Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A New Normal

I’ve had a few people ask about how things are going, and I realized it’s been far too long since I’ve updated our blog.  We have been busy and happy.  But we have also been stressed, emotional, exhausted, and it’s been difficult to put an answer to the question “How’s it going?”.
Keem is adjusting very well.  He’s a happy boy, who is fitting in with the family so well.  He starts every morning with a big smile for me, snuggling his new blankie and yes, still sucking his thumb.  Lately Keem and I have been having breakfast alone together, while the rest of the family sleeps.  He chatters away as if we are having a serious conversation.  Half the time he still has his thumb in his mouth, and I don’t understand a word he says.  But when he takes time, and has his mouth free his vocabulary is pretty good.  He says all the kids names, mommy, daddy, yes and no, animal names....he knows a lot more than he says and he’s always surprising us.  He loves playing with toys, and especially when the other kids play with him.  He doesn’t like being alone and so when the kids are busy he will follow me around, usually wrapped to my leg.  He laughs a lot, and has a very mischievous personality.
Slowly he is learning his boundaries, and also learning to be obedient.  One of his biggest challenges has been listening.  We are trying to teach him that when we say his name he can’t ignore us.  At first it felt like all I was doing was saying “no Keem please don’t touch that”.   I was spending my entire day following him around picking up broken things, and it was challenging.  I had to remind myself constantly that I can’t have the same expectations I would have had with the other kids at that age.  He would play in the garbage, toilet, color on the walls, climb onto the counter and grab glasses, empty the knife drawer, and try to leave the house.  We found him wandering around at night and promptly bought a child proof door handle for his room.  Now he can’t get out at night and wander which puts our mind at ease.  He requires our undivided attention, which we expected.  In the moment, it is exhausting. I find myself praying at those moments, praying that God will allow me to be patient and not frustrated. Praying that I don’t feel bitter towards Keem for the way that he acts.  It’s helped me focus on being the kind of parent God wants me to be, instead of agonizing over the things I can’t change right now.  
After we got home, we went to see our families.  It was so exciting to introduce him to our big families, with lots of kids to play with.  He was very comfortable with them, and we were thrilled at the excitement and interest from our families. He already says “Nana and Gramma” quite clearly.
We did start to notice a habit he had been getting into.  He started calling all of our friends, and family ‘MOM”.  At first we thought it was just because it was easier.  But as we watched him, we saw him ask for things, and MOM became a person he could get things from.  So we have started trying to do more things for him directly.  It can be a problem when he goes from one person to the next calling them mom.  It means that he really doesn’t see me (the real mom) as anything different than any other person.  So we have been trying to reiterate that we are the important people in his life.
This has been easier to do lately because we have been under a small quarantine and haven’t been leaving our house.  A bit over a week ago we realized that the boils we had been getting in Guyana, were still showing up on some of us here in Canada.  So Derek went to the doctor and we got tested.  The tests showed that we had brought back a bacteria with us from Guyana.  So for the last week and a half I’ve been cleaning like crazy, disinfecting the house, washing bedding every day, washing floors with bleach, lysol-ing handles, and bathing the kids and ourselves in a special solution.  A few days ago we were told we weren’t contagious as long as we continued with the cleaning regime.  Derek went back to work.  We just put ourselves on a mini quarantine until we know for sure it’s gone.  Today we go to the doctor to get tested and I’m confident that it’s gone.  No one has shown any more symptoms and my house isn’t just clean it’s “Trisha and Elly clean” ;)
It definitely made the stress of having a newly adopted child that much more stressful.  We felt like we had so much more work than usual, and under normal circumstances would have been exhausted.  Keem being here, added a lot more to that and we will be happy when we can relax a bit.
We have also all gone through a bit of homesickness for Guyana.  We miss our friends there, and the ones who aren’t there anymore, but aren’t here.  We miss our rooftop chats with Whitney, Brock, Kalpna and Bharat, and the group of children with them all that felt like our family.  We miss the way of life in Guyana.  This was something I didn’t expect to feel.  One thing I really miss (and I’m not speaking for Derek here!), is the heat!  I loved the heat in Guyana,  I have never gone for so many consecutive days without feeling cold, ever!   Now that we’ve been back, I haven’t worn shorts since we got home.  It’s been jeans and long sleeves for me!  I’m not sure if it really has just been freezing here, or if my body has just gotten so used to the heat that a normal warm Canadian day feels different to me!
That is mostly what has been happening here.  We appreciate all of the people who have been praying for us through this.  I can’t begin to explain how much we need those prayers.  A lot of people might think “Oh good, you are home with your son, now it’s over!”, but in reality it is just beginning for us here.  God has been so good to us, and we are so thankful.  Even in the difficult times, we have found that through those difficulties, He shows us more and more how we need to be dependent on Him.  He’s really been teaching us to let go of so many things and although it hasn’t always been easy we know that moments like these make our relationship with him stronger!


Melinda said...

I'm so happy and thankful to hear how well you are doing! Thankful to hear that you are all "healed up"! You have turned into a migrant worker, Val! We always marvel at how they can stand to wear such warm clothes in our warm weather....:) You are the same! I haven't worn jeans or long sleeved shirts in months, so I can't relate...haha! Thanks for a great post, and praising God with you for such a great new start so far!

FamilyHighlights said...

Thanks so much for the post update. We needed a reminder to continue praying. God has given you both so much grace. Continue on "one day at a time".
Love Aunt Linda

Ineka said...

thanks for letting us know what's been happening! Happy that you're all better physically, and Val, your body temp will adjust me!! (might happen when you get those hot flashes) And, can you imagine the quiet when some of the kids head off to school? We are looking forward to meeting your new son.
Aunt Ineka

Marietta said...

So glad that he's adjusting well. In a way the quarantine is good for bonding. Keem will soon realize who the very important people in his life are.

Elizabeth said...

Have been thinking of you a lot and wondering how things were going. Although the cleaning and laundry part of the quarintine sounds very hard, hopefully it gave you some extra bonding time. I know from all my blog reading different families handle homecomings different ways but you have to do what works for you and your family and trust your heart in that. Please keep posting! I had chemo 7/8 today and in Mid-Sept start 5 1/2 - 6 weeks of radiation. Keep up the great work. I am so hoping to return to the adoption process after this ugly, harsh curve balk I've been thrown. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Lynn's Place said...

My goodness your house is really full of all sorts of things going on...yes its all new and everyone has to learn to adjust to each others ways...Keem will fit soon than you can imagine... its just getting to that comfort zone seems like a very long journey...with lots of prayers and strong faith from within the home I can see a happy bounty about to appear on the rest of the Niagara region...blessing to you all Slingerlands and when I'm on the mend hope to see the happy group again in church...will keep looking for any more updates I do enjoy them <((><