Saturday, July 28, 2012

Moving to new site:

He is ours.

He legally bares our name.

He looks so much bigger.

His contractures are much better than we thought! His knees and feet and elbows are very contractured, but his hands and wrists are barely affected! (Unlike what we were expecting based on his picture!)

And he has enough muscle to crawl! Much more muscle than we expected!

And he's so cute!

His strawberry mark is gone and now there's just a scar there from what we think was a small surgery.

He doesn't know how to eat. So we'll have to bottle feed for a while. I requested breastmilk for him and am waiting for a donation.

He loves to snatch glasses off our faces.

His sister calls him her baby.

We were told he was at a nine month old level, but in the couple of weeks we've been with him he's now more at a 12 month old level!

He is so loved. I never thought I could love someone this much who did not come from my body.

We're about to do our best to make up for the first two years of his life.

We're moving updates from this blog to our permanent blog:

Thank you all for everything.

*at peace knowing my baby is safe and loved*

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Give us time. A heads up.

I wanted to write something about how weird we're going to be after Roland comes home. Just to warn you all. (Yes I know we're weird now! But we're going to be MORE weird. Yes that's possible. No I'm serious. Shut up!)

Ahem. We're going to do things like give him a disgusting, germ-covered, nose-insulting blanket (that he used in his birth country) and let him snuggle his little face into it. It will never be washed. We're going to sleep with him for months before moving him to a crib. We're going to be giving him a bottle (even though he's two) for a ridiculously long time. I'm going to wear/carry him constantly. I'm going to play an insane amount of peek-a-boo. We're going to shelter him a ton, especially at first. We're going to do a daily massage twice a day where our phones will be off. And worst of all for all you Roland fans dying to meet him, we're going to hoard him like Smeagol with the ring.

This will all be temporary (not temporary enough for grandparents) and with a definite measurable goal in mind: our son's healthy emotional development.

There's a great article here about what newly adopted children need who have come from institutional environments. I encourage you to read it in its entirety to answer many questions you may have about our new and strange parenting behavior. Children like Roland can develop attachment disorders, PTSD and behavioral issues. We had to take several classes on this as part of our Home Study. That's why I need my loved ones to hear me on this.

I had researched about all this before committing to Roland. In fact we had started on a Home Study while I had a job that I commuted to every morning. I had five years with this company and foresaw many more, but I knew that the best thing for a displaced child was a mommy who was home constantly with him. I immediately gave my notice (once we were serious about adopting) and was offered a position at home to accommodate the change in our lives. (That right there was a God-send.) I fully realize that doing my job from home while having an upset two year old strapped to me will be difficult, but for the sake of bonding I need to do it. (I had a dream once that I won the lottery and never had to work again. That was glorious.)

You see a child needs to bond to a primary caregiver. Roland does not have a primary caregiver, never has. For the sake of Roland's future wife and friends and for dealing with the harsh treatment for his disability he needs to develop healthy attachments now. It's just as bad for a child to not attach to anyone (and self sooth and not want to be touched) as it is for a child to attach to EVERYONE believe it or not. Both are unhealthy and lead to lots of issues you can research on your own if interested. The healthiest thing is to just bond with your immediate family, and more so with one caregiver (mommy). That means I can't hand him off to people as much as I will desperately want to. To quote the article, "YOU ARE THE ONLY CAREGIVER!! You always bottle, feed, bath, dress, change and most of the play. If friends and family want to help let them walk the dog or clean your house, wash bottles or do laundry, bring food or make you tea. No baby-sitters and no sending the baby away for respite. Until your baby is firmly emotionally attached to you, NO ONE the baby doesn't see daily should hold or even touch him or her, and even those that the baby sees daily should hold him or her at a very minimum."

And when we notice that he's fully attached to me, that may change after each and every medical appointment or surgery.

Roland may fight the entire process. (Yes I will be wearing an unhappy child most likely, and will have to watch for signs of overstimulation. We have resources and know to see a counselor if things don't improve over time.) I will need help. I will need someone to call when Rolly won't stop screaming in my ear and all I want to hear is, "This is temporary. You did not cause his problems and you can't fix them. But this is your job now and you can do it." (Avoid saying things like, "You signed up for this." Because however true that is, I will probably cold cock you through the phone.)

This is not a job I am uniquely qualified for by the way. Not even one I'm particularly good at. (I don't sign up for nursery at church. Sometimes I see the nice nursery lady with the sign up sheet and dive behind a table.) I really believe I'm being led down a hard path, just like when Laelia was first born, that will lead to the most incredible destination. I will be stretched to do things I don't do well. Help me through the dark times. Understand when I can't do anything for a while. And please please please please please band together and love on my daughter through this. You have my permission to take her to Disneyland for a day or buy her anything. Lots of play dates. Seriously. My love will multiply for my children but my attention will divide, and not always evenly.

We will be treating Roland differently than we treated Laelia at his age. He's been through a great trauma of being given up and he will go through another trauma when he is taken away from everything he knows and is brought home. Then add to that the surgeries, castings, medical and dental appointments to reverse two years of neglect and he's going to need a healthy way to deal with the hardships and grief. He's going to need to know how to ask mommy for comfort (by crying) and receive that comfort (be soothed by my touch, voice and smell). He's going to need me and he cannot feel loved through this if we don't bond like crazy. Since Laelia did not experience any of that trauma she can be parented in our usual manner. For example, Laelia gets timeouts if she acts up. These work great for having her calm down and control her behavior in order to be part of the fun again. Time outs don't work for a child who was thrown away and neglected. In fact they can damage him. This means that Laelia can be sent to her room, but when Roland acts up *I* get a timeout with him.

We're not going to do this perfectly. I promise you that at least once in this process you will look at us and shake your head in disagreement about something. We will have all the worries and stupidity of new parents all over again. But we have lots of advice and counsel already in place. What we need is support.

And chocolate. Lots of chocolate. If I'm not super fat by the time Roland is bonded to me you've all failed me as friends. ;)

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm under spiritual attack... there I said it. Darn trolls.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." -Ephesians 6:12

Okay I am up way too late and I'm way too tired to be writing. Who is letting me blog in this state?

Well since no one is stopping me, I want to rant a bit. I have this one pet peeve that I have no idea where it came from but here it is: saying I'm under a spiritual attack.

(Disclaimer: I have lots of religious-y pet peeves: from sermons on tithing to using the word "Christian" as an adjective. I don't like these things, but I could totally, absolutely be wrong and often am. Keep that in mind as I wax on.) 

(Oh and when did this become such a religious-y blog? Someone shoot me.)

I figure if God is so big, like on the scale of Thinker-of-the-Thoughts-that-Aren't-Our-Thoughts magnitude then it's kind of arogant to say that I know his will. (Yep he definitely wants me to go to this college or get pregnant or adopt or own these jeans.) But worse yet is when things go wrong and we then turn that into "And since it's not working out that way it must be a spiritual attack by Satan himself, because Lord knows the prince of darkness doesn't slither out of the hole unless someone like me tries to do the Good Lord's work. You see, God told me to do this thing and now that this thing is hard I'm under spiritual attack because I'm so special I warrant a total focus from all the powers of darkness. I'm so so so special. Look at my specialness and weep."

Thus I'm rarely able to say I'm going through a spiritual attack. Because let's face it, we live in an imperfect world and stuff just goes wrong because it's spiraling. It doesn't take some giant effort to make this process hard. Hard is kind of guarenteed.

So after all that it brings me great displeasure to say, I think I'm under spiritual attack. Maybe?

My blog moderator has told me that there has been a rise in troll (online bullying) activity lately on my blogs. (Trolls be warned! I don't read you and I don't see you and I don't respond to you... like I'm doing... right... now. *ahem*) I guess they hit my daughter's blog too. In fact we got a virus a little while ago. Ugh... trolls.

You can tell it's a troll when they 1.) attack your character off the bat, 2.) call your child ugly or bring up your child in a negative way, 3.) use bad grammar or spelling mistakes, 4.) take the conversation 180 degrees away from the topic and/or 5.) outright lie. You see trolls feed off responses and want you to engage them. They will say anything! They will do anything! If outright lies won't get you, they will misspell a word and know the English nazi mother you grew up with all your life WILL NOT LET THAT STAND! *pant pant*

"ur adopsion" <---------- feel it... it burns

The saying, "Don't feed the trolls!" is going around the interwebs warning that you CANNOT reason with a troll. No response is good enough. Nothing you contribute will make it better. You just get more and more polite and state facts and try to beg for common sense (all the while getting super frustrated and praying for their souls) and they are on the other end laughing. "Yay attention! Look at how mad she's getting! Look at her try to teach me how to spell! Ha ha ha."

But us Reece's Rainbow families are just a special lot I guess. We've attracted a mutant troll.

