Monday, October 28, 2013

FIVE WEEKS! Where does time go?!

We're five weeks into parenting four children and it continues to go well.  I won't deny, we are TIRED!  Having four kiddos is no joke;)  Some days I feel like I am drowning in laundry and dishes;)  But we also have lots of laughs, mischief and fun.  AND I GET TO DO IT ALL WITH THIS GUY:)

Hannah has left and we are doing just fine, but definitely miss the help some days.  And the company during the day.  She's a good friend and we love her;)

While we are tired,  in many ways I feel we are thriving and I am so thankful, but we just don't have a great deal of margin.  I just haven't had a lot of extra energy to blog and I am thankful that I haven't felt pressured to do so for anyone but myself.  I do want a record of these days, this one might just be more bullet point and pictorial that narrative;)

-We had a really hard moment.  A gut wrenching, heart breaking moment that still literally causes an ache in my chest to think about.  Christian has had major digestive issues.  He came home with Dysentery.  He was asymptomatic but because we have other kids and it is contagious, we had to treat it.  Giardia requires HEAVY duty antibiotics that are really hard on a little kid and though we didn't have diarrhea before, we've had it for three weeks since finishing the antibiotics and getting the all clear that the bacteria is gone!  He has to eat a certain diet and take probiotics cuz we need to get his gut back in order.  He doesn't really get this.  Food is some days a battle I HAVE to pick and we've had some wars.  I've always won...cuz a) he needs me to get out of his booster seat and b)I have chocolate as a reward and google translate to explain.  So while it's been tiring, it's felt productive in lots of ways cuz he's learned he has to do what I say even if what I am saying is simply "Finish your banana".  But one day, he decided he didn't want his probiotic.  He takes medicine like a champ, so it shouldn't be a big deal, but he's two and he decided he didn't want do I said, simply because I said I put it in a syringe and gave it like the nurse that I am.  (I laid him down and put it in the pocket in the back of his cheek which forces you to swallow it.)  He cried and that I expected cuz he wanted to go back in forth in battle and I completely took away his control in about 45 seconds...but he didn't just cry.  No he did not JUST cry, he WAILED and  He called out for Imelda (his nanny) over and over.  My heart was ripped out of my chest.  I felt horrible, helpless, abusive, etc.  His first two nights home he cried going to sleep and we wondered if what he was saying while crying was "Imelda".  I am now 100% positive it was.  He hasn't done it since....until this and I cannot explain how much it pained me to see his vulnerability.  His grief is there, it is so deep and I hurt for him.  I longed for him to know I was trying to help him, instead of the fear and utter helplessness I obviously induced.  I'll never know if he understood.  He did let me hold him and bounced back to his happy self after a bit and we've been fine ever since.  But in that vulnerable moment, the fear, the grief that is under the surface was exposed and it is something that is hard to articulate witnessing as a parent.  My poor boy.  I am still recovering from guilt and wish I'd handled it differently.  He's doing so well, it's easy to forget how new this all is to his precious heart.  How I wished I'd just waited and tried again an hour later or something!

-We have really funny moments too...truthfully, most of our moments are really fun.  When I am trying to tell him I am serious and he needs to obey, I guess I raise my eyebrows.  He LOVEs to make mischief and try to get me to laugh instead of do what I say and recently he has begun to give me the look right back like this...and I try so hard to be serious, but I often fail miserable and end up tickling him, he's just so cute!

(Context, he was going to leave the table with his snack and we have a snacks only at the table rule.  He DEFINITELY understands the rule and is constantly laughing trying to sneak away with his food.  I saw him starting to get down and I gave him the look...he gave it right back:)

-Phin had a birthday, which will be it's own blogpost;)  but at the said birthday, Christian had his first swim and LOVED IT!

