First Week Home

We've been home now for a week so I wanted to bring my blog back to the present for a bit.  I'll post about our week in Beijing soon...I'm sure it's not really all that interesting but I like to have it written down before I forget everything.  It's fun to record our trips and adventures to look back on later.... but right now the present is so awesome I can't pass it up.

I had prepared for our first week to be exhausting, unpredictable, and quiet possibly very difficult.  There were days of jet lagged fueled exhaustion  and certainly an element of unpredictability as we all adjusted to our new "normal"...but it's wasn't at all difficult.  This week has really been nothing short of amazing.

{The other kids always want to join in our stretching time}

{Our low key Chinese New Year bash...2 days after we got home}

{Seriously this kid is almost too much...too much sweetness in one little body}

{My black eyed beauties.  At least three or four years apart in age, but nearly the same size.}

Bedtime... a nearly captive audience.

{Look out, this boy's armed and dangerous}

{I've got a couple little chefs on my hands}

{and they're pretty good at cleaning too}

I left China not thinking I could love this little boy any more than I already did but I was wrong..a week at home has burnt the fierceness of it even deeper.  I don't take that for granted at all.  I'm all too aware that sometimes the bond with a newly adopted or foster child doesn't come quickly...that loving actions can often precede the feelings for weeks, months, or maybe even years.  It's love in action.  I feel so thankful that I'm head over heals, can't get enough, want to pour butter on him and eat him with a spoon, in love with this kid. It makes the day to day loving actions, taking care of him, such a joy.

He has adjusted so well. So much better than I had even hoped.  The first few days at home contained some teary moments and jags of heartbreaking sobs but they never lasted all that long and never turned into rage or lashing out....just sadness.  The huge blessing in it is that he already finds his comfort with Mama and Baba, some snuggle time in the rocking chair was all he needed....I would have to say that he's transformed into a bit of a Mama's boy (only fair after him being all about Daddy the first week).  Dad is still tops when it comes to wrestling and of course he has the drums ...so he'll forever be cool in his son's eyes.  There's just something about a Mama, when you're feeling sad.  It is so hard to see your child grieving, or afraid, and yet they can't put into words (that you can understand) why or what they're feeling...and there's nothing at all you can do to fix it.  All I can do is be there with him as they go through it.   The first few nights I slept in his bed with him...but since then he's started going to bed well with Silas above him on the bunk and sleeps like a rock.   He has yet to actually let himself get out of bed in the morning, or even call me,  but just waits there until I go in to check on him.   I always encourage him to crawl out of his bed on his own.  I don't want him to ever feel trapped in a bed again.

The last few days we haven't had any grieving, or crying spells.  He even announces at random times throughout the day "Elijah happy!" (and he adds a big cheesy grin to make sure he gets his point across) .....I reply with "Mama's happy too."

He is an absolute snuggle bug. He loves to receive and give affection.  He's just that easy to love.  It's crazy. He soaks it up like a sponge.

He's come so far in the last few weeks in forging an attachment/ bond.  He's not so nervous and fearful, he hasn't been clamming up or "going turtle", and he is starting to actually tell us what he needs and wants...not often but it is happening.

The last few days he's been seeking me out like a moth to a lamp.  He'll go and play for a few minutes, but not for long, then he'll come and find me and try to climb up my legs and "ask" for a snuggle.   He's started giving me great big full body bear hugs.  I don't mind carrying him around for a while like that because I've noticed that his hips have become quite a big looser (and he's so incredibly sweet).  A couple weeks ago I could barely spread his legs far enough to fit him on my scrawny hip and now he's able to hang onto the front of me, with his legs wrapped around like a little monkey. Maybe I'm just figuring out better which ways he moves and bends.

I have no doubts that as he trusts us more and feels more comfortable that there will be some closet skeletons to contend with..things that he will need to  work through but for now he's just happy to be loved.  He doesn't complicate things....he just takes it as is.

{We got a "new" chair loaned to us by a neighbor!  It works perfectly and makes such a different in his comfort, posture, and eating ability.}

{my "twins"}

We've also been busy this week trying to advocate for his physical needs, and figuring out this new world of parenting a child with CP.  We're realizing already that this can be an uphill battle and takes a lot of parental assertiveness.    He had his first dental assessment and cleaning yesterday and we have him booked to have his mouth full of cavities filled and capped while under general anesthesia.  It's a pretty huge mess.  His trip to the dentist was his first outing since arriving at home and he did great.  He didn't shed a tear...although the dentist did after looking at the state of his mouth and the pain this kid has lived through. We were surprised when the dentist didn't charge us...just thanked us for bringing him in.  Such a blessing to us!  He has some major issues going on behind that sweet smile, that are going to cost enough dough later.   The good thing is that his front adult teeth are still in good shape.  As far as the rest of him goes we're waiting on getting his provincial health card so we can get him on the wait lists to see some specialists,  get the therapy he needs, and get just get some basic lab work and a full check up done.  I really can't wait for him to start getting proper diagnostics, assessments, treatments and the help he needs to thrive.

In a nutshell our first week home has been amazing and exhausting.  Full of bags that need to be unpacked and a house that gets messed up by 5 busy kids who are home all the time.  Days of big kid school work and little kid play time happening all at the same time while I run from one to the other.  Dealing with a needy, whining little girl who is feeling a bit of the sting of having to share mom and dad with a newcomer... but more snuggles , sloppy wet kisses, and squishy hugs than a girl could ever dream of.  It's been overwhelming and fulfilling.

I really am feeling overwhelmingly, abundantly blessed.   I almost can't believe that he's actually here...and yet he feels like he's always been one of us, completely natural.  Hand picked by our Father who sets the lonely in families.   I am SO thankful.

 I'm also so aware that our own selfishness, or fear, or worldly common sense, or disobedience, or lack of trust could have stood in the way of this incredible gift.  That is sobering....we are so undeserving and yet our God lavishes us with these precious ones, and was faithful in accomplishing it all.  He has never promised obedience would be easy, or comfortable...but there is nowhere I'd rather be than living in constant reliance on his poured out mercy each day.


Mrs Manz said...

Love this, Carla! Who is your awesome dentist??? I want to send their generous heart some business - what a blessing!

Learning Together at Home said...

Hi Carla,
Fellow Mom from the cdn FB group. :)

I just wanted to mention that if you call your provincial health authority about your son's medical card, you can get the number before the card is released. That way you can get started on the specialists a tad bit sooner.

Your son / your family look like so much fun! We have 5 going on 6 kids. The last four from China.


Tammy said...

your very last paragraph says it all..very profound and wise....
What a blessing. He is beautiful and so is your family
Blessing to you all

Marcy P said...

Carla!! I am just so happy to read this blog post :-) He is adorable, and I am excited to hear of the attachment progress already. I'm sure that skyping and being able to "see" him, and he you, before the adoption made a big difference. Yay!!

Ben and Julie Agee said...

I've missed so much!!! I couldn't believe yall had already traveled to go get your son. YAY!!! A year from now you will look back at these pictures and be in awe at how much change has taken place in his life. Only God can heal a child from his hurts and past and bond him to your family. Glad to hear that the process has already begun! so exciting!

Laura said...

I am touched. The final paragraph brings me a desperately needed reminder of the challenge yet incredible blessing of living in complete reliance on God.