Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas Crazies

Boy has our house been full of the Christmas Crazies lately. You would think that being a thousand miles away from family and most of our friends that we would have a peaceful, low key holiday season. You would THINK, but that was not the case. Hannah was totally WIRED about Christmas this year and as a result her impulse control was even shakier than usual. She managed to have a blast and so did we, but it came with some truly tense moments. It didn't help that Kyle was out of commission for most of the season having just had his tonsils out. We were basically a one parent household with our normal routine thrown to the wind-not a recipe for success.

All the commercialization surrounding the season and generous family members who love spoiling Hannah with gifts and candy made it hard to get her focused on the reason for the season and the gimmies reared their ugly head. Hard as we tired to reinforce the meaning of Christmas, I feel that Hannah was so fixated on presents that much of what we did went in one ear and out the other :( Those gimmies are a nasty bug to get rid of and they led to some spectacular meltdowns, even causing the "library curse" to strike again. While at the library Christmas party some kids came up to me complaining that Hannah would not let another little boy play with them. When I went to talk to her about it she freaked out and tried to run away from me. When I caught up with her she started hitting and kicking so we had to take an early leave of the party. The children's room was PACKED to the gills because of the party so I had quite an audience as I attempted to wrestle Hannah, her boots which she kept kicking off and sending them flying across the room, her winter coat which she refused to let me put on her, my camera, and the leftover party snacks we had brought out of the library and into the car. It was NOT a pretty sight.

The joy on Hannah's face Christmas morning however made all the craziness worth it. The wonder she expressed at how Santa managed to get into her room while she was sleeping to leave her a new book and a stuffed Bolt dog just inside her bedroom door, the smile she flashed and the absolute speechlessness that overcame her when she saw her dollhouse under the tree, the genuine thank you hugs she gave Kyle and I for the gifts, it was all just glorious. We've spent a good many hours the past two days playing new games and moving little 3 inch dolls around their new home. Hannah even loaded up the roof of their car with all of their furniture and drove it around the dining room when it was time for them to move!

One nice thing about having so much down time the last couple of days has been that I've had the opportunity to have some serious conversations with Hannah. We were able to talk about what it means to be saved and have Jesus in her heart and how exactly to do that and also what it means if someone is not saved and dies before they ask Jesus into their heart. She definitely seems to be processing everything and has had many questions about "the bad place" as she has dubbed it. She's not ready to make a decision for Christ just yet, but the seeds have been planted and it's up for Kyle and I to tend to them and to God to help them grow. She does know she doesn't want to go to "the bad place," but truly deciding to always try to make decisions that please Jesus seems a like too much work to her.

With all the talk about heaven and hell and what happens to people when they die, I'm expecting some tough questions about what happens to animals when they die as well because one of our dogs has recently been given 2 weeks to live by our vet. We've had Abby for pretty much as long as Kyle and I have been married and of course Hannah has never known life without her. Even though Hannah isn't particularly attached to Abby (she's 18 years old and has never been particularly lively since Hannah's been alive!) she doesn't care for change and Abby's been a constant, dependable presence her entire life. I'm expecting Abby's death will rock her world, not because she'll be grieving a loss of a friend like I will be, but because her routine will change. Maybe she'll surprise me and be really sad about Abby being gone, but I don't think so. The other day I tried to broach the subject of prepping her for the event and she replied, "I don't care. I'll still have another dog. I'll have Sally. She's my dog." Whatever happens, it's going to be tough. That I'm sure of.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Leader---Or Just Bossy

Lately Hannah's been coming out of her shell a bit socially, at least with kids she knows pretty well. With this new found social interest has come another set of problems for my little girl. As she plays with her friends she MUST be in control of the entire situation. She orders around her playmates with the force of a drill instructor. "You go there! No! No playing with the blocks! We are playing tag. Here's the plan. You go over there and wait for me until I get there. Then I'll tell you what to do next." Sometimes the kids just go along with it. For example, at the library this week she had a whole posse following her around the children's library obeying her every command. It was actually quite impressive to watch, if not a little disturbing. Other times the children come complaining to the adults that Hannah won't let someone else play, or won't let them choose what they want to do, or that she is simply being too bossy. I worry that if she keeps this up then some of the kids she loves to play with will no longer want to play with her. In fact, I've seen that in certain situations already although the kids have always given her another chance on a different day.

I feel like it's such a fine line to walk to decide how best to handle this. I don't want to squelch any leadership potential she has, but at the same time I don't want her to alienate herself from the other kids just when she finally seems able to make friends. The problem is that she has a very limited ability to put herself in someone else's shoes. She can't transfer how she feels when she is excluded or forced to do something she doesn't want to do to how other children might feel when she does the same thing. We talk about it over and over again, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in. What I wish would happen is for another child to stand up to her in a firm yet gentle way and basically put her in her place without completely breaking her spirit.

