Saturday, June 26, 2010

Things that give me hope...

I know I just posted but... I have to write this.

Things that give me hope for my son...

A few weeks ago I lay in bed. P came to see me. As he walked away I said, "I love you!" It's something standard in our home. He simply giggled and as he walked away the words, "I love you too, mama" rolled right off his tongue, flawlessly, without issue, without pretense, with any thought put into them. He loves. He CAN love.

Last night I plopped both boys in the tub. P was being bouncy and only half listening, as is normal, and A was splashing up a storm. Suddenly A fell backwards into the water. His head didn't go under and I caught him in time but every fiber of P's being went into alert. He cried out, reached for his brother and helped set him up. His whole body jumped and jittered, and he told me afterwards in a timid voice that this had scared him. He loves his brother. Innately. Naturally. There is no falsehood there. He loves. He CAN love.

He greets Nik with big hugs and a happy voice. He sees me off when I go out, asking for a quick reassurance that I'll come back but typically trusting that I will and behaving for his father or grand mother. He smiles and laughs and tells jokes. He draws happy faces. He prefers happy shows and movies and dislikes violence and anger. He likes to watch sorrow because he likes to see the resolution. He doesn't like fear and is scared easily by anything even slightly frightening on a tv show. He is not a violent child. He can be defiant but he is not an angry child. He does not gleefully harm others. He does not harm animals. He runs to anyone crying and tries to make them happy, asks if they're okay, reassures them. He loves. He CAN love.

We have bad days.

We have some REALLY bad days.

And we have general frustrations.

We deal with defiance and stubborness. We deal with him unwilling to listen and some points. We have to take charge and be firm, far more so than we'd even planned.

But he loves us.

He trusts us.

He may not trust the world, he may not trust that life will allow him to stay with us, but he does trust US.

He falls and hurts himself and runs to us for a hug.

He tells us if he's sad or frustrated.

He comes to us with difficult questions and we hold long conversations about the answers.

He is totally in love with books and words and letters.

He is smart and insightful.

He is, to many people in many situations, a joy to be around.

Sometimes his sweetness can be false.

Not as much now as it used to be.

We ARE getting there.

We could possibly get there without help.

We can afford help and it IS available and we HAVE support to make this happen.

We can fix what's wrong. We can help him. We can help our family.

And in the mean time we can still enjoy our lives. We can still enjoy our sons. We can enjoy going out or staying in, cuddling, reading, talking. Nik and I can enjoy alone time, with each other or not. We can still run our household. This is not impossible. We will not go bankrupt over this. We will not live in squalor over this. We will not lose each other over this.

This path we're now on, this path to help Paxton, can only take a strong family and make it stronger, can only take a happy child and make him happier, can only bring us more peace and more success.

We will survive this.

This will not defeat us and we know because it hasn't already.

We can only get better from here.

We can only go up.

(Now if I just read this and tell myself this every day then I should be good... :) )

What the $&%^# was I thinking???

Okay, so let me preface this by giving a quick family (or rather, Paxton related) update:

P got kicked out of Summer Camp.

There's more to it than that, but not much. Essentially he wasn't listening at all and had major trouble with transitions. On this past Tuesday he was particularly horrid and actually hit a girl and made her cry. They called me and said he could finish the week but after that he could not come back. Seeing as how I'd received positive progress reports every day (I always asked) I was stunned. I won't go into that, though. Don't want to. And I'm very concerned about making certain we don't lose our well-built relationship with the children's museum in which this camp runs. I will leave it as "I thought it was the right place for P, I was under the impression that certain things would go certain ways, but it was not the right kind of place for P and things were different than I thought. I will do more research next time and hopefully find a place appropriate for his needs." And in the mean time I just cross my fingers that we get our $$ back since, well, there are 7 weeks left that we pre-paid for, $115/wk, and since I need to actually DO things with this child in the next two months before preschool begins....

