Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life is Good

It’s been a fun week. I had a little time off and I treated it like a summer vacation.

Here are the highlights:

IMG_5406 My very first roller derby! Seriously, roller derby is alive and well and I finally saw a match (game???) and it totally rocked! Usually there are two matches, but this night there was only one so the additional team members were in the audience. One of them sat next to me and explained everything and now I can’t wait to see the next one!

There was a picnic at one of the local lakes with Michael:

IMG_5438 copy The stinker ate a whole container of strawberries by himself. IMG_5444 copy Michael taught him all about cutting up sausages. I’m not sure that was actually a good idea.

My garden:



Anyone know what to do with eaten up green beans? I notice the leaves have a number of holes in them. I didn’t notice it on any of my other plants.

I think many of you reading are probably friends with me on FB so you have heard that Duc has had all his wheeled toys taken away (and books, tractors, trains, blocks or anything he throws at me or hits me with). But he is still a boy at heart and all he wants are his cars and choo choo trains. This is how desperate he has become—he’s treating the buns as trains . I do have a heart though. I gave him back his favorite tractor today (a very small one). Within two minutes I took it back after he threw it at me. The reason I am so strict with this? On Monday he nailed me and gave me yet another black eye. Even though the bruise is fading it is extremely painful and I think he cracked the orbital bone around my eye.


I am super psyched about the next two things…

IMG_5732 My dad and I built this bench together on Thursday evening. I was/am so excited! I still need to sand, paint, attach the wheels and place the baskets in the cubbies, but wow, so cool! We had so much fun working on this together and we are planning other projects. I emailed tonight was another suggestion and now I am FULL of ideas. IMG_5730

And last, but certainly not least I did a photo session with Kelli and Aiden and I am so excited about the images. I had a lot of fun with them but oh my goodness was it hot! Heat index was 105* and ya’ll know I don’t like heat. We were saved by a breeze and a towel. Thankfully kids never seem to feel the heat and Aiden & Kelli were true troopers. I plan on posting the photos in the next couple of days on my photography website, but here is a sneak peek for Kelli.

IMG_5487 copy2

IMG_5499 copy I am in love with this photo. Kelli had mentioned that this “is so Aiden” so I am glad I was able to capture it. Why, you ask is he squatting on a rock and looking at the water? Fish, people, HUGE fish. You can see them to the left of his arm. They had little brownish fish and huge koi.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Healer, heal thy self

As women, especially mothers, we are healers. From early on many of us gravitate towards caring for baby dolls, having tea parties and assisting with younger siblings. Its no mystery why there are so many women working as nurses or teachers—they are caring professions. It is so easy for us to give and give and give and yet we are so hesitant accept help or allow others to care for us. How many of you go without time for yourself or things that would make you feel more complete? I’m betting a number of you (of us).

The last month has been hard. It has been incredibly hard. It was so hard that I don’t really have many pictures commemorating just how hard it was. I hated being away from my baby for long days. I hated not tucking him in at night or bathing him or reading him stories. I hated missing out on tickle fests and giggle competitions. I hated it all. Most of all I hated feeling like I was an adoptive parent for the first time ever. All adoptive children come with some sort of emotional baggage—how could they not? Every child that is separated from their birth mother feels that on some emotional level. Even if they are reunited with their mother days, weeks or years later, even if there was someone in the interim to care for them and love them, they ALL feel that loss. It isn’t a memory they can speak of, it isn’t an event they can tell you about, but when they experience abandonment—in any form—there is an emotional and chemical reaction that occurs and marks that child’s memories and emotions. They are hard wired to fight abandonment, but for so many of our beautiful children they become hard wired to fight attachment once abandonment occurs. They become emotionally, if not physically, dependent on themselves for comfort.IMG_5206 copy

I write all that to say this: Duc and I never experienced this in the first 17 months together. When we met I think we were both just ready. He was ready for a mom, I was ready for a child. All those horror stories of attachment that I read about and prepared my self for, well, I just never saw it. We were always just us as if we always were. It was never a struggle. It was something that many people commented on in those first weeks and months home. I don’t write that to brag, but to remind people that abandonment how ever if occurs, is always there.

I’ve known that Duc has never done well when I leave. From our first hours together until now, he always keeps his eyes on me when I am in the room. From the day of our G&R people commented that he would look for my laugh. He knows it well. If family is visiting and someone else is holding him he always asks about mommy. He likes to know where I am and what I am doing at all times. At home he has always been underfoot. We stopped going to church once he got to the age where I could no longer contain him during the service and he had to go to the toddler room. He would cry hysterically and for prolonged periods of time. I could hear him even over the sound of the band playing. Yes, my baby has issues with abandonment.

But never did this become more apparent than in the last month or two. A year ago I went from seeing him 5 hrs/work day to 3 hrs/day to one hour or less a day 4-6 weeks ago. It was tough on me, it was tougher on him. I started seeing behaviors I had never seen before and it broke my heart. I cried every day for the 10 days I was away from my baby (seeing him 15-30 minutes a day because my mom or dad would bring him to work so we could see each other). The hardest thing for me was that this began on May 19th. His birthday, or as I know it, the day of his abandonment. It seemed horribly ironic that on the second year marking that day I was, in a sense, abandoning him as well.

My mom is a counselor and her current job has her working primarily with foster kids, adoptive kids and families, and birth moms who are trying to get children back from the foster care system or prevent them from going into the system. She has become an attachment expert as a result of her work. She told me it wasn’t my fault. I was not really abandoning him. That I was still seeing him every day and he saw my face every morning. But it still hurt. It hurt when he went to them for all his needs, when he pushed me away. When he laid in his crib at night crying for an hour or more because he was so mad at me and yet he wouldn’t let me console him. It hurt.

The first day home my parents made a point of staying away (they actually stayed away for a week so we would have time to bond again). Duc wanted held the whole time. He wouldn’t let me put him down. He dug through his closet and found the mai tai I wore in Vietnam and the first months home.


Over the last few weeks we have begun to heal. He is allowing some space between us again and he has been in time-out several times the last few days. He is also playing with his toys independently again. For weeks he wouldn’t play with his toys unless I was holding him. Seeing him naught and playful again has made life easier.IMG_5421 copy

And now that he is beginning to heal, it is my turn. I built some raised beds and planted a garden two weeks ago and things are looking very good! I have made bread, fixed a pot of green beans like my mama used to do, I crocheted some dishrags (and can I say how good it felt to crochet again? I haven’t crocheted since the week before I left to meet Duc), I bought a cook book and made some good food. I made my own detergent (yes, I did!) and am trying to live simpler. I have a few days off so I am going to see a movie—a total guilty pleasure—The A-Team. I’m going to do some wood working with my dad because it has long been a hope to learn how to make things out of wood. I like the idea of self sustainability.

And I got Bertha out again and began snapping photos. It felt good. It felt right. It was something I couldn’t do even two weeks ago because I felt so empty and burned out. I feel some of my passions returning. Some of my joy in the simple things. And the best part of all, Duc enjoys it too. IMG_5337 copy


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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