Monday, November 28, 2011

First Family Picture

It is super pathetic that the kids have been home for 4 months and this is the first family picture we have. I have zero good excuses, but lots of bad ones. However, we finally got one, and this is the best of the bunch, and therefore will be our Christmas card picture as well.

I hate to admit how many shots it took along with several people yelling the kids' names so they would hopefully all look at the camera at the same time.

Without further ado, here is the updated Nelson clan pic:

We also put up the Christmas tree yesterday. This went okay. Ava and Owen loved it and had a good time, Kembia pretty much ignored what was going on and Moyz cried almost the entire time because we kept having to take breakable ornaments away from him, and then the one soft ornament I gave to him to play with, Owen took and hung on the tree. Poor Moyz, he came crying to me and talking in the saddest voice ever and when I saw his little ornament on the tree and gave it back to him he quit crying immediately. They do seem to like it all lit up though.

And then, when we were decorating, Truitt decides to do this:

And since Owen dropped the busted soap squirter down the tub drain and the tub now backs up anytime someone uses it and we haven't had a chance to disconnect it from the basement to pull it out, we had to clean him up in the kitchen sink. Somehow baby poop seems less gross than say, Kembia and Moyz poop. Still, I am not a fan of cleaning up poop in the area that food is. Of course, with three kids in diapers, pretty much every area in our house is a poop area!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green Card

Moyz's green card has been annoying to me to say the least. It hasn't come in the 4 months since he has been home and we have had many calls to USCIS and opened up a couple of formal inquiries into the matter. None of this has helped at all, and they always say call back in 30 days if you don't hear anything. So I do, and they never know anything different.

The last time I called they suggested to make an InfoPass appt. at the closest USCIS center to my house, which happens to be about 70 miles away. We had our appt. yesterday, and I was hoping to finally put an end to all of the questions. (We did, but first I want to talk about the experience).

Anyway, Chris took off a couple hours over lunch to come with because I figured if I hauled 4 kids to an official meeting with a division of the govt. they wouldn't exactly appreciate it, so he and Owen, Truitt and Kembia stayed in the car while Moyz and I went in.

You have to go through security just like at the airport. There was one scanner for you to walk through, and one belt for you to put your stuff on and them to look at it in their little machine, but there were 6 cops available to help. It made no sense at all. Four of them just sat at the back of the room and watched the other two work. I kept beeping so I had to get wanded and which point one of the sitting 4 got up to do that. I had to put Moyz down on the floor so they could go over me and he clinged to my legs and just stared at the guy.

Then we had to go downstairs, where I kid you not, there was another cop whose job it appears, is to stand outside the door where you go in for information. I have no idea how she handles standing in one spot all day, or really what her purpose is because there are 6 cops upstairs, but I would probably shoot myself with my own gun if I had to just stand by a door all day. Meanwhile I am thinking that it appears quite excessive and a giant waste of tax payers money to have all of these people employed just standing around and doing nothing. Plus, there was another cop in a different part of the building who sat in a chair all day. No computer, book, nothing. Just sitting in a chair. I sincerely hope that their pay and benefits are good because how else you could handle a job like that all day, every day for your life? Meanwhile, most of me is thinking no wonder our country is in such huge debt, here at this one center alone they have 6 extra people we are paying for that aren't necessary...

Oh, I also forgot to say that I had a camera in my ginormous baby bag I wasn't aware of, so when they found it in the scanner I had to go back outside to put it away and stand at the back of the line to go through security again.

Anyway, I am getting side tracked. When we finally got to meet with the agent, he said that he can find no reason for Moyz not to have gotten his green card. There is nothing in the system to show any concern at all. He was going to open up yet another inquiry to try and find out what was going on. I asked if there was someone I could talk to at the Texas Center who deals with green cards, and he said no, that they do things so different that there wasn't really anyone to talk to. For real? Maybe they should let one of the 6 sitting cops go and hire someone who could help...

Right as we are leaving he asks if we are in the process of readopting. I told him that we have court soon. To which he tells me that once we readopt we don't need the green card anyway to apply for the cert. of citizenship, so in essence, we don't need the green card at all.

Why couldn't someone have told us this at the beginning? you know before we wasted countless time on the phone, driving 140 miles round trip and Chris taking time off work all for nothing? At least I had an answer to the long green card saga, but it did little to bolster my confidence in our govt. More things have been botched in our paperwork with the govt. then I care to admit. If you are in the middle of an adoption, or even considering it, make sure you follow your paper trail and know how things are going at all times. One full year after we switched from Ethiopia to DRC, the visa center still had us registered as adopting from Ethiopia, we were trying to set an embassy date in Kinshasa, and they said they didn't have any Nelson's adopting from DRC with our name. even though I was holding in my hand while on the phone with them the confirmation that showed us switching countries over a year ago. This took a LONG time to straighten out, and we wasted several weeks with this. Then the embassy said our fingerprints had expired, they had but we had also renewed them like a month prior to this.

