Why “It’s not the same…”

What I am about to write has been on my heart for quite some time, but I’ve had a difficult time putting my feelings into words. Ya’ll, I am writing this only because I want people to understand us a little more and for other adoptive parents to not feel alone. I don’t want people to look at our cute instagram pics and think our lives are all fun and games. The pictures we post on social media are very much real, but they are only a split second of “real life”. These pictures aren’t the end of the story…God is still in the process of writing it right now. I am also writing this to remind myself that it is “not the same” because sometimes I forget. I forget the difficulties Max has had to face in his short two years of life. I forget that some of the really difficult behaviors we face day in and day out may look like normal behaviors, but they stem from pain that is much deeper than I can comprehend.

When we spent that long year preparing our family to adopt Max, we read all the books, attended training seminars, filled out workbooks. We were prepared for everything, but the real learning didn’t happen until we met Max face to face. In college, did anyone ever tell you that you don’t actually learn until you are “in the field”? For example, when I majored in Social Work we were required to work a full-time internship for a semester before we received that diploma we worked so hard for.  It is TRUE – you can take 30 hours of Social Work courses but you don’t “get it” until you are out there working. It takes time, and experience, to truly grasp what you have learned. All of the intensive studying, exams, and papers you have written? Yeah, they are important,  but through experience you make mistakes and eventually the real learning begins. That has been what Dave and I have been doing ever since we became parents, and that learning supposedly never ends!

One thing we have learned is that parenting a biological child vs. an adopted child is different, very different. Having a biological sibling vs. an adopted sibling is different. Am I saying one is more difficult than another? Nope, not even close. They are both unique, challenging and rewarding in their own ways. Am I saying one is better than the other? Absolutely not. Our love for both of our boys is deep. My love for Max is so deep my heart hurts when I think of what he has been through in his very short two years of life.

Even though Max is only two, and may not remember specifics of his early life, it doesn’t mean everything he experienced before us just goes away. What it does mean is that we see behaviors at home that other people in our lives don’t see. Even though some of these behaviors might look the same, and sound the same, as any other two year old, they’re not. They are rooted in experiences much different than a child who has lived in the same home, with the same mother, since conception.

Tantrums might look “normal”, and some might be the same, but they may be rooted in a much deeper issue. For example, Landon might have a tantrum in the grocery store because he wants a candy bar because it will satisfy his sweet tooth. Max might be having a tantrum in the grocery store because at some point in his life he didn’t eat for a few days. The sight and smell of food might trigger something in him to tantrum. That memory of not having enough food may be long gone, but the fear is ingrained in him. It is not something that he can just get over in a few weeks, months or even years.

Even though my boys might look like they are having “normal sibling rivalry”, they aren’t. Landon didn’t watch my belly grow for 9 months expecting a younger brother/sister to join us as a tiny infant; He got  a rambunctious, toy thief that has rocked his little world. We are seeing the beauty of their relationship unfold, but we are also seeing some pretty nasty behaviors on both ends. And yes, I know siblings fight, but it’s different when things gradually change and you have time to get used to a baby brother crawling to your toys vs. grabbing them and throwing them at you!

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I guess it is difficult to feel “heard” when others assume the hard days are just normal – the same that any mother experiences. It’s not the same, never will be, but you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world because my love for Max is rooted in me, just like my love for Landon was rooted in me when God placed him in my belly.

My friend Brittany, who has walked this long road of adoption with me at the same time, recently wrote the following and it is EXACTLY how I feel:

“Its seems like it’s going so perfect, right? Her transition has been beautiful, correct?

Yes.
and
No.

The beautiful part of this is that she is thriving, growing, and learning. But the brutal part of the story is that two MONTHS home, doesn’t erase the two YEARS before.

There are days that she kicks her happy little legs and wiggles her little pink toes with delight and we make progress. Then there are days where in a moments notice I sense her hurt. I feel her pain. I see her pull back and then I wipe her tears.

Someone asked me recently, “Why is it so hard?”