In case you hadn't guessed it, Hannah is back home and I'm very happy about that. It's been a bit of a bumpy road reintegrating into the routine of home life for her though. We've been seeing a lot of aggression and pushing of boundaries. I'm sure the fact that Christmas is coming isn't helping in that respect! The hardest time we've been having is my nemesis, tooth brushing and washing up. Getting ready to go in the morning and getting ready for bed at night have simply been a nightmare since she's been back. It's where we've experienced most of our aggression and almost all of our meltdowns. So far I'm not seeing much to cheer about with 123 Magic. Kyle still thinks its making a difference, but I'm much harder to convince. He's not been the one who has been being scratched, hit, and kicked!

We did learn a surprising new fact about Hannah though. She can do simple addition problems (sums under 10) in her head now and has many of them memorized. She's also begun doing some subtraction and division in her head as well! She really does amaze me sometimes with the things she just spouts off that I had no idea she knew. Lately she's been very curious about words and their meanings. She asks me about dozens of words a day- some are words I've said or words she's heard on TV, others are words we read in books. Later she likes to try out her new words in novel ways. Sometimes she's successful in using them correctly, but more often I get to have a nice private laugh at some of the sentences she comes up with! :)

Friday, December 03, 2010


So today I got my telephone bill for last month and on it was a charge from the hospital where I stayed two nights in October. The charge was apparently for the fact that I HAD a TV and a telephone in my room. Not for the fact that I used them, but for the fact that they were there. When I called to inquire about the charge I was informed that if I didn't want these services then I needed to opt out of them when I was admitted. Seriously? I was supposed to know this? This is the 3 rd hospital that I've been admitted to over the course of my lifetime (not counting when I was born) and Hannah's been admitted to two different hospitals from that and this is the first time we've ever been charged for TV or local telephone access. How was I supposed to know I needed to opt out? And really, what kind of cold hearted business makes people confined to a bed (or who's children are confined to a hospital bed) pay for TV? That's just mean. What else is a kid supposed to do when they aren't allowed to get up and move around? A parent can only handle reading them so many books. I can only imagine if we had been charged for TV and phone service when Hannah was in the hospital for 2 weeks as in infant. Our cell phones didn't get coverage in her room and even if they did we weren't supposed to have them on because they supposedly affected some medical machinery, but yet we had hundreds of people wanting to know how Hannah was and if they could come visit. Then there was us, brand new parents, sick with worry for our only child, stuck inside the hospital for 2 weeks. In fact, we weren't just stuck inside the hospital, but stuck inside her room because Hannah was in isolation and wasn't allowed out of the room and anyone who entered had to gown up before coming in. It was just too big of a pain to leave the room. So, what did we do? We watched TV. Of course we read books and talked to each other and the nurses and our occasional visitor, but mostly we watched a lot of cable TV. What would our bill have been for that privilege if we had been in Kent County Hospital instead of the hospital we were at? I'll tell you. It would have been $300 just for the privilege of having the TV in our room. If you can't tell, I'm a little fired up by this bill. In the hospital they charge you for every little thing and for some things I can deal with it. For example, I wasn't allowed to take my own doctor prescribed prescription medication which I brought with me and had already paid for. Instead I had to take the same medication given to me by the hospital pharmacy and administered by a nurse and pay for it again and pay for the nurse to give it to me (or tell me I'd already had it and I couldn't have it that day when I HAD NOT already taken it and by golly she wasn't going to stop me from taking it!, but that's another story). That I can deal with. But paying for TV in my room. That is just too much. If they don't want to foot the bill for having TV at their hospital then don't put TVs in the rooms, but don't make people choose whether or not to have it in their rooms or make them pay for it when they didn't even know it was something they had to pay for. GRRR. . . . .

To update everyone on Hannah's stay in Indiana, she's still having a blast and apparently she managed to sweet talk Mamaw and Papaw out of not just one, but two pillow pets. She received both of the ones she's been coveting-the purple unicorn and the dog. Now I don't see what all the fuss about Pillow Pets is. They are cute enough, but not really any cuter than any other stuffed animal. Still, they are all the rage within the preschool and early elementary school set and Hannah is no exception. She's been asking for these pillow pets pathetically ever since they first appeared on the scene this summer. I absolutely refused to pay $20 for a poor quality stuffed animal with a Velcro strap around it's belly, but not Mamaw apparently. Apparently Mamaw already had purchased the unicorn and then later in the visit took Hannah to Walmart and allowed her to buy the dog. So much for my firm stand against Pillow Pets. It must be something to do with grandmas though because I happen to know that in a neatly wrapped box sitting in our basement are those exact same two Pillow Pets from Mindy (Pap's girlfriend of many years and Hannah's pseudo Nana). It looks like we'll have 4 pillow pets in the house soon! I wonder if she'll want the duplicates or if she'll want to trade in the extras for yet two different animals?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Missing My Baby

Last week we spent traveling to the Midwest for Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful trip, exponentially better than the same trip last year thanks to a certain little electronic device that I broke down and bought (portable DVD player), but now I'm sitting here lonely because we are home without Hannah. You see, Hannah stayed behind with my mom to have fun and visit more family that we didn't have time to fit into our brief visit because Kyle had to get back to work for Monday. Hannah's having the time of her life playing with cousins, staying up late, and making cookies and Christmas decorations, but I'm missing her desperately. The house just seems so empty, quiet and lonely. I know it's a good thing for Hannah to have this opportunity since we live so far away, but I still selfishly want her with me. I've called her every single night so far. She doesn't appear to be homesick at all. I suppose chasing little black kittens around in the fresh air will do that to you.

