Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Becoming the "Perfect" Mom

"You should try to breastfeed him, he'll never be grateful, he can't do what your other kids can do, you never know what his genes are, you shouldn't have adopted a child whose caste you don't know, if you fed him more he wouldn't hoard food, if you fed him less he wouldn't hoard food, he'll forget he was adopted, don't remind him that he is adopted, he will never be able to do what you expect him to do, I told you shouldn't have adopted, adopted kids will always be a problem to the family."  And my favorite, "You are lucky that you missed his infant years so you didn't have to wake up every 2 hours!"

These are some of the fun things I've heard through the years.  And though I have never been angry with any comment that has come my way, I would be lying if I didn't admit to the stress and doubt it has caused to me as a mother.  Back in May, we celebrated three years with Amay.  And though I haven't had a chance to sit down and really appreciate the progress we have made as a family and the progress Amay has made, I am able to find myself in awe of what the past years have meant to us.  Amay is doing extremely well, with a few bumps in the road.  He spent the past two years in Kindergarten as we decided to give him the extra year to grow emotionally while at the same time allowing us to separate the two boys in grade level.  So now, as we move forward, I have a kindergartner, 1st grader, and 2nd grader.  And I. AM. READY. for school to start.  This summer was busy.  We cried, we laughed, we screamed, and in the midst of all the fun we were having, we often even got bored.  As Amay gets older, we have found that he has had many regressions.  He continues to struggle with food and his emotions.  His good days are great, but his bad days often cause the whole family to curl up in fetal position.  When he struggles, the other two kids struggle as well.  And the whold family falls apart.  And everyday, we wake up praying for a better, easier, smoother day.  And many days, our prayers are answered.  And those days are beautiful...full of lots of laughter and love.  But the other days are full of lots of tears, doubt, emotions, and screaming.

As I continued to struggle to become Amay's mom,  it became clear that I would never be his "perfect" mom.  He made his feelings obvious many days when he screamed "I hate you!" or "You are a bad mom!".  And I cried, and I listened to everybody's advice on how to love my son or how to be a better mom.  I listened as the mom in the grocery aisle told me "cherish these days, they grow up so fast".  But the worst feelings were the feelings of being judged.  The feeling of not being enough.  The feeling of not being the "right" mother.  The feeling of somebody doing a better job.  I wanted to be the "right" mother for Amay.  I wanted to feel at ease with every decision I had made for my son.  But often, my son didn't feel like my son.  My son felt like everybody's "experiment".  Everybody had something to say to either me or to him.  I wasn't doing enough and for sure, they could do a better job.  And these feelings for the past three years have made things harder and painful.  I have always known what Amay is capable of.  I will admit that I am not easy with him.  And I will also admit that I expect him to excel and do his best.  I don't let him play the "adoption card."  He is NEVER allowed to play the adoption card.  We can work through his "adoption" issues, but I never give him a free ride just because he is "adopted".  Learning is harder for him because he had a traumatic childhood.  Food issues are tough for him.  Attaching and expressing love is hard for him.  Controlling his feelings are hard for him.  But I will never allow him to think it is okay not to work through his problems.  When Amay first came to us three years ago, people told me that it was going to be hard for him to read and learn.  And it was.  It was extremely hard.  But we worked through it.  We worked through the tears and made time.  And as he struggled to learn two languages, we continue to believe in his potential.  We worked on his confidence and his self-esteem.  We continued to tell him that he can do whatever he puts his mind to.  It was vital for him to believe in himself.  And I think it is extremely important for Amay to have a good sense of self and potential.  As he gets older, his "adoption" will become a big part of his identity.  But if he can continue to remember that "adoption" doesn't define him, he will conquer his fears and his past.  And we have finally realized that we can't do this alone.  Therapy will have to become a part of his life.  And so we have started therapy for him again to help him navigate through this journey.

