Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Month Reflections.....And Our First Family Photos :)

Could it really be possible that one month ago we stepped off the airplane with our sweet (very tired, very sick) little boy? Wow! Time really does fly. Is there any way to slow it down? :)

So, I promised that I would write kind of a reflective type post about our first month home, and it just so happened that I was also able to add our first family photos, thanks to my precious cousin Gina. As a gift to us, she took our very first family photos. What a blessing! She did a great job catching Caleb's cute smile :)

Well, where to start. This past month has been a blessed whirlwind....yep, that's a good way to put it! Well, let's start with our first week. Most definitely the hardest part of our first month home. Despite the trip home being long and hard, when we got off the plane in Kentucky, I thought to myself, "Hmm, this really isn't that bad....I wonder what everyone else was talking about when they said they were so exhausted". When we actually got home, I even stayed up the rest of the day, putting away our luggage and straightening up things. I felt fine, just a little spacey, if you will. Even slept pretty good that first night. The next morning was totally different- I awoke feeling completely exhausted, feeling like I could not pull my body out of the bed- it almost felt like I had weights attached. I do have Lupus, so I think that came into play as well in terms of energy. I realized the phrase "running on adrenaline" was exactly what I had been doing for the last couple of days- in a major way! Not only was I exhausted, I was beginning to realize that our life as we had known it at home was no longer going to be the same. Our sleeping was no longer going to be the same. Our eating was no longer going to be the same. Our leisure time was no longer to be the same. Nothing was the same! Hmm. You would have thought I would have figured this out in Ethiopia, or at least realized that adding a baby to the mix changes things. Well, in Ethiopia, everything was different because we were in Ethiopia, so change felt normal, if that makes sense. And yes, I had thought about how things would change. But I guess I just had not realized exactly how much change would come with our sweet son.

That first week, Caleb was wondeful, given all the changes he was going through and the fact that he was dealing with pneumonia. I, on the other hand, was an emotional wreck, I really was. I know this sounds selfish and awful, but I went through a grieving process of our old life for a couple days- mainly our "freedom" and independence. Couple this with exhaustion, and you have a little bit of post adoption depression going on. I was thankful for Caleb and so glad he was finally home with us, but at the same time I felt so incapable of being a mother, physically and emotionally. Thankfully my amazing husband was a rock during that first week, even though he was exhausted and adjusting as well. One morning my parents came over so we could rest a bit. Zack laid in bed with me and just let me cry in his arms. We called out to the Lord to help us during this time of transition. And help us he did!
Literally, with each day after that first week was over, I could see a difference in my heart. Notice I said my heart. Caleb had done nothing to provoke the feelings I had. I would describe him as a very "easy" baby. He was precious during this tough time. So funny, so happy (despite being so ill) a good sleeper, and a good eater. Thank God! I think he knew what a wimp I am, so he thought, "I better give this mom an easy baby" :)

By the end of week two, I could begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. I could see now I could manage to take the best care of Caleb, clean the house and cook dinner. During that first week, it felt like I was doing good to get out of bed and feed Caleb breakfast. I began to see how, as my sweet friend Anna Stager wrote on her blog, that I could love Caleb the way he needed to be loved because God had first loved me. That was really key to adjusting my thoughts and feelings. It was through the power of Christ that I could be a mommy. Thankfully, Zack was able to be at home with us full time for the first few weeks, and my parents and inlaws helped out as well- all true blessings!

By the beginning of week three- I think this is when things started feeling more comfortable. We read a couple of books about sleeping, and Caleb began going to bed on his own, wide awake, and didn't even mind! He even gave up his middle of the night bottle, and began sleeping all night long (for the most part)! What a blessing! I will never forget the first night we decided to try our "sleep strategy". I was a nervous wreck, and I really didn't think it would work. The basic method we used was to get Caleb ready for bed before he was too sleepy, do the same routine each night (read him a few books, rock to soft music and let him take his evening bottle, and put him down in his crib before he is asleep). So, the first night he cried. We went in after 5 minutes to console him. He kept crying. Went in after 10 minutes to console. He still cried. Went in after 15 mintues. He was still crying. I was ready to give up. We were almost through the 20 minute wait....and......silence. I remember thinking, "Is he okay?" I went in and checked on him, and he was in his favorite sleeping position, sleeping away. With each night, it took him less and less time for him to fall asleep, and now, we just lay him down, he looks up at us, rolls over, and that is that! Amazing! Not that sleep is everything, but a well rested baby and well rested parents can make a world of difference! We are very thankful! Caleb really started to feel comfortable in other areas as well- he began playing by himself, getting used to riding in his car seat and making short, infrequent trips to the store and grandmas house. He also started taking a few steps on his own! In every way, we were all adjusting and thriving! Praise the Lord!!

This past week has been even sweeter. Though it is a hard job and I still am worn out at the end of the day, I am enjoying being a mommy more and more! I love this little guy! I would even say I get jealous when he has too much fun with grandma or grandpa :) Caleb is changing so much! He is getting another tooth on the bottom, and he is most definitely walking on his own, though he does still crawl quite a bit. He is beginning to learn his daily routine, and he seems to like it. As he feels more comfortable with us, he is also beginning to test us more frequently to see what he can get away with. He still smiles most of the time when we say "No". That's a tough little smile to keep saying "no" to. He is also being a little more rowdy at dinner time. You see, C stands for "Caleb", but it also stands for "comedian". He seems to want to be the funniest at the dinner table. It is sooo hard not to laugh at all his faces. Some are so funny, some are so dramatic, and some are just so Caleb. He is hilarious. Really. What else...oh, there is so much. He really loves music. He love to stand up on his own and do the twist and clap his hands. He loves Boz (the green bear cartoon) and gets so excited when Boz and his friends sing. He also loves our dog, Pooh. He likes to kiss and pet him, and has recently began to give him his dog toy- how nice.

Well, this post has gone on much longer than I had planned. I guess if I could sum up the last month, I would just say: Great is thy faithfulness, oh God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with thee. Thou changest not, thou compassions they fail not. As thou hast been, thou forever shall be.

God continues to be faithful to our family. In the midst of our ignorance as parents, in the times when we are selfish, and don't deserve such a sweet precious boy. In the sweet times when Caleb just comes over and lays his head on my lap. In the funny times, when he sits in his high chair and makes us crack up! In the frustrating times, when he is fussy and really grumpy, and nothing seems to make him happy. In the precious times when you wish you could just freeze the moment, like when he walks by himself and is so proud he starts clapping..... when he blows mommy and daddy kisses. Great is your faithfulness to us. We praise you Lord.


Andrea said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! This sooooo describes how so many feel after arriving home. I think this post could help so many mommies know it is o.k. to feel "that feeling" after getting home, and to see that it DOES get better. Thank you for sharing your heart and I am so glad to see how this past month has been filled with so many blessings from the Lord. You sound great and only getting better!! What a great mom and dad you two are!

Jody Britton said...

What a great post. You aren't kidding ... Great is His Faithfulness...in the good and the hard, right?? And I love hearing what you've done with him at bedtime. That is HARD .... so kuddos to you momma! Oh...and you have a beautiful family! :)

B DuBose said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful, heartfelt post, Rebecca. Caleb is adorable and so lucky to have a sensitive, honest and God-fearing momma like you.

Travis and Lindsey's Ethiopia Adoption said...

Your family photos are wonderful. We are so glad that all of you are doing so great. Looking forward to following along on your journey!!