Friday, July 10, 2015

That first little tooth....

So today was a bittersweet moment when my sweet Toby lost his first baby tooth.    Here are some of my thoughts about it...

When we first got Toby, I noticed that his two bottom middle teeth were different than the rest of his teeth.  They were discolored and unhealthy.  Who knows if he was in a poor environment as a baby... or maybe he was sick?    Since I don't have ANY history of Toby's past, I always scramble to find some little piece of history so I can try and guess what his life was like.  I know that I will never probably ever know, but I just have to try. We even went to the place in China where Toby was left.  It is called his "Finding Spot".  We kept asking all of the nurses that we saw if they had any information on him.  We asked the orphanage workers if they remembered him when the police officers brought him there.  No one could give us any information because there were so many children that came through their doors.  But when I think about those precious teeth, I think about when he was a little baby in China oblivious to what his future would hold.   These two little teeth were his very first teeth to break through the skin.  His biological mother probably witnessed this moment.  She probably smiled when her baby finally passed this first of many milestones.

Today, that first little tooth that popped through his gums in China, came out in his new home in America.  If only that little tooth could talk and tell me the story of my baby boy's life.  The 5 years that little tooth stayed in our boy's mouth were the most traumatic but yet the most glorious years of his life.  I am just grateful that our little boy did not have to lose his first tooth all alone in an orphanage bed.  He had a family to cheer for him and celebrate this accomplishment.  He got his picture taken and was told about the big surprises that awaited him after he put his tooth under his pillow. ( And yes, I am one of those Mom's that does the whole tooth fairy thing...)  I am just thankful that while his biological Mom probably witnessed the eruption of his first tooth, his forever Mommy got to witness him losing his first tooth.  A little piece of his history was taken out of his life.  Will I keep that sweet little tooth?  You bet I will.. How can we ever forget where he came from?  But with the loss of this history, comes the growth of a new developing healthy, permanent reality.  

 In many ways, I feel slighted that I missed seeing him grow up.  I never got to see him as a newborn baby or toddler.  I don't have any pictures of him from 0-2.   After a child loses their first tooth their face starts to change into an older child.  I want time to slow down so I can enjoy this little guy a little longer, but I know that I can't.  So I will cherish every day that I have and thank  the Lord for allowing me to be his Mom now and forever.
I am so blessed to be his Mommy!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

15 months later....

Hey everyone,

Just a quick update because today is our 15 month anniversary of having Toby in our family...  What has changed since that glorious moment when he became our son?  I am glad you asked!

1)   Today, our little boy has a language of his own.  He is signing proficiently in American Sign Language and doing great in communication.  If he doesn't know a sign, he asks me and then I explain it or act it out. Try explaining the word  "decide", "commercials", "weather"  or even the word" explain"...Phew....   I make sure and use it a few more times so he can understand.  He usually mimics everything I do so that he can catch on quickly.  He repeats everything I sign in his way of signing..  His learning style is interesting.  I LOVE seeing those signs pop up again in conversation and he uses it in the right context and concept.  I am SO thrilled at the progress he has made in language.

2) I just got his Preschool  progress report.  The teacher says "Toby continues to develop skills that are above his age expectancies for peers of the same age. He knows and identifies 31/40 pre-primer Dolch sight words and he counts to 30. "   My heart leaps for joy when I hear these words.  15 months ago, our boy did not have any language and did not know any English or Chinese. He was a blank slate with an intelligent mind.  To hear that he is above the other children in his class, is unbelievable.  He has come so far in such a short amount of time.  If you could see him read these little books that he brings home, your jaw would drop.  He is a remarkable boy with such a beautiful mind.  We are so proud of his accomplishments!

3)  He had a medical check up and is doing GREAT.  He is now in the 50% in both height and weight.  He has grown about 4 inches since coming home.  He has also learned to love American food, especially the snacks!   He still is having a hard time eating red meat... not gonna force that one, but maybe in time he will try more.  He is growing like a weed!

4)  Toby LOVES family!  He writes our names all the time,  talks about us all the time and wants us to always be near him.  It is a joy to have a little boy clinging on me during the day.  His squishy kisses are the best!  He loves being a helper and he can be so thoughtful.

5) Toby loves church.  He is involved in Sunday School with kids his own age.  He is in Preschool Praise, Special Connections, as well as Awana.  I can't thank the team of interpreters (runners) that help us with Toby on Sundays and Wednesdays.  They are a God send to our family!  Toby volunteers to pray at family dinner every night.  I am sure the Lord is smiling when that little guy starts signing his prayers.

