Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shoe Shine Boys

The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.(R) 20 At his gate was laid a beggar(S) named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table.(T) Even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham,(U) have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’(V)25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things,(W) but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.(X) 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them,(Y) so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses(Z) and the Prophets;(AA) let them listen to them.’30 “‘No, father Abraham,’(AB) he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Luke 16 - Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
Here the spiritual things are represented, in a description of the different state of good and bad, in this world and in the other. We are not told that the rich man got his estate by fraud, or oppression; but Christ shows, that a man may have a great deal of the wealth, pomp, and pleasure of this world, yet perish for ever under God's wrath and curse. The sin of this rich man was his providing for himself only. Here is a godly man, and one that will hereafter be happy forever, in the depth of adversity and distress. It is often the lot of some of the dearest of God's saints and servants to be greatly afflicted in this world. We are not told that the rich man did him any harm, but we do not find that he had any care for him. Here is the different condition of this godly poor man, and this wicked rich man, at and after death. The rich man in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment. It is not probable that there are discourses between glorified saints and damned sinners but this dialogue shows the hopeless misery and fruitless desires, to which condemned spirits are brought. There is a day coming, when those who now hate and despise the people of God, would gladly receive kindness from them. But the damned in hell shall not have the least abatement of their torment. Sinners are now called upon to remember; but they do not, they will not, they find ways to avoid it.

Last night  I couldn’t sleep. Despite an energy sapping day filled with things I couldn’t dream of. I prayed years ago leading up to this trip… that God would show me the real world. Not the world that I believe exists, but reality. For me, and MOST of North America, its sunshine and lollipops; life is good. (There are a very small number who are exempt from this statement, they can be seen from miles away) A wise man recently said; “ We don’t have problems in N America, a problem is when there is no tangible or attainable solution”. Think about the worst possible situation, accidents, broken bones, loss of job etc, we have solutions at our finger tips. Break a leg, get a cast at the hospital. Lose your job, find another one tomorrow. Accident, catch the bus. The list is endless… and I had to ponder his comment and agree. He finished by saying, “We don’t have problems, we have inconveniences at best.” His words have stuck with me since we met a month ago.

A month ago when we arrived in Addis Ababa , I was finally presented with [ what I thought was ] my life’s first problem. As we pulled out of the airport, the sights and sounds of Addis filled our senses… poverty everywhere. But very quickly we discovered that even within that poverty was a sense of inexplicable joy. A sense of contentment prevailed and triumphed!!

Bekah, very naturally noticed a group in the city that really captured her attention, as well as mine. They had their little wooden boxes in one hand and a small bucket of water in the other and for a living they polished peoples shoes. That’s kindly put. They washed peoples foul,  filthy feet. For a small price of roughly 15 cents, your shoes would glisten! And some of these boys would first follow 12 blocks begging to wash your feet, then on their hands and knees polish and scrubbed so passionately, that you felt like royalty after. Or extremely humbled and grieved, as in my case.

Bekah had a great idea which at first I rejected. Lets find a boy and bless him. We can take him swimming, and out to eat, and pour out on him for one day of his life. But logic says that you cant solve these kinds of problems with swimming and food, besides, if you invite one then they’ll all want to come, and there s no room in the car. So I reluctantly agreed to pray about it, and maybe keep my eyes peeled for 1 boy who really broke God’s heart.

So within an hour of praying, along comes a boy. I had just finished getting my sandals [reluctantly and for a fair wage !!] cleaned by one boy . Before I knew it, I was surrounded by a buffet of shoe shine boys. I had to leave so we squared up and I walked home not noticing that I had a follower. I finally noticed him, acknowledged him and he smiled at me. Our guard translated for us and I knew that this was from God. He was 7 years old, well mannered and lived with 2 other shoe shine boys close by. My sandals were already clean so I bought him a coke and sent him on his way.

