Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Still Here!

Wow, how did I let over a month go by without posting anything. I have wanted to sit down and write many times, but haven't been able to due to busyness, fatigue, or simply lack of motivation, which is frustrating to me because I actually have a lot I want to write about. Not to mention I am way behind on posting pictures. :-)

If you think of it, could you please pray for me about this. I have many posts written in my head about our struggles after Joshua came home, more about our adoption transition, and where we are now. Yet I can't seem to write about it.

A number of factors have contributed to the lack of posting. March, April, and May were particularly busy months with lots of good things happening between visitors, birthday celebration, and our adoption finalization. But in addition, starting in May, I went through what has been to date my most difficult parenting time. We have definitely had more difficult times that were adoption related, but this was more typical parenting struggles.

It started with Joshua's 2 year molars beginning to make an appearance. Teething overall has been really hard on him (and me).

Then separation anxiety hit big time. He would cry even harder than he cried the first night home with us when he was grieving for his foster family. This completely shocked me and freaked me out. I started researching adoption and separation anxiety and found an article online about it. What was interesting to me was that in the article, separation anxiety started at exactly the same amount of time home as Joshua, 8 months. I couldn't even leave Joshua with John without a complete meltdown. I had been attending a women's Bible study in my neighborhood where we would let the little ones play in the next room or sometimes a teenage girl would watch them in the upstairs room while we held our study. However, once the separation anxiety hit Joshua would not leave me during the study at all. Once he flipped out so much when I tried to get him to go upstairs that I ended up having to leave because he was inconsolable. It was really hard because I don't leave Joshua at all and so I only get a break when John is able to give me one. I was so upset the day I had to leave Bible study that I called our social worker for advice. I needed advice from an adoption perspective, not completely unhelpful comments about "how he won that one." Our social worker advised that because of his history we should cater to the separation anxiety more than we might if we were parenting a child from birth. She advised that I only leave Joshua with John or places where he was comfortable. She wasn't sure about whether church nursery would be okay or not and suggested I might need to stay in there with him. He had been going to church nursery for 4 months at this point without a problem, so I decided to keep trying. He has lots of friends in the 2 year old classroom and the same lady (also an adoptive mom) works in the nursery every Sunday. Since I never leave Joshua with anyone else, I decided I had to hold firm in 2 areas: leaving him with daddy and once a week at church nursery. I believe John and I need that time together each week. And I also believe Joshua needs to see that I leave and come back. From what I read it said to make a quick good-bye, but to always make sure you say good-bye and not sneak out; tell them mommy will come back; and to leave something with them. I started leaving Joshua a picture of me whenever I went somewhere and left him with John, which John said really helped. Gradually, as we kept to this routine and held firm in the 2 areas, the separation anxiety has lessened. The last 2 weeks at church we have had zero tears when we dropped him off at church nursery!  Now maybe a date night can be in our future. :-)

At the same time as the separation anxiety, Joshua began having major sleep disturbances and I had no idea why. This is what makes me say it was one of my most difficult parenting times so far. It was the not knowing what's what, what is him being 2, what's teething, what's separation anxiety, and why was he suddenly not sleeping well. And most of all what should I do about it all. At first I wasn't sure if a bed or nap time needed to be adjusted because he was waking up really early in the morning. He often does this when he is teething, but then he would compensate by taking a really long nap. Only this time, his naps too were getting shorter and shorter. Then he started having nightmares where he was crying in his sleep for a good part of the night. I read that some children can have separation anxiety disorder which affects their sleep and wondered if maybe this was the issue. Then the night terrors started. I actually made the sleep issue my prayer request at community group. Our group leader ended up getting my prayer request and asked us about it the next Sunday at church so I told him more of what was going on. I believe that solving this puzzle was a direct answer to prayer. Joshua is suspected of having asthma due to the breathing issues and wheezing that happens every time he gets sick. Allergy issues often go hand in hand with asthma and because most people have really bad allergies in Tucson, our PCP put Joshua on 2 types of allergy medications. That week it finally occurred to me that one of these medications could be causing his sleep disturbances and nightmares. So I googled the second medication he was put on, figuring it must be the culprit since it was the most recent addition. I end up finding tons of scary stuff about this medicine and sleep problems so we decide to take him off of it. Only the problem continued even after that medication would have cleared out of his system. We wonder if maybe it was the other medication and so I google it and sleep, and once again found lots of scary stuff. John suggests we try to give it to him at nap time and 45 minutes into his nap Joshua has a night terror. Right then and there we decide to take him off that medication (hint: it starts with a "Z). Wouldn't you know it, Joshua goes right back to sleeping through the night, no more crying half the night in his sleep, no more early wake ups, and no naps. It actually makes me very angry. Doctors throw these very powerful medications out with little to no warnings about their potential serious side effects. I found this blog post, which exactly mirrors our experience.

Anyway, that was our saga. It completely exhausted me. That and the over 100 degree temps EVERY SINGLE DAY - I do not love you Tucson. It has me in a bit of a summer funk. You can't even go outside except in the very very early morning (as in before Joshua is even awake) or in the evenings. I have realized that being stuck inside is not good for my mental health and I need to get more proactive about finding some indoor activities for Joshua and I during the week.

Another part of the funk is the wait for Jonah is starting to get to me. The constant search for information on forums and adoption groups has once again seized a hold of me. He turns one on Sunday.

On a more positive note, it was 10 months ago today that we arrived back in Tucson to begin our lives together as a family of three. It is hard to believe we will celebrate our first Family Day in 2 months. The first 7 months or so didn't fly by, but man oh man how these last few months have flown. I seriously can not believe it is already July.


Christy said...

OK, I just cried when I read the "he just won that one" comment. Did someone actually say that?!? Oh my. I'm glad you figured out his sleep issues! So scary! Lots of prayers for you and can't wait to see you soon! Happy Birthday Jonah! Hope you can do something to celebrate. Hugs!

Becky said...

Thank you Christy! And yes, unfortunately someone really did say that.

Rachel said...

Ah, yes, the helpful comments :) Gotta love them! I remember our second time at church with Matthew and someone told my husband, and then me separately, that we were spoiling him because we held him and kept him with us. Um, thanks for that. I really feel for you - I understand so many aspects of this post! Matthew has been home almost three years and just started going into his class at church without screaming. It is so hard to know what is adoption related and what is toddler stuff. We have also struggled with sleep so much, and I am very interested in what you mentioned about the night terrors - Matthew had these about a year ago and I believe he was on that allergy medicine. Very interesting. We switched him to a different one and have much better results with little side effects (except he gets sleepy, which in my book, at night, is a GREAT side effect!!!). I hope that things continue to get better and better. It's so hard when you're in the thick of it.

Rachel said...

We give our kiddo dye free generic claritin about an hour before bed, and it actually helps him stay asleep because he can breathe!! And ignore people...what do they know? :)

GrandmaDe said...

So proud of you! Parenting is such a loving challenge :). Good job on the medication sleuthing! Jonah's quilt is in the works I hope to send it your way by the end of July. Hugs to all of you. !

Stacy said...

Oh the parenting journey is so very hard...especially not knowing what causes the issues. You are a GREAT mom Becky. May God remind you of that truth daily. A verse I love is Isaiah 40:11 - He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Praying tonight that God would gently lead you as you parent.

I Believe in Miracles said...

Been praying for you friend, ever since you wrote that email about sometime sitting down to talk about IVF to adoption journey... definitely sounds like you've been having a tough time here and there.

You are an absolutely terrific mama and despite all the obstacles you face, you have the one behind you who can lead you and help carry you through the tough times. I love that you ARE a mama. It makes me happy every time I think of it.