I guess the good news is, is that our kids are home and doing well. And it is amazing how quickly you forget all of the things that caused pain or were problems, and this is definitely a good thing! Still, I am not sure how families can do the whole adoption process again and again, one time for us was enough stress to last us a million lifetimes!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snow :(

Okay, I knew it was coming, it's not like you can avoid it here in the North. But somehow I had convinced myself that perhaps this year we wouldn't get any snow. Fat chance.

Last week it had briefly snowed but not enough to accumulate and only for a few minutes. Kembia and Moyz saw it and went ballistic about it thinking it was awesome and all that. And then yesterday we actually got a couple of inches so we put all of their gear on to take them outside in it.

Well, Chris put all of their gear on them and I left with Truitt to have an afternoon to myself that was sorely needed or I was going to bang my head against a wall.

Anyway, today we bundled them up again and I have determined that I am never going to get anywhere on time. Maybe if I start preparing an hour before I even have to leave I might just make it. Moyz looked at us like we were crazy when we tried to put mittens on him. he was not a happy child and threw himself onto the floor to complain. I don't imagine it will take too many cold days before he realizes that mom and dad know what they are doing when we cram his hands into a tiny confined space and now he can no longer grab everything and stick it into his mouth. By the way, I totally forgot that kids try and eat everything when they are little. That kid puts the dumbest things into his mouth but nothing seems to faze him.

Kembia is taking it all in stride for the most part. She is doing remarkably well. Her favorite thing to do right now is when I ask her for a kiss she gives me the cutest look ever and then turns her head away and giggles in this semi-evil sounding voice that she has whenever she thinks she is being exceptionally funny. She is actually doing that right now as she puts popcorn in her hair. I have no idea why she does this, but Moyz thinks it rocks too because every time he sees her do it he has to put some up there to. I would pay big bucks to know what those two are thinking.

Anyway, I hope to be better about posting pictures of the kids, but I have been lazy/crazy because I either take them and then can't find my camera after I misplace it for the millionth time, or forget to take pictures and then kick myself. Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution because I know that a blog is way more fun with pictures. Especially when the kids are as cute as mine!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Braving Playlands

We have mostly stayed away from restaurant playlands of any type since the kidlets have gotten home. There are several reasons for this.

1. They could only sit for the longest time and a child that can only sit in a playland with all of the other crazy children running around is a child who will get clobbered.

2. They resemble orphanages with all of the kids and adults around.

3. It was just too stressful for me

But yesterday some girlfriends and I went to the local Burger King playland. And we had a blast, Kembia and Moyz as well. I was definitely worried about how it would go with Moyz considering his penchant for just going to random women whenever he wants, but he did awesome. He played and every time he needed something or wanted some extra love he came to me. Every. single. time. He would bypass all of the other women who were closer to him and come to get his Momma.

Sometimes I feel like 4 months is forever and that he should just attach, darn it all, and then I realize how short of a time that is, and realize that he is doing pretty darn amazing for only being with us that long. There really isn't anyway to be totally prepared for dealing with attachment. You can read all of the books and watch seminars and meet with people who have experienced it, but when it is with your kids in your home, things are just different. A lot of times you don't even recognize what something was until you are passed it and can look back and go, oh yeah, that's what was happening.

And then I had my first experience with someone who assumed that I had a daycare. I took 4 of the 5 kids to Kohls to try and do some Christmas shopping, and when I got in one of the women who was at the front said "Oh, you brought your day care with you." I looked at her sweetly and said "Nope, they are all mine." She didn't really respond back. I have to admit that I was probably more bugged by this than I should have been. Actually, we have probably been quite fortunate with peoples responses to our family given that we don't exactly live in the most diverse town. I can think of 6 other black people. That's it. There may be more, but I only know 6.

Anyway, this was the first time that someone assumed they weren't my kids. Other people have asked if they were all mine, but no one has assumed that they weren't and said it out loud to me. I know, this is probably my issue and I will need to deal with it, and I am positive that it won't be the last time, or even the worst thing that will be said. But it still bugged me. Perhaps because I would never say something that out loud to someone. I may do what others have done and ask if they were all mine, but would never assume that they weren't. Oh well, have to get over it.