-Someone asked me this week what it's like to have a black child and the question caught me off guard.  I do know Christian is black, of course, and that having white parents will affect him in society and I won't always understand what he will endure, but on a day to day basis, I don't even think about having a black child.  His skin is drier that my other kids, so we put on more lotion, but he's just my kid.  It's sort of like, Chloe has curly hairy so we have to wet it and spray detangler every morning.  To me he isn't "black", he's Christian.  That's how I think of him.  He just feels part of our family, just like each of my other kids.  There TRULY is no distinction in my head so I have to figure out a better answer to this question to open dialogue while protecting the fact that he is my SON.  I know I will be asked again and it was definitely NOT asked in ill intent.  I don't even remember my response, actually, I hope I was gracious.  I think I said, "like have a son".

For the record, as an adoptive parent I'll tell you it REALLY rubs adoptive parents the wrong way when you call bio kids my "own" making a distinction from the adopted child...Christian is my own too and when you say this, even though, I know it isn't of ill intent, inside I sort of feel like I want to punch you in the throat.  I KNOW I have said it myself not meaning anything other than biological, but then I went through this little miracle and my heart makes ZERO distinction between bio and adopted. SO...even if you don't understand, please refrain from using such terminology or saying "what a sacrifice" to an adoptive parent...cuz inside it makes us FURIOUS.  We are kind of constantly walking this type rope of remembering that NO harm is meant, but calming the Mama bear instinct that rises up.

Simultaneously, when I look at pictures like this, I DO think he has the most beautiful chocolate skin in the world!

-Christian IS adjusting to the cold...mostly cuz the boy loves accessories so he likes to wear his coat and hat.  In fact, he hates to take them off when we come inside;)

-He also LOVES to put on other people's shoes, which has snowballed into all the kids taking Marc's and my shoes ALL the time.  Someone is certain to sprain and ankle, but they sure are cute;)

-Finally, we just finished a crazy busy weekend and I am totally exhausted but so filled!  On Friday, we drove to Kenosha to witness our "nephew" Anthony's final adoption. After over two long years of having the distinction "foster son", he is now a Steinke.  I still cry thinking about it.  Steinke's are dear, dear covenant friends and just like family.  It was a day covered in pray in so many ways- a painful and joyous day for many reasons and I am so thankful Christian is doing so well and we were able to attend!

-Saturday was a wonderful "Sheboygan" day;)  Some good friends, Jeff and Summar stopped through on their way back from Michigan.  It was out of the way for them to come to the western burbs, but they came.  My kids were ecstatic to see them.  Christian seemed to sense their love and hugged them immediately.  Summar read to the kids, played with them, etc. Then we got to have some nice heart to hearts.  She is a reservoir of ideas and one of the women that just constantly encourages me to love and enjoy my kids in every moment.

THEN I got to drive to Rockford to have dinner with some of my Sheboygan small group girls on their way back from a Beth Moore conference.  I love these women.  We have a special, deep, heart connection.  Just seeing them was like balm to my soul.

I think God knew that seeing dear friends might make us feel a little down the next day, so in his sovereignty, we hosted our first small group HERE in Saint Charles on Sunday.  I am so excited to get to know these folks.  They are super great peeps, and I know our hearts will soon be bonded in friendship here, as well.

God is good.  It was a lot of busyness and we were prepared to cancel any of it if Christian seemed razzled.  He's done great.  He shows great signs of attachment like hugging someone new,but coming right back to us to be held or playing with other kids, but continually coming back to me to check in.  He continues to show us he has a great sense of adventure.  He is cautious but THRILLED to experience new things.  He may cling to us at first as he surveys the surroundings, but slowly he wants to explore and is usually delighted by what he finds and who he meets.  He is not ready to be left alone, of course, but as long as we are nearby and he knows it- he loves to check out the new world around him!

Thanks for continued prayers.  Today is a Monday and I woke just filled with joy.  We are so even as I start to chip away at the weekends laundry and dishes, I find myself joyful instead of down...cuz friends poured into us this weekend.  We're so thankful.

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