Thursday, June 25, 2009
No, not through the night fully, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and are getting more sleep each night. How, might you ask. Well, it hasn't been easy but here's what we did.
Step 1: Identify the negative behaviours and attachment woes.
FEAR OF BEING ALONG: Micah does not want to sleep alone in his room. Poor baby. He's never been alone. He slept, ate, played, bathed, etc. alongside many other children and caretakers. It's no wonder he's scared of being alone, especially at night in the dark.
THE BOTTLE: Micah is ADDICTED to his bottle. Every time he awoke he would demand a bottle to go back to sleep. Sometimes he just wanted a few sips, often a few ounces. He could wake up to 5 times a night, NO FUN!!! This added up to over eating and 4 ear infections. No good. This had to change for those reasons.
Most importantly, however, is the reality that as long as he is attached to his bottle for comfort, he will not look to us. How sad that he thinks his bottle is his mommy. Poor sweetie.
SCHEDULE ISSUES: Micah NEEDS a clear predictable schedule. This is tough to accomplish while managing Devon's needs and routine.
Step 2: Create New Positive Attachments
FEAR OF BEING ALONG: We've attached his crib to our bed as a sidecar. This way I can cradle his head in my arm while he's in his crib when he's sad or needs to be touched. So far this is really effective and has made the transition to napping and bedtime much easier.
So, we decided to break him of this habit. Not an easy task. He cried for hours a night and every nap time for 2 weeks. It's gotten easier, only 45 minutes each night, but isn't perfect yet. He still awakes at midnight and cries for about a half an hour then again at 4. This is steady improvement and we can see an end and restful nights in the future.
SCHEDULE: Micah naps and eats at the same time each day. Devon's day camp has really helped to keep us on schedule as well. He's gone three mornings a week from 9-12. I am able to focus on Micah's naps and food on these days. It's really helped.
Step 3: Assess and Evaluate DAILY
Each day we evaluate how the sleeping and eating patterns have gone. Some days are good, some days are not. It's tough to see the forest for the trees on hard days but it's important to evaluate none the less.
The lack of sleep can really make this tough.
Step 4: LET GO AND LOVE
The reality is that that this process is a tango, a few steps forward, a few back. Repeat.
But, we've come to believe that if you set boundaries for your children and love them, they will attach to you if it is God's will. We repeat this to ourselves as Micah screams in our arms pushing away from us each night.
Daily, there is a war of fear and concern raging in my head. The questions go round and round. Are we doing the right thing? Is there any way we can make this easier on him? Is it too soon for these changes? Is he ready for attachment changes yet?
There's no way to know the answers to these questions for sure right now. We're plodding along as if it IS the right choice because we believe its the only choice we have right now. For our sanity and family we must make these changes to better our nights, to better our lives, to better our hearts- Especially Micah's.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
What an amazing picture of God's covenant of GRACE to His children.
Today our covenant child was baptised into his forever covenant family. What a wonderful God we have who loves us enough to CHOOSE US, to be our God, to have us as His people.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
For my baby to choose me over a bottle...
For the shadow of his other mommies to fade...
For my other baby's diagnosis and therapies to start...
For a vacation...
For the endless poopy diaper changes to end...
For healing from the loss of so much time with Micah Moo...
For sleep that lasts longer than 4 hours...
For a heart that desires to serve all three people without wearing out...
For my weekly phone call from SHERRY
For SHERRY to move next door so that I don't have to do this all alone...
For Devon to start summer camp next week...
For a shower that includes washing, shaving, relaxing!!!
For those I love the most to love me just as I am, nothing more and nothing less...
To love other just as they are, nothing more and nothing less...
To be a mother who doesn't yell...
To be a mother who says the right thing...
To be a mother and wife who doesn't say as much as I do...
For a Canon Rebel Xti...
For Des** Low to pass court...
For the next heartbreak to begin calling my heart to action...
For my baby girl...
For Jesus...that's really what I'm waiting for. For a life without tears, without struggle, with out the need for adoption.
For peace that is not fleeting.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
- Giving Brother a new toy instead of leveling him and stealing it from his hand.
- "Come here Brother. You can touch my chair now!!"
- "Good MORNING Brother! You can have some blue cereal with me."
- "Let's go to Chick-Fil-A. Can brother come too?"
- Holding Brother's hand in the car to help him sleep.
- Feeding Brother his "ba-ba" on the couch.
- Protecting Brother (from nothing really but it's important none the less!) at Annie's party.
- "Come on Brother DUDE, let's go for a ride!!" in Annie and Luke's Jeep.
- "Can Brother sleep with me, please, Mommy?"
- Talking about his feelings and anger towards sharing.
Some AMAZING changes and blessings from Micah...
- Reaching for Mommy when someone else holds him.
- Crying out "mamamamama" when he's hurt or angry.
- Pulling up to a stand!
- First steps with Dada holding his hands.
- Smiley and laughy at his big brother.
- LOVES our family favorite, "So You Think You Can Dance" as much as we do.
- Dancing to "Boom Boom Pow" with Devon.
