Thursday, October 31, 2013

The daily joys

Nothing ground breaking in these photos, but the capture the daily joys in our home this fall. 

M: OK Daddy, I am ready for you to turn on the vacuum.
M:  I look so grown up here, right?

M: Go faster horsey!  Brandon: Um, look where T is sitting.  T: What?  This is the perfect spot. 

One of those moments that my baby didn't look much like a baby.

M: I look so sporty!  (Little did we know that a month or two later we would still need to be sporty every day!)

T: My daddy is cozy! 

M: We are ready to bake some Banana Bread!

M: Good thing I am wearing my apron.  This is a big job!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another Hummus Lover!

You might remember many photo blogs with a hummus covered M.  Check out the end of THIS POST for some hummus shots.  M was so small... it seems like just yesterday!  I also noted that he was not wearing a bib at all.  Two very different personalities in my kiddos.  My kids were so meant to be brother and sister.
Yes Dad, hummus is a finger food!
Hummus is filled with happiness in every bite!

No rag needed, we wouldn't want all this precious hummus to go to waste.

Hmmm, I think there is still a bit more at the bottom!

Hey, do I have anything on my face? Sigh... what a great lunch! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chinese Moon Festival

September 19th was T's first moon festival in America.  In China families eat special things on this day called "moon cakes."  Do not let the name confuse you.  I did not say "moon pie" the tasty packaged dessert.  Moon cakes are made with a red bean paste and breaded.  Brandon tried it and said it was OK, but it is a main dish and not a dessert. 
How did we get moon cake this year?  Well, you might remember that we have been very blessed to live just a few houses away from a Chinese woman and her family.  Not only is XianWei our neighbor, she is also a great friend.  She and her family bought moon cakes to celebrate and they had an extra and shared it with T.  We are so thankful for this very special link to China for T.  

T: Dad, why do you want me to hold this tin in a photo?  (The moon cake came in a fancy box)

T: Oh, there is food inside?  In that case, we should get this baby open!

T: Hmmm, smells like food.

T: Yum!  Moon cake is so tasty!  Happy Autumn!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The warm days long ago...

Do you all remember summer?  Take a moment and think about that lovely feeling of being hot.  The feel of a bit of sweat on your brow.  The feel of sticky skin and relaxed muscles. The water out of the hose feeling refreshing and not freezing. Sigh...  A nice benefit of delayed blogging is being able to relive warm summer days through photos.

These photos were taken during a warm spell that happened this September.  I got a Dora sprinkler on super clearance and was not even sure we would have a chance to use it until next summer, but the weather was very warm so we gave it a try.  M was hesitant at first and needed me to hold his hand, but he soon started to enjoy it.  Then his buddies came over and they all embraced it.  Of course the following day with T got a chance to test it out she was filled with squeals of delight! 

M: So, the Dora thing just spins around and squirts water and then I just run right through it.

M:  Hahaha  We are really wet!!!

M: I wonder if I can pick up Dora. 

T: Being wet is so much fun!

M: Yes, I can pick her up.  Maybe I can fight a fire with her.

M: Look what else I can pretend to do.  (Proof that he is a typical 4 year old boy)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nine Months... and 20 minutes!

A couple of years ago I wrote THIS POST with the same title.  I wrote the post about M when he was only home for one month.  As I just reread it, I am amazed at how deep my attachment now is for my M.  I am so thankful that I learned of this perspective.  When I wrote the first post I only knew the theory and hoped it was true.  Now I have lived the theory twice and I believe it to be true.  Last Sunday marked nine months and twenty minutes (or 40 weeks 20 minutes) since we received T in Ch!na.  The 30th will mark 9 months home.

Because there are some people who would rather not click on the link to the other post I am going to copy and paste a tiny bit below, because it is still the same today.

