Monday, February 24, 2014

Praying Through the Days

I realize it has been awhile since I have written, but if it comes to me spending more time with my kids or with Robert at the end of the day... this will have to take a back seat and for good reasons. I would like to post more as lots has been happening, so just be prepared that this one may be lengthy! And I really do thank you and appreciate you all for your commitment to our family, especially through prayer. As I will explain more later...its the best thing you can give us right now :) So for those of you who are reading on your computer, tablet, iphone, at home, at work, while on the toilet (you know who you are)... here is the latest Fowler family update.

Its been 8 9 weeks since we got the kids in our home... and I only know that bc I went back and counted haha...  (and then counted again bc it took me so long to post this...) I want to say it seems like it has been more than that, but most days it still seems too short. I sometimes find myself thinking of all the memories I never got to have with these two and how I wish they could have just been mine from the start, but I know God will fill the void from those memories with new ones. For now, we are still learning and taking things one day at a time.

I have been trying new things with the kids - as in discipline - bc I want to understand where they are coming from, but still give them some kind of an idea about respect and manners and such. My kids have ADHD which as a medical professional I'm learning more and more about and not just for my patients but now for my kids. I'm learning so much about the things these kids need and how to better relate to them. I can't say the new things are working, but I think things are getting easier on some fronts. I never thought or imagined myself as being the parent of the "problem child" up at school, but it seems we have run into this issue as of late. The teachers this year are great and have been very encouraging for us in our transition time so we are very grateful. Yes, there seems to be a bit more anxiety at the end of the week, usually Thursday is a bad day in our house, as the boy can't seem to go a week where he is not in trouble at school. And it usually happens at the end of the week for him, which just spirals out of control for the weekend. Then its like he gets a reset button for Sunday night and he is fine until Thursday again. Its weird and we are trying to find out if there is a pattern of something going on that we can change or what we can tweak here and there to get a different outcome. Still working on that one, but hopefully it will work itself out bc its exhausting. Elva has her ups and downs all week like a typical child I guess, although her lows are usually very very low and while she is improving, she just seems to have the worst of the worst moments when she has a low. And even more so these lows happen at home. Again, learning lots about these kids and their behaviors as I know we will do for the rest of their lives!

It is hard (and yes I know this is hard for typical parents also) to determine if the kids are just being kids or deliberately undermining our authority or just distracted enough by the elements around them that they really just can't focus. I'm trying to educate my kids that they are wired a little different and, yes, they have a hard time focusing in school and at home. I do this to make sure they don't think they are stupid or dumb, but rather they have to try a little harder to follow the rules. We are also trying to talk through the low situations in order to teach them right from wrong. I think Waylon said it best the other day when we were sitting at the table... he really doesn't hold his fork right and just shovels things into his mouth. We were talking to him about manners and he said," It's not our fault our mom didn't teach us that!"
True true, I can't deny that, but its time for you to learn now.

There is still alot of typical and atypical things that happen in our house (meaning vs a non adopted child) and its hard to communicate that to all you wonderful people who ask how we are doing. The answer is... well... at this moment we may be good but any second we may need some divine intervention. Each day is a new day and each moment is a different moment, as if true of kids, but its magnified on each end for these kids. Through the gracious and loving council of those who have adopted before us... and those who share our beliefs... we have seen some great break throughs in each of the kids. Waylon is very quick to trigger into a spiraling fit by any mention of the word no or any change in his expectations of things. We are figuring out some of these triggers and doing our best to avoid or minimize them. As we learned this past weekend, we have had to lower our expectations for the kids. It is so backwards thinking for me to have to doubly think everything before I can react to something that is done or said. I have to remind myself that these kids maybe A. have never been taught that or exposed to what the "right" response or action is supposed to be... or B. are either hungry, tired, scared, hurt, or just plain irritable about some other factor, usually physical, I mean come on, they were neglected for years from love and physical possessions including food... C. or they just want to be a kid and do what they want. Either way, if I can go through A or B first to fix things before getting to C, we usually have a calmer child. I have had to become quite clever with my words around Waylon so as to help him acknowledge some truth and accept the right course of action. Its super exhausting and I can only attribute the words that come out of my mouth as coming from the Lord himself. Thank you, Lord, without your words I would scream my head off. Love Jen.

And then there is Elva. She is so darn sensitive and over dramatic about everything. Somewhere in her lifetime though, thats how she learned to survive and she was able to get away with these behaviors. She so darn cute too that its hard to not give into her, but her loud screams and whining voice is beyond cute so we usually snap out of it pretty quick. We have had to use alot of timing options with her.. such as lets see how fast you can make your bed... get dressed (oi-ye it takes forever)... brush your teeth (well this has a time minimum of 1-2 minutes)...pick up her toys... yada yada. This does not work for Waylon bc it seems to make him want to act us and pester his sister more... but it works somewhat for her. Gentle words with both kids are helping alot, but again its exhausting to have to be the clever word genius and work through their mind games... but its worth it in the long run!

I have to say there are good things coming up in this post, but I got to get the junk out first... bear with me!