It’s hard because its the Fathers work. And work it is. Messy and sometimes lonely. I am in a battle everyday to win her heart, to win her trust, to win her love that for TWO years was lost, hurt, and broken. Sometimes I feel like the “new boyfriend” on the scene who is trying to tell his new once brokenhearted love that he will never leave her, hurt her and will love her forever. The only solution….time & faithfulness.

It’s hard because this isn’t how things are suppose to be. We live in a fallen world and we are picking up the pieces as a result. Hard work? Yes. And it is only by HIS power that our hands have strength to pick up the pieces at all.

And ironically, it’s hard because she is doing so amazing that people assume that the work is done…..she’s home, she’s happy, she’s attaching well. Mission complete, she is now a loved, lucky American. That should equal happiness, right? Nope.

And last but not least, it’s hard because we have a long road to go. Maybe a lifetime of healing. Mending a broken heart takes time, prayer, patience, and Jesus. Because Jesus paid it ALL, ALL to Him I owe. So we will keep walking alongside her until she realizes that her heart is safe in our arms. No matter how long it takes. Just wait, sweet girl, you will see……

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3″

Recently, my friends Shannon Dingle wrote an article about this exact same topic. I am so thankful for other adoptive mommas who get “get it” and a God who gives me grace when I think I have messed  this whole “adoptive momma” thing  up.

Family of Four Photo Shoot

Ya’ll, I am not going to write a ton today because I think these pictures speak louder than words. I am so grateful to Becky Keller for volunteering her time and talent through Red Thread Sessions. She is an ahhhhmazing photographer in the Raleigh area, and if you get her to take your pictures, I am positive you won’t be disappointed!! I have known Becky for a long time and was so excited to find her name on the  Red Thread Sessions website when searching for a local photographer. She carved out precious time during her busy season to take our first family of four photos and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how our pictures turned out.

 © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

© 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography © 2014 Rebecca Keller Photography

My Grandma

The last few days have been tough – we lost my Grandma Mary – someone I have always loved and admired.

My heart hurts, but it is happy at the same time.

She is with Jesus this Christmas.

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I have many memories of her stored up to share with my little boys one day – stories of a woman who was strong and loved people well, even hard to love people. Through Christ, she gained her strength to love people right where they were in life. She didn’t have an easy life, but she lived it to the fullest and never complained. She spent the last few years in a nursing home with half of her body paralyzed, but that didn’t stop her from finding joy in people around her – the nurses, her family and her church. Even though it was difficult to visit the nursing home, I always had a peace that God had her where she was meant to be at this time in her life. She was a light to those around her – those who had no family to visit them or were lost because their minds were taken over my dementia. She loved them well and always introduced us to each person there with such joy in her voice.

But my favorite memory of her is very recent….

It was when she heard about us adopting Max and her excitement about us bringing him home. She loved each one of her 14 great grandchildren and could tell you their ages, all about their births, their dislikes, what they were doing in preschool, the list could go on and on. She treated Max no differently and embraced him just like each one of her other great grand babies. On Thanksgiving, she had a special “prayer bear” picked out just for him. She looked at me and said ” this is for Max cause he is one special little boy.” I’m so thankful that she was able to see Max three times before she left us, giving him hugs and kisses. I have heard several stories about grandparents, or people from her generation, being opposed to adopting from China or other countries. Not my grandma, she was ecstatic about this new grandson of hers and couldn’t wait to hear about our trip there and how he was doing in his new home.

 God gave me the greatest gift in a grandma that lived her life as an example not only to me, but to everyone who crossed her path. I love you Grandma and you will forever be a part of our lives.

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http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thetimesnews/obituary.aspx?n=mary-jones-barger&pid=173543642

Happy 3rd Birthday Landon!

Dear Landon,

I can’t believe it has been three years since we first held you in our arms. It seems like only yesterday that God blessed us with a big-eyed, easy going newborn. You have changed so much right before our eyes and are no longer a baby, or toddler, but now a preschooler. “Laid Back Landon” has become one of your nick names, and despite some 2 year old moments, it fits you. You like to quietly take your time to do things and I think this is one of the reasons why you notice details like no other child I have known!

