Monday, August 29, 2011

Let's be real about this

When I first started this blog I did it mostly to record our adoption process. I didn't really think that I would continue it after the kids got home. But then I realized the value of sharing what has been happening since then. A lot if it is just frou frou stuff happening in our household. But I know that it can have information that may be valuable to others that are adopting.

Right now I want to talk about how it has been going with Kembia. And while she has had a lot of really positive things happening in terms of attachment, she is apparently what others refer to as "insecurely attached". Mostly this fancy term is self-explanatory. What it means for us is that she cries, a lot of times uncontrollably, if I leave her sight. There are times when the crying is so bad she almost makes herself throw up, but thankfully that doesn't happen too often. There are also times where she doesn't mind it if I am out of her sight and will play with whatever toys are around. I can't seem to find any one thing or reason that sets her off into one of her fits. Sometimes when she is really upset, even just moving her from my lap next to me will cause her to freak out.

It is emotionally exhausting, and physically impossible with 5 kids to hold her all the time. I bought a sling that holds her on my back, but because she is so little it doesn't fit her well and she really doesn't like it. I am trying to bite the financial bullet and buy an ergo, but I haven't ordered it yet.

Last week when we were up in Bemidji it was very hard to deal with my mom and her thoughts on Kembia. She thinks that she was a spoiled little girl in the orphanage and that anyone should be able to hold her if they want to because "they are family". Let's just say that I had to repeatedly bite my tongue. And I do believe that it will be a long time before we go back up there. Both due to above reasons, but also it's just a lot of work to take the kids there.

Now,I realize that perhaps what we are dealing with isn't anywhere near the spectrum of those who have RAD kids, but it has been very tough. There have been a lot of times where Chris comes home and I am in tears because if I have to listen to more crying I feel like I might just go insane. I have guilt about not meeting all of the other kids' needs because I am so focused on one child. I have guilt that my 3 year old nephew knows all of his letters, and Owen can only recognize about half of them and will go to school in a year and a half, and how am I supposed to teach him with Kembia screaming and Truitt needing me? Not to mention Moyz and Ava. It has been a lot to think about and deal with.

I belong to a group on the web for people who have adopted from Congo adoptions, and it has been great to be able to ask questions and hear some responses on thoughts on what to do. I got one response that suggested the ergo and some other things to do, and then they ended with (summarizing here), "having a baby so soon after an adoption greatly increases the risk for a failed adoption, which I assume you already know, good luck with all of your babies". Now, I appreciate that this person responded and gave me some advice, I really do. However, I can't say that I appreciate the way that they ended it. First of all, Truitt was a surprise. A huge blessing from God, but it is not like we planned to have all of these kids at one time. And this person knows nothing about me or our situation. Secondly, while I am having a hard time with Kembia, we are not even remotely close to thinking about ending our adoption of her. That is absurd. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but if you wanted to give me that type of advice, at least start with it at the beginning and then end with something a little more positive!

I also got a response from a woman that I would like to share a little on. This woman't response truly touched my heart. I plan on printing off what she wrote to me and putting it strategically around my house.

Here are some thoughts:

1. God is sovereign and in charge. It is not an accident that we have all of these babies at the same time.

2. God says that children are a blessing, it doesn't mean it will be easy.

3. Often God puts us in places that leave us very dependent on Him. He gives strenth to the weary and increases the power of the weak, Isaiah 40:29

4. God knew what families our babies would be in, and what that would look like, even if we didn't

5. Give yourself some grace. I will not be able to do it all, nor will all be able to meet all the needs of all my children, and that is okay.

There were other things that this woman shared with me, but I just wanted to highlight a few and share with you. I am amazed at the fact that someone I don't even know would take the time to send me the email that she did. She will never truly know the impact that her response had on me.

Adoption is hard, and messy and totally worth it. I would appreciate all of your prayers as we adjust to being a family of 7, and for Kembia to feel secure in our family and to not be driven by her fears and loss.


  1. I don't know if you are familiar with or, but they have carriers featured every once in awhile for at least 50% off. There is also a classified section on babysteals where Mom's resell at the same price. It may be worth checking out! I got my organic ergo for $60!

    My heart breaks for lil Kembia and all that she must be going through. Poor thing. I know it's not easy for any of you.. especially if you have to listen to family members who are not educated on attachment or adoption!

    You may have already read it, but if not, I found this book to be the most informative on attachment and adoption. Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child
    by Patty Cogen
    It is an awesome source of information and can provide you a great deal of tools to use with Kembia. Perhaps you can get your Mother to read it too! ;)

    Hang in there Jessica, it will get easier and it's okay that everything else may seem to be slipping at the moment, as all those things will catch up too!

  2. I realize I don't know your whole situation either, but I honestly think your problems with Kembia will resolve themselves. When we first got home with our two babies, my husband and I were both home with them. When he went back to work, she work literally cry from the second he left until he opened the door upon coming home. She did this for the first 3 months. Every day. I noticed a difference if I held her all day, but that's just not going to happen. Long story short, it got much better. You can email me if you want more info.

    Also, that's a terrible thing for someone to say to you. Was it the yahoo list? They sometimes would give fairly bad advice.

  3. It's hard sometimes, receiving advice as well as giving good advice that is truly supportive. I've had arguments with well-meaning relatives myself, and I've been told I'm too "strident" when I try to correct relatives misperception about adopted kids. So, to my mind, if you managed to bite your tongue with your mom, that's doing pretty darn good!

    Unplanned pregnancies are tough, one of my friends had a couple of them close together, and everyone seemed to feel free to have an opinion about them..and express it to her. One person actually asked if she knew abortions were legal! Shudder. Shudder.

    As for the rest...Moms are generally their own harshest critics. Just my two cents.

  4. Hugs. You need a "mother's helper"... I'll be praying for some kind hearted person to come along to do your laundry, cook a few meals for you or even commit to helping pre-school your son. One that will respect you and help YOU. It might be a big request, but I will start praying for that person.

    I've had lots of those discouraging moments recently too... it is Satan. Don't forget it! He is cunning and will do anything to stop you from doing God's will and doing it well. And you know what? Truitt wasn't unplanned... he was planned, Kembia was planned and Moyz was planned... they were planned to be yours, all right now! How awesome is that. Girl you have been given a HIGH and nobel calling! God has entrusted you with SO much! He has faith in you and knows you can do this... With His help. Haha.. please give me this same pep talk in a month.

  5. Hi,
    I am in that congo group and i also thought those words were especially harsh. Having two bio kids close together I know it can be hard when unplanned. But now that they are 8 and 9 I can't imagine it any other way. I know life is tough now, but make it through this year and you will have it made as all of your babies will be best friends!

  6. Your kids are just beautiful! I think you are doing an amazing job. It just ticks me off how people feel they can be "anonymous" on the internet and say whatever they want, without regard to anyone's feelings.

    This is kind of hard to explain, so let's see if I can make sense of it! A friend of ours just adopted her little boy from the Congo in April. While we were at her house we were talking about blogs we read (we are going to be starting the process soon!) and I mentioned yours. She had been trying to find you and lost the address, apparently she works with your cousin (Jessie I believe she said?) and had seen Moyz and Kembia when she was in the Congo with her son. Small world! So I wasn't sure if you lived in our area (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). If you're close to us I'm willing to come give you a break, seriously!! I am between grad school and starting my job, just hanging at home. We love meeting adoptive families and it's been wonderful to follow your journey. I appreciate the realness!

    maryvscherer (at) gmail (dot) com