Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another approach

I would definitely call myself stubborn, even hard headed. Sometimes I would like to think those attributes are good like when I set my mind to doing something, I do it, no ifs ands or buts. Those attributes were helpful in the adoption process because as many already know, it can be quite daunting. Those attributes have their not so positive qualities too such as, I tend to not want to accept when I have to go another course, take another path, consider something other than what I'm already locked and loaded on.

Recently my husband and I have been coming to terms with the fact that we REALLY need to change our parenting approach with Nate. Like, totally throw out everything we know as parents specifically in the area of discipline and learn an all new ball game. Sounds fun, huh?! Not really. Lets see, our little guy has been with us since Feb. '08, that's 17mnths, and we have worked really hard at bonding, learning sign language, not to mention the physical issues with his cleft including therapies, birthing a baby and just the chaos of 6 kids. We, like many people newly parenting their adopted kiddo, fell back on what we knew. At the time we had 4 children when Nate joined our family so we most definitely had parenting experience and lots of experience with discipline. I know our experience with parenting was probably helpful but this little guy threw some stuff at us that we just weren't ready for. We fell back on what we knew and honestly, it didn't work. So why 18mnths later are we still basically doing the same thing over and over with the same disastrous results? The answer: we, and especially me, are stubborn and hard headed. We have been so busy we haven't taken the time to really incorporate new techniques into our parenting style.

I don't want to be too hard on us because we did the best we could but the reality is, our "best" is not the best thing for this situation. We are going to a great therapist for Nate and she has terrific ideas that we have been incorporating into our parenting style but we have not wanted to completely let go of what we know and move forward down a new path. We need to, the health of our family and especially of Nate depends on us seeking out an alternative way of discipline. Thankfully we are finally in agreement on this.

What are we going to do? Read, read, read! We have some great books, of course none of which I had before going to China, and we are going to get a new game plan going here. I picked up Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control by Heather T. Forbes and Brian Post and started reading. Bob picked it up and started reading. We like the gentle yet understandable approach to parenting kiddos that, lets face it, are damaged but thankfully can be healed. I took it to our therapist and she has read it and likes it too so it's where we are going to start.

We love this little guy and let me tell you, it would take one of our children to get us to go off the course we have been traveling. We're scared, we're excited. May God's blessings and grace be upon us as we venture forth.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What's up

We've been a busy group here. We had a great summer playing and visiting museums, schooling the kids and watching Isaac grow. What fun this little baby has been. Nate is doing very well. We started speech therapy this summer and got him into the child development center this Fall for school. He is in such a nurturing environment there and receives speech therapy once a week. We've already seen growth in the 2 short months he has been there. Just being in a different environment has really helped encourage more speech and vocalization.

We decided to keep the other kids home this year and give homeschooling a try again. So far so good. They were very excited to come home, I on the other hand was scared and very nervous. We decided to look back at our previous experience only to learn and really focus and the here and now. It's helping.

In the meantime we are giving serious prayer to another adoption. Here's hoping God will close doors if they need to be and give us peace and affirmation in His path.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's not all in my head

I realize many of my posts have been about Nate, but reality is he is always on my mind. We love him dearly and have come along way this past year but there is something there, something I can't put my finger on. I went to a counselor yesterday and just let it all out about our struggles with him. I felt so scared she would tell me "of course he has issues, he's an orphan from China, your expectations are too high" or that she would give me a list of things to try to modify his behavior. Let me tell you we have tried just about everything we could creatively come up with and I didn't want to sit there and be a know it all to her, "yep we've tried that one, yep that one too and it didn't work..." Instead at the end of my free flowing vomit of words spilling from my mouth as quickly as I could spew them forth she said "Oh my Katie, you need help with him, from what you are telling me there are big warning bells here. He needs to be evaluated by a child psychologist." I could have fallen off the sofa. "Thank you Jesus" I said to myself, "it's not all in my head" I have a professional here telling me that something is just not right with this picture. My feelings are a strange mixture of "oh sh*t" and "thanks be to God."

