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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Busy Girl


Allyse: "Mommy, I can't sleep." (Something I hear almost nightly.)


Me: " Well honey, sleep takes time and it can't be rushed. The longer we stay still the sooner it will happen."


Allyse: " I CAN'T sleep!"


Me: "Why do you think that is honey?"


Allyse: "It's like there's something going on in my body."


Me: "What's going on in your body?"


Allyse: "It's like a party is going on in there!"

Operation Chubby Buns



I believe I briefly mentioned somewhere that Jonas hadn't gained any weight since gaining 3 pounds in a week when we brought him home. While the doctor seemed nonchalant about this issue face to face he proceeded to mark my boy as failure to thrive in his medical records. This will not do, friends! Oh, this will not do at all!!! Operation Chubby Buns has begun and will be in effect until my son packs on some pounds. I want to be able to count the rings on his arms and thighs, I want his gut spilling over the top of his diaper, and his chin to touch his collar bone if you know what I mean. hahahaha

We've been giving Jonas as much food as his little body can stand (which is a remarkably large amount) without him becoming over stuffed. The average daily amount of Whole Milk our pediatrician recommends kids Jonas' age have is 20 oz. We're giving Jonas 24oz AND we're giving him a pediatric nutritional drink daily as well. I already notice a new fullness in his cheeks. Unfortunately, though, Jonas has a stomach bug today. He's had multiple diaper blowouts and his appetite is decreased. I hope this doesn't throw the progress we've been making toward chubby buns off track. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another Check



I've been meaning to do this for months but it has slowly made its way to the bottom of the pile of To Do lists I've been making. Today I happily mark this one "finished" as I have finally written my Congressman and Senators urging them to keep the Adoption Tax Credit alive. I would love for everyone reading this to do the same (sometime this year, it doesn't have to be today :-) hahaha) Even if you are not an adoptive parent would you consider taking a moment to voice your desire to see the credit remain? It truly is a huge help for adoptive families.

You can help raise awareness by adding the widget (see right side bar) to your blogs as well.

I always get really nervous about composing letters to elected officials and I prefer someone to have a sample to get me started so I am posting my letter for your reference, in case you're like me and you take comfort in that kind of thing. If you don't have letter writing anxiety feel free to go on with your bold self and write off the cuff.

Dear _____________

I am writing to urge that you not allow the Federal
Adoption Tax Credit to
expire in December of 2010. As a family with three
biological children
and one adopted child we relied on the tax credit to
help us adopt. Without the
benefit of the Tax Credit the fees associated
with our adoption would have made
the financial impediment much more
difficult for our family to hurdle.

We believe adoption is a blessed and
wonderful way to build a family and that it benefits our society. In our efforts
to raise awareness about
the many benefits of adoption we find that speaking
about the Tax Credit has always been a positive incentive for perspective
adoptive families first discovering their
options. We have had the
opportunity to meet many people who thought adoption
would be financially
out of reach for them only to find it was possible through
the aid of the
Adoption Tax Credit.

Please do whatever you can to ensure that the Tax
Credit permanently remains as a financial support for adoptive families. The
Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213 would keep the door open for
children to come in to their forever families.

Many Blessings,

_______________________

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Turning a Corner



I've heard many people talk about how clearing the three month mark meant a huge change in they way their adopted children related to them. I didn't think it was going to happen for us but I am happy to say that something has broken in Jonas' resistance to attaching to us. It happened about 2 days before the social worker came for our 3 month post placement visit. Ever since that time we've had really "good" days.

Jonas' "bad days" would be marked by his waking in the morning crying hysterically. I would go and get him out of his crib and bring him into my warm bed to snuggle and hold for a while. Usually he wouldn't stop crying until I sat him down for breakfast. From there the typical bad day would consist of his crying, fussing, and generally being restless off and on throughout the day with much difficulty being comforted.

I realized things were getting better when it occurred to me that he hadn't scratched my arms or hit my back while holding him for at least a couple of days. He became more calm and better able to settle into my embrace. I wasn't having to work so hard for eye contact. Most of all I realized that we were enjoying each other's company.

The other day at the park my friend Kim was amazed to see the difference in Jonas. Once again having her take notice of things helped me to connect the dots.

