WOW! I feel like that word doesn't begin to describe this week. First, how can we have had our boy home for a whole week already and at the same time this has been a very long week!! There have been moments that were expected and some that were completely unexpected. In moments of complete exasperation I have quickly forgotten how long we waited for him to be home and just as quickly I have been brought to tears as I wake up to his sleeping little body nestled in to mine. My nerves feel raw and my emotions are up, down and all around. So much of this process has been very hard and this next phase is no different. I hope that I do not sound like I am complaining but this is what plucking a little toddler out of his world and setting him in a completely different one looks and feels like...
I am reminded of what it is like to have a new born this week, the exhaustion that comes from taking care of one little human being but my "new born" is just new to us he is not a tiny, sleepy baby. He is an opinionated 16 month old with the sleep habits of an infant. He also likes to be carried as if he was a little baby, he does not want to be put down. He needs about as much help as an infant as he is in what I would call "survival mode" and just kind of shuts down at times. On top of not knowing us and not knowing English he does not feel well, at all.
We took him to the doctor in Korea and as I blogged he had a pretty nasty ear infection, we got medication for him but on the plane ride home it leaked. Ok, quick side note, so many have wondered how that long plane ride went and much to our surprise it went absolutely perfect. Our little guy slept 8 hrs and when he wasn't sleeping he was happy and playful. YAY! Anyway, I called our pediatrician last Friday and asked if they could replace the meds and they did without seeing him. I had no idea what he was on since it was in Korean so they called in Amox but by Sunday I could tell that he was not feeling great again. We went in for a general check up on Tuesday and I mentioned a slight cough and low grade fever and pulling at the ears, I was told that he had fluid but that it should clear. By Thursday he had a 101 fever and was so crabby and coughing pretty bad with a constant runny nose. Back into the pediatrician we went and apparently his ear was now very red and bulging and it was determined that he needed a different antibiotic which leads us to this morning when he woke up with a rash covering his face, hands and back. OH MY WORD!!! In case you've lost track that is three times in four days. I'm certain after this week we are very close to meeting our deductible... They told me, when I took him back in, that he did not have foot and mouth nor did it resemble an allergic reaction but rather some form of virus that is coming out through his skin. We were told that bronchitis and rashes were very common with international adoption as these kids go through so much and their little bodies just start to react. I am nervous especially at night as he coughs so hard he gags and his little face is just one big, red mess. He's a sad sight.
Speaking of sad, he is, so sad at times. It makes me tear up now just thinking of his little face when he grieves. He gets his big bottom lip out and shuts his eyes tight, almost as if he squeezes hard enough that his surroundings will be different when he opens them. His tears come quickly and often and are big and soon his whole little face is wet. It is hard to watch and I don't know how to comfort him. We bounce and sing, sometimes it works and sometimes it does not help at all. He calls for Oma often especially when he is upset, it is hard to know who exactly he is wanting when he cries for Oma as he is directing his attention towards me when calling out. When he is not upset I repeat "MAMA" over and over while pointing at myself. He has started to try and say it but his instinct is to say Oma. He is starting to mix the two and it is very cute, when looking for me if I am out of eyesight he will say Omamama. Makes me chuckle, poor little guy is trying.
We are all trying and sometimes we get it just right and he smiles and giggles but a lot of times we don't get what he wants and he throws himself on the ground and cries his heart out. He has no problem letting us know when we don't do things the way he wants it done and he very much wants things his way a lot. Greyson is trying so hard too. He is eager to please him and just wants him to be happy. I was very unsure of how things would go between the two boys. Greyson is a typical first born and is always trying to do the right thing and can be a tattle tale at times and quickly points out when others are doing what they aren't supposed to be, so I worried I would be annoyed by Greyson telling me all the things Charlie was doing wrong all day. It has been the opposite, he runs and gets stuffed animals to help the tears, he is quick to comfort and try to get him to laugh and just last night as I was visibly overwhelmed with more crying and coughing and trying to get Charlie out of the bath in one piece, I came out to the kitchen to find the table cleared and my decorative dishtowel shoved back on the oven, the table wiped, well everything that was on it was "wiped" onto the floor... I looked with bewilderment at Greyson and said " Did dad come home?" He said "No mom, you looked like you needed help so I cleaned the kitchen for you." Be still my heart, how blessed I am! And that would be why we are at the ice cream shop tonight and Greyson got whatever he wanted. I am so humbled by his sweet spirit and willing attitude and it has truly helped me this week.
So I think I have portrayed some of the realities of adoption.This is hard and physically exhausting. Even now as I write this blog, Charlie has woken up twice with bouts of coughing and crying, he has only been in bed for 2 hours. We are gearing ourselves up for another night of lots of crying and sleeplessness. If we get more than 3-4 hours that would be wonderful. Honestly, I feel like I knew the idea of this little boy much better than I actually know this little boy. If that even makes any sense. We have learned that he loves to be outside and so weather permitting we have taken a lot of walks and that is when he seems happiest.
Through it all though I am reminded of God's faithfulness and that He is seeing all of this and He is present during the sobbing, fits, anger, pain and joy. He will not leave us as we try to love Charlie the best way possible and He will not leave Charlie as he learns to trust and love us. It amazes me that when the moment is so tough a certain verse runs rapid though my mind and I take 5 deep breaths, keep going and how when we sing praise songs while comforting Charlie we can see a marked difference and he begins to calm down. I remind myself daily that this too shall pass and that in the smiles we do get from him I know that : He who calls you is Faithful, He will surely do it.
Today, with a barky cough, runny nose and rash covered body Charlie seemed happy. He woke up and smiled at me, he let me put him down numerous times today and I only saw 2 fits of frustration. He played earnestly with Ron and Greyson after dinner and laughed a lot. Looking at the long run and keeping myself positive I know that soon we will have found a rhythm and I so grateful that this Mothers Day both my arms will be full. I think that for a little boy who really does not feel great, not sleeping well and is scared that today was remarkable in that after only week we saw some of his true personality and that makes this all worth it!
These pictures don't display this week well, in fact they look to prove me a liar BUT the few times he has smiled I have been quick to grab it on camera, so here are a few shots of what gets us through the rough stuff: