Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

Thanks for the Clarification January 5, 2013

Filed under: adoption thoughts,everyday life,Matthew — Elizabeth @ 9:49 AM

This morning, Matthew sat down at the dining room table to write some letters.  This, in itself, is amazing because up until this week, he hasn’t had the confidence to try and sound out words on his own.  He found a formula that he was comfortable with and stuck with it.

“Daddy u r my best daddy”

“Isaac u r my best Isaac”

“Mommy u r my best mommy”January 2013 293

Isaac pointed out to him that I was his only mommy.  But I stopped him.

Actually, Matthew has 3 mommies.  Can you tell me about them, Matthew?

You could see a light bulb go on in his head.

Omma?  And tummy mommy?

That’s right!

And just like that, he sat down to write a new letter:

January 2013 294

Way to keep me in my place.

 

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The Story November 9, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,and that's how I feel about that,faith,Matthew — Elizabeth @ 9:24 AM

I’m not embarrassed to admit that as a Christian, I still struggle with understanding things–great big theological things and even some day-to day issues.  I still have a lot of “whys” and I think that is okay.  I don’t necessarily need the answers myself, because that is basically the definition of faith, believing even when you don’t understand.  Most of the time it is enough for me to know that I may not ever know the answers during my time on earth.  That is fine for me.  But it is harder when other people question me….like people who are not Christians, who want me to have the right answers.  Or when I need to explain things to my children.

Adoption is one of these issues for me.  Adoption is wonderful–it sets the lonely in families.  I know so many beautiful families formed by adoption.  But I hate that it has to exist.  I hate it.  I don’t know how to answer these questions, of why.  I don’t like the neat little stories, tied with bows, told to children, that end with “you were made for our family”.  I just don’t believe that.  And yet, in the same breath, as a Christian, I do believe that God always knew that Matthew would end up in our family–that we would raise him.  This was written since the beginning of time.  But God didn’t make Matthew for us.  I’ve never been able to get on that train.

Yesterday, I sat down and downloaded a few songs I have been wanting on my ipod.  One of them was “The Story” by Brandi Carlile, a song I have always liked, but I’ve never really had time to listen to the lyrics.  I played it over and over again and began to learn the lyrics and sing along.

You see the smile that’s on my mouth
It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed
They don’t know my head is a mess
No, they don’t know who I really am
And they don’t know what
I’ve been through like you do
And I was made for you…

And I started to cry as I finally came to a place where I could make a little more sense out of our story….out of adoption.  Matthew wasn’t made for us, or for me.  But Jason and Isaac and I?  We were made for Matthew.  When Plan A fell through for Matthew, we were here, and God had prepared this family to be exactly what it needed to be.

Jason, so kind and with a seemingly never-ending well of patience.

Isaac, so loving and empathetic.  So willing to take Matthew’s hand and be his buffer to the outside world.

And me, so structured and stubborn.  God knew Matthew was going to need the routine, the traditions, my unwillingness to give up or give in.

I think I understand now.  Maybe not perfectly, but just a little better.

Thanks, Brandi.

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true…I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby, I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do
I was made for you

You see the smile that’s on my mouth
It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed
They don’t know my head is a mess
No, they don’t know who I really am
And they don’t know what
I’ve been through like you do
And I was made for you…

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true…I was made for you

Brandi Carlile “The Story”

 

Even October 13, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,Matthew — Elizabeth @ 8:48 AM

I really hate to say this.  I do.  But I think that in the end The Great Loveseat Coloring Incident actually ended up being a good thing.  In a way, I think it is something that Matthew has been waiting to do since he met me.

(I’m about to get all psychological here.  Y’all bear with me.)

I truly believe that Matthew has been testing us (and me, in particular) since he joined our family.  And who could blame him?  At 2.5 he had dealt with a lot of broken attachments (many of which he can’t physically remember, but I know they are there, tattooed on his soul somehow) and then, for reasons he still doesn’t completely understand, he was removed from his foster family to join us.  There is still a part of him that believes that he did something wrong to cause this.  And from day one, I think, a part of him has been wondering what it is going to take for me to leave.  Or for me to say, you know this kid is just too much.  I’m done.

We tell him “forever” all the time, but I don’t know that he really, really believes it.

So when he colored the loveseat, I think this was it.  He had finally worked up the nerve to do the absolute worst thing he could think of.  And I have to give him mad props here–it was very personal and hurtful.

He must have been terrified, waiting to see what I would do.  And then…..we all ate dinner together.  And he still got a kiss goodnight.  The next day, our family took a walk in a park and went on a picnic.  The world did not end.  His punishments were doled out and the incident was forgotten.  How anti-climactic.

