Friday, March 30, 2007

What a difference a day makes

JM is sleeping through the night and not even waking up once (or at least not crying). What was the difference? The doctor found 2 parasites and JM started taking medications to get rid of them. I thought that might be part of the problem when I realized he was waking up right before using the bathroom. Poor guy. He seems much happier now.

Our separation anxiety is also much better. He will now let me go outside to let the dog in or get the mail without crying. He seems to finally understand that I will return. He still prefers me over other people and that is the way it should be. I am just happy that he now trusts that I will not ever leave him and he is safe here.

JM has also learned that sharing food with the dog is fun. What amazes me is that the dog will never steal food from JM and waits patiently for JM to decide to share. The dog is also very gentle and never runs too close to JM. Yesterday I found JM using the dog as a pillow. I guess the nurturing instincts are coming out in the dog. Now if I can only get JM to be nicer to the dog and cats.

We seem to be settling in well with most of our toughest days behind us. JM still wants cuddling but he is still a baby. It has been so much fun watching him grow and learn the past couple of weeks. I can't imagine life without him.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Separation Anxiety

Most toddlers have some healthy separation anxiety. Adopted children can have it more severe. We are still fighting with a fear of abandonment and anxiety. It is hard to know exactly what he is thinking but it is clear he is upset when he cries if I just step outside to get the mail. Our biggest problem seems to be after bedtime. JM will initially go to sleep without any problems. He wakes up about 6-8 hours later and seems to be afraid to go back to sleep. I try to rock him and put him back in his crib but he panics. So, instead I eventually move him into my bed. That seems to work well as long as he is close to me and I am facing him. If I roll over and turn my back to him, he wakes up screaming.

I know some children who have been adopted as young toddlers and continued to have separation and abandonment anxiety for years. I also know from watching them that it will get better. It has only been a week and he has the right to some fears. After all, his whole world has been turned upside down. I will continue to work with him to get him to trust that I will be there in the morning. Some nights it helps to leave his bedroom door open. Other nights we just need to sleep together.

A special thanks to all of our friends at church. We attended for the first time yesterday and it was a learning experience. JM really enjoyed meeting all of you who were there. He did get a little overwhelmed at times but seemed to enjoy it for the most part. I did learn that I will bring 2 toy cars for the cry room. JM just isn't good at sharing yet. He also really enjoyed the nursery for about 15 minutes. I am sure that as time goes on, he will feel more comfortable there. He really does miss being around other children.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

All the other mothers were right

All of those experienced mothers were correct. I do worry about my child's health but I am also more willing to take short cuts. For instance, this morning I did not feel like making breakfast. The solution? A pop tart (something I can't even believe I bought) with a banana and a cup of milk. The banana and milk make up for the pop tart right?
JM and I seem to have had our adjustment melt downs and are moving on with our lives. He cried for over 2 hours on Tuesday with this far away look in his eyes. I am sure he was grieving his old life and friends. Yesterday, he was doing better but I needed a break. I finally let my dad babysit for a few hours. I think the big thing is that we both need a break from each other once in awhile. Since attachment happened quickly and he seems to be securely attached, a babysitter once in awhile won't hurt.
Well, I better go clean the pop tart and banana off the computer since he helped me type while eating. Oh, the things I never thought I would allow.

Monday, March 19, 2007

We are home!

We finally made it home yesterday (Sunday). We missed our flight in Washington DC and could not get another flight until yesterday morning. We spent most of the day in airports waiting for delays. By the time we arrived home, everyone was exhausted. It turned out well though. We are home safe and adjusting well.
The above pictures were taken in Ethiopia. The top one was taken at the farewell ceremony at the orphanage (Care Center). The farewell ceremony was last Wednesday and when I took full custody of JM. The bottom one was taken shortly after I met JM the first day I was in Ethiopia. He was a little shell shocked but attached quickly.
Bonding is continuing to go well. JM looks for me for comfort and likes to make sure I am watching him. He has normal toddler needs for independence while still making sure I am nearby. The reports I received on his personality were correct. He loves to smile, laugh and babble. He appears to be on target developmentally and things are going well. I would love to write more but I am exhausted. JM is finally asleep and I think I will head to bed myself.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Things are going great

I spent a full day with JM today. Things are really going well. His whole face lit up when I walked up to him today. He kept checking to make sure that I did not leave the room and cried when I dropped him off at the Care Center tonight. It was very difficult to take him back but I feel it is for the best. We are going to a dinner show tomorrow night and won't be able to take him. I plan to take custody on Wednesday night.

