Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just the nuts and bolts

I really enjoy posting-- especially now that the kids are home and I feel like I have a lot to share (ie... get off my chest) about life post-adoption. But, here is the thing... I like to have what I say be "pithy" and enjoyable to read-- otherwise, you all may stop coming by to read about crazy Team Dragovich and leave being encouraged that at least your family isn't "THAT nuts!!" But... it is hard to have time to be all quaint and cute. And every day, multiple times a day, I encounter "subjects" to a post... so that by the end of the day, I can't even sort them all out in my head or know which direction to take you! And besides that, I have to spend some time unraveling the ridiculous emotional side from the REALITY of what God is doing in our lives, so that I CAN write in a way that won't cause you to pause and maybe think you need to call a counselor for us :D!! I'm really sorta just kidding on that one-- but "sorta" is a key word there.

So... I will just give you some of the events and my thoughts/emotions that have been playing out in our family this second week into life as 7:

*RiSa likes Shirley Temple. We have had "Captain January" from Netflix FOREVER, and finally just sat down the other night to watch it-- per request of Wyatt. He LOVES movie nights and amazingly, all the boys like Shirley Temple-- weird, but good. But, because we live in a little bit of chaos right now, we ended up starting the movie before everyone was done with dinner-- ie-- RiSa and JB and me (because I never get to start eating until most everyone else is over half done with their food). As soon as Little Miss Temple came onto the screen and started singing, RiSa stopped eating-- food in mid-bite, which is saying something for this girl-- and stared at the adorable little doll-faced girl with the bobbing curls on the TV. Her eyes lit up and she got the biggest smile from ear to ear. After that, she slowly finished her dinner, with one eye on the TV the entire time, and then happily went to the couch and sat the rest of the movie-- MIRACLE!!!! Afterwards, she was singing in jibberish the music she heard on the movie. The girl likes Shirley Temple.

*Both kids are completely head over heels for Tony. This isn't to say they don't give me lots of affection-- especially RiSa-- but, the whole Daddy back to work thing sorta confused them at first, and yesterday, when I told them Daddy was on his way home, they got more excited than the dog does when she sees Tony pull in. They ran, screaming for the door, "DADDYDADDYDADDY... DADDY!!!!!!" Oh my. When they saw him pull in, they couldn't get the door open fast enough-- actually the door is somewhat hard for them to open still-- good. They jumped into his arms, showering him with hugs and kisses, repeating, "Daddy, Yeni... Daddy, Yeni (mine)!"... then they proceed to tease one another about whose Daddy he is-- then they say to one another, RiSa: "Mommy, Biruk-e's... Daddy, Yeni!" (meaning, Mommy is Biruk's, but Daddy is MINE!). They both do it. Nice. They laugh and have a great time with it, and still give me kisses and hugs... but Daddy is the apple of their eyes. All my kids have done this to me. What is that?

*JB and the boys are like oil and water right now. Especially with my second boy, who feeds his contempt to the next youngest brother, who is more than happy to oblige and parrot him. I was telling a fellow adoption friend on the phone yesterday that so much of the problem I think is communication. Not that there isn't the competition factor-- but really, when JB torks them the wrong way, it is because he is playing in a way that they don't understand, or wanting something that they have, and he doesn't understand he can't just take, or touching their hands and face which is so culturally accepted in Ethiopia and NOT here, or teases little sister to get a rise out of her-- which he rarely does anymore... they become personally offended and can't see the difference in culture or the lack of understanding he has over the offensiveness of his actions. Wyatt is doing the best with it, because he works more at parenting them than just being a brother-- which frustrates me, but I can get over it. Isaac, especially will become disenchanted with something JB does and then just pick on him in subtle-- or not so subtle ways. Yesterday, JB must have "cut" Isaac off while riding bikes and Isaac proceeded to bumb his tire against JB's until JB fell off his bike. Tony and I watched the entire thing transpire and it was hard to watch. It is so hard to watch your child be so mean-spirited to another. I kept waiting for Tony to intervene and asking him, "Aren't you going to do something?" But, it is true that a lot of times they need to just work it out and right now, the more we point out when Isaac is being mean, the more he retaliates and grows in self-righteousness. So... JB fell and didn't really hurt himself, but of course, his feelings were terribly hurt. I went out to comfort him and he wouldn't really let me. He is small enough that I can pick him up and "force it", but he never cuddled up to me and did the whole, "stiff as a board" thing. I kept kissing him, trying to soothe him with words and eventually let him down to see if he would ride again. He did get on, still bawling... until some people on a golf cart turned down our cul-de-sac. Then he shut off the waterworks like a faucet. Hmmmm....