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I love how detailed oriented you are – you notice the little things, from teeny tiny bugs to a hole in your shirt (and you refuse to wear anything that is dirty or has a hole in it, oh my). If something is broken, you want to fix it right away and will try to figure out how to do it yourself if mommy isn’t around. Strangers have approached me before to say things like “wow, you have a little engineer on your hands” or “I have never seen a 2 year old stay so focused on one task”. For example, you love to build train tracks and will play for hours with them (if a certain little brother doesn’t demolish them first). I love how you always look to see what color people’s eyes are, try to find the moon in the night sky, and notice when I get dressed up. I love how you ask me if it is “dusk” outside when it starts to get dark. Oh sweet boy, I don’t know how God is going to use your detail oriented mind, but I pray it is for His glory.

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You might have a serious side, but you are silly too! I love how when you know the answer to something, you get this twinkle in your eye and tell me the wrong answer (like telling me you are 6 when you are only 2. Not okay).  My favorite is when you come and tell me “daddy is stinkin’ up my bathroom” or make sure we all know when you are “stinkin’ up” a bathroom. And what is up with this new found hobby of hiding and scaring mommy?! I thought that was only something I had to worry about your daddy doing.

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Your sweet side – it melts my heart. I’ll never forget that moment in the car when I had dirty hair, no makeup on, and you quietly said “mommy you are pretty”. Cuddles from you are the best and they are even better when I get them in the piles of pillows you like to play in. I love how you know the difference between “slow kisses” and “fast kisses” and make sure that we give you slow kisses. And even though it has been work, you are now getting the hand of saying “please” and “thank you” without being reminded. I love how you always use “please” twice in a sentence when asking for something: “mommy, may I please have a cup of milk, please?” Spying on you playing will never get old – I love hearing your little voice make your cars talk or your animals go to the “reminder chair”. You are always so focused on your play that I often go unnoticed for quite a while, and when you catch me, you break out in a big smile. Your daddy and I often talk about how we can already tell that you are so sensitive. We have experience with being sensitive ourselves and are praying now that God will protect your sensitive heart.

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Landon, this year has been one of many changes for you. Even though we often talk about how many transitions Max has had in his short life, we realize this year has been a HUGE transition for you. Becoming a big brother is NOT easy and especially when your little brother is not so little! Even though Max is younger, he didn’t come into our family as a little baby that doesn’t do much, he came as a 2 year old brother ready to play with your toys and demand attention from mommy and daddy. We know this has not been easy for you, but you have been an awesome brother so far! I’ll never forget when you ran up to us at the airport and grabbed Max’s hand. I love how you make him laugh and always ask “where is Max?” when he isn’t around. I hope and pray that you and Max will form a close bond as you get older.

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One of the most difficult times this past year was leaving you for 19 days. Landon, your daddy and I missed you so much it hurt. We knew you were in great hands, and that God was ultimately taking care of you, but being apart from you that long is something we never want to do again (if we can help it).  You did great though, had so much fun in New York, and even got to ride an airplane with your uncle John!

Happy 3rd Birthday to my sweet Landon! Mommy loves you more than you can ever imagine!

Is Max saying “mamma”?? I’ll let you decide…

You know, I haven’t written a lot about Max’s special need because I honestly don’t think about it too much.

It doesn’t define him.

He is so funny, rambunctious, and full of life. He is a typical two year old. Most of the time I am trying to figure out how to break up fights with his brother or keep him from hurting himself since he “has no fear”. These are the typical mommy things I would be doing even if he didn’t have a special need.

craft time

This is how “craft time” ends up at the Eshleman household

 

I know we are still in the early stages of having him home, and we will face more challenges as he gets older, but I think about his hearing such a smaller percentage of the time that I am parenting him….and that is only because I might scream a little louder to keep him from running into the street or eating Daisy’s food ;)

If you didn’t know already, Max has bilateral microtia and atresia. I am still learning about this special need, so I am no pro, but I hope to learn much more very soon. If you are thinking of adopting, this is what I would sit down and tell you over a cup of coffee: that sometimes a child’s diagnosis in their adoption file looks scary when it’s not.

disclaimer: I am not, by any means, downplaying how difficult it is to be a parent of a child with a special need(s). I know there are varying degrees of special needs, and that parenting a child with a special need, or any child for that matter, isn’t easy.