JM is a good eater. He ate lasagna at lunch today along with some banana treats, 2 cups of milk and 2 glasses of water. He loves fruit, milk and water. He tries to play with the older children and loves to smile and look cute when he is in trouble.

We will be returning to Wisconsin on Saturday. I can't wait to post new pictures at that time.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

JM is beatiful!

We arrived in Addis Ababa last night and are very tired today. I met JM today at the Care Center. He is a very happy and beautiful child. So far attachment has been going well. He has already given me a hug and cried when I stood up to leave. His favorite toys are cars. Of course, that is one toy I didn't buy him. I guess I will have to when we get home. Things are going well and I will update when I return home next week.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Looking back with 2 days to go

I guess you could say JM was officially no longer an orphan when the adoption decree was final. On the other hand at 17 months old, he only knows that his mother is not there yet. That is changing in just 2 days! I will actually meet him in 4 days. I have the option of waiting until Monday to meet him since we are travelling south on Sunday. Yeah right! I can't wait that long!

I have a hard time believing this adoption journey is almost done (not the child raising or family journey). It seems like ages ago that I was crying because I just couldn't find the money (last March). Then came the home study which felt like it took years to complete (really it was just 2 months) and then the wait for a referral. I knew in my heart that my child was a waiting child I just didn't know where to find him. I will never forget the joy I felt the day I found him on the waiting child list. I danced up and down the hallway shouting "It's a boy!" to my dog. Of course, my dog jumped up and down with me. She didn't know what was going on but it looked fun to her!

The wait for travel has definitelly been the easiest for me. Although I was anxious to get through the courts and receive a travel date, I knew it was coming. I had some anxious filled (a few panic filled) moments but over all have just felt excitement and joy. The next most joy filled moment was when I got the call that my case had made it through court and JM was officially mine. I don't think I could possibly be happier than I was when I received that call or when I found my son. People kept commenting on how happy I looked after announcing he was mine!

I am sure that the next few weeks will be full of moments of joy and frustration. Hopefully, not too many feelings of panic. I now have all of my paperwork ready to go and am just waiting for the airplane to leave. I look forward to that feeling of pure joy I will feel again when I meet my son. It doesn't matter if he screams and pulls away or smiles and laughs (I am hoping for smiles and laughter). He is mine and that is enough to bring joy to my world.

If I can post in Ethiopia, I will. If not, I look forward to posting and introducing JM to everyone when I return. He is growing up so fast! I didn't know I could be so proud of a son I haven't even met yet.

JM Mommy is coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 2, 2007

6 days to go!!!!

I can't believe I am leaving in just 6 days! I have finished packing my carry on and am now focusing on the house. JM's quilt will be close to finished and usable when we return. I may not have the backing sewn on when we return but should be able to finish it quickly then.

I had my last day of work in the main building yesterday. I fixed a couple of small problems with my FMLA paperwork and cleaned out my locker. I do not have to look at that locker again for 13 weeks! I still have 2 days of work left next week. Monday I work in a smaller building in a different part of the city. Wednesday I have training all day. One of the women at work wanted to go celebrate Wednesday night after work. I thought it sounded like fun except that we don't get off work until 11 PM and I have to leave for the airport by 7 AM. I think my days of partying after work are over. Oh, well. JM is worth it.

There is only one thing left making me nervous. That is the letter from WI giving me permission to bring JM back here. It is a requirement of an interstate compact in adoption. Since my adoption agency is licensed in MN, I have to have permission from WI to bring JM here. It sounds pretty silly to me. I purchased a foreign adoption bond, had the bond, my home study and $75 sent to them. Now I just need to have the birth certificate and adoption decree emailed to them. We have the birth certificate but the adoption decree is not back yet. We had to have something fixed on it. It should be here any day now. I'm not too worried. If the decree is late, the state can email the letter to immigration. At least they have a file started on me.

This weekend I am getting the immigration paperwork and tax returns copied and cleaning the house. Next week I will shampoo carpets and install carseats. Then I am all ready. It's almost time!