Let me cut in for a second and state that I just took a "break" from this for a couple hours, not intentionally. Nik's car broke down on the way to the kid's museum and I had to go pick up P, take him and a rudely awakened Brozy there, then do lunch and come back, all while Nik dealt with his car just a few days after it broke down the last time. In the past few weeks we've lost: the ability for me to eat dairy as A is likely allergic (which I accidentally broke today, stupid me!), possibly a car meaning we'll be dealing with another buy/sell and change for P, the thought that we were on the right track with P, the comfort we had at our "second home," and the possibility of a Congolese child. We've lost time, energy, money, hope, convenience, schedule... we're sort of floundering about here, getting angrier at the world and feeling lost and alone. We have the high possibility of help in the form of a new mental health plan for P which we're pursuing, but by doing this we also lose a considerable amount of Nik's time off, time with Ambrose, money, and we have to face up to the fact that his attachment to us may in fact be "illusory" in nature and we could be dealing with a child who right now, and possibly for always, needs a considerable, considerable amount of help. And honestly... I'm. Just. Tired. Been there before, I know, but really I'm just reaching a point of explosion or implosion and let's not even start on the weepiness I always feel around my birthday anyway (which is Tuesday). Can something go right? Please? We've dealt with infertility and troubled adoptions and now a high needs baby and troubled child and OMG can we please just stop seeing fake lights at the end of a tunnel and actually just catch a break? Can we just get there already? Just have it be over? Can we please just be a normal family????

Okay.... okay, calming down a bit....

I know we're lucky. We have each other. Our kids are generally happy and healthy and sweet. We have family and money and a nice house in a nice neighborhood. We're a white, traditional couple and that does have its perks. We have a lot going for us. Many people would kill for what we have and how easy we have it. I need to remind myself sometimes.... at least we have insurance that mostly covers mental health, and at least they're optimistic about Paxton, and at least he is improving if only bit by bit, and at least... at least we have each other and our wider community, which might not always be able to help us but is always willing to support and love us.

Doesn't stop me from wanting to cry sometimes though.... Especially since I've been sooooo good about eating dairy free all week and I completely broke it in a fit of stupidity and now I can't even eat the other half of my sandwich and I'm hungry... :( *pout*


Okay, so this post is NOT going where I wanted it to go. Time to get it back on track.

In trying to get my story straight in regards to Paxton, I've been re-reading my old livejournal, seeing what I wrote and where he was at certain points regarding his development, our bond, our lives, etc.

And seriously, all I can think right now is.... what on EARTH was I thinking???

I thought he'd bonded within weeks! I thought I could force him to fit right into our lives! I forced him to bed alone and left him there! I told people, and myself, that he was doing just fine! And then? It got bad and I didn't seem to know where it came from! Like, duh, where could it have come from?

So lemme get this straight...

The pattern has always been: "P's okay, P's not okay, P's okay, P's not okay." The P's okay posts typically detail how far we've come and talk about his good days. The P's not okay posts talk about how far we still have left to go and his bad days.

And I do have to admit we've come a long, long way, and I'd looooooove to be at the end or close to it....

But what are the odds? What are the odds we're at the end? What are the odds he'll EVER be a typical child?

And on some level I don't want him to be your typical child.

I don't want him to sit back and shut up, I don't want him to follow rules that don't make sense, I don't want him to lose his ability to question and challenge authority. I know this will lead to difficulty in a school setting, but I'm far more worried about a life setting and I would rather he be the risk taking, limit breaking, cutting edge entrepreneur and utilize his God given abilities such as charisma, smarts and wit, than learn to sit back and become a good little employee and spend the rest of his life in an office until his job is outsourced to a robot or something. I LIKE his hard headedness, I LIKE his questioning, I LIKE him having a new perspective on the world that other children don't see.

But I want him to be able to blend in at the same time. This? Is a vital ability, in my opinion. He has to be able to get along with authority enough to stay within the rules, respect the limits that are there for a reason, learn to adapt to our society. He needs to learn to stay with a group without compromising his own individuality.

And no, I have no idea how to teach him that other than simply telling him it's possible, which a 4 year old will not understand.

The fact is that Paxton has a lot going for him. He has the ability to love, he has loyalty and respect, he shows remorse when he does something wrong and pride when he does something right. He can think outside the box as well as learn the normal way. He's social, charismatic, upfront and open. He's vocal. He's thoughtful. He's empathic.

But he's also scared. He's scared of being left alone.

One of the reasons we think this Summer Camp business didn't work is because he's used to going to the kid's museum with Mommy or Daddy, and being there without us brought out a primal fear of losing mommy and daddy. Sure, it's a silly fear... for an American child who has never lost a mommy or daddy. For a child who has been, truly and utterly, orphaned it's a completely logical fear and something I, as his mother, should have foreseen.

