I have been wanting to write again all week, but the days just pass by with no in-between time to squeeze out a blog. We are definitely feeling the exhaustion of the marathon that is parenting lots of little children, with no big ones yet to help. I am not even thinking about February, I’m just blissfully ignorant of such things and enjoying the little kicks here and there and not having to devote too much attention to nourishing the little one just yet. On the other hand, I couldn’t be more excited to meet our new babe. I don’t want to leave anyone out, so today’s post is just going to be quick updates on everyone. Youngest to oldest sound good? Ok here we go…
Stephen is doing just dandy. Besides a little bit of a cold he seems to have picked up from somewhere, he is his usual, hilarious self. He has decided to be kind of clingy in the early hours of the morning; I think he caught on to my plot of getting up earlier than they do and is trying to put that to a stop. I admit, some mornings I’m glad for the excuse to stay in bed! But I get so much more done when I don’t… He has started using sentences this last week (with prepositions and conjunctions even!); which is terribly adorable and always surprises me when I hear it. His three favorite activities are singing (or yelling lavishly, whichever label your prefer), baseball and running. Yes, running. He just likes to run laps everywhere, he will have me watch him for a few minutes until he tires out and then he’ll be so proud of himself for how fast he went. Oh boys are fun.
Evangeline is also doing well, very much in a mothering phase. Her baby dolls do therapy, stretches, go to the hospital, you know all that normal baby stuff. You know you’re a special needs mama when your kids play hospital more than school. Ahem. I still haven’t started doing reading with her yet, although it’s painfully obvious she is rearing to go. That’s the next thing on my school list to start – reading! We are doing great with sign language, though. She has over a hundred words in her vocabulary now, and we’re practicing sentences. She’s even started using her signing throughout the day, which is awesome. Jacob and Stephen use it a little too, but I am mostly focused on getting Evie conversational and I definitely think she will get there before the end of the year!
Jacob is also doing well; his spoken English is coming along a little more each week and he continually surprises us with how much he comprehends. He loves to sing and read books, which is great because we do a lot of that in our house! As far as bonding and emotional stuff goes, he is so fragile. Any change in routine or less-than-perfectly-planned outing creates so much distress in our poor boy. He thrives on stability and routine. I do believe he’s attaching to us, and I think that has actually increased the behavioral difficulties we are seeing. He’s scared of being close, so he’s pushing away. It’s heartbreaking to watch a six year old who is so terrified of love. It should not be this way. But we are working so hard to bring him to a better place, and he’s come so far already. He is such a brave young man. Last week he was fitted for orthodics for his legs and feet, so with any luck we will be able to get him in a walker before the month is over! You have no idea how excited this Mommy is to get him up on his feet. It’s going to change his world, and I can’t wait to see how he reacts to finally being able to walk after years of being told that he is incapable of learning and that his legs will never work. So many blessings we get to watch unfold, our hearts are full.
And our oldest princess, I know many of you are wondering how she is doing now. A couple weeks ago Hope spent two days in the hospital for some concerning seizure activity. They found a brain bleed that may have been causing it. We are thrilled to report that the activity we saw seems to be disappearing and we are praying that the follow up CT scan on Wednesday will show a parallel improvement in her injury. She just learned how to clap all on her own, which is something we’ve been working on and we could not be prouder of her for that accomplishment! She is gaining strength and has almost reached a healthy weight for her height. We discovered that she loves bath time; it’s incredibly therapeutic for her. She usually never lets me cradle her for long, but in the water she relaxes and completely melts into my arms. It’s such a gift to have found a bonding activity for us, we were really in need of one. Not only is it healing for her, but for me as well.
Speaking of which… how are Mommy and Daddy holding up? My last blog post was tough, but we had been on a downward spiral of tough for these last two weeks trying to catch our breath and recover from the unexpected hospital stay. I’m happy to report we are all in a much better place right now. It’s a ridiculous roller coaster of huge highs and deep lows. There are incredible miracles going on right under our roof, and we are first hand witnesses to all of them. It’s spectacular! But at the same time, the spiritual warfare is crazy intense. The emotional toll of inviting trauma into your home, like I talked here, is a really heavy load to carry.
Please know, we’re not dying over here We have some pretty bad days, but we also have some really awesome ones. Our adjustment period is not going horrendously, and it’s not going spectacularly well either. If I had to guess, we are about the average of where a typical adoptive family is at that point – especially factoring in that we adopted older children from hard places. This is hard work, excruciating, exhausting, intense work. But it’s good work and it’s work that needs to be done. I was talking to my Dad the other day and he compared it to running a marathon, you know it’s going to hurt… but once you get to mile 23, knowing beforehand doesn’t really make it hurt any less.
And I think it’s an apt comparison. Running a marathon isn’t for everybody… but it could be for a lot more people than the ones who actually do it. Will it hurt? Yes… but it’s also going to be incredible when you finally cross that finish line. One foot in front of the other, taking it one step at a time…. Or as my favorite blue fish would say: Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming