Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I won't lie!

The first day was rough.

For a quick re-cap of what it is like to begin parenting a child who is already an older boy. Elijah is much bigger than I expected.  We are guessing that he is at least 7 if not 8 years old. My friend did an amazing job putting nearly 6-8 pounds on the boy in just a months time. His behavior however, is very delayed.  This afternoon, after playing with blocks, I asked (through sign language) for Elijah to help tidy up.  At first he seemed some what compliant, but it did not take long before he decided he really did not want to tidy up.  I told Elijah "no" and a tantrum followed.  After praying and giving a hug, I decided that I would hand Elijah the toys one by one (while rubbing his back) and encourage him along.  It worked!  I also introduced coloring to Elijah today. He did a fairly good job staying in the lines. However, I wrote his name at the top of the paper and when he tried to copy it, it looked like something a baby had scribbled. Ezekiel, my 5 year old, tried doing phonics cards with Elijah during school time, he got no where. Outside play was fairly constructive although he show signs of overstimulation. Imagine living in the bush all your life, more than half of those years spent running from rebels. A mother killed.  A father dead from an unknown illness and knowing nothing more than one meal a day, a dirt floor to sleep on and a home made sling shot as your only "toy."  The Lord is going to have to remind me a lot that I must be patient.  I want to give this child the love and nurturing that he never got from a mother....but to be honest, I do not know how.  Thankfully, I can ask the Lord for wisdom and He PROMISES to give it to me.

Bath time was a hit today because we had running water and hot water at that.  After showering down the first nine kiddos, I made a lovely lavender bath for Elijah.  I started with scrubbing his feet and scalp.  He seemed to enjoy the attention.  After the bath Elijah got a coconut oil massage on his arms and legs.  I am sure he wonders what kind of lady I am :-)  We also discovered that due to severe malnourishment, almost all of Elijah's adult teeth are completely rotten.  I fear that his first dentist appointment will not bring good news--I have never heard of an 8 year old boy with dentures :-)  We are also going to have him tested for hepatitis as he eyes look very yellow.  

Although my day began with a feeling of utter anxiety, as I looked out at ten children running around in the yard, I found a moment to sit at my Savior's feet and I allowed His peace to wash over me.  

Please, you mama's that have adopted older children, I would love to glean from your struggles and wisdom.


Jewels of My Heart said...

I truly cannot imagine what he has endured...
I will be praying....
My son was 4 and a half when he came home so I do not know if the knowledge I have to share is helpful but please email me if I can ever help with anything.
Most definitely it won't take much for over stimulation. I would also think after he settles in and is in better health that holding therapy would help him bond and overcome a lot of the anger, and walls he has built up.
God Bless You,

Shauna said...

Praying for you Summer!

Mountain Family said...

A little tip from my experience: his teeth probably are not rotten - although they look rotten - they are probably just malformed and without any enamel because of malnourishment. Unless he was eating pure cane sugar or drinking cream, there isn't much in the bush that would rot his teeth. But when the teeth buds are forming under the gums and there is severe malnourishment present they dont form correctly. They come up looking yellow or brown and very oddly shaped. They look rotten, but they aren't. But these malformed teeth have no enamel and often have no good chewing surface either. So they can be painful and they might not function properly.

In the US those teeth would have caps put on them to give him a covering and protection (because of no enamel) and to give him a proper chewing surface.

Again, this is probable, not for sure. But it is common in malnourished children that have not had a diet rich in refined sugars.

Hope that helps to know that!


Shonni said...

Sweet friend...how precious it is to watch you love this little one to the LORD and with a true mothers heart!

chubbycheeks said...

I have no advice, but wanted to say I will be praying for you :) ((HUGS))

love2bmom said...

I will soon be in your shoes, never having adopted a child older than 3. I am praying for you right now! You already know exactly how to be his momma' as God has equipped and prepared you for this!

It sounds like your first day together was VERY successful. I am sure you had moments of panic, as I will too! We will pray each other through! God bless you for your faithfulness! You are an AWESOME mommy, and he will see that he can trust you when he watches you with the other children. He will soon know what the expectations are, as he watches the way the others respond to you. You are the PERFECT mom for Elijah, and that is why God picked you!



Cathy said...

Summer you are amazing!! Your heart for these kids is just incredible. Praying that go will give you all the courage, strength and creativity you need to be Jesus for Elijah and all the others.

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Wish I had a lot, but not much. Learning delayed- have experience with! Behaviors- have dealt with - a lot! Will be praying for you!!! Love the fact that you already know the most important thing- letting God lead you as you help lead the children! :)

Michelle A said...

Wow, I really appreciate your honesty. This will help me in praying for you all. My heart goes out to Elijah-I can't imagine how strange this all must feel to him. I praise God for your sensitive spirit towards him and your openness and desire to do what it takes to facilitate the healing process. I pray the Holy Spirit will fill you to overflowing with all the fruits of the spirit and wisdom as you live out this challenge to love an older orphan.

sara said...

I haven't adopted older boys but want you to know that I am praying for you. That God would show you how to love on him, care for him and give you the patience you need to do so.

blessedmomto8 said...

YOU ARE SO STRONG~ Sounds like you did EVERYTHING RIGHT! Our oldest was 5 when he came to us and he has adjusted well over the 6 years we have been blessed to raise him. I do remember ONE THING. The beginning was THE ROUGHEST. After that, it got much better. We prayed that all experiences, bad thoughts and bad things he had seen in his passed be erased from his mind by Jesus.

Sending hugs and strength to you!

Adeye said...

Oh my goodness, dear friend. You know my journey of raising a VERY delayed, non-verbal nine year old. You have journeyed with me through my struggles. I have absolutely no amazing wisdom to share with you--except to tell you that the Lord has taught me to take one day at a time. To not think about tomorrow and what that may bring--but only to focus on TODAY. Besides, tomorrow is His concern. So are Haven's delays.

Things will get easier. The Lord promises you that He will never put you in a situation that you cannot handle. You are a FABULOUS mommy--I have learned so very much from you, dear friend.

My family is praying for all of you as you adjust to life with another blessing.

His Hands His Feet Today said...

Patience. Lots of patience... and remember you're in it for the long haul... it's likely not going to be a few weeks, months process... could take years. Living it in my own life as you know!

Remember when you fall on your face (b/c you will), to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and seek Him once again!

The Father is proud of you :)

Janet said...

My son was 2.5 when he came home, and it was a struggle, although probably not as much as you are going through. I will pray for you all. This is one of the hardest things to do....you will need His strength.Lean on Him.