Monday, July 13, 2009

Thoughts after our first weekend

Discovery #1:

My Haitian lad has NO interest in television. Unless he's strapped in his carseat and has nothing else to do but look at the tv, he won't pay it a moment of attention. Which kind of undermines my "get out of jail free" card when it comes to moments to load the dishwasher, switch the laundry or even sit for a moment.

Discovery #2:

This child LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to play outside. I give God a HUGE praise for His perfect timing, because I cannot imagine how entirely difficult it would be to have brought him home in the middle of winter. His first day here, we were outside at 8 am, came in for a noon lunch, took a nap, and went back outside for the remainder of the day (with a short dinner break.) He loves scooters, the kiddie Jeep, tricycles, big wheels, the playground, our tree swings, soccer, dodgeball. He is not too fond of the sprinkler or Slip-n-Slide, which surprised all of us, but that's okay. I think it the weather was too cool (only upper 70's) for him to even want to attempt that.

Discovery #3:

We were prepared to bring home a 4 year old child with a 24-36 month skill set. Not the case with this child. We are amazed at how agile, adept and skilled he is physically. He can do simpler puzzles, trace his hand, drive the jeep (including stopping on a dime), and build things out of Legos. Of course, I feel great Mama pride over all of this.

Discovery #4:

No matter how much you think you can imagine it when you read about it on other blogs, ghiardia (spelling) or intestinal parasite poop is beyond disgusting. Jen, you have my heartfelt sympathy and HUGE admiration and respect because I cannot imagine what it's like to find that in a diaper. It's bad enough have to wipe and flush.

Also, if you utter the phases "He just had the measles after a major measles outbreak at his orphanage" and "I think he has scalp ringworm"to the pediatrician receptionist, she will rearrange the doctor's entire day to get you in. Quickly.

Discovery #5:

The different language factor is tough. Way tougher than I thought. As a parent, it is horribly frustrating to not be able to communicate all I want to with him. Yesterday, I asked him, "How are you?" and he went into a 3 minute answer. I caught "mwihn" (meaning "I") I think my lack of response broke his heart. And I can only imagine how frustrating it is for Miles. At night he talks aloud for 30 minutes before going to sleep, probably just to hear his own language without English being thrown at him with abandon.

Hattie and Paloma seem to be fine with the language barrier. It is devastating Atticus. He goes into long explanations of a toy or food or gameplan for playtime. Of course, Miles has no idea what he is saying. So Atticus walks around with the Kreyol book all day, creating his own sentences and questions by piece-mealing together catch-phrases. Which is pretty damn impressive, in my opinion, but of course, we don't understand the response.

Discovery #6:

We are exhausted. Bringing home a new child through adoption is EVERY bit as tiring as bringing home a newborn, if not moreso. Instead, I'm running after an adorable little boy to whom everything is new and wondrous and exciting and he wants to explore it all. Which is an amazing gift to watch. An amazing, exhausting gift.

The week before Miles came home was an adrenaline-packed week. From preparations to travel to the end of his first day home, our adrenaline was sky high. We went to sleep and crashed. I woke up his second morning home feeling like I had been out on a month-long bender.

Fortunately, after having 3 babies, I realize that this is just a phase and this too shall pass. Admittedly, for a Type-A control lover like myself, this requires a lot of mental readjusting on my part. But, I'll get there.

Discovery #7:

We knew and prepared for the fact that an adopted child will grieve when they come home. Preparing and then watching are two entirely different things. I don't think you can ever prepare for the absolute heartache of having to watch/help a child grieve. I'm sure I'll have more to write on this topic at a later point in time, but for now, we are knee-deep in this process and my heart is reeling from it.

So all these discoveries have led us to some realizations:

Realization #1:

We need to purchase an English-Kreyol dictionary and learn way more Kreyol when Keenan comes home.

Realization #2:

I need more silverware. Especially those shorter tined forks which carry less of the poke-your-eye-out risk.

