Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lamentation of the blessed

I am blessed. I do not even attempt to deny this. I am so very blessed. I am.

It is nearly noon and my boys are in bed for nap time. Eli is already upstairs in the pack n play since he could not stay in bed. Evan is still chatting in the other room. He refuses to lie down. Oh, wait. .. I hear feet on the floor. Sigh. Two seconds.

I am blessed with the sweetest little guy that can understand only some of my comforting English words. It seems he understands even less of my admonishments and my attempts at Russian. We are making due but I can never be sure he understands what I mean when I say "Please stay in bed or Mama's head will surely explode." On the other hand I am pretty sure he does not understand all of my murmurs of comfort when I am trying to get him to sleep at night. . .all of the "I love yous and you are safe and okay sweet boy of mine." I do have google translate on my phone but never think to use it until I am sitting here with a moment of quiet.

Ahhhh a moment of quiet. On the couch. I am still in my robe though I can say with pride that I have showered. YAY MAMA! I rarely have the energy to change out of my fuzzy pants and tshirt these days. Do my hair? Put on makeup? Want to leave the house? NYET. Dig me a hole and I will gladly spend the rest of winter in it. Please? Someone start digging. Gimme a shovel and I will help!

Blessed with a boy that does not like Kraft Mac n Cheese. Pizza. Calzone. Pot pies. Mexican food. Anything from McDonald's. All out. (This list is actually much longer but even what I have listed has irritated me again so I will not continue.)  He does eat pasta with tomato sauce, Cream of chicken soup over rice, eggs, hot cereal (sometimes) and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And fruit of any kind. I don't cook much or willingly and many of my staple dishes are out for Evan. Sigh. Poor Eli is getting little variety since I cannot bring myself to make two meals...I am not that accommodating.

So, Evan took 1.75 hours to go to sleep last night. I tried rocking him. I tried rubbing his face with his soft blankie. I tried letting him self soothe. . .. It is so frustrating and exhausting to want to help but to be completely helpless. He doesn't stim physically, so to speak, but he refuses to lie down and repeats something that sounds like "Dum" or "Dom" over and over and over again. . .for an hour and forty five minutes.

My boys LOVE each other. So much so that they cannot seem to nap in the same room, they are too busy giggling and playing and convincing each other to get out of bed. It is clear everyday that these two little guys were meant to be brothers. It is really amazing to see.

I "knew" that this transition could be rocky. I "knew" that Evan could come home with behaviors that may be difficult to understand. I "knew" that the language barrier was there. I "knew" that Eli may regress in this transition. I "thought" I knew what that would all look like and how I would handle it. I had NO idea. In reality, both boys are handling this transition very well, it is STILL exhausting and difficult. It is a blow to the ego, I thought I was prepared and well equipped. Instead I find myself too exhausted for words. Wondering if what I am doing is working, adequate, enough.

I never thought that I would be the person to wear pajamas every day. Dragging themselves through their super blessed life. I never thought I would be blessed to have these two wonderful gifts in my life. I do NOT wish to discourage anyone considering adoption, on the contrary, I encourage parents to take the leap, it is worth it. I raise my fist in support of all the other Mama's still in their jammies, exhausted to their limits because they spend their days LOVING their children. And now, I am going to curl up and rock myself and my belly bean to sleep.

Oh yes we PRAY!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One week

ONE WEEK! Mr. Man has been home for over a week now and he is amazing me with his intelligence and his sweet nature. For all those concerned about the language barrier, let me assure you, Evan is smarter than his parents already. He understands a LOT of english, though he talks up a storm in Russian, he is communicating with us very effectively.

I am chagrined to inform you all that his very first English word is "bonk." He never fails to say it with a smile after he flings himself onto the floor. .. .precious. Right on the heels of that was the ever important English phrase "Eli, stop!" This can be heard just about anytime of the day, at any number of decibels. He also repeats phrases from the Lightening McQueen car that we have, so it is not uncommon to hear him repeat "I've got to find Mater." Without merely making a list for you, he is picking up English far faster than I had even hoped. He answers most of my questions with Da or Nyet. . .or he hops to comply immediately. It is incredible.

Evan is eating up a storm. .. and drinking SO much liquid, which quickly led us to the discovery that he is definitely not potty trained. DOH! I think in his previous home, he was not trained as they reported but his liquid intake was reduced to limit his need to use the potty. He is a peeing fool. I will revisit potty training when we are both speaking the same language, until then, we are buying stock in Pull-ups.

