Friday, May 6, 2016

Home Two years

This will be the last post on this blog. I have ideas for other blogs, but with all the changes in life, I am ready to put an end to this blog. I wanted to do one last update on our Bozhi. There have been so many people that have supported him on his journey and us. So I thought we would do one last post.  

(Pictures from first visit trip)

Most of this post is the same as last year with some updates....Two years ago, on May 7th, 2014, my mom and I were in Eastern Europe picking up a little boy from an orphanage. The responsibility of that was not lost on me. When we traveled five months earlier to meet this little boy, we cried, terrified that we would never be able to meet his needs, they were just too great. But our hearts also knew that he would probably die. He was starving. I have heard many people say we probably saved his life. There was nothing heroic about it though. We just knew we could not stand before our God one day and say we left him there to die. It was more fear than any heroism. When we got there in November it was just a lot of overwhelming, because he was a shell of a person. He sat and stared at his fingers, he rocked and did what we asked, but very unwillingly. We spent about four hours each day just there with him, holding his hand, feeding him a banana, and waiting for the hours to end because it was hard. I hated that it was hard. I hated that I was scared and overwhelmed. But we just knew we had to bring him home. We were told he was fed five meals a day and on medication for an overactive thyroid, that they did everything to make him gain weight, but because he was disabled, he could not gain weight. So, we wondered if it was true, questioned it, but also knew if it was true he at least deserved a family to love him while he lived, because surely no one can live long at twenty pounds. So in faith and fear we stepped forward.

Five months later I went back with my mom. It was in the middle of one of the biggest trials of my life. It seemed in the months and weeks leading up to our pick up trip that we were going to face every obstacle possible. And two years later it has not ended. Sometimes I wonder if it has been a mixed blessing. Because the difficult things that come with adoption have paled in comparison to the rest of my life.

BUT, that day, two years ago, I walked into that orphanage and wondered if he would remember me, his mom. I had told him I would come back. He did not recognize me. But then they told him, "It's your mom, she came to bring you home." His tears stopped. He looked around the room. He climbed off my lap. He went to my backpack, he looked at me, he signed, "more." He remembered me. Every day we came in November we brought a little food, and we taught him the sign for "more." He remembered me and the sign and the backpack and that I brought food! And hope filled me. That empty shell, held a little boy holding on to hope.  This picture on the right shows him after he signed more and I was giving him his banana. I asked if I could, they said, you are his mom, you can give him what you want. It was so hard to comprehend, the responsibility of taking care of this fragile little boy.  It was a lot for me to wrap my head around.

And this is a picture of him the day after we picked him up. I hated this picture, I did not even want to take it because he was just. too. small. But I wanted to remember. He weighed twenty pounds. I believe a lot of that was in his head. I cried when I saw him like this, how can someone be seven years old and weigh twenty pounds, how do you survive. But he did, he survived

This is a picture of my mom and I leaving the orphanage with Bozhi!

and trying Starbucks for the first time!

These pictures are from the first days home...

And now he is THRIVING! It has been two years. He now weighs fifty five pounds. He has gained thirty five pounds in two years year. He has grown eight inches. I had to rubber band eighteen month clothes around his waist, now he fits in size 5 pants and 7 shirts. He is actually chubby. He has learned some sign language. He says words like, "Hi" "Bye" "Ok" "Hot" "No" "Yes" He can say mama but does not say it very often. We work on every letter of the alphabet and he can say close to all of them with some work. He signs for "help" and "thank you" and "more" and "all done." He makes the sound "W" when he sees a dog or wants to go to speech therapy where he works on his letters. He is working on identifying letters and writing some of his letters. When he wants to go somewhere he makes the sound of a car. He is about one of the smartest kids I know. He has learned to scooter. He is potty trained completely. He makes HUGE messes and tries to help clean up. He eats a lot. He laughs and cries. He gets angry and likes to joke around. One of his favorite things in the world is church. He loves going to church. He prays and sings. His favorite T.V. show is still "Good Eats." He still says "UGGHH" when I ask him to do something he does not want to do. One of my favorite things is that he remembers our family trip to the cabin every year. Our first year we went when he had been home just six weeks. Now when he sees a picture of himself at the cabin he jumps up and down and squeals. It is part of his life.  He hates to be left out. He always wants to be with his family. He amazes me and makes me want to pull out my hair almost every day. It is amazing the change of two years!
He likes to play "flute" with his sister...

And he gave himself a haircut...

You probably would not even know he was the same kid, the shell of a boy we met in November of 2013, the little boy I met last year who only wanted to eat and sleep. He now hugs and kisses me, tells me "no." and acts like most of my other children. We have a long ways to go. And there is a lot of hard, but he has come a long, long way. And we are so thankful he is our son! 
When we were waiting for him, before ever meeting him, I had a dream about him at 15 years old. He was sitting at our kitchen counter laughing and smiling about something. There are glimpses of that young man now in the Bozhi that I know today! 
I tell him every day how happy I am I get to be his mommy and how happy I am that he is my son! He is a blessing!
The picture below was taken by my friend Mary Cook just a few weeks ago at church preparing for Pascha!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Its been quite a day....