"One wonderful mom of many children bio and adopted explained attachment so well saying that she attached to her bio kids in the first 20 minutes they were born. In the same way, attaching to her children through adoption took about 9 months and 20 minutes... attachment is a TWO WAY STREET. This was honestly news to me in many ways. All the books talk about ways to get your child to attach to you. I read them. I didn’t realize that just as he is attaching to me, I would need to attach to him. Mothers who carry children in the womb grow in their attachment as their child grows. I know some women who don’t get sick while pregnant that say they have to carry a photo of the pregnancy test around just to remind themselves they are pregnant... there you have it, they are carrying a child that they are not attached to. "

 Friends, attachment is hard in both directions.  T was not too willing to connect with us emotionally in those early days.  She was a happy little girl over all, but checked out on eye contact, hugs, lap time etc. In part because she was so new, in part because big brother really needed me (and I was deeply attached to him), in part because I sensed her small rejections of attachment I also pulled away.  I did the same thing with M.  Brandon came to the rescue in both cases.  Brandon formed earlier connections and I did basic love and care every day.  Caring for someone, praying for them, and being with them all the time causes warm feeling to just start happening even if you are getting some rejection.  Slowly we both starting bonding and attaching.

Patty V's (the wise adoptive mom I mentioned above) wisdom is still as brilliant as ever.  I am amazed to see the ways my love has grown for T in the last 9 months.  Just as my love with M grew, our relationship was surely a Love Come Softly.  Over time we have grown to be able to read and understand each other.  We are comfortable with affection.  We WANT to cuddle and not let go!  We look for each other in crowded places.  We like to be together.  We laugh with each other.  We can lock eyes and not look away.

I am so thankful that I had M's story to fall back on in those early days.  I still feel like much more needs to be written about this topic.  It is hard for new mamas to admit these sorts of things, and especially for first time adoptive moms because the build up for getting your baby home is HUGE... but then you realize they are not a doll, but a needy human stranger and the process of attachment SSSLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWLLLLLYYYY begins!

It is interesting to note that with each stage of attachment there are hurdles to jump over.  Right at the 9 months mark our super sleeper T began to fight it like crazy.  In full disclosure T was sleeping 14 hours at night at up to 4 at nap time.  Seriously, a SUPER SLEEPER. Well friends, that stage is gone.  We knew that large amount of sleep wouldn't last forever, but we were not prepared for the 180 we felt in the last week.  T now needs us much more to fall asleep and has had a few horrible nights were she has been up crying most of the night, needing to be rocked or held, but unwilling to actually sleep.  Sleepless nights lead to clingy and sad days.  Thankfully, we know from M that phases with 1 year olds are short lived.  How does this relate to attachment?  In many ways actually.  T is crying FOR US and not because of us!  She is looking for comfort from us.  She is clinging to us!  Her tears are for a longing for deeper connection.  She is no longer pushing us away and fighting hugs, but looking for and craving them. Oh friends, it is not easy, but I am thankful that with each tear I wipe away and each cuddle I give our bond are getting stronger and attachment is happening.  So adoptive parent friends, hang in there.  God is giving us daily such grace that we don't deserve.  We can also extend this grace to our needy children. 

Note: Neither of my children seem to display any true "RAD" behaviors and I do not want anyone who is dealing with deep "reactive attachment disorders" to think I am saying they will magically go away in 9 months.  I pray that you can find a great team of counselors who can help you as you attach.

Blogging again!

Oh dear, it has been a long time since I did a photo blog... the last event I photo blogged about was LABOR DAY!  Yikes!  Our lives have been busy this fall which has given me much to blog about, but little time to blog about it.  We have had weekend and extended weekend guests 3 or the last 5 weekends.  We went to the City.  We helped with a huge adoption fundraiser.  We have done many special things with friends and even celebrated a long awaited birth.  We had much to be thankful for.  Hopefully over the next many days I will be able to get a post up each day.  That is my goal anyway.  The first post I am planning will be about T being home for 9 months so it won't have photos, but almost 120 photos have been added to blogger so they are coming soon!