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!