*Yesterday, I HAD to go out to run a few-- yes, I said A FEW-- errands. Hospital on post, eye doctor for follow-up and vitamin shoppe. I am happy to report that all my fears of RiSa darting or seeking attention from doting strangers were disappointed. At the hospital, we stopped by to see if Daddy could chat (he couldn't), and in the meantime, one of the other docs started showering the kids with attention and trinkets that he keeps in his office. "Oh boy," I thought. "Here it comes. " Instead, when handed a stuffed dog, RiSa shyed away and buried her head into my shoulder. Of course, later she lunged for the car that the boys had. But, still! She was perfectly content to hang onto mommy or be in her stroller and JB was happy to hold the hand of a brother the entire time we were out and about. We managed all our errands with very little fuss-- besides the nit-picking attitude of older brothers... which I have already delved into at length-- sorry :)

*Finally, we have had a possible medical situation arise for our little RiSa. It showed up in her bloodwork and we are praying that it will pass without causing her long-term problems. God is faithful and good and I know He is our All-sufficient in every trial we are being faced with right now as a family and as individuals. I covet your prayers for RiSa's health and complete healing-- IF what the bloodwork showed is truly the case.

Every day brings new joys and new challenges. I find myself bouncing throughout the day between contentment and being overwhelmed. I constantly fight off the fears that try to invade my brain-- fear of brothers never meshing or accepting the presence of a new brother, fear of JB never letting me comfort him, fear of MY own heart never really getting to that point of "feeling" like they are MY kids and not someone else's kids whom I have been left responsible for. Every day I see evidence to the contrary of my fears. And I have never practiced the ACT of love harder and the constant denial of living in my fears and emotions more than now. Praise God for that!!! I KNOW that our family is becoming more Christ-like through this process. Not because of what WE are doing that is so great, but because of what Christ, in His mercy, is doing through us. He is not content to leave us in our own selfish state, but rather, He is faithfully continuing the "good work" He has begun in us-- not to be completed until the day we see Him face to face :)

Grace and Peace,


Michele said...

Love the little parts of your day. Looking just at my own boys I see how hard it would be to completely change the dynamics of our home. Been walking through this with my prayer partner from San Diego days. They are 2 yrs as a remade family. It is a joy to see those kids, two (we really 3 cultures) meshed as siblings. It will come.
Miss you my friend.

jamullins said...

Love reading your blog. My husband and I fell in love with your daughter while we were in Addis. Has she slowed down any since she's home? :) I think she kept the nannies on their toes!

Bette said...

Sounds like you have your hands full. The boys will come around to JB, just not in your time frame. As hard as it is, let them work as much out on their own as possible. It will make for better relations all the way around. Patience is a virtue and one that you need tenfold right now (and could even be one of the things God is teaching you). :P

The whole Daddy thing? Don't worry, you're just the one that's there all the time for them and probably the one they feel most secure with, so in a round-about way it's actually a complement to you. Think back to those child psych classes you had to take!

Let us know how it goes with RiSa. Prayers continue! Love ya & God Bless Thee!!!

Dana C said...

Hi Shari,
I just read some on your blog... i cannot explain what was happening in my heart as i read it. Overall, I felt deeply thankful for your family. Listening to how your children are adjusting and how they all are learning how to relate to one another... wow. These are the hard but good lessons that will grow them all in ways that God WILL use for His glory in their lives. They are learning to love each other (though it may not seem like it at times), and you all are learning to love each of your children in the many different ways that they need right now (all of them need something different!). It is just a great picture of servanthood... it really is! Take heart, God is at work in your family! Thanks for sharing the "nuts and bolts" of life with us. I am learning and processing from all you have written.
I still would love to see you. And hear about how in the world you plan to homeschool all of these kiddos! AHHH!!!
Blessings to all of you