• Adoption Awareness
  • The Adoptive Mom’s Manifesto

    We are mothers of a different sort. Our children did not come to us easily. For many, we suffered years of heartbreak. We watched as our dreams were crushed. We watched as our friends, family and strangers coddled the small beings growing within them knowing that our bodies were empty, but our hearts were full. We subjected ourselves to needles, tests and medications. We suffered the disappointment of so many failed attempts at getting pregnant. We so badly wanted a child. Someone who would call us mommy. We made a choice. We put down the physical heartbreak and turned to an alternative.

    We are adoptive mothers.

    Some of us came to this place as a first option. Others of us as a last resort, but it is through the lives that grew in our hearts that we are joined as one. There is no force more powerful than that of an adoptive mother. Our grey hairs were earned through hours of research, mountains of paperwork and the stress of waiting for that one thing that is out of our control.

    Children were placed in our arms and we wept. We waited. Some for months, some for many years. But at last, we had a child we could call our own.

    Any mother will tell you that she will go to the ends of the Earth for her child. Many adoptive mothers have seen that side of the Earth with their own eyes. I have stood on that river bank and wept with joy.
    We are mothers of a different sort. We do not know every last detail of our child’s background. We were not with them from the moment of conception. However, we accept them as they are.

    I am an adoptive mother.

    My son lived a life of depravity for two years. He was never cuddled when he cried. He was never rocked to sleep. He did not laugh, he did not cry. I stood before a judge and told him that I would do what it takes to meet the needs of this child. My child. We have visited attachment therapists, occupational therapists, vision therapists, adoption medicine specialists, pediatric gastroenterologists and made numerous trips to our own pediatrician.
    We live with terms like sensory processing disorder, anxiety, diplopia, proprioceptive deficiency, gross motor dysfunction.

    I have gone to the ends of the Earth for this child and I will continue to do so until my dying breath. I will never give up. He is my son.

    I am a mother.

    I will never give him back, I will never give him up. I knew when I entered the unknown world of adoption that this child may need an extra hand.

    This is my child to the end of days. I love every inch of his soul. I laugh at his off remarks. I smile at his sense of style. He is unique. He is remarkable. He is mine.

    We are mothers.

    Happy National Adoption Month.

  • Elle's World
  • Whoa. A year

    Holy crackers! A year? Serious… a year. A year ago today I was wrapping up a whirlwind tour on the other side of the world (by myself). I still can’t believe I got on a plane and traveled to Far East Russia by. my. self.

    Where have I been? I’ve been here. Our little family has spent the last year trying to figure out where we are and where we want to go. Ok, that’s just me and the husband, but we brought the child along for the ride. Both Derek and I have spent some time trying to discover ourselves and figure out if we are making the most of our lives. We were at the conclusion that we were not. Now we are talking as individuals not as a couple. That’s all good. Don’t fret.

    The realization that we are fully seated in adulthood, but aren’t where we thought we would be at this point in life kind of threw us for loops. Derek was at a job that he liked well enough, but had no upward movement without movement of his entire family.. to Minnesota. I’ve spend the past 4 years researching what life would be like in the Twin Cities, but always came to the same conclusion. I would hate it. He knew that. I knew that. It wouldn’t work. Something had to give. Sometimes life intervenes when you least expect it. At the end of August Derek was recruited away from the company he had worked for for 13 years. In a whirlwind of interviews, travel and back and forth he accepted a new job. He now works from home, makes more money, has upward mobility in the company without relocation and if he did need to relocate it would be to San Diego. San Diego wouldn’t suck. We no longer have to worry about childcare. It is a good thing. Granted, adjustment to having him home all the time is taking some getting used to. It’s all good.

    And how am I doing? At the moment I’m hanging in there. I’m still trying to discover who I am and where I want to go. I had a super awesome opportunity earlier this year. It was in the wholesale perennial growing business. I was confident that this is what I wanted. It would have been more work, a commute, tons of stress, but it would have been mine. I turned it down. At the root of it all I was not confident that it was what I truly wanted. Then came another idea. I wanted to take a totally different career path (but still within the horticulture industry). It is long hours, lots of stress, starting at the bottom, no true experience in the field, but I would be able to flex my creative muscle to my heart’s content. I still want that opportunity, but I don’t know how to make it happen. In a nutshell, I still don’t know what I’m doing and who’s driving the bus.

    The child? Oh the child. It has been a challenging year in the life of the 9 year old. I suppose you could say that is where I’ve been. I’ve been dealing with him or trying to avoid him so I don’t get screamed at. Because the boy is now a true “big kid” my sharing of his life will be limited. I know there are so many people who deal with many of the same issues we face (Sensory Integration Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Post Institutionalization and the gamut of problems that come from being a Russian orphan), but my poor son has been talked about in front of other people and he is now aware it is happening. He is receiving help for all of his issues and we are on a track that is very good for him. We have not had a “seeing red” screaming fit since September. I have not heard “I have to go to the bathroom” while I am at the opposite end of the store in months. And on a regular basis my child looks at me and says, “You’re the best mommy in the whole wide world.” **heart melts** My child? My child is awesome!

    So why pick up a blog that I had abandoned a year ago? Why delve into my life now? Because it’s ME time baby. I’m ready to be the sassy nut job you’ve all grown to love. Besides, I’ve got some chocolate to pimp and y’all are my bitchez. Put your seatbelt on and pass me a drink. We’re headed into the Life of Elle.

  • Elle's World
  • Things he does

    On the day we went to pick the boy up, or was it just for a visit? I can’t remember. Anyway, one day when we went into the baby home to see Oleg we entered the little office room before the groupa room to see a gaggle of little ones shredding a newspaper. We weren’t exactly sure why they were doing this, but there was newspaper everywhere. A few days later we were in our apartment in Russia and Oleg had found a copy of the Wall Street Journal that we had picked up in the Seoul airport. In fact, I have a few photos of him with the paper. It was cute. I snapped the photos and returned to the sofa. A few minutes later we heard this ripping sound. The child was sitting in the apartment foyer shredding the newspaper. We tried to take it away from him but he screamed as if we were torturing him.

    Since coming home Oleg has the tendency to make any larger item into smaller items. If something comes apart he will take it apart. Legos are best kept as individual pieces (although he will build things with them on occasion). At 2 he figured out that you use a screwdriver to take the battery plate off of toys and removed the batteries from his Tigger airplane ride on toy. If it has a removable antenna he’ll take it off. If he can cut it into little bits he will.

    The other little behavior he has is squirreling things. He loves boxes and bags. If there is something he can put something else into he will. After his birthday someone came over to visit. I was telling them about this little quirk. I pulled out 5 gift bags from around our family room. Every one of them had miscellaneous toys in them. A few train parts, a lego, a silly band, random stuff. We’ve given him a little metal box that we call his treasure box. It is for him to put things into. He can put whatever he wants in it. It usually satisfies the urge to squirrel, but there are times when we have shoe boxes or other boxes around the house that make it into his room and full of stuff.

    As I’m sitting captive here on the couch I noticed the dog chewing on something. I look down and she has this.

    Take a closer look at what’s inside.

    Yep, little scraps of paper. The child cut little tiny scraps of paper and stuffed them into a bag. This isn’t the first time he’s done this. He does it with yarn & feathers (that was a fun one to clean up) too.

    At first these were very annoying behaviors. Now it’s become a little character quirk that I don’t exactly find endearing, but livable. What kinds of habits do your kids have that annoy the hell out of you?

  • Elle's World
  • Sometimes he is a boy

    Saturday I was at work and got a frantic phone call from Derek. “Hello,” I answered. “I’M FREAKING OUT!” was his reply.

    Now the child was at his aunts so it had to be something involving an animal. Oh so many animals to choose from. This time around it was a chicken. Let’s just say a larger bird thought that one of our chickens would make a nice snack. I am not going to divulge the type of larger bird nor will I show you the photo I took of it because if I did then I’d have to kill you and then I would have fewer readers.

    Anyway, this story isn’t really about the big bird attacking the little bird, but it does end with a shovel, a black plastic garbage bag and my husband claiming to now be qualified to work for Tony Soprano.

    The story is really about how we weren’t exactly going to tell the small child what happened only my husband put it on Facebook and then my sister-in-law told the child. Really? This is like that time the dog jumped out of the moving car onto a busy street. You don’t tell the child. There are things you just don’t tell this particular child. His mind is a very scary place.

