Thursday, September 30, 2010

from Arghhhh!!! to Ahhhhhhhhhhh...

I didn't miss a beat during our wait for Niko; blogging each and any anniversary imaginable. The reminders on my Outlook calendar were ridiculous in number. Oh, how things have changed, gone pear-shaped, headed south...however you put it, I've become a hot mess of exhaustion since returning home seven weeks and one day ago. Wow, has it really been that long?

How sad is it that my first red flag was that of a new reminder on my calendar that I go back to work soon. WHAT? But I just got home!!! Nope. Voice in head says: Lady, you've been home seven weeks and one day and not one mention of one detail on that blog (that at one time) tied you to all the others. Nooooo! I've become the person who comes home and stops blogging. Say it ain't so.

A few anniversaries and milestones I've neglected to mention include: The Flight Home, Home One Week, Has it Really Been a Month?, The First Dr. Appt, The First (non-adoption related) Dr. Appt, Did He Just Say Ma-Ma??? and so on. You get it. So, before this post turns into a list of everything I haven't blogged about, I will simply say...This seemingly non-eventful time frame has actually been pretty jam-packed, both emotionally and physically for all three of us.

Week One - Four: the "Arrrggghhhh!!!"
Oh boy. All that prepping, reading, researching and Googling during The Wait did not fully arm me to face a nine month old in full transition mode. They tell you "sleep now, because you won't get any later". Well, what I didn't take into account is that it may not be unreasonable to be home six weeks and the first minute to myself I catch a glimpse in the mirror and ask aloud, 'how did I go downhill so fast?'. And then I wonder, (also aloud because when your audience is a nine month old day in and day out, you really begin to just let all the crazies hang out) 'did I ever conquer that jet lag?' When said nine month old wakes up every hour every night, it's quite likely the answer is a resounding no.

I should also point out that when you're in the waiting period reviewing the training videos and reading the books, you're likely doing so during a time slot you planned. Maybe it's a rainy afternoon, nothing much to do so you pick up a book. Or maybe you and your husband mark your calendars for say, next Tuesday when things calm down at work. You'll make a nice dinner, grab your journal with pen and soak up every detail of the videos during this very focused time you allotted for yourself.

Well, when the real-life 'baby with a serious moment of separation anxiety' actually occurs it's unlikely to happen when you're rested, focused, have a full stomach and your partner will most likely be at work, not sitting beside you to offer their $.02. Oh, and that journal? It will not be in arm's reach.

I don't say this to sound unappreciative, cynical or to minimize the amazing family I am so fortunate to have. I say this because I was somehow blindsided by the reality of the scenarios I read and video clips I viewed once they entered my own household.

Day two home alone once Kai returned to work, I looked at my clock and my stomach sunk when I saw it was 10:30am. WHAT? It felt like it should be at least 3:45pm. During nap time I tiptoed past Niko's bedroom to use the bathroom in our bedroom. As I turned to flush the toilet, I realized this was no longer a luxury I had. There would be no flushing toilets during naps. That's when it all poured out. I found myself, a grown woman, sobbing in the bathroom because I could no longer flush my toilet when I chose to do so. What is happening?

My body was physically sore due to Niko scratching at my legs to be held, scratching my chest once I held him and afraid to be put down. My hair, even though always in the now obligatory ponytail, was still being pulled. My face and arms were scratched because he couldn't get close enough. He would scream bloody murder if I left the couch to put away a dish. On top of this, he weighed over 23 pounds at the time and I had lost seven while traveling. I was run down and being taken over by a nine month old, both physically and mentally. Emotionally I was drained and beyond in love with this little guy.

It was after the bathroom no-flushing-sob that I pulled myself together and searched for our social worker's phone number. She did our homestudy and worked in the NY office. I told her briefly what was up and asked for help, focusing on his separation issues with me and the fact I will be returning to work at some point. At the time I felt we were moving backwards, rather than moving forward.

This was the wisest thing I did in my cloudy state. Within 24 hours, Kai and I were having a conference call with a therapist who listened and offered such wonderful advice specific to our situation. A big YAY that we actually were doing things correctly and our scenario was not an unusual one. We both exhaled after that call and took things a little more in stride moving forward. We began to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Week Four - Seven: the "ahhhhhh...."
Wow. Wow. Wow.
We are friends, family, buddies and everything in between. It's pure joy in the morning when I hear him beginning to wake up and I wonder what's in store for the day (in the good way). There are days when I walk by his room, hoping slightly that he'll hear me and wake up early because I can't wait to play with him. His edge is gone and so is mine. He trusts us and the first time we saw that in action, I completely melted. The fact he knows he's safe has changed everything.