As for me, these past three years have led me to this phase in my journey.  A time in this journey that I no longer care what others think.  I know that most people have the best of intentions in mind.  I don't want to feel judged anymore.  I know that I am doing the best I can.  I know that my son has made amazing progress these past 3 years.  I know what my son needs and I know that often, I struggle to give it to hime.  I struggle as a mom.  But i've seen many moms struggle.  Biological moms struggle just as much as adoptive moms do.  Every mom has a day where they wish they could go back to "pre-kids".  And every mom has had one of those days where she has locked herself in the bathroom or closet and just cried.....for no apparent reason, but just because she needed a good cry.  And of course, my kids have gone to school with different socks on.  I've forgotten to do laundry and had to have my kids wear the same underwear two days in a row( don't worry, i turned it inside out).  I've yelled at them and practically kicked them out of the room just so I can get some alone time.  I've had days where I have admitted to my husband that "I don't really like them too much today!"  I've had grumpy days and many UGLY days.  My kids have seen the worst of me.  Amay has definitely seen the worst of me.  But i've realized that it doesn't matter.  I might not be a perfect mom, but I am HIS mom.  And that, my friends, is PERFECT.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Adoption has made me Human

It's been 2 and 1/2 years since we brought our son Amay home from India.    Sometimes I still think about the first week of being home with him.  The horrible feeling of not knowing what to do with the "stranger" sleeping in the other room.  The helpless feeling of being a "new" mom to a child that was four years old.  Things at home have been better...a lot better.  Lately, however, he has been displaying a lot of anger and defiance towards me.  And I know a lot of moms, adoptive or not, can relate to kids not doing what they are told to do.  As for me, I am used to having the other two kids who "usually" do what I tell them to do without a full blown tantrum.  Amay, on the other hand, has reverted back to his violent behavior towards me.  The puzzling part of all this is that he only does it to me.  I can't understand why he is so angry at me, but most of his tantrums end with him hitting me, then telling me that he doesn't like me and lastly but the most hurtful one, "YOU are a bad mother!".  My husband has told me over and over again not to take it personally, but I can't help but become limp with every word in that sentence.  All the anger directed at me cripples my every effort to make things work.  God knows that I am trying, and learning to love him, and trying to see past his trauma.  But adoption has made me Human.  Sometimes I forget that I am a mom to this angry child.  Sometimes I forget the natural feelings of being selfless as a mom.  He often becomes violent and then tells me I am a bad mother and then asks me for a hug.  And sometimes, I don't want to hug him.  I want HIM to hug me.  I don't want to make him feel better.  I want HIM to make ME feel better. And that is not what a mom should ever feel.  A mom should always put her child's feelings and needs above her own.  But sometimes it hurts so much that I want him to make it all better. I want him to take the pain and words back.  Sometimes I want to be angry for all the effort I make that just results in me being a "bad mother".  And I know that early child trauma changes a child.  And it effects him and will effect him for the rest of his life.  I. KNOW. IT. ALL. Most adoptive moms know that their child has been through trauma.  But no adoptive mom can go through every anger tantrum remembering the child's trauma. Sometimes adoption forces me to become Human and to feel human emotions.  And human emotions often can be scary.  As a mom, your job is to comfort and love your child.  But as a human, your instinct is to survive.  And adoption sometimes tugs at my survival instincts.  There are days that I don't want to love, to comfort, to learn from my mistakes, to be patient, to do any of it.  Somedays I just want to survive.

While discussing some of the anger issues with my adoptive moms group,  one of the moms, who also happens to be a therapist, told me that anger is a secondary emotion.  That there is always something behind anger.  That we don't just become angry for no reason.  And of course, there is a lot of truth to that.  And I know that Amay isn't angry at me as a mom to him.  Perhaps he is angry at what mom means to him.  Perhaps "mom" means abandonment.  Perhaps "mom" means a safe place where he can be angry.  I actually don't know what causes him to be so angry at me.  And the truth is, sometimes I am so angry at him.  And so when the adoptive mom suggested that I, too, look for a reason to why I am angry at him, I realized that there were so many reasons that I have kept bottled up in an attempt to be the mother he deserves.  But as I thought more about my anger, I realized that adoption has made me human.  And I am trying so hard to be a mom to him.  During his violent tantrums, I want to love him because that is what moms do.  But the "human" part of me just wants to yell and not deal with the deeper issue of trauma.   For the past 7 years, since the birth of my first child, I have been just a mom.  I have been selfless, loving, caring, and everything that a mom does without questioning her efforts.  But lately, as Amay regresses, I have been in survival mode again.  I desperately want to feel like a mother again.  I desperately want to soften my heart and feel the joy of being a mother again.  I desperately want not to be angry at him for "disrupting" my normal and making me feel incompetent as a mother even to the other two kids. I desperately want to feel a "biological" connection to him.  Most adoptive moms will say that anger, attachment issues, and such are normal during adoption.  And I agree.  I agree they are normal in adoption because adoption makes us human.  Anger and having to "learn" to love your son is by no means normal in motherhood.  But it is if you are just human.  It is normal to have to "learn" to love another human that says you are a bad mother.  I get it now.