I just want to cry right now. The stress on our family, including Nathaniel, has been significant and we're ready for some help. My husband who is a pediatrician is a little leery about having him evaluated because he doesn't want him labeled. He sees kiddos all of the time in his practice who have been labeled/diagnosed with a disorder and I'm not sure if it's out of his sense of pride or his sense of protection. Maybe a little of both. For me I just want to know so we can move forward with a plan of action. Give us something to work with here 'cause we've got nothin'.

We pray every night, "dear Jesus please bless our efforts and fill in the gaps." Hopefully soon one of those gaps will start to be filled.

Monday, April 6, 2009


There have been times that I welcome Mondays. I see Monday as a chance for a new beginning, a chance to start anew each week. I like to plan my week, make my goals and try to accomplish them. The feeling at the end of the week when I look back at my list and see the majority of my goals accomplished is awesome and I feel like I'm living my life instead of just existing, succumbing to all of the external forces.

This past year my Mondays have been a struggle. I try to look forward to them as usual but get frustrated because they more often than not, end in behavioral issues with Nate.

Nate has been really making great improvements in his behavior over the past 6 months or so. The first six months after he joined our family were really, really tough for him and for us and we have worked very hard to help him adjust to a new family. One area though that is still really hard are Mondays. You see, he hates change. I mean really hates change. It totally disrupts his little world if something is out of order in it. It bugs him if a light bulb is burned out or if there is something on his bedroom floor before he goes to bed, or if the sheets are off his bed getting washed. Most of all he hates having his favorite person in the entire world gone, his daddy, and that happens every Monday. Bob goes off to work and the older 2 girls go off to school and Nate falls apart. He wakes up in the morning just sensing that it's Monday and is all gloom and doom. His behavior is just terrible, refuses to use the bathroom(control), is physically aggressive with Dominic, says no to everything, controls his food, on and on. He really struggles and it's he*l around here until Wednesday, then the heavens open up, the birds start to sing again and he is back to his happy, vibrant little self. The kicker is, I'm not. The first two days of the week are so emotionally draining that I'm still recovering and really trying hard not to be "ultimate disciplinarian mom" and relax into the family and the flow of our days. Thursday I'm back to normal then Friday is here before I know it, then the weekend, then the vicious cycle starts all over again. Yuck!

I don't feel productive at all. I don't even make a checklist anymore because I hate seeing all that I haven't accomplished. But really I have accomplished something. We are accomplishing love, security, trust and it's hard to check those items off my list. They are an ongoing checklist, forever. This little guy is trying so hard to love us and allow us to love him. To feel secure in our love and to trust that it will always be there.

So maybe Mondays aren't so bad after all. My checklist just needs to go by the wayside a bit longer because I am working on goals much more important than grocery shopping, laundry, organizing the kids clothes. I'm working on a family for Nate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snappin Back

So here I sit, 2 months after having Isaac, and I'm still wearing my maternity pants and it ain't because I love 'em. The old bod is just not snappin back like it used to. I guess that's what 5 pregnancies will do to you not to mention that I'm a wee bit older than I was with my first! I've actually lost all of the weight plus a pound or two but my muscle and bone structure still needs to find its way back home. I hope it does soon because I'm getting really tired of the same old pants .

As for working out, I just can't seem to get in the groove lately. It really is because I'm too tired from being up all night nursing my little nursling( love that baby) and I know from previous experiences that if I push myself and am not patient I will crash and burn. So now I am focusing on enjoying the moment and not stressing too much that I will have to don a swimsuit in say 2 months and take the kiddos to the pool. Scary. You'll be o.k. repeat, you'll be o.k.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Capturing the memories.

Recently, like yesterday, I bit the bullet and bought a new camera. I have been ogling other people's cameras and their beautiful pictures for say, 3 years now, and I think I'm ready to commit. Before I commit to something so expensive I have to sit and let it ruminate for awhile because I've purchased big $ items ie: my bread machine, sewing machine, wheat grass juicer etc... and there they sit unused. Oh, I used them alright, for about a week until I got frustrated and put them away where they sit now, all dusty and forlorn, taunting me. This time will be different! And I mean it! I am always seeing things and thinking, "that would be a great picture" and not to mention I would love to capture the memories of my kiddos, their little hands, toes, what they look like when they nurse, their mad face, you know, all of those little things that you have a really hard time bringing to mind when they are not right in front of you.