A solid hour had passed before Isaac was put down for a nap, and on my second walk up to the coffee shop, low and behold, my visitor was back. First he followed me, then I let him catch up and walk beside me. I patted his head and he smiled at me. His name is Jacob. We walked together for 10 blocks and he stopped at his destination and waved goodbye.
Shortly after our driver Marcos and I drove by the same place and the boys were still there working away. We stopped and Marcos translated that we would like them to come to our guest house to shine shoes the next day 9 am sharp. The next morning, not only did they show up but they were one hour early.

I brought Isaac down and they polished our shoes [again for a fair price]. I said, “they” for a reason… The older brother and another boy were also waiting for us. As it turned out, the 18 year old older brother Menisa, took care of both of the younger boys. The brothers parents had abandoned them in Addis 4 years ago out of necessity in the hopes that they would survive, and the other boy Aserat, had lost his Father, and his Mother had done the same. The brothers decided to take Aserat in and in a sense adopted him, unofficially. They now eat together, work together and even live together in what they described to us as an apartment.

We agreed that 2 days later the 2 younger boys would meet us and we would take them swimming… and when the older boy heard our intentions, we saw his heart sink. The invitation was quickly adjusted and he was also invited. He was overjoyed! It ended up raining that day so instead, and without their knowledge, we all piled into the cab and took them shopping. I’m sure at a few points during the drive they were wondering where on earth we were taking them !! 4 hours , 6 shopping bags, and a solid meal later we were set to take them home . I politely asked if we could see their “apartment” and they agreed.

To our amazement they led us to the edge of a valley and we began our decent to their home. Slums doesn’t quite sum up what we saw, but it fits the description. The house was a 3m by 3m room framed by a few bamboo sticks and draped with tattered folia. One bed in the room occupied half the space, and the rest was filled with mostly junk ( by north American standards)

We were greeted by at least half the village. Children posed for pictures and we received many invitations to peoples houses. We ended up having to leave , promised that an effort would be made to come again…. Plans are still in the works as to what we can do for an entire village during our short visit .

I couldn’t sleep last night… the events of this day raced thru my mind all night. Many verses came to mind as I reflected on REAL problems that were within range. Still no solutions that will shift the disease of poverty, but one thing is for certain, many people were loved on today. I am grateful that all the verses I’ve pounded home, yet never fully understood. They took on great meaning today. It’s been grievous and bothersome that Christ taught on the subject of poverty numerous times, yet the teachings seem lofty and somehow unattainable. How could a rich Canadian relate to Mat 25 … I was hungry and you fed me, naked and you clothed me, in jail and you visited me… I have chosen blindness, its far more comfortable than seeing suffering. And even with the awareness of reality, I can still chose to avoid it.
Today I thank Jesus that he showed me things that made me feel discomfort. He loves me enough to lead me to the needy… the rest , I suppose, he leaves up to me. Free will. My prayer is that life dramatically changes for the Szabo clan. We re already a pretty strange bunch of people in the way that we live and think. I contend that the closer we draw to Jesus , and the things that break His heart, the weirder we’ll get.

The story hasn’t finished though, we still have 2 or more weeks here. Tomorrow we will attempt the swimming plans again, weather permitting, also our return visit is still in the works, God willing !