When all is quiet and I am no longer in "fight or flight" mode, I sit in my bed and think about the amazing awesome blessing that sleeps in the other room.  And I feel like a mother again.  And it is the best feeling in the world.  I love him so much.  There is a part of me that is glad that it hurts me so much when he says mean things to me.  Because 2 years ago, if he had said that he hated me, I could have cared less.  He was a stranger to me and I hadn't even really accepted him as my own.  And that is the brutal truth.  And now, 2 years later, his anger seaps through my heart and rips it apart.  My husband often tells me to let the pain go, and I know I should.  But I can't.  I want to be the best mom I can be for him.  And if his words continue to hurt me as much as they do, I know that one day I will be the mom he deserves.  I will continue fighting those words in my head and dig deeper to heal his anger.   And though it feels horrible, it is therapeutic to know that it hurts so much because i love him.  I love his soul and I love his little heart that needs so much healing.  I am lost as a mother because I don't know how to heal my son.  I am angry as a human because all of this hurts.  Adoption has made me human, and I had forgotten that moms are human too.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Adoption: Impact on Biological kids

Though this blog is mostly dedicated to "bringing Amay home"...I would like write this post about my other two children...Sitara and Satya...Sitara is my 4 year old princess...this adoption hasn't affected her much...as now she believes that Amay is just one more person she can boss around...so things for her so far have been good....she might be too young to understand the impact of it all just yet....on the other, Satya is my beautiful 6 year old son.  He is the oldest child and recently, I was reminded of how much this adoption has impacted him.  I often get lost in the troubles of being a mom...how hard adoption is for a mom, how hard attachment is for a mom...etc.

Lately, I have found Satya to be very sad....often depressed...which has gotten me a bit worried.  Two days ago, he started crying randomly again.  And as we started to talk, he told me about some of his sadness, his fears, and his struggles.  He told me "Mom, i am worried that Amay is going to grow up to not like me, because even though i try to be nice to him, i always end up being mean to him...i don't know why....i guess i am jealous that i have to share everything with him...i have to share my parents, my sister, my toys and people give him lots of attention.".....It breaks my heart to see him so worried.  Amay and Satya are only 9 months apart, so we have essentially "twinned" them.  Satya feels displaced from his oldest child place in the family, since he is constantly feeling like a twin.  Satya also feels that his relationship with his little sister is being threatened, because now Sitara has two brothers that can take care of her.  He was always the protector of his little sister, and now sometimes he feels pushed to the side.  Sitara and Amay are emotionally and mentally and almost physically the same size so they enjoy doing a lot of things together, whereas Satya is on a whole different emotional and mental level.  While Amay and Sitara are busy playing with dolls, Satya is busy watching the World Cup or learning about our Solar System.

Adoption is a tough journey for everybody, but often we forget the biological kids that are involved that have to digest this new change in their lives...a change that often feels like a "disruption" from their normal functioning lives...and honestly, i don't know what to say to my 6 year old who struggles...i don't know how to tell him that I THINK things will feel better...because i don't know when it will feel normal again...for him....things for Satya have been so very hard...and i know that things for Amay were hard too...so as a mom, i am stuck...trying to understand both kids while trying not to hurt anybody's feelings....i feel that often i have to hide my feelings of love for Amay so that I don't hurt Satya...and i KNOW that is so wrong...but my heart just sinks when Satya gets hurt...maybe it is because he is my first child...every mom  (okay, most moms, I think?) have a soft spot for one of their kids...for me, it is Satya...Satya has always been the emotional, easy going, sensitive, kind boy....he is exactly like his father....i am very possessive and protective of hims....so if anybody hurts Satya (even Amay or Sitara), i become "momma bear"....Satya always talks to me about his "conscience"...he says that sometimes he wants to turn his conscience off because it is always telling him to be good.....

I hope things get better for Satya...we started this journey with Amay with spitting, fighting, kicking, scratching, throwing, and just about everything in between...and that part of the experience has stayed with Satya and he has had a hard time moving past it....he has seen Amay pulling my hair, kicking me, and spitting at me...and I think he was too young to process the "disruption" at that time.....the hardest part for Satya has been that often he is too mature for his age.....all kids behave badly sometimes..and a lot of kids are jealous..but for Satya, jealousy and being greedy and selfish makes him uncomfortable...and when he behaves in those ways, it affects his state of mind which leads him into sadness....he is almost too good for his own well being....

