Y'all, I am sorry if I scared you into thinking that things are bad. (Please excuse me for regressing to my younger years in the south, especially after hanging out with my friendly southern adoptive peeps)
Let's just say things are a little jet-lagged. A little crazy.
But they really are a good crazy. We went into this full well knowing that there will be challenges. You don't bring home a five-year old who's lived in an institution his entire life without expecting big change...for all involved. We are also fully aware that every single day will bring progress.
Look, Joseph could be balled up in the corner, and a very sad child. But, he's not! The blessing is that he's not! He is FULL of life! And yes...he is a little tiger showing his stripes every day, in hopes that we will still love him after. He is giving us his meltdowns of meltdowns to make sure that we will properly console him and set boundaries. Each outburst is an opportunity to show him that we love him and that we will continue to love him.
Our biggest issue, as you might imagine, has been sleep, or lack thereof. Joseph did fine the first three nights, probably due to mere exhaustion, and slept through the night. The past two nights have brought him wandering into our room before midnight. The first time, I carried him back to his bed after an hour or so, but he woke up and cried and it was somewhat traumatic. So, last night, Jimmy suggested that we just let him be. My wise husband knew that I would likely sleep better and so would Joseph. And he was right. We certainly don't want to make a habit out of pulling him into our bed, but we do hope that giving him the comfort that he longs for now will make his adjustment easier and our bonding process smoother.
I love, love, love this quote from one of my fellow adoptive mamas and travel partners, Melanie. Even though she wrote it about her daughter, it applies to all our kids, "Loss. Great loss comes with adoption. Oh there are beautiful gains by adding a child to a family who loves her, but I can't ignore the real pain that also comes with it. The coming days, weeks and months will be filled with laughter and love…but also with great transition and trust-building. I continue to be in awe of the fact that God chose me to be her mom. And I found myself catching a glimpse of her tonight that made me think that maybe her mother had that same look in her eye before she said good-bye to her for the final time. That is hard stuff. There is loss all around adoption. But God is a redeeming God. He is a loving God. He created Emaleigh to be strong and brave. And she is."
And he also is...our little Joseph! He IS strong--he IS brave. We love him for that.
So, with all that said, here's some more about our new son...
Joseph is a homebody. He loves coming back home after we take the kids to school. We will start branching out soon, but for now I am just thankful he's embracing his new digs.
This kid LOVES the pantry. He stalks it constantly, so we have to monitor his intake. He seems good with it though...and seems to love the right foods. He ate four bowls of sweet peas at dinner last night!
He is a SILLY boy! He LOVES to play! So...Madi is struggling with her new "shadow" (seriously...he wants to be her shadow) so we are really trying to make her see what a compliment this is! He adores her! She was his first responder on Face Time, and he is always so excited to see her.
He's been hoarding a few toys, mostly little cars, in his bed. Not unusual behavior for a child who's never owned his own things. Thankfully, Charlie's been a trooper about it, since he really doesn't have a love for possessions.
Communication is getting better every day! He can say: fork, knife, spoon, thank you, no thank you, all of our names, and more that I don't recall at the moment. Luckily, we can usually figure out what he's trying to say if he points us in the right direction, and he still tries to mimic much of what we are saying. We can't believe how quickly he's coming along, really! The best news is that he clearly understands our friend, Margaret, who speaks Mandarin! He has met her a couple of times and he was quite chatty with her yesterday when she visited. Because of his dialect, she didn't understand every single thing he said, but she's able to discern most of it, and he is well aware of his new life and his new family dynamic.
Yes, it is a busy season for us. But it's a season of learning, and more importantly, of giving. As we sat around the dinner table last night--a calm family of five--the reality seemed more beautiful than stressful. We are getting there. We are extremely thankful for our friends and our awesome community. We have received dinners (which I really didn't think we'd need, but have been so helpful this week!), special gifts, and a friend even came to clean our bathrooms yesterday (yikes!)
Mostly, thank you (once again) for lifting our family up in your prayers. We have been blessed by them and they are working! We do hope to return the favor when you are in need.