Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Little Monster

Baby Ezekiel (Zeke-y Baby),
Happy Birthday, beau! Today is an emotional day for us; we think your birthday is today or tomorrow and part of me doesn't want it to be so. In many ways, you are still our little 18 month old "Daniel," looking so serious. Someone told me a few months ago that the more difficult it is to during the attachment period, the tighter the bond. I know that to be true. There were many, many sleepless nights and weeks and weeks of screaming, looks of terror and no eye contact. I never felt so broke as I did when I was first your mama. I didn't know what to do or how to help you. There were many times I knew you were mine, but I was at a loss for what that meant. God is so good to us though, buddy. Lots of people you'll never even know were praying for us. We held you tighter with each scream, forced you to look us in the eyes and kissed you as you turned away. All the while, God was holding onto us while we tried to hold you. October 24th 2009 I was watching you run around an indoor playground and I was overwhelmed with how simply adorable, irresistable and precious you are. I fell in love. The kind of mommy love that is all encompassing, unconditional and eternal. I cried and laughed and praised God at the playground in that moment. Everyday since then has been more joy than pain, more smiles than tears. You have this amazing sparkle in your eyes now that I know is LOVE.
Although you are 2-ish, you aren't yet ready to lose the swaddling, rocking or being bottle fed. I am totally okay with you being the baby for as long as you need to be...
xoxo Mama Molly and Blake nicknamed you "little monster" in those first weeks home, partly because you had some monster jammies and partly because your behavior was similar to kinda stuck. Hence the monster cake.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Potty training by prayer...

Molly and Blake don't get mentioned as much as they deserve. Molly is my little mama, my helper and my realist. Blake is our veggie-loving, comic relief. They embrace their crazy family and I can't imagine surving Etienne and Zeke without my older two. We've been blessed to join a Missional Community (MC) with another family of four kids, one newly adopted. At MC the other night, all the big sibs were playing make believe and each older girl was on their way to adopt their babies from a variety of nations including Canada! I love that this is our kids "norm." On another note, I am getting lots of advice and opinions on the peeing issue with Etienne. I am grateful for the input, really I am. On the other hand, he isn't the same as your kid or your friend's kid! I really feel that the orphanage background makes a lot of difference. Etienne's first 3 years were in a cinder-block room with somewhere around 110 other kids and a handful of well meaning adults. The best thing that we can do is pray for E's heart to know that he is in his forever home, that our love is unconditional and that he is God's child. We are thankful for our prayerful friends, family and MC community that give us support and we'll keep trudging along. Also, he hasn't had any accidents in a week, since we made our plea public! Ryan and I got a little greedy a few nights ago and thought we'd try to let Zeke settle himself back to sleep and we went to sleep in the spare room. Oops! Now we're back to swaddling, frequent crying sessions and very little sleep. It is better then 5 months ago, but we remember that we still have to erase his little memory of life before being a Higgins. In other words, we were reminded we can't rush and back to sharing a room with the baby...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finding Love

Etienne and Ezekiel holding hands in the car I again was strugggling to find the words to write but am so aware daily of all our friends and prayer partners that deserve "E/Z" updates! Etienne has been my challenge lately; God knew that this mama couldn't handle two boys having adjustment issues at the same time. Etienne is so hungry for any kind of attention from Ryan and I, it just breaks my heart. He echoes anything that Molly, Blake or Zeke says to us, he pushes his way into our arms/laps/faces. These are okay to tolerate, considering his first three years. My challenge has been that he pees his pants in the evening, most of the time when all 6 of us our playing. The boy is potty trained and has been for awhile, but when Ryan comes home and we are all together, he will pee his pants and then hide in shame. I feel strongly that it is attention seeking behavior but I struggle at our response. We currently discipline him with a time out and straight to bed. However, then he gets the attention he seeks. Ryan feels like maybe he just isn't totally ready and he never got to be a "baby." We just can't seek advice from our friends because none of them ever potty trained a child that lived his first years in an orphanage. I have such guilt after I discpline him and I think its because he and I still haven't "fallen" in love. We just aren't there yet. Throughout the last 6 months, so many people have told us that God doesn't give us anything that we can't handle. I have decided that I disagree, I totally don't buy this. What I mean is that I think that God gave me this totally challenging, slap in the face situation that I CAN'T handle. Not without Him. It's truly the first time in my life that I have felt like I have no tools, nothing except His grace. And I am overwhelmed by this realization. On a funny note, little Zeke is asking to use the potty and doing so correctly! It's hilarious to see his little body balanced on the giant throne. Thank you, giardia, for encouraging early use of the toilet!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Remember or Forget?

I couldn't write about this immediately after it happened because I wasn't sure what to do with my emotions. Tuesday night as Etienne and I were starting to say bedtime prayers, he began talking very animated and furvatively in kinyarwandan, mentioning "Margine" and "Molly, Blake, bye-bye." Margine is the name of one of his caretakers from the orphanage. We were all 4 with him the last day at HOH when he told Margine good-bye. I asked him if he missed his friends in Rwanda and he nodded his head and snuggled me. The next night at our bible study, I asked the other women to pray for Etienne about this and one woman looked at me, surprised, and said "You just want him to forget the orphanage?" I do and I know I am getting judged for saying that, but I don't want him to remember what it feels like to play half naked on cold concrete floor. I don't want him remember being bathed with lye soap and a bucket of cold water or falling down and no one helping him up. I don't want him to remember what it feels like to be an orphan. I am forever grateful for the Sisters at Home of Hope; they loved on him and it was the best of a bad circumstance. I know that his basic needs were met and he was given what there was to give. Every day I tell him where he came from and that he is ours. I struggle to find a balance of honoring his history but also protecting his little heart. Zeke update: he is more and more funny each day, continues to stump the infectious disease docs at Children's and we just keep plowing through the stinkiness. B-man started preschool this week and LOVES it. Teaching his teacher new endings to nursery rhymes. Molly's working to plan her birthday party (not until March 30!) and got her hair cut sassy short. Pics to follow....