Tuesday, April 26, 2011

incomplete conversations


I realized the past few blogs have been mostly positive, cheery, life is great kind of posts. I wanted to share tonight a conversation that we had over the dinner table. It is a type of conversation we have daily. It's messy, incomplete and I am always left wondering what I should have said or what I shouldn't have said.
While eating dinner we were talking about what we were thankful for. Charlie and Naomi said "Meatballs". Levi said "MommyDaddy". Emelia said "That I had a sister". We prayed for dinner and then the conversation got messy.....
Naomi started to repeat her usual phrases, "You are my mommy. You are never going to leave me. My daddy is never going to leave me. You love me, etc.etc.etc." We actually have this conversation so often that I was starting to feel annoyed (it's pathetic but it's true). Then she talked a bit about her previous family.
I could tell Emelia was confused about something. She then said, "What if something happened and you couldn't take care of Naomi anymore. Would she go back to _____and ____?"
I was so shocked that Emelia asked this! Then I realized Emelia was verbalizing what Naomi was probably thinking. I quickly reaffirmed, " No, Naomi will always be my daughter. She will never have another Mother. She will always be in our family."
I thought that sounded pretty good. But it didn't satisfy my curious one.
Emelia then followed my comment with this question: "But mom, what if something really bad happens and you can't....."
Well I snapped at her quickly and maybe a bit to harsh. I said to her: "Emelia, would anything stop you from being my daughter?"
She responded appropriately, "no".
"Naomi is the same. Just like you will always be my daughter, so will she. She is a part of our family now. Nothing will change that. Got it?"
Emelia actually looked surprised. I guess I take for granted how much our mature 5 year old understands. I just think I need to say it once or maybe twice and they will get it. I am starting to realize this messy conversation is going to be a daily one for a LONG time.

After dinner Naomi was disobedient and got a "time in" As she was laying over my legs she kept crying, "You are my mommy! You love me!". I used to think she was saying this to be a bit manipulative (as she frequently is). I realized tonight she was saying it to herself to remind herself where she stands. So as she was crying I said, "Naomi, I am your mommy. I love you. I am your mommy. I love you." over and over again.

I just want her to look into my eyes and get it. To get I am not going to leave her....even when I am annoyed, sick, tired, etc. She does get it for that moment....but 5 mins later...she's not so sure. I guess I should start loving this conversation. I should start seeing it as opportunity and not a failure on my behalf (of not convincing her that I love her).

My heart is heavy tonight. I go back to work tomorrow. I work as a RN and my days are long. I am gone before the kids wake up and home after they are in bed. To Noami, tomorrow is going to feel like I left. I am just praying that God will comfort her heart and give her peace that I will return....for more messy days and messy conversations.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Adoption (finalization) Day!

Today we had the privilege of finalizing our adoption of Naomi. We also were able to officially change her name to Naomi Weiseth. It was such a special day for our family. We chose to keep her previous first name as her middle name. As much as I would selfishly like to erase her previous life...it is her story and a part of her. We chose to change her first name officially to Naomi. Our family had been praying for "Naomi" for almost 3 years now. Symbolically we wanted her to own those prayers, thoughts, dreams and plans. (Also, for her privacy and protection since this was a local domestic adoption.)



(THE KEY PLAYERS: JoAnn Vesper-social workers, Anita Farris- Judge, Emelia, Charlie, Levi, Amber, Naomi, Andrew and Sabrina Layman-lawyer)

Shout out for JoAnn: When we first were required to do a homestudy for Levi's adoption, I thought it was all for the agency, paperwork...blah, blah, blah. I was so incredibly wrong...or maybe so incredibly blessed. I assume some social workers out there are just there to ask the questions, fill in the blanks, stamp the papers and that's it. Our social worker, JoAnn Vesper (works with Agape Adoptions www.agapeadoptions.org ) is so opposite to that. She not only has done an amazing job with the required papers but she has given us access to a wealth of support and knowledge...herself. We have been so blessed to have JoAnn in our lives. She was incredibly instrumental in both Levi's and (even more so) Naomi's adoption. She has been such an encouragement. I am such a better Mommy because of her. Thank you JoAnn!


