As we head into week 4 of parenthood all I can say is alot has changed. Some for the better and definitely some for the not so better.
If you are a parent and you read this please do not be offended or laugh too hard or jump to conclusions... this again is my experience spilling out for the hopes that somewhere someone may be touched or encouraged by these words... I am in no way an expert (haha that is even funny to think) and I do not want to overlook parenthood in general that it is hard and an ever changing blessing... this is just our experience. OK that being said I'll continue...
The first two weeks of having our children were a sweet little blur... the "honeymoon" period as some have put it... we had lots of time with the kids to just bond with them since neither Rob or I went into work, so we rode bikes, went to the park (even in the 30 degree weather all bundled up), went fishing at the park by our house, went to the movies, played games, had Christmas (eek), and cleaned up Christmas and then had New Years and wow it was just alot of fun each day. I think we did our best to provide different activities for the kids to help them feel more at home and to set down some rules. Oh rules... I think every kid comes with a gene that says "ignore rules set by your parents" just for the fun of it! Anyways, we were living a blissful time with little argument and disagreement from the kids. I honestly was surprised by their responses to our overwhelming introductions to family and friends as well as their ability to acclimate to our home environment.
And then we spent the later part of the 2nd week preparing for school to start and trying to set schedules as best we could. Then on Monday the 6th, Rob and I took them into their first day of school... and our first day of school also. It was weird getting them up, feeding them breakfast (cereal for Elva and Poptarts for Waylon literally everyday), helping them pick their outfits and doing Elva's hair and putting the backpacks together (which were quite empty bc we didn't know what they needed) and making their lunches and then grabbing the mountain of paperwork that needed to go to the school and heading out the door! We arrived just before 7:30 (as I was told bc of the paperwork) and we headed to the office...which I had only been in their school once and that was to drop off their original enrollment forms the day we got the kids... so I knew basically where the office was and that was it. We were greeted with smiling faces and it was funny how when we were asked questions about the kids or who we were that the kids would answer "we are adopted!" As if everyone needed to know that, but at least they are proud of it right? So we were escorted to their new teachers (who are awesome!), were able to introduce ourselves and explain a little about each child to their teacher and then we hugged them and walked out. No I didn't cry... I was too excited and nervous and happy that we were finally at the point in our lives where we could say "we just dropped off our kids at school!"
School really is going great for the kids, they each have some friends and are getting good reports everyday by their teachers... or at least we have heard no bad news so thats good right?! Well since school was the beginning of week 3 I guess the kids decided that the "honeymoon" was over and that they had some boundaries they wanted to push. [Remember parents I asked you not to laugh too much... most people have years to ease into this part of their lives, we were thrust down the rebellion hole from the get go and its been quire a struggle] So while they behaved during the day, would come home and do their homework mostly without a fuss... it seemed the evenings began to turn sour. I firmly believe in demons and angels and although I can't say for sure, I'm most certain a heavy negative spirit rested in our house beginning on Tuesday. Our sweet Elva, who was always quick to apologize and do what she needed to do and was so helpful... became full of rage, anger, and so many emotions that it scared me at first. She was quick to become upset and defy whatever command we had just given. The time out couch was unfortunately her friend quite often and we saw some pretty scary emotions leak from her tiny body. I understand kids can be mad and will lose their tempers at some point in time, but this was beyond being prepared for. Waylon was pretty good at calming himself down and staying away from time out except for a few times when he really just let us have it. And I mean let us have it... the worst possible thing your child could ever say to you has been said to us multiple times in their deepest upset. It may be just words, but it still stings.
I don't share this to put my kids down, there is a light at the end of the tunnel that we are racing for... and at times that Rob and I are dragging the kids towards, but we are going to get there with God's help if it kills us... But I do share it bc I feel like I am called to, I feel like I can't skip over the details and just say everything is good, working on a few adjustments, but everything is good... bc who really believes that. We all have stuff going on, and if sharing my stuff can you deal with your stuff than please read about my stuff and I will gladly share.
I don't wish upon any parent to have to endure some of the things we have had to go through. No we aren't in any way martyrs for what has happened in our parenting moments, but please understand me when I say that these new experiences for us are sometimes beyond what anyone can prepare you for. To have your child become so upset that you have no physical way of calming them down is very scary for anyone. To then lay by that child's bed for an hour, praying for their healing, for comfort, for the right words... as they are yelling they hate you, as they are telling you that you are not their real parent and that they can't wait to be rid of this place and so on... no I don't wish that upon anyone. Kids (and adults too) will say whatever they can when they are mad just to get a reaction and try to control the situation. One of our kids will choose to keep their lips sealed in anger and the other one will yell anything that comes to mind. Again I realize this is normal for kids, especially ones who have gone through so much instability as ours have, but to have to sit through their rantings is quite painful and takes alot of faith. What makes it even more scary is to think "in 5 months will they still want to say yes to us or will they say no." They have a choice and on the hardest days I always pray that we haven't undone the progress we are trying so hard to make each day. I always reassure the kids when they have calmed down that nothing they ever say or do will cause me to give them back... bc let me tell you a little piece of their story... they were adopted once before and given back. As sad as that sounds, it happens more often than you think in adoption... EXCEPT it won't happen with our kids. I refuse to let myself even think of things getting so bad that we would give them back.... no that will never happen. So I always end each rough time with asserting our love for them.
