Tuesday, July 17, 2012

3 months - Finally, an update. Part 1

Wow, has it really been that long since we've been home? I guess it has, and I've turned into one of those people I hated was annoyed with, when they would come home from picking up their children and never post anything. Yep, that's me. After all of that time asking for prayers and support, I dropped off the face of the internet.
I've tried to make amends by posting lots of stuff on fb, but that's not the same as hearing the cute stories, right? And keeping my family updated, etc, etc.
I could say it is because we've had a lot of adjusting since we've been home, or because I am a new mom, or because I am no longer in the military and was searching for a new job, or that we're moving (aren't those all, like, major life stressors or something??), or all of the kids medical appointments.....
I could say all or some of those things, but the main truth is that I've just felt inadequate. And tired. Mostly tired - no, inadequate. And I didn't care about updates anymore once I was faced with my new reality of single motherhood. But mostly its because I feel totally inadequate, like my head is just above water most days.  Not in a bad-mental-health way (don't worry, all of my faculties are fine), but just.....inadequate.
I had several delays in bringing the children home, and I used that time to prepare - read about the parenting styles I respected, going to conferences, studying online, etc. I thought for sure I would be way beyond ready to go with these kids. Uh, no.
I had this ideal situation in my mind, where the kids and I would be at home together all the time, and I would teach them stuff, and we would slog through life together and develop together at a nice pace (don't ask me WHERE I got that idea, seeing as though I'm single and can't stay home). I looked at other adoptive families, who I admire so much, and wanted to be just like them. Well, as it turns out, I'm not.  I'm one of "those moms" who ships their kids off to free public school for "someone else" to teach. I hear about some of their daily behavior issues/struggles second hand, since I'm not there. I don't bake. I can barely cook (although I did make perfect eggs today without breaking one!!) - nothing I make is anywhere near "foodie" status and we have fast food and pizza once a week (but never at the same meal LOL).  I only have two children and still don't have time to go on pinterest to get recipe ideas and I would NEVER dare take a photo of what I make for dinner and post it on fb! I don't have a beautiful blog with lots of followers. I can't take fancy-pants photos of my beautiful new children with an expensive camera for everyone to see and make life look just dandy with a beautiful lens - most of the time, I use my phone to take pictures (I don't even know how to properly use instagram). I can't even make those warm fuzzy adoption videos of pictures with music in the background to share with you and upload it to youtube, because of the copyright mumbo jumbo (although I do have a video made if anyone has any suggestions). I don't have any advice or life lessons so far. I can't knit, crochet, sew, garden, make clothes or jewelry or teach the kids to be crafty. I am not patient and sometimes get irritated easily, over stuff that is normal kid stuff. I've had to teach myself to be happy to see them oh-so-early in the morning, because I HATE mornings. Did I also mention that I'm not very patient? I don't know how to teach about life lessons or about God when (up until recently) their English has been elementary at best and my Bulgarian is mostly non-existent. I get this anxious feeling like I'm wasting precious time! My daughter had a heart attack when I tried to explain to her that God is always watching over you - her eyes went right to her window like some stalker was out there watching her every move. Fail. I've felt like I've just had a series of fail, fail, fail. Hoping, praying, that something good for them was happening. Or would happen.
And after reading that, some people might ask - why did you ever adopt them? You don't even have a husband! It doesn't seem like you are offering them much. And, that's what I have wondered sometimes, too.

