We have had Sammy home a little over two months now. The fact that this blog is two days late is quite indicative of my life right now. I feel like I'm just a little "behind on life" these days and I'm having to evaluate what truly has to get done and what can wait one more day. Or week. Or month...
Sammy continues to do better and better during the day time. He is completely comfortable in our house (does not always have to be right beside me) and is completely comfortable with his "Uncle Fi & Aunt Mandy" or his "Vovo & Vova" (Renan & Juliane). Those are the only people we have left Sammy with and they have a special connection with him.
His English is picking up. He understands a TON and he's got a handful of words as well:
- daddy (Andy & I are both "daddy")
- "oose" (shoes)
- "wa" (water)
- bite (eat)
- doggy (all 4-legged creatures are in this category)
- mama (only repeats it if I say it)
- Kay-Kay (Caedmon)
- side (outside)
Sammy has made a lot of progress with attachment this month. He has begun kissing me...only when he wants to, and never when requested. It's really cute, though. He kisses the tip of my nose and then both cheeks. This happens primarily at bedtime. He has also kissed Andy once. He clings to me like a monkey when we are out & about, especially in settings where there are a lot of people. At least we all know that he feels safe with me. That's a good foundation to begin working with...
I am also making a lot of progress with bonding to Sammy. I shared in the One Month Review that I was surprised that the bonding process was so difficult for me. I thought it would be instantaneous. For some adoptive parents it is, and I was really beating myself up about the fact that I didn't share the same bond with Sammy that I had with Caedmon. I have come to peace with that and I realize that the bond will form and grow stronger and stronger with time. Even over the last week I can feel change taking place in my heart...I feel more tenderness and endearment toward Sammy. He's beginning to seem less like a friend's kid that I'm taking care of and more like my son. A family of four is feeling more and more normal.
Night time is our worst time. To say I'm frustrated would be an understatement. It is so difficult for me to know what Sammy needs and what is best for him. Sammy is still sleeping in our room in a pack-n-play. After cuddling and rocking him for a few minutes, I lay him in his bed and then I just wait. And wait. And wait...for him to fall asleep. In Ethiopia, he would fall asleep within 5 minutes. At least one night this past week, it took well over an hour. The process is getting longer and longer instead of shorter and shorter.
Why not just leave him in there and carry on with your business? That's absolutely what I did with Caedmon. He cried, but he learned to soothe himself and fall asleep on his own. That is what I would love to do with Sammy, but he's got this whole fear of abandonment thing going on. I can't just let him cry it out the way I would a biological child.
Also, his night time sleep is not making a whole lot of progress, either. He's not waking up screaming anymore, so that's good. But he's still waking up multiple times a night, just fussing/whining wanting me to keep my hand on him. It's gotten to the point that once he wakes up the first time, he will continue to wake up every 20-30 minutes throughout the rest of the night...unless I bring him in bed with me. Then he sleeps fine. But when Sammy comes in, Andy goes out. And continually bringing Sammy in bed is reinforcing the night time whining.
I honestly don't know what to do. It's not because of a lack of opinions...everyone has a piece of advice. I just know:
- I can't stay awake all night to keep my hand on a sleeping child, and
- I would much rather sleep with my husband than my son.
God is teaching me so much through this process...about what it means to truly love someone, about relying on His strength instead of my own, about endurance and patience, and about my own heart...which is much more depraved and ugly than I'd like to admit. I've realized that, in my mind, I idealize how I think I would respond in given situations that seem noble (i.e. being a missionary in a foreign country, raising a child with downs syndrome, or adopting). But when I'm actually living it out day-by-day, my responses are far from ideal. I appreciate God's grace, forgiveness, and strength at a whole new level.
My life does not feel very "tidy" right now. Or noble. But I am learning to love my son more and more every day. We are sharing more tender moments and funny moments together which has a way of knitting our hearts to one another. Two months down and a lifetime to go. I think we're on the right track.