Monthly Archives: November 2011

This just in

image

image

Big Brother had his first official “good” day since beginning school over a month ago. Woohoo! You can see that both mama and Big Brother stopped for a treat on the way to pick up Little Man. Oh who am I kidding, this our Tues/Thurs ritual….shhhhh! Thanks for the good vibes, well wishes and prayers. They are helping!

Ready, set…

….shop for a great cause! The holidays are fast approaching, why not buy a gift that does some good? Lookie at what I found this week:

Comfort the Children International

CTC International does lots of great things, but what really caught my eye is that they provide a school in Kenya for special needs children called The Malaika Kids School. What’s even better is that they teach the mamas, called Malaika Mums, to sew crafts to be sold in order to support their childrens’ tuition. I placed an order a couple of days ago and was delighted to receive my package today!

20111117-112029.jpg

20111117-112035.jpg

What are you waiting for? Go check it out NOW!

Good days

After my last post, I guess I should mention that we have both very good days and very bad days around here. I am so thankful that the last few days have been GOOD. Big Brother even made a little bit of progress at school on Tuesday! I love my boys with all my heart. Even through the tough times, they bring me such joy!

Fun playdate with friends:

20111117-104804.jpg

Enjoying the cooler weather:

20111117-104837.jpg

20111117-104935.jpg

It’s hard to get these boys to stand still!

20111117-105010.jpg

20111117-105016.jpg

Look at this goofy boy! I love when he is happy and acting like a silly little boy…..those moments are precious, special and I never take them for granted….

20111117-105137.jpg

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” -Helen Keller

getting the memo

I’m going to be brutally honest here. I sometimes find myself up in the middle of the night, stricken with fear and sadness about some issues regarding Big Brother. I worry about what form some of his troubling behaviors will take as he ages. Can you see me peeling my 10 year old son off of perfect strangers at the mall? It may sound silly to you, but I have talked to other families struggling with this very issue. And I watch Big Brother and know in my heart we are headed down the same path. Over the last couple of weeks, he has displayed such a strange dichotomy of increased attachment to me as well as an increased affinity for inappropriate touching/hugging of strangers, aquaintences and extended family members. He even aggressively tried to leave with a man at the park. I could go on and on about how difficult it has been to keep him from climbing into the laps of every person we see. And the tantrums and meltdowns and destructive behaviors….oh my.

And then there is school. That’s a whole other post about aggression, tantrums and very disruptive behaviors.

So last night is one of those nights where I found myself up at 2 am, fending off a panic attack in response to some of Big Brother’s recent behaviors. I prayed and then the words “don’t give up” kept ringing in my head.

Remember the Empowered to Connect conference where the grown adoptee who was similar to big Brother in many ways stated “don’t give up, your child is in there….”

His statement was echoing in my mind and gave me the encouragement I needed. I finally drifted off to sleep with the comfort of knowing I was not alone in this journey. When I woke up, I put this sticky not on my bathroom mirror to remind me that no matter how defeated I feel, don’t give up the fight for my son:

20111114-101832.jpg

A few moments later, I sat down to work on a bible study I am currently participating in. The first chapter of this week’s session was all about hurting parents. I nearly fainted when I saw these words:

20111114-101943.jpg

Ok, ok, I got the memo. Yep. And it was much needed.

I would never give up on him as a mother, but the stresses and disappointments of each day are enough to make me want to throw my hands up in the air and think “what’s the point?!” when it comes to correcting difficult behaviors. “He’ll never get it….it’s been a year and still here we are! In the same place where we started. Is all my hard work in vain? What is wrong with me? Why bother when nothing I do seems to help?”

But those thoughts are fleeting and I quickly remember that just because we are still in the trenches almost a year later, doesn’t mean I can give up on what I’m doing every day to help him overcome his struggles. Yep, it’s hard. Yep, most days I want to just ignore the behaviors instead of lovingly correcting them because it is so hard, so exhausting and it makes being in public so awkward. But. It is working, it just takes time and lots and lots of healing. We will eventually get there even though it feels like we are standing still.

But it is so exhausting, emotionally and physically. I sometimes am tempted to just let him act in ways that I know need to be stopped. But I don’t. I keep on doing what needs to be done–correcting the difficult behaviors with love, compassion and gentleness.

And the biggest lesson I have learned? That I have to take myself out of the equation.

Why doesn’t he love me?
Doesn’t he know that I traveled half way around the world to bring him to a place of love and safety?
Doesn’t he know how much I wanted him to be my son?
Doesn’t he realize what I have sacrificed for him?
What is wrong with me as a mother?
Doesn’t he know that mommy and daddy are the ones who provide for all of his needs?
Can’t he see how much we are trying to help him heal?

I have to remember it’s not about me. It has nothing to do with me and my feelings. It has everything to do with a little boy who was deeply traumatized by countless circumstances beyond his control. For four years of his life, survival was his only concern.

He never gave up, so why would I?

