Our little man has been home for just over a month so I thought it might be time for an update. We get lots of questions from friends and family everywhere we go so I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A post.
1. Q: Does he have a favorite sibling? A: If I were answering this 2 weeks ago, I would have said, Maggie, hands down. The first two weeks he was home, he was her little shadow and she loved every minute of it. They played together in his room, read books, wrestled, and snuggled. This has changed a little. He is attaching more and more to me and Ryan and less to his siblings. This is not a bad thing. It’s just part of the process. He still plays with Maggie the most because she is the most patient and doesn’t mind him being rough with her. Most of the time, he, now, pushes her away when she tries to snuggle him. Usually, she just shrugs and understands that he is still trying to figure everything out. However, it does hurt her feelings some times, and I hate this part of it. However, she has been absolutely amazing and so helpful.
2. Q: How have the other kiddos adjusted? What did they accept and what have they had a hard time accepting? A: I’m going to answer this by child because it’s so very different for each of them.
Trent: My big 7 yr old is and always has been pretty oblivious to the world around him. Not in a bad way. He’s exactly like his Dad. He can do one thing at a time and that’s it! So, he loves his new brother and is always saying that he’s glad Reid is home. However, do they play with each other like you would imagine 2 brothers doing? NO! Trent is 5 1/2 years older than Reid and that age difference is hard with boys. Trent’s favorite toys/activities (legos, wii, bikes, drawing) are not exactly toddler friendly. Right now, Trent sees Reid as a cute little brother that should be “seen and not heard”. Sort of! Their favorite game is chase. So, if you were to stop by our house in the evening, you might see the cutest little toddler chasing after his big brother and both of them shreeking at the top of their lungs.
Maggie: Well, I already gave you the scoop on this big sister above. She adores her new brother and has taken her new role very seriously. She is helpful with entertaining him and doesn’t mind how rough he is… most of the time. She is the designated “keep him awake in the car” sibling. His car seat faces her and she makes silly faces and plays peek a boo with him so that we can get him home for his naps.
Evie: Evie bears the biggest brunt of this change. The two big kids are at school all day and she has been my sweet sidekick since August. So, life has certainly changed for my “too big for her britches” 2 1/2 year old. She has handled the change much better than I expected her to. She has been pushed down, hit in the face with board books, kicked, and pulled off a sit in spin by her hair. This is a lot for my girly girl. However, she loves her brother to pieces and is so quick to forgive when he comes over for an “I’m sorry” hug. They get along better and better every day. I think we’re moving from referring the football tackles to figuring out why in the world the two cuties are so quiet. Today, after an extended quiet period, I found them on Evie’s bed tearing up the caps for big brother’s cap gun and then later going through their sister’s jewelery box. I’m learning very quickly that quiet is not necessarily a good thing with these two.
As big of a change as this has been for all 3 of Reid’s siblings, they have handled it with grace and patience. The first two weeks they were begging me to wake Reid up in the morning so they could see him before they went to school. I kept wondering why in the world they wanted him to wake up when all he did was take their toys, push, and kick. We did a pretty good job preparing them for what was to come and they love their sweet brother to pieces. This, my friends, is unconditional love!
3. Q: What is your favorite trait in Reid?
A: I have to give you 3 favorites because there isn’t just one. 1. His love of all things boy: outside, balls, and trucks! He loves to be outside and brings me his shoes and socks many times each day and begs to go outside. We’re pretty sure he’s going to be an amazing athlete. He is one coordinated boy! 2. His smile and laugh are infectious! I can’t explain what it does to me each time I hear his laugh. 3. His snuggly, sweet side. He may be rough and tough but there’s a soft side to my boy too. He loves snuggles and lets me rock him to sleep. I thank the Lord every day when I rock him to sleep that He gave me this little blessing. I missed so much of his baby stage and am so thankful that God gave me the blessing of rocking him to sleep.
4. Q: How is the transition in communication going? What does he call you and Ryan? How long did it take him to learn his new name?
A: We went to Korea knowing 2 Korean words: Omma = Mother and Appa = Father. We came home knowing 2 more words: Hajima (no-no) and Undae (stop). We still use these words daily.
