Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Reality

It's time to get real. Yes, things with Ahren have been awesome. He has melted right into our family like he has always been there. He is happy and funny and loving and adorable. He is also 2 years old and with that comes a lot of work. I am sooo tired.

First, let me start with the things we have done right to make this adjustment better. We talked a lot with Levi and the girls about what it would be like. What we expected each of them to help with and what we thought the hard parts would be. We prepared them as best we could. I learned as much Spanish as I could, focusing on the adoption phrases in the book/CD that wonderful Kim sent me. I can't tell you how much that helped! We sent pictures of us to Ahren and his foster mother showed them to him every day and called us Mommy and Poppi to make him familiar with us. We cacooned for the first weeks, going few places and taking it easy. I made foods as similar to what he was used to as I could. We made sure he got enough sleep every day. I carried him as much as I could. I fed him his meals. It was my face he saw last thing at night and first thing in the morning. I think all of these things helped.

What I wasn't prepared for was how HEAVY this kid is! I am physically exhausted after carrying him, dressing him, playing with him, putting him in his carseat. I have strained my back and one arm hefting him around. I was trying to toss him in the air and I just about ruptured myself!

He is still falling and crashing into everything. He did a lovely 3 point landing (2 knees and his head) on the cement the other day. He hit hard enough that the texture of the cement was embossed into the bump. He has gained a lot of strength in his upper legs, but his lower legs are still wobbly and loose-jointed.

When he gets really mad he bites me. Or tries to. I have figured out the look right before he is about to bite and have been stopping him. We will have to see if this is typical 2-year old behavior or something more. He seems to be responding to the re-direction and consequences, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Ahren has shown himself to be a Houdini. He has learned to turn the dead bolts and open the doors, leading his band of merry tots on wild adventures into un-charted territories. I placed door knob covers on those doors and he figured out how to use them. He has enormous meat-hook hands and gets the doors open quick as a wink. I ended up greasing the inside of them until I can get something else to keep everyone safe. (And now I can't open the doors....great)

I am back at work 3/4 time and it is stressing me out. I feel so guilty, especially when I have to leave in the morning and both boys are crying. (That happened yesterday) I know that before I am even out of the driveway they are over it, but I'm not. Mommy guilt. Ugh.

I also wasn't prepared for the emotional aspects of his coming home. I have wanted this child for years and now I find myself wondering what was I thinking? I am too old for this. I can't do this. Why am I not happier, over the moon, on cloud nine every day? My dream has come true, why am I struggling? How un-grateful can one person be? I have my miracle and yet I am still not happy? What the heck???? Did this horribly long and painful process steal all of the joy out of this? What is wrong with me???????

P.S. Friday is PBJ's second birthday. The foster mother and I had been planning a big party for her.

12 comments:

Krystal said...

I would assume that the last little snipet on this entry answers a lot of your questions. It is hard to be over the moon when your heart is broken. and your arm - hee hee.

You guys are doing a fantastic job as a family. All of you!!! It shows.

http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=307761&parentCategoryId=85183&categoryId=85216&subCategoryId=86198
These worked for our little escape artist. The others that we tried did not even slow him down.

Deb said...

Wendy, Sending you hugs.

Some advice from a momma of a tot here- teh biting is both a 2 year old thing and a coping mechanism for Ahren. he is biting becuase he does nto have the words to express what he is feeling, he lacks the coping skills to deal with all the changes, so he is acting out just like a typical toddler. It sounds like you are doing a great job redirecting him- you will have good days and bad days and so will he. Keep up the good work- you are doing a great job. It will get better as Ahren gets older and he gets more words.
the weight of toddler is something I still struggle with- it does get better and then Ahren will want to do it all and you will feel great and then suddenly he will want to be carried everywhere and you will be right back where you are right now. I can't wait for Bug to be 4 yearsold so he really wants to doing things on his own.
Locks!!!!!!! HAHAHAHA- Bug had them figured out in one day. We worked hard on him understanding what was a safe door to open and what was not- of course, that lead to me being locked in the basement!!! We still have days with struggles on the locks- but I see his mind working on how to figure out things. I think the locks have a lot to do with our children trying to get back to the place they feel safe and loved. Right now for Ahren, he is still struggling with the change (maybe not overtly, but he is trying to find security) as he feels more at home and more secure, hopefully he will not be so focused on the locks and doors - although prepare for the moment when he finds out that his feet or hands reach the car window buttons or the car door handle.

You are doing a great job- Ahren is doing wonderfully and that will get your through the tough times. Hang in there.

Sending you more hugs becuase you are an awesome momma.

Deb

nsmorinville said...

My sister-in-law stuck a key hole hook at the very top of their door and that way her kids weren't able to reach it(in case of sleep walking in her case) You are doing awesome and love to hear your stories!!