    So yesterday, we’re walking home from the bus and I go to check for eggs. As I’m opening the gate the boy asks, “mom, can I see the bird.” Meaning the bird that involves the black plastic garbage bag.

    Oh hell no!

    I am not showing that to my 7 year old. My over imaginative 7 year old. The one that told the neighbor to not forget his flashlight for his upcoming Caribbean cruise because he saw a news report that a bunch of people aboard the Costa Concordia were saved because they had flashlights. The same child that believes nothing but doom will come from flying Delta airlines because one time we went to California and had a helluva time getting home.

    I can just see it now. Limp stuffed animals littered across his bedroom floor.

  • Bitch & Moan
  • Snow and the league of idiots

    The Pacific Northwest is not known for major snow events.  In fact we’re quite well known for fuh-reaking out in the face of a few fluffy white flakes.  It could be that there happens to be a large city in the Northern part of the state that didn’t even own a snow plow until that unfortunate incident in 1996 where we got a couple feet of snow… and then ice.

    All we’ve heard about around here for the past week is mention of snow.  At first it was supposed to be a little bit Sunday night.  Then they said possibly Saturday night.  Then they changed their story to heavy snow Wednesday morning changing to heavy rain by the afternoon.  Then it was… Oh you get the picture.

    As of last night the forecast was for 1-2 inches of snow today and a “major snow event” tomorrow.  We’re currently under a Winter Storm Warning.  The story goes starting around midnight tonight we’re supposed to get anywhere from 6-14″ on Wednesday and then it will rain Thursday.

    It snowed off and on for a while on Monday, but nothing major.  Over night last night there was MAYBE 1/2″.  The phone rang at 5:42 this morning robo-calling us to tell us school was cancelled.  I rolled over and asked Derek if there was any new snow.  “Not really,” he said.  Then both of us were awake despite turning off all 3 alarms in the house.  If there wasn’t any real new snow why did they cancel school?

    I got out of bed and looked outside.  An indication of the road conditions is easily assessable by our neighborhood roads.  If they are iced over and snowy odds are there may be icy patches out of the neighborhood.  If they are clear (or slushy) the main roads are just fine.  Our roads… a nice layer of yucky slush.  Again?  Why are schools closed?  Tacoma isn’t closed (of course I think the Tacoma school district would stay open even if the buildings were on fire since their kids are already going to school up until the 4th of July).

    We had to venture out this morning to find snow boots for the child.  We don’t buy them until it looks like snow might actually show up.  Rain boots, yes. However, rain boots don’t quite cut it in the snow.  After all, the weather dude didn’t talk about today’s weather, he only mentioned snowmageddon that’s supposed to happen tomorrow.

    Looking out my window at the moment, the sun is shining, the snow is melting and it’s been raining off and on all day.  I fail to see how this could turn into snowpocalypse.  What makes it worse is the cancellation of school.

    I remember as a kid, getting up and being so excited for a snow day.  We’d eat breakfast, get bundled up and go sledding in the slush.  It was unfulfilling and depressing.  By 11:00 in the morning the snow would be gone and we’d have nothing left to do.  Today is just like that.  We puttered around a mega shopping store because we didn’t have anything better to do.  That only took an hour.  Oleg put together a puzzle while I did some cleaning.  Then we looked at each other and said, “well, I guess we could have lunch.”  Then this afternoon he played with his toy computer and played the fishing game by himself while I watched Project Runway.  After he won the fishing game he started in on science experiments.  Then we dusted.  Do you see a pattern here?  Luckily, the neighbor girl showed up to save us.  Oleg has someone to play with and I can watch stupid television programming in peace.

    Here’s the worst part about all of this.  I’m fairly certain school will be cancelled for tomorrow too.  I’m still not sure why it was cancelled today.

  • Elle's World
  • Kids and money

    As a child my education of money consisted of “we don’t have any.”  My family lived very paycheck to paycheck and there wasn’t much wiggle room.  We didn’t take family vacations, we rarely ate dinner out, new clothes were at back to school time or given for Christmas or our birthday.  We didn’t have the latest state of the art gaming system, but we did have bikes.  My childhood consisted of my mother doing everything she could to hold the family together so there wasn’t a lot of time for teachable moments.