I am having an extremely hard time trying to be a mom to two kids that have two very different needs...though adoption is a family affair, it is often hard because our biological kids didn't sign up for what comes with it....as Satya once said to me..."i knew adopting Amay was going to be hard, BUT, i didn't know it was going to be THIS hard..."....I spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about Amay and his issues..and spend a lot of time reading books and paying attention to the changes i need to make for him...but today, I am thinking about my Satya...he has definitely gotten lost in the process..and i have often failed to pay attention to his needs and to the changes i need to make for him so he doesn't grow up having negative feelings towards adoption or towards his brother.....This isn't about biological vs adopted kid....this is about just two kids who have come from two different worlds...and it is my job as a mom to help them transition into one world.....an adoptive family can't be just about making the new child feel loved and safe...it has to be about making every child in the family feel loved and safe......my fear is that one day Amay will say "you loved Satya more"...or that Satya will say "you changed our entire family for Amay"....or that they will not like each other because i failed to transition them into our new family...my fears for the future are tremendous...it burdens me and troubles my heart....i can only hope that all my children will be grateful for the life we have chosen for them.....

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

To Birth Mom, Happy Mother's Day....

Dear Birth Mom,

Though many times I try to forget you, I can't help but see your face in our son....he has big black eyes and a smile that warms your heart....Though I don't know where you are or what you look like, I think about you everyday....sometimes with love, and sometimes with anger....I wonder what you would say to me if you met me, and what i would say to you...some days i feel that i would hug you and just cry...for all the pain and love that I feel in our son....and some days i feel that i would just scream....for the loneliness i often see in his eyes and the doubt in his heart....but i love your son...our son....it scares me to know that one day he will ask about you....because though i know i want him to cherish you, i am scared that he will want to know so much  more than i will ever be able to give him....and with those unanswered questions, i am afraid that he will feel empty....every day i feel that i try so hard to love him and to give him everything he needs, but often i feel like a failure, because every kid wants to know where they come from....he belongs with me, but comes from you....and no matter how hard i try to feel that i will be enough, i know that he will never feel complete without knowing about you....and days like that, i am angry at you....but not sure how you could have changed anything, because i believe that every mom wants the best for their child...so you let him go, hoping for a better life for him....i wonder, where are you?...who are you?  what do you look like?....do your eyes widen and your nose shy away when you cry like his does?.....does he have your big black eyes?....these are the questions that burden me as Mother's Day comes and the questions that will make him feel incomplete on Mother's Day as he gets older...these are the questions that i want answers to so that i can complete my son and his story....

Your son didn't always feel like my son, or our son.......it took me very long to accept him as my son...and i am sorry for that...i know that you wanted a mom for him that would fall in love with him at first sight...and i did not do that....the first year was so hard, and often i just waited for you to come and pick him up...i felt alone and overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a mom to a child that needed me so badly....i wasn't ready to be his mom....and his need for me made me feel angry at him...and often at you...i prided myself on being an amazing mom to my two children...and he came along and challenged everything about me...he asked me to love him with every ounce of my existence, and i didn't know how to....mom's are selfless, but he made me feel selfish..because i held back sometimes...being his mom would mean that i would have to love him...and if i loved him, i would have to mend his pain...and to do that, i would have to think about where he came from and what he had been through...and i couldn't do that...it was too painful....so instead, i chose to be angry......

Mother's Day is here....and I am no longer afraid.....I am proud to be his mom and so proud for the child he
is and for the man he will one day be...in the past two years, i have watched our son grow into a young little boy who knows where he is headed...Your son... OUR son... is an amazing little boy and you would be so proud of him.....he is caring, loving, sweet, so cute, and never gives up...he wants to just be loved...love is his only need...he currently fills his need for love with food...because it is the one thing in his life he feels in control of....but Birth Mom, you would be so proud....he is only 5 years old but has gone through more than most adults have....he is a fighter.....we teach him to be strong and to know that he is smart and deserves to be whoever he wants to be....that he will grow up to be somebody amazing one day and he will change the world...he says he wants to adopt 9 children....!....he is persistent, and he is everything you imagined your son to be....so on Mother's Day, I want you to be proud....of your son and our son.....for the life that we will give him together....because no matter where you are, you will always be in our hearts...in his heart..

To you and to me....Happy Mother's Day from OUR son...