Just because he has two parents doesn't mean he's never lost a parent.

Even without seeking mental help for him I could tell you this much: his greatest fear is losing us, because he knows what other children do not know, that it IS possible to lose your parents, that they are NOT always there for you, that they CAN leave you forever and never come back.

My only hope now is that we can assuage these fears enough for him to continue to live life without having to think about them. Once he's secure in the thought that we WILL be coming back, for him, then he can go on to live a happy life. He needs to know we've got his back and that he can explore the world around him without worrying if he'll have a safe harbor to return to.

We met with a doctor yesterday, a medical professional, a mental health expert who says he's dealt with so, so many children similar to Paxton. He says that Paxton has two big things really going for him: a lot of talents, and parents who have truly adopted him in every sense of the word. Also he's still of an age where we can use neuroplasticity to our advantage and create this secure bond, so that hopefully he won't encounter similar problems in kindergarten and first grade, when this normally presents itself and when parents normally contact him.

I know we have a lot on our side. We have a great mental health resource here. We have time. We have the resources.

I still wish that it could be over already.

I still wish I could simply say "we've done enough" and just go on leading an average life.

I still wish... I just wish this battle was over and won already.

And really... what on earth was I thinking, that he bonded so easily, so early.... that it was even possible....


As a side note, this has been in my head a lot lately as I've seen many people either come home with older children or about to come home with older children, many of whom think the children fit right in automatically. Re-reading my journal and seeing that it's almost word-for-word what they're writing in some of their blogs... yeah, that's hard. And I'm fighting the urge to contact them offering support and advice. Guess I'll just have to pray they really have bonded that quickly, and that they don't experience the same problems we have experienced. Fingers crossed for them, and for us!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Little Victories...

Today... is a sad day. I mean, in general it's a good day. It's my husband's birthday. I got up early and made breakfast to order with P's help. P had a great day at Summer Camp. I had a restful morning with A. We're all going out to a nice dinner tonight with my parents.


This morning I gave in and spanked P :(

It's the first time in about half a year. He's been slipping out of control more frequently since preschool let out a few weeks ago. I know spanking actually calms him, gives him a big dopamine dump and sets his nerves at ease. I know the proper procedure and used it: warning, calm demeanor, flat hand, clothed bottom, one smack, talk about it, hugs and sorries, etc.

Even so... I mean, I'm not anti-spanking. When done right I actually think it can be quite positive. And it did work wonders this morning.

But still, it's ME. Spanking. MY kid. And I mean... it just doesn't feel right, even if it helped, even if he was a million times calmer afterwards and more focused and had a great day.... And even if I'd stand behind another mom in my situation 110%.

It's just. ugh. Uuuugh. Yuck yuck. Don't like it.

Here's hoping it's a long time (or never! Never's good!) before that has to happen again...


On another note, sometimes I really need to cheer myself up. Some days I really, really feel like a crap parent. No one will ever judge or berate me like I do to myself. Why do I whine so much about my kids? Why do I raise my voice so frequently? Why didn't I seek help for P that first year? Why don't I seek more aggressive help for this, that or the other thing now? Why do I suck so much???

So sometimes I have to sit back and count my small victories. I look at my kids and I think about what I've done to help them. Not just that, but I consider what I've done that other parents might not have done. No guarantees there, of course, but can I really pat myself on the back for, say, getting my formerly malnourished son back to health through good food when just about any other family would also be feeding this kid?

And so without further ado, my "brag" list:
-I expose my boys, from an early age, to a variety of foods with varying flavors, ethnic origins, textures, heat intensities, etc.
-I've provided breast milk for Ambrose for 8 months now.
-I didn't have either of them circumcised (something I'm against though not typically vocally)
-I cloth diaper, which is better for skin as well as environment
-I maintain close physical contact with my children
-I am typically down on the floor playing with my children
-We sought help for P's behavior rather than write it off and now have a diagnosis and treatment plan.
-We meet our sons' emotional needs... and oh, do they have needs!
-We model a loving marriage where the parents are also partners.
-We give P chores.
-We respect and speak frequently about first family, culture, race and surrounding issues, feelings, emotions, problems, etc. I engage my older son in talk about such things without forcing the issue. He's now started to come to me to talk, knowing right from the start that he can openly ask questions about his Ethiopian family, his adoption, his race, others' races, genetics, how families work, even sexuality.
-We are constantly out of the house, constantly seeking entertainment and culture and education, we are social and model good behavior in public and proper ways to address others. P is now one of the most socially aware and friendly children I've ever met, shaking hands with a "nice to meet you," asking people's names and replying with "hello ____!" and engaging new people in conversations daily, if not hourly.