    My view of money isn’t the healthiest.  Derek’s upbringing was far different than mine so when we got married I was all kinds of confused about money.  Needless to say we haven’t had the healthiest of financial pictures over the years.  We’re working on it.  Slowly.

    With that in mind and knowing the struggles my husband and I have faced I want to teach my son about money.  I want him to know how to earn it, how to save it, how to give it and how to spend it… wisely.  This post is mostly brought on by something Lauri wrote on Facebook.  She asked:

    if your child gets money for a b-day gift, do you let them spend it all or make them save it or a combo?

    My response was let them do what they want, it’s their money.  I want to further explain that.

    I may have one of the only (then) 6 year olds who managed to save enough money to purchase an iPod touch.  Yes, my child is the owner of a (rain destroyed) iPod touch.  Not sure if you are aware of the cost of such item, but they aren’t cheap.  One day he said he wanted one and I told him he was welcome to buy one if he saved his money for it.  This wasn’t a save half and I’ll foot the other half.  Nope.  I wasn’t about to purchase an iPod touch for a 6 year old.  I don’t even own one.  He said he would save the money.

    It just so happens that “Uncle” Travis was very generous with money this Spring.  Every time the boy came into the store “Uncle” Travis would slip him a $5.  However, I wanted the boy to earn a good portion of the money.  He helped Papa clean out the garage.  He would clear the table after meals (at Papa’s house) and he helped me set up the tomato stand this Summer.  There were many times when he wanted a certain Lego toy at the store and we told him he was free to buy the toy, but that would mean he would have to save longer for the iPod.  He made good choices and picked saving.  It took him 7 months to save for it and Papa and Auntie Lee helped out in the end, but the child proudly went into Target and purchased the iPod.

    He did it.  He saved the money.

    However, three weeks ago the child accidentally left the iPod outside overnight and it rained.  It is currently in non-working condition.  I broke the news to the child last week that in all likelihood the iPod is dead.  He said, “well… I’ll just have to save my money for another one.”  It was an expensive lesson to learn and one that broke my heart, because damn that was expensive, but he was very mature about it.

    The past two years I’ve had the pleasure of working for two guys that have the money thing down pat.  Their parents taught them about money.  They did it so well they were able to open up their own garden center when they were 22 and 18.  They store has successfully been in business for 7 1/2 years now and will be around for a long time to come.  I’ve seen how healthy their approach to money and business is.  I’ve spent a long time talking to them about how that happened.  It started with their parents.

    Here are a few things I’ve learned from them:

    Teach your kids to work for their money.  Make them be creative.  The boys once had a business where they drove around and picked up old newspapers for recycling.  Gabe sold soda out of his locker in high school, Travis started working at a garden center when he was 15, Gabe when he was 14.  When they were really little they would pick up the leaves out of the back yard for $.01 a piece.  They’ve always worked for their money.

    Loan kids money, bit very set rules.  The boys’ parents purchased large items, like gaming systems, for birthdays or Christmas.  If they wanted something large, like a new set of golf clubs, they had to earn at least half.  Their parents would foot the other half, but it had to be paid back with interest.  Inside the kitchen cupboard was a “loan sheet.”  One for Gabe and one for Travis.  If they borrowed money from mom and dad the amount borrowed + interest was written down on the sheet.  They had to pay the money back within a certain amount of time before they were allowed to borrow any more.

    Set expectations young.  From the time they were little the boys worked.  They were taught to save.  They were taught so spend wisely and they were taught generosity.  All of those traits are very evident today.

    So the birthday money… Oleg received about $40 for his birthday.  He’s spent about $10.  The rest he’s saving for a new iPod.  This time “Uncle” Travis won’t be slipping him $5 here and there.  We’ve talked about asking “Uncle” Travis and Papa and other people if he can do anything to earn money.  He has plans to re-open his vegetable stand in the Spring or he will vacuum your car (with his new shop vac) for $5.

    In any case, he’s learning about saving, spending and working.  We’re hoping this will create a good foundation for financial stability.  What do you think?