Thursday, May 23, 2013

When we get home

We have been waiting to write this post. We wanted to have Isaac in our arms first and spend a few weeks with him before we wrote it for a few reasons. Although we have done extensive research on the topic of attachment, we wanted to see for ourselves, our family, how this would affect us. We are still trying to figure it all out but we have come to a few conclusions.
Initially we thought the attachment process would be quick, that we would be able to get a lot of it "done" while we were here. We now know that it doesn't quite happen that way.
We are learning that attachment is lifelong and will be something we always work on with Isaac, that said the most important time for us is when we first have him home.
All that we are about to say has come from years of researching attachment and adoption. We have not just come up with these ideas on our own, but are borrowing them from scholars who are far wiser and experienced then we are.
Although, we will not always be perfect in this, we want to do what is best for Isaac. It is hard for us to keep him in "lock-down" as our hearts are to share him and allow everyone to love him. But if we do this too soon, we are doing him a disfavor. We are not teaching or showing him the trust and bond that come from a Father-son and Mother-son relationship. We are only showing him that we are disposable, that we can pass him around from person to person without it mattering to him.
Isaac has undergone great losses in his short life, greater losses then any of us will ever experience in our own lives. When a baby is conceived, they spend 9 months or so in their mother's wombs. They here her voice, feel her movements, find their nutrition from her, they know her. They say babies can recognize a picture of their mother only days after being born. Isaac was torn from this attachment at only 2 weeks old. Everything he knew, smells, tastes, sights, sounds, were all taken from him in one night. He then spent the next 11 months in two different orphanages...again adjusting to constant change of all these senses. It seems ludicrous, in light of this, to expect that after three short weeks he will have found complete security and trust in a completely new circumstance. Although, we feel he loves us and likes to be with us, this does not mean he is attached to us.
We watch him closely all the time for signs of attachment. He shows many when we are alone in our room, but when we go out he acts as though anyone could be his mother or father. He reaches for people, blows kisses at them, and the odd time he is taken in a strangers arms he does not seem too disturbed by this. These are the things we are working on.
We feel strongly, that we need Isaac to know who we are before he knows who anyone else is. It is most important to who he is and who he will be, the first and foremost he knows his Daddy and Mommy. That he understands that we are not going to leave him, forget about him, or abandon him.
Every child deserves to feel the unconditional love of a parent, and because this is happening to him later in life than usual, we have to use different tactics then most people would. We have to create a bond that teaches Isaac to be secure and confident. That he can go out into the world one day, and enter it feeling confident of who he is and where he has come from.
That said, we plan on spending 4 solid weeks (maybe longer depending how is goes) when we first arrive home, cocooning with Isaac in our house. This means we will not be leaving the house with Isaac during this time. We are doing this to respect what he has lost and to allow him to process what he is gaining. We want to give him time to settle in to his new house and new life. He has to adjust to different sights, sounds, smells, feels and tastes.

 *****We ask that no one comes over during this time unless we have invited you over during one of his naps or when he has gone to bed.*****

 Also we will let people know when we are ready to have people over or when we are ready to venture out of the house. We also ask that no one holds Isaac until we are ready to allow you to. We are being intentional during this time that he will know that he needs will be met by his mom and dad and not by strangers.
During the visits to the orphanage, we watched Isaac interact with his caregivers. It appeared to us that he had  favorites and then others that he did not show particular interest to. We can't be sure how many people he felt attached to, but it certainly was not just one. We need to teach him to attach to just two people instead of 15 different people. That we will provide for all his needs.
Now I say all this out of earthly wisdom ... but I can not fail to mention all the prayer that has gone into this as well. We realize that we can only do so much and that true attachment will be a gift given to us by God, a gift given through our hard work as well as a gift given supernaturally. We ask that you would pray for Isaac to attach to us as quickly as God allows him to. Please pray for us to have the patience as staying in a house for a month will be particularly hard for Arnie and I. Please pray for wisdom as we have been given the responsibility as Isaac's parents. We want him to emerge from our house a confident lion as we recognize he is entering as a scared mouse. Please pray he learns the roles of a Mommy and Daddy and learns that we are not disposable.
We thank-you all for your love and prayers for us as a family and we ask for you to continue as we enter this time of cocooning!!! We love you all so much and can't wait to play with you and spend time with you as healthy families.

Monday, May 20, 2013

His name is gone

This whole adoption process has been very emotional. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind. We try hard to be present in every circumstance as it occurs but it seems sometimes it has been so overwhelming you don't know how to feel it all as it comes. From the first time we saw Isaac, to the first time we held him then the first time we took him home and he became ours.
Strange things along the way have brought about surprising emotion for me. This is one of them.

