Monday, January 31, 2011

It feels deliberate.

I know people read my blog partially for my transparency and recently I've been trying to focus on all the funny in our life. Believe me, there is a lot of funny with this entourage. Truthfully, though, Ryan and I are back to battling a lot of really UGLY attachment behaviors: lying, stealing and deliberate disobeying. Tonight I could really use a more experienced adoptive parent for advice. I am again brought to tears as Etienne sits in punishment for lying. It's killing me more now than ever. The lies are over really, really stupid things. (Finding him in our closet, going through a file cabinet and telling me "Dad said I could take a nap here." or having a mouth full of gum and saying "No, I don't have gum." Such obvious, silly, silly lies. The lies are primarily directed at me. He always comes clean to Ryan despite the fact that we are consistantly disciplining the same. It's more difficult now that we had a couple of weeks with minimal attachment stuff and it was so great!! Why, why, why God, is he doing this again? It's like when you have a new baby that sleeps through the night and then they start waking up again. We've also been battling some stealing. This really scares me. So far it's been limited to purses and bags of famliy members and a woman at a table next to us in Runza. Ugh. Luckily, the stranger was gracious and we caught him "red handed." Still. One great trait that Etienne has is that he really just goes with the flow. However, this is not good when we are punishing him. For example, we were making him donate a toy if he hit/punched/kicked/bit someone. The first couple of times it was so sad. Now he puts on his poker face and doesn't care. Ssssoooo....we are trying the old sticker chart. There are only 2 goals: NO HURTING OTHERS and NO LYING OR STEALING. Forget brushing our teeth, making the bed or putting toys away. I just want an honest little boy who won't hurt anyone. We'll work on the rest later. PS The couple above the sticker chart are E's Godparents and some of my favorite people, Jeff and Vicky. The reward for a week of stickers is a playdate with Jeff and Vicky. I even divided the days in half so we can hopefully get a reward part way through the day to promote more good..

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Barbershops, Take 2

Last month I shared our experience with the racist barber. You can imagine the entourage's reactions when I announced that it was once again haircut time. I know we needed to just love on that hateful man, but I weighed the pros and cons and decided Etienne deserved a good experience, not another teachable one. So off to the new barber we went. As soon as we walked into "Criss Cross" we met eyes with a familiar face. A little over a year ago, when we took E for his first haircut, a very nice man at the black barber school spent almost 2 hours patiently teaching me how to wash, oil and pick out Etienne's hair (while E, jabbering kinyarwandan mixed with tears, climbed the walls). Then he graduated and we never saw him again. We walked into the new place and he was our barber! He recognized us immediately and when he heard E talking, he began to cry. He told us he'd thought of us and always wondered how Etienne was doing and he could see how loved Etienne was now. What a gift! It is SO COOL how God loves us. There were 4 other very welcoming men and as Etienne got his haircut, Blake sat across from him, requesting a "twin" look. The man raised his eyebrows but went along with it. As you can see, Blake looks something like a mix of "Lloyd" from Dumb and Dumber and Eminem the rapper. I'm not too thrilled about that but over the moon that Blake and E want to be twins and that we finally have a barbershop full of friends. Betcha can't tell them apart. PS If you look close, Etienne is also missing some eyebrow. This is a result of he and B winking at each other throughout their simultaneousness haircuts.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Counting basketballs

Last night at Blake's basketball practice, Etienne pointed out some basketballs that were stuck in the ceiling rafts. I asked him to count how many were stuck. He started, "1,2,3,4,5,6" (there were 3). Then I had him point to them and count. He got 5. So I put him face to face with me and asked him how many noses I had while placing his finger on my nose. Apparently I look like an Aliens character, I had 3 noses. Etienne can count to 20 and, until last night, I completely overlooked the fact that he has no comprehension of number value. So there I am in the YMCA fighting back tears and overreacting. Again. This seems to be my M.O. I know it isn't a big deal that he can't comprehend that; especially since English is his 3rd language. But still. How much else isn't he getting? My voices of reason (Ryan and my brother) both point out that love is an action and a feeling. Counting and opposites and colors are not felt. I appreciate that and also that God gives me these not so subtle reminders that our work is never done. Thank goodness for my voices of reason to keep me off the pantry floor!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

True Blue

This is Molly with her closest girl friends, Rachel and Trinity. None of these girls lives in the same part of town, attend the same school or activity. God brought them (and their families) together somewhere during our lovely period we like to call transition. Molly has been so blessed by these two little girl's friendships. They have a heart for God, are crazy smart, think adoption is the norm and love giant bubble baths together. I am aware, because I have been experiencing it, that our life with Etienne and Zeke has isolated us in many ways. We've lost a lot to gain so much. I am still struggling to balance old relationships with new ones; at least my Molly has figured this out. I went through a time where, if you didn't get what we were doing, then you just couldn't be a part of our lives. It was that instinct to protect my kids and to protect my heart from people that meant well but didn't understand the depths of the pain we were all experiencing as we tried to help E and Zeke learn to love. So now I am trying to back off the mama bear mode a bit and figure out what it looks like to be more grace-filled with the outside world. God has given me some awesome friends here whom I can share life with but I know that He also wants me to be living missionally with people who haven't adopted, aren't connected to Rwanda or have no idea what transition/attachment/bonding means!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

He's trying.

This is how amazing Molly is. See the first picture, Etienne with his clenched fists? This is how E keeps his hands if he isn't touching/breaking/reconstructing things. He's trying so hard. Ryan and I have noticed he holds his hands this way,so we've started rubbing them or opening them. Molly pays attention and she wants Etienne to get it. So she sat down with him for some Electric Company and held his hands. Counting every little (big)blessing as we get through this transition.