Saturday, July 09, 2011

Our Family Grows!

R- age seven Easter 2011

“I won’t ask for ice cream tonight, because tomorrow is an ice cream day”
“Why would that be?”
“Because tomorrow this will be my family for four months.”

A happy day to celebrate, and any excuse to have ice cream!

Four months and many times I do wish I had written more here, but there’s just so much to say… some feelings too big for words, some days too hard to want anyone to see, some details too small without a big picture update….and the hours just full, full, full of living.

Like anytime you add to your family, the first months are an adjustment. Scott and I don’t always get the time to talk like we would like to, but we’ll catch each other’s eye and smile over the kid’s heads and I think we are right where we want to be with what’s important to us. I love them all so much and growing to love our new son has been quite an adventure.

Here is a bit I wrote to family and friends on Day One:
We had a good drive to (the town), beautiful snow and lakes. We got settled in our hotel, met with R's caseworker, and then went to meet him. My first thought was that he was smaller than I expected (and even cuter!). He had a decorated shirt from his school celebration today, so we talked about that for a while. We spent time looking through our photo book with him. He's very excited to meet his big brothers and sisters and kept looking at their Karate picture. We saw his room and went outside with a basketball for a while, then we went out for pizza (his birthday dinner
choice-- yes, he turned 7 today!) After dinner we gave him birthday gifts-- a Toy story dinosaur, a Bible story book and a Mohawk hat knit by Jessamyn.
We met a few of the relatives throughout the day and his foster brothers who were very friendly.
Tomorrow we'll take him to school and meet with his teachers and have dinner with his "grandparents" who have adopted his 1/2 siblings. Friday we have an appointment with his counselor, may meet another sibling, more caseworker meetings and, of course, some swimming at the hotel!

Everything's gone really well so far. He's so excited and talked non-stop to us. Giggles, dimples and we got a hug before bed...

And a few days later :
Things I’ve learned about R: he loves to help cook, wrestle with dad and brother, stories at night, loves all the dogs  we see at the park and really wants one, is excited every time we see a squirrel, “wishes” for lots of things in the store, keeps his room really clean, and likes to do everything for himself. He’s been very generous with hugs and giggles

About a month later:
R is doing really well. We are enjoying him so much as we see him relax and show his lively personality more and more. He loves his siblings and cousins and is making friends fast. He’s just started swimming with no help and we play outside a lot. We’ve now get everything set up with Drs. dentists, a counselor who’s helping us talk about “feelings” (of which he has a lot sometimes—esp. anger) and speech therapy, in which he continues to improve, both in pronunciation and using the right words.

R is in a charter school. He attends a couple classes a week and has an hour long one on one meeting with his supervising teacher each week. She’s great and I teach him at home too—lots of hands on activities and breaks to avoid frustration. We will continue to work at home a little , esp. on reading, throughout the summer.

Three months:
R  is continuing to get more settled and doing really well. We are continuing to learn every day, and the more we do, the better we can love him and help him . What I am not concerned about is our ability to “attach” to each other—he is definitely bonding with us and that is the most important thing and what  people worry about going into an adoption. I’m finding that the more we build a good relationship, the easier it is to help him with his feelings and behaviors—I knew that in my head, but I’m figuring out how to actually work on it every day. It’s kind of backwards from what I naturally want to do sometimes. He is a great boy…
He had a tooth pulled and just needs one more filling—glad to have that almost done. He has also grown a half inch since he got here—measured in the 50th percentile for height and 30th for weight. We continue to see the counselor almost every week. Speech therapy ended last week with a little party in class. Sadly his teacher lost her job in the budget cuts, so he will have a new one next year. Yesterday was pizza and bowling with Sunday school—R won the bowling game in his group and had  a lot of fun—I need to keep bowling in mind for a rainy day next winter.

Fun stuff—R is swimming all by himself! He’s so excited and proud and really loves it. We went over to the Karate school and watched some of a class, we’ll sign him up for July and see how that goes. He’s making good friends with a boy named Joshua from school who lives near us. We made plans to go out to a nearby farm on Friday, but Joshua was sick so we’ll try again. The farm has goats and sheep and other animals you can pet and feed. (R talks nearly every day about a wanting  a dog and we do plan to get him in the future) He’s made friends with a friend’s dog named Coconut.

We have been working on the yard, planting and spreading new bark. R loves to work with Scott – I took some really cute pictures of him out there with a small shovel.

So we have the last of our school classes coming up, day camp at church and a school day camp we will attend for at least one day, maybe more. Then looking forward to some lazy days!

We are playing Uno and Skip-bo almost every day and I keep meaning to get the Jenga from my mom’s house.

So there a few glimpses of our time so far as well as Facebook posts to look back on and many pictures.
The next 8 weeks of summer look pretty laid back and I welcome it— these past for months have been very full. Besides R’s arrival, the 2 teenagers at home  have very busy lives and we talk to Jessamyn (who was in Hawaii for 3 months and now in Japan) almost every day.
I have lots more to say and will try to get here more often. I so appreciate the thoughtfulness and prayers of our family and friends. We are very blessed to have the support we have.
April 2011