Shortly after the incident, he and I were playing Wii bowling together.  He is really good at it (he’s even bowled a perfect game before), so I definitely try my hardest.  This particular time, I beat him by one point.  Matthew is traditionally not a very good loser.  He usually cries.

But this time, when the game was over I gave him a high five and told him what a great game he played.  He was on the verge of tears, but he stopped and said, “You love me?  Even when I lose?”.

Yes, child.

Even when you lose.

Even when you claim not to love me.

Even when you color on a brand new piece of furniture.  Out of spite.

Even when anything.

No matter what and forever.

I vow to show you this everyday, not just with my words, but with my actions.

Until the only thing etched on your soul is “forever”.

 

Protected: Realization September 29, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,special needs,the adjustment — Elizabeth @ 8:54 PM

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Sometimes I Wish it Had a Name May 9, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,Matthew,special needs — Elizabeth @ 9:21 AM

Last Thursday was Kindergarten Kickoff at the boys’ new school.  It was a time for the kids to have a little while to explore their new school and for the parents to get informed about everything we need to know.

We were excited about it for many reasons, but mostly because we were going to meet Matthew’s friend.  THE friend.

You see, after 2 years of preschool, Matthew has identified one child as Friend.  His name is Sam, and Matthew talks about him with a smile on his face.  Matthew plays with Sam and if Sam isn’t at school, Matthew plays alone (this is his choice).

Actually, there are many kids who would like to be Matthew’s friend, and perhaps he is friendly with them at school.  I’m not really privy to what goes on there.  But I can tell you this–we have run into kids from Matthew’s school out in the real world….at parks, at stores, at the doctor’s office.  And the same thing happens every time.  Their face lights up, they say, “Hi Matthew!” and he immediately says “NO” and walks away.  Matthew consistently denies even knowing them and then leaves me standing there trying to smooth things over with a confused child.

So we were overjoyed to find out that out of every single child in Matthew’s preschool, there was only one going to the same elementary school as our boys.  And it was Sam.  Better yet, Sam’s mother is part of the instructional support staff at this school and she has recommended that Matthew and Sam be in the same class to help ease their transition into kindergarten.

We were going to meet Sam and his mom at kindergarten kickoff and for 2 days when we talked about it, Matthew would say, “we see MY FRIEND there.”  He was so excited.

When we got there, we scanned the crowded lunchroom and Matthew identified his friend, and then he did what I had hoped against hope wouldn’t happen.  He cried, he refused to look at or speak to his friend, he wouldn’t sit at a table with him.  All the kids were supposed to get nametags and have their picture taken.  When Matthew realized that they needed a picture of him with nametag clearly displayed, he crumpled up the nametag on his shirt, shoved the whole thing in his mouth and hid his face.  It would have almost been funny if the situation was different.

I was so disappointed.  Sam was disappointed.  Isaac was disappointed (and I’m sure annoyed, because most of the important occasions like this take this sort of stressful turn.  One day in another post, I will have to write about how my heart breaks for Isaac in situations like these).

Sam’s mom came to talk to me and asked me what it was that Matthew had been receiving services for (she was aware that he had “graduated” from the special ed program).  My answer was speech, but the glaring elephant in the room was that there are serious issues going on here, and speech is basically the least of our concerns.

But I have no name for this.

My son is socially and emotionally crippled in a lot of ways.  But he is not autistic.  He is not “on the spectrum”.

My son has some sensory issues.  But he does not have a sensory disorder.

My son has some attachment problems, but he does not have reactive attachment disorder (and yes, I am thankful for this).

And I don’t wish these diagnoses on him, I don’t.  But sometimes I think it would be easier if I had something like this to fall back on.  Some explanation of his behavior.  And I also know that I don’t owe anyone an explanation of his behavior, but it is hard to see these searching looks from people, wondering what is wrong.  And maybe if there was a diagnosis, it would make me feel a little better at night as I lay in bed thinking about all of it, worrying if he will every really have friends.  Because I know that soon, no kids are going to want to put up with that kind of reaction from him.  I can’t blame them.

My son has special needs.  Glaring special needs that don’t really have a name, and that is harder than a diagnosis, I think.  Because when they don’t have a name, there is also no clear treatment.

And that is hard.

After kindergarten kickoff, as we walked to the car, Matthew looked around expectantly and asked, “where’s my friend?”.

“Matthew, we saw your friend, and you wouldn’t talk to him.  He talked to you and you wouldn’t even look at him.  Kindergarten kickoff is over now.”

“Oh,” he said as his smile disappeared.