We are, somehow, someway, doing a good job.

Often I do feel like a horrible parents. Perhaps they would have been better off with someone older, someone with more money or better cleaning skills, someone with more education, maybe someone who'd raised children before...

But then I look at our sons...

P, with all his issues and all his anxieties and all his baggage, just running and playing and laughing and joking with us and lounging around, totally comfortable in our house, totally at ease expressing himself, totally at home with us...

A, colicky and refluxy and clingy and fussy and high needs, sleeping peacefully at the breast, snuggled up close in his side-carred crib, grinning from ear to ear constantly while up high in a sling, laughing his head off in a swing, slowly but surely sleeping better at night and letting us put him down more, back away more, feeling reassured enough that he can finally start to discover his world...

I think... I think we're doing a good job with them. I think we're actually good parents for them. Not perfect, no. We're still young and passionate and sometimes we micromanage too much and sometimes we get too upset over stupid things and sometimes we forget something basic...

But we also have two thriving sons who might very well not have been thriving had we parented any other way. And in the end, that's what matters, isn't it?


Also I saved P from drowning weekend before last, AGAIN, so I'm still patting myself on the back for that one.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One of Them

Not much to report on generally. P started Summer Camp yesterday and isn't very keen on listening to his counselors (yet? Please let it be "yet"!!!). A is getting better with his pincher grip and can actually get food to his mouth now, which is both a blessing and a curse I suppose. We had a great family oriented weekend and we're just travelin' along life's road right now, seeing what comes... :)


And on to the ramble!!!


For so much of my life I've felt like a bit of an outsider. I was raised an only child even with two older siblings, as they didn't live with our family but with my father's first wife. I was alone a lot, often sitting in quiet and thinking, thinking, and imagining things over and over again. I learned to amuse myself pretty quickly. I also learned that I was somehow different. I always felt different. I was taller and usually older than all my friends, given that I started school late. I stood out. I wasn't allowed to be a kid as frequently as everyone else and I was often reprimanded more than my friends, told that I "should know better" simply because I had a more adult frame. I was always a little different. I wasn't one of them, and I knew it. No matter how hard I tried to fit in (hard as the tall, fat, socially awkard kid) I never really did.

I grew to be okay with that. Normal was boring and over rated anyway. Look at all the things my peers were missing! Quality programming like Star Trek, or literature like X-Men comics, or hours spent calmly daydreaming to oneself, lost in worlds unimaginable and often incomprehensible. I learned to look at the bright side. I wasn't like them, but then again they weren't like me either. I may not experience all of their joys, but likewise they'd never experience all of mine, and sometimes I felt that was their loss. I suppose, underneath it all, I really may be an optimist.

When I went to college I finally felt like I had a group, like I belonged to a set of people. That lasted for about a month or two until all the drama of me and Nik hooking up happened. But, but, I was supposed to hook up with another guy! And another girl in our group was tooootally in love with him and I betrayed her and seduced Nik and OMG the world is ending because I'm a dirty whore who destroyed the status quo!!! Eventually people "forgave" our transgression, but it was never the same. Again it brought out the same notion: I am not one of them. I am different. I am on the outside. I maybe be able to participate in activities with them, I may be able to associate with them, but I do not belong to any group. I am my own person.

That's not to say I'm a loner. Far from it! I've always had friends, some good, some bad, some totally irreplaceable (including my BFF who I'll be seeing tonight as I do every Tuesday just about). I'm a loyal friend, a thick 'n' thinner, when I feel close to somebody. I'm just... better at one on one.

When it came time to get married and settle down we were also pulled out of the group. They were all going on to graduate school or more years in undergrad, or visiting foreign lands, or travelling or working or partying non-stop. And we were settling into a traditional relationship. It was... odd. It felt like new territory. And it felt lonely. We felt lonely. It's lonely to be first sometimes...