The biggest thing that gets brought up in our home is how much longer till the official adoption. Remember, we have to have the kids for 6 months before we can go to court to officially make it official. AND also remember that the kids will be asked by the judge if they want to live with us forever or not. They have a choice to say no... it is their right to say yes or no.
 Yes, they will ask an 8 and (will be then) 7 year old if they like us enough to stay with us forever... and what they say goes. Talk about anxiety. We are down to a little under 4 months now and while I have all these confident people around me saying that they will definitely fall in love with us and say yes... I have to live in the reality that despite everything we do, if they wake up in a bad spirit that day, they might just say no. This brings me to my biggest point of this post. PRAY. The only thing that gets me through right now is knowing that I have a God who is in charge and knows the outcome even when we may not be certain. PRAY that Waylon and Elva will have the desire (no matter what) to be our children. PRAY that even through the hard times and low moments that they will hear us speaking truth and love to them. PRAY that they will see and know how wide and deep and high is the love of Christ for each of them. PRAY that we can be a family.
The worst thing we hear when they get mad is that they can't wait to say NO and get out of here...(and yes kids will scream and say whatever they want, I do realize that biological kids do this to... but they don't have a choice to be your child or not so it hurts just a little deep down inside each time.) I just want to hold them and squeeze the love juices into them as ferociously as I can when they say that! BUT that would be counterproductive and would push them further away as we have found out. Instead, we have found doing some different tactics that I mentioned above and by doing something I discuss in the next paragraph... pray it out of them.

Just go with me on this... I have become more and more aware of the spiritual fight for my kids. Angels and demons are real and I'm sorry if you want to stop reading right now bc you don't believe in them, but pick up a Bible and read it... better yet, stop and look around bc the battle between Heaven and hell is all around us. I know that there are evil spirits haunting my children... not as in scary movie haunting them, and nothing that needs an exorcism, but the way they act when they are defiant and the way they get triggered into hysteria and the things they say when in a fit would make you want to pray for them also... and even more so, the way they react after I have held their face, looked them in the eyes, and prayed over them... would freak you out. I don't do this to say my kids are bad bc something inside them made them be bad... no, they still have choices, but those little evil spirits do have an influence in their lives and from the moment they got here they have been bombarded with negativity regarding their past and their ability to coincide with our future. God has opened my eyes to this and while its super scary, its also relieving to be able to look them in the eyes and to command the evil out of the room and the light of Heaven to come into them. Waylon has even asked for prayer as he was coming out of a fit or two... he feels different when the prayer is over. Thats not supernatural mumbo jumbo... thats the power of God and the truth.

OK if that was too weird for you, sorry, but all that to say, PRAY for the spiritual health of the kids. It makes a big difference, trust me.


Waylonisms: So this clever child got awesome grades on his report card (A/B honor roll and he was so close to getting just A honor roll). Despite all his trouble at school, he is just plain smart. He has also come to notice how much I like to eat ketchup. He now asks for ketchup on alot of things to be just like me and try things like I do. One day at dinner, we made spaghetti. I put ketchup on spaghetti... bc it tastes better. So I carry the ketchup to the table as we are about ready to say the prayer and he says," Ketchup?! You really need to get a hold of that addiction, mom." LOL, ummm excuse me? Ok well he does have a point! Now whenever we got to restaurants he always checks the ketchup bottles and determines if we will have enough or not. Got to love him :)
My favorite moments with him are jumping on the trampoline when I get home from work. No matter how tired I may be, it is so worth it to wrestle and make up games with him... not only for the exercise... but for the fun too. I also love getting to watch him play legos and build me little ships and things as well as watching him try to come up with magic card tricks. But my all time favorite thing to do with him is cuddle during family time. He wants me to lay right next to him and either rub his back or play with his hair while we are read to from our devotional book. He does complain about the length of daddys prayers... but its so cute to hear him whisper, " Yes, thank you God," or "I love you God," under his breath while we pray. He may not know that I notice, but its good to know maybe something is clicking for him.
Too bad the kid does stink haha... oh wait so does Robert... well I guess thats fine then :)
Waylon is also showing us some random acts of kindness and surprising us on many days when he chooses to not get mad at someone or to walk away from a bad situation with a friend or to help his sister calm down when she becomes upset. He is a good kid... he just processes some things differently. And I love him for all his goofiness and stinkiness too. (oh I forgot he is also playing basketball if I haven't already said... and while it has been a struggle for us all with some behavior adjustments, he is very good at this sport and I hope he can see that to push himself for more).

Elvaisms: She is so cute I just love to hold her down and tickle her... well you don't have to tickle her really, just threaten to and she goes berserk laughing uncontrollably. Its awesome to hear her laugh and how freakishly it sounds like mine. She is playing the piano thanks to my mom for teaching her. No she doesn't like to practice, but we have worked up a system of 3-4 songs a day which doesn't take too long. She keeps saying she wants to win trophies and awards and make lots of money playing the piano. And I like that it helps her coordination and focus ;)
Elva is picking up on our phrases like how much I say "OMG" that I didn't realize until she say it in the truck the other day. I was shocked when Robert told me that she got that phrase from me... hehe oops :) I love to hear her sing and make up songs to everything possible. And while she takes forever to do her chores and daily tasks, she is always the quickest to say I'm sorry and thank you.
My favorite moments are tickling her, watching her draw and create things... even if she makes a huge mess and asks me for an entire roll of scotch tape, seeing her ride her bike and run... its just cute and funny, same thing goes with dancing or playing the wii... she wiggles, hugging her at the end of the day... we have a special kiss sequence we do to each other followed by a big hug.... and then I have to kiss her monkey and her penguin flashlight friend but I don't mind :), and then there are the moments she just wants to crawl into your lap or by your side and lays her head down and you just melt bc you want this moment forever with her.
No matter her out of control attitude, she is a joy. She has alot more to learn about God and his promises for her life, but I know the time will come when she will be able to fully understand.

I am grateful to have this opportunity to be a mom. God has granted us so much and I'm just blown away by it all. Yes, the hard days leave me in tears and I just want to run away from the hurt... but in the end, they are what really matters and I'm here to do His work, not my own and not by my strength but his. Thanks for reading. Keep praying!

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. Matthew 18:5