So now that I've gotten back on the blog, I can't stop yapping. I better wrap it up.
In closing, I would like to say there have been many tend-to-Niko breaks since I started writing this morning. During the last break, HE TOOK THREE STEPS!!!

p.s. Good luck to all the families waiting for court dates and decisions. Now that rainy season is over and the courts have reopened, I've been thinking of you all. Sending lots of love your way!


  1. no flushing. next is no pooping. it's so hard.
    you are gonna make it.
    you are wonderful.
    you are allowed to admit it's exhausting, hello!
    Gobez Niko on the walking!!!

  2. You just described every adoptive parent! When we first got home, I was so over tired, I would stare at the clock from 2:00 am til 4:00 am and just rock my baby while he put his fingers in my mouth, pulled my hair, poked my eyes etc... I was so darn tired, now he wakes up every 4 hours 2 times a night!! Much better. The good thing is, as you know it does get better!!
    God Bless Your Family,

  3. Yeah!!! So good to see you blogging again. I'm so glad you are getting adjusted. Hope it only gets better and better.

  4. Hooray, a blog post! And a great one at that! Glad things have entered the ahhhhhhh stage and hope they keep getting better and better. He has grown so much since we saw him in Ethiopia and WALKING, wow! Gobez, Niko, is right! Hope to see you guys soon.


  5. Thank you so much for sharing the realities of your first several weeks home. I actually laughed at loud because JUST LAST NIGHT my husband and I watched the Hague training videos that you referred to about what to expect whe you come home! HA! (And, yes, we too have been carefully scheduling time to work the training into our busy schedules!)

    Again, thanks for the reality check - it really is VERY helpful.


  6. girl! THREE STEPS! gooooo Niko!
    Your description of tiptoeing past the crib and crying in the bathroom, well I am certain that this is how every first time Mama feels. Sleep dep is KILLER. It messes with your brain and can make even the tiniest thing into a huge thing. Sounds like you are in a groove now. yay! My motto is to just 'Keep On Keepin' On' Because right when you think you've got it down and all figured out, they seem to switch it up on you! :)
    Can't wait to get together with the three of you. I'm going to be in a state of shock soon too, number two will hopefully be here SOON.
    Glad to see you blogging again, we've missed you.

  7. Yay! So glad to see a post from you! I have been anxiously awaiting to hear how things have been going since you came home. Five months on the waitlist to bring our daughter home I daydream about how wonderful it will be to have her in my arms but at the same time have this underlying fear of the bonding and adjusting. Thank you for your honesty as you share these intimate moments of your life. I just want you to know how much it is appreciated.

    And that baby is so cute!


  8. you have surpassed me. i am the lamest blogger ever. i have so much to catch up on. but this was a great post. nice to get an insight into your life and your experience. it's a wild ride!

  9. Thanks for such a great and honest blog. Glad to hear things are in the Ahhh phase! Thanks for the kind thoughts about court dates etc. We're dying to get ours and can't wait to meet our girls. Zoe

  10. wish I could have read this post before I adopted! Totally relate to the flushing incident. Arrgghhhh. (hang on, seems I'm still saying that!!)

  11. Hey guys, so glad you are at the AHH stage. Don't think that walking makes the lifting less. They get TIRED of walking quickly and want to be carried, so beware of this! Especially while you are grocery shopping! Be prepared to buy a balloon every time! Flush on weekends while he is napping so maybe he will get used to it. Good luck with going back to work (you may actually get some rest there!) I'll call you next week about a park day.

    Hugs and Kisses to all....Lucy

  12. I've got to call you soon. We're in week five, and I have some Ahhhh days, but still (including today) have some Argggg days. It's so refreshing to read your blog and to know that I"m not alone.
    Love you and miss you, Tam!

  13. As someone who's got a date with her husband this week to do some training videos, I'd like to say THANKS for the real, gritty, truth. I have to admit, although I can't wait to bring our kids home, I'm kind of dreading those first few weeks of transition.