Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Truth Tuesday (AKA Home Five Months)


I'm linking up with Sharla today at The Chaos and the Clutter. (We lead somewhat parallel lives. If you stop by her blog,  you'll know what I mean).

Can you believe it?! We've had our three girls home for five months already!! As I started typing this post this morning, I was being accompanied by beautiful (well not exactly) piano music in the background. The two youngest were tinkling away on our Clavinova. That I've learned to tune out. Other things? Mmm, not so much.

Everywhere we go, people ask us excitedly how are the girls doing!? Truthfully, I'm getting tired of the question. They've been uprooted from what was home to them more than once, to be met by these giant white people who don't speak a lick of Illongo, but proceed to drag them around a small part of their country, force them to eat food they're not sure they like, take them into this giant body of water called a pool and call it swimming, do battle with them every day because what they want and what the tall white people want are two different things, to eventually board yet another airplane and spent over 36 hours traveling, to a country where it's cold 3/4's of the year, to suddenly have to adapt to everything and everyone new. How would you be doing?

Exactly!! You'd be a basket case! Thankfully our girls are not. They are learning English quite well  -- provided you know they ride a bus school (school bus), and go to dress (get dressed).  That the like soap (soup), and feesh (fish). They've adapted quite nicely to the cooler weather. In fact today it's 15 degrees Celsius out and the two youngest are outside playing without their winter coats on and having a great time.


They love school, although academically one is doing much better than the other. (I'm not going to say who, but she is getting the help she needs). One is already asking to take piano lessons like her older sisters. Basically  they jump into everything with two feet! In fact one of them so much so that I've been seriously considering making her wear a crash helmet all day.

The question we, as the girls' parents need to hear is, "how are you doing?" (Happily one of the awesome children's teachers at Bible study did say to me that she sincerely hoped I was finding time to take a break once in awhile. I then proceeded to laugh hysterically. Just kidding!).

All fun aside, even though the girls are adjusting well, sometimes we are not. The girls are still very loud. They are also very boisterous, whiny, and demanding. You have to realize there are three of them, plus four older siblings who although very well adjusted and adapting nicely to their three little sisters, need some Mom and Dad time too.  What I am saying is that these three are very high maintenance yet. Surprisingly, I do let them out of my sight, but bells start ringing in my head the second I don't hear anything. If you give in to a previous "no" even once, they will work it to their advantage every time. In their case, they very much love that adage, rules we're made to be broken.

I feel a little sad for me, when I read from my fellow Philippines adoptive families how in love they are with their new son or daughter. Many days, I'm just not feelin' it. I love them yes, because I know God planned them perfectly for our family. I just am not loving the screaming, whining, lying, disobedience, jealousy, and general cacaphony of noise they create. So am I feeling attached to them? Yes, there are times that I do feel attached to them. Do I feel like we've bonded? Mmm, not as much. It's coming, but some days are seriously better than others.

At this point I find myself wishing they could communicate their needs and wants more clearly. Yes, their English continues to expand, but they still aren't able to connect what they are feeling or thinking to how to say it. That's the thing. They understand instruction (most of the time), but they cannot communicate when they don't, nor can they tell us what they are feeling or thinking. Sometimes it drives me mad because you can see it on their faces that they want to explain what they're feeling, but they haven't the foggiest idea how or even where to start. I firmly believe that once they can communicate their feelings that we'll overcome a huge portion of the whining, greediness, and general obnoxiously loud noise. Of course their ability to communicate will open up all sorts of new issues, but we'll deal with those when they arrive.

I find myself in a perpetual state of exhaustion. I'm sure even in my sleep, there is a part of my brain that is attuned and ready to flinch at the sound of screeching or high decibel chatter. I'm happy they're in bed by 7:30 and that we no longer even have to sit at their door until they fall asleep, but I find myself working at breakneck speed to do all the things that I can't do during the day -- only to fall into bed an hour past when I should be asleep. Only to wake up too early and start over again.

Until you have been with our daughters for a day, you will not fully comprehend what I mean when I say that they are busy. Only the unfortunate ;o) few experience it. On the other hand, they are so stinking cute and ridiculously funny sometimes that I can't begin to imagine life without them.


It's then -- when you realize that you can't imagine life without them -- that you know that perhaps, despite the perpetual noise and  the exhaustion that the bonding is coming along quite nicely.


Adoption isn't a destination, it's a lifelong journey into love.

Adoption is a major undertaking in every way, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and financially.

20 comments:

  1. I LOVE your honesty--this is the stuff one does not read when reading an adoption story!! It is hard, it is complicated. i'll pray for you that you can bond with these little girls, that their communication will grow and that you all can truly get to know one another.

    beth

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  2. Your honesty and transparency is awesome! It can't be easy but I know you know that God is with you all the way!
    Praying for you friend....

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  3. Thank you for your honesty! I wish all adoptive parents could sluff the fluff and talk about what really goes on... This is what adoptive parents in the making need to read to prepare them and help them along in their journey!

    I LOVE the picture of your daughter's blow fishes!! Too cute!

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  4. Like the other commenters, I really appreciate your honesty, Deborah. I'm not an adoptive parent, but I'm a parent, and I know one of the biggest gifts we parents can give to each other is the truth about our lives. Family life is hard, and you've taken on responsibilities that a lot of us tremble at the thought of!