And to top it all off, Kembia had her first diaper yeast infection. I will be completely honest with you, I had no idea what it was. Cause guess what, they look totally different on black kids than what they looked like on my white ones. On Ava, Owen and Truitt a yeast infection was bright red, and had bumps all over, on my poor Kembia it was a pale pink on her lovely chocolate skin and I couldn't understand it. Plus a few of them had popped and I got way concerned. I even started googling herpes to see if it was possible that she had gotten it from her birth mom when she was born, since we had no health info. on her birth mom. First of all, never google health stuff. I don't know why I never learn my lesson. And second of all, if you do, and if you are looking for pictures to help you diagnose, they are all of white people and not any help at all. Plus, you probably should just stay away from googling herpes in general. Not pleasant.

So we took her in today and the doctor said yeast infection. To which I was happy because I laid in bed last night stressing about what my poor sweetie might have and didn't get a lot of sleep. Shouldn't be too hard to take care of.

That's what is new with us. Fun fun fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So I think that it is official. Moyz is definitely starting to attach. This is a wonderful thing. For the last two weeks he has been extremely needy of me in the evenings. Both Chris and I have noticed it and kind of wondered what was going on. We sort of assumed it was all of the teeth he is getting. But over the last week he has been almost frantic to get to me throughout the day. Very similar behavior to what Kembia initially did.

I am trying to muster up the patience necessary to deal with several months of him possibly never wanting me to leave his sight, although I don't think that it will be quite like that. He has the ability to walk into whatever room I am in and find me. We spend a lot of time just holding each other, and when he feels like he has recharged enough he will get up and go and play again. Sometimes he will play for awhile and sometimes he will leave and come back right away.

I was starting to regret spending so much money on the Ergo, but we have busted it our full force again, as I end up wearing him in the evenings as I prepare supper and things like that. Or just walk around the house with him on my back. Yesterday he fell asleep in it while I was folding clothes and all that jazz.

Of course, now that I know why he is exhibiting his behavior it makes me feel slightly guilty that I didn't have the patience for Kembia. But I can't change that, only go forward from here, I will admit that sometimes it is hard to be loving and patient when your children are crying and desperate to get to you and won't leave you alone even to go to the bathroom. Sometimes it drives me crazy that between breastfeeding and holding other kids I never have my body to myself. I really am not necessarily a touchy type person to begin with, so to have someone almost always melded to me has been a challenge all in its own.

But that being said, I am so thankful that he finally is getting the idea that I am permanent, someone that loves him and he is beginning to love too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Attachment Therapist round 2

Yesterday we took Moyz to his appt. at the U with the attachment therapist. Overall it went well and we were not surprised by her concerns and what she said.

When Moyz first got home, he was one of the silent kids that you hear about. He could only sit up on his own so if he tipped over he could not get himself back up into sitting, but he also wouldn't make a sound to let us know he had fallen. The type who you didn't know was awake in the morning or from naps because he didn't make a peep. We were dealing so much with Kembia because she was much more vocal and I was gong to go insane if we somehow couldn't help her with her issues. Moyz would sit in the living room and play by himself essentially for what could have been forever. And he never fussed.

He is NOT this way now. He very vocally lets us know when he is awake, when he wants to be held and when he wants something. He runs all over the house and looks for us when he needs extra time and love. But he still does go to almost any other woman which I have mentioned before, and that was why we decided to take him in to the therapist just to make sure we were doing everything we could for him.

Basically she said that she probably would have classified him when he first came home with an attachment disorder. She does NOT think that he has this now. She placed him on the relationship line where he is learning that I am mom and how to have a relationship with a parent. Incidentally, Kembia is also on this line, just much further along.

Our goal with Moyz is to help draw him out when he closes in and starts to do his lip sucking, and stomach rubbing. He does this when he is stressed, feels like he isn't getting enough attention and other reasons. We are going to focus on interacting with him to draw him out. It is as easy with him as taking a car and driving it up him and tickling him. He laughs and jumps up into our arms and starts talking and interacting a ton.

We also are going to keep going from the therapists suggestion, on not letting anyone hold him or feed him besides Chris and I and the kids in a pinch if we need it. Nobody else should hug him or kiss him as well. Another big thing is to protect him when we are out in public. Now I realize that I am his mom, and perhaps partial, but the therapist said it too so it hopefully won't look so vain! But Moyz is quite a good looking child, and thus people are always coming up to him (Kembia too) in public and talking to him and touching his hand and all that stuff. We are going to try and keep this from happening as much as possible. He may not understand that it's because he is so darned cute, but he does understand that if he flashes a smile or reaches out to strangers they will in turn give him the attention that he sought in the orphanage. Mostly we will do this by my wearing him in the Ergo on the front. I figure people will be less likely to put their face down by him and engage him when he is hanging on my chest. At least I hope so!