- First time in nursery, no TEARS but lots of happy smiles when Mommy returned.
Some AMAZING changes and blessings for/within us...
- Our first post-Africa date with friends Becca and Steve, SO FUN!
- Courageously letting go of attachment fears and parenting with understanding, not fear.
- Gaining self-control over our frustration at 2 am.
- Laughing about our lack of free/quality time instead of crying about it!
- Strategizing about sleep and food issues as a TEAM.
- Camping as a family with great friends.
- Forgiveness, FORgiveness, FORGIVEness, FORGIVENESS!!
- Taking hold of new mercies every day.
Some AMAZING blessings from others to US...
- A wonderful Bible Study for us both with our church friends.
- Great music on the radio that reminds me to take hold of grace and choose love.
- A 30 MINUTE phone call with my best girl SHERRY, boy do we miss those days!
- Great sermons that CHALLENGE the heck out of us (THAT Mark Fodale).
- A life-changing scone recipe (thanks Mama Kari ;0)
- 100$ from Grams for a new stroller.
- A family vacation with my sweet sister and gorgeous nieces at the end of the summer to look forward to.
- BURTUKAN DELFOSSE (an Infantia baby) PASSING COURT (we fell IN LOVE with this sweetie in ET!)
- A trip to see Ashley at the end of July to look forward to.
- A fixed washer, car, refrigerator. I have the HANDIEST HUNK in the world.
11You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Micah and Elias were together in Ethiopia and are forever friends. Here are some fun pictures!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
We've done some work on the sleep issue and we know DOESN'T work. We're looking at this from a positive light as we're getting closer to a solution the more we weed out what's not working.
So, we think we've narrowed down the hysterical 4 am screaming fit to one of these three reasons, GAS, GRIEF, or GROWING PAINS. It's a cry like we've never heard out of Micah before and it doesn't happen every night. He arches his back, stiffens everything from head to toe, and WAILS. We've been using ibuprofen during these times and it seems to help. Gas doesn't really fit as it's ONLY at night and he doesn't have any other gassy symptoms.
Grief is something we know can happen even to happy, adjusted children but there's not much we can do other than love him through it. So, we're choosing not to stress about that and look at what we CAN work on. We hold and kiss him all day long. Love will eventually win this battle and I can honestly say I am resting in God's truth over this issue. Adoption exists because this world is fallen and broken. God has used us to fix holes in Micah's life and He is filling them one by one. We are the clay, he is the potter. Work on, Jesus!
Growing pains are our biggest suspicion. Micah was SO very malnourished that his body is completely out of proportion. He's in the 50th percentile for weight and head but only the 2nd for height. This is normal because the body's reaction to lack of food is to save the calories it does consume for the brain and organs. We think his body is finally catching up and beginning to grow. This can be very painful because of many reasons, the central nervous system is growing as well, lack of calcium in his early infancy, etc. So far we've only had this happen about 3 nights a week. We're thankful for that!
So here's what DOESN'T work for us.
-Crying it out, YET. We tried to let him cry for 10 minutes. After almost climbing out of his crib (I guess that was great motivation to pull up for the first time!!!) we noticed some serious attachment behaviors that we had NEVER seen before. He wouldn't look us in the eyes, wouldn't be comforted even by the bottle, wouldn't lie down with us or let us hold him. We're not willing to damage the trust and bonds we've developed with him just yet. So, this is a no-no for now.
-Sleeping all night with us. That boy is a future field goal kicker, I swear! He kicks all night long, sideways, hitting our backs with his super flexible little legs and feet. Not fun my friends but hysterical all the same.
Here's what we think IS working and the improvements we've seen.
-A consistent routine of bath, bottle, rock, bed has helped him get to bed around 9 each night. He sleeps until 1 or 2 before his first bottle. This is a good stretch!
-He comes into bed with us for the feeding at 2 am and eats on my chest. He goes right back to sleep and we put him back into his crib.
-A wedge has helped him sleep. For some reason the kid likes to be elevated on the top half of his body.
As for us, we're really trying to surrender this battle in prayer and kindness to one another. I'll admit that I am not a very kind wife at 3 am. Chad is sleeping on the couch for those nights that he feels he won't be able to work the next day if he doesn't. We make sure he gets at least 4 straight hours. We're also trying to spend time together each night talking and making strategy.
Me, I am really trying to use every moment I have awake with Micah at night to PRAY over him. There's so much I don't know about my precious son, so much I can't control. The answer to this is prayer. What a sweet time I have with him that will all too soon be gone! I am also trying to take hold of the truth that God's mercies are new every morning. Holding onto anger, frustration, guilt, grief, etc. is not helping my heart or my family. Each day I pray "Lord, do not let this day be wasted. Do not let me look away from you. Do not let me dwell on yesterday. Today is the day you have given to me. USE ME."
This has been wonderfully and painfully growing for me both spiritually and physically. But, oh the rewards! I can't wait until Micah is sleeping through the night and this is a distant memory but I refuse to waste this struggle, to ignore the blessings and challenges within it.
