Monday, September 22, 2008

2 Year Gotcha Day!

I cannot believe it has been two years since I was blessed with the honor of becoming your Mommy. The past 2 years have went by in some ways so unbelievably fast. I have watched you blossom into such a charming, smart, funny, handsome little boy. Your laugh is contagious and your smile will light up any room. As I was putting together the slide show of the past 2 years it's hard for me to remember you so small. You were such a tiny little thing when we became a family, barley on the growth charts and now you are on the high end of them.

You weigh 40lbs and are 41 1/2 inches tall. You can spell mom, dad, egg, no and Logan. You know your ABC's and are counting. You know all of your colors and shapes. I love to listen to you rhyme your words, the other day it was Lasagna and Tania. You crack me up every day, you have the greatest personality and are always joking around :0)

You love to do puzzles and playing on the computer. Outside is your favorite and if you have the chance to go to the cabin you are gone. You are loving playing in your Buzz Lightyear costume (That is who you are being for Halloween this year). You are such a dare devil on your bike and big wheel that you scare me sometimes. I have a feeling I am going to have a ramp jumper on my hands when you are older. The park is always a favorite thing of yours to do, especially our park :0) You are really into playing with other kids now and want to everyday. It's a good thing we keep busy with the library and play dates. Time to start ice skating lessons I think.

You are such a joy to have in my life and I truly am amazed by you everyday. I love you more than life itself and my heart aches for all of the loss you had in your infancy. We are all going to have the best life because we found each other. I love you Logan and I am so proud to be your Mommy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I have not spoke out about my personal feelings about our upcoming election because I am disappointed in both of our candidates. I am not a Republican or a Democrat I vote for who I feel will do the best job for our Country at the time. It has been true characteristic of Democrats in office to RAISE taxes and there is no way that ANY American can pay higher taxes in the state of our country. I could go on and on but I will stop. You can draw your conclusion of who I am voting for by watching this very touching video I found on another blog. Sorry if anyone finds this offensive.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wanted to Share

A very dear friend of mine just sent me this email. I am not the junk email/chain email person but every once in a while I get a good one and here one is. Instead of forwarding it on I am sharing it here. I have had a lot of emotional, very unnecessary things happen in my life the past couple of years and this email really hit home.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.' ~anonymous

A birth certificate shows that we were born; a death
certificate shows that we died; pictures show that we lived!

Have a seat . . .
Relax, and read this slowly.

I believe - That just because two people argue, it
doesn't mean they don't love each other.

And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I believe - That we don't have to change friends if we
understand that friends change.

I believe - That no matter how good a friend is,
they're going to hurt you every once in a while
and you must forgive them for that.

I believe - That true friendship continues to grow, even
over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I believe - That you can do something in an instant that
will give you heartache for life.

I believe - That it's taking me a long time to become
the person I want to be.

I believe - That you should always leave loved ones with
loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe - That you can keep going long after you think
you can't.

I believe - That we are responsible for what we do, no
matter how we feel.

I believe - That either you control your attitude or it
controls you.

I believe - That heroes are the people who do what has to
be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe - That money is a LOUSY way of keeping score.

I believe - That sometimes the people you expect to kick
you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe - That sometimes when I'm angry I have the
right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe - That maturity has more to do with what types of
experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and
less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I believe - That it isn't always enough to be forgiven
by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe - That no matter how bad your heart is broken,
the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe - That our background and circumstances may have
influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe - Two people can look at the exact same thing and
see something totally different.

I believe - That your life can be changed in a matter of
hours by people who don't even know you.

I believe - That even when you think you have no more to
give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I believe - That credentials on the wall do not make you a
decent human being.

I believe - That the people you care about most in life are
taken from you too soon.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of
everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Looking Back and Some Advice

As we are getting closer to our 2 year gotcha day I have been doing a lot of reflecting back. I cannot believe the changes in our little man. When L first came home he was so cautious and reserved. He was so small, almost 19 months old but only weighing 19 lbs and only 29 1/2 inches. He wore a 9 month pant and a 12 month shirt. In the first 4 months he gained 9 lbs and grew 4 inches. He must have been hurting growing so fast. He never really cried he would just start and then put his thumb in his mouth and stop. He has definitely learned that crying gets him things but it took a while for him to learn that.

I wanted to post some things that we did to help him with his transition. We limited hugs, kisses, feeding and any care taking role to just Jeff and I. We had planned on doing this for just the first 6-8 weeks home but as we got to know him we learned that he was just not ready for any of that yet, he still did not know what a parent was or that it was us. I remember we were home for about 4 months and we took him to the mall and he walked out of the play area and just kept going, not once EVER looking back for us (of course I followed close behind to see what he would do). When he was scared or hurt he would ALWAYS go to his blanket. It took a very long time of teaching him to come to me or DH but he still had to have the blanket. We did the no holding thing for about 6 months but when it did start happening he was the one who started to initiate the closeness and that was really only to a select few. he started to get some stranger awareness at that point THANK GOD!

