Well, it appears that I am back to "reflecting" (aka-- purging my inner thoughts and turmoil) less and moving through our new family dynamics more and more. Thus, the two weeks between posts! And, really... I should be running. For real. I skipped meeting my running group on Ft. Bragg this morning due to multiple RiSa interuptions to my sleep. Not to mention a husband who came home LATE-- or should I say, early morning??-- from the neighborhood poker match... he just COULDN'T leave, he says. He was winning. Whatever. All that to say, by the time the alarm went off at o'dark hundred, I was not responding. It has to be pretty bad for me not to leave at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning and steal away some "adult" time as well as get in a good run. Now I'm wondering if I should have just sucked it up and gone... hmmmm...
Enough of that.
So much of this side of adoption reminds me of the first months of bringing home a baby-- no matter what the ages of the children... maybe those who have brought home much older children would disagree. In alot of ways, we DID bring home at least ONE baby-- and some times I think... well... nevermind. :) A fellow adoption friend was encouraging me on the phone yesterday and saying how even it has been a month and that feels like a long time right now, when I look back after a year or more, it will be a fog. I concure... I DON'T really feel like it has been a long time since they have been home. I know that "foggy" feeling all too well... I've done it three times so far, and thankfully I am getting a "two for one" deal on this "foggy season"!! I long for the days when I will wake up and not say, "Oh! Here you still are!!" Not in a bad way or an "I wish you weren't here" way; but in a "Wait a minute. How do I parent ALL of you, again?? Oh that's right. There is no manual. I have no clue. Okay. What's for breakfast??" Am I scaring you yet?
The boys are adoring their little sister. I often hear out of one of their mouths every day, "Mom, I think she is the cutest thing ever!" or "Mom, she is sooooo cute!" or "Mom, she is the cutest girl I've ever seen!!" Lots of cuteness. As for little brother??? Not so much. This has been one of the hardest things for me to watch as a parent. The subtle and not-so-subtle rejection of my children to my children. And to make it all more confusing and frustrating to me is the fact that in a lot of ways, I can understand their actions-- I did not say I CONDONE or ACCEPT or ALLOW their actions... I just said I UNDERSTAND. This, of course, says as much about my lack of "seeing through God's-eyes" as it does theirs. The great thing is that I see progress. More of like two steps forward and one step back progress... but progress, none-the-less. JB is a lot more complicated than RiSa is. He can be very obstinate when he wants to be. He is quick to whine when he doesn't get his way. He won't listen to the boys when they tell him to stop doing whatever annoying thing he is doing all the while laughing uncontrollably because he thinks it is funny. Unfortunately for him, these things all add up to "annoying little brother syndrome". Poor kid!! But, the progress I see is in these little things: when he pouts, it lasts less time than it used to. When he is "offended" by one of his brothers he doesn't do his Ethiopian wail (WAAaaAAaaAAAaaAAAA... WAAAaaaAAAAaaaaAAAAAaaaa and so one) as quickly or as long term as before. Note: I call this the "Ethiopian" wail because RiSa's whiny cry sounds the same. Maybe some other adoptive parents can concure this same cry???). He is making better eye-contact than ever before-- although we still have a LONG way to go in this department and I will be very honest in saying that for Tony and I, this eye-contact thing-- especially when he has misbehaved-- is VERY FRUSTRATING. You don't have to tell me how common it is. I know. It is still frustrating. He ADORES Tony. He seems to like me, as long as Tony isn't around. And he always wants me to watch him do some new thing-- esp. in the water. But, he saves all his kisses for Tony and when I tell him how much I love him, he always says, "NO love. Daddy love Biruk-e." Then he smiles and goes off to play, not knowing the inner turmoil between knowing in my head to not take it personally and trying to stop the bleeding in my heart. Like I said-- or at least implied-- bonding and attaching with JB is definately a different road with more twists and turns.
Some other highlights: we made an impromptu trip with Tony to Florida this week. He had a conference to attend in which he was speaking and at the last minute I decided I would rather risk it with 5 kids on a resort than be stuck at home for 4 days with them-- despite the familiar territory. I knew it would be a stretch, but we talked it over and just did it. I'm SOOOO glad we did. Not to say it was the easiest thing to do-- 7 people packed like gypsies in a hotel room (is that politically correct to say?)-- but here are some of the highlights:
** JB is practically swimming. Four pools, the Gulf of Mexico and three brothers you are desparately trying to keep up with, will do that for ya. He was unrelenting and I have to say that the hours we spent working with him to "move the water" resulted in some great bonding and eye-contact practice.
**After driving about 4 plus hours, RiSa started to say indignitely from the middle row, "MOM. House! Mom... Houuuse." "MOM. Draga-bich HOUSE!!" Sweet. My girl can't say her last name without using foul language. I have to confess that this was HILARIOUS!!!!! One for the Memory book.
**Tony and I both think that JB came home from FL more relaxed and connected with all of us than when we went. I consider that trip a "pressure-cooker" of sorts. 5 days of forced close proximity-- esp. between him and the boys. They HAD to interact and although we had a lot of tussles and fussy arguments, somehow God worked in spite of it. It has helped me look at our upcoming school year with a little more anticipation and a little less fear :)
**More than once (as you can imagine) I heard these words, "Are these ALL your children??" "Why, yes!" I would reply proudly. "They are." Some other common comments: "God bless you." "There is an invisible halo over your head and a place in heaven waiting for you." "Wow. I thought four was a lot! And you look so YOUNG!" Yeah... I liked that one. I won't lie. And even as uncomfortable as the rest of the comments were to hear-- It was amazing how at that moment, I was encouraged by them, uplifted and felt like I could finish the day well. Never underestimate the power behind your encouraging words.
**I actually took all five of them OUT to eat by myself THREE times-- two of those times being on the same day. I am crazy. We had to eat. They did GREAT!!!!!
I better wrap this up. Now I am in the middle of figuring out how the heck I am going to homeschool with 5 kids in my house, one of them being a 2 year old-- who is VERY vocal. I'll keep you posted on that adventure. I am also looking at my garden-- or what is left of it. I am so sad to confess that my garden was a complete mishap this year. It is full of weeds and regularly being eaten by the deer. All of my flower beds and pots look the same. Unloved. And running??? Well... it is random and not focused. Imagine that. I'm not Super-Woman after all!! :)
Grace and Peace,