  • Elle's World
  • My child and the thank you notes of doom

    I’m going to start writing posts about our general life here.  I’ve mostly avoided this type of stuff because of not wanting to be judged.  However, I’ve come to a point as a parent where I looked at my husband and said, “One of us needs to go to therapy.”  It is either me or the boy.  There are days when I think this is all in my head and that there must be something wrong with me.  Then I sit down and talk to my husband and realize that I’m not really crazy as I think I am.

    Oleg’s birthday party was a few weeks ago.  I’m trying to teach my son about responsibility and gratitude.  I’m fairly certain that is what a parent is supposed to do.  In addition, we’re also working on a few language arts skills at home.  Thinks like reading and writing.  Oleg can read well for a 1st grader, but his writing skills are a little behind.  I thought thank you notes would be a good opportunity for him to practice his writing while learning about gratitude.  I remember being a kid and my mother asking me to write thank you notes.  I remember not liking to do them (I still don’t), but I thought if I make this a positive experience things might be different for him.

    Earlier this week I talked with Oleg about writing thank you notes.  I picked up some at the store and when he got home from school that day his job was to sit down and write them.  There were 11 all together.  I wanted this to be more than just me writing the notes and him writing his name.  He has the name writing part down.  That day he worked on the first 4 notes.  There were complaints, crying and a lot of “I’m not good at this.”  We discussed practicing and not being perfect.  It was like pulling teeth, but he got the 4 to his friends finished.

    On Wednesday his job was to do 3 of the remaining notes and then Thursday he would do the last 4.  He came inside of the house and instead of getting the notes out he grabbed his journal from his room.  I asked him what he was doing and he said he was writing in his journal.  I asked if that was what he was supposed to be doing and he told me no.  He said he was supposed to be writing his thank you notes, but he couldn’t find them.  I’m also trying desperately to teach him to think for himself.  Rather than ask where the notes were, knowing full well that he should be doing them, he kept writing in his journal.  I let him continue letting the scenario play out.  He knew that if he didn’t write 3 today he would have 7 to write tomorrow.

    Yesterday rolls around and here is where the actual story begins.

    Oleg got off the bus and he knew that we had to go to the store to pick up snacks for soccer.  I threw him for a loop and said that we had to get cat food (different store) and run by the bank.  Miracle of miracles… he was fine with that.  He then said, “and when we get home I have to do my thank you notes.”  Yep.  Good job buddy.

    We ran our errands.  We have a lovely time.  He helped me make decisions, we did math problems in the car, he was well behaved, he said, “IF I finish my thank you notes in time I can play with my friends before soccer (he knew what he had to do), he looked at me in the grocery store and said, “I love you mommy.”  It was fantastic.

    When we got home I had laid out his thank you notes and the list of notes to write.  Earlier I took time to rewrite the list into the best legible teacher-esque handwriting I could muster.  He sat down to write and got the first one done.  I had to remind him that he needed to do more than just write the giver’s name and the gift, but also needed to write thank you.  Ok.  He moved on to note number 2.  This is where things went rapidly down hill.  He started to complain that he couldn’t read my handwriting.  He started to complain that he couldn’t write an upper case G.  I gathered my anti-crabby strength and tried to talk him off the ledge.  It only made the situation worse.  He argued.  He cried.  He whined.  He yelled at me.  I looked at him and calmly said, “I don’t care to talk to you when you treat me like that,” and I went in my room and closed the door.  From there I could hear the crying and yelling get worse.  “I’m a terrible note writer!”  “I can’t do this!”  Over and over and over.

    I didn’t want him to end up like me with bad associations with note writing.  I went out to talk to him about not giving up and practicing.  He argued with me about the most miniscule little things.  He couldn’t speak to me without whining.  I once again walked away.  I could hear him crying and yelling again.  “I can’t do this.”  “I don’t know what letter I’m on.”  “I’m a terrible note writer.”  “I don’t like our new table*.”  “Our old table was beautiful.”  “I feel like I’m in trouble.”  Then I could hear something in between the cries.  Then he got quiet and wasn’t crying any more.  I went out to see what was going on.  I could hear the music coming from his rocking chair.  I found him sitting in it.  I asked why he was sitting there.  He said it was because he thought he was in trouble.  I told him I didn’t put him there.  He got up to sit at the table to resume the note writing… and the crying about the upper case G.

