Thursday, May 23, 2013

Get me out of this cocoon!

Well, things seem to be getting a little better around here. We're slowly starting to break out of our cocoon shell. We've been to church together, had some play dates and having more friends come to the house. We still keep our visits short, but we are thankful for the little bit of time around friends and family. We are so thankful for our friends and family that have been extremely helpful and understanding. Getting out does us a lot of good, but we cross into over-stimulation very quickly. Over-stimulation for Hannah means more tantrums and frustration. I am ready for us all to be back in church again, and for Todd and I to go on a date, and to be able to run an errand with the kids...but we are not there yet. Hopefully soon!

We are communicating more with Hannah, and she is getting into our family rhthym. It's pretty amazing to see the wheels turn in her brain. She has learned so much in 6 weeks! She is constantly practicing her English on us. She's also learning, the hard way, that temper tantrums are not the way to get what you want in our house. I feel sad for Hannah, that for 10 years, she's had to scream at the top of her lungs to get her needs met. [I feel so sorry for our neighbors too that have heard it every day]

Some funny communication moments:
- The Chinese word for noodles sounds like "mean"... when the boys say "you are being mean"...Hannah points to the noodles.
- The Chinese word for rice sounds like "fun"...when we say "are you having fun?" ....she points to the rice
- Hannah has a hard time distinguishing between the "b" and "p" sound. It's pretty funny to help her learn the difference between "I have a boo boo" and "I need to go poo poo."

We are still struggling lots of Hannah's emotions mid-morning. For some reason, there's an emotional switch that gets turned on around 10:00 a.m. It doesn't matter where we are, what we're doing/not doing, what we've eaten or what we're playing with, there will be tears. I've started keeping a meltdown log, trying to find some kind of pattern to help us figure out what we can do different. I pulled out a daily calendar with pictures, to help her see what I have planned for the day. It seems to help when she's not blindsided by a new activity.

Personally, this week has been better than last. I've been overwhelmed by all of the needs of the family and the house. There is usually at least 1 child that is unhappy at all times. I've had to learn to be o.k. with my children being disappointed. I've never been a morning person, but lately I've been waking up way too early with a lot of anxiety about the day. I'm learning to trust God with my day and with my family. I'm learning to pour out my heart to God like David did in the Psalms. I'm learning to let a lot of things go. It's really hard to live by faith. I prayed for joy this morning and it's amazing to see how God flooded my heart with His joy.

Institutionalization has some pretty scary effects. I fear the worse for Hannah. I fear autism or Aspergers for her. I am praying that the things I see will improve over time and that I am wrong.

The kids are screaming for me right now...back to Mama's work.....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why We Are in "Cocoon Mode"

Our relationship with Hannah is #1 priority right now. She has no sense of relational boundaries. We are helping her establish what is normal for life, and our family in particular. And honestly, I don't want to deal with emotional meltdowns in public.

For our family and friends here in Auburn:
  • When you meet Hannah, please only shake her hand. No hugging. No lap sitting. We're teaching her about friends/family/strangers.
  • Don't take it personal if you don't see us for awhile.
  • If you stop by, please only come 1 or 2 at a time. Hannah gets very overstimulated.
  • If you want to give gifts, please give it to me first, and I will give it to her.

1 Month Since Gotcha Day

I cannot believe it's been a month since we met Meiqi Hannah in China. We've been home for 2 weeks. Today was a really hard day for us. I am seeing just how difficult it is for Hannah to deal with loss and grief. A neighbor took the boys to church for a few hours, and I was hoping to get some good one-on-one "fun time" with Hannah but it ended up being a sad morning for her (and me!). She saw the boys leave, in our van with our neighbor. She cried for atleast an hour. I don't know if it's because she felt left out, or she didn't understand that the boys, and the van would be coming back soon. I pray for compassion and understanding. But it's been a struggle for me. It was a frustrating morning. I couldn't help but think "Be grateful that you I am here with you!" [I know, it sounds heartless and selfish on my part]

I've had to ask for a lot of forgiveness lately from the Lord. I've never been on my knees in prayer so much, as I have been the past month. Begging for help. Begging for compassion. Begging for His love to flow through me. Begging for a thankful attitude. Begging for forgiveness at my anger at the life he's called me to. I ask Him why, God, have you called me to this? Why, God, is this so difficult? Why can't I have an easy life? And then I realize that I am throwing the same kind of temper tantrum that my wild 10 year old throws. And I hear God say "Kim, be grateful for all that I've done for you. "

I can choose to be thankful, or I can choose to have a rotten attitude. I can choose to trust God. I can choose to believe promises. I can choose to trust God, rather than my emotions. I can choose to view my children as blessings, rather than intrusions. I can choose to not allow my 10 year old's wild emotions control me.

I probably should've asked Todd write a post today. He's usually a lot more positive than I am. He's a "cup-half-full" kind of guy.

Here are some things I am choosing to be thankful for in my children:

- Hannah's bloodwork came back normal. We've been a little nervous about anything infectious being spread around.
- I am done taking Hannah's stool samples!!
- Hannah and Elijah have taken to each other pretty well. She pushed him on the swing and helped him get dressed yesterday.
- I can see God using Hannah's tears to help the boys become more compassionate. They say "Why is she crying again? Is she ok?"
- Hannah chose to read a bible story book for the first time last night! It was an honor and blessing to show her Jesus on the cross. I told her Jesus says "Wo Ai Ni, Meiqi Hannah" [I love you, Meiqi Hannah]
- I am proud of Micah and his patience with Hannah. If she does something to aggravate him, he just patiently says "No, Hannah."
- We're finally in a good routine each day. Hannah has been playing quietly in her room each afternoon this week, while the boys nap/rest so I can have a little time to myself.
- I am so thankful for my sweet husband, Todd. We've met some single Mom's, also in this journey, and I don't know how they do it. Todd is so helpful, and serving, and patient, and a good sounding board for me.