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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Family Road Trip

So we had our first Nelson family of 7 road trip. Chris had to work up at the college in the town where I grew up. And since his work was paying for his hotel, combined with the fact that my parents don't exactly have room for 7 more people, we headed up with him. (I probably should mention that I sort of demanded we come with, not because I really wanted to haul that many kids for hours in a car, but because it's a little too soon for me to be solo parenting 5 kids after a birth and adoption!)

Apparently, our Dodge Sport Caravan was probably not actually intended to be used on road trips for a family with that many kids, even though it can seat that many people. We don't have a roof rack, or anything to tow behind the van, so we loaded all of the stuff that we needed to take with us inside. Around 5 kids.

Here is a partial list of the stuff we brought:

- two kid chairs with trays
- diapers for 3 kids
- wipes for 3 kids
- an entire duffel bag stuffed full of clothes for said 3 kids, can I just say I amazed at how much clothes 3 babies require? We need clothes for when they pee or poop through the clothes they are currently wearing, clothes in case it's cold, or hot, or medium, clothes for every possible scenario!
- Chris' bow. For real. Because he thinks he is going to have free time to shoot his bow in preparation for hunting season coming up with all of the free time he will have in between working, and 5 kids and visiting family. that thing is huge and takes up a ton of space. Read not very happy wife.
- 2 different types of baby slings to wear Kembia with for her freak out moments where she screams for ever if I leave the room
- clothes for Ava, Owen, Mom and Dad
- life jackets
-fishing equipment (another thing Chris had to pack)
- double stroller
- toys
- two lap top computers
- one giant bag that weighs a ton of chris' work stuff
- one cooler
- portable DVD for car that we packed but didn't use because with all of the stuff in the car, the kids couldn't actually see the screen

I would have taken a picture, but for reals, we couldn't find the camera after everything was packed. It was so bad that any time someone had to pee, we had to haul out all of the stuff down the main alley way to the back seats, or open up the back hatch and let whatever stuff wanted to fall out and have the kids climb over the seat. I am not even kidding. One of the first things we are going to do when we get home is find a good option for hauling all of the Nelson Essentials. We don't have those roof rack runner things on the top of the van to which you would attach a roof rack, so I am not sure what exactly we are going to come up with. But we do need to make it a priority. It is not conducive at all to traveling. One person saw us pull all of our kids out and asked us "how many kids do you have in there?"

Friday, August 19, 2011

One month in...

So the kids have been home one month. In terms of attachment I sort of feel like we started over 2 weeks ago when Truitt was born, but technically they have been with us 30 days. Funny how you wait years to get them, and then all of a sudden all that time has passed. Here is a list of what I have learned so far:

- You must sweep your floors. At first this seems like something we would all do. But I have to admit that when you don't have kids that eat off them, this may or may not happen all of the time at the Nelson household. ahem. But now, I at least regularly look to see if there is a choking hazard around. Sometimes I may or may not just leave the cheerios where they fall, it's like a litte snack later for some crawling, discovering child!

- Poop free diapers in the morning is one of the highlights of my day. There is nothing more of a bummer (okay, there are definitely more bummer things) then when I go in to get the kids up and they both have diapers so full they are literally exploding up the bag of their clothes. Yuck. It's a good thing I have about 10 crib sheets.

- Plastic containers rule. Open up the tupperware drawer and I will always have enough time to get my dishes done.

- Speaking of dishes, paper plates have become the new style at our home. Part of me feels guilty for the environment and everything, but almost most of me is happy because I can just toss them into the garbage. Done deal.

- I love our friends and church members. They have been providing meals Monday, Wednesday and Friday since the twins got home, and unbelieveably, will continue to do so through October. What a huge blessing. I am already dreading the day that I have to cook a meal every night of the week!

- Attachment is a bizarre thing. What works for one child, the other could care less about. The good news is, we seem to be making good progress with both kids in this area. Moyz a little more so than Kembia, but definitely good things with both.

- I hate to admit it, but I do believe I will be housebound more than I care to. Normally, I love to get out and do things, but I have come to understand that it is just too much work in most circumstances at this stage in the game to haul everyone, not to mention all the stuff that is needed for three babies, out and about. Perhaps in a couple more months it will be much easier. At least that's my hope.

- When all three kids are crying, it drives me insane. There is crying, and then there is that pathetic, the world is ending crying. That's the crying that drives me up a wall. The not-really-anything-wrong-but-everyone-is-doing-it-cry.

- I haven't felt like I have just been babysitting Moyz and Kembia. This is a good thing. I read a lot about people who have had that experience, and I was very nervous about it. I think it has to do with the fact that our kids are little and still pretty needy, as opposed to a 3 year old who does a lot for themself.

- Was not expecting to lactate when Moyz and Kembia cry. This was a surprise, and kind of annoying, because it leads to feeling like I am going to explode a lot of the time. Not fun.

