Our littlest guy is doing very well. Growing up in an orphanage is not the place babies were meant to grow, and when he first came home, it showed, our little wounded birdy.
Our adoption of little E was different than our adoption of Maria. We set out to adopt Maria with great intention, with clear leading. With Elijah, we saw a little boy in need, and felt a decision in a short time while in country; say yes or leave him in that crib.
So our yes was said because we could help, so we would.
Imagine living your tiny life with three things, I mean really, just three; your hard, but very familiar bed, your meal a day, same temperature, same taste, and your thumb. And two people sweep in who keep kissing you when you are not used to being touched, ever. It is thrilling, but at the same time, it is overwhelming, it all is, and when you’re used to being left alone, you don’t know how to respond.
When we first got home, Maria and Finley were instantly bonded to us, to each other, and happy as clams, as were we. They lit up their little worlds and lives, spreading smiles. Elijah went from staring over the sides of his white, metal, chipped crib rail, silence throughout the day and night, to eating new, healthier foods, being touched, being rocked to sleep and put in a new bed. Although his body responded well and grew, his little body also grew tired easily from so much walking, playing and people talking to him and he would often fall asleep. His tears flowed those first two weeks, too much touch overwhelmed him, and his three things were all gone.
|skin to skin touch therapy|
I think if we would have just adopted him for the purpose of having an ideal tiny baby to love for ourselves, it would have been hard because the things that should be normal in a baby’s life were hard for him and would make him cry. But, I believe the circumstances under which we adopted him, allowed us to not only be unfazed by his transitional stage, but to care for him deeper despite it. If he was overwhelmed, we’d wrap him up in a warm blanket and hold him while playing with the other kids.
|Present: after bring rocked with a bottle, sweaty cuddle hair|
We did a lot of sensory therapy with him. Doesn’t that make us seem fancy, as if it were something very hard. Our other kids thought they were in heaven as we experienced it together as a family.
One night we did a pudding bath. Both boys sat in the bath with a big bowl of pudding that we also put on their skin, Finley avoided all eye contact with me delaying the moment I realized what I was allowing him to do and had them stop. Finley, “Best moment of my life!”
Don’t let this happy face fool you, he was pretty certain it was torture for the first 3 minutes, and let us, and maybe the neighbors, know. You see, babies were made to be held and touched, and denying them of that experience makes touch foreign, something to get used to.
|“Ohhhhh, totally kidding guys. This is actually the best thing ever, Finley, you were right.”|
|“Omg mom, this is so fun, and I am so awesome at it!”|
|“WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME!! OMG it’s on my hands!!”|
|Elijah loved every second|
|This is kind of a big deal. This picture makes me realize how far he has come in such a short time.|
Sometimes I wonder if people think you have to have special skills to be an adoptive parent parenting a child who has grown up with so very little, when really if you can dig a hole and make some pudding you could be changing someone’s world.
I remember, before adopting, thinking that in many ways it would be a sacrifice, but how that didn’t really scare us. I was even thankful for the sacrifice it would bring to our life and the life of Finley, but now I realize it isn’t. I think often how much richer our life is, Finley’s life, our newest additions. What is sacrifice? Is it saying yes to people?
Sharing a life, having a brother to be boys with?
Is sacrifice actually love? Is giving receiving? Because that’s what it feels like. Stuff for me to think about.
It was pretty sweet to watch them be able to play something that they can both take part in at their own level, although Finley was mostly learning from sister.
|“OH NO! MAMA! EMERGENCY! IT’S ON MY HAND!”|
|“Oh wait, what is it, it looks like something I like…”|
|“Let me just try this whole food thing in my mouth. With my own hand, while watching it though, just in case…”|
|“Eating is easy ‘lijah, just watch me!”|
for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
through the power of Jesus,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.//
Today she finished her kindergarten workbook, and is moving on to first. Might I remind you this is a brand new language, new alphabet and she can read books all the way through now. She doesn’t know all the words and sometimes needs help, but she is so motivated.
She is mama’s sweet helper wherever we go, even for our friends when they are over. She straps the toddlers into their chairs, puts on their bibs, all before anyone asks her.
|Grocery shopping. We are the crazy ones who allow toddlers to carry banana bunches through the store in rainboots, babies on backs and big girls pushing carts through the crowds to the front.|
This sweet blonde girl continues to amaze me
(I also can’t believe how many of the people who are now part of #TeamIris are in the adoption process themselves right now, pinching every penny anyways, oh my. So incredible.)
Hmmm, well, I don’t know how they found out about us or who nominated us, but our adoption blog was nominated for 2013 Parents Magazine blog award. I love the timing and see it as no coincidence that when people go vote, we will be talking about sweet Iris 🙂 I feel hesitant to post, but good about advocacy, so may as well.