How Are We? (Adoption Update)

I still can't believe that we've been home with Caleb for almost two months. The process that took almost a year is already beginning to seem like a distant memory.

We are doing well...now. The first few weeks were difficult, really challenging. Due to orphanage life, Caleb was nine months going on about three months, and it was a bit of an adjustment for us. In reading and researching about adoption, we were prepared for this...it is quite normal for institutionalized kids to have some issues adapting to family life...but being prepared doesn't make the process any easier while in the midst of the experience. At first, Caleb wasn't on any solid food nor did he have a regular sleep schedule. He was also extremely fearful and he wanted to be held constantly (understandably so). At the same time, we were dealing with ferocious jet lag, kids who were slightly off from mom and dad being gone for so long, and a 5-year old experiencing night terrors. It was a pretty challenging month and a half.

Looking back on those first few weeks, it all seems a bit blurry now. It felt very much like having a newborn...the lack of sleep, attempting to establish a daily schedule, being tethered to an infant, trying to learn his different cries and needs, plus the keeping up with three other kids and the logistics of their very busy lives. We were exhausted...physically and emotionally. Maybe it was because I'm less tolerant of sleep deprivation now or because our lives are busier or maybe it was the combination of a long trip and the emotions of adoption, but the fatigue was greater than any I ever remember.

But after about 6 weeks home, Caleb finally starting sleeping through the night...he no longer needed that bottle or two to get him through. What a difference a good night's sleep can make! He is also so much more comfortable with us and more content in his surroundings. He is eating well and we are working on a nap schedule (naps have been a huge hurdle that we still haven't overcome). One of the most difficult aspects of the adjustment, has been walking that narrow line between nurturing him - giving him the cuddling and grace - that he so desperately needs (and deserves)...and beginning to establish the boundaries required to ensure that he has a good understanding of his schedule and how a family works. It is such a fine line...obviously he needs the extra "love," but we must also teach him how to nap, what behavior is expected in a high chair, daily routines, etc. At times, it is difficult to discern where that line lies and I am constantly wrestling. Am I being patient enough? Am I letting him get away with too much? Much of my day seems to be spent wandering back and forth between those two questions.

But now, after two months, we are slowly finding our new "normal." In reality, being the mother of four is vaguely similar to how I'd imagined it would be. It can be exhausting, but it is manageable - as long as I'm willing to lower my expectations....and I'm definitely letting more go these days. The laundry blob is inches from consuming us, my desk is covered with mail and I may never see my kitchen sink again. Things are not as clean or organized as I would prefer them to be and it can feel fairly overwhelming at times. There seems to be so much to do and I feel so far behind some days that I am almost paralyzed...not knowing what to tackle next.

But...if I take a step back...and truly evaluate things apart from by sinful need to be in control...Caleb seems to be settling in nicely and the kids adore him. He is oozing with personality and his smile is infectious. Our house is loud and crazy and wonderful...and I wouldn't change a thing. We have good days and bad days. On the good days, I rejoice in the blessings we have been given and on the bad days, I remind myself that God has walked with us during this journey and He has already carried us through so much of it...why would I even attempt to do it on my own?


Our Family said...

Thank you, Tiffany, for sharing! Caleb is precious and I can see the light in his eyes that wasn't there before. As our wait is getting more unbearable, it is so nice to see Caleb at home with your family. It gives me hope. I'm so glad that you are starting to feel like you are more into a routine these days. I'm praising God for little Caleb today. Hang in there!

Julie said...

I don't know how I missed this post! I guess it didn't show up on my blog roll. Anyway, I'm so glad to hear that things are settling down. It is helpful to hear how the first month/two goes typically. This reminds me of the first 6-8 weeks with a newborn. I guess it is similar, even if the baby is a bit older. ;) Thanks for sharing, and I'm so glad things seem to be settling down.

Anonymous said...

My name is Shane Robertson and my wife and I are waiting to go pick up our new son from Ethiopia. I came across your blog by accident. (I was actually checking the weather in Shashemene and your blog came up.) We too are using CWA and our child is from Shashemene. I was curious if Caleb was in the CCE orphanage. If so, our son Ayano is there and possible helped take care of Caleb. He is 11 years old and they kept him at CCE because he was good with the younger children. One of his jobs is to hold the babies. We would love to hear from you. You can contact me on Facebook (Shane Robertson) or on my blog http://dojustice4children.blogspot.com/ or just email me at shane@seacoastvineyard.com. Thanks and God bless. I know God is with you as you and your family carry out His love.
Shane Robertson
Seacoast Vineyard Church