Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cart before the horse.

I realize it is poor blogging etiquette to interrupt our story and report on life back in Texas, as a family of FIVE, before I've wrapped up the story of our time in Korea.

You'll just have to forgive me for that--I have limited time to blog and right now I'm overcome with love for the little guy sleeping in the room next to me.

YH has been with our family for just over a week now; a week that has exceeded my lowlowlow expectations for life in transition. Due to his background issues and risk factors I had prepared myself to be parenting a child with behavioral issues. One who raged, who didn't have language skills, who had food/feeding difficulties, who was significantly developmentally delayed.

I didn't prepare to be parenting a child who is a total joy. A child who loves to make us laugh, who is gentle with our pets, who loves his siblings, who is curious about everything around him. I focused so hard on the "what ifs" that I completely forgot to think about the daily delights.

Our YH is an amazing little guy. He grieves for his former life; don't misunderstand, the grief is there. But his grieving happens primarily at night. He goes to sleep easily at 7pm and sleeps soundly until 10 or 11pm, when his exhausted form is overtaken by sadness. Then he cries and moans in his sleep, sometimes letting loose with a mournful "Ommmma, omma, ommaaaaaaa" Other time he just sobs, waiting for me to come in and wrap him in my arms. I lay there and rub his back while he cries. I kiss the top of his beautiful head and whisper to him that I know how hard this is. That I think he is a brave boy, a loving boy, a good boy.

 I sing "You are my sunshine" to him as he drifts back to sleep on my chest. I try to keep my own tears from running onto his face, lest the wetness wake him again.

For the first few days he would thrash and moan for the majority of the night. More recently he has slept until 7am or so, when he awakens with a grin. He rolls over to me and looks me in the face. "Omma?" he says until I open my bleary eyes. When I do, he grins and tweaks my nose.

"HONK" he says, and then dissolves in a fit of giggles.

How can you not love a kid who does that? A kid who wrestles with despair in the darkness and wakes up filed with joy in the morning light?

We spend our days close to home. Lots of time in the front yard. YH loves trees and flowers, so we planted a garden for/with him. Now he has his own raised bed, overflowing with blooms. Each morning we go outside to water his plants and he gently caresses the petals saying "WHOA" to each new flower.

He has learned to love taking a bath (scary at first) and riding in his car seat (not cool at all at first) and riding buckled into our cargo bike (also not cool at all at first).

He eats everything we offer and has learned to use a fork and spoon with some degree of accuracy. If he is eating something he thinks is particularly delicious he will take a piece of it and offer it to whoever is seated near (even the dogs). He has learned the signs for "please" and "more". He tells us when his diaper needs to be changed, and when he is thirsty. At certain times during the day he will suddenly call out "Po-po!" (kisses, in Korean) and then run around to each family member with pursed lips.

He can high-five, fist bump and clink glasses when we say "Cheers!"

Next week we have our first big doctor's appointment at a local International Adoption Clinic. I am apprehensive about what the doctors will report. I don't want anybody's "official diagnosis" to overshadow the sweetness and laughter that is my boy. No medical terminology or prognosis will color the way I see this child; I love him with all my heart, regardless of how many letters they string along behind his name on a medical chart.


  1. Oh Nora, I just the love the whole lot of you. HONK HONK!

  2. All those letters on a chart define & describe your beloved son's baseline condition. They do not define HIM -- who he is, how he copes, what he can do or be. All those letters are the paving stones laid in place on his path, but the path itself is defined by him, by you, and by your interactions. A medical chart does not determine who or what a person is, or their worth, or their potential; as long as you keep that thought firmly in mind, your brave & loving son will be defined by you and by himself, not by what a physician puts in a chart. (BTW, I digressed many a time from an ongoing story in my blog to report on "real time" things... Hey, it's your blog, write it the way you want!) :-)

  3. Oh gave me goosebumps and I teared up when I read "you are my sunshine" as it is the go-to song for extra love at our house too. Don't forget that YOU TOO are strong and brave, as is Sean and all 3 of your munchkins. Lots of love and huge hugs to your amazing family xox

  4. HONK! So glad it's going as well as can be expected. And don't let those letters scare you. A diagnosis can be a comfort when it gives you a game plan. What's worse is knowing that something is moderately or seriously wrong, yet having no idea what it could be, or what the treatment should be.

  5. This is amazing. I love this. We have felt similar things about our daughter. There have been several episodes of upset, crying, tantrums, etc but the majority of her attitude has been one like your son's. It's impossible not to love kids like this.