But, (after all of that) I am happy to say that I can write to you today because I am starting to see the beginning of a light at the end of the tunnel. (That and I took a month off from working before I start my new job ;) I was able to sit back the other day and realize that the kids are doing very well. I have some amazing kids. They have dealt with the adjustment of a family better than I could have hoped, better than some stories I've read. I haven't been bitten, hit, or spit at, and I don't get yelled at (sometimes talked back to ;). I haven't experienced physical tantrums. We only had one "I don't love you" and that was in the first week in Bulgaria. They both came to me ready for a mommy and wanting to have a family. Although not everything is perfect, I know that I am blessed. We pray together and the kids are learning how to pray too. They thank God for everything, from juice and cereal and clothes to "thank you na family happy, thank you listen in school, thank you for everybody happy" - lots of happiness ;) They are gaining weight and growing (well, Sam not so much). They are friendly (but not attaching) to everyone we meet. We are learning and loving and I can also honestly tell you that nothing good that is happening to them is a result of me, but of God (if necessary, refer to the previous paragraph about inadequacy - did you get the picture of how little I know about what I'm doing here??).

Sofia: Sofia is such a smart girl. At 3 months home, her English is amazing. She says stuff (appropriately) like "I'm just sayin' mom", "I'm going to", "Sam, I'm telling", and is starting to use "he", "she", "him", "her" very well too. She understands almost EVERYTHING and answers (in full paragraphs) questions like "How was your day?" or "What did you do today?". She knows her letters and the sounds and is starting to put together a few letters/words to start reading. She knows colors, numbers (to 100), foods, specific animals. She talks all. the. time. She likes to play with girls and boys equally, but thinks the idea of boys and girls kissing is TOTALLY gross. Hallelujah for that. She is beautiful and skinny and looks adorable in any outfit I buy for her (so thank goodness she thinks kissing is gross).  I tell her she is smart and beautiful (but that the most important is what is inside of course), and she says "I know". She even offers up the occasional "I'm so smart", so I told her she should add "and humble, too". She now thinks that's how the saying goes, so when she does something well and I praise her, her response is a smile and a serious "See mama? I'm so smart. And humble, too". Haha, I'm so mean, I know. One day I'll tell her she doesn't have to say the humble part, but for now it makes me laugh, and since she says it so often, I take that opportunity to smile to myself.
Her accent is cute. It's slight. I read another adoptive mom from Bulgaria's blog, and she was describing her daughter's accent, and Sofia's is the same! She can't say the "t" or "th" sound correctly yet, it comes out like a "ch". "Mama, Sam chuch it everyching." "I'm so smart and humble chew." :)

She is S.T.U.B.B.O.R.N. And pushy. Her personality is so very strong. Her fear reaction/coping mechanism is to become defiant and silent. THIS is where I'm thankful for the reading I've done, because otherwise I would think she is just being naughty, but when it comes down to it, I really know that reaction is out of fear. Mostly fear of not being accepted and losing control of her environment. But I will say that after the "episode" (which is never anything horrific), she always comes to me on her own to talk about it and say "I was scared, mama, so I no talk you". I didn't have to teach her this. She really listens to my correction when we are teaching about right/wrong, and tries to do better the next time. She loves being with me. I know I won't be able to say that in a few years. She wants very much to please and help. Sometimes she wants to help a little TOO much. We are learning that I am the mama, and she can be a kid. And that she doesn't have to help with everything, and that she can play. I have read that children who are adopted/children with trauma backgrounds can emotionally be both an infant and a teenager in the same day, or hour, or minute. This is VERY true with her. Sometimes it is hard for me to recognize what age she is and how to deal with it. And often times, I am not very good at it. I have to remember (sometimes after the fact) that the relationship is what is important, and not me being right (which I often like to be). Its ironic, because I have dreamed for years of having a little girl, of all the things we would do together. I always knew I would LOVE my daughter. I was actually scared about having a son, too, because I don't know much about boys. And especially after I met Sam the first time and saw what a crazy man he was. I was nervous about getting my son. I thought for sure I would be madly in love with my girl, and I would learn how to love my boy. It turns out (as you'll see later), that my adorable son is so very easy to feel love for, while loving Sofia takes more action than feeling on my part, most of the time. I DO love her, and the verb is becoming more and more a heart feeling every day. I know that love is not always a warm fuzzy, but it is starting to feel like she has always been here, and we are getting used to our family.
And now that I've probably bored most of you, I'll take a break and write about Sam tomorrow!!