Our lawyer, Sabrina A. Layman, was amazing! She was more than we ever could have expected. This is her helping the kids stamp the copies of the adoption degree. If you need an adoption lawyer in Seattle/Everett area...give her a call.


Celebratory lunch at Alfy's Pizza

I still cannot believe how fast this has happened. 11 weeks ago, we first got the call for a possible adoption of Naomi. Now we are fully legit and adopted. She is a Weiseth. What an amazing journey God has us on.

one last pic: (Naomi skin-to-skin in the Moby. Some much needed Kangaroo care after a busy few days)



Monday, April 18, 2011

Girls causing trouble!

This picture is funny because it makes Naomi look a lot taller than Levi. They are actually the same height. She has him in a strangle hold and is pushing him down. But still, they are smiling and happy.
Dear Mr Garbage truck, could you please come every morning to our house. It is such a sweet moment when all eyes are on you (and not me!). I am actually peacefully rocking in a chair and drinking coffee for 3 whole minutes as you so beautifully collect and carry our trash away.
Such sweet love between these two!

Here we are again...dressed as animals instead of children. These kids LOVE LOVE LOVE to dress up.
Emelia and Naomi's favorite game together is this:
1.) Emelia dresses like a horse
2.) Naomi dresses like a princess
3.) Princess sits in Radio Flyer wagon
4.) Horse ties a jump rope to the wagon handle and loops back
5.) Horse girl puts rope around her belly and runs
6.) Horse girl continues runny wildly through the yard while pulling wagon. The horse begins neighing as loud as humanly possible.
7.) Princess vacillates between sheer delight and sheer terror.
8.) Fight off intruding brothers
8.) Repeat all day

Naomi has been in our home now for 6 weeks. The past week we have made some huge improvements in attachment and behavior. Instead of constant demands for food, water, being held, etc., she now seems to trust that those things will come to her. It was surprising to me the first month. I would be making lunch for the kids and she would start demanding food. It's like she didn't actually believe I was going to feed her the food I was making. Her first response was that she needed to fight for it. She's a fighter. Which is a great thing because the loss and hardships she has experienced (and will experience) are not going to slow her down. It has been nice the past week to see her settle into knowing that we will...
-feed her
-hold her
-read to her
-keep her safe
-not hurt her
-not leave her
-protect her
-play with her

it seems like small things...and they are...but they are also huge. 6 weeks ago I taught Naomi how to cuddle. Today, when I put her to bed, she cuddled under my arm, put her head on my chest, clutched my shirt, sucked her thumb...then looked up into my eyes and said, "You are my Mommy. You love me. You are never going to leave me. You are going to keep me safe. I love you too, Mommy...and I need a kiss." She was peacefully asleep 30 seconds later. I lay there just thanking God for this blessing. I prayed over her, her sleep, her anxieties, her future, etc. I felt as if God whispered to me, "This pleases me."


Friday, April 1, 2011

Quiet

It's hard to believe but Naomi has been with our family almost a month. The time has literally flown by. The first few weeks I felt like I was on a caffeine drip, constantly alert and never resting. Now that we have begun to get into a rhythm and I finally feel like my brain can slow down.
There is a verse in Isaiah 30 that has been resonating in my head and heart:
"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."v.15

My quiet times these days are nothing to brag about and are not what I would exactly hope for. But several times a day I sit and just connect. I am not reading, not studying, not planning, not asking, not moving....just sitting in the presence of my Lord. It may last 10 seconds or 10 mins before someone has an emergent need to potty!!!!! or gets hurt or needs a snack RIGHT NOW!!!!! I may not have a brain but I have a heart that is attached closely to my savior. I need Him, not just in the morning or evening, but all day.
I am grafted to Him.