Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Abraham's First Haircut

I put it off as long as possible.  By the time I decided it absolutely needed done, I was having to do his hair at least 3 times a day (after each time he slept) in order to have it look kept.  Every time we left the house I had to redo it and then just sitting in his carseat messed it all up again.  It was becoming a battle.

The problem wasn't really the length.  The issue is that he had SO much hair at birth, that when his older baby hair started growing in, he had two definite textures of hair going on at the same time.  The top half of each hair was only slightly curly and fought staying curled, while the bottom half was growing in much thicker, courser, and curlier.

So I did it.  I thought about taking him to a barber, but decided to try my hand at it first.  It really was much easier than I thought it would be.  He was less than thrilled with the idea of having to sit still for any length of time, and I ended up having to finish the cut with him standing facing backward on the chair.  Next time I will enlist Scott's help with holding him still.  Sharp scissors near a wiggly baby makes me nervous.

Here's his before (without me attempting to make it look nice).

And here's the after.  I cut about 2-3 inches off!  He looks so much more grown up now (and yes, I fixed that random stray piece on the right after I took the picture).  You can tell how pleased he was with this whole process.

In the end I'm really glad I finally just did it.  Taking care of it is back to being really, really easy.  A quick spritz and a little moisturizer every day or two is all it takes to stay looking nice.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April Showers

*Life is hard right now.  I have a lot I want to write about and memories I want to preserve, but we are just sort of surviving long days right now and by the time I have time to sit down and write, I just want to veg out in front of the TV.

*Scott is working 80-100 hours a week right now with no real end in sight.  We see him for a little bit in the morning, and maybe a bit before the kids go to bed.  But otherwise he's working.  If we're lucky, he gets to take a day off on the weekend.

*Abraham is teething.  And constipated.  And cranky.  He wants held all day long, but he doesn't just snuggle up.  He claws at my skin, bites me, and tries to pull my hair out.  Sweet little peanut.

*Annie is still in the full-fledged terrible twos.  She is great when we can get outside or do something out of the ordinary, but with all this horrible weather keeping us home and indoors, the tantrums are making us all stir-crazy.  Yesterday she took a salt shaker and covered the entire living room with salt while I was making dinner.

*I'm tired.  Taking care of the kids 12 hours a day on my own is long and hard.  I don't sleep well at night when Scott isn't here, so when he doesn't get home until 2 a.m., we are both exhausted the next day.

*Two tired parents + normal toddler and preschooler behavior is not a very good mix.  Patience runs very, very thin.

I don't really want a pity part though, although I sound like I do.  The reality is that we are in a season where articles like this are what hold me together.  So I read and I remember that God will sustain us through this time.  I listen to music like Sandra McCracken and give my soul rest.

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What Open Adoption Means For Us

On a fairly regular basis I'm asked whether or not we talk to Abraham's birthmom (K - again this is just how I refer to her online, she has a real full name that we use when we talk about her in our home).  Sometimes I'm asked if I ever talk to his mom and I have to stop myself from saying like, "well, I try not to talk myself, at least in public."  I don't think people would appreciate my humor, or snark.

I also get asked what it's like to be in an open adoption.  And while I will happily tell of our experience, I don't really think you can get any idea of what open adoption is like from just one family's perspective.  Just as every relationship between two humans is different, so is every relationship between adoptive and birth parents.

But I will say that it truly is a relationship.  It's not like a legal or business agreement (for us) where we agree to contact on certain days or times and send x number of pictures and a letter x times a year.  Relationship doesn't work that way.

Per our open adoption communication agreement (a form K filled out specifying how much contact she wanted), the first 6 months we sent her pictures once a month and will send her more on Abraham's first birthday.  That's been the only formal part of our communication though.

In real life it looks like it would for some with a close friend of family member who lived several states away that you wanted to keep in touch with.  She sends me texts.  I send her texts.  Sometimes its a few times a week, sometimes several weeks pass and we don't hear from one another.  She will ask for a picture or video, I will take one and text it to her.

Most often times our chats (almost exclusively via text message) are just about what Abraham is up to.  How he's doing, any new milestones he's hit, and funny new things he's up to.  She will also ask how the girls are doing or what our family has been doing.  I like to hear about her and her kids are doing, how work is going for her, and what's happening in her world.  I keep all the pictures she sends me of her and her kids for Abraham to have some day if he wants them.  But also, I keep them so that he sees that we value K in our home and see her as an important piece of his life.

It's to the point now, that if I get a really funny picture of Abraham, Evelyn will ask me if I'm going to send it to Miss K.  She's starting to wrap her mind around who K is and what she plays in our lives.  I've even had to walk her through some questions when she asked me one day where the mommy is that she grew in.  For the record, this wasn't asked in any distress.  She just came up to me one day and asked me out of the blue and seemed just as content with the answer that she grew in my tummy than she seemed with the idea that she had grown in someone else's.

I will add though, that the conversations aren't always easy with K.  There is some inherent awkwardness (although it has lessened with time) based simply on the fact that our son is also her son, though not in the same way.  Sometimes I feel the need to defend myself even though I know I don't really have to.  Sometimes I chose not to share things that I might share with others because it makes things complicated (for instance all the medical scares and such we've been through with him).

In the end though I am thankful for the relationship.  I'm glad that when Abraham does something new and exciting or I have an adorable picture of him, I can share it with someone who will be just about as excited about it as I am.  Someone that shares a deep love for my son and is thrilled to see him growing and thriving.  I don't feel like I share the role of mothering with K, but I do share in loving him.  And that's good for all involved.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Accepting Help

I'm so thankful to see Spring returning to Kansas City.  A snowstorm came in the day after the official start of Spring and that was so hard for my heart.  I love feeling the earth warm up, the plants come alive, and being able to escape from the confines of our home without bundling everyone up against the elements.

In the midst of the coldness of winter while struggling with my usual winter blues, I attended a meeting with a group of people from our church about how we could be making a positive, concerted effort to improve the current state of our school system.  Having a background in education (I used to be an inner city 8th grade school teacher), this sort of thing gets me charged up.  The combination of that energy and my usual struggles with having a high needs child who doesn't allow me much of a break, led me to feel a strong desire to sign Evelyn up for school.  I came home and talked to Scott about it.  He talked me down, but also truly listened to what I was saying.  What I was really desiring was two-fold.  I have a strong desire to see the schools around us improve for the sake of our neighbors and friends.  Also, I just feel burned out.

The answer to these things, for us, does not involve putting Evelyn in school.  I'm not sure what the answer to the first part of my desire is, but I hope that as our children grow I will be able to more fully look into that.  But the answer to the second part was really quite simple.  I need a break.

So, Spring is bringing a change to our family.  Our lovely next door neighbors are going to live abroad for a year and are taking their 5 children with them.  Their oldest two daughters have been the girls' babysitters for a while now and both Evelyn and Annie ADORE them.  They watch the kids every Tuesday night while we lead a small group of people from church.  I needed to find someone new to fill that role, and while I was filling it, we decided that whomever we had come at that time would also come one other day during the week to give me some respite.


My soul said that, I'm pretty sure.

I found someone who feels really good for our family.  She starts this week and I'm pumped.  While interviewing her she asked about my expectations, and it was all I could do to not just say, "If you could keep them alive while I disappear for a bit that would be lovely."