Thursday, August 19, 2010

How are we doing......really?

Well it's been right at two weeks home and of course the question is: How are we managing and how is everyone adjusting?

I find myself answering this question differently depending on the day. Today we had two dentist appointments, an  IEP meeting, a full day of homeschooling, and a homeschool Mom's meeting. I'll be honest and admit we've had a few rough days. In general things like seeking out school services and benefits, doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, and the remaining adoption paperwork are keeping me busy and exhausted. There are some pressing medical issues that we are trying to get under control and we are having to work with our insurance company on getting coverage. We have had back-to-school meetings, meet the teacher nights, evaluations and are involved in a school fundraiser. John's work schedule has been demanding. Even without the daily management of seven kids, all of these things are keeping us busy. Four kids are homeschooling. Enough said.

The truth is, Joseph and Zoya both are great kids and we are so happy to have them in our family. They have good attitudes and seem to be adjusting so well! The other kids seem to be happy with the 2 newest little munchkins and in fact Hope was very disappointed that Joseph and Zoya can't go to school with her. After all they are both 5 just like her. I have been thinking that when I do all the care of the little ones by myself, I don't feel I have much time or energy left for the bigger ones. But when everyone pitches in things go so much better and there is more time for fun things. However I don't want to be that parent. The one who puts too much pressure and high expectations on the oldest ones. I don't want them to ever resent all of this which I don't anticipate, but I'm constantly thinking about this and trying to find the right balance and trying to make sure everyone's needs are met.

Joseph: Joseph is just as happy and content as can be. He eats well (Ok a little too well), sleeps well, gives the best hugs and kisses, and is just all around a neat kid. Did I mention though that we spent almost $200 on baby gates to keep him contained and within the first day he had managed to climb over them. John raised the gate up an inch or two, and this just gave him a higher step to step on......And he can still climb over them. Just as we figured out on Day 1 in the orphanage, he is a busy and active boy! He has broken a lamp, a chair, has torn off several wall decorations, and has flooded the bathroom. Twice. How's that for honesty? I think he can be corrected, he seems eager to please and quick to correct, but he is still learning his boundaries and we are still strangers to him and what in the heck are we saying anyway? I am working on a plan to shift some of the kids around to make one of the bedrooms solely a play room. The layout of our house is circular and open, and we just can't think of any other solution for a play room other than losing and using a bedroom. Which means the three boys will have to share but I really don't think any of them mind. Joseph really is a sweet and kind boy, who was blessed with a lot of energy. And for that reason he fits in well in this family, and particularly with his big brothers who play almost daily in the water hose with him. Because that is what he loves best.

Zoya: How many times these last two weeks John and I have said how THANKFUL we are for the gift of Zoya, the bonus child. An unexpected prize. Oh, I am so glad we said YES to Zoya!! Many late nights in Ukraine I feared it might be too much, wondered whether her issues were too complex, if it was a mistake to come home with two. Oh no, there was no mistake! Zoya is without a doubt meant to be here in our family. We are working hard to get her healthy and find ways for her to communicate. I have doctor's orders to allow her to eat and drink all the high calorie foods she wants...chocolate included. Too bad I have to model this behavior for her. :) After all how will she learn? I ordered a communication device that allows her to push a button to express herself. To get started, I programmed it to say "Hi Mommy", "Hi Daddy", "Hi Simeon", etc. She loves this device and goes around the house saying hi to everyone. She also enjoys pushing the button that says "Good job". She is picking up on English and I am beginning to decipher what she is trying to say. She has observed and is copying Ava's sign language, which is a blessing for all of us. She does the sign for and says "I love you", and blows us kisses. How sweet is this girl!! Ok so it actually comes out 'I-uh-oo' but I know EXACTLY what she is saying! We are waiting on a referral to see a cleft palate team. It can be overwhelming to google and research all the 'things' that she must conquer but we are committed to help her, one little thing at a time.

So as you can see overall life is very busy and very grand. We are working to make some improvements on containment and organization and time management but we are very happy with our little family and have no regrets whatsoever. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Except for that blasted adopt-e-sectomy.


Anonymous said...

I'm telling you the adopt-e-sectomy will not hold up in court. Get a lawyer!!!!

Glad all is going well, even if it is quite busy.

When we were going through our 2nd adoption the sw asked where the new guy would sleep. I said, "Where ever he wants and we won't know that till he gets here". I learned that the 1st time around. No matter how much you plan and figure, it never goes the way you think/plan. And that is okay. YOu'll get the room and containment areas figured out. I like the bedroom/playroom idea. Wish I had the room to do it. Wish I had money to turn my porch to a REAL room. It would be the playroom. You need a playroom when you have little ones.

Good luck on all the schooling and doctors and IEPs and everyday stuff. I know it can be overwhelming. Just take one thing at a time, check it off, and move to the next!!!

Thinking of you.


Molly said...

Love this. I think I say that about every post, but it's the truth. Okay...Joseph would fit in well here. These two boys are LOADED with energy and could probably wear that little fella out! I am praying for you all as you continue to adjust and organize and contain! What a crazy and fun stage in life!

Alice said...

Praying for balance. A change always upsets the balance and you have to find your way again. Your situation is a bit like learning to walk on a balance beam while juggling.:) Don't sweat the homeschool stuff. You have a whole school year to get the work done. Kids can even do schoolwork after dinner, since they don't have homework, right? Prayers, friend. I'm glad it is going so well.

Lisa (DanielsMommy) said...