I don't want to highlight just the negative things bc really for a family that was thrust together one month ago, comprised of two adults who have no idea what they are doing except that they want to follow Christ and two kids who have had enough heart ache beyond what some adults can stand in a lifetime, we are doing quite well. Each day is now lived in a moment to moment situation, and yes the limits are being tested daily by each child, but we are also learning certain things about them... for the good and the bad.
Elva: She is the pickiest eater alive and the slowest eater at that. But don't mention that to her or you will get a full on meltdown and then she will never finish her cereal! haha. She is scared of automatic flushing toilets and is a very sore loser (well I was too at her age). She will draw on any scrap piece of paper or solid paper like surface that she can get her hands on and any scrap piece of string, stick, rock, confetti, bla bla etc. is fair game for an art project. She has the same laugh as me which is totally weird and funny and she loves learning the piano (although not to practice which is also like me at her age). She would rather have a candy cane for a snack or dessert than chocolate and loves to work on spelling words (shes a cute nerd). Elva also loves to ride her bike and collect things for art projects outside (which drives us nuts, but its creativity). She is quick to pester her brother but just as quick to cry when things turn against her will. She says some of the cutest things and while she struggles so much with understanding about God and why she is not with her family anymore and what the definition of a mom is... she has such an innocence about her that I hope she never loses.
Waylon: He is a typical smelly, gross, play in the dirt, get sweaty, be rough kind of boy. He has a hard time letting his imagination come through, but when he gets a crazy idea we let him run with it and he starts to show his creativity. He wants to do good and stay out of time out so bad (and I want him to also). Waylon loves beyond all things to hunt and shoot things with guns (animals not people). He will walk all over the house asking people to "put their hands up" or be shot with one of many nerf guns. He is only ticklish on the sides of his tummy, and he loves to cuddle with momma at the end of the day (oh how I love those moments). He has a growing belly even though we are very strict with his diet and he will do ANYTHING for chocolate or dessert. Funny thing is he chipped his tooth this past week in the exact spot Robert has a chip in his tooth. So now they smile just alike. Waylon loves to be around other kids he can play with and even though his attention span is very short he likes to fish. Waylon has started to embrace his new family members (as in grandparents and aunts/uncles) and doesn't really talk about his old family much. He likes to say how much he is glad to be in our home (well when he is happy he says that haha).
Both of the kids do still have time to talk to their foster parents bc they miss them and for good reasons too. We don't ever want to break those relationships that they had, their foster families were the ones who had to go through the roughest moments with them to reach the point they are at today. We are grateful for them. That being said, I don't know if I've shared this about the kids that they weren't in the same foster home when we got them. For various reasons they have been apart from each other for about 6 months so learning to be brother and sister again has been a struggle. Its hard to teach Elva that her brother is going to be mean and play rough instead of being her protector and provider like he was growing up. And its hard to teach Waylon that his sister is sensitive bc of their past and how much she hasn't yet come to understand. And its hard for us to know when to step in and when to let things go! I'm not going to lie that I get very nervous when they start playing together bc I know it more often than not (and at this point we are at 99% of the time) it will end in a blow up. This will change with time I know as will everything, but still its just one of those not normal situations we are having to learn to handle along with our own adjustments.
I leave you with some of my favorite moments so far... bc no matter how hard the rough moments are, the good ones are what makes it all worth it... and in the end thats what we have to remind ourselves... they are worth it.
Fave moment with Waylon: When he randomly comes up to each of us multiple times during the day just because he hasn't had a hug in a little while. He might be sinisterly trying to get something, but I will take all the hugs and kisses I can get from him bc I know the time is coming when he will feel too cool for all that... and unfortunately thats not too far away from the age he is. But I'm hoping to have many more of his random hugs :)
Fave moment with Elva: One night Elva was having a hard time getting settled in bed (missing her other mom) so I talked with her and ran my fingers over her face and through her hair, but nothing was really getting that sad look out of her eye. So I asked her if I could sing her a song. My mom used to sing me a song when she put me to bed at night, and even sang it to each other as I got older (like in my 20s) whenever I would stay at their house before I got married. I had always dreamed of singing it to my little girl as she grew up and not until this one night did I think about it. So I sang it to her and saw the sad eyes turn to happy sleepy little eyes. That was a good night :)
Thank you all again for your prayers. I won't lie that at the end of the day I just lay in Robert's arms and just pray for God's understanding and sometimes I cry bc there just seems nothing else to do but cry and sometimes I just smile and am so thankful. But thank you for your prayers. They are still needed very much. Thank you.I cannot stress enough how much God is in this and how much I daily must fall on my knees and ask for His guidance and His strength and His wisdom through it all. God is what makes this all worth it :)
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.