Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The right tears

We had some of our dearest friends visiting this past weekend. These are the kinds of friends that I don't clean the house for, I throw dinner together based on what's in the deep freeze and we certainly don't need an agenda. So fun!
Our friends son is one of E's first friends and Etienne "played well with others!" It is a sigh of relief to see some progress that he can play with another child without totally losing control. Our friends are also the kind of parents that I can relax around, they get what we are going through and the genuinely love our son and us.
Having company and lack of routine led to lots of behavior problems toward this mama, but at this point, I have come to expect it. In the midst of friends and fun, we had some issues with lying. Etienne was sobbing after being reprimanded and Ryan asked him why he was crying. He said "Because I have been naughty." So now I am crying. THIS IS AWESOME! He had an appropriate response rather then a flat expression and he had tears for his behavior, not the consequence. It has always been tears for whatever he was missing ("I don't get to play with my brothers now" "I don't get to have a Popsicle" ) These are the things we are encouraged by.
On a funny note, I have to share the fish story. I promised the boys we could get goldfish for the pond. They each got their plastic bag with a fish and I made a big production of explaining to Zeke, and especially E, that if they played with the rubber band or the knot the fish would die. Fish heaven. So we are leaving the store and I hit a bump. Blake's bag somehow breaks open and he's screaming "Jack is gone!" So I frantically pulled over and climbed in the back row of the van to search. Blake is now sobbing (as his brothers quietly watch in awe), yelling "Jesus, please." I end up finding the fish under THE FRONT SEAT of the van. He launched from the back row to under the front seat. The poor thing isn't even flopping anymore but I put him in water anyway. At this point, Blake is now cheering, "Thank you Jesus!" Etienne calming and quietly says "I did not see that coming."
I could not write a life funnier than this stuff.
P.S. Jack the fish is somewhere semi-alive in the bottom of our pond. He is now considered "Super Human" by the boys. Molly says "He was never human to begin with."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Crying together

Strangling his brother's neck.
Peeing his pants (x2).
Hitting the van with a baseball bat.
Pounding a rusty screw into the bedroom wall. With my phone.
In between, there was a lot of crying, screaming and bouncing off the walls. Mondays seem to be tricky for us and when these extra ugly moments occurred, I promise I was always within a few arms length, trying to stop it. It's pointless to try to reason the behavior or even look for a pattern. It's what happened after the screw in the wall that I feel compelled to share. I know others can learn from my error.
I lost it. It was the middle of a 14 hr work day for Ryan, so I was solo. All day, I'd been discipling out of love, holding him close or having him on my back. All that "Connected" stuff. Tons of hugs. But the Blackberry and the screw were my breaking point. I spanked E hard. I haven't done that in a long time and I felt immediately like I spanked him out of anger. So I put him in the tub and I called a close friend to talk me through. We prayed, I got off the phone and I apologized to my son. He stood up in the tub, saying "I forgive you, Mama," and then we both held each other tight, crying hard. I realized all we could do was pray, so we did. Something beautiful out of ugly. I unlocked the bathroom door and Zeke too was crying. Molly had a glass of water for me. Then Blake showed up, skinny and naked. He formed "God loves you," with his body (don't ask, I could never explain) then sang, "If you worry, your face will frown. Don't worry, be happy, now..dooo,do,do,do-do,do,do,do,do,do."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Should have said so.

Size 6 Diaper.

Nighttime Pull-up.

Plastic cover.

Every night, this is what we layer my E in at bedtime (he isn't allowed fluids after 6, we wake him to pee, yada, yada, yada). Many nights, he still wet the bed. Poor kid, so big to have all those layers and wake up wet. I had been thinking that maybe he is just accustomed to the feel and the smell of being wet because he really didn't have an option with life in the orphanage. Monday, during his therapy, we talked a bit about his memories of bedtime before coming home. Later that night, Ryan and I told him "You know, if you wake up at night and you need to go potty, it would be good to get up and go." WELL, HELLO, MAMA.

He has woke up dry all week. All we had to do was give him permission. Geez. And thank you, God.

P.S. My father is sick and last night E was talking to him on my cell. He said "I want to pray for grandpa to get well." And then he did just that on his own accord over the phone. I don't know if I could be prouder. Two steps forward.....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I am ashamed to admit this, but I think there is truth and growth in it,so here goes. Before we brought the boys home, I used to say that an advantage to international adoption was that we wouldn't have to "share" our children. I had this silly notion that a birth mom was some kind of threat. Now, if I think of Etienne and Zeke's birth mothers, I tear up. I long to know something of their story. To have a piece of my sons' beginnings. Was Etienne born with those long, thick eye lashes that everyone talks about? Was he always rolly-polly? When Zeke entered the world, did he just want to nestle into your neck, the way he still does now? Did your labor for hours in the rainy season? Were you alone or surrounded by other brave women? Was adoption always your plan or did life not give you a choice?
I think about what I would tell them if I could meet them face to face. I would say that I can never, ever begin to thank them for the gift that they gave me in trusting me to mother their children. The bravery, the love, the courage.
I would tell Etienne's birth mom that he is so full of love and that there isn't anything he can't take apart, fix or reinvent. His curiosity reflects his intelligence that maybe she passed onto him. I would thank Zeke's mom for his sparkly eyes and silly demeanor. I would share with her his love for reading and how reflective he is of the world around him. I would promise both women that although my love for my sons is was heart born and not organic, the depths are immeasurable and constant. I would share with them that there was a time, a dark and lonely place, when I told my husband that I just wanted to be able to someday say I would die for my boys. Now that someday is here.
These are older pictures, but Etienne's face is so reflective, which is how I see him when he doesn't know anyone is watching. This is also Zeke's true grin.