Sunday, September 18, 2011

overwhelmed and understaffed.

Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him for He will set your paths straight.

We've been MIA lately on the blog - dealing with way too many things at once.  I'll try to give you a recap and maybe process more later.  I'm not as good at the processing later part.

I am sort of at a loss as where to start. Do I go back in time and try to relay what's been happening both physically and emotionally or do I just start to process with where we're at?  I think I can do a little of both, er I'll try.

Expectations.  They are hard. We've read a lot of adoption material and known families that have walked through adoptions - hearing about them and living them are two extermely different things. I think we had the expectation that things would be challenging and we are up for the challenge but it's not really too much fun.  We want to reap what we sow but, man in the midst of the past 2.5 weeks... there have been so many sleepless hours and countless tears and we wondered about what the heck we're doing!  We haven't once questioned the adoption or Evelyn's place in our family. It's more just the timing of the move and having it be over seas and then the adoption and family separation on top of it all.  It's been a tough ride so far - and we are expecting it to be that way for at least a few more months.

After coming home from Seoul David was in Spokane with us; but only for a week.  During that week we tried to grasp what we could with our time together as we didn't know how long the gap would be until we saw him next. 

We've learned a lot about Evelyn and it's been very challenging.  She has been honestly a pretty content little gal during times when she's rested and fed. She allows us to comfort her and even wants us to which makes it seem like some type of attachment is happening.  She smiles throughout the day and talks to herself (like all babies) and one of my favorite things is when she does peek-a-boo!  If I ever grab the laptop to check my email she crawls right over to sneak behind the screen and then boop over the the side with a huge smile.  It's fun to see more of her silly side.  We continue to pray and hope more progress comes with time and trust from all of us to her and her to all of us.
We celebrated Evelyn's baby dedication with our church family her in Spokane. We seriously love our community here!

We've had a lot of sleeping challenges. Evelyn's been sleeping almost solely in a pack'n'play.  We've had very mixed feelings about this but at this point it's all about survival and keeping sane. But, the bonus is, I have been able to get her to bed a bit earlier than me and have a little time to myself - thank you Lord! 

We met up with adoption lawyer while David was still here and the finalization roller coaster started.  We signed all the documents for court and found out about the possibility of waiting for the court date to take 2 days or 4 weeks.  In countless ways the Lord has shown Himself in our adoption journey and this is one huge way.  Even though the paperwork took longer than we thought it would (there were multiple things that had to happen between the lawyer, the adoption agency and social worker); one day the paperwork was turned in, the next it was approved and then the next we got our court date and finalized the following day!  Was the confusing enough?

Needless to say, yesterday Evelyn became a Blomgren!  She's now an official US Citizen and a forever part of our family. We are so grateful that she is ours and we are hers and that the journey to bring her into our family is over.  The real journey has just begun.
Since the adoption is final we booked our tickets to Germany!  We leave in less than 4 days. Honesly, there isn't much desire at all to leave (except to see David of course!).  The loneliness we know is ahead and organization of our home and readjusting two kiddos to another timezone just doesn't sound fun.  I know there is a lot to look forward to but right infront of me are some REALLY hard goodbye's and an overseas flight with two crazy chicks, at least four bags and a car seat.  Need I say more?!

Norah's been an amazing big sister. So loving so tender hearted toward Evelyn. When E is just throwing a tantrum Norah keeps saying "dis okay seester" it's truly adorable and warms my heart.  Also, when Mommy's been crying - yes, this has been frequent - Norah stops whatever she's doing and slowly comes at me with her kissable lips and just stares at my eyes and then hugs me.  It's too sweet.

More on how I've been feeling about adoption...

Evelyn has two less teeth than Norah. She weighs as much as Norah does now.  When Norah was 13 months she had one tooth and weighed in around 15 lbs. I know this may seem silly but all of Evelyn's teeth and weight make her seem older and I think makes me expect too much of her. I feel like she should know how to chew and eat table food better (this may be a cultrual change though). It seems like she should throw less fits - this could be due to the fact that everything she's ever known has changed, but still... it's hard to know when to sooth, walk away or just let her get it out of her system or even just give her what she wants (which is usually my contant attention and touch). And, is it age, history, personality or circumstances that make her such a spicy little one?

I want to be gracious and patient, especially with my kids. I'm definitely falling short. I know there's been a lot going on - not having a home, adding a new little to family, David being in Germany, visitors in and out and the anticipation of leaving Spokane and entering into a new stage but even so - I've been trying hard to estabish some schedule they girls can expect and be as consistant as I can during such chaos in our lives.

On the German side... David is ready for his girls to arrive!  He's been doing what he can around the house to make it clean and welcoming for us.  He's been lonely and truly ready for some compainionship.  I can't wait to reunite with him!  Our house hold goods have still not arrived so he's been living with the barest of essentials and I hope it's more relaxing than uncomfortable when we get there with no toys or dressers. It's not like we haven't been living out of bags already for more than two months!  One thing I'm most excited about is to cook and have my own kitchen again!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

all about evelyn.