We climbed into the van and buckled up.

“Matthew, why didn’t you talk to your friend?  He likes you and it made him sad when you wouldn’t talk to him.”

His face clouded over as he looked out the window and whispered, “I don’t know”.

 

 

Whatnot Wednesday April 18, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,whatnot — Elizabeth @ 12:46 PM
  • Is it bad that I’m too lazy to even put my Whatnot Wednesday picture on top of this post?  Yes?  Whatever.  Picture a neti pot.  Now picture me pouring water into my nose.  Now picture all of this text falling out the other nostril…….So let’s do this.
  • “The New Adventures of Old Christine” is absolutely hysterical.  I catch the reruns on Lifetime sometimes, but then I ordered some of the seasons on Netflix.  Seriously.  Very, very funny.
  • Let me talk to you about spaghetti squash au gratin.  You know what?  Just make it.  You can thank me later.
  • My veggie garden is coming along nicely, but there is some kind of varmint that keeps bothering my spinach plants.  I thought it was squirrels, but this morning, it was definitely a cat.  I know for sure because it dropped a deuce right there in the middle of my spinach.  I don’t know if cat poo has the same kind of fertilizing properties as manure, but I removed it hastily.  Cause that’s just gross.
  • The other day at the grocery store, we ran into a set of twins that take karate with Isaac.  Matthew is always there at class, so the twins know him, but they don’t interact much with him because he doesn’t take the class.  So we stopped to talk to them and their mom at the store, and the twins immediately started to ask me questions about Matthew.  You can tell they have probably been asking their mom about him and that she explained to them that he was adopted.  Their curiosity and interest was very sweet and it is the first time that kids have asked so many questions.  They wanted to know if Matthew was always his name and how old he was when he joined our family and if Isaac went with us to Korea.  Their questions were all innocent and didn’t cross any privacy lines, but I think their mom was nervous that I would be offended (I wasn’t at all!).  I answered all of the questions, but Matthew totally zoned out of the conversation, and I am really ready to sit down with both boys this summer and do the W.I.S.E Up Powerbook.  It is Matthew’s story and he should be the one to decide how he wants these questions (the innocent ones and the harder ones that are bound to come up as well) answered.  Isaac needs to go through it as well because, for better or worse, he tends to do a lot of Matthew’s talking for him.
  • Speaking of Isaac and adoption talk, he brought up adoption the other day.  I can’t even remember what we were talking about, but I asked him if adoption was always a happy thing.  He said, “no, it is happy because you are a part of a family, but it is also sad because that means you lost another family”.  I was so proud that he already recognizes this!
  • I’m making date sugar right now.  Well, I was trying to make it yesterday, but after I baked and dried out the dates, my food processor spazzed out when I tried to pulverize them.  Everything I read made it sound like this was gonna be easy.  But instead, I have one ziploc bag with perfectly powdered dates, one with rocky powder and whole rock-hard dates.  My counters and floors are sticky from date dust and last night, I blew my nose and everything that came out was brown.  Being healthy is, like, hard.
  • I’m back on coffee.  I realized I still don’t want hot coffee, but I’ve been drinking a lot of iced coffee.  I make a pot of coffee twice as strong as usual, then refrigerate it.  Then I prepare it with half and half, a little bit of organic sugar and a drop or so of almond extract.  Yum.  The perfect iced almond latte.
  • So coffee is back, but meat and gluten are gone from my diet.  Gluten is gone for good–it is definitely the source of my headaches!!  I even got a headache after eating the communion wafer at Easter!
  • Matthew calls artificial colors “fishy fishy colors”.  Which is kind of right.
  • One of the ladies in my water aerobics class did the sweetest thing for me last week.  She bought me a thank you card and wrote me such a nice note, thanking me for being so encouraging to her.  She included a gift card to my favorite grocery store!  That really made my week.  I always say that God puts the most awesome people in my classes.  I love my job!
  • I just read a book called “Divergent“.  It was for a book club that I recently joined.  It is kind of Hunger Games-esque.  You know–strong teen girl, dytopian society, romance.  I thought it was just okay though.
  • Tomorrow, we have kindergarten registration for both boys!  I’m not really ready to talk about it.  Not because I’m sad–I’m really not.  Mostly because all anybody ever says to me is “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO???” like I suddenly have to have a grand new plan for my life.  And mostly, I’m just ready to take a deep breath and make myself a hot breakfast.
  • That’s all for now.  I think I have more to say, but I’d rather just watch “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and drink an almond latte.
 

Protected: I Pay for Therapy. Why Should you Have to? March 31, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,free therapy — Elizabeth @ 9:15 AM

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