They decided everyone needed a shoulder rub…
This is my face too a lot of days MinLan…
These are the days you’ll remember…..I can hear 10,000 Maniacs sing it just like I was in college…
Right now everyone is at church except myself and John Preston. He has decided he no longer wants to watch Kung Fu Panda with me so he is playing with his Thomas the Train stuff in his bedroom.
Figured I would take this quiet break and share an update with you guys. Hubby and all the other kids will be home in no time and the chaos will ensue. 😉
Overall, we are doing well. Let me say that first. I don’t want you to worry. Things are a lot like we expected they would be and in ways different too. Adjusting to adding an eight year old to your family is very different than when we brought MinLan home at the age of two. WAY DIFFERENT.
Just as we have shared the good with you, I long to be able to share our struggles too. But I’ll be honest, sharing is hard. If I share too much, some of you will think “Well isn’t this what you WANTED?!?!?!?!”. If I share too many details, then I feel like I am violating John Preston’s privacy. Who really wants every detail of their life on a blog for the world to see?
As an adoptive mom, it is often hard to share because other mom friends sometimes say things like:
- ALL kids do that!
- Oh, my kids did that too!
You are trying to express empathy but it can feel isolating because I know deep down you don’t exactly know what it is like.
Some things I save to share only with my adoptive momma friends…I feel safe there. I feel like there is no judgement and they also know exactly how I feel.
But for those considering adoption, I feel pressed to share the “after the rainbow”. After the paper chase is over, after the travel is over….just real life. I want you to be prepared.
For those friends not considering adoption, I really want you to know how to pray for us specifically. I selfishly want all of the prayers for our family that you are willing to pray.
So here we go…
John Preston has not shown one bit of grief. He is happy to be here and happy to be with us. In the beginning I was very concerned that grief was not beginning to show itself. With MinLan it was terrible. It literally broke my heart. With John Preston, nothing. I reached out to three adoptive momma friends who have adopted children with Down syndrome. Most of them had the same experience that I had. I think each one of them chose to take it as a blessing and not worry about the future. Is my child capable of attachment? Has he ever formed a loving bond with someone? Only time will tell. I am not as concerned as I was a few weeks ago. I am choosing in this moment to consider it a blessing that John Preston seems happy and is showing some beginning signs of attachment.
We are having some siblings struggles but isn’t that true whether biological or adopted?
Ethan probably has the least amount of patience with John Preston. Ethan likes his little world to be just so and John Preston is upsetting the apple cart a little bit. Ethan feels like the best way to help is to tell me every little thing that John Preston has done to bother him. Mind you, the vast majority of these “things” are not anything wrong…just things that annoy Ethan. Ethan is in full blown tattle mode and it can be draining. I am trying my best to teach Ethan to give John Preston grace and to try and tolerate some things and give him some time. Ethan is not impressed with my suggestions.
Ellie, Roo and John Preston seem to get along just fine. They are all getting to know each other still but are generally happy to play together. John Preston is smaller in size than Roo and in terms of “playing” seems to be about on her level. He would play babies, kitchen, dress up all day, I think, if someone will play with him. He will lash out at Roo specifically if she is not doing what he wants but I have only heard about this and not witnessed personally…she tells me about it way later in the day. Trying to be as watchful as I can so that I can intervene when needed.
We are having our most struggles with John Preston and the little girls. I may be the one struggling the most. On the one hand, the girls are TOUGH. If John Preston gets in their space or upsets them, the claws come out and they will beat him over the head with whatever object is closest. Certainly not condoning this behavior from them but there is a little bit of survival of the fittest going on here. He generally does not lash back out at them so I am thankful for that. He just cries. In the beginning the cries were VERY quiet. Almost hard to hear. Possibly from years of maybe not having those cries answered. Each day the cries are getting louder. He does not come to me for comfort in any way but I am praying that will come with time.
We are working hard to implement some safety procedures in our home which is making everyone a little nuts. We have done things the same way for a long time and now change is hard. We have never had a problem with our kids going into each other’s rooms to play. Now the rule is no boys in the girls’ room and no girls in the boys’ room. This is so easy to say but so much harder to implement. Especially when everyone can open doors and not everyone understands english.
Friday, we added door knob covers to help prevent everyone from having the skill set to open the doors. Poor Roo, who is allowed to open all the doors, is having a hard time, God bless her. They are hard to turn! We are trying our best to shield the knob with our body so that John Preston, MinLan and Neely can not see us open them. They are SUPER SMART and will figure them out in no time, I am convinced. For now we are good. I also bought a bedroom door alarm for the day when the knob covers cease to work. It sounds like an angry band of shrill horn players, so that will be fun.
The need to be hyper vigilant and watch where John Preston and the little girls are at each moment is exhausting. Ellie and I spend the entire day tagging out and in. I hate being like this. I honestly just hate it. As we work through some behavior issues with John Preston, keeping everyone safe is my top priority but it is literally taking every bit of brain power I have. I feel like my heart is racing and my nerves are on high alert wondering where each child is at each moment. It is honestly not a very fun way to parent and spend your days.
John Preston is still trying to figure out his place in our family. While my other kids feel free to roam the house, make messes, jump on furniture, climb in bed with momma in the mornings…John Preston doesn’t feel at home enough to do any of those things. He acts like a new houseguest who is afraid to break the fine China so he stays on alert and keeps his distance.
Most times he will somewhat hug us back if we hug him. If I give him a kiss, he will often ask to give me one back. Not out of true affection, I think, but out of a sense of obligation at this point.
There are times when I am helping him wash his hands, helping him get dressed or bathing him, that I feel this overwhelming sense of emotion and motherly instinct and then there are times that I have this feeling of “who is this kid and where did he come from”.
That is so hard.
I have loved him from afar for over a year. I have dreamed about the day he would be home with our family forever. We have worked so hard, asked so many others to help us…all to rescue this sweet boy from a life with no future…all to be able to give him a forever family and to have the opportunity to share Jesus with him. So to not have him feel 100% ours is strange…it will come….my research…the classes we attended…the adoption books we have read…all tell us that it will come. But in these days…living it right now…it is hard. It is hard to share…it is hard to admit.
Do we love him? Undeniably YES!
Does he feel like a complete part of the family? Not quite yet.
But know that we are making progress each day. I have rested my head on my pillow each night and asked the Lord to mold our family together. I have asked him to make it as though John Preston has always been a part of us. I have asked him to give me patience and to help me be the mother than John Preston needs.
So for all of the friends that ask us each day how he is doing….I always answer “good”. Because overall he is. But know that we still need your prayers daily.
This is a long road. One that we wanted…one that we chose…one that we chased after….and one that we will navigate only with the Lord’s help and strength.
Love You All,