His first doctor appointment is this week and I am eager to get a handle on that aspect of parenting as well. I want to make sure we are as proactive as can long as it does NOT involve stool samples. That may push me over the edge.

Eli and Evan still play pretty well together, though Eli has decided that sharing is completely overrated. He wants nothing to do with it. Every toy that Evan grabs seems to be the greatest and most desirable toy in the house and Eli must have it, which results in Eli sitting in time out ALOT.

though not in time out here, this is Eli's time out face.
I was so concerned with how the transition was going to go for Evan, Eli and even the dog that I failed to consider my own transition. The laundry alone is insane! Bath time is interesting....bed time  is going to make me go gray. Why did I think sharing a room was a good idea for these boys? I should LOVE how much fun they have together, but after 8 pm is Mama's rest time. And Mama needs it. Needless to say, between illness from Belly bean, laundry and bedtime shenanigans, I feel as if I have aged 10 years in the past week. Heck, I am still in my jammies at 2pm today. I am THAT tired.

Shame on me, that little rant being true, I still cannot believe my good fortune. My dear Mom summed it up yesterday during our visit. "He is really amazing Beck. What a beautiful child. Simply perfect. I can't get my head around it all." I am humbled God has surely gifted me and my family with my two wonderful boys, and their oodles of laundry.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Because I am a woman obsessed.

Still trying and still failing.

"i am smiling, mama."

Nice of his Mama to clean all the pasta sauce off his face before snapping a million pictures!

I actually kind of like this one. 

I really had no idea just how skilled I am at NOT capturing a moment. . .all that high school journalism really paid off, eh?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Desperately trying to get photos for Christmas cards

I have a blog post percolating in my mind, but not feeling well enough to bust it out today, so instead, you can enjoy my frustration with these pictures. . .none of which will work for a Christmas Card. Ugh.

Oh and then Fun Uncle Jake came to play

But can I send out Christmas Cards with Uncle Jake on them?

Evan will pose, Eli refused. Sigh

Future Model?

Anyone else shocked by Santa's bad hair day? Eli was not phased, it was serious business asking for his present. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

That's what little boys are made of. Hmm. Not really in my experience, but I am not sure I am up to taking on Mother Goose today. What I DO know is that the little boys in my life are full of energy and mischief, strange smells and sounds. Loads of laughter and joy. I could not imagine a happier household.

Since I have not done it in far too long, I am highlighting two boys that I am sure would also bring so much love and laughter, funky smells and mischievous looks to anyone's household. Even thought is has only been 5 days max, adopting Evan was the best decision. For all involved. What a blessing, so if you are on the fence, no, it is not easy but it is worth it in a million ways. Totally worth it.

Meet Ralph. I have talked my church into adopting him and praying for him. .. if a Mama steps forward for this little love, you will have LOADS of people supporting you and praying for you. . .and you will get to experience a little miracle in your home every day. Think on it.

Ralph 15H

Boy, born January 2007
Eyes: Brown
Hair: light brown
Character: sociable
Down syndrome
What a handsome little boy!   He is already 5 and has likely been transferred to the institution already.  Further information will not be available about him until a family’s dossier is registered.  Don’t let him become a statistic!  He deserves a family and a future of his own

This next little boy is Mark. Mark's baby picture took my breath away. I imagined that he was the spitting imagine of my lost boy Beckett. Beckett would have been born with DS and Mark's baby picture. .. well I still kiss it every day. I pray for Mark to find his Mama unceasingly. I know deep in my heart that he will be a bundle of love and affection. He needs to find his family!

Mark 31C

Boy, born October 2009

Little Mark has Down syndrome and was born with some heart issues (Atrial Septal Defects, no impairment of circulation), but surgery hasn’t been found necessary yet.
Full medical history available.

Mark is usually in good mood. He plays with toys variously, jabbers. He is active.

Now, back to the miracle in my very own house. Well, today was a bit of a tough one for Papa and Mama. Papa is suffering from jet lag, which means Mama is suffering from jet lag as well as all-day-sickness. I am not complaining (well, not for the sake of complaining. . . ) but the boys decided to get up at 4:45 am this morning. I heard them. . .but knowing Papa was downstairs, I opted to stay in bed just a bit longer in hopes that this would keep the nausea at bay today.