Recently the same people/person trolling this blog and my friends' blogs has decided to take it to the next level. They actually took steps to write letters to disrupt our adoptions. Yes, you heard me. They claim to have written them to my son's birth country and the USCIS.

Now everyone tells me not to worry and that it was a waste of postage and this happens because we go public with our adoptions (usually because we need to fundraise) and it attracts the crazies. Well, I'm one of the last public adoption blogs left out of my adopting friends and have you seen me posting much lately? I can't say when we're going to travel. I can't post pictures once we get there. I can't do anything until my son is safely home. Because someone is out to get us. The thought is unnerving.

These trolls have also used Spokeo to look up our personal information. They claim to have done this for each and every family adopting special needs through RR. Because what this adoption was lacking was a good old-fashioned stalking. 

To answer your question, yes it's being dealt with by RR and others. It's not just being ignored because too many people are living in fear and hiding their blogs and being harrassed. But I'm saying that our response (as writer, and as reader) is to ignore them. (Thankfully that's what moderators are for!) Charles and I don't have an online business they can mess with and none of our information on Spokeo is even close to accurate (we're old and rich?! Woot!) so we're staying put for now.

So why am I saying to ignore trolls while I devote an entire blog post to them? Well lately the trolls have been claiming (on nearly every blog, including university articles and random forums) that the photolistings we used to find our son are illegal.

The hard thing about vicious people is that you wonder just how much of what they're saying is truth. A good troll will have 90% truth and then some great 10% baloney. The whole "it's illegal over there" accusation worried me. It's not illegal in the US, but is it illegal in my son's birth country? I mean until now I've never studied their law! I was happy I could find them on a map!

I was provided with the law from my son's birth country that clearly says that photolistings (speficially the one used to find my son) are good and legal (whew). Here's a link to another fellow adopter who has written out the law on her blog and she's taken out the country name (that we're not suppose to mention so that's why I'm always saying "my son's birth country") and replaced it with *****s so it's safe for me to share. (Notice that it's in the country's language/alphabet and then translated into English so you can check the translation using Google translate and don't have to take the adopting family's word for it.)

Resolution 905 paragraphs 46 and 47 actually ENCOURAGES photolistings. In fact I found a photolisting of my son IN his birth country! His own country photolisted him! It's not illegal here or there or anywhere. And every rule is being followed.

Another family who is in my son's birth country right now just finished court where a judge ruled that they are the proud new parents of two adorable kiddos with special needs. When the judge asked them where they found their children, they said, "On a photolisting on Reece's Rainbow." The judge then threw a fit? Oh no wait, the judge smiled and said she wished there were more families like them and granted their adoption in minutes. Why? Because she knew that photolistings are encouraged and helpful and certainly not illegal.

As the link above says, "We filled out the above mentioned papers called "Child Specific Petitions" and filed them with the government agency in our girl's country. If we could not preidentify a child there would be no document such as a CSP."

I also have a picture of our adoption facilitator standing next to three Reece's Rainbow posters (riddled with pictures of children from photolistings) IN the Department of Adoptions over there! They are up on the wall! NOT ILLEGAL!!!

We are legally allowed to show our child's picture, name, status, age, siblings (if any), siblings' ages and any special needs. I'm even really allowed to tell you my son's country, but just trying to stay on the safe side. :)

So anyway, I'm just hoping that anyone who reads the trolls' posts and comments will notice their bitterness, their attacks (often name-calling the founder of RR and the facilitator in country), their lies and even their grammar and spelling errors so that they can be seen for what they are. It's hard though. Even I had to second guess myself. I mean these trolls will say photolistings are illegal and even link to the law that says it's actually legal! They trust no one will question their sources or click on those links and translate it into English. Nope, we just take their word for it! And... yeah, I never did click on their links for myself either. (I just cried to my support group. Yep. Part of the problem.)

So there's the trolls, and there's the stress and there's my work situation and there's so many other things I *can't* talk about here that just add up to me finally thinking I can be a total snob and arrogantly claim that we're under a spiritual attack. (I just threw up in my mouth a little.) Because true or not that's sure what it feels like. Like we're pressed in on all sides. It just took stalker trolls looking up my personal information and sending letters to stop my adoption for me to admit it. Well that, and this chipped nail. Because you never chip a nail when everything is going right.

And this spiritual attack has got to be worth like 4,500 Jesus points. We may even level up after this. +5 HP or something.