Soon the isolation reached a fever pitch. We were alone in our state of the world, in a different town than most of our friends. Nik was spending his time at work and we only had a couple hours a day. I was at home all the time, sleeping 4am-noon, stuck there without a car. We didn't talk to too many people. And we wanted to be parents, something none of our peers could relate to in the least. We were the odd one's out.

And then the TTC journey took it's tole and we were truly alone, truly isolated, truly desolate. We were not one of anyone. How many people know those in their very early twenties struggling to conceive? We wanted a child, which was unlike our friends. We could not produce a child, which was unlike our peers. We were... different. Alone. Not one of them. Not one of anyone.

But... there was another group. The Adopter group. I'd always admired them. They went through so much for their children! They could love a child they hadn't borne, a child who was traumatized and frightened of them! They went through hell and back to bring their children home! They were... saints. Angels. Not normal parents, no. I saw them the same way most people still see them (and us). As "good people." Their children were charity cases. Cute, expensive charity cases.

I'm pretty sure one of the reasons I didn't jump at the opportunity to adopt was because I really felt like wanted to be a NORMAL parent with a NORMAL kid. I didn't want the labels or the stigma. And I just wanted to be one of those normal parents who makes love and produces a child, a perfect blend of the parents' genes. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be one of them, one of the average parents.

Then we took the plunge. What if we could be the people we admired? What if... that was our fate? What if WE could move hell and high water to bring home a child? What if WE could accept a frightened child? What if we were... one of THEM?

Throughout the whole process I kept coming back to it.

Those people online talking about going through a homestudy, submitting themselves to intrusion and questioning, being squeaky clean enough to pass....

We were one of them.

Those people who could scrounge and save and raise funds, enough to cover the entire cost of an international adoption on one salary...

We were one of them.

Those people waiting, and waiting, and waiting for "the call," for the day you'd finally see your child's face, know their name, their story, anything at all...

We were one of them.

Those people gazing into the slightly pixelated eyes on a photograph every day and night, talking to it, stroking tiny cheeks and praying with all their hearts that the child would be safe...

We were one of them.

Those people falling in love, over and over again, with a person they'd never met...

We were one of them.

Those people boarding an airplane, giddy with excitement, shaking with fear, coming to terms with the fact that, Oh my God, it's happening! It's finally happening! We're going to be parents!

We were one of them.

Those people meeting their child for the first time and finally knowing what true love is...

Oh, God, we were one of them.

And so, so much more. We were the people whose child was petrified. We were the people who had a rough first year. We were the people who dealt with issues we hadn't foreseen.

And we were parents.

As much as it was hard to believe, and even hard to see for awhile, we had joined a group. Not just people who adopted. Not just transracial families. We were a family. We were parents. We were suddenly part of the largest community on the planet, save for the "human" community.

Now I feel much more normal, much more a part of society. Sure my family is a little outside the norm, and sure we're a bit noticeable. But we're in this group, and we've been accepted into this group. Our kids are like the kids of so many others, our troubles the same, our thoughts the same. We can make friends easily and feel included anywhere we go because suddenly we understand others so much better. Our kids, the kids of all of us, have evened the playing field and brought all of us parents to the same level.

Sure, we all have special circumstances that might change things here or there. This family is large, that one is small, these children don't look like their parents, those children only have one parent, this child has special needs, this family had to work its butt off to have a child, that family travels, that family is settled, etc etc.

When we added Paxton into our family, and when we battled the post adoption blues + anxious attachment + PTSD for all of us, I couldn't really foresee what was going to happen. I couldn't have told you that when the dust finally settled I would be a more confident and peaceful person. I couldn't really tell you that I would feel so, so much happier as a stay at home mom than I ever did as a free young college student. I couldn't tell you how much I'd enjoy my schedule, my house duties, my children. But I do. And I'm happy to be part of this community of parents, and of adults, and of human beings all over the world.

Finally I can happily declare that I have a place, that I found who I am, and that I like myself. I am one of so many groups now. And I am still me. And I love my life.


Also, both boys are currently asleep and I've had 3 cups of coffee and 8 hours sleep.

So, seriously, I LOOOOOOOOOOVE my life :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My kids...