So I purchased a Nikon D40 with 2 lenses both of which I have no idea what I'm going to do with, but I'll learn. It seems like a really great beginners camera, not too easy, not too complicated. It has many great auto functions but I really hope I can challenge myself to stay in manual mode most of the time (I really have no idea what I'm talking about but it sounds good). I have absolutely no time to take a class but I have a friend who is a fantastic self taught photographer and she said she would help me out. This isn't my first digital camera, my last was a Canon power shot, I think, and I really don't like it. Fingers crossed on this one. Hopefully soon enough you'll be seeing beautiful magazine-like photos, all blurry around the edges and crisp in the middle (something to do with aperture, see I have a long way to go) in my posts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


For me as a mom trust is a hard thing. I especially have a hard time trusting other people with my children. I look at other mommies and they seem to have no problem sending their kids off, willy nilly with other parents, in their cars, at their homes. Do they worry about the same things I do, what will they watch on tv, will they see a movie that we wouldn't approve of, will they be on the internet, will they see people treating each other meanly in the home? I know this stems from my experiences as a child, many not good at all, and I want to protect my kids from all of those terrible things I was exposed to.

We spend so much time protecting their innocence. We guard their little hearts as best we can because we take very seriously the job/gift of parenting that God has given us. We want to raise His children to the best of our abilities and guide them the way He wants them to go. We pray the St. Michael prayer over them every night and God knows what they will be exposed to, but we still have to be vigilant in protecting our children and pray that they will bring to us the times their innocence has been bruised and we will help them through it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm tired

This sweet baby, Isaac, is our newest addition. He's 10 wks old today. I love him so much and could look at his sweet face all day. Apparently he loves me a lot too and could look at my tired face all day, and night too. I'm tired! Tired I tell ya! We do many things pretty well as parents, don't ask me to name them because I'm too tired to, but getting our babies to sleep at night is not one of them. It seems like at about a year to a year and a half we seem to get it figured out but by then I'm a total wreck, like check me into the nut house, sick to the core, crazed mess! We have all heard the saying, "if mama aint happy nobody is happy" and that is the TRUTH! So while I was busy being pregnant, managing the chaos of 5 kiddos not to mention a newly adopted son and his 3 cleft, ear tube surgeries I decided by golly when this baby came I would indeed get him to sleep through the night.

Here we are at 2 mnths and no sleepy through the nighty yet, aaarrgghhh!

O.k. here's my latest plan of attack for this conundrum as advised be the book Baby Wise; nurse, play, sleep, up to nurse again 2 hrs. after the beginning of the first feeding. I have never been a big fan of scheduling out a baby but man o man I need a little order here. A couple of things come into play, I hold him until he is drowsy then put him down not yet fully asleep so that he can learn the skill of self soothing. I will try to limit the use of the pacifier because he will become even more dependant on it for sleep. I will limit the use of the swing as seen in the picture below. I will keep a positive attitude and probably should cut out the coffee and chocolate (crying softly to self). Wish me luck. I'll update on the progress(see how positive I'm being) in a week.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Using his words

Yesterday was a very special day for me, our son said "mom" on purpose, to me, for the very first time. We have had Nate for a year as of February and have been trying so hard to encourage him to use his words. He has a few words, one being "ma ma," but has never used it in reference to me. His cleft lip and palate have hindered his verbal skills but he also really doesn't even try to speak. How nice it will be to hear him say "mom" instead of grunting or screaming at me when he needs something. Another milestone is that he actually chose me over my husband (his most favorite person in the world besides my dad) when he was hurt. He ran right past him and held his arms up to me. Wow, it's little things like that that make me smile and really help with bonding. I can't wait for more times like these with our little Nate.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Beginning

I've decided to try this blog thing out for myself for awhile and see how it goes. My hope is that this will be a great way to express my joys, frustrations and anything else that comes to mind. I have been following other bloggers for a few years now and have been so blessed by their thoughts and stories but I was thinking, the blogs I most enjoy are the ones that keep it real so that is my goal here, to keep it real. I hope keeping it real while blogging about the experiences of a family of 8 can bless someone else too. Here I go.........