The first 3 photos are from October after Joshua had been home for about a month. The last one is from January of this year and is one of my favorite photos. I love it because it shows how far we have come. Often I feel like people want to dismiss the pain and trauma experienced by children in adoption. I feel like there is a tendency for many people to look at the first photos and say well he's just nervous about the swing - it's a normal childhood issue. I am certain it is normal for some children. But not for Joshua. If there is one thing my son loves it is to be swung, and have the sensation of flying through the air or falling. Not only that, but he was a child that by all reports was fearless. We specifically asked his foster mother if there was anything he was afraid of, there was not. I believe with all my heart that fear entered Joshua's life when he went through the trauma of losing his foster family, language, country, culture, and pretty much everything else he was familiar with. And I hate that for him. He has experienced more pain at less than 2 years old than some people experience in a lifetime. I wish I could fix it. But I can't. All I can do is walk beside him through it and pray daily for the Lord to deliver him from fear and heal the broken places in his heart.
By no means is it "all better now" but we've come a long way - praise God!
One of the things we learned in our adoption education is that many children will bond with only one parent at first and most often it is Dad. John and I tried to prepare ourselves for this possibility as best we could. But we also knew it would be very hard on us if he rejected one of us, so we made it a matter of regular prayer prior to Joshua's homecoming. In one of our final updates as we came close to travel, we learned that Joshua was especially close to his foster father in Korea. You might think this would have made it more likely for Joshua to quickly bond to John, but actually the opposite is true. Out of grief and loyalty for the parent that was lost, most children will not bond initially to the parent of the same sex as the lost parent.
I believe the Lord was especially merciful to us in this area. Joshua did not reject either of us and would allow both of us to provide care for him. However, he overwhelmingly preferred me. This started even early on while we were still in Korea and continued for our first several months home. John had 2 weeks at home after we got back from Korea, but it really wasn't enough to form a strong bond with Joshua before he had to go back to work. Plus, I don't think Joshua was really able to form this bond at that time because he completely shut down for about 3 months when he first came home. Joshua was fine when daddy was around, but honestly he really didn't seem to notice or care when John left or came home from work.
After Christmas, John had about 2 weeks off from work. Well this turned out to be a huge blessing for John and Joshua's relationship. When John came home after his first day back, Joshua got really happy and actually went up to John and gave him a hug. Now Joshua is all smiles when Daddy gets home and follows him around everywhere. One time Joshua was in the bath when Daddy got home and he started throwing his bath toys because he knows throwing his toys ends his bath. He wanted to get out and go see Daddy. :-)
This has been so good for John. I think it was really hard on him being the less favored parent. I also think it made him less motivated to help out with Joshua - no positive reinforcement. Now John doesn't always have much choice about helping when he gets home because Joshua wants to spend time with Daddy. :-)
Wow, I can't believe February is almost over already. The only thing that makes me happy about that is the EP process is supposed to start up again this month. I am hoping and praying daily with all of my friends who are waiting on their little ones to come home from Korea. A number of these families have been matched with their children since December 2010. At this point, they are going to wait at least 15 months to bring home their children - it is just heartbreaking. Even though we are also waiting, in many ways it doesn't feel like it because barring some sort of miracle we really have no hope of traveling to bring Jonah home this year.
February started out fantastically with a visit from my dad and stepmom (Papa and MeMe). Joshua did really well with them and seemed less anxious than with our first overnight visitor (Grandma - my mom). I am hoping he becomes more and more comfortable with having new people here because we like to have house guests whenever we can. My stepmom is my favorite picture taker. Over the years, she has captured some of my favorite photos of John and I. She was also the one I turned to when we needed to take a family photo for our adoption application. During their visit, she took some family photos and also some pictures of Joshua and I, since I don't have many of those being that I am the picture taker in our family. I will post them later, but I have to share one of my favorites now.
Following their visit, we have had a rough couple of weeks. Joshua got very sick. At first it seemed like a cold, but by day three, I was rushing him to the doctor's office with wheezing and increased respirations. The only reason we didn't end up in the ER is because I get VIP treatment at John's work from one of his colleagues. I am so grateful. Joshua's oxygen level was very low. It took 3 breathing treatments, plus oral steroids to get it back up, but even then he was still wheezing. Our NP put us on around the clock breathing treatments plus inhaled steroids. That particular week, John was working 12 hours shifts due to a base exercise so he wasn't able to help out at night at all. Needless to say I was exhausted. The next morning we ended up going to the ER because he was still wheezing. Thankfully, some time between me deciding to bring him in and the doctor seeing him, the second dose of oral steroid kicked in. Because this is now the third time this has happened, Joshua's NP has put him on inhaled steroids permanently as a preventative measure. Joshua has major risk factors for asthma, and it is looking like he probably has it.
Joshua recovered after several days and is now doing well. I got sick immediately after that, sicker than I have been in a very long time. Or maybe it just felt like that with it being my first experience with being sick as a mom. Miserable. I was running a fever and was endlessly blowing my nose, pretty sure it was RSV. I just wanted to lay on the couch and go to sleep, but not possible. I even tried to put on a movie for Joshua to see if he would sit and watch it and let me rest, bu no go. I was literally in tears. Never have I wished my mom lived near me more. While we have started to make friends here, I still don't feel like I have anyone to call in a situation like this (my friend Christy lives an hour away so a little far to help in this type of situation).
In the midst of all this Joshua started cutting his last canine tooth. I don't know how it is for others, but teething has been really difficult for us. Even with Ibuprofen, it really bothers Joshua. He usually sleeps through the night, but when he is teething his sleep is disturbed and he will wake up around 4am most nights, maybe the pain killers wearing off? I can get him back to sleep, but it leaves us both very tired. Also, his personality completely changes. My sweet happy little boy is replaced by a very irritable and very fussy little boy. I was literally at my whits end by the end of this past week and just desperate for a break. We haven't reached a point where we feel comfortable leaving Joshua with anyone yet, so I don't really ever get a break. Most of the time, I am completely okay with that, but after these past couple of weeks I really needed one. Thankfully, John was able to give me a break this past Saturday - got my haircut, went to Target by myself, then went to a 31 party. It was just what I needed.
This week begins another week of 12 hour shifts for John, which actually means he will be gone for at least 13 hours (often more). These weeks are very hard on both of us. If you could, would you pray for us this week?