Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend... We're Comin' Along

It's been a fun last couple of days at the Gates Home.

The latest play-fad is going "grocery shopping" in the pantry. The kids get all of the food off of the shelves (they can reach) and bring them out into the middle of the kitchen floor. Lincoln then brings out the blender and they "make a smoothie" by putting as many ingredients into the blender and "pouring" the rest of the ingredients through the opening in the lid.

Henry was an absolute all-star at church yesterday. Jenn and I knew that we'd have to start leaving him in the kids class with Lydia when our ABF kicks off again, so we decided that September 2 would be our trial run. Henry walked in the door (having seen the toys first) and followed Lydia to the middle of the room. He looked back once, but the teachers were really calm and patient with him, so he was really cool about it. Jenn and I had our first whole church experience without crying interruptions or chasing kids around the atrium since early May. When I went to get Henry and Lydia, I received the report that Henry hadn't cried at all and played very well with the other kids.

Now here's the thing about that... This past Wednesday I took Henry and Lincoln for haircuts, and it was Henry's second since coming home. After being a really good, calm boy the first time around, he was an absolute train-wreck the second time. Something about actually knowing what to anticipate. So the real test will be next Sunday, but we've got a whole 'nother week to pray about that!
Lincoln and I made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies yesterday and put them in the oven today. Lydia even helped a little bit, but when over half of the chocolate chips that she was supposed to put in the mixer ended up on the floor, her time of helpfulness was over. Honestly, Lincoln was really good about this. The dough had gotten pretty firm in the refrigerator overnight, but he scooped over 40 cookies by himself, steadying the bowl and filling the scoop each time all by himself.
I've alluded to the fact that the last couple of months have had their difficulties. (New to the blog and interested in filtering out all of the other stuff so you can just see our adoption journey? click here.) Henry has adjusted well, but when it has come to dealing with his emerging toddler issues, the stuggles of attatching to him, his lack of communication ability, the pairing of toddler issues that come along with Lydia, and the overall ordeal of having 3 young kids in the house, we've had some tough, even dark times. But things are looking up, and there are a number of reasons for this. First of all, at no time along the way has our relationship with the LORD or with each other been comprimised.

Secondly, our times with Dr. DeGeorge at Oak Adoptive Health have been helpful for re-enforcing some positives and making clear that there are neurochemical reasons for our stresses.

Thirdly, Jenn and I have intentionally taken some time to see how far things really have come over the last three months. The before-and-after photos are very helpful.

Fourthly, when we learn of some of the struggles that other adoptive families have had, we see that in many areas, we don't have those degrees of struggles. To be clear, even if someone has greater issues than we have, that doesn't mean that ours are not difficult or that they aren't significant within our home. But we are soooooo thankful that Henry sleeps through the night, that he naps reliably, that he doesn't have anger issues and that he doesn't have possession issues. And he's slowly making progress on the communication front. Seeing that there has been progress on this front is encouraging.

Also helpful are the times we revisit CCAI's website to look at the current group of Waiting Children. The need is so great, both in terms of numbers of kids and in individual terms. Looking at the stories of these boys and girls is sobering... and to think that at one point in time there was a page just like these for Henry, with a description of what little history he had as well as his physical limitations. When I read some of the stories of the boys and girls I think to myself, "Who is going to adopt these kids?" And my next thought is, how many people looked at Henry's page and said to themselves, "Who's going to adopt this little boy?" Well, we did, and he's growing up into a neat little boy! And that's just it, these kids need loving families, and they can thrive and overcome what life has dealt them if they are simply provided a loving family.

Are things now going to be all lollipops and roses going forward? Ha! Fat chance. The main reason I share the above is for prospective adoptive families to get a small glimpse into the world of a current adoptive family that wasn't all smooth sailing from the start. If you're thinking about adoption and you'd like to learn more details than I've even shared here, don't hesitate to contact us. You deserve to have as much information prior to your big day as possible.

And as Jenn and I were reflecting on these things today during lunch (after we told the kids to go entertain themselves!), we actually talked about adopting another. We're crazy. We know.

But in all seriousness, despite the difficulties, the feelings of guilt that have emerged from time to time along the way, and all of the chaos, we still believe we are acting within God's plan for our family, so who knows what will come.

Now moving on from Adoption stuff and back to Gates Family stuff. We were outside the other day, I was power washing the house and Jenn and the kids were washing the car, and Lydia decided to clean her guns. Our first thought was, "Grandpa Doug and Uncle Jeremy would be proud!"
Bath time has been a hoot lately when, after getting all of the kids out of the tub and semi-dried off in their animal towels, they all run off toghether the room-of-their-choice-at-the-moment.
This past Saturday was the 9th installment of the Lauren & Logan Birthday Party. Our kids ate like horses and enjoyed themselves amidst the excitement.
Lincoln has been quite the photographer lately! He likes to carry the camera around and snap pictures, and I've tried to make it easier on him by not giving him a zoom lens (one more thing for him to have to do with his hands) and by letting him choose whether or not he wants the flash. It's neat because when he's taking photos of Lydia or Henry, their behavior is just different compared with when I'm holding the camera. And, his vantage point is also different from mine, so he/we get some different shots. Here's a sampling...

And when the kids are asleep, Jenn either takes a power walk or goes out to the swing set to relax.
Lincoln starts preschool tomorrow!!!!!

No comments: