Sunday, July 17, 2011

how are they doing?

it's the question of the month.
i hear it a LOT.

also, "how are YOU doing?"

it's hard to answer.

"everyone is alive!" i say sometimes.

if i say, "we're good!" or "they're good!" i kind of feel like i'm lying.
but, do people REALLY want me to go into it all? i think not.
i KNOW people care...but this is messy and complicated.
we TRULY are doing {mostly} good.
it's just that "{mostly}" part that is the tough side.

both lincoln and levi are eating SO well.
levi went from only drinking formula in the orphanage...to not liking and then loving baby food...to not liking and then loving table food! he eats almost everything! he is still drinking formula for the extra vitamins and nutrients, but i am slowly cutting a couple out a day. he LOVES his bottle. and i love giving it to him. he doesn't love to be held while given a bottle. that makes me sad. i think he's used to NOT being held...to just holding it himself. sometimes i let him hold it, sometimes i make him let me feed him.

lincoln also eats pretty much everything. except fruit. and it's pretty cool to say we're at the point where i'm CONFIDENT that he understands if he doesn't eat his fruit, he won't get the cookie afterwards {if there is a dessert...not always!} sometimes he makes that choice. and now, when he makes that choice, he handles it SO much better! sawyer often makes that choice, too, so it's not like it's just him! and he sees that.
the whole taking care of their skin/hair thing is a bit tricky. but, we're figuring it out. and they have no idea when we fail, so it's all good. :-)
speaking of failing, i fail them all SO often. i am ashamed to admit how easily i get frustrated...how easily i lose perspective. it is just plain HARD to be a mom to a child that is 4 years old, but has not lived in our house and our rhythm and our rules for that whole time. i'd like to say i always err on the side of grace. but i don't. i do love him. i don't always like what he does - but that's the case with ALL my kids. he has not gotten frustrated ONCE. not ONCE. i would be cowered in a corner, not speaking, by now. he is handling dealing with his crazy mom amazingly well. the wisdom i pray for, the number of questions and decisions i deal with every day, the doubts that run through my mind...it's all just about too much. sometimes i wonder if he wishes he could be back in the orphanage??

i lean on HIM to give me wisdom and grace. and i still screw up sometimes.
sawyer is having the hardest time out of everyone. as we expected. but it's so hard to watch. he hasn't had to share his toys before. and now he does. which is good. but hard to manage all.day.long.

he is younger than lincoln. but more is expected of him than lincoln. the older 3 can understand why the rules aren't exactly the same for lincoln. sawyer doesn't quite "get" that. and it's hard to watch his frustration with that  {he HAS been frustrated! a LOT!} i try to give sawyer lots of extra hugs and kisses. but also try to be careful letting lincoln see that. oh, see?? so HARD!
lincoln says more english words everyday. it's pretty cool! the other day he busted out with, "where is my book?" :-) he says:
more
thank you
please
potty
all done
shoes
clothes
no touch :-)
stop it!
eat
book
where is it?
sit
yummy
snack
they love baths. they love playing outside. levi doesn't like the grass. they love the pool. they both have THE best smiles!
this past week, when i put lincoln down for rest time, i read (i use that term loosely - just pointing out objects and naming them) him a book in his bed. by the end of the week, he could lay there and stay engaged the whole time. and got so excited when i said to pick his book for rest time! {i did the same with sawyer. i think it was a GREAT thing for each of them...}
this will be my crew come september :-) 3 sweet boys.
but i am LOVING having the older ones home right now!
i hope to be a little more creative and intentional with spending some good time with them the next few weeks. they have handled this huge transition so well. i am very proud of them.

and the reactions from all their friends has been so amazing and encouraging for me to watch! all their friends have embraced lincoln and levi...brought them little gifts...LOVE seeing them around.
this past friday afternoon, at 4 pm, someone knocks on the door. i was in the middle of getting all the stuff ready for a lemonade stand the older kids wanted to have. it was a sweet friend that i had planned on coming over. and totally forgot! ugh. not the first time i did something like that...and i'm sure not the last. if you make plans with me, you might want to remind me the day before :-)

she was gracious with me. and her kids jumped right into the lemonade stand!
it was a beautiful afternoon! lots of customers. i'm sure lincoln thinks we're CRAZY!

he liked his first rice krispie treat. i wasn't planning on him having one. but he grabbed it...
we don't worry about "bonding" with them. we feel totally confident that they both know WE are their mom and dad. they miss pat when he's gone. levi lets rebekah and a couple others hold him, but i am the one he's MOST comfortable with. this is big. it's great that they love us and look to us to take care of them. the time together in africa built and grew that....

14 comments:

Holly said...

great post.

wow.

the first thing that came to mind was: 'good hard'

and I LOVE all Lincoln's words!

you're doing great Courtney.
you really are.

andrea said...

I love your honesty...you are doing an amazing thing and something the majority of people can't and won't do. You are a wonderful Mom to ALL of your kids. :)

Laurel Feierbach said...

Love the bathtime pictures! It WILL get easier. You've probably heard that a lot, but it will. Honestly, for us it took a year to get easier, but hey, we made it! Praying for you all!

Maggie said...

Can I point out how much in awe of your daily, picture filled blogging I am, let alone the intentional, thought filled parenting witnessed through said regular blogging? Kinda epic.

Kim said...

i love this post. and they do have great smiles. and great eyes! and we are praying for you.

Maggie said...

I forgot to mention to check out www.naturallycurly.com for great advice on taking care of their hair. There is even a forum for parents of curly haired kids, and advice specific to hair types.

Laura said...

My stomach hurts just thinking about it all!!

Melissa said...

((hugs)), it is so hard and it's hard to explain to people, they often have this idea that its simple, the kids come, you love them it all fits together....and it's not that easy!! (((hugs)))

Katy said...

I love hearing alll these nuggets on how you are all adjusting. The pics of the boys in the tub are so cute! I know it is hard for all. Especially sawyer. He was also coming off of 3 weeks of undivided attention from the grandparents. I really think he and Lincoln are going to be total neat friends and love being so close in age. But its got to be extremwly hard right now. So rhankful that God's grace is way bigger than my failures Nd screw UPS!

Leighann said...

i love you. and i love the pic of levi with rice krispie treats on his face. priceless.

Renee said...

You're doing so great keeping up the blog! Seems like your little guys are in a good place. Sora was the same way with the bottle. It was sad at first, but she got more and more used to me holding it. Although, I have to say, I HATED that thing. I never used one with the boys and was NOT used to it. But I let her keep it for quite a long time because it was such a comfort to her. Now she's just as attached to her pink sippy cup and carries it around all of the time :-) You guys are doing great!

Megan said...

my answer to the same question, "how are they doing, how are they adjusting?" is "I have no idea, I have nothing to compare it too."

Mamita J said...

What a beautiful post! You write about the messy transition so well. It is good and it is hard.

Sometimes, really, really hard.

As for Sawyer's perspective...my almost 13 year old still struggles with sharing, forgiveness and grace for her little sister...and it's been three years. The adjustment can be super difficult for the kids who were already home.

By the way, my name is Julie. I can't remember if I introduced myself before. Congratulations on your two sons. :-)

Grace said...

the transition is hard...on everyone. and sometimes, i feel like it never really goes away. i feel like i'll forever be asking, is this normal? or is this adoption? it is a mind-blowing thing to think about how these children's lives have changed and how much loss they have seen and countered in their short lives. but. what an amazing privilege it is to see our children through this and grow together as a family. praying for you!