Monday, June 9, 2014

The CountDown is ON!!

I have two sweet kids sleeping in the other room right now which is such a good feeling. My kids. My kids... Wow that still doesn't seem real yet to say. I know it has been awhile since I've written and yes lots has happened but I'll find some time to catch up... and if I don't, well then I don't!

The biggest piece of news is... 14 days until the ADOPTION!! I'm truly grateful we are finally here, so close! It seemed like this month would never get here and that we would always be counting down months and months, but now its just days away! Again we could not be more thankful for all of our family and friends who have helped support us with prayer through the last months and year of our journey.

Things are going very well. I would almost say great but I dont want to jinx anything ;) Yes, we still have our moments, but which family doesn't! And especially with an almost 9 year old and a 7 year old... who still miss their old family and foster families and are just days away from the biggest decision of their life... yeah who wouldn't have their off days! What we are loving and rejoicing over is how much our precious children have changed... how God has changed their hearts and helped them to become who they are today.

Some of the moments we have been having in our home just take my breath away... from the questions about how many more days and the look of joy on their faces as the countdown gets lower, to the funny questions, moments of just laughter for no reason, and the little hugs and kisses that greet me at the door... my heart is full and I want to capture every moment and put it in a safe place to keep forever!
Even in the hard moments, the ones that give me a bit of anxiety and stress, are starting to become easier and they always remind me of the progress that has been made. Just the other day I was getting the kids in bed and Waylon flat out did not do something I specifically told him to do 5 minutes earlier... no instead he was laying on his bed playing his harmonica (i hate that thing ps, haha, but he is kinda good with it...). I took one look at the scene and I LET HIM HAVE IT! I mean full out raising my voice and making my point known that he was in trouble for his laziness and he was NOT getting away with it! [Now I interrupt this story to interject that Robert and I have also made alot of progress with not losing our tempers... most of the time... and learning what their triggers are has helped us to avoid unnecessary fits. Thanks for those that prayed this over us!] So, I'm expecting him to just lose it and start crying, screaming I hate you, hiding his face in the pillows, even kicking or yelling no... but he did nothing... except got up from the bed and started doing the chore I had told him to do. Jaw to the floor moment! He gets done and sits on his bed with his mad face. I finished putting Elva to bed [who always prays for bubba to not get into any more trouble hehe] and when I go back to his room he is very quiet. I tell him he had better talk and answer me bc I had some questions for him. He answered every question. He may have been a little mad still, but he climbed under the covers and when I knelt down with Robert to pray with him, it was like nothing ever happened. God is so good.
A few months ago and his fit would have lasted over an hour and it would have been violent screaming with even kicking and biting his pillow. So I would say we have come a long way!

Speaking of progress, I wrote this several days, err uh weeks ago, and I think its appropriate to share now... so as we have gone through the many months of adjustment, Robert and I realized we had gone through several stages. The kids being thrown into a tornado of emotions settled on specific themes that lasted weeks and days at a time. So we came up with our own stages of adoption. I believe that Robert and I, or at least just me, went through a different set of emotions and stages at the same time, but I'll have to write about those another time.

The PHASES of Adoption
(Disclaimer: this can only be generalized to the adoption of older children as the stages may take various different forms for younger children and even so this may not be generalized to anyone else but my kids... Regardless it's just what we've experienced...)

Stage 1: Shock and Excitement
Everything was honky dory, the newness of being in a new home, new family, it was Christmas time, new rooms, new toys, new playmates, new everything!

Stage 2: Fight and Flight
And then came the rebellion. Anything negative that came up they were ready to get out of here. This was the strongest time that we heard that horrible "h" word (hate). While I'm thankful neither of them ever tried to run away or physically leave, we did have some testy moments of them walking off or trying to physically fight us through every decision. I'm so glad we are past this stage bc I think it lasted the longest.

Stage 3: Dealing and Denial
They came to a realization that although there were things we did or said that they didn't like, they still wanted things to work out. This was the time that they were more open about saying I love you and being appreciative of the things we had and were doing... but we did have some nasty fits at this time, some I can still remember only bc they were the days I spent the most in prayer and asking for prayers. They didn't like it, but for some reason they were starting to learn how to adjust.

Stage 4: Settling In
I should have called this the Peace in the storm stage. There was a weird moment in March where is seemed that everything just clicked and the kids were learning to get along with each other, they were arguing less, and the biggest change of all happened... we started to see them care about the choices they made and the consequences associated with those choices. They started trying to control their anger in a more civilized way and, even though it was frustrating and hard for them, we had much fewer fits and arguments. This was a glorious time... but with every moment of peace, the battle is sure to follow...

Stage 5: Battle Continues
And it did. It seemed that we were fighting the same situations day in and day out... We had learned what to say and what things to use as bait or reward for helping the fits not to escalate, but we also had to deal with the fact that we were the parents and we can't just let them get what they wanted... if we wanted them to learn and for this family to work in the long run, we had to go through the battles. I want to say we are definitely stronger bc of this time, but it was so hard coming off the peace stage!

Stage 6: Is This For Real
I believe we are now in this stage. Its almost euphoric at times for us and for them... being so close to forever and yet wanting to be a normal kid and wanting the kids to do their best in everything and trying to not have too high expectations... I can see how they have listened and learned. I can see how they are everyday trying harder to not lose their control and even when they do, handling their frustration in a healthier way. Its by no means perfect or where I want it to be, but for now we can all take a big sigh of relief. I don't know if in the next 14 days we will have another stage, but I'm getting pretty comfortable with the best of all last stage I hope is to come...
Stage 7 (and the last hopefully): FOREVER

Please keep us in your prayers as our plans for Forever Family Week come together! Oh how I will be posting thousands of pictures at that time... there will be 6 months+ to catch up on! Thank you my friends!

Psalm 105:1-5 
 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered.

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