    I flipped out.  Probably not the best thing I could have done.  I sat down on the kitchen floor and sobbed.  It has been 4 straight weeks of being yelled at, screamed at, cried at, argued with and whined at.  Every day.  Every. last. day.  I couldn’t do it anymore.  I cried.  And cried.  And cried.

    Eventually he and I got around to a conversation about that this can’t keep happening.  He begrudgingly apologized.  He did that yesterday.  He did it the day before and the day before that.  Every day he apologizes and says he’s not going to whine and cry at me yet he turns around and does it the following day.  Yesterday it was because he couldn’t write an upper case G.  The day before it was because he dropped an egg.  The day before that it was about the thank you notes, the day before that it was about cleaning his room.

    These stories are mostly so I remember.  With every instance there is something that comes up that is totally “irrational.”  Or at least something that doesn’t go with the rest of the problem.  With this story it started with writing the G, but he didn’t like the dining room table and at one point told me he didn’t like that daddy wasn’t home (Derek has been traveling a lot for work).  The “irrational” moments are what these arguments are about.  I need to remember these so if (and or) when we do take him to a therapist we can see where the issue is.

    For now we think we have a plan.


    I recently refinished Derek’s Great Grandparent’s drop-leaf dining table and it is our new dining room table.

  • Elle's World
  • If I let him give up

    If I let my son give up on everything that he was scared of he would sit in front of a window and do nothing all day.  He would watch the world pass him by.  Since the day he joined our family everything new has been scary.  Here he had this nice orderly little life and one day these strange people he didn’t understand came and took him away from everything he’d ever known.  They took him from the order of life.  My child thrives on order.

    When we got home Oleg wouldn’t touch dirt or sand.  He’d never done it before.  If you’re going to be the child of a horticulturist dirt is a fact of life.  I put his hand in the dirt and made him rub them together.  He cried.  We did it again and now he digs giant holes alongside the dog.

    At one point Oleg wouldn’t go outside because he thought the pinecones were out to get him.  I made him hold one to get over his fear.  I’ll pay for therapy for that one.  The child can name all major conifer groups.

    When Oleg was 2 I took him to the park.  He wouldn’t go down the slide or play like the other children.  He would stand at the top of the slide and let all the other kids go by.  One day I coaxed him to sit and I gave him a push.  WHEEE all the way down.

    What I’m trying to say is that if I had let my son give up on everything he didn’t want to do he would still be siting in front of that window watching life go by.  Sometimes we need that little push…

  • Elle's World
  • It’s good, It’s not good

    I’m pretty sure today was one for the record books.  You know those days when you finally sit down at 9:30 at night and realize that the glass of wine you are drinking is your dinner.  Yeah… that’s me right about now.

    When we last left off I was going to call a local hockey rink about their program.  I did just that.  The development director was nice, gave me the price information and what to do.  However, he failed to mention that they had been into the program for almost a month.  I had in my mind that the program had recently started and that I should get Oleg there as soon as I could.  That thinking spurred me into action.

    So we live in the Northwest where hockey isn’t that big.  In fact, there is really only one place on the West side of the mountains to buy hockey gear at a reasonable price.  Let’s be totally honest.  It’s the only place period.  The problem is that place is in Lynwood.  Lynwood happens to be North of Seattle and about an hour from my house.  That’s a long way to go for gear.

    Lucky for me my father-in-law wasn’t doing anything and when I sweetly asked him if he’d like to go with us (which was my way of asking if he’d drive) he said yes.  Boy (and neighbor girl) get off the bus, figure out what gear fits and what doesn’t, get in car, drive to Lynwood, buy gear as fast as possible, get back in car and drive home.  By the grace of God we made it home in about an hour.  The trip could easily take 2 with traffic.

    Once we get home I frantically throw all of the boy’s gear into his new bag, let the children play for all of 10 minutes and realize there is no food in our house.  I try to take the neighbor girl home only to find out her parents aren’t home.  Crap!  We have to go.  I fix my child scrambled eggs and throw some yogurt his way and take the neighbor girl to a different neighbor’s house.  I throw the child and all of his gear in the car and we make the 50 minute drive to the new hockey rink.