Realization #3:

We have had no crying tantrums or fits as of yet. I believe this still puts us in the "Honeymooning" category. I'm hoping we can stay here through his doctor appointment this morning.

Realization #4:

We need to start shopping more at Sam's Club.

Realization #5:

Friends who send beautiful "It's a Boy!" bouquets and friends who deliver delicious, wonderful already-made dinners are the best friends anyone could ask for. THANK YOU oodles to all of our dear friends who have celebrated with us by being so incredibly kind and thoughtful.


Anonymous said...

Its funny, but the only realizations I had were food related:

1. Kids can eat considerably less meat (and overall less food) and have impressive musculature (sp?). Our boy doesn't eat as much meat as I thought he would want to and loves rice/beans and vegetables. And, for his age, he has quite a solid build (buff!).

2. I am shocked at the lack of a sweet tooth. Dislike for chocolate, pancakes with syrup, and, again, likes things like fruit or cucumber slices in lieu of American sweet snacks.

Well, now that I think about it, there is one non-food related discovery- kids laughing and shouting in Kreyol is beautiful to the human ear, even if you have no idea what they are saying. :)

Did I mention my wife was superwoman? She is doing great with everything going on.


Julie said...

How wonderfully exhausting and thrilling! Thanks so much for sharing as it brings hope to those of us still in the journey. I am so glad to hear that he seems to be doing so well.

bbbunch said...

Watching your sensitivity toward him makes me care about you even more. Bless you for being so considerate of his feelings of adjustment and for just loving him more so because of it! He is a wonderful addition to a wonderful family :)

Love you guys!

Melanie said...

I've decided you need to write a book (maybe two!) - One on things to do to keep your mind and body busy while going through an international adoption and don't forget the little things - - like you'll need more silverware! Love it!

Just remember, you are in survival mode; remember the first six months of your new babies neither!!

Love ya, Mel

Jenn said...

I have to agree on everything you wrote. I was surprised at how physically advanced Wil was when it came to throwing a ball, riding a bike, climbing, ect. He seems to lack in the processing dept., having to ask numerous times for the same thing/action.

The poop is revolting. After nine months of giardia diapers I thought I was going to lose it.

Can't wait to hear more!!

mama bear said...

Your discoveries are similar to mine. It does get easier and you will be so surprised how quickly they pick up english. E. is 3, and already he says "You want to ride your bike?" to his little brother. AMAZING. He told me this morning he was sorry( without any prompting) for climbing on the exercise bike.

We have had our share of fungal infections, if you haven't seen that on our blog. Feel free to email me if you have questions about that after you see the doc. Our doc had to send us to a specialist. Oral meds did the trick.

E. didn't like tv either, but now he likes musical shows like Yo Gabba Gabba and the Wiggles. He LOVES music and singing.

I am so glad you are able to spend time discovering these things about your son! Enjoy, and way to go wonderful friends for stepping up and helping out to bless this family!

small town girl said...

So nice to read this update, I'm loving it!

Yes, the adrenaline rush and then everything after...I was exhausted too. Especially with two of them, but like you I knew it would pass.

They learn English amazingly quick! But in the beginning the language barrier is very difficult. And frustrating for everyone. Plus, you're exhausted. It's a crazy cycle.

Taste in food may change in time, and also interest in television. Mine don't like a lot of TV and neither do I, so it works out.

Trying to stay on schedule, that helps. My girls need a ton of sleep, it's amazing.

My heart goes out to little Atticus, but I'm positive he will have it figured out in no time. And I am so praying that Keenan joins your family soon!

Me said...

Your experience mirrors mine a lot.

Yay for the first weekend!!

I'm so excited that boy is home.

Love ya!

Lisa said...

Can't thank you enough for sharing so much! So far so good it seems, with the exception of the grieving and poop! The poop will go away and the grieving let's hope will get easier with time. I'm feeling for you and him with that, it must be so, so difficult and sad! So darn happy to hear how capable he came, how encouraging!! What an amazing little guy you have it seems. Kisses to Atticus, what an awesome big brother!!!