Time for another introspective post. Hold on to your seats! You're bound to be swept away by the ramblings :-P


I always saw myself having children. A large family no less. AT LEAST four. Nik and I still agree to that one, though we'll see how we feel after #3 comes home. When I was a child people would talk about careers and futures and while I'd switch from week to week on what I'd want to be (a scientist, an artist, a unicorn) I always, ALWAYS, knew I wanted children.

I don't know why. I don't have any younger siblings and I wasn't particularly close to any children smaller than me. I just... wanted kids. A lot of them. A whole slew of them, running around bare foot and messy, getting into fights, wreaking havoc on my home and sanity, chasing cats and staying up late and driving me bat poop insane. Yup. That is exactly how I envisioned my future, when I envisioned a happy future that I had some control over. No matter what, I wanted children.

In college I met my now husband and we agreed by our second date that we both wanted to some day adopt. He wasn't sure about ever having biological children, "maybe one or two," while I would be happy with a half dozen each. I had such envisionings as myself barefoot and pregnant with an Asian girl on my hip and an African American boy toting a school bag walking by a similarly aged boy who looked just like Nik. Nik wasn't so easily sold on such a dream, and so the compromise was "one or two" by blood, right after marriage, and then when they were a bit older we'd adopt. The final plan was to get pregnant shortly after our wedding, have a healthy baby (I thought it would be a girl), have another a couple years later (I thought it would be a boy), wait until our early to mid thirties then adopt three children in close succession. No clue why I envisioned such a thing, but that was the dream and we were sticking to it.

And then infertility happened.

Of course, it had likely been happening all along. I mean, what are the odds that the second I went of birth control Nik's sperm started to mutate? Not high, I know. We often joked, and still joke, about how much money we spent on birth control for both of us, how careful we were, how many pregnancy tests I took in college "just in case." We don't really joke about those awful six months trying to conceive. If ever there was a time in my life I felt like a complete and absolute failure that was it. I told everyone, EVERYONE, that we were going to have a baby. We were in our early twenties, how could there even be a possibility of infertility? And to have to see their faces when they found out about it... that was the worst part.

Or maybe the worst part was the fact that we'd been so excited and this excitement had transmitted. People knew we wanted to have a bio baby, knew we were trying, knew we were excited and thrilled and so, so in love with this child not yet conceived. It was hard when we told them about our adoption plans because so many didn't want to take us seriously. Surely we couldn't love a child by adoption the same as we would have loved this much sought after bio baby!

And the fact is... for the first several months I shared their sentiments.

I didn't want to adopt.

There, I said it.

I wanted to adopt SOME DAY, sure, but after having my two perfect little bio babies, after having experienced a quick conception, easy pregnancy, and near painless labor. I wanted my dream, dammit, and suddenly we're being inundated with rules and regulations and fees and paperwork, my God the paperwork, and while I knew I'd love this child at the same time I wanted MY OWN baby. And yes, that's what I said at the time which is perhaps why I don't take offense when people use that term and instead try to educate them by using more appropriate terms.

The fact is, I wanted to be a mother, and I knew I'd love a child no matter what, but my heart was breaking. I in no way made peace with infertility during the adoption process. I in no way made peace with my child's bio family either. I saw them as a threat, just as I saw social workers as a threat. I'd have to justify my family to everyone, when I was having trouble justifying it to myself. On top of the guilt about this, there was the jealousy. Why couldn't I have an easy pregnancy like this girl or that? Why couldn't I conceive? Why couldn't I bear a baby? Later it became, Why can't I be the one to bear my child? Why does it have to be another woman's blood running through his veins? Why can't I be his only mother?

Little by little, throughout the process, my heart and mind began to change.

I still wanted a pregnancy some day, and yet... and yet I realized I didn't want it then. I would read the posts on the ePregnancy forum and lightly smile at the positive tests and birth stories. Then I'd read about people on getting "the call" or their gotcha days and my eyes would water and I'd be choking on sobs. Yes, truly, my heart was actually with adoption all along.

And then we read the clause in our paperwork (one of many of course) and found that if we miraculously became pregnant during the adoption process we'd have to concede our spot in line, or even our referral. My heart stopped. I... I just couldn't... not my child... no, no I would not lose a child to a pregnancy!!! I went back on the pill.