"Legacy of an Adopted Child"

Once there were two women who never knew each other,
One - you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives shaped to make yours,
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life, and the second taught you to live in it.
The first gave you a need for love and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality; the other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent; the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions; the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile; the other dried your tears.
One gave you up - that's all she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
Now you ask through all your tears the age-old question through the years;
Heredity or environment - which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling - neither - just two different kinds of love...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

If I met "HER", would she be proud?

About 7 months ago, I woke up from a dream that has since changed my life as an adoptive mom to Amay.....I woke up in a panic...scared, confused, and not sure of what to make of it.....As many of you know, my struggles with Amay for the first year home with him had a lot to do with my attachment to him.  I often felt that i didn't love him the way he loved me and often felt short of being everything he expected me to be...sometimes I felt that i wasn't ready to be his mom....and wasn't ready for all the changes that came with Amay...his moods, his behaviors, his extreme need for love and attention...and of course, i wasn't truly ready for a third child who would not only be my third child, but he would be my middle child who happened  to only be 9 months younger than my oldest...so i wasn't ready to have "twins"....and as many of you know, life as i knew it fell apart the year Amay came home to me....and the chaos, and stress, and depression, and often anger became my new normal......FAST FORWARD....to now...almost 2 years since Amay has been home....after lots of therapy, thinking, crying, loving, and just accepting our new normal, we have become a functional family....and I finally feel that I am the mom that Amay needs and wants.  I no longer have the insecurity of feeling that I am not enough or that i am not giving enough.....

So, going back to my dream...7 months ago, i dreamt that I met Amay's biological mother....and though I know that is a very slim possibility, I dreamt it....and she came to me in my dream and only asked me one question "Did you love my son the way I love him?"......and my one year of therapy and security and all that has come crashing down on me and that one question has haunted me....because though it is easy to say that you love a child to best of your ability, it is hard to say that you have loved him with perfection...so i wonder if this feeling of "not loving enough" will ever go away...because i feel that I am in constant competition with the "other woman"....and it is silly when i write my thoughts down on this blog....and sometimes scary to be so vulnerable...but i need to know if other moms feel this way...because i know with my biological kids that nobody can love them the way i love them...a year ago, i would have known that i didn't love him the way "she" would have loved him...but now, almost two years later, i love him with all my heart and soul...i love him so much....but do i love him the way 'she' would have loved him?  How do you fight biology?.I love him like i love my biological kids, but i don't know if even that is enough......Needless to say, i am back to struggling and sometimes feeling depressed because this question haunts me so much that sometimes i feel that the world is watching me....and I am in a constant struggle trying to explain my love for Amay to the world...and sometimes i feel that people are judging and watching me....for things that i might say or do to Amay...but the world doesn't know why I say or do what I say, because the world doesn't see the struggles we as a family see.....So, why do we monitor his food...why do we put him to sleep earlier than the other kids, why do we control him more......the world doesn't know that Amay has food issues, or that if he doesn't get his sleep he becomes emotional to the point where he will start hitting me, or they don't know the little things about him that may trigger him to become physical or emotional.....and though i didn't care what the world thought, lately, i have become consumed by it...i feel that people want to see me love him with perfection...because that is what his "biological" mom would have done....I have become consumed by what people think about me as an adoptive mom..sometimes I even feel that I have to make sure that I am always in control of Amay and his behaviors because my worst fear is that one day, when i am not around, somebody will yell at him about something...so i am constantly trying to keep him away from adults and others who might find some of his behaviors inapproriate....Though the Indian community has, for the most part, been very supportive of our adoption...I have come across some very ignorant people that have said some very mean things about my son....some people have questioned his caste, or where he comes from..questioned our adoption...questioned who he will be when he grows up and if he will truly ever love us.....yes, sometimes the Indian community can me ignorant and mean.....and with that, i feel that I am trying to keep Amay away from the entire world to prevent him coming across people that will hurt him..Is that how his "biological" mom would have loved him?....or am I preventing him from being himself only because of my fears of the world...and sometimes I put him in a bubble just so nobody can hurt him....but he doesn't want to live in a bubble...he wants to be a kid...but i am constantly watching him and reprimanding him because of my own fears..I am afraid..sometimes i want to go to a world where it is just me and Amay...where nobody can hurt him and nobody can question me.......for some reason, if somebody said something mean to my two biological kids, i would probably just ignore it...but if somebody says something about Amay, my heart sinks and I fall apart..not for the day, but i fall apart for months....because I often feel that when I am not around, somebody might hurt his little heart by saying something cruel....and to be his "perfect" mom, i need to make sure he never gets hurt so that one day...If I met "HER".... she would say she was proud of the way I loved OUR son....!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Half" way there.....

