My Boys Are Amazing!

WARNING: I feel like I should have a big red warning at the top of my blog. “NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART” or “NOT FOR THOSE WHO WOULD RATHER I PAINT A FAKE BUT FALSE PICTURE OF MY LIFE”. If you’ve read me very long, you know that I can’t stand the fake smile “my life is hunky dory because I have Jesus” stuff. I have experienced too much of that in church for most of my life.

I believe that life is often hard because we live in a place where the enemy has been handed a great deal of power. We find our hope in the fact that Christ has already won the victory. And we do have glimpses of heaven and abundant life here. But for many, many people who live their lives for Jesus, life is still hard. In fact, (and this is why there need to be warnings on my blog) if you never have struggles maybe you should question why the enemy isn’t going after you. Are you really a threat to him?

So, if you’re looking for an everything went perfectly and everyone lived happily ever after adoption story, quit reading and come back in a year or two (or 13! 🙂 ). If you want to follow a family trying our best to follow the dreams that God put on our hearts many years ago, a family who is really struggling with/questioning what went wrong and how God is going to redeem this situation, a family who is relying deeply on our Father to rescue us, help us, guide us, and give us the strength we desperately need for each day, then “Welcome!” Buckle your seatbelt and come along for the ride!

First, a little about me, for those of you who do not know me. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mom. I began praying for my husband and children nightly from age 13. In fact, I feel like it is my calling. I always made good grades and school was easy for me. I could have done something “bigger.” Instead, I got a bachelor’s in nursing, worked for 1 1/2 years, and then quit work for my dream job–staying home with my kids–13 years ago. I now have three boys, Eli age 13, Caleb age 8, and Titus age 5. I have always stayed home with my kids and have homeschooled them from the time Eli was old enough to start school. Although it is hard at times, teaching my children is actually the thing that brings the most joy to my day. I rely on God to give me strength to get through the hard parts. And having the opportunity to teach my children about Him throughout the day makes all of the hard parts worthwhile.

I say all of this to say that I have met my match. This daughter of mine is bringing out the absolute worst in me. I’m beyond exhausted from lack of sleep. Her personality quirks grate on my nerves constantly. Her inability to do anything gently–play, interact with people, walk across the room, etc. is a source of constant frustration (and self-inflicted injury to her). I am at my wits end most days. Things are SLOWLY getting better, but the lack of sleep makes everything seem like its taking an infinitely long time.

However, my three amazing boys have come to my rescue many times during the past week and a half. Whenever Eli senses that Mom is losing it, he gathers the others up to entertain Suhui for a while so that I can rest. I think that she is learning far more from her interactions with them than she is with me. They patiently correct her over and over and over, telling her “bu hao” (not good), “deng deng” (wait), and showing her the right way to play together.

I wrote most of this post several days ago. This week has been even tougher than last. It’s been hard because I keep thinking, “When is this ever going to get any easier?” But we have had small glimpses of God’s grace to keep us going. And today we seemed to have some sort of breakthrough.

After battling and battling and battling all week over Rachel throwing things when she gets mad and hitting when she wants to get someone’s attention, something just seemed to click tonight. I don’t know how to explain it, but suddenly she seemed to accept the fact that we’re in charge and she has to do what we say and not do the things we tell her not to. I don’t expect it to last forever. But I do hope that maybe we can have at least one more peaceful day.

Rachel has seemed to be getting used to our routine and the way we do things around here. She also seems to be getting much more comfortable, feeling more at home. But that also means that she’s been testing things a little bit more.

She reminds me of my boys when they were toddlers. They would stubbornly try to get their way. We would struggle and struggle with them until they finally realized that mom and dad are the ones in charge, and then they would finally give in. And suddenly they are hugging and loving on us and far more happy than they were before the struggle. I really think they find comfort in knowing that there is someone in charge who’s looking out for them.

Sleep has improved tremendously since earlier this week. I started lying in bed with Rachel last weekend until she went to sleep (she had been sleeping with us until then). Then I’d get up and go to my bed until she awakened in the night, and I would spend the rest of the night with her. All of our boys slept with us when they were younger. But I have just really had a hard time sleeping with Rachel. Mainly because she keeps was keeping her arms wrapped tightly around me all night, and if I moved her away from me she immediately scooted back up against me. On Wednesday my friend Linda, who has been an absolute lifesaver through all of this, came over in the morning so that I could catch up on my sleep. But we have had a couple of nights this week where she slept six and last night eight hours alone in her bed. She has also relaxed tremendously falling asleep. We will start out cuddling with her arms around my neck. But she soon relaxes, rolls over, and goes to sleep.

Although Titus has been doing pretty good with Rachel. He has had a rough week this week. It’s hardest on him because Rachel very much tries to push him out of the way whenever I’m showing him any individual attention.

