Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Bit Grumpy

Lately, I have noticed that I have pretty much stoppped sugar coating anything I share with the rest of the world. I need to pray about this because I don't mean to be quick tempered or sarcastic (Molly likes to play the game "Are you being sarcastic?"). I also find myself more easily frustrated with the general insentivity that people seem to show the Etienne and Ezekiel. This is a problem because insensitivity isn't going to change. It isn't anything new or something I hadn't thought about before deciding to create a transracial family. So I know that's just Satan trying to throw a wrench in something beautiful.
For example, I have been sharing less and less when people ask how we are. Friends that I once considered close will say things such as "Oh, it's just because he's 3," or "They are totally normal now, its amazing." I understand and appreciate that it's meant as encouragement but I am too real for blanket statements. It feels like they are downplaying something that is incredibly heartbreaking to me as much now as it was last fall when everything was still "new." There is an element of truth to the general comments, however, it isn't ok when your 3 year old asks before meals, "Can I eat too?," or when planning an outing, "I get to go too?" And it is more than amazing the transformations that God has performed in my children's life, but my E has yet to learn that he is loved, included and wanted unconditionally now and forever. That is the saddest thing for a mama to realize her baby doesn't know he is loved. On a happy note; Summer has brought some really fun, joyful "firsts." These firsts included but are not limited to:
popsicles, slip and slides, swimming, fireflies, bug bites and corn on the cob. Etienne's love of water is even more fun for us because we vividly remember his terror at taking a bath all of last fall. Fireflies tend to freak the boys out a bit and their smiles while eating corn on the cob speak for themselves.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Surviving the Witching Hour

Ask any parent. The time around 5pm in every household seems to be the witching hour. Everyone is a little tired, a little hungry; too early for dinner or bedtime.
When we came home I was petrified that one of the boys would seriously injure themselves in the kitchen. I would turn around, bend or reach and one of them would be under me. Dishes were broken, the dishwasher took some damage and food was spilled. Finally, finally I came up with the line. We put masking tape on the floor on each side of the kitchen. Now Etienne and Zeke know not to cross the line. I survive cooking dinner a little easier: we've a lot less spills and stress.
I HIGHLY enourage other families to try this. It's normal for kiddos from an institution to have a lot of struggles with eating, hoarding, knowing when to be full. This trick has helped us a lot. Pretty sure the hardwoods will need resurfaced, but we'll deal with that later.

Friday, June 18, 2010

His Own Spot

Maybe I'm slow to pinpoint this, but I think that part of our struggle with Etienne is that he doesn't know where he fits yet. Molly is our brilliant girl, Blake is quirky, Zeke is the baby. What is Etienne? I know that he's inquisitive, bright and strong. He seems to be unsure of his spot in the bunch; more unsure now than 6 months ago. And I find myself as doubtful now as I was when we first got home. Mr E tests our love more today than 6 months ago. He longs to please, yet he can't resist pushing every button and bending every rule.
I am hurting so much for him because it feels like he's being discplined all day long. When he is getting disciplined, he is full of remorse and I feel guilty that I have to punish him. Am I being too harsh? I want him to be treated the same as my biological children, so our expectations of his behavior are high, but is that fair? Again, the doubt. I don't feel like a loving mother, just a rule enforcer and boundry setter.
I don't write this to be pessimistic, but to be real for the other families out there who maybe are wondering if they are normal. Although the boys aren't "new" to our friends and loved ones anymore, it's still new to us. I don't share with my non-adoptive friends many of my struggles because I know that they think "it's just being 3," or that by now we should be adjusted. But I am still surviving most days with nothing but Grace.
Yesterday was the first day E and Z experienced a swimming pool! As you can see, it was a hit. We just have to work on developing a little bit of fear of going least for my sake!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rwandan Chicken and Etienne

I have been attempting to embrace our family's Rwandan culture but the recipes are limited. Below is "Rwandan Chicken," which all four kids really like.
1 whole chicken 3 tsp oil 1 hot pimento or chili pepper
1 onion, sliced 2 celery stalks
3 large tomatos, mashed 1 tsp salt
Fry the chicken in hot oil. Remove pieces and cook the onion in the same oil. Return chicken, along with tomatos, celery, salt and pimento. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender.
I have been trying to let Etienne help me cook this. Trying really hard to find ways to have "special E" time. We are still daily struggling with Etienne, part of it that he is 3 and part of it because he battles old orphanage behavior. It's that taboo, post adoption struggle that no one wants to talk about. Most of the time, all I can do is pray for his little heart and my patience. Also to make more spare keys. He locked my blessed inlaws out of their home and then locked us out of my folks. It won't last forever, it won't last forever, it won't last forever.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Moms Like Us

There's a common sisterhood among adoptive moms. We find each other and instantly swap stories, tears, discipline techniques and prayers. We cry in our pantries, give lots of time outs and buy in bulk. We find each other on blogs, through agencies, chat rooms and in Sam's Club. I am SO THANKFUL for these women in my life- Michelle (far left) and Nicole (middle). In the first chaotic weeks home with Etienne and Zeke, they both brought me meals. I was a stranger at church with newly adopted kids. Period. A month later, Michelle brought her daughter home from China and any day now Nicole will be traveling to Ethiopia to pick up her sweet baby boy. I can't imagine surviving life in a new city, with a new family and a new job if our families hadn't become intertwined. All our kids (11 between us, soon to be 12!) are the same ages and our husbands love the same things (meat, a good ball game, us). Michelle and I have cried together at the frustration and humbleness of transitioning home with a new child, while Nicole has cheered us on. We are so excited to be supporting her (hello, God LOVES garage sales for a good cause!) now that her journey is really just beginning.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Surprise support

This is my old best friend, Erin, and her adorable kiddos along with the Higgins' crew. I am so grateful for her support. A year ago, when I was anxiously awaiting that blessed referral phone call, she was on bedrest with her twins. We hadn't spoken or communicated in several years. Hadn't been friends true friends in at least 12 years. But God is cool like that and He used Facebook to reconnect us. So all those long nights when I prayed for my unknown kids, I prayed for her twins and she prayed for our boys. How cool is that? God shows us His grace so unexpectedly and He isn't limited to bible studies and scripture, I found His grace in fb. For all those waiting families, I pray that you'll identify His grace unexpectedly too.