On February 23, I ran my first Half Marathon at Disney World in honor of orphans around the world in support of an organization called Health for Orphans.  Specifically, I ran for 2 adopted kids, Baby R and Noah.  (You can read more about these beautiful children on my previous blog).  I would like to take this time to thank all my family and friends who supported me and this wonderful cause with their prayers and donations.  The two families are truly grateful for your thoughts.

So, everybody has been asking me about how things have been going at the Mehta household and how our Disney trip went.  Needless to say, the Half Marathon was one of the best experiences I've ever had.  People always say that adoption is not a sprint, rather it is a Marathon.  And so, as i ran my first half marathon, i realized that my adoption journey was very much a marathon.  The first couple of miles (or months) I was pumped to find out what the experience was all about.  So I left the group that I was running with--Health for Orphans--and went out running without really pacing myself, only to find myself out of breath and alone without the support I had coming into the race.  Very much like adoption, where I spent a lot of time learning and "training" from parents who were in the adoption journey.  It felt good to have the support and know that they were there when you needed them.  But as time went on and my son came home to me, I felt alone in the whole process and didn't know where I was headed and who I could turn to.  Everybody was moving a lot faster than I was and seemed more "experienced" at parenting (or running) than I was.  And though everybody told me that adoption was not a sprint, i felt like i was running fast.  Perhaps running away from all the issues and insecurities that came with adoption.  The Half Marathon became easier once I found my pace and the confidence knowing that "I could do this".  And adoption, too, becomes easier as time goes on.  You find that you aren't so bad at parenting.  And sometimes you need to give yourself a "walk break".    And that everybody "runs" differently.  There were times during the half marathon that i wanted to just throw my hands up in the air and give up....I was tired... I didn't want to run anymore because i didn't know where i was headed...and more importantly, i was afraid to fail.  And it was times like this that I needed to know that there was a bigger purpose....I needed the text from my husband that came just in time....."Keep running, the kids are at the finish line cheering for you"....and it reminded me that this is my purpose.  My kids, our kids, the world's kids.....this is our purpose in running for a cause...running for orphans...running for adoption...and though we are afraid to fail our adopted children, they need us to finish what we started..to love them to care for them, and to be their "forever"..  Along the way, i found so many people cheering us on......and as others empowered me, i felt like i empowered others.....and as i passed the finish line, i saw my three beautiful children and my amazing husband.  I received my Half Marathon medal, and it felt good.  The entire day felt good.  As do my nights with adoption when i have finished a long day with my son.  But the next morning after my half marathon, i woke up thinking "that was just the Half, now I have to find the energy to finish all the way"........as in adoption, there are many nights where i feel good about our journey and our accomplishments, but there are many days where i know that i am only half way there...how will i ever find the energy to go all the way...because there certainly is truth in what they said to me.."adoption is not a sprint, it is a marathon"...not a half marathon...a full marathon...

Amay is doing wonderful.  He truly has made many big strides in this past year.  He started Kindergarten this past year and has surpassed our expectations for him. He continues to amaze us in the way he has beautifully transitioned into our family.  We continue to find ourselves struggling in a few "adoption" related issues, as do so many other families.  Attachment, frustrations, grief of loss....it is all a part of our daily life with Amay, but on the bright side, he is a happy kid with so much potential.  Amay still struggles with separation issues.  When his father leaves out of town or if i leave to go to the store, he falls apart.  He asks if I will be back and a switch goes off in his head and he just loses it.  He also struggles with how to deal with mommy saying no to him.  He feels that when I tell him he can't do something or that I won't do something for him, that it is a direct rejection.  When he first came to us, when i said no, he would spit at me, bite me, or pull my hair.  He has definitely grown out of that phase, but it is still very hard for him to deal with mommy saying no to him.  So I have to make sure I use my words positively with him to avoid meltdowns.  For example, if it is time to get out of shower, i have to say "it is time to come out of the shower" instead of saying, "no more shower"...the latter sentence has gotten him yelling and screaming and hitting me.  Finally, he still struggles with food issues.  He has yet to figure out how much is healthy for him.  We continue to bounce back and forth on the best way to deal with his food insecurities, but have not yet found something that works for the family.  Since all the kids in our house are very close in age, it is hard to set rules for one child without hurting another.  Needless to say, we are working at it all.  One MILE at a time......