We've been "home" three days now--it's been such a beautiful and hard whirlwind of events. I hope we can remember and recall enough for you guys to get an idea of our entire time in Seoul (watch for a separate post on our trip) and all the emotions and ups and downs we've been on and are still going through.  Thank you for your supportive comments and prayers...we've really been so encouraged through this time and feel so much support from all over.
Evelyn is doing really really well.  Man, I don't even know where to begin and don't want to repeat myself when we go back and recall our time in Seoul but really want you to get an idea of where we're at as a family of FOUR :)
When we picked Evelyn up on Monday afternoon she seemed to easily warm up to us and even fell asleep in our arms before leaving the agency to our hotel.  Once we were at the hotel she took a nice long deep nap but... when she woke up she was very afraid and very confused. Our poor Sweet Pea was looking all around and crying and then would look up at our faces and cry harder as if to say, who the heck are you and why did you bring me here?  We were feeling a bit broken knowing there was nothing we could really do to console her because this was the beginning of her world changing.  Such a hard thing to think about as a parents, breaking your baby's heart and bringing so much confusion and chaos to bring them home.  Shortly after her nap we went outside and got out on the town a bit.  She was instantly content to be in the baby carrier and was happy the whole time we sat and chatted at the coffee shop.  Through the night she slept soundly and really just acted like a champ - we were thoroughly impressed.
The following day was the LONG travel day.  Let's just say, by the time we arrived in Spokane we had been up and traveling for over 40 hours. It was slightly brutal.  I think the Lord had extra tender mercy for us during those long hours and gave Evelyn some extra melatonin to sleep well!  She slept on and off the whole travel "day" and ate pretty good and seemed to be semi content to play with us on the airplanes.  
When we first met Evelyn she seemed more drawn to David but sometime during those 40 hours she shifted her favor over to her Mama.  I would use the restroom and come back to find my daughter in tears and my husband eager to hand her back over to help appease her and stop the screaming and crying.  It was surprising that she seemed so partial and still is today.  It's a lot of pressure for me to be her favorite and I'm feeling such a loss because I'm holding Evelyn most of the time and I'm really really missing Norah but... on the other hand, David feels sad that she doesn't favor him and just gets frustrated that she sees me and wants out of his arms right away!
Since being back in Spokane we've had to hit the ground running a bit - we got both girls into the doctor, had our first post-placement visit and tried to get some rest in between.  Both the doctor and post-placement visit went well.  At the doctor we learned that Evelyn weighs in at 22 lbs and Norah at 23 lbs!  Even though they are close in weight Norah fits into 2T clothes and Evelyn fits into 12 month, she's a bit shorter than Norah.  Evelyn also has 14 teeth but doesn't yet seem to know how to use them.  We're slowly working on her learning to chew solid foods.  We've also been working on see a few friends so David can say his final good-bye's but trying to lay low as much as possible.
In Korea it is the norm for most families to co-sleep with their children.  So, when you adopt from Korea most, if not all, children have been co-sleeping with their foster parents. We aren't against co-sleeping but, it's very hard to come into that role during a major transition for a child and be totally exhausted ourselves.  This has been the biggest challenge so far.  The first two nights Evelyn slept like a champ and we did too.  The last few nights have been less than stellar.  Evelyn has been tossing and turning and grunting and laying all over us. We know it could be the jet lag for her and we're glad she's not wide awake at 3am ready to play but the movement is keeping us up.  We are really craving a very good night's sleep.  Also, she has a sweet habit of rubbing something to put herself to sleep - it's mostly been our arms or face and so while we're trying to sleep in bed she's next to us rubbing our arms or back and keeping us up.  Again, co-sleeping is a great thing for attachment and comfort and we're going to try and stick it out until we get settled in Germany (since there are so many changes ahead still) but, I'm praying for great rest for us all.  One more thing on this topic - we even have to hold her or lay with her for naps so it just seems like we can't get a break to be together (David and I) or just have some alone time.  I hope this section doesn't sound complainant, this is just part of the major adjustment we're challenged with right now.

When we arrived back in Spokane and Norah met Evelyn it was very sweet.  Norah looked over at Evelyn (more like she stared) and just said "sister."  She totally connected the pictures of Evelyn to reality and it was so wonderful.  She has been mostly avoiding Evelyn and sometimes trying to get in-between Evelyn and whichever parent has her just to remind Evelyn that she was here first.  But, today she gave Evelyn a few toys and sat nicely with her to watch a cartoon :)  Norah has giving Evelyn a few hugs and many kisses so she definitely knows how to give some love.  Also, if Evelyn isn't in the room Norah is saying "sister?" and wondering where she is - we love that awareness and hope it grows into more and more affection and friendship.
The last three nights I've cried while we're laying bed (don't worry Evelyn slept though that part!).  Everything just keeps on coming at us, there seems to be no break but... that's not totally true!  We'll all be together in Germany soon but... then again, we'll be gone from Spokane and all the love and support surrounding us here- yes, this is part of the turmoil and heartache that is causing the tears. We're grieving and celebrating so many changes for our family; it's a bit confusing to process all the conflicting emotions.  David needs to get back to work this coming week so please keep him in your prayers as he leave us and tries to get on  another military flight home to Germany.  We are grateful the Air Force has given him 21 days of adoption leave but it's been a bit of a bummer that 10 of those days will have been for travel - poor David.


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