully recognize.  Parenting revealed more.  Adoption is revealing yet more.  I am on a couple WONDERFUL online adoption support groups and there are stories that literally make me sob at the computer.  We have an easy situation by comparison, of this I am fully aware- but it is far from easy.  Still, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I love Christian truly as fiercely and as deeply as my other kids, but parenting a kid of trauma is difficult.  We prepared with many books and a very helpful DVD series, but it is just hard.

I have tried to sit down and articulate it for this blog and end up deleting what I've written.  I just cannot articulate it.  It's deep. I usually can't find the words even as I pray so I just say, "God you know, you see, help me."  There is a deep emotional connection parents have with their kids- you can't adequately describe it, right? It's part of you, it's visceral, it just is and it is so profound and remarkable.  They are apart of you.  If you haven't adopted, you might wonder if this is different or imagine even that this connection is not as strong; but it is just as strong.  When they are struggling it feels deeper than your own struggle cuz you can't fix it.  When they are grieving and they reject you, the pain is unimaginable, it feels unfair.  It is so beyond your control.  You cannot fix it.  You just have to wade through it and you have to be there even when they push and push and push you away.  You need to prove to them you are their parent, but because you know you are their parent in the depth of your very being, their very questioning of that fact hurts in unimaginable ways.  Christian is little.  He doesn't understand all that is going on in his heart.   Sometimes he pushes us away, testing the waters, trying to figure out if he can REALLY trust us.  Logically, I get it.  I've read the books, I know the effects of abandonment on the brain, especially when it is developing as an infant or toddler.
Knowing it logically and living it practically are two different things.  I realized as I slept for almost three days after Christmas (Marc was off work, in case that isn't entirely obvious:).  I am tired, exhausted really.  Physically, emotionally and surprisingly, to me at least, spiritually.  I have so little time to process.  I literally could not have made it without Jesus.  Could. Not.  But the worship in my quiet time has been difficult (because I have no uninterrupted time.)  I have been receiving from Jesus, but even as we had a beautiful Advent, I need more of focusing on who God IS.  I got tastes of the intimacy I am longing for doing Ann Voscamp's The Greatest Gift.  Life is crazy and I am just longing to sit in my Best Friend's presence.  He's here, that is obvious, he is doing miracles every day, but being still...being still seems like a distant concept at this point.  And I so desperately just want to be still.

Adopting a toddler has ripped the roof off of reality.  I never, ever get a minute to myself.  There are times this is over the moon precious, but honestly? Honestly, at this point I would just really like to take a shower without him opening the shower door four times and saying "Hi mommy!" or just staring at me with his face pressed up against the glass.  I used to find warm showers relaxing.  I would like to cook dinner without holding him or having him hang on my leg.  I would really like him just to watch one hour of TV in the morning while I have my quiet time.  Slowly we are making progress; we are indeed making progress.  I have to teach him to play with toys and by himself (he's been CONSTANTLY around LOTS of children his entire life and has never owned toys.)  He is learning.  Even in the last few weeks we've seen so much growth.  We have much to be thankful for, so much.

Still even as I recovered from exhaustion (thankfully Marc had two full weeks off for Christmas and New Years- what a gift!) I realized I need to balance surrendering my right to self with taking care of myself so that I am a better mama to my kids.  Parenting from a place of exhaustion doesn't work.  I truly do get little to no time to myself, unless Marc is home...even then I usually spend it trying to catch up on cleaning, dishes, laundry so they house doesn't feel more chaotic than it already does.  I've gained a considerable amount of weight because I don't sit down for good meals during the day, snack on sugar and go from high to high, and have downed coke like I am an addict (which I am).  None of this helps with exhaustion.  I looked at my schedule and I am like, "how can I possible work out?"  "I can't give up coke, I am so tired."  I need God to get me through each day, but I realized as I pondered life that I need to ask for more than survival.  I need to have him show me balance in a very new way.  How do I give Christian the reassurance he needs and yet not feel guilty when boundaries need to be drawn?  How do I get better times in His presence?  How do I find energy for exercise?