- I love it when my husband comes home from work. I literally have had days where he walks in and I hand him one or two kids and then go into the bedroom and shut the door for a few minutes. It definitely helps.

- Love that we have seen so much change in Moyz and kembia, both in what they can do physically, like crawling and pulling themselves up, but also with just loving them and watching them interact with everyone.

Hopefully, there will be some good strides the next month as well. Definitely excited about less neediness from Kembia, and that both kids will handle it just fine if I leave the room. That has been the hardest thing so far. Sometimes, I can't be with them 24/7 and it has been a long process with them. They are learning that Mommy comes back, but it has been tough. But we knew that the first few months would more than likely be hard.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

5 Kids and a grocery store

So today was my first solo attempt at grocery shopping/shoe shopping with all the kids. It was interesting. And by interesting, I mean harder than I expected.

I have come to the realization that my biggest hurdle is just getting in the store with all 5 kids, 3 of whom can't walk. You know how you always park as close as you can to the door? Forget that. I will park as close as possible to a cart corral with carts in it.

My plan of action is to park as close to a cart as possible, put Truitt in the snuggly, grab Moyz and Kembia through the back hatch of the van. I know, it sounds terrible, but Ava sits between the two, and it is much easier to get them out the back then climb through the van twice to pull them out. I load Kembia into the front part of the cart since she is the littlest/most fragile, and Moyz has to sit in the basket of the cart. If there is one of those honkin' carts that have room for two kids in that special section in front of the cart, we switch to that once inside. I have no idea what I am going to do if I pull into a parking lot and there are no carts outside! Panic probably! I do have the double stroller, but I don't really want to load up the double stroller just to haul kids inside and then have a stroller and a cart. I don't have enough hands for that!

Once we actually got into the grocery store I discovered that it is quite hard to push a cart full of kids, hold onto a little one hanging from me and load food into the cart. There were a lot of stares, and one little old lady who asked me if I was babysitting.

Then there were the free cookies for all kids under 12. I felt a little bad taking 4in one fell swoop (since Truitt doesn't eat cookies yet!). Ava is just excited because she gets free cookies for another 4 years. A fact which she likes to point out on a regular basis. And then there is my sweet 15 pound baby girl, Kembia, who bit Moyz on the arm 3 times because he tried to steal her cookie. That tiny little body is definitely hiding a power punch behind it.

Then we passed by my one big vice- Coke, and I loaded up the cart because we have been out for quite some time. And Ava proceeded to tell me that I better be drinking lots of it so I can have energy to stay awake with all of my kids. Sometimes I swear she is like a little adult.

In the end, I forgot bread, but there is no way I am going back for awhile. Chris will have to pick that up on his way home. Normally, I would just make some, but I have no time right now. I still can't keep my house clean! And the laundry, don't get me started!

Monday, August 15, 2011

What's new with us

Thank you so much for your suggestions on what to do with the jealousy issues we have going on. I really like the idea of sitting on the couch and feeding the kids at the same time, but it's just not going to work with two crawling babies and a newborn. Instead, I have been feeding Truitt on the floor by the babies and it seems to be a good thing. They crawl all around and come over to give him kisses. Sometimes they get a little aggressive with touching him, but just normal baby stuff. But they definitely are not screaming and freaking out when I am near them like that. For now, we will give this a go and see what happens.

And for Mary who suggested tandem feeding Kembia, we would absolutely love to do this. Unfortunately, she has zero interest in any type of milk. No breast milk, formula, cows milk, soy milk, milk of any type with chocolate flavoring, strawberry flavoring or Pediasure. It has been extremely frustrating. Instead, we sneak loads of soy formula into her oatmeal in the morning, and give her calcium other ways like through cheese which she loves, and yogurt. Our pediatrician is closely watching her weight since she was so small, and we are moving foward with that. Little stinker. She also doesn't really like to drink any liquids unless it comes from a cup with no lid. But she isn't able to hold and use the cup herself, but she does like to grab at it and make a big mess!

The good news is, is that both kids are putting on weight. I swear that Moyz weighs a ton! Okay, not really, but 22 pounds seems pretty good for a one year old. He is now army crawling instead of rolling to everything he wants, and even tries to pull himself up. kembia crawls like crazy now, pulls herself up, and gets into the position with her legs like she is going to try and stand independently but doesn't do the standing part yet. She also says mama, but I am uncertain as to whether she realizes that it means me. Still, every time she says it I glow!

We traveled to a wedding up near Duluth this weekend. It was an interesting trip. Ava and Owen were with my aunt getting spoiled, so it was just Chris and me and the babies. At the reception we had several people come up and ask if the babies were our kids. Um, who's else would they be? We had one woman come up and turn to my friend next to me who happens to be Korean and ask her if they were her kids. It doesn't really irritate me so much as it is entertaining. Logically, in a small town where they were probably one of the few, if not the only black people in the town at the time, people tried to make sense of them. And we did not make sense.