Well, that lasted a couple of hours (thank you very much Papa) and then world war III erupted downstairs. Shortly after I arrived downstairs to some very tired and cranky boys, Papa disappeared upstairs. The boys wanted nothing to do with each other but everything to do with the toys that the other boy possessed. Fun. The rest of the morning went something like this: Divide and conquer. Food and drink. Toilet time. Divide and conquer. Divide and conquer. Time out for Eli. Time out for Eli. .. flipping heck, TV ON! Eli, SIT DOWN!
Once Eli settled down a little bit, Evan played very calmly. He loves to stack things up, knock them over then stack them again. It was fascinating to watch. He can be so very self contained, and clean. He will put away toys before getting out more toys. (And I discovered tonight that he loves folding laundry and he is quite good at it!) Eli was cuddled up on my lap (oh, I do just about anything for cuddle time with him, he is not a cuddler) when the dog barked. In two seconds flat I was cuddling two sweet boys, though Eli was trying to take up as much room as possible so he would not have to share with Evan. . .did I mention how cranky they were? haha. I took a couple of pictures of the boys on my lap and when Evan saw the image of Eli on the phone screen he immediately started trying to kiss it. Oh, they DO love each other! 
OY. Me. makeup...pre-shower. This is what pregnancy does to me. Pretty, eh?

Pucker up!

Naptime was the great healer. They woke up the best of friends again and played quite well together. After shower time, I got some pictures of Evan. . .I regret not taking these sooner, as I am sure we can be credited with the proud pot belly that Evan is sporting. I hope sooner rather than later I can post some after pictures...
Evan calls me Mama and comes to me when he hurts himself or when he gets scared. It is heartwarming to know that he can do that and I will gladly comfort him. Oh, really, I cannot say it enough, Evan is a miracle in my life. Plain and simple. This is a new experience for me. I really have had to struggle and muddle my way through things (admittedly my choices may not have been God's will but they were still good and righteous choices for the most part) so the fact that Evan has transitioned so smoothly into our family takes my breath away, we are so blessed. . .now if only Belly Bean would also get with the program. Sheesh.

 My formatting goes WONKY everytime I post pictures. . .sorry. I cannot figure it out. Sigh. Kids and their technology!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Me, cry a river.

I could cry all day. Literally. This is only in part due to my pregnancy, mostly it is from humility and happiness.

Evan/Roman arrived home Friday night. The last day and a half have been so filled with laughter, noise, toys and moments that make my heart want to burst. We survived our first Mass as a family of four and Evan was FABULOUS! He put his older brother to shame with how well behaved he was. I struggled to keep from weeping, he is such a gift to me. After Mass we asked the Priest to bless Evan/Roman. The Priest obliged and said that he seemed very content and comfortable for only being home a day and a half. "He must really know that he is loved." I cried. (Yea, I know. . .shocking.)  How I hope so! It is my heart's desire that my children know how loved they are and I will spend my life trying to demonstrate this to them.

Yesterday I was going through the paperwork that accompanied Gavin and Mr Man home. In the packet was the picture from the Dap file. I was moved to tears. It was this photo that had me saying no to this boy.. .. I admit, I judged Evan/Roman, a child so full of love and life by his photo. I along with many others said "no" to this boy based on nothing. Fear? I don't know. . .looking at the picture again I was moved to tears. How close we were to missing out on this lovely addition to our family. How guilty I feel for rejecting this child based on a photo and a feeling. How completely wrong I was. Completely.

When on this train of thought, I cannot stand all the what-ifs that could have applied to Evan/ Roman. He could have spent his life, forever judged by a very bad photo. He could have spent his life waiting to be wanted. . .never experiencing the love of a Mama and a Papa. . and a super bossy brother. The what-ifs spiral from there. This child did not deserve the life he inherited. He deserves so much more.