In the last three days or so I've noticed Jonas looking over at me and smiling. When I sit near him he'll come over and put his head into my chest or play a game with me. He's more apt to give out hugs to me and his daddy. When I hold him at bedtime he'll curl an arm over my shoulder and bury his face into the crook between my neck and shoulder. I hear sighs of comfort while he pats my back or plays with my hair. It's a totally different experience! He's now got favorite games he likes to play with us. (as I type he's belly laughing at his sister Aurora who is roaring like a lion for him..... and now he just roared back. So cute!) Jonas' days are much less restless and I suspect he's settling into his role as the star of the family, enjoying play time with his siblings.

I think Jonas had much grief/shock surrounding his home-coming and during the time he worked to process everything he needed to have a stable place to vent those emotions. It's not that he was resistant to attachment overall but that he couldn't or wouldn't attach while doing his grieving work. I know grieving is a lifelong process for adoptees and new losses come up for them through the years but I think, for Jonas, a large chunk of his grieving happened in those first three months. I believe our persistence and unrelenting affection helped him decide that we were worthy of attaching to once some of that grief was cleared out of his heart.

Jonas, decidedly, still prefers his daddy. Because our relationship is being freshly forged Dustin and I have made the decision that he will be the one to discipline Jonas for quite some time. Whenever possible I will get to be the "good guy". hahahah That's a role I don't usually play in this house.

It's such a blessing to be able to write this kind of post. I wasn't sure we'd be in this place for a very long time. I will say attachment work is not for the faint of heart. It is REAL, soul stretching work. Dishing out heaping helpings of unconditional love on an empty stomach requires much prayer and grace. I definitely made mistakes but I am so thankful the Lord had mercy on us and proved ONCE AGAIN just how faithful He is. It scares me how difficult these last three months have been for me. I think of parents who fight (and fight and fight) for years to break down the barriers with their children only to suffer rejection time and again. I have a new perspective from which I can pray for those parents. If you are reading this I would ask you to take a moment to pray for those families as well. Because, having walked just a block in those shoes I can say definitively that it's NOT easy. And while it's the most difficult and painful kind of work one can do I also believe it's one of the most rewarding experiences a parent can have.

Matthew 25: 31-40
The Sheep and the Goats
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he
will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from
the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed
by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the
creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I
was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited
me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after
me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 "Then the righteous
will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and
give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and
go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for
me.'

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jonas Discovers Sand (a Day at the Park)

" Why are you setting me down.....here?"




"Are you seeing this!?"



" Sooo cool!"







"I bet I could take this and....."




"........."




"Um, Yea. That didn't go like I planned."







The kids and I met up with my friend Kim and her wonderful kids for a fun day at the park. I was able to snap photos of all the kids except Kim's oldest daughter Abby. When I asked her if I could take a photo she politely declined. (Sorry Kim. I tried.)





Rienne and Mason


Judah

Nettie

Rory



Allyse

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Coming Down the Pipeline



I'm working late, completing our 3 month post placement report requirements. I've also begun the readoption paperwork for Jonas this night. It is very important because Jonas came home with an IR-4 visa (Ethiopia is a Non Hague Country). Jonas is a permanent resident at this point. He, obviously, does not have a Social Security Number or a US Birth Certificate, etc. Legally, his name is still Yonas. All that will change with his readoption.

Also, Dustin and I would like to keep our Home Study current for future adoption purposes. (wink, wink) Financially it makes more sense to keep it updated (around $700 with a local HS agency- Not AWAA) than to let it expire and have to completely recertify with the state. So it seems that, truly, the adoption paperwork will never end for us!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Touching


I love highlighting other blogs I enjoy reading here in case others haven't had the opportunity to find them yet. Lysa TerKeurst is an author whose small but powerful book Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed rocked my world a few years ago. I loved her even before I knew she was an adoptive mom.

I always enjoy reading her blog but this post was especially touching to me today.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Site I Dig

This is a new site to me and I REALLY like it. I tried several coupons and they worked.

Check out retailmenot.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3 Month Post Placement


We met with our Social Worker M* today. I enjoyed getting to know her. The visit went smoothly. Mostly she just observed us and we chatted about the adjustments our family has been making. She noted his preference for his daddy right away, though she and I both agreed that it was a positive for Jonas to be so willing to identify and attach with him.

M* reassured us that the decisions we had been making with regard to promoting his attachment to both of us were the right ones. Attachment in adoption requires concentrated work. It can be tiring to keep up such a demanding regime. Hearing positive feedback from someone who is actually educated about the intricacies/challenges/struggles instead of a random person just spouting off their opinion meant a healthy dose of encouragement for me and Dustin. We knew we didn't have anything to prove with her because she already understood where we were coming from. There was no having to explain. It was just a 'this is what we are doing about it' kind of conversation. That was a welcome relief. M* made it clear that she felt very positive about our progress. Even though her job is not to grade us, we felt like we had gotten aces on the big test. It was nice to get a two thumbs up from her.

