Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2 Months Home

Yesterday marked Noah's 2 month anniversary :) As I have been saying in these last few blog posts, "wow!" You just could not imagine the difference in this child!!! God is truly working through the miracle of adoption to transform his life!

Noah's language has exploded! He is now putting together 4-5 words at a time and saying phrases like, "What are you doing?" and "It don't work, it's broken" (we will worry about grammar later :). He also has began asking "why??" several times a day- well, to be honest, several times a minute :) We are so thrilled and thankful for how well his language is progressing. It is truly an answer to prayer and a testament to what a brave and resilient little guy Noah is, and how good God is!!

He is also really beginning to enjoy school and his teachers have told us that he is interacting well with the other kids , and helping them with their ABC's- amazing! He is also becoming more comfortable at church and interacting with the kids at church. He goes to children's church every Sunday and seems to really enjoy it.

He and Caleb continue to be best buddies. It is sweet to watch. They still have their "brother moments" very often, but I guess this is just the norm (according to my dad who grew up with three brothers).

We also have visited with the primary infectious disease physician at UK, and everything couldn't be better in that area as well. Noah has no complications at this time, is not symptomatic, and does not require medication at this time, though most likely it will not be too much longer before that will be a reality for him. When that time comes, it will be a big adjustment and a large responsibility, but nothing we can't handle with strength of God.
So for now, it is smooth sailing :) We feel extremely blessed to be where we are, and though we realize that Noah still has much healing and adjusting yet to do,
we are so thankful.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I think he likes me :)

What happens when mom leaves the room for just a second during a fingerpainting session- fingerpainting becomes facepainting :)

First day of preschool- he really was more excited then he looks here :)

Noah has been home now for almost a month and a half, and today, I really felt like we had a breakthrough moment in terms of attachment. Actually, it is the first time I truly, honestly felt like he liked me, just for me. Not because I was providing a need for him, like food, or playing with him, or helping him with something, etc. It just felt like he wanted to be with me, just because. Here is what happened- I was sitting in the recliner relaxing and the boys had been playing. Then, just out of nowhere, Noah climbed up in my lap and rested his head against me. Then he kind of just curled up in my lap. That's it. But that is huge! Trust me! I am still smiling!

Adopting an older child is so different than adopting an infant. One of the main differences is how you bond and eventually form an attachment. With an infant, it is obviously natural to hold them, feed them, do everything for them. It is necessity, and this necessity helps to form the attachment between parent and child. However with an older child who is independent and can meet their own needs for the most part, bonding and attachment must be much more intentional, and at times, creative. For our family, this has taken the form of reading books with the boys in our laps before bed, tickle time :), the boys wrestling with dad, etc. And slowly, we have seen progress with bonding and attachment. Today I think we saw a small return on the time we have invested into fostering attachment. And it was sooo worth it!

In this month's edition of Good Housekeeping, there is an excellent article written by Melissa Fay Greene, adoptive mom and author of the wonderful book, There is No Me Without You. The article shares the stories of two families and their experiences with non-infant adoption. It is such a "real" article. Nothing is candy-coated, everything is just put out there in the open for the reader. You may be surprised and horrified to hear that sometimes adoptive parents of older children "fantasize" about putting their kids back on the plane they come home on, or being able to turn back time. I would be lying if I said I had not had those thoughts run through my mind our first couple weeks home. It's not easy. It takes a lot of work, support, and lots of patience. But, just as the parents in the article eventually concluded, IT IS WORTH IT!!!! I can't explain to you the difference in Noah, even after a month. There is a new spirit about him, a new light in his eyes, like he is seeing life from a whole a new perspective. And for Zack, Caleb, and I, we have been blessed by this thoughtful, spirited, silly boy in so many ways. God has used him to teach us many things, and grow us in many ways.

After reading the article, I felt both refreshed and thankful. Refreshed because I could identify with some of the feelings these parents had experiened. Thankful because Noah has done incredibly well in the short time he has been home, and our experience could have been so much tougher. Noah is an amazingly strong, courageous and resilient child. But he still needs lots of love, compassion, patience, and understanding to heal from the losses he has experienced. I am truly honored that God chose our family to be the vessel to help him do that. I can honestly say that. Thank you God for your faithfulness, love, and mercy each day.

Noah did begin preschool last week. He was really excited about the "idea" of preschool, but when it was actually time for me to leave,, he did cry and didn't seem too thrilled :( I was very worried, and called back several times throughout the day, and was glad to hear that he did great after just a few minutes of me being gone. He did great the rest of the week, and his teachers said he interacted well with the other kids, listened very well, and followed directions well. Sounds great! Caleb has had a more difficult time than Noah, and has almost cried every day we dropped off Noah at preschool. He just wants to go soooo bad. That's pretty sweet :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Merry Christmas and A Happy (though flu-filled) New Year!

Merry Christmas! It was indeed a merry time around the Caldwell house! On Christmas Eve we spent time with my mom's side of the family, and then went to Bobby and Pap's house to open presents. After reading the TRUE Christmas story, the boys took baby Jesus from the Nativity scene and placed him in a drawer, so they could put him back on Christmas morning, went to bed with great anticipation of Santa's early morning visit, and even thought they heard Santa's reindeer "jingling all the way". Caleb thought this was sooo cool, but we think it actually terrified Noah :(. We awoke to a beautiful white Christmas, had a great Christmas and a wonderful time visiting with family and friends. The boys played and played and played until they could play no more. Nanna and Papaw Caldwell, along with the rest of the family in Ashland got a taste of just how wild and crazy these two boys can be :)

The only bummer was that the day after Christmas, Zack began feeling bad, and ended up getting the flu- today is the first day in almost a week that he woke up without a fever! I followed his example, unfortunately, and so did Caleb. Hopefully Noah's flu vaccine will protect him- so far, so good. Caleb is feeling better today, but we rang in the New Year with lots of coughing, sneezing and medicine!

Noah continues to feel more at home and is making strides every day. And we continue to feel more love for him as well. When we were at Nanna and Pappaw Caldwell's house, the two boys shared a bed- a first for them. I felt so blessed as I peaked in and watched them sleeping, side by side.

Next week is going to be a big week for Noah, as he will begin preschool, four days a week at the elementary school just behind our home. This was a decision we spent much time considering and prayed very seriously about. We were concerned that it could be too early, as he will have only been about 6 weeks when he begins preschool. However, he has adjusted extrememly well, and when we spoke to him about school, and when he witnessed his brother attending "school" (really Mother's Morning Out at our church), he seemed very interested in going. Several other professionals, such as the doctor at UK's adoption clinic, our pediatrician, teachers, and fellow adoptive parents also encouraged us to "try" preschool, as in the end, we could always remove Noah from preschool if it does not go well. We are praying that preschool will help Noah with acquiring English, as each school district is required to provide non-English speaking students with assistance. We also feel preschool will be helpful for Noah in terms of socializing with children his age, and with providng him a structured and stimulating environment.

Below are a few pictures of our exciting holiday time (minus the flu :)