6) Toby's behavior is improving.  It is much slower than the other items listed, but my high energy, anxious sweetie is learning that he is not the boss and that Mom and Dad are.  He is showing signs of knowing this and we are grateful.  Just in the last week, he is making a HUGE turn around from when I posted last time.  He is actually saying "Yes Mom" after I ask him to do something.  We about fell over when he did it all day on Saturday.  We know he is an active 5 year old boy so we have some balance with how we manage his behavior, but he is definitely improving and we couldn't be more happy!  I still run after him and take him to time out many times a day, but slowly but surely.. Maybe when he is 18, he will finally get it!  (:

Keep praying for this little guy!  He brings more joy than we ever imagined.  We are SO blessed to have him as well as our other children.  Each one brings a special touch to our family that can't be matched.  We thank God for the gifts He has given us everyday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hitting the year mark and then some....

Hello there... I know it has been a while since I have written on here.  We hit the 1 year anniversary of having Toby with us on December 17, 2014.  With the rush of Christmas and the grey skies of winter, I have not been too motivated to write.  I did post this on Facebook when we hit the year mark...
"Today is our 1 year anniversary for our GOTCHA day. We are so blessed to have this precious boy in our family! We love you Toby!"

I also posted several videos so friends and family could see us getting Toby in those first unforgettable moments.  We really had a great time reflecting on those moments.  In the middle of celebrating our son's 1 year anniversary of being ours,chaos hit our home.  Cassidy had her tonsils removed and had a horrible recovery, the flu bug hit 3 members of our family, 1 sinus infection hit me,  plus we had a faulty toilet and van.  PLUS CHRISTMAS!   Do you know now why I did not write my blog in December and in January?  Yep, you guessed it... LIFE!

So today is February 24, 2015... the holidays are in the past, we are all feeling better (with the exception of my knotted up digestive system) the van is still trudging along, our toilet is repaired....things are a little less stressful in some ways and VERY stressful in other ways that I can't go into now.  I know that we all have stress in our is not easy for the majority of us, but I still desire to reflect on the blessings of life.  I am so blessed to have my family!  I love my husband dearly and always wonder why in the world  he choose me.  My kids are growing up so fast and my emotions are all over the place as I think about their futures.  Bethany is a Junior in college, 20 years old and trying to make decisions about her future.  Luke is going to be graduating from high school in 3 months and just turned 18.  He is trying to make decisions about his future.  Cassidy is right in the middle of being a kid and a teen and it kills me to see her start to grow out of the kid phase. Meanwhile, our Toby runs non stop all day long.  He has such a joy and energy about him that I can't comprehend.  I mean, he had such a hard life before we got him, but yet he still has joy.. That amazes me and teaches me in so many ways.

I don't really have a theme or topic for this blog post.  I am just sharing my thoughts and updates.  So if there are a lot of rabbit trails... forgive me.  I am just talking from my heart.  

Life has been chaotic in the past few months for me.  If you know me, I don't enjoy chaos.  I love organization and planning, but stress and chaos have overtaken my peace.  I am trying to do some changes in my own heart by the way I act in certain situations.  My responses and attitudes have not been acceptable.  I am trying to be a more positive person.  I am trying to let the little things slide, but it is SO hard for me to not get worked up over the smallest things. Have you been there?   If you have been in this situation, then you understand.  Please pray for me to get my act together so that I can be the best wife and mom that I can be.  Thank you!

As far as Toby,  he gives us so much joy and laughter, but he still struggles with his behavior.  He is so difficult at times.  It seems that when we hit the year mark, he took many steps backward.  It was almost as if he thought in his mind, that the year was over, now I am going to move on to another place.  At that point, he acted out just like he did the first month we had him.   It has been hard.  I love him from the bottom of my heart, but the past couple months, I have been so disappointed that the progress he made the first year kind of went down the tubes.    I thought we were on target for things to be "normal" around my house, but we had a setback.  It seems to be a bit better lately, but it is still challenging at times.    Please continue to pray for Toby as he learns the meaning of authority in his life, the meaning of unconditional love and the meaning of family.  I see glimpses of his understanding, but he still struggles.   I am so blessed to be his Mommy.  I am so grateful that God gave him to us.  Would life be easier if we didn't adopt?  Maybe....  but the joy that he gives us far exceeds any stressful moment.    Adoption is so hard, but yet so wonderful!!!   I can't describe to you how blessed I am to have had this wonderful opportunity to gain another son!  He is an answer to my prayers and has brought healing to some emotional scars.   And just to let you know, we are open to whatever God has for us.  He may want us to adopt again.  As hard as it is at times, I am willing to do whatever He calls us to do.  

Maybe my next blog post will be more thematic  and more structured, but for now, this is me... transparent, reflective, and honest.  

Happy Chinese New Year 2015!  As you can see, our boy is growing in all areas...physically, socially, mentally and emotionally.  Please keep praying for him.  He is going to do great things one day.  I just know it! (:
Chinese New Year 2014

Chinese New Year 2015