To help with the lack of nutrition in the first year and half of his life we put him back on a bottle and formula until his 2nd B-day so for about 6 months. He needed the formula for the nutrition, we used the step 2. It was no problem breaking the bottle habit either. We started with naps and that was no issue at all. And then when he turned 2 I got ride of the bed time bottle. It was about 3 days of just a little fussy and that was it. I still game him milk but in a sippy cup. The bottle and formula was not only good for his weight gain I think it helped some brain development also and it was good for attachment.

We started doing holding time after he was home for about 4/5 months. I started to notice some RED FLAGS and my gut was telling me he needed more than what we were doing. The first time was the longest hour of my life and his to I am sure. The next time was only about 25 minutes of screaming and then the next it was about 5 minutes and then just pure love and snuggles. Just a few months back L started having some issues and he started acting out looking for holding time. As soon as I would pick him up and head upstairs he would settle down and snuggle right in. I asked him if he just wanted me to hold him and he said yes. I explained to him that I will hold him anytime he needs me to and that he doesn't have to act up to have mommy time.

Another thing I did was carry him every where. I got the Playtex Hip hammock that is designed for older babies and he fit great. I walked around the neighborhood like that everyday. I am sure people thought I was crazy carrying around a 20 pounder but he needed it and I was going to give my baby what ever he needed to flourish despite what anyone thought. I truly believe you cannot parent a PI child especially one newly home like you would a child raised in a family since birth. They are totally different. After a little while home I started doing time outs L would pull so far away it took days to get back to what we accomplished and it caused a lot of aggression also. So from recommendation from another adoptive mom I started doing time ins instead and that worked great. I know that I had read that somewhere also but I read so much I sometimes forget about things until they are brought to my attention again.

I have to say just in the past few months Logan has really settled into his own. I can look at him and how he behaves and see that he has finally excepted us as his and he will make claim to us also. I LOVE IT. I know that we will still have our fair share of PI related stuff. As he showed some just about a month ago with another woman. Not that he wanted to leave with her or anything but he got very close to this stranger and wanted to be by her the whole time we were around her. His behavior for a while after was HORRIBLE towards me. I think he still has some issues being able to love Jeff and I both. Not when were apart but when we are all together he has been VERY whiny lately. I hope that one day I will be able to say that my boy does not suffer any issues relating to being in an orphanage for the first 18 1/2 months of his life. I have no doubt that he is attached to us but I still believe he suffers a little.

So if you care here are my recommendations as a mom to a PI child who has been home with his family for almost 2 years.

AGE does not make a difference, ANY baby/child can suffer from attachment problems. I know of babies as young as 9 months coming home and rejecting their new parents. They will also suffer a great loss no matter what they have now. We as their new parents took them away from the only home they ever knew. I think ever child/baby should be treated as if they HAVE an attachment problem for the first 6/8 weeks home, at least until they get to know you and vice versa.

Putting a baby back on a bottle even up to the age of 3 (if they will take it) great for eye contact and attachment, I HIGHLY recommend this.

FORMULA, I think is the key to why L gained weight and grew so fast.

Skin to skin contact, swimming and bathing together are greats ways to do this.

Carry them as much as possible. As some of us call it Velcro them to you.

Do holding time, it may seem like torture at first but the benefits are amazing.

In my opinion, from experience do not do time outs for at least 6 months, do time ins. Putting a child out that has been out for so long can be detrimental to them.

No spanking, you have no idea what the little guy/girl has went through. They could have been abused. We all know that they were neglected for however long they live in an orphanage because 12 people cannot take care of 400 kids at once.

And my most important thing is listen to your gut. A person even if they have 4 or 20 kids cannot tell you what your little one or you has or are going through. Their child unless they are PI also are totally different. Do what you feel is right for your child they are the most important one. Even if people disagree with you, you are your child's greatest advocate.

Oh ya, read, read and then read some more, you cannot be over prepared for what your child has went through or how to help them with their loss and grief.
Attachment takes time it is not an over night thing. I really believe it took Logan well over a year to become attached to me and we did a lot of things to promote it. We had 10 steps forward and then 2 back many times throughout the past 2 years all part of attachment. I really think his hardest part was just a little over a year home. He had some MAJOR issues going on so we got rid of the time outs started doing more holding time and time ins. November and December of 2007 were horrible. But with love and understanding of where his anger was coming from and helping him from all that I learned before his adoption got us through it and he emerged even closer to me.

I have to say with his rough start in life and by that I mean missing out on what most babies have and that is love. A newborn requires so much their first year of life and Logan didn't get that. My heart aches for him for that loss. I wish I could have been there for him to comfort him when he needed it. Logan has turned into this smart, funny, witty, handsome little boy who I am so very proud of.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!!!