The therapist is very happy with his progress, he clearly prefers me to anyone and has shown much improvement. She thinks that he will progress very quickly like Kembia has. But that we should expect some behavior similair to Kembia's as he begins to understand that yes, he does love us and doesn't like to be away from us. we were definitely happy to talk to a professional and basically what she told us is what we had gathered from our own research, but it's things like protecting him more in public that I may not have thought about on my own.

I would definitely recommend a visit with an attachment therapist even if you think that everything is okay. It's much better to go before there are problems, then after.

I can honestly say that both of our kids have shown tons of improvement in the 4 months that they have been home. That really isn't all that long of time and they are already doing so much better.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Family Trip Take 2

Well we went back up to my parents house for the 2nd time since the kids have been home, and it went much, much better than the time before.

While there we got to meet with another family from my hometown who adopted from Congo, funny how small the world really is. The mom used to have my grandma for a second grade teacher, and had recently met my uncle at a dog rescue while he was getting a girlfriend for his dog Mac and they were getting another dog for their family. Plus the dad of the family is a teacher and had one of my brothers for sure, and possibly another. I even recognized him from when I went through the school system! Bizarre I know.

The kids had a great time. This family has one bio child, 2 from Ethiopia and one from Congo. Our town isn't exactly what you would call diverse, and our kids have not spent a lot of time around kids who look like them. They loved it. In fact when we were done, Kembia cried and held her arms out to the little girl who had been playing with her. It was pretty cute in a break your heart type of way. Hopefully we will be able to visit them again, even though their kids are much older than Kembia and Moyz, they are right in line with Ava and Owen and everyone had a blast.

Owen's tubes went in this morning. The whole procedure took about 15 minutes, it was super quick. And then on the way home he threw up into his special blanket from when he was a baby. Apparently this is pretty common but the hospital forgot to mention it to us and so we weren't prepared. Fun times.

But hey, the sun is shining and Chris took the day off for Owen and we are going to enjoy it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moyz and attachment

Moyz is an interesting one. While he shows good attachment to Chris and me, he will still go to almost any woman. He will walk to us when he is upset and actively seeks us out. Lots of amazing eye contact and kisses and everything else in that department seems to be going well. Whenever he encounters a man and isn't in my arms he shows good attachment and fear of strangers. But women, he loves them all.

Today at the clinic he walked out of the room, saw the RN who is a male, and made the fastest turn ever and ran right back into my arms. I am happy for that response, but wish that he would do that with women he encounters.

I am not super stressed about it, but am trying to balance all of my researching with a healthy dose of reality and am glad that we are meeting with the therapist next week for him. I figure it is better to be proactive then reactive.

Has anyone had this experience at all? I am assuming that he will go to any woman because of his time in the orphanage and all of his caretakers were women there. I am trying to get thoughts on other things we can do to further the attachment process with Moyz. We still do not allow others to hold him or feed him outside of Chris and I and the older kids, who rarely give him any food. I am not quite sure how to help him be appropriately reserved with people he doesn't know who are female.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You know how you are just too tired to do anything with meaning? yeah, that is where I am right now. After last weeks everyday go to a doctor, one yesterday, one today and one tomorrow, not to mention a 4 hour car ride coming up and ear tubes next week, I am running on a lot of caffeine. But not too much or it interferes with Truitt eating.

I don't even know how to balance my caffeine intake to not affect Truitt. Basically when he is fussing while eating I realize that I probably should lay off the caffeine. Not real good in practicality. I suppose the point would be to not get to that point, but no such luck.

Anyway, I digress.

Today we went and saw the attachment psychologist at the U. Not because I felt that we needed to see her, but just to check and make sure she felt that things were going well. It went great. We were only able to talk about Kembia because they have you do a lot of stuff while you are there, so we go back next week to talk about Moyz. But she said that Kembia is doing amazing, and that she doesn't see any attachment disorders. She said that she is impressed with how well Kembia lets me know when she wants to do things and that coming from an orphanage she would not expect her to be at that level yet. We talked a little bit about how she could see that transitions are hard for her, both on how we did things in her office and stories that I told her about. So our goal is to try and make transitions easier. It's a little vague, because almost everything is a transition, but if we are getting ready to leave the house, allow her some extra time and talk it through about what is going to happen, maybe have an animal or toy that she takes with when we go in the car. Another example is when it is time to clean up the toys, when I said lets clean up now she started crying, but when I asked her to hug the dolls and then put them in the basket she did it no problem, and then later cleaned up when asked without a fuss or the need to hug and make it easier.

We talked about a lot of stuff, but the overall message was she is doing wonderful, and she thinks she is moving and will continue to move quickly along the attachment process. It was all very good to hear.

Other than that, I continue to change about a million diapers a day. Sometimes it feels like that is all I do.