And then came that wonderful day when I finally got the call about Paxton, knew his name and age and had a picture and even a bit of his backstory. And then they told me that his first mother had died...

I was like a lead hammer to the face. I knew that was likely, it was one of the reasons we chose that program and agency, the fact that they worked with true orphans. I thought it was better for all involved: the child would be truly in need of a home and we'd never have to worry about their loyalties being split.

And yet, hearing that she'd died... it broke my heart in a way I'd never expected. I've never met this woman, don't know what she looks like or just about anything about her. But I loved her. I loved her because she was the mother of my child. And suddenly, the world of the bio family opened up to me and I realized that instead of fearing them, I LOVED them, all of them. It was like an extra chamber was built onto my heart that day.

The first year with Paxton was... well, not totally awful. We did a lot of bonding, a lot of healing, a lot of hugging and kissing and cuddling and loving. I know I talk about how rough it was, and oh God it was rough, but still we had some truly wonderful moments every day and we, all of us, grew a lot as people and as a family.

When it came time to adopt our second I still held a bit of the jealousy. I wanted to nurse, I wanted to raise an infant, I wanted... well, I still wanted the dream, though not nearly as badly.

And I got it. We ended up with the perfect child for our family, a sweet, bubbly, happy little bean who could draw milk out of a brick wall. The craving, that need to hold a child with my DNA, has all but disappeared from the second he was placed in our arms.


So that... was a prelude. An opening. An explanation of how I got to this new train of thought.

It occurred to me last night (not for the first time) that I am, obviously, not my children's only mother. Very likely I'll never give birth to a child genetically mine meaning that I'll NEVER be the only mother for ANY of my children.

And this used to... bother me some. It used to make me sad. It used to tug at my heart. I used to lay awake at night and wonder if they'd even still call me "mom" once they hit adulthood. I worry that they'll leave and never look back, that we'll raise them up to grown men and women and they'll just... leave. Just head out and say "we don't need you anymore, you were never our real parents anyway."

It's a common fear I know, one that generally proves untrue, and yet.. it's still there. I still think about it. I'm pretty certain that with enough kids we'll "lose" at least one this way.

But the fact is... I don't care.

I don't care if they use me.

I don't care if they leave me.

I don't care... so long as they are happy.

And this thought... surprises me. Because, you see, I'm really not a selfless person.

And yet at the same time, I think so long as we raise our children right, so long as we help guide them along the path to who they're meant to be, as long as we encourage and love and raise and guide, so long as they end up being content adults... I think as much as it would kill me I could find peace in them leaving me, them calling another woman "mom," them calling me "Megan," them calling once a year or less. It tears at my heart and chokes up my throat but I think I could do it. For them.

I may not be their only mother, but they are still my children, my OWN children, my REAL children, and my God do I love them...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Am so tired....

Not last night, but the night before, I accidentally ingested caffeine (Damn you Cup A Joe! I said Decaf!!!) and slept only 3 restless hours over a nearly 12 hour period of laying there (slowly going insane might I add...). Last night it was 7 hours of broken sleep, so a lot better but not perfect by a long shot.

One day, ONE DAY, this baby will sleep like a rock.

But in the meantime, we survive....

And we distract!

We just finished Season 2 of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, meaning we're about to start off with shows I've actually seen, meaning I proposed a hiatus from the show, meaning we're finally catching up on Lost. Y'know, now that it's over.

So DS9 and Lost count as dictraction #1, tv.

Distraction 2 is Super Mario Galaxy 2, or "Super Mario Talaxy!" according to Paxton. I tried to correct him only to be met with "Mommy, you do it your way and I'll do it mine." He's so my son!

Distraction 3 is books. I just finished the Dark Visions Trilogy by L.J. Smith. I had read it as a young teen and still remembered it fondly, and I was more than pleased to find the entire trilogy re-released as a single volume for the low, low price of only $9.99! It was 732 pages of pure, sentimental, non-sensical, sensationalist, stereotypical, paranormal teen romance fluff. I could shorten it to saying pure crap, but it was far too enjoyable for that (though with all the inconsistencies, plot holes and OOC moments I expect!). I've now started on Conrad's Fate, part of Diana Wynne Jones' Crestomanci series. I loved the first two, and this is proving fun as well, Over 100 pages in!

