Day 30 – February 26, 2010 – Evening with Zayne

In our family we have a tradition where the kids get to have a date with dad.  Tonight was Zayne’s turn. Judie took Cynsha, Ke’ilani and Hendrick over to the Schoffield’s for a night of pizza and doing Cynsha’s hair. Zayne and I went the Nampa Rec Center for a night of fun. We started out with rock climbing. After climbing we moved to the pool for an hour of swimming, surfing on dad and tossing Zayne in the water.  We then moved the raquetball courts for a fun time playing raquetball. He’s ability to hit the ball powerfully is increasing. He’s still learning where the ball lands after hitting the wall. We had a great time!

Before heading home we went to Wendy’s for dinner. We both ordered Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers and shared a large fry and Rootbeer float. We had a great evening playing and visiting together.

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Day 29 – February 25, 2010 – Take Maternity Leave – Take care of you!

One of the things that I strongly recommend to new adopting parents, especially mothers is that when you bring your kid(s) home take as much maternity leave as you can. I recommend this for a number of reasons.

One you’ll want and even need to have the time to develop a relationship with your child. Remember it’s common that you don’t have an instant bond with your child. I know even with my bio children, when they were first born I expected this overwhelming feeling of love to gush forth. However, my initial feeling was more synonymous to “oh my goodness I’m a dad! Are you ready for this? (speaking of myself and my child)”.  Fear not love develops quickly. But I was surprised at my initial feelings.

Two, just like having a newborn, there is a period of adjustment for everyone. This includes parents. Schedules are rearranged. Sleep is lost. Helping with school work takes longer especially if they don’t know English. In our case, rooms are now being shared that weren’t before. You’ll find that both your adopted and bio children will need more if not constant attention. You’ll see a little jockeying for position – not any different than when a newborn comes into a home with a two year old child. Be patient, be gentle, be firm and be willing to open your heart to everyone.

Three, take a moment to rest. Find away to escape. Make time for an activity that is good for you-that rejuvenates your sole Soak in the tub, read a book, take a nap, exercise, go to a movie. Do anything that will help YOU invigorate your body and spirit and empower you for the next round.

Four, realize you’re not a machine. You’re not Super Mom or Super Dad. It’s ok to have a down day. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to feel like “oh what did I just do to our family”. It’s ok for your children to have those same feelings. The key is rallying around each other with the attitude of “It’s OK. We’re family and we’re going to build our family together.”

Five, get help. If you need help reach out to someone that can help you. Don’t think less of yourself because you need someone to talk to about your concerns, doubts, fears and even successes. Many adoptive parents think they are abnormal if they experience and kind of depression or self doubt. In  fact up to 65% of adopting parents experience some form of post adoption depression (see http://adoption.suite101.com/article.cfm/postadoption_depression) . We’ve been very blessed because my brother Chad and his wife Melissa are adoptive parents of three so we have a great sounding board. We also have a very good friend Amy Thompson who works with family issues as a social work with whom my wife can visit when needed.

Remember building a family is process. It takes time, love, patience, tears and a lot of work. But the journey is worth it!

Day 28, February 24, 2010 – The wonder of snow

This morning the kids woke to the wonder of fresh fallen snow. I was in the kitchen preparing lunches when Cynsha came into the kitchen and looked out the back door. When she saw the snow, her eyes lit up, her mouth opened in wonder and she exclaimed “Papa lenaj tonbe” – meaning it snowed.

The kids were very excited to rush through breakfast, get dressed and head out to school so they could play in the snow.  While waiting for breakfast Cynsha kept looking out the door, talking about the snow and acting as if she were eating snow.

Since Ke’ilani’s bus comes first I took her to school while Cynsha, Hendrick and Zayne finished getting ready for school. On the way back I interrupted a snowball fight and snagged the following photo of the kids waiting for the bus. Not much beats the magic of snow when your 8 – 10 years old.

Day 27 – February 23, 2010 – Sickies and a little comedian

A little comedian

There definitely isn’t a dull moment at our home. Devon has been sick for the past four days and it looks like Zayne is catching something. Yesterday I took Cynsha and Hendrick to Central District Health to review the TB Test they received last Friday. I’ve never seen a positive test before – nice and bumpy. Cynsha’s is about 10mm wide and Hendrick’s 6mm wide. The test shows they’ve been exposed to tuberculosis. We actually expected this since the CDH called us a week ago and informed us a caregiver at the orphanage was found to be with Tuberculoses.  Next steps? We wait for CDH to tell us how to proceed.

As to the rest of the family, we’re told not to worry because TB is only transmitted from an adult to child or adult to adult. This too will be a new adventure.

On a fun note –  kids will be kids – that’s what I thought when I saw Hendrick come out of the laundry dress in Cynsha’s nightgown.  I think he though himself quite the comedian. He was right earning a good laugh from everyone.

Day 26 – February 22, 2010 – Fun Family Home Evening!

Every Monday night in our home is dedicated to Family Home Evening.  It’s a time solely dedicated to the family starting at dinner. Monday is also Mexican Monday in our home so we enjoyed tacos for dinner. After cleaning up the kitchen and a short visit with Judie. We went down to spend the rest of the evening with the kids.

Family home evening consist of a family prayer, singing time (lots of fun songs like “She’ll Be coming Around the Mountain”, “Bring Home a Baby Bumblebee), a spiritual thought, games (charades, hide n’seek) and treats. The kids thoroughly enjoyed singing time and game time tonight. A lots of action and LOUD voice during singing time.  For games tonight we played “Bringing Down the House”, a game where each team rolls a set of dice and based on the roll constructs a house with trees, mailbox, dog and family members the quickest. We had such a good time setting the kids down for bed was like herding cats.  But, we sure had a great time. Now off to watch the Olympics with Judie.

Day 25 – February 21, 2010 – Quiet moments with Judie

Today I thought I’d turn my thoughts away from the children and to my lovely wife Judie. The past couple of weeks have been a literal whirlwind not leaving much time for Judie and I to just sit and visit together. This evening we were blessed with some quiet time to visit and enjoy each other’s company.

Amazingly we were able to get all the kids in bed my 9:00pm. We headed upstairs to our room to enjoy some quite time together. We fasted today for some of the concerns of our hearts. One of the things we discussed was how long should you continue to pray for a blessing especially when you still feel that you are on the right track. I came across some great direction in the book Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage in regards to this question that I shared with Judie.  On page 435 in the section “Ask, And It Shall Be Given You,” he states that “There must be a consciousness of real need for prayer, and real trust in God, to make prayer effective; and in mercy the Father sometimes delay the granting that the asking maybe more fervent.” This led to a great discussion about how we need to continually seek the Lord for righteous blessings and more intently draw our hearts to him. In doing this our prayers will be more effective and we will draw more closely to our Heavenly Father building a stronger, more intimate relationship with him.

Our discussion felt as if we were drinking at the well springs of life and a closeness to each other and God filled our hearts. A great way to end a day.

Day 24 – February 20, 2010 – Sometimes you need to regroup.

Even though today was Saturday it didn’t feel like much of a day or rest.  The day was cold and it snowed in the morning but didn’t stick. The kids didn’t really want to go outside but since they were punchy which each other I forced them outside just before lunch.

After lunch I let them watch Star Trek. But they seemed to be at each other over little things. Zayne particularly was having a challenging day so Judie took him out this afternoon so they could have some one and one time and he could help her. I took the rest of the kids and took them to the park. The goal being to expel any pent up energy and regroup as a family. It seemed to work because the evening was a bit smoother.

We also weren’t able to have Devon’s birthday party as he has been sick the past couple of days. We’ll reschedule in the next couple of weeks.