I know you are all dying to know about our trip so here goes. We left on Saturday morning. We had intended to let Hannah go to her dance class and then leave from there, but an hour long tantrum to start the day caused us to miss dance. Still, once we got into the car things went very well and we made great time. Hannah and I alternated between doing school work and watching movies. We stopped somewhere in PA and got a hotel for the night. Hannah was a wild woman at the hotel jumping on the bed and shouting at the top of her lungs. When it came time to strap her into her braces and go to bed she complained about being lonely (we were in the bed right next to her for pete's sake!) and grunted and grumbled until she fell asleep. It was all we could do to keep quiet while she carried on! We were up relatively early the next morning and then drove the leg into Columbus, OH without incident. In fact, we arrived much earlier than they were expecting us thanks to the fantastic time we had made the day before. Hannah had fun playing with Pap and Mindy and climbing around in the woods with Baba (Kyle's grandma). Baba sure can hike with the best of them considering she's in her 80's! Baba took us out to lunch and spoiled Hannah with lots of Christmas presents. Hannah, however, in her not so tactful 4 year old way, generously pointed out that she already had 2 of the books that Baba gave her and that the 3rd one was the wrong book. She had asked for an Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) chapter book and this was an Ariel (Little Mermaid) chapter book. ~Sigh~ It looks like we have even more lessons on how to be a grateful receiver of gifts on our plate. Then we headed off to the Columbus Zoo to check out the animals and the Christmas lights. Hannah had a blast feeding and brushing the goats and then managed to make Mrs. Claus feel about "this big" (imagine my thumb and index finger very close together) when she offered to pass along a message to Santa about what she wanted for Christmas for her (we had chosen not to wait in the ridiculously long line to see him and had instead peeked around to the end of the line to watch Santa passing out candy canes to the kids as they exited his lap) and Hannah told her that she wanted Santa to know that what she really wanted was one of his candy canes! Poor Mrs. Claus didn't have any candy canes! She was pretty much helpless. It was heartbreaking and humorous all at the same time.

The next day we headed to Indiana and Hannah had her first meltdown of the actual trip. While it was not pleasant, I'd call it a huge victory that we made it to within an hour of our final destination before she had one. At Grandma's Hannah had fun chasing around and carrying a little black kitten for hours at a time. That poor cat really earned it's keep that day! While in Indiana we visited Lafayette to see our friends the Bowe's and Hannah got to play with her friend Evelyn. They were so cute together. We barely saw them they spent so much time holed up in Evelyn's room playing with her dollhouse. Then we spent Thanksgiving Day with my mom's side of the family. Hannah had a blast hanging out with the "big kids" and playing Bingo for prizes. She was even faster than I was at reading the Thanksgiving themed words on her card and finding them before the caller called out the next word. Then on Friday we visited with my dad and my aunts Jo and Terri and my cousin Becky in the morning/afternoon and then headed over to Tiffany's house (Hannah's birthmother) for dinner and to spend the evening. At Jo and Terri's Hannah had a blast chasing their cat and playing Wii. She really loves the fencing on Wii Sports resort and she's actually pretty good at it. Terri spoiled her rotten by giving her a few of her little knick-knacks and her father's old keyboard. I can't wait until Hannah's home so we can give the keyboard a whirl. At Tiffany's house Hannah turned into a wild woman again. I suppose an entire week of over stimulation will do that to a kid, but boy was she wild- not the finest representation of our parenting skills! Hannah had so much fun with Chase and Kayla though. They played on the trampoline, Chase gave horsey rides/bucking bronco rides, they watched a movie, and wrestled like siblings that have never been separated. It was lovely to watch. Hannah even gave both Donna and Charlie (Hannah's birthgrandparents) hugs which she has been hesitant to do in the past. It was a great visit.

Then, on Saturday Kyle and I headed back to RI and Hannah stayed with my mom. Now I'm here typing this childless. I suppose it was fortunate for both me and Hannah that Hannah stayed with mom because today I'm sick. I've vomited 3 times already today and Hannah's hates to see me get sick. It makes her so nervous when I throw up, while at the same time she doesn't seem to be able to take it easy on me when I can't do everything she wants to do. So, I suppose for today at least I'm grateful she's there, but I still miss her.
Photo Notes: The picture with Hannah in the dog crate with BOTH of the dogs was not my doing. I came downstairs one morning and found them all 3 in there together. Hannah had coaxed both of the dogs in there and then got in herself and locked them all in. Even though she was able to lock herself in she was unable to get the crate unlocked from the inside so they were all stuck there until I decided to release them. I couldn't resist snapping a picture before I did so though!