Distraction 4, as always, is the internet. Ah, the internet! Full of Cake Wrecks and and and blogs, blogs blogs! Oh, and CNN if I feel the need to be depressed. I've been using this distraction to purchase new (to me) cloth diapers for Ambrose. I'd say that's distraction #5 given all the attention it's been receiving, but that would be admitting to an addiction right there and we can't have that, now can we? (though if anyone reading this lives in the triangle region and would like to join my new Cloth Diapering group on Facebook, drop me an email :) )

Outside of distractions you get my kids. Right now it's between the end of preschool and the beginning of summer camp. So the Hell Zone kinda. Last week was fun and new and adventurous, but as much as we love each other (and we really do!) Paxton and I have grown a little sick of each other by now. Was there really a time I thought I'd be able to homeschool this boy???

We've been going places, storytimes, playdates, the farm, etc. I'm trying to look at it as a vacation for both of us. Not sure that will work in the long run... I think I'm starting to hit survival mode, and so is he. We're better in small doses around each other (as in, not the full day week after week).

That being said, here's my little update on both my kids from the past few weeks.



He's easy to talk about given how tiny he is and how much he changes even day to day.

He's mastered sitting up, though he'll throw his body backwards if you touch the back of his neck. Wiping off sweat is fuuuuun lemme tell ya!

He doesn't want to eat in the Bumbo anymore. Now he's all about being held while eating. He's so not cool with his flesh ever not being in contact with our own! His favorite meal is 2 oz of thawed EBM + a couple scoops of apple sauce + some cinnamon + an oz or two of oatmeal cereal. Makes a nice, creamy apple cinnamon oatmeal that still tastes like mommy's milk but fills him up more. I like to give it to him at night in an attempt to get more sleep (hahahahahaha! As if!)

He's started to scoot on the floor but is still so pissed about being put down, like, ever that he doesn't do it that frequently.

He does say "mom" and "dada/daddy/dad" I've heard "mommy" a few times, when he's really upset. If he's happy I'm "hey you!"



My big nutty boy has been seriously processing loss recently. Suddenly all of his various losses and fears, no matter the size or importance, are running together into some very interesting stories about "baby Paxton." For example, he lived on the Island of Sodor with his preschool director as his first mother (he misses preschool), his old neighbor friend from down the block (she moved) as his constant playmate, and there were monsters in the woods and old scary engines trying to chase him. Lots of chasing. He's always had a thing about being chased (usually loves it). Nik and I, with Ambrose on my back, were waiting for him, sad and lonely, on top of a tall tower (like the tall building where we picked up Ambrose?) and he flew his airplane up there and landed beside us.

His stories change every time, and I try not to interject too much, mostly asking questions or saying things like "oh, I thought such and such happened... no? Okay." It strikes me as the time he went through a phase of looking for the mommy to everything (mommy rock for a little rock he found, mommy flag for a construction flag, etc). I swear Paxton is his own best therapist!

If that's the case, too, I expect that when he comes out the other side of this new narrative building he'll feel even more secure. He's changed so, so, SO much in the past several months, become much calmer and more vocal, plays so much better with other children, listens so easily. And now that we know about the SPD I NOTICE when he's off. Like, it's not just that I can tell something's off, I know what's off, likely why it's off, how I might be able to help fix it or tone it down, and most importantly that he cannot control it by will. That last bit is the hardest part to remember, but also the one I really need to keep in mind. He's trying, so hard, to be a perfect little boy for us. He really, truly is. He's insightful and caring and worries so much about our needs and expectations that he fights himself and his own urges to please us and often we take it for granted since he'll still be acting up... we're working on it. We've all gotten better these past few months. And we can only get better from here, right? :)


Adoption #3 is still kinda up in the air. We submitted a ton of paperwork to our HS agency, finally applied to the placing agency last week, and are still waiting for a USCIS fingerprint date. We're laid back about it this time though... We do want it to happen, but if there are snags and it takes awhile? Eh, that's fine :) We're hoping to go active around our 5th anniversary in mid October, but we'll see! Truthfully I can't wait to buy baby girl clothes, but in the meantime I have two darling little boys filling up my time :)

Fingers crossed that this time, like the last two times, it works out like it's supposed to. I wonder where our family will be a year from now... :-D