Wow, I need a break :0) It seems like we have just been on the go every day for a while now. The end of summer came so fast and I cannot believe it's dark around 8:00 already. I do not like the cold although as I am getting older I do not like it really hot either.

Over the Labor day weekend we were very busy. I went out Friday, Saturday we went out to dinner, Sunday we had people over and on Monday we went to the state fair and then had our neighbors over for a swim. My neighbor got us free tickets to get in and as we pulled in to park the lady in front of us gave us free parking tickets, awesome.

Logan has decided that he wants to ride the rides so we got him a wrist band because that was the best deal at $25. I just still can't get over that my 3 yr old wrist band was the same as an adults. First off he isn't tall for a lot of the rides to go without an adult so we had to get some tickets also. And of course the people at the counter are running a huge scam. They got my neighbor and I for a total of 20 bucks. They take your money first, ask you to hold up your kid to the window, stamp their hands first and then put on a band. All the while never giving you your change back and minutes have went by so your mind is else where. They should have handed us our change right away before making us hold up our kids. LA realized about 5 minutes later and we both checked and neither of us had the change due back to us. I wonder how many other suckers they got? When we both went back up to the booth there were no questions, they looked behind a piece of paper and just handed it right to us, JERKS.

I signed L up for 2 different library classes. We started our first one for the fall today. We have done several library classes at our local library but today we went a city over and I am so glad we did. Logan had a blast, Ms. Meagan sang songs, read books and they played a few games. We got new neighbors a bit ago so while we were out for our daily walk yesterday we stopped by and told them about it. Isa is 3 1/2 just like L. I was so glad to see them walk in today. The kids had fun with each-other and made some new friends also. I like Jennifer the Mom and we parent a lot alike so that is nice.

Our local library is starting a baby-sign class. Where was that 2 years ago when L first came home. Although I loved teaching them to him. He was really good with his signs and he picked them up very quickly. He will still do some of them if you ask and he show's some babies if you ask him to, way cute! Any ways, we are going back to our local library because he has moved up and it is a different librarian. Ms. Holly was VERY boring and could not really hold the kids attention. That class starts on Thursday so we will see how the new lady is. I love the library because it is FREE first of all and they have great things for the kids.

I am not sure we will do play group anymore, L seems a little old now for the group that seems to gravitate there. I am still thinking ice skating come January so for now I think we will stick to the library twice a week. We have also started to sit down twice a week and do some pre-school work sheets. Logan loves them and he is pretty good at them. We went to the store and he picked out his own folder to keep his work in. He had to get a monkey because that is what his Nanny loves so he does to.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Things to Know!

I have been following this blog for a while now and what she wrote the other day brought back a lot of emotions. You see we had people disregard that L may have attachment problems and need different parenting techniques than what works for a baby raised in a home since birth. We heard that all he needed was love and he would be fine. Some people even said that within the first couple of weeks coming home he would be fine and know we were his parents. Well if you have ever been in our shoes you know that it takes A LOT longer than just a few weeks.

This woman has 2 bio-kids and one adopted. Here are her words.

Children living in an institution, then becoming adopted and labeled as Post Institutional (PI)- are not the same as children raised in a family setting from birth. It's oranges and apples.....Truly. I realize that the vast majority of people in this world will never understand or experience a PI child.....however, I just want to encourage the people who do encounter a PI child to respect their differences. Prior to bringing XXXXX home, I believed that all children just needed love and consistency.....and I believed that every child could be transformed with enough love and enough consistency. I was dead wrong. This process with XXXXX is a learning process. At times I fail, there are times I fail miserably - but the important thing is that I keep trying. Dr. Knight tells us that what comes naturally as a parent may not and probably will not benefit a PI child. These children are are emotionally delayed, and in many cases their brain development is delayed .....XXXXX spent in an institutional setting are the most important years of his life. Is he scarred for life? No. But he'll forever be a different person because of it - yes. Is the time he spent there THE most important years, no, but respecting his past is crucial to helping his future.

All the things he's dealing with, may or may not be due to him being PI - but in the chance that it's a delay or an issue that spawns from PI - then it's my job as his mom to take every precaution, every step necessary to help him. (I.E. - compulsive nose picking may be his way of sensory seeking, which is common for PI children due to lack of physical and emotional contact during development - on the flip side it may just be a habit - but to just assume that would be neglectful. )

If you know me, if you encourage me - please don't disregard the things I'm dealing with as nonsense....XXXXX is a special child in many ways.......and while boys being different than girls may be at least need to understand that PI boys are equally as different from a typical boy. If you're truly interested in understanding more, I'd be happy to recommend some reading, or answer any questions to the best of my understanding.