Before we even began our home study, we found our precious little boy on the Special Focus list (a list of children in the China Special Needs program that may have a more difficult time finding a family because their needs are considered more moderate-severe). I am sharing this only because I so desire for people who are adopting to look past a label, or a list, and see the child. When Max reads this one day, I want him to know this is not something that he should be ashamed of, but something we can praise God for because we may not have found him if it was not for this “list”.

Hockey player one day?!

Hockey player one day?!

One of the most common questions I get from people is “what news do you have about his hearing”?

And …we now have answers! This past Friday we had an appointment with a pediatric audiologist at the UNC hospital. The doctors we saw were wonderful and well worth the 2 month wait we had to get in. We are so blessed to live only about 45 minutes away. We knew before we adopted Max that he had congenital hearing loss (hearing loss present at birth) due to his microtia/atresia. We weren’t 100% positive if his inner ear was working properly, but we found out at his appointment that it is! In fact, his hearing was excellent when given a test at the clinic. He doesn’t have an ear canal (atresia) and his ears are not formed like the majority of people (microtia). He has little ears and I think they are the most adorable ears ever.  How does this impact his hearing? I like to explain it to people like this: “it’s like he has really good ear plugs in all the time”.  He can hear really loud noises, but not enough to where he can learn to speak clearly without some extra help.

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Max’s “funny eye” face that he makes quite often

So, what’s in store for his future? He will get a BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid) in a few weeks! This hearing aid will help him hear normally. It will be attached to a band that he will wear around his head until he is about 5-7 years old. At that time he will have a surgery to implant the BAHA.

You can read more about it here

We are so excited that Max will have the opportunity to hear clearly! Soon after he receives the BAHA, he will begin speech therapy which is provided through our state through a program called Beginnings.

Please pray that our insurance will cover the BAHA. Some insurances do not consider this a “hearing aid” (even though it is called a “hearing aid”…I know, I’m baffled too). Once we get approval through our insurance ,or figure out another way to pay for it, he will be fitted for it and will soon be stylin’ in his BAHA :)

chillin in chair

I really didn’t think I would hear him say “mamma” for quite a while (at least not until after he got his BAHA), but I think he is saying it! Landon has been teaching him and he sure seems like he knows that he is saying. What do you think?!

Two Months

It’s been two months ya’ll….two months since our “little tiger” was first placed in our arms. Two months since this video, capturing a flood of emotions, was taken.

In those short two months, our little boy has been very brave. He left a foster mother (and maybe a foster father and siblings as well) who cared for him for a whole year of his life. He came into a big city to meet foreigners, his mommy and daddy, who looked nothing like the several other caretakers he previously had. I would say our little boy is one of the bravest people I know. At two, he has been through more transitions than me… and yet he still smiles…

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And is so very silly…

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And for being able to hear very little, he sure catches on quick! On Halloween we went to one house and after that he knew EXACTLY what to do….he ran up to each house, knocked  on the door, and started grabbing handfuls of candy with his big brother by his side…

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A brother, I can tell, he loves so much already. Despite a few weeks of almost non-stop fighting, Landon and Max are starting to form a close bond and we often catch them cracking each other up. Life is apparently very funny when you are two.

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You sure are brave Ping Ping and I hope that one day you will know that we are here to stay.

Check out this video of our sweet boy, you can totally get an idea of his personality if you haven’t met him yet.

You Know You Have Double-Two-Year-Olds When…

Before you read this, know that I love being a mommy to Landon and Max and I wouldn’t change it for the world! 

1. You start to tell everyone you have to “go potty” when you need to use the restroom.

2. You open up your purse, and instead of finding a tube of lipstick, you find old goldfish, a diaper (hopefully clean) and a matchbox car or two.

3. Your curtains that you sewed as a young married wife now look like this:

fallen curtain

4. You celebrate like you just won The Superbowl (in overtime) because both the kiddos are in bed, asleep, by 7:30.

5. You fall asleep on the couch at 8:30 because the above actually happened.

6. Having a clean house longer than 20 seconds is a distant memory.

7. A trip alone to the grocery store is as relaxing as taking a cruise.

8. All the treats you have hidden have now disappeared because someone now knows how to make himself taller….

sneaky max

9. You get aggravated when the awesome tower you built with mega blocks, or that super cool train track you spent hours putting together, gets demolished by said two-years-olds.