This was Isaac's last night in the orphanage. We passed court this day and went to the orphanage directly after we were done at the court house. It was around 5pm. They brought Isaac straight out to us and Arnie got to hold him for the first time. That was emotion enough, but that was expected. We held him for two hours, until he fell asleep in my arms. We changed his diaper then put him in his sleeper. At 7pm it was time to go. I carried him in to his room and laid him in his bed for what would be his very last sleep in it. We kissed him and said goodnight. You can notice the little white sticker on his headboard, it has his name in Amharic written on it. It was bitter sweet leaving him that night. We wanted to take him right away but we knew in the long run it was better to come back and say goodbyes the next day. But, we were happy. We were happy because we knew this would be his last night. He was no longer an orphan, he was no longer just a child in a line up of cribs. He had been chosen, called out, placed. So we went home with tears and a smile in our hearts. Our son would soon be home.
We came back the next morning where we found him just waking up in the same little bed we had laid him the night before. We hope he recognized us, at least he willingly went with us. It is tradition that when a child leaves the orphanage, a coffee ceremony is held on their behalf. The director was not there this morning so we were asked to return with Isaac on another day to have his ceremony. We returned four days later. We had the ceremony, played with the kids and toured around the orphanage again.
It was all very emotional, but this was what caught me by surprise.

We went into his room again to say goodbye to all his baby roommates. I looked at his bed and saw that his name had been removed. I instantly started to cry. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. He was no longer a part of this orphanage but a part of our family. He did not belong here anymore.

God places the lonely in families.

We struggled for a while with Isaac's name. We knew within 5 minutes that we were to name him Isaac, but his first name is the one we have struggled with. We wanted to keep the name the orphanage gave him, Kalid, as his middle name. But as the time went on we grew increasingly bothered by keeping this name. We wanted to keep it for cultural reasons, so he could have a part of his heritage with him. But we learned that this name was a muslim name, a very strong one at that. We are Christian and plan on raising Isaac with Christian knowledge and values. We started to feel that the name, Kalid, was no longer to belong to this boy. We felt that God had called him out of his circumstance and therefore wanted to give him a new name, a new identity. Just like in the Bible when God renames his people at pivotal points in their walk with him. When he calls them out, when they find him, when Jesus changes their lives. We feel he has done this to Isaac. Not to disrespect where he has come from, but to say this is no longer who he is. He is no longer Kalid the orphan, but Isaac the son. He was taken from the street and placed in our arms. God redeemed him, took this baby in it's desperate state and called him by name, he placed him in a family and rewrote his identity. So he will be named Isaac Szabo. No middle name as none of the Szabo boys have middle names. He belongs to this family, to their traditions and ways. He is 100% a part of who we are. So from May 1, 2013 and on, Kalid with no last name will now be Isaac Szabo, a boy who belongs in a family and therefore will take their name.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

At 12 months

At 12 months you like to eat:
- anything that we mash up in the food grinder
-you learned how to eat little bits of baby cookies and baby puffs
-you like to beg for our food so sometimes when we are out we have to chew it up then feed it to you, we call you our little bird
-you love boob milk, if you see me pumping and you are hungry, you call out "Aya aya aya" and motion for me to give it to you
-you eat anything your dada gives you, including a chewed up black olive yuck!

At 12 months you like to play with:
-boxes, paper, movies, water bottles... and anything that is not a toy!
- things that rattle and make noise
-you like to play on the floor crawling all over your mama and dada
-you like to dance by shaking your head and clapping your hands
-you like playing jumping monkeys and flying babies with your mama
-you like when dada throws you around in the air and kisses you all over

At 12 months you say:

At 12 months you sleep:
-10-12 hours at night with 1-2 wakes up to eat
-you take 2 naps during the day for 1-1.5 hours each
-you like us to rock you to sleep, dada can put you to sleep in 5 minutes flat by holding and rocking you a special way, I like to feed you until you close your eyes and fall asleep on y chest
-when you are almost asleep you love when we pet your forehead and cheeks, you instantly close your eyes and fall asleep
-you sweat like crazy when you sleep! You sweat through your pillow and sleeper!
-you sleep in between us in our bed