Reid calls Ryan “appa” and has since the 2nd day he was in our arms. We decided on our gotcha day that “omma” would be saved for his foster mom. She deserves that and so much more. I had the brilliant plan that I would just call myself “mama” since that is what Evie calls me. However, “mama” means “food” in Korean. So….. I am still nameless. He knows who “mama” is but hasn’t said it yet.
We called him by his Korean name for the first week or so and then added Reid to it. It didn’t take him more than a week to know that is his name and he responds to it unless he just wants to ignore us. So, then he gets his middle name (or as Maggie calls it “his in trouble name”) added on.
Little man understands most of what we say. He is one smart cookie. He follows simple commands and answers basic questions with a head shake or nod. He has learned several new words in the past month, but “tractor” was his first. Since then, bomber, uh-oh, apple, diaper, and shoe have followed. He tries to repeat words all day long. I don’t think it will be long before he’s talking up a storm.
5. Q: How is he sleeping?
A: Great!!! He is an amazing sleeper. He slept with us in korea and slept all night the very first night with us. We started him on his mattress on the floor when we got home and then he ended up in bed for 2-3 nights. We, then, decided to try him in his crib and that has been our best decision yet! We rock him until he is sleepy and then lay him in his crib where he falls asleep on his own and sleeps ALL. NIGHT. LONG! Thank you, Jesus!
6. Q: What foods does he like or dislike?
A: Our little man LOVES to eat! We don’t know yet if he is eating for comfort or if he just eats all of the time. He loves fruit and honey nut cheerios. His favorite food is either macaroni and cheese or anything with rice. However, he will eat almost anything. Just about the only thing he WON’T eat is green beans or Mexican food. Oh, and he was definitely a fan of ice cream!
7. Q: How accepting were your family and friends?
A: Our family and friends have been absolutely wonderful! We did a very good job at preparing our friends and family for what to expect in the first weeks we were home. So, they have given us the space we have needed while offering whatever help we may need. Our family loves Reid to pieces and can’t wait until he knows them well enough to love them back.
8. Q: What is the one thing you didn’t prepare for?
A: We were very well prepared for bonding, attachment, eating, and sleep issues. I think we were so worried about those things that we didn’t even think about behavior and discipline issues. Our sweet guy was spoiled rotten by his foster family, and I don’t think he was ever told “no”. So, we quickly had to establish boundaries and are still working on it. Not only did we bring home a little guy who was taken away from the only life he ever knew, but we also brought home a VERY active toddler who is approaching 2 very soon. So, much of what we are dealing with is just normal 2 year old behaviors. Thankfully, we are seasoned parents and it hasn’t ruffled us too much.
9. Q: What is something most people don’t understand?
A: I’m not exactly sure how to answer this one. Our transition has gone really well compared to many adoptive families we are in contact with. However, even though it has been easier than expected, this is still not easy. In many ways, Ryan and I feel like we have added a completely active newborn to our family. I don’t know if that makes sense, but he requires as much or more attention as a brand new baby, AND he is constantly on the move. There is no sitting down and holding him while he sleeps hours on end. Our schedule is very much centered around his which isn’t even something I did for my newborns.
So, while we have been able to ease in to life faster than we expected, we are still easing. We are adding one thing at a time and you will often see us tag teaming life. Ryan goes to worship team practice without me and I bring the kids to church later. I take the big kids places while Ryan stays home with Reid.
10: Q: What contact will you have with the foster family?
A: Our agency does not allow direct contact with Reid’s f.f. We will send regular updates through our agency. We have a Christmas package in the works for them and are due to send them a letter. Some day, we hope Reid will have the opportunity to take a Heritage Tour to Korea and, Lord willing, he would be able to see them again at that time. However, this won’t be until he is a teenager or young adult. We may not ever hear from them, but we plan on making sure they get to “see” him grow up as much as possible.
11. Q: What’s one piece of advice for those considering adoption?
A: The moment you hold them in your arms, every piece of paperwork and every day waiting fades away! It’s all worth it… every single bit! I can’t say this enough. It is an extremely daunting process. EXTREMELY! Take it one piece of paperwork, one day waiting, one hour of travel, one second until you see their face… one agonizing step at a time. God is good and God is faithful. He will see you through to the finish line!