Vanessa said...

Keep your chin up girlie!! You're doing an amazing job with those kiddos!!

Your grief may be coming with PBJ's birthday and while you're trying to rejoince in Ahren being home you're also longing for the hcild you didn't get to bring home! I'll be praying for you and your family!! Transistions can be hard on everyone!!

Nora Glenys said...

Give yourself some time (several months) for your adjustment. It takes a while for you as well as Ahren. It sounds as if you have done a remarkable with him. One adoptive mother I know who had two bio children before the adoption said she went through a depression with the adoptive child just like postpartum depression with the births of her other children.

I had back problems when Nora came home and she was only a year old. You'll be in shape for handling a two year old soon. Give that some time also.

Blessings,
Pam

Ellie said...

Hey Momma...

(Cause you are officailly adopting me and my kids too!)

You are not alone with you mix emotions... I have them too... My heart aches when I think... What have I done... Cause, I feel guilty that I would even think that, yet, I love them with all my heart, and would do anything for them.

You are doing an awesome job with Ahren... It is a period of adjustment... When I questioned my sanity... People made the comment, the honey moon is over, and they are going to be testing you now... THEY ARE WRONG... Do you know why? I was not adopted, and I STILL TEST MY MOM! (hehehe... don't tell her I am saying that.. she would know my game!)

As for the biting... You know, a child only bit me once, and the cure to that was to bite back... They don't like it, and realize, not to do it. THe great escape... At least you know he will be able to get out of the house if there is a fire! They also have those latches that you can put up high on doors, that kids can't reach... Or change the inside of the Deadbolt to the ones that need a key... Just a few thoughts~

I am sending you huge hugs...

Ellie.

Kim said...

I'm SOOO glad the CD/book helped. :)

You know, I wrote a very similar post recently. I think what you are going through is very normal. You have spent so much energy getting that sweet boy home and making sure he had as smooth of a transition as he can, and now it's time to focus on you.

I know it took me quite awhile to bond to Alex. I think he bonded to me before I bonded to him.

Give yourself time - you are doing a GREAT job!!!

Mom2noah said...

WENDY...
HANG IN THERE! You are doing GREAT!

Susan said...

Wendy, there truly is a phenomenon known as post-adoption depression. You don't have the biological and hormonal response to giving birth, but you have many of the same other issues as any other new mother -- lack of sleep, the work of trying to get to know your child, the stress it puts on relationships with your husband and the other kids. Add to that the fact that your "baby" is not a newborn, but an active toddler! He's heavier, faster, smarter and in need of near-constant attention. And, oh yeah, you went through a hurricane!

One issue with post-adoption depression is that many parents feel that they can't tell anybody about it because folks won't be sympathetic. I'm glad you shared with us -- it's all perfectly normal.

You're doing a wonderful job; it's just hard to recognize it in yourself when you're in the middle of it. (Plus you're sad about PBJ).

My daughter was a biter, too, once she started in day care. The teachers told us that it most likely it was because she couldn't express herself in words (she was slow to start talking, although you'd never know it now). So guess what her first words were? (after Daddy, Mommy and bubbles?) MINE. NO. And her first real sentence? "no, no, MY snack!" I'll bet Ahren's biting slows down when he learns to speak more English (and gets fully settled).

dana said...

Don't beat yourself up dear sis. I have the same emotions quite often and I birthed the last one. I wanted him more than anything, had feelings of incompleteness... Jonah is every bit what Ahren is and more (including the biting at 2-3 and the ability to handle any lock no matter how hard or high). He keeps me hoppin'. I am old, I am tired, and I wonder what I did. My doubts are big and real.

You ARE "over-the-moon", but that is not all you are. You are old (sorry to tell you), tired, and have other pressing concerns. Note your last comment. I know the weight of PBJ is heavy on you. I know you too well to think otherwise. You are just normal, and that is just fine!

Remember, Ahren will not be carried or in a car seat forever, and your arm will heal! Hang in there awesome Mommy, I wish I were half the mother you are!
Love you so much!!!

Amy said...

Wendy,
You are not crazy and you are definitely not alone in this one. I think after all this long road, we expect to "feel" differently about the situation and yet we need to give ourselves time to sort things out. You are only just learning this child and your response/reactions/feelings toward him are just developing. Not too mention the stress you have from dealing with PBJ's case too. Just know that you are not alone and I hope you can "figure it all out" soon. HUGS!!!!

Amy said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. All/most of what you are feeling is pretty normal. Michelle Gardner has written a great book, "After the Dream Comes True" about this very thing. It is easy to read and you may find it helpful.

There seems to be somewhat of a letdown when a child is home. Possibly because we work so hard and invest so much energy into getting them home.