It may seem obvious to some, but it just needs to be said. And today more than any other days, I am so very aware! I am not perfect.

A year and a half ago, right after we brought Bozhidar home, in the middle of life falling apart as I have written so often, someone said to me, "If I had known you all were not perfect I would never have given you the money for your adoption." The thoughts that ran through my head included: First who says that to someone. Second, how dare someone say my family is not perfect. Third, of course I am not perfect! How did you think I was perfect. In time when hurt was so deep we were told we just were not good enough.

And that thought, those words as true as they are plague me so often. Especially on days like today where I think how on earth do I get to be a mom, I am SO FAR FROM PERFECT. I am a perfectionist and it is a huge struggle of mine to deal with the fact that every day I fail.

So in case somewhere in  the middle of Facebook posts or blog updates, you all got the impression that I or my family are perfect I have to just say it, I am not. We are not.

This morning is when it came to a catastrophe. But the past month has probably been building up. Actually probably the past few months. I have had to go back to work part-time. I am waiting tables. It is the most unglamorous job in the world. It is physically exhausting. I work anywhere from 25-35 hours a week, on my feet, serving people. I could have a career.  At least I tell myself that, but for now I really value being home. SO, I work nights and weekends and a couple days each week so I can still homeschool and spend time with my kids. The past month Nathan had to be gone for three weeks. My mom and my sister visited and helped many days, and my  kids stepped up and helped. But it was exhausting. I had people tell me how amazing I was and I wore it with honor as bitterness and exhaustion grew in my heart. I did not want to ask for help or say I could not do it. While he was away, the kitchen flooded several times, the sink stopped draining, the basement room filled with water. I think my landlord dreaded seeing my name on his phone. And I wore it again with pride that I could do it, I could handle it. I did not bear it with meekness, but pride. And anger grew and welled up...anger at the unfairness of life.

Nathan came home a week ago and I have just fallen apart as the days have gone on. All that anger finally falling in its messy way over my family. Saturday was a beautiful day, so I decided to go for a run. Then I worked from 4 until midnight. I got home hungry and wired and at 3 a.m. I was still awake and finally drank some tea to try to sleep. I finally fell asleep and then I woke up a few hours later, went to church and work again until 10 p.m. I got home and ate and fell asleep around midnight which is a relative term as my son came in with leg pain, then Bozhi who is mostly potty trained now...wet the bed and he needed help getting changed and then Verity came wandering in afraid and she started to scream as I asked her to please go back to her bed. And through her little tears she explained how just so afraid she was. So I gave up my place in my bed, now more kids then adults in my bed and went to the couch where I lay shivering and angry. I finally got up and went to make Karis move over and give me some of her blanket, it was 5 in the morning.  Two hours later I rolled out of bed to start homeschooling before having to take Bozhi to therapy. Today we were supposed to have our house blessed. Our house is a mess. I needed there at least to be a path to walk through for the blessing. So I asked the kids to help while we were at therapy. And I was so aware that my heart needed so much more cleaning then my house before any blessing could take place. So I asked Nathan to postpone it. He did.

Bozhidar and I got back from therapy and he went downstairs to help the kids clean. I still wanted a path, at least to the washing machine. I was going to make lunch or take a nap, it was still a toss up. When the screams began. We heard the thump and screams, and the, BOZHI!!! MOM! THERE IS SO MUCH BLOOD! And thankfully Nathan was there because I sat with my head between my legs as he dealt with this little boy who had fallen down the last three stairs and cracked his head wide open. David held the paper towels as Nathan wrapped his head and the girls mopped up blood and I sat with my head between my legs, hoping I wont pass out or throw up, I was an utter failure. David and Nathan brought him to the hospital. He had scans done and stitches and glue. He will be fine. But I felt like the biggest failure. And there are plenty of people that can tell me, I should not let him walk down the stairs, or I need something at the bottom and all the things I could do to prevent it. And believe me I have said it over and over. I failed. Maybe I could have prevented it, I wish I had.

And I am ever so aware that I am not perfect. I will fail every day. Hopefully not as bad as today every day. But I will fail. The thoughts that went through my head today include that I should probably have never adopted a child, let alone had one or FIVE! The voice of the man who said he would never have given us the money to help plays in my head, I am not good enough.

This day does not end with a great happy ending. But it did end with chocolate and kids on the couch watching a movie and the hope of a new day. I am aware that I will fail again tomorrow. That I am not perfect. I am a sinner, working out my salvation in my messy world.

And, in the middle of it all, I do know I am blessed.