Friday, February 27, 2009

One year ago.....

Our first glimpse of our children.

So, it has been one year since we first laid eyes on our children's faces. I can still remember what a rush of feelings coursed through my body as we viewed their sweet faces on our computer screen.

These two have come SO FAR out of their shells since they first came into our family. And the crazy thing is that we thought they were pretty far out of their shells from the get go. That just means they fit REALLY well in our family, able to be super silly and LOUD.

Jambo is one big snuggle bug. At first, he would allow us to hold him and snuggle with him, but now he snuggles back FULLY, wrapping his arms around us and burrowing his head into our necks. It is so awesome to see how God has allowed this little guy to love us so completely.

Kume was somewhat skiddish at first, and quite tentative and cautious. Those characteristics are rarely seen anymore. Instead, she prefers to boss her brother around, bring him to tears with her relentless teasing, and tattle to anyone who will listen (yes, we are working on this).

February 27 will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

chronological age vs. family age

I was just recommended the VERY good book, Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen, from a wise, always learning adoptive mom, Becca.

I would highly recommend this book.

I have recently slipped into a comfortable place (maybe a bit lazy), not necessarily thinking about things happening in the family as adoption related or not. I wouldn't recommend that you do the same.

One theme that is addressed throughout the book is chronological age of your adopted child, compared with family age, defined as the length of time a child has been in the adoptive family. This has been very eye-opening. I think I sort of naively figured that we were now moving on to just "normal" parenting, not really needing to assess situations with "adoption" lenses. But this concept has helped me recognize that although the twins regularly exhibit some behaviors that are a little annoying, and not incredibly endearing for a 5 yr old, these behaviors are extremely normal in a one yr old. For some reason, this has been truly freeing for me, and has helped me be able to enjoy the constantly trailing behind me around the house, and be open to snuggling with a twin, who clamors up onto my lap the minute I sit down, to lovingly reach down and pick up a twin with arms raised to be held (bonus -- maybe I will have beautifully buff arms for summer), things like that. Of course, I would do that with my one yr old, and would expect him or her to behave that way. The book does an excellent job of teaching us that this is a l.o.n.g process, and that adoption related issues and concerns will be surfacing regularly for years.

I am not ignorant. I read many, many books prior to adopting the twins, so I wasn't uneducated, but sometimes you need to be in the middle of the situation to truly get what you have learned. You know, to have those "Aha" moments. I have had many while reading this. This book came at a time that my brain could connect it well to our current experiences, and I am grateful for that.

Oh, there are massive amounts of good stuff in the book, this is simply the one that resonated the most with me at this time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You can't push the bedsheets

Black Friday 2008, Buttercup and I break our tradition of sleeping in and laughing at those who rise early. 7am mind you (we're not insane), scatter about a few hours searching for the best of deals. Unfortunately, we are not consumers. We almost end up out for breakfast. We end up at Kohl's with a 6 pack of kids Nike socks, not eligible for the $10 coupon that got us there because it was a "door buster". West Michigan is seriously a classic place to visit if you did not know. I heard time and time again desperate mothers pleading with frazzled workers. "Is there ~ANYTHING~ here that this coupon works for... in the $10.01 range?" We toss the socks back on the shelf. No 1/2 hour line for us for a pair of socks.

We set sights for the linens department at JCPenney. 600 count sheets to replace the ripped ones on our bed we had dealt with for almost a year. Lines... but we were determined.

Fast forward... to the frost.

The crisp feeling of clean sheets is joy enough, but new, a virtual oasis of sorts. Smooth and cool, you could almost fall out if you lost your balance. I generally hit the sheets a half hour before the Mrs. The sheets are cooler... and she is like a radiator. I spend enough time setting all the sheets into place. Tug, pull, stretch to assure there is an equitable distribution of blankets. Layers of heat saving warmth for the both of us. ...~> Enters the thief. The room is dark and none are the wiser. Ease the door open then close, brush the teeth, slide in and doze off.

I picture the angels and demons battling each night. Not the real ones. The ones you might see on bugs bunny... "Cling and Roll Woman, Cling and Roll" I picture the sheets receding like a time elapsed photo of mountain snow in the heat of a warm spring day. What was once there is now all but gone. I wake in the fetal position "chilled" my t-shirt all that's left. On the opposing side of the bed a pile of sheets stacking up. There it is, stacked and wrinkled like a herd of Shar-Peis laying at the side of the bed. Buttercup is engulfed in a heap of warmth. Guilt free, asleep.

the strange attempt at a moral (since I promised):
You see, it was never her intention to take more than she needed. Her greater desire is do the right thing. In fact, I've even caught her middle of the night standing on my side dragging the sheets back. But she couldn't just push them back, she needed to get out and come to my side. Intentional. Selfishness is innate. Part of our depraved nature. It takes an intentional effort to notice where you are clinging on too tight and to recognize those in need around you. What do we need? Really.

Navin R. Johnson:
And that's it and that's the only thing I need, is this. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that's all I need. And that's all I need too. I don't need one other thing, not one - I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that's all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.