Tuesday, March 20, 2012

how're things going?

Amazing how things can shift in just a day.

I started this post this morning, but my mindset and heart are in a totally different place just 12 hours later.

I think this may be adoption.  Very similar to how it feels when you have a newborn (at least for me).  You're up.  You're down.  It's a good morning.  It's not a good morning.  It's a good day.  It's not such a good day.  I have always been very effected by the moods of my babies.  This is no different.  But here's the whole post even if I'm not exactly there anymore after having a great day with James!

'How're things going?'

That's the question I get most these days.

And my answer is always, 'Good.'

Because it is good.

Is it exactly as I expected?  No.

Is James a wonderful child?  Yes.

Am I grateful for him?  Yes.

For me, a huge part of what's different than I expected is...me!  I'm different than I expected I would be.  My humanness.  My flaws.  My physical fatigue.  The reality of having five children and the enormity of what that is for a mom when you love your children so much and want to give them all they need and more.  But you're just one person.  Any mother of more than one child knows this.  Even mothers with only one child, too!  Sometimes you just feel like there simply isn't enough you to go around.  But there is enough God.  And He fills in for me where I can't.  I'm so thankful for that.

In the midst of our family's flexing into one of seven, I am amazed to see God in the midst of it all.  The joy and love our biological kids feel toward James is nothing short of miraculous.  It's something I hoped for, but it's amazing to see.

I remember not too long ago, when we embarked on this journey, feeling like I was laying my life before God and saying, 'Lord, stretch me.  I don't want to live safely anymore.'

Well, He answered.

I am stretched.  I am scared.  I am uncertain.  I am grateful.  I am trusting.  I am honored.  I am full to overflowing.  I am confident that we're right where we're supposed to be even if it's a place of trepidation and anticipation.

There's one thing I know for sure.  God wanted James to be part of our family.  This is His will, so He will meet our every need.  He will equip me/us.  He will not leave us or forsake us.  He created this family and we will rely on Him to carry us through these times of transition and flexing.

Now, an update on each child:

Payton continues to be the doting 'mother-sister.'  She is great with James.  She can carry him most easily (as compared to the other kids who think they can, but he's not that much shorter than they are).  She has a connection with him that's sweeet.  He often goes to her and asks for her to pick him up.  She will pull out all the stops to make him laugh.  Seeing her love for him is truly something to see.  Frankly, I haven't seen this side of her with her biological sibs in years!  ha!

Avery and James are definitely bonding.  More and more everyday.  She is happy to pick him up when he asks and would carry him all around if she could, but she does get tired.  He's 20 pounds and she's only 50!  She and JD taught him how to go down the stairs on his rump!  I came in from the backyard yesterday and was startled.  Avery assured me, 'Mooom...he can do it!' as I nervously lurched for him.  'Daddy and I taught him.'  It's true.  And now he beckons her to come downstairs with him.  Avery fed James his first lollipop today (from Trader Joe's).  She was his best friend after that!

It is so sweet to see Jack-Jack as a big brother.  He loves James and loves doting on him.  Trying to play with him, wanting to help feed him, getting him dressed, etc.  James has started 'barking' at his sibs in protest when they touch the toy he's playing with (eventhough they're just picking it up for him or helping him with it).  And one time James protested because Jackson tried to sit in between James and me (there was plenty of room -- James wasn't even sitting next to me).  Jackson immediately moved and got down in response to James' protest.  I then told him that James can't do that and that Jackson should get back up on the couch next to me.  He was happy to oblige and I was happy to have my boy not feel displaced.  I told James that Jackson can sit there.  Of course, James doesn't fully understand what we're saying, but he understands.  

Brooks is a James fan too.  He too wants to help him get dressed, etc.  In fact, he picked out his pajamas last night and got him dressed all by himself.  He loved doing that.  Of all the kids, Brooks is the most aloof, but that's kind of just Brooks.  He's very aware of James' whereabouts and talks about James being his brother now.  He and Jackson were so excited to return to school today after two weeks off.  They both desperately wanted me to walk them into school and bring James in to show their teacher.  Of course, I was happy to accommodate their request.  It was sweet to see them as proud big brothers.  And, yet again, the support and love and excitement of the people in our community never ceases to amaze me.  Their teachers, teachers' helpers, and other parents were just stopping us to wish us well and lay their eyes on James.  Who never disappoints with his puppy dog eyes or a good batting of his eyelashes.  This boy is a flirt.  

Now, how's James doing?  My goodness, he is amazing us.  He is crazy-happy.  Not that he never cries, whines or protests, but generally he is just the most easy-going guy.  He's such a good boy.  He is giving us kisses complete with a full *mwah* to follow.  He waves and says, 'Hi!' to people (including strangers).  He is super expressive facially and downright silly about it sometimes.  I think he may be a ham in the making.    

Yesterday, JD left for work and James began to cry.  He then proceeded to cry and whine off and on all morning as I was trying to get dressed, get the kids dressed and get the kitchen cleaned up.  I couldn't console him.  He just seemed sad and perhaps mad.  It wasn't the best start to our first day back to the grind.  I was not feeling very positive about our days ahead.

James has his first doctor's appointments scheduled: orthopedic surgeon in early April and a neurologist in mid-May.  We're trying to gather as much information as possible from our pediatrician and friends who've adopted and gone down this road before us.

Since we met James and got to know him personally, we learned that he struggles to feed himself (he can't pinch with his fingers like we thought he could) so I've had this vision of some kind of accommodation that fastens a utensil to his hand so he can feed himself.  Therefore, I've been anxiously awaiting getting him in front of an occupational therapist.  But today I got inventive and strapped a plastic spoon onto his little hand with a soft, hair-rubberband.  The look on his face was adorable.  He held his hand up as if he was saying, 'Hey, Mom!  Thanks!'  He then tried to feed himself.  Of course, my piecemeal attempt wasn't exactly what he needs, but I know we need to accommodate him so he can learn to feed himself at this foundational age.

I've taken some photos and videos of James experiencing grass for the first time.  Oh my gosh.  I don't think he's ever seen it in his life.  He does not like it!  He screams every time we attempt to touch his toes to it.  And it's spring!  He's screamed when Payton walked up against a tree so he could touch it!  It's crazy!

Enough for now.

Thank you to everyone who has emailed, messaged me on Facebook, brought meals, left our 'frig and freezer stocked, offered to help, taken our kids for play dates, the list goes on.

We're feeling the love and so appreciate it.  You'll never know how much.

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