10. Your couch cushions now have an “almost permanent home” on the floor, but they sure make those two-year-olds pretty happy, check it out….

Those life changing moments

y’all, I LOVE talking about adoption. I always have, even before taking this journey to bring Max home. I majored in Social Work so I could one day work at an adoption agency (God had other plans, but I was able to do a full-time internship at one). My first job out of college was working at a group home with adolescents who were part of the foster care system.  It is something I have felt a calling to advocate for and to be a part of. I have never once felt like I had to care for children without families who could care for them, I have wanted to do it.  Not everyone has that calling and that is OK! For some reason God put it on my heart, and Dave’s heart, and here we are today parenting Max.

So, when someone brings up adoption, and wants to talk to me about it, I get excited! No, adoption isn’t a  fairy tale story that doesn’t have heartache involved in it, but like I have said many times before, there is so much beauty in it.  It’s one of my “things”, like being an artist. When a stranger asks me about Max, I am so happy to talk to them about his story – I only hold the private areas (that only he should know one day) to myself. Someone who I really look up to once told me “believe the best in people”. I’m not gonna lie, this is something I sometimes have a hard time doing. But with adoption comments, I have a lot of grace for people who may not use the correct terms {for example, when they ask if Landon is my son, too, because Max is adopted}. I have grace for people who make these comments, because at some point or another, I have probably said the same things!

Honestly, we haven’t encountered many of those “can’t believe she said that” comments yet. I cannot think of one person we know who hasn’t been excited and supportive of Max’s adoption. If there is someone, they just haven’t said anything, and I am a ok with that :)

Today though, my heart hurt for Max and Landon and the comments that could potentially hurt them as they grow up. Today, I was thankful that Max couldn’t hear the conversation I had with a woman at a play place. Was she malicious, out to hurt me, with her words? Not at all. And, in a way, I am glad she said what she said because it opened my eyes.

She said, “It took us a year to get pregnant and I thought we might have to adopt.” {after first talking about how beautiful Max is while not acknowledging the handsome stud that Landon is}.

I also want to add that we, too, have struggled with getting pregnant.

 I felt the need to write about this conversation only because I want Max to always know that we wanted, with all our hearts, to adopt HIM. I want Landon to always feel special and cute even though he looks different from his brother.

My eyes were opened to the need for Dave and I to pray over Max and Landon and that God will deafen their ears to lies that Satan may try to whisper to them.

And we will forever and always let Max know that he was yearned for, prayed for and wanted! No, baby boy, we didn’t have to adopt you, we deeply desired to adopt you.

Because the beauty makes it so worth it ya’ll

The last three weeks have flown by. I have been wanting to sit down and write because our adoption journey doesn’t end here – it is just the beginning of us falling more in love with our Max.

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Look at that sweet face! Sometimes I can’t get over how beautiful he is. I love all of his funny facial expressions and how he imitates all of us – mom, dad and big brother.

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You know, when you look at adoption pictures on Facebook and read adoption blogs it is easy to forget how messy and hard adoption is and to only see the “happy ending” after that heartwarming gotcha/family/adoption day ….

I think this is one of the reasons I have had a difficult time sitting down to write – I didn’t know what to write! During the difficult moments I wanted to sit down and share our struggles, but I just couldn’t get the words out. I wanted to write about the hard times to be transparent. Why? because I often compare myself to others and look through blurred lens at other’s live, seeing on the perfect side, and I don’t want anyone to do that with our family. I remember being in China with Max and comparing how easy and well behaved everyone’s newly adopted children were. {Max, on the other hand, was far from quietly sleeping in my Ergo baby carrier!} And when I would sit down to write about the difficulties, I was reminded of all the fear I had from reading about the hard stories and how at times it made me question if we were making the right decision to pursue adoption (it’s scary to think I even had those thoughts - I can’t imagine not having Max in our family just because I read about some random person’s bad experience!!).

