Monday, September 24, 2012

Darn Shoes.

     First, I need to say that I am so appreciative of everyone that served Ryan and me the past few days.  We were able to attend a Visiting Orphans training workshop in Nashville, TN.  We're officially Team Leaders.  Just as importantly, we got 2 nights of >8hrs sleep, a 48hr date, met and worshiped with lots of inspiring people AND had ZERO phone calls from the Principal.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.
     I wanted to share a little bit about how stress looks differently in kids.  It's no secret we've been in a valley lately.  By God's grace, Molly and Blake take it all in stride.  Mr Ezekiel, however, has really been battling his sensory issues.  When Zeke gets stressed, it manifest in how he feels about his clothing, sounds, touch and movement.  It's not exaggeration to say that getting Zeke into shoes each morning takes an hour, followed by lots and lots of whining, adjusting them and tears.  This goes with the waistband and the sleeves of his shirts/shorts.  Ask my folks or the sitter about how long and how many times Zeke changes clothes.
     Sensory issues are common in kids who have been adopted from orphanages, foster care or spent a long time hospitalized.  In simple terms, these kiddos need rewired after spending months or years not being touched and held, not being exposed to various textures, sounds, lights, tastes.  For Zeke, he can't get past how shoes feel.  This is also why he talks exceptionally loud,  could have Ryan spin him around for hours without getting dizzy, likes really, really strong tastes and freaks out about cold/hot.
    Of course, just like everything else, God has got this.  Zeke can't help that he is oversensitive to so much. Often, I wish I could walk into every college Developmental Psych class and say "this is your answer for nature vs nurture."  It matters.  Every loving touch, snuggle, rock, hug, eye contract, gaze and affection a child receives, it all makes a difference.  To the new mamas that just want to get their baby on a schedule and are tired of cuddling their toddlers to sleep, all those moments make a difference.  There is nothing that can replace love.  I can't ever undo that Zeke spent most of his waking hours in metal crib, surrounded by other quiet babies conditioned to not cry.  But I can continue to take a deep breath, pray over him and rock him until he doesn't notice the threads in his socks.  I can have faith that in God's time, this too shall pass.
     Most mornings, unfortunately, I have had to resort to threats to get him out the door because I can't physically stop  our routine to rock him and squeeze him tight for more than a few minutes.  It's easy to get frustrated with the nonstop whining , but Zeke deserves the extra patience, the extra minutes getting ready and the elimination of choices in his wardrobe!  We've dug out our box of rice and I've added a heavy blanket to his bed.  We're encouraging him that God gives him strength to overcome any feeling that he has and that what's real is our touch.  Our love.  Here and now.

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