Archive for July, 2014


Learning all over again

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been home over a month now. On one hand, there is still a lot of newness with George but on the other, it feels like he has always been here. I find myself still marveling at all we have come through and how resilient the little guy is.

I caught myself thinking today about both of my boys and just how different they are. I’m sure you are thinking to yourself, “Well, of course they are different!” but not in that way. I realized today that although they are both five year old boys and have a lot in common (for example, I hear that repeating the word banana over and over again is just hilarious!), they are very different in a lot of ways.

People ask me if the language barrier is the hardest part. Not really. G is learning a ton of English, understanding most of what we try to say and even how to say some words. But what is the hardest part for me is remembering that he is different and unique. How I treat him is different (but equal) than how I treat Luke. That’s a lesson that every parent has to go through – whether the second child comes via adoption or birth. He’s different, but not because he’s adopted. He’s different because he’s George.

So, the hardest part isn’t dealing with the fact he’s adopted or overcoming a language barrier. The hardest part is remembering God made him unique. And I’m grateful that in our case, the hardest part about this process now is something that all parents have to go through when they bring a new child home.

But he’s not all that different. As is evidenced by these pictures I took last weekend.

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Deep thoughts, and Doctors

Here is a post I started a week an a half ago – and then I was distracted ;)…

Another week!  We’ve been home two full weeks. Hard to imagine just three weeks ago we were on way to South Korea. This week we got very good at finding less busy parks and having a few small play dates. With a 4 1/2 and 5 year old – we need to be active when we can.  One thing that really became real to us this week was how we view our sons. I think every parent worries a little when they add to their family, whether by birth, adoption, or blending families. “Will I really love this child as much as the one(s) I already have?  How is that possible?”  I can say, I’m pretty sure it happened instantly, but this week was when I really realized it. I looked in the backseat on one of our park trips and realized, there were no favorites, it didn’t matter who was first, or the newest member of our family, and even though they are two unique boys, they are both all ours. 

 

Back to the present.

It’s still true – we still do feel this way. While all we have of G’s early years are some photos and medical records – it sometimes feels like he’s always been here.  Oh, there are still plenty of times where we are still figuring each other out and some rough spots, but it is so impossible to imagine him NOT here.

As for what we have been up to – we are doing a lot of Dr. appointments. Yesterday both boys had appointments at the cleft clinic in Iowa City. It was a little crazy seeing all the Dr.’s with both of them – but we got it done.  I’m very thankful that the different specialists each recognized when the boys were “done” and didn’t insist on pushing them too far.  Each visit makes us a little more aware of G’s special needs and how to handle them, but it’s all manageable.  We still have several more specialists to visit and get baselines for, and it amazes my how varied our medical records are that we received. I know we have far better records than many international adoptions – but they are as detailed  as photos of open heart surgery, to referencing tests where there are no results – and my personal favorite – Hearing test results: Hears.  We still have several more appointments to go, please pray that his fear and anxiety of doctors passes.

Probably the most frequent questions we receive are in regards to language. We are doing fine – we continue to pick up a bit more Korean, but G is picking up English very quickly. Of course the words that he uses that melt our hearts (Mommy, Daddy, I love you, home) and then there are a few more practical ones (potty, apple juice, eat, smoothie, and chicken nuggets). We are even learning the difference between the meltdowns. There is the “I’m crying because I want you to cave and give me what I want” or “I didn’t get my way.”  And there is the “Crying because I’m just overwhelmed, I’m mad, I’m not sure why and I have no control.”

Even thought it’s been about a week and a half I don’t have a lot of photos. Dr. appointments don’t make for great photo ops. 🙂 G did take a photo of L at the dentist, but it’s not real flattering, so we’ll pass. Here’s one though!  Thanks for coming along on our journey Your love, prayers and support mean the world to us during this transition.

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Ups and Downs

Yesterday morning I started a weekly update post. And there will be thoughts on that posted, but you won’t see it for a few days. Why?  Because it turned into a day of Ups and Downs. It started fairly low key in the morning. We were chilling at home, Apba daddy had a meeting at church. It was going well until it was time to get dressed before he got home – so we could head to Adventureland in the afternoon for his company’s family outing.

For some reason, needing to get dressed triggered a meltdown. (Getting dressed has more than once, either for bed, or for the day.) An hour of screaming/crying/big tears. For 30 minutes – he wouldn’t even let me touch or hold him. All I could do was text Daddy to pray, pray myself, sing,  and keep trying to offer my arms and lap for comfort. Finally he let me hold him off and on – but he was still upset, and it was another half hour before we were calm and ready to get dressed.  I found myself wondering – “Are we crazy for going to an amusement park this afternoon?” “Maybe we should stay home and let the others go.” But we decided to go – and I’m so glad we did. It was like a hard reboot on the day. Change of scenery, getting out together as a family, and having some fun. Most people may question our decision – and to be fair – we were prepared to leave if needed. But – with this being a company outing, with tickets, parking and lunch provided, we felt it was worth a shot.

