Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bobo lost his head....

We had our suspicions. The mysterious noices in the night. Occasional displaced items. The blood shut eyes of our 3 year old. After sharing a room with Etienne for 5 nights, we now know better the depths of Etienne's sleep dysfunctions. Our buddy boy was awake every time I woke up at night. He typically takes a VERY long time to fall asleep and we knew he woke up frequently. While in Wyoming, the above picture of his stuffed animal is his finished product. Poor Bobo is only 10 months old and was previously in mint condition...
Ryan and I have tried snuggling with E at night. We were even open to co-sleeping if it meant that E would sleep a solid night. I think about how much better I function with a good night's rest and I think that maybe some of his struggles would be lessoned if he wasn't always tired. It is pretty typical for kids from an institution to have trouble sleeping at night.
A recent study by Frank Putnam found that older children who have been traumatized have increased large-muscle movements, less frequent REM sleep and wake frequently because they are conditioned to be vigilant (Lamb,M.B.Attachement Issues. Adoptive Families 43:4 (2010)).
Isn't that so sad? I have a new perspective on Etienne. I see him as this beautiful little boy who isn't broken but absolutely perfect as our Creator made him. All the behavior, issues and challenges that break me are simply the Enemy trying again to damage something so incredible.

Monday, July 19, 2010

We NEEDED this!

July 18th has been a really important day for this mama and entourage for 2 reasons. A year ago we got our referral for this beautiful, serious 21/2 yo named Etienne (which we stumbled for weeks trying to pronounce) and "the baby," Ezekiel Daniel. What a year it has been since than! July 18th was also departure day for the long awaited, much anticipated reunion with the Limmers, our travel family to Rwanda. The day before leaving for our reunion, we had some major family crisis' (yes, plural). My remarkable mom insisted that despite the drama on the homefront, we had to go on our trip to see our Rwanda Family. Thank goodness for the wisdom of a mother. This was exactly what we needed. As soon as I am with Heidi, Justin and their crew, my heart just inflates a little more. The bond we share is indescribable. To all those adopting out there, I can not encourage you enough to befriend another family sharing in your journey. In the weeks following our return home with the boys, there were so many days that it was all I could do to get to the pantry and call Heidi crying. Besides our sharing the bond of adoption together (and our families spending the majority of waking hours for weeks in an enclosed van in Africa), our children can now grow up together knowing that there is a family that knows just what it feels like to be us. I LOVE that Heidi knows why I tear up when I talk about our time in Kigali or that she too is constantly exploring which type of milk to try on her son next. I am also so grateful that down the road, when E and Z are doubting their place in this world, that they can Skype with their friends who shared the same journey home. How huge is that?! Today we all just had fun. I can't tell you how long overdue it has been. We still have 2 more days but are already planning next year...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Single Mama and the Entourage

Week 2 of Daddy in Minnesota: -Zeke put a pizza slice in the toilet -became official with One More Home -Molly asked me to refer to her as a mermaid any time she is in the water, fairy while in the forest and princess at all other times -Decided to start writing a book -Etienne has decided on diapers for now (I don't feel like complaining so I will leave it at that) -Some boys at the park asked me if my "darker boys" speak Spanish -Discovered a weekly open mic night with a ton of diverse families. Had to leave when some middle schoolers started rapping about "taking it all off." -Delivered 2 babies -Etienne hugged me spontaneously. So grateful for little gifts. -Blake informed me that if Zeke used the potty, we'd "better get another baby." Funny boy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Prayer

My prayer for Etienne today is that You may work one of your miracles in His little heart. I just want my son to know without a doubt that he is wanted and loved FOREVER. I long for Etienne to believe that his mama and daddy are his own forever and that we will always be his. I pray that Etienne may find my hugs, my hands and my arms to be a source of comfort and security. I ask that E may stop finding attention through hurtful actions and deliberate disobedience. I pray that E may find our encouragement to be more rewarding than our discipline. That I may know how to love him, to be fun and encouraging and discipline out of love and not anger. I seek more patience and insight because my mama instinct left me on Sept 7, 2009. I am so thankful for the miracle that You've worked in Ezekiel. I am grateful for his constant sparkly eyes and toothy grin; they remind me of what Your grace can do. I am thankful that Zeke knows he is loved and wanted and that he recognizes his family as his own. I am also so grateful for Molly's nurturing heart and empathetic spirit, for Blake's comical mischief and kisses. For Ryan's calming nature, for Nana's encouragement and Grandma's knowwledge. Our blessings continue to be abundant despite our 3 year old's healing heart.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Without Daddy

This week Ryan has been in Minnesota for a work related class. The absence of Daddy has been remarkable and reminds me of why God designed families to have 2 parents. Etienne is definately more bonded to Ryan than to me and so I anticipated this time alone to work on more bonding. Unfortunately, I think that Etienne hasn't understood why Daddy isn't home and his reaction is to act out more. Last night after prayers he said "I want to go back to the orphanage." Now I KNOW he doesn't mean that but I was still shocked that he knew that word because we don't ever use it. We only talk about him being from Rwanda. I don't want him to remember anything about the orphanage. I will always tell him with pride of his birth mother's love for him and the amazing grace that brought him into our family, but I don't want him to remember anything incorporated with an orphanage. So his comment still hurt his mama.
I have also taken a fresh angle with E. He always resists me hugging him or holding hands. So I have recruited Molly, Blake and Zeke to help me make holding hands and affection REALLY FUN. We probably stand out even more on the streets of O town because we now all hold hands and say "I am holding your hand because I love you so much and it's so fun." We also twirl while holding hands. Whatever it takes, whatever it takes, whatever it takes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Missing Shoes

Note there is only one shoe in this pile. That would be because Etienne and Zeke (especially E) has a knack for relocating all the shoes in the house. Now I run a tight ship and everyone's shoes go either: 1. in the laundry room 2. in your own closet. In theory, all the shoes should be easily located when time to go somewhere. HOWEVER, Etienne has this way of putting shoes in the washer, the oven, over the balcony into the forest, in the bed of his Daddy's truck, under his covers. No exagerating. This has been the cause of Mama being late for work; her shoes were in the oven again. What's ironic is that in Africa there was no way we could convince these boys to wear shoes. Now they wear them on their feet and in their hands. I fully realize that this is a hoarding behavior left over from 3 years in an institutional setting. It's funny though. Highly annoying at 7:30am on a work day, but still funny.