Thankful

Today was one of the most spectacular days I have ever experienced.

Big Brother is not doing better at school. Things are growing exponentially worse. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know what is next in terms of school. Today when I picked him up, I listened to his teacher and two aides go step by step through the entire day and hearing how “rough” it had gone. It’s nothing new….same story different day. Things are bad and I just have to laugh at their failed attempts to sugar coat it, as if I would have my feelings hurt by anything they say.

But today was different. It was a rough day at school. But when Big Brother saw me, he said “Mommy! I want home! Where Little Man?”

Do you realize how major that is? That he knows at home, he is safe, loved, and wanted. That home is his refuge with those who love him. That Mommy will take him home, where he belongs and where he is free to be who he is without fear of judgement.

So I scooped Big Brother up into my arms and we drove to Little Man’s school to pick him up. When we entered the classroom, I noticed that the teachers had posted a sign stating what each child was thankful for that day. When I got to little Man’s name, this is what is said: I am thankful for my mommy’s hugs and kisses.

My heart literally skipped a beat.

Just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get any better, we came home and I was amazed at how well Big Brother was playing with little Man. He was chasing little Man around the house (as requested by LM) copying Little Man and then did something major. He ran up to Little Man and said “I want brother [to] spin [me]” and grabbed him around the neck. He wanted little Man to spin him around just like Daddy does. Although Big Brother does not interact with other children, he sure does with his brother. Isn’t that just amazing? Divine, really. Absolutely divine.

We kept the kids up late tonight so that we could bake chocolate chip cookies together. Big Brother kept saying “I want [to] help.” He is still in awe at how food is made!

And I am in awe at how well Big Brother does at home with his family. So what if he’s not ready for the real world just yet? He is thriving at home. He is learning what love and family means, what safety means. I could really care less if he is ever able to say his abc’s or tie his shoes. I don’t even care that he can’t handle five hours of school. He is learning what matters most. I am so thankful for that. I am so filled with joy tonight….I am choosing joy amongst the many challenges that await us. There will be plenty of time to meet those challenges. But for now, I am rejoicing at how marvelous Big Brother’s transition has been. Parenting children from hard places is anything but easy. But the rewards are far more spectacular than anything I’ve ever known.

20111109-032458.jpg

20111109-032505.jpg

20111109-032514.jpg

20111109-032521.jpg

20111109-032527.jpg

20111109-032534.jpg

Am I a lucky mama or what?!

It’s Orphan Sunday

Fact: Nearly 145 million children throughout the world have lost one or both parents.

Fact: There are 107,000 children in the US Foster Care system waiting to be adopted.

Fact: Every day 5,760 more children in the world become orphans.

Fact: Every 2 seconds, an orphan dies from malnutrition.

Fact: Around the world, 17 million children have been orphaned by the AIDS crisis. If all these children held hands, they would stretch half way across the globe.

Fact: 6,000 children are orphaned by AIDS every day. That is one newly orphaned child every 14 seconds.

Fact: In sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than 18 million children – more than all the children in the United Kingdom–have lost at least one parent to AIDS. This number equates to 12% of all the children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Fact: 20% of the adult population in sub-Saharan Africa has been impacted by AIDS; therefore, orphaned children not only lose their parents, but also aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, health workers and civil servants. Remaining extended family members are often overwhelmed with caring for the many children of dead relatives.

Fact: For every 3 months in an orphanage a child loses one month of growth and development.

Fact: By 2015 it is projected that there will be 400 million orphaned children worldwide.

- from Creating a Family website

———————

A Prayer Of Responsibility For Children

We pray for children…

Who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
Who like to be tickled,
Who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
Who sneak Popsicles before supper,
Who erase holes in math workbooks,
Who can never find their shoes.

And We pray for those…

Who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
Who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
Who never “counted potatoes,”
Who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,
Who never go to the circus,
Who live in a X-rated world.

We pray for children…

Who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
Who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
Who cover themselves with Band-aids and sing off key,
Who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
Who slurp their soup.

And We pray for those…

Who never get dessert,
Who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
Who watch their parents watch them die,
Who can’t find any bread to steal,
Who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
Whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
Whose monsters are real.

We pray for children…

Who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
Who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
Who like ghost stories,
Who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
Who get visits from the tooth fairy,
Who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
Who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
Whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And We pray for those…

Whose nightmares come in the daytime,
Who will eat anything,
Who have never seen a dentist,
Who aren’t spoiled by anybody,
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
Who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children…

Who want to be carried and for those who must,
For those we never give up on
And for those who don’t get a second chance.
For those we smother…
And for those
who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

~Ina J. Hughs~
From Children’s Defense Fund

—————————————-

You don’t have to adopt to make a difference. There are many ways to help children in need. Ask me how and I will be happy to give you some resources!

I thank God today for the blessing of adoption and for the two tiny miracles that have changed my life forever. I pray daily for those we left behind…