Sometimes, if the moment is just right, add a fake opening-closing mouth laugh.
Icing on the cake.
He has been home for 8 months now, and most days I can’t believe how far he has come. There were many times while working with him, parenting him, each new milestone, each new accomplishment I’d think, “We’ve made it! He’s all better!!”
With pediasure dripping down my cleavage, hot tears in my hair, but look! He had fallen asleep on my chest, “Look, he’s an attached baby!” And that joy would course through us, well, until the next time when he would accomplish something new, “Oh, wow, now he’s made it! He’s turning into a real boy!” as he shrugged off his ‘orphan’ gaze, fear, mannerisms, and slowly became a real life boy!
Pretty fun–no amazing. No, I wish everyone had this joy. It’s different than the ‘joy’ they sell on commercials, this is the stuff that permeates your bones, mixing in your spirit, awakening your senses to what you know is true, but too often live differently; people matter. The joy of your darn hard work, paying off in the accomplishment of a little life being able to actually live, and more importantly, to do one of these:
He’s getting three therapies a week…his gals are my new best friends. Well, but seriously, I see them a lot, they come to my house each week, care about my kids, they stay after and we chat about our lives, so rad. I think I’ll need to adopt a few more kids who will need OT, infant ed, etc when he ages out… 😉
This OT thing is a miracle. I dragged my feet on signing up for it, “Um, occupational therapy, he doesn’t even have an occupation yet, he’s jobless…”
The most amazing lady comes over and works with Elijah in the exact areas he needs most, things he lacks only because he was in an orphanage for a while; chewing, his early lack of touch making his senses off. Sometimes we feel like the worst parents when she asks us questions, “I see he has trouble chewing,”
“YES! He didn’t learn in the orphanage, they shoveled gruel in his mouth,” I shared.
“So now, does he chew vertically or more like a rotary?”
“Oh…um…well…um…I have no idea…” I said laughing, I guess I was too preoccupied of what went in his mouth and how much.
She laughed, “Oh that’s ok, I’ll give him a cracker and watch! Ok, do you see how his jaw is moving…”
“Well, no I hadn’t, but I’m so glad someone else does.”
“Does he always walk with his hips swinging out?” as she swings him around on a wheel board or has him cut paper with scissors.
“Well, sometimes to be silly, or I guess maybe always…”
“He may be doing that to seek sensory from being deprived for so long, here, this is a weighted vest to help organize his sensory system.”
|Stacking blocks with the boys|
AAAAAAAAnd within DAYS he was sitting for longer, calmer, more content, so balanced. #OTforthewin When we told his OT she said he is reorganizing his sensory system and once it’s back he’ll be fine.
“Oh, well thanks!”
His OT asked if Andrew was an educator because, “Normally husbands are not interested in OT and think it’s weird, you know, like the weighted vest, but your husband seems so supportive, and excited about it, which is rare!”
“Oh no, he’s not an educator, he’s just awesome.” #furreal
“No but, THANKS!”
Last year I did BSF, and the story of Haggar saved my life in those first weeks with Elijah, funny right? I even stood up at the end and shared about it in front of hundreds of people, perhaps I’ll share here one day.
Haggar, of all people… #hotmess
|My two joy boys|
|Here’s ‘Lijah, I’ll help you with dis…”|
|Buying a pear tree with daddy in the truck, so proud of himself|
There is a crappy thing when filling out paperwork for him as a mom about his birth and early months, “How long was he hospitalized at birth, what treatments did he get, what ______” and you have to write “I don’t know” for most of it.
But, when his very first word is naming you, the person he wants most in his life, his very own, “Mama,” well, that my friends, makes up for any unknowns. A name I gladly, humbly accept as he names me his own.
Another funny thing about adopting a toddler, when you’re convinced he’s an infant; same size, same abilities, same needs, is after his few first words, his other “first words” out of his otherwise silent mouth are phrases.
Ex// From my quiet boy, “Mama, I won-DAT!”
Me: smiling, “Oh, you do?”
Elijah, “I yuv-yoooou!”
|Don’t worry lady, I got this, I’m all the way up here.|
My mind wanders to the ones who share a room, an old, crumbling cement building. The ones who need OT, who need so much love, all the extras to catch up that Elijah is getting, and I wish. I can’t help but to see their little bodies too, thin and frail, wishing they had so many people working with them, and not left alone to rock.
|Oh, my heart|
I also wish for families to experience the same joy. The joy of seeing a child blossom in their home, the gospel alive, learning the defining satisfaction and messiness of loving a child in need. I wish we could all band together, take on their suffering, to raise up healthy, strong children together, and send them out more filled with love than loss. Because then, we all win, right?
|If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. //Matthew 10:39//|
|Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:9|