    I am a hockey mom and can dress a kid in 5 minutes.  I get the boy ready, and we head out for the ice.  Since the program has already started there is no check-in bit.  It’s a get on the ice and get going.  Oleg and I wait at the door so I can get the attention of a coach.  Oleg looked at me and says, “Mom, what are we waiting for?”  He tells me he’s ready to go.  I let him go.  He gets on the ice and does his thing.  I finally get the attention of a coach and explain the situation.  Boy is new here, but has been skating for 3 years.  Coach says they’ll do some evaluating, go ahead and register him at the counter and all is good.

    I have never had a transition like this with the child.  It was smooth and easy.

    I get the boy registered and sit down in the warm part of the rink to finish eating my now cold food and text Derek the good news.  Mid-text the boy shows up next to me and he’s crying.  He pulls a Russel from the movie Up and says his head hurts, his foot hurts, his leg hurts, his butt hurts and he has to go to the bathroom… ok maybe not those last 2, but you get the picture.  I get him calmed down and the coach asks if he’s ok.  He’s fine.

    My child is… my child.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I forget that.  Not in a bad way.  We become so complacent with his behavior that we forget that he’s not quite the same.  He’s unique.  It is possible that Oleg will never transition into new situations smoothly.  We may always have to do prep work prior to a major event.  I’m ok with that.

    This time we had a bit of a breakthrough.  As we’re walking back down to the ice he looks at me and says, “mom, you know I just get worried sometimes.”  I know buddy.  You do.

    That’s huge!  He verbalized it.  The second time he came off the ice (yep, it happened again) we were able to have an actual conversation about it.  It was too much.  Too much noise, too many kids, too much new.  Add the go, go, go from earlier in the day, he had soccer practice last night, dad is out of town… it was too much for the kid.  I know that.  I should have transitioned him a little more slowly, but I realize that at the time.

    When we got home he said, “I’m sad that I didn’t get that much time to skate…” GAH!  But that’s his way of saying that I’ve worked through it and I’m ready to try again.  He’ll cry again on Sunday.  But he may only do it once.  That’s ok.  It takes him a little more time than most.  If I let him give up he wouldn’t do anything.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • The fine line

    There is this fine line with this PI kid of mine.  It is a fine line of behavior between “normal” and “PI.”  You would think that after over 5 years out of the institutional setting he would have adjusted to being just a regular kid.  It just isn’t the case in this house.

    To the casual observer my child is just like any other 6 year old.  He runs, he plays, he laughs, he throws fits.  When I talk to my friends about their homegrown kids it all sounds just like Oleg.  Neighbor parents and teachers all tell me how smart, kind and nice he is.  It’s true.  Outside of our house he is a perfect gentleman.  He came home from school the other day to proudly proclaim that the teacher excused him for recess by himself because he was sitting quietly waiting while the other kids in the class were goofing around.  That’s mah boy.

    When he’s home it’s a different story.  His ability to control emotions, make decisions and listen are non-existent.  I’m pretty convinced that the child holds his shit together so well outside of our house that when he’s home he lets it all out.  However, the level to which he lets it out varies from day to day and could be considered on the scale of “normal” to some.

    This child may seem “normal” to you, but I assure you he is most certainly unique.

    Oleg continues to have sensory issues as well as transition and mood regulation issues.  The sensory issues are much less severe than they once were and no longer interfere with daily life.  I can’t tell you what a blessing that is.  He still doesn’t like loud sounds (who does) and will often think that a crinkling newspaper will be as loud as a fire alarm and cover his ears.  I accredit his preschool teacher with working on overcoming the majority of the auditory issues.  He’s moved on to smelling everything.  It really isn’t a great quality when it comes to the multiple chicken coops that are around our house.

    The transition and mood regulation issues are what we deal with most.  Any given trip outside of our house involves a long conversation about where we are going, what roads we will take, who will or will not be there, what it will smell like, what it will sound like, how long we will be there and how many things are we purchasing.  If there is any deviation in the plan he will fly off the handle and it is quite difficult to bring him down.

    I know there are so many other families out there who have it much more difficult than we do.  We’ve been quite fortunate in that Oleg’s PI issues are rather minor.  However, there is that fine line.  That line that says he is a typical 6 year old but he’s a 6 year old that spent the first two years of his life in an institution.

    What’s my point?  No point really.  Just letting you know the status of where we stand 5 years post orphanage.