Continue prayers for sweet little YouYou. She went home from the hospital Wednesday only to be readmitted to CICU Friday with pneumonia. You can follow her progress at the link to the left.
I also want to share a link to a post by an adoptive mom. We met Rebecca and Andy on our flight to China. We ran into them several times in Guangzhou and have enjoyed keeping up with them. Rebecca is refreshingly honest in this post about struggling with not feeling the same sort of love toward her newest son as she does toward her bio kids. I encourage anyone who is considering adoption or is in the process to read this. I read so much in preparation for our adoption. But most of the reading is geared toward how the adoptive children are feeling. I wish I been prepared beforehand about how adoptive parents struggle as well.
I can hardly believe that it has been two months since we met our little spitfire. It’s kind of strange, hard days seem as if they will never end. But now suddenly we’ve been home 7 weeks! Rachel has come a long way even though we still have a way to go.
Here are a few photos from the past couple of weeks.
Rachel the day we went to the adoption clinic. I can never seem to remember to take photos during our visit.
Caleb giving Rachel a piggy-back ride
This week was rather hard. The social worker at the International Adoption Clinic told me to expect it to be two steps forward one step back. This week has been a one step back kind of week. Not so much for Rachel but for me. I really can’t say that her behavior is any worse, but she just especially got on my nerves this week. It seemed like every time I turned around she was screaming at her brothers about something or they were mad at her for pestering them. Then just her CONSTANT need for attention is maddening at times! She will repeat things over and over and over until I acknowledge her. Such as “All done” when a tv show is over. Sometimes I ignore her hoping that she will get it, that I heard her but don’t really care to acknowledge her statement. Other times I try to explain that I heard her the first time and that she doesn’t have to repeat things over and over and over. It is most aggravating when I am trying to school the boys.
Whenever I was reading to the boys the past few days, I would give her colors and paper so that she would have something to do. It seemed like she interrupted us about every 30 seconds. So we began working on teaching her that it’s time to be quiet and if she has something important to say to tap Mommy on the arm and wait. Oh, that’s the other annoying thing, she cannot wait at all. She seems to know that meaning of “wait” and will repeat it when I ask her to, but a few seconds later she’s asking me for the same thing. So glad next week is Spring Break!
Last night, Rachel, Tommy and I went out for Mexican. She kept whining for food even though she was thoroughly enjoying the chips and salsa and enjoying repeatedly pointing out to us that she was only dipping each chip one time (something we were working on). So I told her we were practicing waiting.
We are also trying to teach her the meaning of annoying, so that we can correct her when she is being annoying which is quite often. Poor child, she is learning so much all at once. But, honestly, these are things that we are trying to teach her so that we can be around her without pulling our hair out and so that others can stand being around her. Most people haven’t been around her long enough to really be bothered, but a few friends have been around enough to see her annoying side.
I am frequently reminded of my friend who shared that she felt like she was constantly disciplining/correcting one of her children more than the others. When she would call her mother in distress over spending so much time working with this child, her mother said, “You’re just making it so that the rest of us can stand to be around her.” That’s what I keep reminding myself.
I asked my adopting-older-kids online group for advice this week, and let me tell you this group has been a life saver for me. I love how everyone is so honest about how very hard it is the first few months with an older child. They just keep reassuring me that in six months, eight months, twelve months, I will have a totally different child. They also keep reassuring me that the feelings of love will come. Many share how they had to fake it for months or even the first year.
I am beginning to understand that adopting an older child is very different from adopting an infant or a very young toddler. I am sure that they are both challenging in different ways. But integrating a child who has been through so many years of difficult life, who has developed ways of coping with these difficulties, and already has many ingrained habits and personality quirks is quite a challenge. I guess it’s a trade-off for not having to do diapers again. 🙂
Monday Rachel and I finally went to have her lab work drawn at a lab 30 minutes from us that our insurance covers (long story). That was quite a traumatic experience. She began crying as soon as they took us back to draw the blood. I held her in my lap and held one arm reassuring her constantly with my face right beside her ear, while one lady held her other arm, and another lady stuck her. Even with the three of us, Rachel was bouncing up and down just enough to knock the needle out of place, so we went to arm number two. Luckily, they were able to get enough blood with the second stick.