At 12 months you like:
-water of any temperature, even cold swimming pools
-to be held and touched
-to give kisses to us
-to jump in our arms while we help you use your legs
-to crawl around on your belly
-to wave hi to people and blow kisses
-to go for walks in your sling or ergo
-to skype with your family
-to kiss with your mouth wide open
-to see us at all times, if we leave the room you try to scoot after us calling out "Aya" or saying dada or mama
-to be thrown in the air, sang to and tickled under the arm
-you giggle and squeal when you are really excited
-your mama and dada, when daddy goes to get food or do an errand you look for him, when he comes home you yell, "dada" and jump up and down squealing with excitement. You like that mommy is always there, if you wake up you call out "mama" and will sometimes lay your head back down when you see me.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Isaac turns one

On monday our son had his first birthday. This has been a crazy three weeks. We are overwhelmed by the blessings that we have been given. April 26th we saw our son for the first time. April 30th we passed court and Isaac became our son officially. May 1st we took Isaac into our arms forever. May 5th we celebrated our 7th year wedding anniversary. May 8th marks our 4 year anniversary of our file arriving in Ethiopia, this is when our official wait began. And then monday, May 13th, our son celebrated his first birthday.
We had planned to have a party for him at the orphanage. We more wanted to throw a birthday party for all the kids since we know they don't ever get to have a birthday party. We wanted to give them a day were they could just be kids and have fun, eat junk food and get presents.
Before we left for EThiopia we met with an Ethiopian friend in Canada to get a few ins and outs of Addis. We asked a lot of questions, where to buy cake, where to eat, what we should see, etc. My last question I asked, I said he probably could not answer and it was probably an insane question, but did he know where I could rent a bouncy castle. He laughed at me and said, "Of course, call my friend Tib!" Tib is a man he told us to connect with when we got here. HE imported two bouncy castles from the states and rented them out in Addis. A week after we got here we decided to give Tib a call so we could set up meeting with him. When we asked where he lived, he described a place one minute away. He is literally down the street from us! What are the chances of that. So we met him for lunch and made bouncy castle plans.
The idea of the bouncy castle came to me in January. Suzie and Ronnie had rented a room in Edmonton for my nephew, Rollie's birthday. This was not just a bouncy castle but a Tiki island inflatable play land. IT was crazy, everyone went nuts. Ronnie, Arnie and Robs went nuts. They would hide throughout it and chase the kids down. All you could hear were squeals and shouts for four hours coming from inside this Tiki island. But I got to thinking... our kids, Canadian kids, get to have parties all the time. It seems there is always a birthday party happening every weekend. Swimming, play lands,  bowling, parks, you name it and I'm sure every kid in Canada has experienced it. I mentioned to Arnie how cool it would be to have a Tiki island at the orphanage and have one big party for all these kids. So we thought we would try. God gave us the blessing of being with Isaac for his first birthday, so we wanted to give a blessing to the children he spent his first year with.
So on Monday, there was a big party. It was for Isaac... but not really just for him. In fact his feet touched the bouncy castle one time and that was it. The party was everything we hoped for. The kids all wore birthday hats and sang the longest Happy Birthday song I have ever heard. We ordered the best cakes we could find in Ethiopia and the children devoured. We had asked the kids on our second visit with Isaac what their favorite foods were and they responded, "Coke, Miranda, bananas, chips, cake and Doritos!" We laughed so hard when they said Doritos because you can not buy and name brand chips in Ethiopia. Apparently two of the older boys had been to the States for some awareness conference and had eaten Doritos. We figured we could fulfil all the other requests, but the Doritos we couldn't. I mentioned this to an adoptive friend, who is waiting for a court date for her daughter. SHe knew of another couple who was about to leave for Ethiopia and planned for them to bring Doritos and gifts for all the girls!!! We met this couple and they were able to come and help out at the party. What a beautiful community of adoptive parents I get to be a part of. So the kids ate everything they had asked for. We handed out balls, skipping ropes (donated from more adoptive families at home), coloring books (donated from Isaac's baby shower), t-shirts, bracelets, chap stick, dolls, and more. I can not brag when I say all these things, because we did not buy all these presents. They came from you. Most everything had been given to us to give to these children. This is why I am writing all of this. I want you to know that you blessed these children and gave them a day to just be a normal child. They laughed, ate, squealed, ate, played and ate some more. I could not be more blessed than I was to be a part of this. It was truly beautiful.
I can't post any pictures of the kids for confidentiality reasons, but I can give a glimpse of what went down.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My First Mother's Day

