Thank you all for your wonderful questions. If you hadn’t noticed, I love to talk about my child. He is such an amazing little boy and I am so lucky to be his Mom. To answer the biggest question, yes, it has been 1 year. One year ago today we walked into Khabarovsk Baby Home #2 a childless couple and walked out parents. I will never forget that moment for as long as I live. Next to getting married, it was the best day of my life.
What do you like about being a Mom?
I love that I am the person responsible for this little person. I am the one he comes to for boo-boo kisses. I love that I can teach him how to be a strong man.
What does Trusty Son do that just melts your heart?
For me it is the spontaneous hugs and kisses and his overall concern for me or the trusty husband. He does not like it if I am sad or sick. He gets very worried. That compassion gets me every time.
For the trusty husband it is his singing. The boy has recently started singing. This is something he did when we first got him, but he stopped when he learned English. Within the past few weeks he has started singing again and Derek loves it (I do too).
What surprised you most after first becoming a mother?
How truly difficult it would be. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I never thought it would be as hard as it was. I also did not expect to have a child as smart as the boy is. I was prepared for that possibility if we had a biological child given that potential child’s genes, but never in a million years did I think I would have a child in the intelligence category the boy is in. For the time being, we are shying away from the word gifted because he has never formally been tested, but some of the stuff we see points down that road.
Did things come as naturally for you as you thought they would?
Some things did and some did not. The Trusty Husband and I had 10 years to figure out what kind of parents we wanted to be. Many of our conversations revolved around this topic. We would observe others parenting behaviors and talked about what we would have done differently in a given situation. We also gleaned lots of good parenting strategies from very effective parents and excellent parenting books.
On the other hand there were some things that I didn’t think I would have to deal with. The rocking was one.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Creative parenting. I have an extremely intelligent child who knows how to push my buttons. Consequences that work for one child will not work for mine. I cannot punish my child by making him clean. He loves to do so. For instance, if he scatters beans about his room and defiantly refuses to pick them up I bust out the vacuum and make him sit there and watch me vacuum. I then confiscate the beans. He remembers everything and frequently lets me know so.
The best high & lowest low?
The best highs are the firsts. First trip to the beach, first trip to the fair, first spontaneous hug. There isn’t just one moment that stands out as being the highest high.
I have 2 moments that stand out as low points. First is the 3 day stint we had in December when he didn’t eat. That was rough. I was frustrated because I didn’t want him to starve and I had no clue how to fix the situation. We did some research and muddled our way through.
The other low point was right after we got back from Alaska. The boy whipped out behaviors that we had never seen before. Both of us were at our whits end. That is why we sought help from U of WA Adopt Med Center. We were convinced that the boy had something wrong with him. Come to find out he had a horrible case of 2.
How do you feel different?
I feel that I have grown so much in the past year (and actually 3). Trips to the other side of the world, seeing so many sad faces just wanting a mother and father to love them and being able to give a home to a child that had nothing changes you. I have been richly blessed by my son and I thank God every day for him. But with that being said, I am much more tired than I used to be.
Is DH the father you thought he would be? How is he better or worse?
Derek is the best father in the world. He is exactly like I pictured him as a father. He is patient, kind and always so giving when it comes to the boy. We fill in each other’s gaps. I knew I would need him desperately for me to be a good mother, but I didn’t realize how much I need him. There is no way I would have survived the past year without him.
How is Pickle’s vocabulary coming along?
When you meet my kid hold on to your butt. For a child that only spoke 3 words when we got him he has come so far. We figured that he didn’t have anything important to say in Russian so he didn’t even bother with learning it.
He now speaks in mostly full sentences. His words are formed very well, with the exception of a few sounds. He is speaking less and less in the third person. He actually is kinda fun to carry on a conversation with.
Did he speak Russian at all when you picked him up?
The boy spoke about 3 words in Russian when we picked him up (na, paka, and Mama). He also learned one new word in Russian while we were there (Riba, this is the only Russian word he still holds on to. He calls them Riba-Fish crackers). He didn’t speak much, but understood Russian completely. By the time we left he knew about 6 words in English.
Does he know his nickname is Pickle?
We actually don’t use the name “Pickle” in referring to him outside of the internet. We call him “Little Boy,” “Sweet Pea,” and “Babaganush.” His name is short so we actually use the diminutive (Ah-lay-zhek) when we need to get his attention.
Was it more or less work than you imagined?
Much more work. I had read so many books, blogs, web sites and talked to so many people. I thought I had a handle on anything that could have come our way. I was surprised to find out that the boy did not exhibit a single behavior I prepared for. In fact every behavior that I thought wouldn’t happen to us did. Looking back I don’t know why this should surprise me at all given our entire adoption journey .
What moment over the last year do you wish you could freeze in time to relive whenever you wanted?
There are so many. But I think I would have to say the moment we took him out of the orphanage. I would do it over and over and over again if I could. I remember clutching this scared small little boy and telling him that everything was going to be ok. Mama was there and I wouldn’t let anything happen to him. I remember stepping out of the door way and seeing the purple flowers on the vine growing up the porch at the baby home. It was bright and sunny that day. He was so confused. I was terrified, but somehow we figured it out.