Sunday, April 20, 2014

Two and a Half Weeks Easter Update

It's hard to believe we will celebrate one month with Caleb this week! He has been officially a Porter for almost a month and home for two and a half weeks!! I am happy to report that he is doing amazingly well!! When I think about all the change in his little life over the past six weeks I am completely in awe of his progress. His world was shaken when he was moved from Hope Foster Home, where he had lived for the past year, back to his orphanage in preparation for adoption and then two weeks later it was shaken again when he was driven to a hotel and handed over to two people he'd never met! He spent time in three different hotels with us in China, took three airplane rides and countless van rides with us and then ended up on the opposite side of the world with a bunch of pale skinned people who spoke a language he had never heard, ate food he had never tasted and called him a name he had never answered to!! It makes my head spin!!

First trip to the park

The first days home were HARD as we had expected. We'd been told that jetlag in a toddler takes 1-2 days/nights to overcome for EVERY HOUR OF TIME DIFFERENCE!! That translated into 12-24 days to correct his schedule! We were blessed that it only took about 7-10 days before he was sleeping pretty well and seemed to have his nights and days straight. He had a hard time adjusting those early days and it was impossible to differentiate between jetlag, fear, anxiety, frustration and just being a toddler who didn't like to sleep. It was likely a mixture of all of these! With loving consistency, he is now sleeping alone in his own bed in his own room all night...and seems to like it!! He goes around and blows kisses to all of us and says "Nigh-nigh" and then gets right into his bed!! He still likes to reach his hand out and hold the hand of whichever one of us is putting him down as we sing to him and occasionally he will lay in our arms and let us rock him which is so very sweet.

I've never seen a kid love a bath so much or wash so voraciously!!

His English is coming along too. He seems to understand almost everything we say and even though he only says a very few words (at least in English!), he is very good at getting us to understand him through gestures, sign language and sounds!

He has become extremely affectionate with both Steve and me. He will often run up to us and throw his arms around us and give us kisses. He is beginning to do this with the big kids as well, though they are often still in his personal space more than he likes! I got one unprompted kiss in China and I get several a day now. Watching his trust and love for us blossom is so incredibly beautiful!!

apparently this book is hilarious!!
We have been "cocooning" these early days home, meaning staying home as much as possible and minimizing interaction with people outside our immediate family. The purpose of this is to help Caleb firmly attach to us as his parents and siblings. We've gone to the park, run a few errands and had some short visits from grandparents but we have made sure that Steve and I are the only ones directly caring for Caleb. We had our first pediatrician visit and our first post adoption visit with our social worker. Both went very well. We went to church but kept Caleb with us as we will wait a few weeks and make sure we are seeing strong attachment before we leave him in the nursery.
Sliding with sis! 
Adoption and the change it brings are so beautiful and yet so very broken. I look at this beautiful boy who is giving us his heart and his kisses and I think of the woman on the other side of the world who gave that up and my heart aches. I think of the months of his life that I know nothing about and my heart aches. Someday Caleb will face these realities and the unanswered questions and his little heart will ache with the loss of his first family.

This kid falls right to sleep in the car!! 

I feel compelled to share our journey as a family in the hopes that it will encourage others who are considering adoption as well as sharing with all those who helped us so much through our adoption process. At the same time I feel very protective of certain parts of the story as I realize that all three of my children are human beings with their own stories to tell and I want to honor and respect that and not share things carelessly without considering this reality. This addition has brought change to our family and change is never easy. There have been moments when I have thought about how easy life used to be and I've longed for that easiness, but at the end of the day I wouldn't trade this journey or this process or most of all this SON for all the ease and comfort on the planet!!

When we started this process I wondered if I could love a child I didn't give birth to as much as the ones that I did. While I admit it has been extremely different getting to know a 20 month old that is suddenly my child with all kinds of ideas, habits, personality traits and experiences I know very little about than it was getting to watch a newborn grow and develop with my own genetics, I am here to tell you that motherhood is truly a matter how it happens.  I love this sweet boy to the moon and back and then some!!

Caleb's first Easter!! Worshipping the risen Savior with Mommy!

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