    I hope you're taking good care of yourself ... and seriously thinking about hiring a staff. Wouldn't a household staff be awfully nice? Think about it!

    xofrances

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  5. So, how ARE you doing Deb? Do you ever get any time to yourself? I only had two kids and I remember my hubby saying, "It doesn't take that long to get clean," when I would go off to have a bath. I'd then inform him I wasn't in there to get clean. If I were you, I'd likely Never come out! LOL I do hope you find a moment here and there just for yourself. It may be important for your sanity at some point.

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  6. Beautifully written Deborah! Your honesty, and "real-life feel" makes me wish I was there to help you. I remember those first few months when 'T' couldn't communicate with words, and she didn't know what was going on. I know exactly how you feel.

    Of course, like you said, until I spend a day with them I won't understand how you feel every. single. day. I know most of the adjustment and bonding issues, but I didn't get THREE new little sisters... I got one.

    I really hope that one day, I can make my way to Canada. Some days I can't believe how similar our lives are! :) The noise would probably not bother me the most, because I've also learned to tune most of it out.

    Praying for all those adjustments that need to remain private, and for you! That you may find enough rest and energy soon. You're a great momma, and I'm sure that these girls couldn't be more blessed to have a family like you guys!

    Blessings,
    ~Michlyn

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  7. You explain it so well, Deborah.
    Each day is a huge investment. You are amazing. You really are.

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  8. hugs Deborah....thanks for being so HONEST and REAL~ and i think we'd all be feeling 100% of your thoughts if we were to spend a day in your shoes. you are still so early into the adjustment, really, and think of how much more progress another five months will bring...i echo the thoughts above~ you are amazing, and an inspiration to me REGULARLY. keep holding fast, sluggin along, and soak up their cuteness as some days that is likely their saving grace...

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  9. I'm so glad you shared. Thinking of you!

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  10. Thank you, Deborah. You're the Real Deal.

    Praying for you,

    Julie

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  11. I love this post! Thank you for keeping it real. Honestly there was times when my birth babies were little that sometimes even though I loved them I had trouble liking them.
    Transition can be really difficult.
    Try to take a few minutes a day for yourself to recharge.

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  12. I too am blessed by your honesty. So much of what you shared is "my story" as well. 16 months into the journey and I unfortunately still haven't found my words to express the "hardships of adoption" so eloquently :D Thanks so much for giving words to my heart.
    Praying for you and your family; may there be peace, strength & grace in your ever changing New Normal of family life!
    Many blessings,
    Becky

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  13. I know you don't see amazing when you look in the mirror...you see you just doing life one day at a time...but I see a woman who is after God's heart and whose heart beat is to be the hands and feet of Jesus...first with her family and then others.
    You are ever I my thoughts and prayers, dear friend.
    Love
    ~a

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  14. I want you to know the Holy Spirit has you on my mind. I try hard to be sensitive to Him and to use those times you pop into my mind to pray for you. What God may call us to is not always easy. Be encouraged in Him and by those your life touches ( even via blogging).

    So how are you doing right now?

    Blessings to you dear Deborah.

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  15. I appreciate your honesty and courage to share, too! Your headaches mixed in must really make for some hard times.

    Prayers for God to give you rest, strength and encouragement when you most need it,
    Leslie in tx

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  16. I can imagine. I can't.
    You have given yourself permission to be authentic and full of grace. For yourself as well as your family.
    That's all it's about most of the time I think. That's what love is about most of the time I think.

    My son is doing so so well and we are beyond blessed . This life stuff is hard.

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  17. This is why I love your blog...you jusr come right out and say what needs to be said. May I send you a gigantic (((HUG)))
    I would really love to see what it would be like to have your kids meet mine. What complete chaos it would be! We could leave them with the hubbies and go get a cup of whatever it is you feel like drinking...my treat....

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  18. I think it's awesome that you were able to share honestly and I know for sure that reading this will help others. It will help those who have been there or are there now to feel more "normal" and it will help those who will be there someday to be more prepared for the range of feelings they will experience. For our kids, the language really started to kick in at 5 months and after that, things started to get a bit easier in some ways, but for me, that whole first year was a real challenge. (you probably would rather hear that it gets better at the 6 month point!!!)

    I can honestly say though, that by the 2 year mark, I could hardly remember our lives before them and it was to the point of feeling almost easy. It for sure feels manageable now and thoughts about attachment, trauma, language, etc. don't even come to mind on a daily basis, let alone an hourly one like they used to. Hang in there...it gets so much better!

    In the meantime, take care of yourself and allow yourself to feel ALL the feelings you have. It's a big transition for everyone and no one expects you to just suddenly be great.

    P.S. Thanks for linking up to Truth Tuesdays!

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  19. I'm catching up on blog reading & commenting tonight. I love your honesty and transparency here. You've done an amazing thing by giving your wee three the gift of family. They are truly blessed!

    As for the loudness, I think it's going to take some time for them to figure out the difference between indoor & outdoor voices. Houses in the Philippines aren't as "air-tight" as ours here are... therefore people normally talk loud (and it's magnified when we're inside our air-tight homes). They have to in order to compete with all the other noise.

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