Mother’s Day 2013

I’ve been looking forward  to this day for many, many years now. I’ve blogged about Mother’s Day lots in the past, on it’s painful memories and reminders, but this year it is different. This year I celebrate Mother’s Day for the first time since I was 6. This is my first year I can claim this day as one that I celebrate. It’s not that every year has been awful, but it was always a reminder of what I didn’t have and what I wasn’t.
The day has arrived and my heart is filled with joy. I look at my baby and can’t believe the gift that has been given to me. I am blessed beyond what I could’ve imagined. I hope I never take this gift for granted. Many years I doubted that God heard me or that he even cared about my cry… but today I am certain he heard my every word and saw my every tear. He was up to something, but was waiting for his time to be perfect. His time is now and his gift is sitting in my arms.
It’s not that we did anything too special yesterday, but it was more the significance of the day. In fact, all our plans were thrown out the window. We had planned to go to church in the morning with the orphanage director then go to the Sheraton for swimming and food for the rest of the day. We woke up early as per Isaac, and started our day with our usual routine of playing and eating breakfast. Our ride came at 10 to go to church. Church was amazing, the singing and worship was something I have not experienced. I loved it. People are so filled with joy, they were free to dance and sing out whatever they wanted. But, it was loud, Isaac was held by someone else and the place was filled with people. Although I am happy we got to experience it, I know it was a lot on Isaac. Church ended around 1 and we arrived home at almost 2. I knew in my heart that to go out again would be too stressful on Isaac. At first I still wanted to go, after all it was mother’s day and I really wanted to take Isaac swimming… but I watched my boy’s smile return as I places him on the floor to play and I knew that this is where we needed to stay. We stayed in all afternoon and evening playing on the floor. I would have loved to go to the Sheraton, but this is what our boy needed. So I am learning about being a mother, about putting our baby’s needs above my own, about sacrificing the things I want for the betterment of our family. It’s not easy, but this is what I wanted. I wanted to learn how to be selfless, I wanted to learn how to be a good mom. So I was happy. Happy that I got to rock my boy to sleep 3 times, change his diapers, feed him 6 bottles filled with boob milk, play games, sing songs, give him a bath and just be his mom. I am privileged to see him laugh, squeal, burr his lips, cry and even whine.
I love being a mom, I always knew I would love it. It is hard work and sacrifice, but it is so worth it. I love snuggling Isaac in close and rocking him to sleep. I love seeing his little eyes roll back in his head as he fights to keep them open. I love his little kisses in the morning when he crawls all over us to wake up. I love putting outfits on him that I picked out. I love feeding him milk that I worked my butt off to give him. I love kissing his neck and hearing him laugh. Ok, I could go on and on… but I think the point is made. I love this boy and I love that God has finally allowed me to celebrate today, I won’t take it for granted.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 5