I cast all these cares before my Jesus and shed some tears than had been bottled up.  There was just no time to let them out.  Wouldn't you know it, I laid it all out there- everything- the messy, the stinky, the good, the bad, I poured my heart at Jesus feet and he took it all and is working with it in amazing ways.  I haven't had a coke or diet coke in over three weeks.  Hello!  Is there anyone who knows me who now doesn't believe in miracles?!:)  I have worked out very regularly.  I have eaten plenty but almost all healthy choices.  I feel much better.  I have been fighting for quiet time- some have been better than others (read- last Tuesday as I tried to have my kids stay in their rooms for 30 minutes while I spent time with Jesus, Christian took of his diaper and peed all over the wall cuz he apparently couldn't wait for me to change him...).  I found a dear friend who is going to watch the kids for me on Thursdays so I can focus more my kids during the week and yet have a day to "catch up" on the house and spent extended time with Jesus, and sometimes just take a good nap.  God answers prayers.  It's been three weeks since I asked God to help us make healthy changes, but it has felt so easy and looking at my schedule, it is miraculous.  Going from daily coke to zero without cravings or headaches- INSANELY miraculous for me.  I just feel thankful.  God showed me, "Kim, you are tired, you can't keep going like this, please ask me for more help."  I did and he has SHOWN up.

There is still poop to dredge through.  Christian has really good weeks, like this one, and then for reasons we can't even decipher he'll have a really bad day- he can't be put down, refuses to do anything we ask him, cries at the drop of a hat, pockets food in his cheeks, etc.  They seem to have ramped up a bit in December (perhaps the Advent activities altered the schedule just enough to set him off? or the cold freaked him out?), things seem a bit calmer now, but honestly we still feel like we wake up on egg shells wondering if it'll be a good day or bad.  I am sure I don't have to mention the way the other kids get extra needy when he is;)  All I've written before about him feeling normal here is true, it's hard to imagine him NOT being here...and the truth is- he is doing AMAZING.    We are fortunate.  We've been home only four months, and in the last 6 weeks- We've had FOUR dates and he goes to Sunday school with Phin and Chloe.  He has had both my mom and my niece put him to bed without difficulty.  Bedtimes have gotten much shorter and putting him down for nap most days takes all of two minutes.  He's just doing awesome by most measurable standards!! There is much to celebrate- many diamonds amidst the proverbial crap.  Still both Marc and I have realized that having the head knowledge to understand rejection and the heart strength to handle it correctly are two different things.  Sometimes we feel so insanely hurt in those moments it's hard to think proactively, sometimes we feel such anger cuz it is just unfair on a thousand fronts.  We feel like we need more help so we start meeting with a therapist who specializes in Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), a therapy out of TCU that has had profound impact on kids with attachment issues or trauma related to adoption.  Another answer to prayer, she has Saturdays at 8 am available, an easy time for us to find childcare.  I feel so hopeful- not that it is going to be easy but that God has amazing thing ahead as we journey further.

Yes, this post is perhaps too wordy.  I have been blog silent, trying to do an update after the silence is challenging;)  I struggle not knowing how to express myself adequately- how to simultaneously describe the depths of joy and pain we are living.    I write not wanting to sound negative, because I am so aware that we live daily in the miraculous, yet wanting to be authentic with how difficult the journey has been over the past couple months.  I may be blog silent in the days ahead for all the same reasons;)  But feel free, PLEASE, to call or email anytime.  This is perhaps the loneliest journey we've ever walked...such foreign ground with few people we know who have or are waling it.  It is SO nice when people reach out;)  We aren't hiding, we are just are adjusting to this new craziness that is apparently our life;)  Sometimes the energy to find words, just isn't there.  I miss myself in some ways, but trusting God that what he is doing in me and through me is producing a more beautiful self that will better be able to serve and glorify him.  And honestly?  I am willing to dredge through anything to be a better wife and mama;)

P.S.  One of this months diamonds?  Our friend Janan coming to visit precisely when Marc was gone all week and I got sick.  God provides!