My favorite line so far is when people ask if they are adopted. I would LOVE to one time say "No, they just came out that way!" and see the response. Of course they are adopted! How else would two ulitmate whities like Chris and me end up with kids that dark?! Seriously though, people have been really wonderful. We have not experienced any negativity whatsoever. Admittedly, we haven't really been out in public much, but people have been very kind thus far.

And everybody, literally everybody, asks if they are twins. We used to say no, but then that led to having to give explanations, and really, sometimes we don't want to explain to people when we are in a hurry, so for now, we have just taken to saying that yes, they are twins. And for all purposes as far as we are concerned, they are. I suppose one day when they are old enough to know when their birthdays are we will have to stop saying that, but it's just easier for the present!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Adding Truitt to the mix has definitely shaken things up here. And not exactly in the best way. Yesterday was the first day since he was born that it was just me and the kids. Chris went back to work and we were winging it. Up until then, Moyz and Kembia hadn't really seen me feeding Truitt because there was always someone with them. Needless to say, Kembia went balistic when it came time for me to feed Truitt.

I put both of the kids in their exersaucers and sat down on the couch with Truitt. Kembia started screaming like you would not believe. Add in the thrashing about in her seat and the huge crocodile tears, it was quite the scene. And she kept it up for 25 straight minutes. She had herself worked up so hard she just about made herself throw up several times. I finally put Truitt down and brought her to her bed, where she continued to scream for about 10 more minutes until she finally fell asleep.

I have to admit I am not quite sure what to do with the situation. She did it again a second time during the day, and then today as well. I am a little paranoid about the whole attachment thing, but yet I strongly believe that it is almost 100% manipulation on her part, as opposed to this great need to be with me. The instant I so much as reach my arms out to her when she is doing it, the tears and screaming instantly stop. Obviously I need to feed Truitt, and she will have to deal with that. Hopefully this won't cause some type of attachment issue because I let her cry it out so soon after bringing her home when everyone else says don't let them get to that point. I don't have a lot of options with 2 one year olds and a newborn. Something's got to give.

Moyz has been much needier as well. But nothing near to the level of how kembia has reacted. I get the feeling that she probably was never denied many things or told no too often. eventually everything will sort it out. It's not like we weren't expecting something along these lines, but it doesn't make it any easier even if you anticipated it. If anyone has any advice or thoughts I would appreciate it. It's pretty hard to google our situation!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nelson Baby #5

Sorry for dropping out of the blog world this last week. We've been a little busy. Nelson baby #5 was born on Friday at 4:37 pm. Little Truitt weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz, and was 21 1/4 inches long. He's is doing really well. Loves to eat. All the time. As in he wants to eat every 2 hours, but I have to stretch him just to make it to the 2 hour mark. This may present a challenge!

His big brothers and sisters love him. Owen couldn't remember his name right away so took to calling him the "teeniest baby". Ava completely loves him up, and Kembia and Moyz mostly like to stick their fingers in his mouth.

I have been doing fairly well. They had to poke me 5 times to get an IV in. Apparently my veins have lots of valves. Then I broke out in a rash from all of the medicine they had to give me. And then this morning I woke up with severe joint pain in my ankles, knees, wrists and elbows. Never had that before, and really hoping it goes away quickly. Amazing how every time you have a child and do all the same things your labor and reactions are completely different.

I did manage to get a stretch of almost 4 hours of sleep last night! yeah!

Anyway, hopefully in the future I will be able to update more than once a week. That really is my goal. In the mean time, here is a picture of Truitt. He looks so sweet laying there. Really he has no idea of the chaos and large family he just joined! he is probably going to be our toughest child by default. He will have to be to survive his big brothers and sisters!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Caution: Adoption may be hazardous to your health!

Of course that title is all in jest. But seriously, as evidenced by the pictures below, I may be having some issues adjusting to this whole 2 more kids thing. In all honesty, I am not the cleanest person I know. (Shocking!) But I am also not necessarily a slob. It's just that between all of the head to toe poop blow outs by my two baby kidlets, and then the barfing which is new the last two days. Not to mention the clinginess, meals and my other two kids, things have gotten a bit wonky here as far as house cleaning.

I have had many fantastic friends offer to come and clean, but have also kept them away because of the strep throat that invaded our house. Hopefully that is long gone (Ava and I still never got it, knock on wood). But in the grand scheme of things, messiness isn't that big of a deal in my eyes (and hopefully my husbands!!) The kids seem to be attaching wonderfully and things still continue to go better than I had thought they would. Praise God!

It's good too because I don't think that I have shared this before but we have Nelson baby #5 coming this Friday! He was a little surprise blessing that God decided to throw into the mix. Some day, I am going to ask God about his sense of humor!!

Anyway, we would appreciate your prayers for this Friday for everything to go good. Can you imagine what my house is going to look like next week?!