Adoption has taught me that. Even in the struggle there is so much to learn and see. We thank God for this time of hardship because we know our VIEW OF HIS GRACE is going to be so much bigger at the top of this mountain. Can't wait!
In this struggle I can see what God goes through for me daily. Do you trust me, Kim? Can you REST in my love and strength today? Do you believe I love you more than this world and that I am worth forsaking all? Do you know I will still love you when you cry and wail against my love, against my kindness, against my plan? All of this is breaking me down to be the wife, mother, human being that He wants be to be.
We want Micah to SURRENDER to our love. He just wants the same from us.
Friday, June 5, 2009
DISCLAIMER: This is OUR journey only. Each child is different and in no way does our experience mean you will have a bad sleeper. ;0)
Now that that's out of the way....
Micah is the happiest baby we've ever met. Give him a spoon, bowl, and window and he's happy for hours. He's always shown signs of attachment including great eye contact, giving and receiving love to us alone, etc. We've been amazed at his transition...
DURING THE DAY. Micah does not sleep through the night. Not even close, actually.
He sleeps 4 hours then wakes up every hour wanting a bottle or to be held and SCREAMING. And I mean EVERY HOUR. By 3:30 he's in our bed and sleeps until 5:30. His wails are so loud and so sad for us. But, by 3:30, it's really frustrating. We're exhausted, he's exhausted, and we can't comfort him.
The difficulty with this is that we don't know WHY. Grief? Fear? Determined to sleep with us?
He won't take a full bottle each hour, so we know its not hunger (plus, have you SEEN him? ;0) He just wails and wails. We've tried keeping him in our room, not giving him the bottle, allowing him to cry in his crib (which wakes up older brother then we've got a real mess on our hands), music, noise, EVERYTHING we can think of.
And we're still walking dead. ;0) It's so sad. It's become clear that we are not yet his comfort, his bottle is. This is really scary and sad for us. What does this mean for his attachment to us? He's so happy all the time, are we taking this for granted? What other attachment/grief issues are we overlooking? If the bottle is his comfort, does he recognize us as his caregivers? What are we doing wrong? We kiss him, hold him, love on him ALL DAY. I held him so much the first month I virtually threw my back out (he's 24 pounds people!). Did this make any impact?
The questions and worries can drive you crazy, especially at 3:30 when you want to say (not in anger, but in sadness) "don't you know how much we love you? Can't you see what we've gone through to bring you home, what we've put Devon through?" This isn't fair to any of us, it just is. Patience is a luxury right now and difficult to access at 3:30.
He finally ends up in our bed and finds some peace there. We don't know if this is because he's so exhausted from the routine or because he really wants to sleep in between the only two people he really trusts right now. I wish he knew how loved he is! So many have loved him so well since his birth. How we wish we could communicate this to him, that this love would sink into his heart and help him feel secure (and sleep secure!).
Then you wonder what he's thinking. I can't imagine how he's feeling, how much he misses his nannies and the comforting sounds of other babies surrounding him, the smells, the sounds, the sights, the air, ETHIOPIA.
The fact is WE MISS ETHIOPIA after only 7 days so we know our little man must be heartbroken.
So, what do you do? Well, you pray first, then pray some more. Then you keep trying. Right now he's happily playing on the floor with Devon having completely forgotten the grief and struggle of last night.
I wish I could to.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
- That he'd be so fat! I wouldn't have worried as much about his health.
- That Micah would be sick for 8 weeks and counting. Perhaps I would have bought stock in Motrin and Orajel.
- That you can actually cut 5 teeth in 2 weeks while having a double ear infection and still smile (at least during the day time...sweet angel boy!!).
- That Ethiopia would be terrifyingly and hauntingly beautiful, and tragic.
- That I wouldn't sleep through the night for 10 straight weeks and still be required to keep 2 children alive.
- That the pain and fear doesn't stop when you're little one is in your arms. Really, its just beginning.
- That a mother's heart has an infinite capacity to love and nurture and a refined memory. The faces of the children in Ethiopia are seared into my heart.
- That you can temporarily ruin the life of one child by saving another.
- That the truth "God controls the heart" also applies to my 4 year old who simply does not have a heart of love for his sweet brother.
- That my house will not be clean for longer than 10 minutes until my children are in college.
- That the laundry pile is actually endless.
- That following God's path to Micah would be so tough, so tiring even now that we are home.
- That I would mourn deeply for the time I had lost with him even when I have him.
- That I would mourn deeply and feel guilty for the time that his Birth Mother and Nanny are missing with him.
- That my mourning for these women would bring me closer to my God and fill my heart with love for a child who has been loved so well by so many others before me.
- That his smile pours light into every corner of a room, and our hearts.
- That I would lose much of myself in the needs and demands of two covenant children.
- That losing myself is wonderfully freeing and fulfilling.
- That God's plans are indeed infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, but they are often excruciatingly painful.
- That it is IN THIS PAIN that we are able to see how LOVED, CHERISHED, REDEEMED we are and that knowledge is worth it all.
Now you can't say you don't know...