The boys usually spend every Friday night with my mom. But this weekend Caleb decided to go to my dad’s house since it’s warm enough for fishing. Eli was going to Granny’s house. Titus wanted to go to Granny’s, but he started running a fever Friday afternoon, so I decided that he needed to stay home. Instead, I asked Mom to keep Rachel for a few hours so that Tommy and I could give Titus some extra attention. We had a wonderful evening playing Webkinz, eating pizza, and then getting the movie Space Buddies to watch. Titus was feeling a little better and just soaked up all the attention. He is such a fun, neat kid.  🙂 When we went to pick Rachel up about 8:30pm, he was a different child. He was really trying to be extra nice to her sharing some candy and things with her even though she was not reciprocating the niceness. When I asked Mom how Rachel was, she replied, “She’s great as long as she gets her way.”

In spite of my sleeplessness, I have wanted to post several times this week, so this is really several posts combined. But I’m going to have to stop for now. I’ll share more tomorrow.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “My Boys Are Amazing!

  1. susan White

    You dont know me but our daughter sent me your blog. She and her husband adopted a 6 year old girl from China a little over a year ago. They have 3 biological children and Miah (from China) is the second oldest. They have had some issues, some jealousy, etc. but all you are dealing with. I truly admire you and your husband for your all you are going through to love and care for Rachel. I pray your sleep habits will soon be normal so you can deal with things better. From what you had said earlier about Rachel having evidently being spoiled because of her illness plus her whole world being totally different it is no wonder she is striking out. I see God blessing to begin to bring things to a calmer level with what you said today. I know when you are in the situation and plus lack of sleep over a long period you can’t just step back and see the situation becoming better. I see progress as an outsider . I do think, that your boys will be a big help to Rachel as I have seen Betsy’s children work with Miah, and be able to understand her and even know what she is saying when I can’t. I will pray that God will continue to keep you and your husband close and give you both the wisdom and strength you need. I know it seems like things would be better by now but really I think, not that you wanted my opinion, that for the short time you have had Rachel, you have done remarkably well! She is precious and will be worth every minute you put into her life!

  2. Erica

    Kim,

    It was good talking to you today. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. I admire your honesty and I am praying for you during this adjustment time. I know this might not make you feel any better but…I think you are a great mom 🙂

    Erica

  3. Laura Bennett

    I appreciate your honesty, Kim. I have been watching and reading your blog since we are trying to adopt an older girl, also. I am, and will continue, to lift you up to our Father, who has your life, and Rachel Suhui’s, under control.
    I praise Him for your honesty. There is no other way to be! He is using your situation as a ministry…to prepare you and others for the road ahead!

  4. I wish things could go smoothly all the time! I’m sorry you’re having to deal with the hard stuff. You are a much better woman than I!

  5. Hey Kim – can you email me privately? rebecca30@comcast.net. Have a question for you.

  6. Thanks Kim for keeping it real. We love you and are praying for you all.

  7. Christi

    Loving you and lifting you up in prayer. Love how you are keeping it so open, honest and real. And you hit the nail on the head when you said that people who don’t struggle need to think about how they may not be a threat to Satan! LOVE it. 🙂 Love you ~

  8. Kim

    Kim,

    I have been following your journey. It has brought back many memories of blessings and challenges. I thought I would share the link to the devotional God sent me just days after we returned from Wuhan with our Faith. Our days since then have been a mix of joy and frustration, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The journey has allowed me to see my relationship with God in a whole new light.

    http://www.youbelong.net/pages/htmlos/12242.3.2898691264480187559/lollipopzimmer/id200708031412.html

    (If it doesn’t work, visit youbelong.net/lollipopzimmer It was posted in August of 2007.)

    Know your are prayed for by your unknown sister in Christ.

    Love,
    KimZ

  9. vicki latham

    OH….you are not alone. I belong to a yahoo group called Adopt Older Kids – China. You might want to consider joining. You’ll find YOUR experiences are not all that uncommon at b/c of adopting an older child. This group was a great resource for me when I adopted a 7 y/o last September. THEY have targeted advice b/c they’ve BTDT. Other folks w/younger children adopted do not have the same experiences/challenges.
    Think about joining and posting to that group. I bet you’ll get great advice.
    Best,
    Vicki
    http://www.waiting4emily.blogspot.com/

  10. Pilgrim

    Thanks for sharing. My mother is amazed that I can keep up with your family magically through the computer.
    May God bless you and your family. Thank you for the reminder that life can be hard and we shouldn’t be surprised by that. Sometimes dealing with elderly parents (like mine) is like dealing with a toddler, too. Thank you for reminding me to watch for glimpses of Heaven and the abundant life. Love to you all.

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