So, that's it for our three month post placement visit. We'll see M* again in another three months.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Works For Me

You know all those wonderfully helpful blogs out there in the world where people share their insightful tips to help make life easier? Yah! Well I got one of those posts for ya, right here. That's right! I'm branching out here at beBOLDjen. Expounding on my spring cleaning theme I'd like to share my best kept secret for cleaning our windows. I would try to explain it to you but I figured a video tutorial would be more informational.

video

Spring Cleaning

This weekend I did the kind of cleaning one only does when they know a social worker is coming for a visit. (You adoptive parents know exactly what I'm talking about ) It's the kind of cleaning that has me scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush and washing my walls. Not that I wouldn't do these things at some point in the spring anyway. Because, with four kids in the house my walls ought to be washed every month but I do them every six. (yummy!) As we (that's me and the four year old -soon to be five) did our work happily I pondered whether or not this kind of cleaning was a type of deception. Would it constitute as lying? I mean anyone who truly knows me knows my house never looks this clean. They know I'd love for it to always look this clean but, as I've said before and will repeat once again, I want to be a neat freak when I grow up, the only problem is that the Lord has locked me in a home with five unrepentant slobs. (Well, after yesterday's wall washing there's hope* for the four year old.)

My loving husband cleaned up the front & back yards for me this weekend. Upon completion I have to admit that aside from mowing the lawn and blowing leaves much of the stuff that was cluttering up our back patio has just been shifted around in various little piles instead of the big messy pile we had before. In his defence we are remodeling and all our storage is filled with cabinets and other building materials. Leaving no room for items like the wet/dry vacuum, folding chairs, etc. All of which are still hanging out on the patio, causing me to twitch every time I look out the window. I'm hoping I can use diversionary tactics to prevent the Social Worker from looking out into the back yard. I'll let you know how that works out.

I have a story to tell you. I Facebook. And I'm a flake**. The combination isn't always good. You know that little line where you can update your status? Well, famous typo queen that I am, I wrote a little blurb and sent it off into the world without ever spell checking it. The responses came rolling in. Seems I typed "Hubby is building me a powder bathroom sized panty" instead of PANTRY. So, I am now referring to the new pantry as "our big panty". You'll be happy to know that the panty is coming along nicely. It now has a door which can be shut so that the social worker cannot see that the interior remains to be drywalled and textured. Or that Hubby has stored*** all his tools in there.

Any of you who ever plan to stop by for a visit should do it this week, so I can impress you, too, with my clean home. It's now or never people. I'm barely holding it together. It's just gotta last until Wednesday. That's when the Social Worker comes for our three months post placement visit. She's a new social worker. Never met her before. I'll keep you updated about that as well.




*You should have heard me trying to brainwash that child. "Mommy is so happy to have such a great cleaning partner! Do you love to do this with mommy? Isn't it so great to have such a clean house. You are wonderful at this! When you grow up you're going to keep your home nice and clean aren't you?"
** I don't say that to be mean. It's just a fact I've come to accept about myself. It's the way God made me. I assume it has something to do with humility. Something I am forcefed by the fistful on a regular basis.
*** "stored" is code for dumped

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

For The Grandparents

Cake pictures from yesterday.




The sugar buzz hit Jonas HARD (as shown above). He had a glazed over look and appeared to be a little nauseous. Although, as soon as we packed up the rest of the leftover cake he began screaming and crying. I guess he thought he should have been able to eat it all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Jonas

Here's our boy trying to get that sippy to his mouth as fast as possible thus the preparatory face.
Success!!


With his entourage. He's a chick magnet I tell you!

Jonas officially turns one today. Here's a quick list of his accomplishments thus far

- He's a speedy army crawler but hasn't gotten the concept that he can use his knees. It's all upper body strength for this boy

- Feels he's too mature for the bouncer. Once he beefed up his legs muscles he decided he was through with it.

- Has transitioned to a sippy cup and can drink from a straw if in the right mood

- Answers the question "Where's the baby?" with a game of peek-a-boo

- Blows kisses often and likes to give wet, juicy kisses when he's asked for one

- Waves "selam" (hello)

- Talks on his imaginary telephone (hand to ear)

- Gives Eskimo & butterfly kisses

- Pulling up on furniture

- Loves dancing to music

- Says "daddy"