Charissa, you sound busy ...but very much in control which means you are doing wonderful :). I love your sensitivity to your older children, finding that balance can be hard. Praying you find that balance that works four your beautiful family.

I also have to tell you about my Houdini named Danny!! He and Joseph would have such a blast getting over every baby gate I EVER bought. Let me tell you a quick story about my Danny. We are remodeling our kitchen. So we bought some temporary cheap doors to keep the area closed off. I tied the handles together and put them way up high so Daniel couldn't pull on them and open. Nope, wrong...first morning I hear him calling Mommy...FROM THE KITCHEN. He's in the fridge helping himself to applesauce. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how he made it though a CLOSED door. So I asked him and he proudly demonstrated that at the bottom of the doors...if he pushed really hard, he was able to open seperate them enough for him to slide in between. I think the 'escape artist' gene resides on the 21st chromosome :)

JennyH said...

Love hearing the updates.

I agree, that need to escape is on the 21st chromosome. So is the stubborn gene!!

Gretchen said...

Adopt-e-sectomy---I hear these things are reversible!!!! Thank heavens!

You are certainly busy, but your rewards are great....both here and in heaven!

Larsen Family said...

So glad it is going well. I can't imagine life with more than 3 kids right now. May God continue to bless you with a positive attitude. :)

Chad and Dana said...

Have I told you today, that I love you?! You are Amazing and honest and you and John are more precious than words. Take care of yourself and enjoy showing Zoya how it's done with some chocolate cake!

Amanda said...

I'm so glad that you are honest.
I wouldn't worry too much about asking more of the older kids. I've challenged my 12 year old to ask if anyone needs anything before he goes to play. I think it will teach him to realize what others are doing and be more helpful. I'm sure if you just ask for help the kids would (mostly) be glad to help. If you all work together you get way more fun time.
I'll be praying for you guys, especially for guidance in overcoming Zoya's issues. Love and attention will take her a long way.
I would definitely slow down some on the school stuff. Give the kids a few more independent assignments than you normally would. It will all even out in the end.

Life On Planet Earth said...

Great update! This is the kind of stuff I really want to know about when I read blogs.

Is there any way you can take your child-proofing to the next level so the kids can explore their new home? Maybe remove the decorations from the wall and remove anything fragile for a time? We're in the process of getting rid of or storing EVERYTHING that is not essential to simplify the environment for new littles who have never lived in a house before. We don't want to have to say "no" all the time.

So happy everyone is adjusting well! I can't imagine how overwhelming it is to deal with all the doctor and insurance stuff, but apparently that gets easier/less with time. Hang in there! You're doing great.

Lisa said...

It sounds like you are describing my house :)!

Alina is our Houdini...if she were taller, she'd be over our gates in a heartbeat. (We have ours anchored on the step down into our family room, so that adds about 4" to the height of the gate, which seems to be just enough).

She does not know her boundaries yet, either, and is super curious/energetic. (Alina and Joseph would be a trip together). We need to have someone "one on one" with her when she's not contained in our family room (or in her car seat, stroller or high chair). Good thing we have a large family, too ;). Siblings are awesome!

I know what you mean, though, about not wanting to tax the older kids or make them feel too responsible. It is a delicate balance for sure.

Energy is in short supply over here, too. But love and faith run deep. Our kids are worth all of the challenging times, aren't they?

thedickinsonfamily said...

Thanks for the honesty & so soon. You are doing a great job! I'm so glad the transition is going so well for everyone. When we adopted M&M it was a family decision therefore the entire family helps out. I do however feel like we have 2 sets of kids. The older ones, T&T and the littles, M&M. I have to constantly reorganize, keep things in balance & make sure their needs are being met. That's my job! I wouldn't trade ANY of it for anything. We too brought home a bonus. Macey is still a wonderful treasure. I look forward to the time when we can meet & have one big play date. Love ya!

jennifer... said...

You are a real hero, Charissa. I know you don't post updates for the accolades but, in one of those tough moments, you may need to remember that there are at least 7 people who think that way about you...:)

Traci said...

Love the updates!! I have to admit that when I saw your post the other day that showed Joseph and the gate...I laughed and said to myself that gate is not going to stop that boy!!! Ha, I was right! I have a friend who had to put two gates up, one on top of the other to keep the kiddos contained! :) You are doing a wonderful job!! LOve seeing their beautiful faces!

Maria and Family said...

You are a rock star mama ! I love that you are so real and focus and the positive , open to the challenages that a large family brings :) These babies were meant to be right where they are :) Sweet zoya...your little teeny treasure :) Cant wait to see her just blossom !

Frikkie said...

Glad to know that you guys are all adjusting well. We never had a doubt. It is great to hear how you guys are and I have always appreciated your honestly about life. We look forward to seeing y'all soon.

Justine said...

Love this update--honesty and optimism! Joseph and Zoya are both such treasures and we are so excited to meet them and to reconnect with your other kiddos. Praying for you to find that balance. You are awesome! It will calm down!

Angela said...

I'd recommend an Ipad for Zoya.You can get the app called Proloquo2Go and it will allow her to communicate with you. My nonverbal son with autism uses it and it's great. It's cheaper than most speech generating devices.

Qadoshyah said...

Sounds like you guys are all doing great :)!

Anonymous said...

Adopt-e-sectomy ! I heard that many times while I was in Ukraine with Uncle Johnny. But I want you guys to get more !!! :) Can't wait to visit you guys in October ! I miss my very special, SEVEN cousins !