Having this adorable and worthy boy in my life is important. It has changed my life, my husband's life and my son's as well as Evan's life. It boggles my mind what a path we are all on together now. Having the constant reminder here. . .tangible, I want to shout to people. Adoption IS LIFE for these children AND your family. It is doable, it is necessary and it is flipping awesome. I fear people will discount my message for the tears and mascara trails on my face. . .but seriously people. HOW CAN WE SAY NO? Adoption is life, people, a total blessing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oh Henry

This is Leila Miller's Post for Henry and his family. She wrote so eloquently that I had to share. I am shattered by this loss, any Mama cannot comprehend the loss that this family is going through. I pray that God soothes their aching hearts and fills their empty arms. Since I cannot seem to see well enough through my tears to do the family and Henry any sort of justice, I am poaching. . .Leila, thank you.
Leila's blog post can be found here.
Carla in her amazing way posted her heartbreaking news here. Carla was instrumental in leading my husband and I on our adoption journey. For this, I will be forever indebted to her and her sweet family. 

Rest in peace, sweet Henry

Oh, baby boy…. How our hearts ache tonight. How we miss you and weep for your family.

Henry, precious one, your life was all about redemption, from beginning to end.

We watched as Carla, your mommy, found you in a picture and fell in love, and as she took that leap of faith and flew across the ocean to claim you from a cold and lonely orphanage without hope, bringing you to a home overflowing with warmth and life and love.

Such a strong boy, a fighter! For over a year, through facebook, blogs, and email, we followed your surgeries, we rejoiced at your recoveries, we celebrated when you turned two with your family, and we couldn't wait to watch you grow bigger and stronger, turning into a young man one day, the whole world at your feet!

And you got through the "big" (but necessary) surgery we'd all been praying about, besting Hurricane Sandy herself, and finally coming home after three long weeks away, but never away from your beloved mother, who never left your side.

We worried last week when you had an unexpected setback, a massive infection in your tiny body, a complication of the surgery. More surgery and lots of hope followed. There were pain-free moments yesterday, and deep, connected gazes of affection between mother and child. Then today, your mommy announced that you crashed, nearly died, and then came back to her and to us. But you crashed a second time and then we heard no word for long, torturous minutes, which turned to an hour, and more. Silence from your mommy was ominous. We all prayed and hoped against hope, but then saw this, from your mommy's friend, posted on her facebook wall:
Friends. At Carla's request I'm telling you all that our friend and brother Henry has gone to be with Jesus, where there is no more pain, where every tear will be wiped away, where he will walk tall and straight forever! Pray for his suffering family.
The grief. Unspeakable sorrow at having lost you, and anguish at the thought of your mommy, and the crucible she must be enduring. Like Mary our heavenly Mother, bearing the crushing weight of the loss of a precious, innocent son. Silent prayers that Mary would carry Carla through….

So many communities praying, crying, comforting each other, worrying about your mommy and your whole family. The Catholic bloggers, the Reece's Rainbow community, facebook friends, your in-real-life community. Helpless and in shock. So many prayers ascending.

As I said at the start, your whole life, little Henry, was about redemption. You had been redeemed from the orphanage by your mother, and in turn you redeemed so many other children who didn't have a chance before Carla introduced us to you and to Reece's Rainbow. You and Carla laid the foundation. You and Carla are the primary reason I am an advocate for orphans today. You and Carla are the reason that Malcolm has found a family and will be leaving the dreary, gray walls of an institution. You and Carla are the reason that Nicholas has a family coming for him, and little Nico as well, and the reason that Paul is home and the reason that Sabrina will be home soon. And so many others. Your mommy, through her love for you, started a domino effect of love and redemption, which is growing exponentially.

Sweet Henry, you have been used by our Lord to be the instrument of redemption for many, and for countless children to come. Yours was a life well lived. And through your baptism and incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, you yourself have been redeemed for all eternity.


Carla had big dreams for her Henry -- that he would be free of pain, and that he would walk and dance and run! That he would be a faithful disciple of Christ Jesus, becoming a pure reflection of our Lord to all who encountered him, and that he would become a great saint, enter into Heaven, and dwell in the House of the Lord forever!

All these dreams of his loving mother have been realized tonight.

Carla, my friend, your work as Henry's mother is now complete -- a perfect success. He is now exactly who he was made to be. Although your work as his mother is done, his work as a powerful and glorious intercessor before the Throne of God has only just begun.


Rest peacefully, powerfully, blissfully in the glory of the Heart of the Holy Trinity, dear Henry. You are free now, and perfected in the Love that you first learned in the arms of your mother.

Little Saint Henry, now and always, pray for us!

And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? … But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 15

These now-priceless photos, taken just weeks ago, courtesy of 5 Boys + 1 Girl = 6 Photography