Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks Giving

We have a book, called Thanks for Thanksgiving, that we take out every year at this time and read to the kids. They then write in the back of it what they're thankful for. A few examples from years past:
Thank you for lollipops. Thanks you for books.
Thank you for God and Santa and Jesus (does that make Santa like the Holy Spirit or something?)
From Bella one year: I am thankful for my life.

This year we have two new handwritings in the book, from James and Julie.
From James: Thanks for candy. Thanks for Mom. Thanks for turkey. Thanks for holideys. Thanks for new Family.
From Julie:
Thanks fore Holl (whole) family and love. Thanks for all hellp. I am soo hape (happy) I am in Amerikeh.

Yeah. I think that about says it all....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Little Red Corvette


Sweeping my porch the other day I heard the rythmic clip-clop of an Amish horse on the move down our country road. I looked up in time to see the flashiest carriage horse I have ever seen these "Plain" people hitch to a buggy. He was a well-bred Standardbred of a brilliant chestnut red. His tail was a banner carried high above his back. His head was held regally in the air. His knees and hocks reached new heights as he trotted past. He was a breath-taking piece of horseflesh though the inhabitants of the carriage were doing their best to appear unimpressed behind the wheels of their Corvette.

I imagined the conversation that must take place in their household when the teenage son wants to take The Red out for a spin.

Son: Pa, can I take The Red out toight?

Pa: No, son. He's not for you.

Son: But Pa, pleeaaasssse. Just for tonight.

Pa: No. He's too much horse for you. You take the old Morgan.

Son: The Morgan?! I'd die of embarassment to be seen out with that old thing. Why can't I take The Red?

Ma: Eli, let Jacob take The Red. You know how he feels about that girl Sarah.

Son: MAAAAAAAAA!

Pa: (with a twinkle in his eye as he looks at Ma) Weeeellllll. Maybe just for tonight. But if I hear from one of the Elders that you were speeding, you'll be washing and oiling harnesses for a solid month, do you hear me young man?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So Much Goin' On ....

When I look at the date of my last entry, I find it hard to believe that it's been nearly a month since I've posted. There have been so many things that have kept me busy, including:
*new round of dentist appointments for all the kids, two at a time
*Bella's birthday
*James beginning therapy
*Rosie's confirmation
*chaperoning field trips
*a minor surgical procedure (don't worry -- nothing serious)
*school meetings regarding my youngest (can you say Problem Child?)
*redecorating Rosie's room including assembling not one but two nightmare pieces of Ikea furniture
*Halloween
*soccer games
*2 1/2 new horses (a mare, her 6 month old colt, and her foal in-utero)

Normally I would have been all over the one year anniversary of Fred and I leaving for Kazakhstan and meeting James and Julie. That's something in slower days I could write volumes on (aren't you glad you've been spared?). That has come and gone without so much as a nod to the event.

If you read and wondered about the above "James beginning therapy", allow me to elaborate. James has RAD.

(brief pause for the collective gasp of the adoption community)

Yes. James has Reactive Attachment Disorder, as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We're doing this textbook style. We enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon period, followed by some hard-to-understand emotional moments, then moving on to out-and-out rebellion/disrespect, even some limited violent behaviors. Every adoptive parents' worst nightmare, right?

Well I'm glad to inform you that we are all alive and well and pulling through this. We have seen tremendous progress by James and so he continues to impress me in yet one more way. I am trying to resist the pull into a false sense of security since our ride has been bump-free for a couple weeks now, but I know in my heart as well as my head that this will be a long, slow process of two baby steps forward, interspersed with baby to giant steps backwards. That's OK. We're in this for the long haul.

I think they should have parents of all kinds, biological, adoptive, foster, take parenting vows, akin to the wedding vows of marriage. You know, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

Since many adoptive parents prefer not to talk about RAD, but all of us are afraid of it, I'm going to put a side-bar in this blog to timeline what we're experiencing. I know everyone who deals with RAD will go through something very unique, but maybe this will help someone gain some perspective.

For anyone going through tough times with their kids, RAD or not, one small bit of corny advice before closing:
Don't let the bumps in the road knock you out of your car. Just buckle your seatbelt, watch the road signs, and don't be afraid to pull into the gas station to ask for directions.

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