Afterward we went to Wal-Mart for a treat since she had such a traumatic morning. She chose a Barbie with puppies. She loves puppies as long as they are not real. She’s still a little scared of our puppies. But she sometimes imitates Titus who most days pretends he’s a baby puppy who needs to snuggle up next to his mommy. Of course, she only had to change her mind about a dozen times before she settled on the Barbie. There’s always something even more delightful on the next aisle. Then for an additional treat we went to get her a “hambobo”.
I can’t remember if I shared about my trip to the doctor last week. I had a doctor’s appointment about an hour away. I took Rachel with me and took a friend to help out with her in the waiting room (always a LOOOONG wait at this doctor). Afterwards we went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. I have no idea how Rachel knew that this was a chicken place, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot she began yelling, “No! No! Hambobo! Hambobo!” We ate chicken anyway. But I thought it was funny that she seemed to know they didn’t have hamburgers.
The boys are still doing great with Rachel. Titus had a rough couple of weeks at first. But now he just amazes me. One minute he is screaming mad at Rachel and the next he’s trying to get her to play. But with the rain today, the three youngest kids were fighting a lot. It works out great that my boys usually spend Friday night at my mom’s because by the end of the week I think they are ready for time away from Rachel. When they come home, they are able to handle her better.
I did enjoy getting to spend some time with just Rachel last night. I am enjoying her more during the rare moments that it’s just me and her. I like getting to baby her, play with her, and read books together. One of the most frustrating parts of my day is trying to find time to do the things with her that I did with my boys when they were young. (One of the things attachment experts encourage is taking children back by treating them as if they were much younger because emotionally they are.) I want to be able to do these things more, but life just feels too demanding to make time for these things as often as I would like. I just pray that God will take what I am able to offer Rachel and use it to help fill the hole in her heart.
I have begun to enjoy some of the benefits of having a girl even though Rachel is not a very girly girl. (She likes pretty clothes, but she really doesn’t like playing with dolls too much. She loves playing with her brothers’ guns and Star Wars guys. Tommy and I even think she moves like a boy.) But last week I rediscovered the joys of playing beauty shop! She LOVES to do my hair, and I LOVE for her to brush and play with my hair.
While having blood drawn this week, I promised her that we would paint her toenails like Mommy’s when we got home. So I painted her fingernails and toenails. She loved it. She shows them to me multiple times a day and keeps asking me to paint them again since she’s chewed some of the polish off of her fingernails.
Rachel after I polished her nails
Rachel after we did each other’s hair last night
In other news, (**TRUMPET BLAST**) my husband FINALLY purchased our new tv after the tree fell on our house last August and our tv/electronic equipment got wet. Tommy LOVES to shop for items like this. He spends hours and hours and days and weeks pouring over reviews, searching for the best deals, and waiting and waiting and waiting because next month they just might have come down a few bucks on the price. (Can you tell this drives me crazy?! I consider my time as valuable even though I am not paid for my work.) But I did encourage him to get the tv he really wants because we have always had old hand-me-down or discounted display models. So he has been dreaming of a really nice tv for years.
When our 50″ plasma (I think?–Tommy’s going to be really perturbed that I don’t know what we got.) arrived this week, Titus had a blast playing in the gigantic box it came in. He kept walking in and out of the box declaring what a great space rocket he could make with this box and how much fun he was going to have in it. After about ten minutes of him reveling in his wondrous box, he looked over at the tv and said, “THAT’S A BIG TV!”
Titus playing in his exciting new toy
Titus and Rachel designing their rocket
Unfortunately, we’re having some problems with the tv and are most likely going to have to send it back and get another. 😦 Of course, after waiting this long, what’s a couple more weeks.