Thursday, September 8, 2011

Loving an adopted child

I have spoken with a few families interested in adoption recently and they have expressed concern about weather they could love an adopted child the same way they love their biological child or children. Let me tell you about my experience. Here is a shocker it isn't the same! It changes everything!!! You will never love any of your children "the same" again! Your love will intensify. After you have fought tooth and nail, and after you have missed milestones, after you have loved a child you have never met, after you have loved a grieving child, you will love your biological and adopted children MORE. Never again can you take for granted the sound of their little feet in the morning or the feeling of their little arms around their neck. You will learn to treasure those kisses and smiles those simple things like a tight grip on YOUR hand when YOUR baby is scared. Did you know it was an honor to comfort your child. Sure you did in theory but now you have learned that in reality. Here are some pics of Abeni's homecoming. Yes I love all of my children MORE because of the lessons of adoption.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

The hurricane

For granted.

When I had my first child it all came so easily. Sure we had to try for a few months and there were a few rainclouds along the way, but it all seemed so effortless. Almost like he was dreamed into existence. He fit so effortlessly into our plan for our lives. He achieved every developmental milestone at or ahead of schedule. Actually it was all so blissfully fluid that I only glanced at the books and rarely worried about my sweet smelling smiley boy. I relished glancing at the checklists and mentally ticking off his latest accomplishment. His existence and his typicalness were so expected and I knew no different. It was like the pattern of the waves on a sandy beach rhythmic, expected, calm, and perfect.

 Then my second child came along. He was unplanned, certainly not unwanted, simply unplanned. He seemed to will himself into existence he came to us like a spring rainstorm on the ocean; gentle and refreshing but still somewhat shocking in it's fast appearance. Quickly the storm was over and my life returned to rhythmic waves of predictability. He was born in all his sweet perfection. There was a little wind the day of his birth. It was almost as if God were testing us for what was to come. Still the pattern of life was smooth and expected. Then came the hurricane. In less the a second everything changed, all of the things I knew, the ebb and flow of my life, were instantly different. There were dark clouds of doubt and pounding rains of uncertainty. The winds of change came fast and fierce. The storm left it's destructive mark on out life. Nothing about our new life felt like that ordered rhythm I had loved and come to expect. Nothing I though was certain was. Everything I had expected now hung in the air like fog clouding my new reality. Where I had once expected that my sons would meet every milestone, be able to do anything they wanted in life, now I doubted all of it. I wasn't even sure if my sweet innocent son would ever sit up or walk. Those milestone charts I had and the books I had partially read didn't prepare me for this. The hardest part was that this hurricane was beating on my shores while the rest of existence went along unchanged and unaware. Now I dreaded the milestone charts, I hated thinking about what he wasn't accomplishing that he was "supposed" to. Pretty soon though the storm had passed and I was taught to see through the fog. The waves of everyday life began washing up on the beach of my now uncertain life. You know what I realized? That despite the fact that the hurricane had changed things despite the scars it had left; there were still the waves and the beauty of life. So it was that God taught me to look through the fog. And when I chose to see the light the fog got thinner and thinner. I chose to not see the checklists anymore. I rejoiced when my charming cherub accomplished new things in his own way and on his own schedule. I came back to my new reality, and surprise I loved it. I came to look back at the hurricane and think, life before was wonderful, but only because of the destruction could I see our new perfection. And so the tide went in and out in it's steady and wonderful beat on my perfect, happy, uncertain shores.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Photos of the Last 10 Months

Our together day!

First bath with our family

Decorating the Christmas Tree

We have had some long nights.

Happy girl on Christmas

Finalization day (hat by Aunt Karen, Dress by Grandma Nelle)

Fathers day photoshoot

Seriously! Isn't she gorgeous!

Sealing Hanbok (Dress by Grandma Nelle and Great Grandma "Happy," Lace by Grandma Happy using Great Great Grandma Johnsons pattern, Embroidered with "Forever Family," by Aunt Juli, Hair Bow by Aunt Cami.)

We all love each other can't you see... We are a Happy Family!!

How cute is this baby?

Squishy face

Some of those first steps!

We are so BLESSED!!

The rest of the story...

So Abeni is home with us now and has been for 10 months. Where does the time go? She is such an incredible little girl. She is everything good about a baby. She sleeps well, she is cuddly, and she is funny. She fits into our family perfectly.

This brings me to the rest of the story. During a meeting with our social worker in Korea just before we met Abeni we were told that she had low muscle tone in her legs and wasn't yet pulling to stand. That was concerning information but I figured that it was no big deal. She probably just needed a little extra excercise. When I met my sweet baby girl I was a little taken aback. She was still a baby in so many ways, despite this she was perfect and ours in every way. Abeni was very delayed when we got her home. At 12 months I assesed her develpment to be about in the 4-5 month range. She was able to roll over and babble but she was not sitting on her own or pushing up onto all fours. She did not bear any weight on her legs. She didn't know how to eat solid food and would not feed herself. Friends and family were thrilled that our daughter was home but you could feel the concern for us and for her. I only knew what I felt in my heart. This was my baby and she and we would figure out the rest. It was not easy.

I already had a son at home who has special needs. I was worried about how extensive what I was seeing would be. I can tell you that I was often praying and trying my hardest to trust. We also heard a funny sound when our angel girl breathed. In December she got sick, very very sick. I noticed her retracting when she breathed I called the pediatrician and she said to bring her to their office if she couldn't get the breathing under control we would admit her to the hospital. That is when our pediatrician first heard the sound. There was something not quite right with Little Miss's right lung. We were able do get her breathing under control and we were referred to a pulmonologist. We did a flexible bronchoscopy. We found out that little miss had a very constricted right broncus. We were referred to the best pediatric ENT in the state. He found out that Abeni's pulmonary artery and esophagus are basically sandwiching her right broncus. He did two surgery's to try and dialate the opening. On the second attemt he was more successful and was able to open the area 1mm. We are now just waiting to see what happens as our little girl grows.

In the end it has been a wild and crazy 10 months. Abeni is doing really well now she is growing and developing very nicely. She has been diagnosed with occult spina bifida and we have seen a little bit of scaring on her brain from her early birth but overall our angel has become just another healty, wild little, almost two year old. We are the lucky ones.