 I want people to read this blog and know that we are far from perfect and our life is messy – full of hardships and headaches. I also want people to read our story, and despite the messiness, see the beauty hidden underneath!

Because the beauty makes it so worth it ya’ll.

{so if you are scared to adopt, but feel the calling, don’t let the difficulties stop you, they will only make it so much sweeter}

All that to say, this blog isn’t just about the hardships, or just about the happy pictures you see – it’s about both because I believe the most miraculous beauty is that which comes from hardships.

And this little boy?

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HE is worth it all!

So, what have we been up to lately? Mainly breaking up fights and trying to parent double two year olds. It’s been draining at times, but we are starting to see some improvement!  I am thankful for an iPhone because I have a camera ready to capture those rare, getting-a-long moments. Like when they ride their bicycles together..

baloons and bicycles

See those cute balloons? Our sweet neighbor, Claudia, brought them to us. She also took the time to clean our messy house for us while we were in China. Let me tell you, it was SO nice to come home to a clean house! We have grown to love their family and are so thankful for kind neighbors.

bicycles winter bootsAnd…. Max has no fear! He will roll down the street on that bicycle like it’s a Harley!

Here they are experiencing their first snack time together. I think this was the first full day home. The looks on their faces both read something like “who is that kid on my territory?!”

snacktime

We have celebrated daddy’s birthday with his donut cake tradition! And no, he didn’t turn “0” I just couldn’t find any candles in the midst of jet lag…

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And here we are celebrating my birthday…

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And we have experienced a ton of playground trips and even went to the State Fair as a family of four!

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Haha – Max’s facial expression reveals how he felt about the fair. I don’t think he liked that he wasn’t tall enough to ride the rides. Landon on the other hand LOVED riding his first roller coaster all.by.himself.

Max fair blog daddy line fair happy one month playing at the park

And we have been spending a lot of time at home too…for the first week as least!

funny faces blog getting into mischief messy food

We have learned that “cocooning” (staying at home for about 6ish weeks so your child will connect with you) is individualized. Some kids need it for attachment and some don’t. In the case for Max, he is very attached to us and is a very social little fella. We haven’t traveled overnight yet and have only recently left him in the nursery at church alone (after staying with him for the majority of the time).  I believe every child, adopted or not, is different. For Max, and mommy, doing full blown cocooning wouldn’t be the best situation.

So, all in all, we are  slowly getting into the swing of things as a family of four. From people asking how they can pray to us, friends taking Landon out on “dates” and others providing meals for us, we have felt very loved and are so grateful for everyone’s support!

Family of Four

I’m not gonna lie, the trip home was a mix between excitement and anxiety. I so wanted to be home to be with Landon – it felt so weird being away from him for 19 days (I now have a new respect and sympathy for people who are in the military and have to be away from their family) and we were ready to be a family of four in our own home. Living out of a suitcase and in a hotel room was getting old and we were ready to have Max in a place where he could run around and be a two year old. BUT, the anxiety about traveling for 30 some hours with a two year old was there too. Max is a bundle full of energy and had already let us know on a  previous flight he was not a big fan of flying. So, through lots of prayer and encouragement from friends, we pushed through and made it home!

airplane

Was the flight easy? No. Did Max sleep? Not really, just about 2-3 hours. Did God give me an extra bit of patience and peace to get through it? YES. There were some tantrums, but for the most part we let him just be his silly little self, throw lots of food on the floor and bang the tv screen on the seat in front of him. Yep, we were those parents, don’t judge. Some of the best advice I received: you are never going to see the people you’re on the plane with again.  Did every ounce of my people pleasing self want to get up and apologize to everyone around us and try to make Max sit quietly beside us? Yes. But I didn’t. I knew I had to let it go and let God get us through it. He did, and somehow through it, I think some people were blessed by our little tiger…like the elderly lady he led hands will on the last flight home or the people he played peek a boo with during layovers.

airport

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airplane

And the best part? Those 30 some hours got us home to Landon and some pretty amazing friends!

home

Yep, you can tell we are pretty exhausted here. But look at the excitement in this little guy’s face when he got to hold his big brother’s hand for the first time…

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Yeah, he thinks Landon is pretty cool.

Check out this video. I think it says it all!