The afternoon was amazing. The boys were troopers. We laughed, we smiled. Held hands and high fived. We also built a lot of trust today. We did not push him to do anything he didn’t want to do. The boys enjoyed the kid rides – (G was fine and thrilled as long as he could see us and wave.) and They loved the balloon ride. In fact, Lucas and I rode it 3 times, and Daddy and George joined us for two of those. I have to say, I do NOT like rides that go in circles. Add that it goes up and down to that, and my usual response is NOPE. But, the boys loved it, and we could do it as a family. Together. So I worked to ignore the queasy stomach, and focused on the joy on the boys faces.

Tonight – we stopped at Z’maricks for dinner (kids eat free on Saturday!) G’s housemother had told us he does not like spicy things. I think that means something totally different than what we thought. He turned down the penne with butter and parmesan we got him (already knew he doesn’t care for mac and cheese) but ate my spicy udon noodles just fine. Then tonight his feet must have hurt – because he was taking my hands and having me rub them. But again, he was letting me help him.

So, it was a day of ups and downs – and I needed both the ups and downs. And, more importantly, so did G. It’s hard. It’s painful. We still have a lot to work through. But, he is starting to let us help and comfort him. We also need fun family times. But I need to remember that I also need to get out of my comfort zone for the boys best interest. Today it was riding the balloon ride multiple times 🙂 Just another up and down.

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What we’ve learned so far…

Have we been home a week? Hard to believe – To be honest, I’ve had a hard time keeping track of what day it is.

G is learning more each day – and so are we. So, in an effort to show how far we’ve come, some things we have learned over the past week together –

Mommy and Daddy- have learned that Google translate is not always helpful, although it is a great tool when you are trying to communicate either way. However a few mis-steps – (Tiara vs. I don’t want to, or wipe vs. strawberry) but with context – it can help get us in the right direction. We are also learning more about sibling rivalry every day – but also the magic of brothers/best friends. I’ve also learned to enjoy the times they are playing well together, and working as a team. I’ve also learned to keep an eye and ear open for their plots for ‘Ohana takeover. I’ve also learned that small play dates are good – for everyone’s energy and need to get out. For those of you that knew about L being afraid to sleep in his room for a few months now – we also learned that he was afraid of the posters he had up in there. They are safely stored out of sight for awhile. 🙂

Lucas – is learning more about sharing. Pretty important life skill. He’s also learning some Korean. I have a feeling He and G will have a hybrid code before we know it. 🙂 I think he also realized this week that G is here for good, and most of the time, he’s glad for that. He is concerned if he doesn’t know why G is upset. Luke has also learned this week that bedtime is not traumatic – and has been a trooper at bedtime.

George – is also learning more about sharing. 🙂 He continues to learn more English at an amazing speed as far as I’m concerned. (He counted and assigned by name all of our burgers from our 4th of July dinner.) He’s learning more about our routine – and seems to really enjoy our food. We had kim and rice on the table for every meal for awhile – but he only wanted it once in awhile. He helped pick cherries which we made into muffins. He’s also become a bit of a smoothie expert.

To be fair – we are all still learning from and about each other. Things seem to switch from calm to crazy fairly quickly. I cannot predict what things will be like an hour from now. We are still figuring out what comes next with paperwork, medical appointments and school.

Thank you again to all who have been supporting us through prayer, texts, private messages, phone calls, visits and meals. Each have meant so much as we work through this transition. Please don’t be afraid to visit or call. Just know it might be crazy 🙂 but knowing we have support of friends and family, and that they are thinking of us means so much.

I’m thinking this is a pretty amazing journey – one we wouldn’t be on without God’s urging. And these photos are a pretty amazing reminder.

Settling In

We’ve had custody for a week, and have been home just over 4 days. It’s all been kind of a blur.  I think we are all missing Korea a bit – and of course especially George – however, I would say he is adjusting well. The past two nights, bedtime has gone remarkably well for both boys – and that is a victory I will definitely celebrate. There are always little surprises as we learn more about each other. Today I discovered he loves oatmeal – like, carrying the carton of oats around loves oatmeal. Can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow! (Hope we do it right!)

G has some delayed speech issues – which right now for us means, he’s really good at non-verbal communication.  There have really only been a few times we don’t figure out pretty quickly what he wants or needs.  He is also picking up English already as well. We are already recognizing some family traits as well. (Who wouldn’t sort the word flashcards by the color of the border?) Also some great negotiating skills. He is a great eater, and is being a good sport about eating. Pizza is a favorite – but did great with meatloaf tonight.

Going to the Dr. was challenging, and we had a clue of that from his pre-flight check in Seoul. We will need to see a few more specialists in the next few months for some of the 22Q deletion issues.

George and Lucas act like they have always been brothers.  Whether they are trying to copy each other, struggling with sharing, or running in circles, there is a lot of brotherly behavior going on. Even when there are squabbles, they are quick to “hug it out” and move on. One thing that is getting hard to get is photos – they move too fast! 🙂

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As we pray we are Thankful for:

  • all of our support from friends and family – meals, texts, phone calls, visits, and of course prayer, have all been greatly appreciated.
  • spreading the word about special needs adoption – We’ve had some shares and some new readers.  Thanks for joining the journey!
  • Sleep. What we can, when we can. But last night was a full night for all.  I feel like Super Woman

Prayer Requests:

  • That G continues to feel more comfortable each day and we establish routine
  • That the weather allows for more outside time!
  • Wisdom as make medical and school decisions
  • Sleep. Preferably at night.