I've been limiting my computer time to when Isaac is asleep so I haven't been able to update in a couple days. I've been looking through all the comments and messages on facebook, we feel very loved by everyone. We thank everyone for all your love, support and prayers. We can't wait to show Isaac, one day when he understands, all the loving words everyone has said to him and about him.
I have been updating on what we have been doing, but I wanted to update on how we have been doing.
Our first day with Isaac was very exciting, we did not know what to expect and so we were just feeling him out. We are now on Day 5 and starting to figure out his routine a little better.
Physically Isaac is doing really well. The first day we found some fungus on his scalp, explosive diarrhea and he had a cough. We went to the doctor on our second day to have him checked out. We were able to get a prescription for some fungus cream for his scalp, which is already clearing up. They did some blood work on him which we are still waiting results on. I had to make Arnie hold him and take him in to give the blood. I know I'm a nurse, but this is my son and the thought of inflicting pain on him is awful. I sat outside the room and bawled when I heard him crying. He did so well though, he only cried for a few minutes when they were finding the vein, then Arnie was able to calm him down. I think the best part was seeing Arnie hold him and rock him. I could hear him saying , "It's ok, Dada is here." Of course this added to my tears again! The doctor wanted to put him on antibiotics for his cough but we have decided against that. We are bringing him back monday to do an x-ray and will only use antibiotics if it's an infection or pneumonia. I am sure it is just a cold and I can tell it is starting to clear up already. He is drinking lots of breast milk so that will help him with his immunity. As far as the poo situation, we thought he had parasites. We brought in a stool sample and got the results yesterday that it was all clear! I think the transition of food and milk caused him to have the runs, today is is already starting to harden up. Arnie said he prayed for him, that he wouldn't have parasites, we thank God for answering this prayer.
Developmentally, we see Isaac as more of a 6 month old. He did not use his legs in the orphanage as he would go from crib to bumbo and back. The first day we held him, we held him up to walk, he just cried at us and lifted his legs. We have been helping him jump in our laps to help develop his leg muscles. We put him on the couch with us and let him hold on the side, he stood for the first time without us holding him up! HE was leaning on the couch but we were excited to see him use his legs. We finally put him down on the ground and he slithered his way around on his belly. He doesn't like to crawl yet but we play a lot on the bed where he crawls all over us. He likes to crawl on top of us and we help him to put his knees under his belly to try and crawl. He also can not sit unsupported, unless he has a hand on the floor. His core muscles are very weak. We haven't worked on this much as he doesn't spend much time on the floor, but I figure all the crawling on us and jumping in our laps will help with that. He says, "Mama" and "Dada". We aren't sure if he knows that those names belong to us, but I caught him looking for Arnie yesterday. Arnie stepped out for a second and he slithered his way to the bedroom calling "Dada". He loves saying "ADA" he pronounces the D really loudly. He loves making mouth noises, smacking his lips and smooshing them. He grasps objects and loves to chew on toys.
Emotionally, the first few days had little emotion. He did not cry but also did not laugh. He smiled at us but didn't fully let go. He did not cry for food or give any sign of when he was hungry. He seemed very at ease to have us giving him so much attention but when I look back, I think he was a little shell shocked. Today he found his vocal cords and has been whining more and crying for things. Although it is hard to know how to handle, we are so happy he is telling us his needs. We are working on a few things with him; spitting and swatting us in the face. We say no or nice and hold his arm. He does not cry but usually stares at us blankly. Usually he stops what he is doing, I think we are just getting his attention. Physically he does not know how to cuddle, but we are trying to teach him. He gets very excited if we put him down and then say, "Na" which means come here. We clap our hands and hold them out. He starts bouncing up and down and breathing excitedly. He will reach out a hand to us and laugh. I love when he does this. IT is almost worth putting him down to see him do this.
He is showing good signs of attachment but it is still very early. We feel so blessed that he already seems to really enjoy us. He chooses to crawl to us and loves to be held and played with. I noticed the first few days that he seemed confused when he woke up from naps. He would look around with a blank face and then stare at us. He would look at me then Arnie. I'm sure he wakes up confused, but it doesn't take long for him to get into play mode with us again. We are trying to teach him to cuddle after he wakes up and today for the first time he laid his head on my shoulder. He loves being touched. Arnie will pet his hand or forehead and he falls asleep easily this way. We always have a hand on him and he doesn't seem to mind. He usually does not reject kisses and loves Arnie's scruffy beard on his neck. HE also allows us to hold him in cradle position and rock him to sleep.

I always thought that attachment things were for the child to attach to you but I am learning that it is also for the parent to attach to the child. He is very cute and we love him, but we work toward a forever bond with him. When you give birth there are hormones involved as well as nine months of growth from inside your own body. By wearing Isaac in a sling, we are creating a bond that is not naturally there. We feel very protective over him, but we know it will take time for it to really sink in that he is ours. Today we both said we felt excited to be his parents. We are excited to finally be a family and do things together.
Whenever Arnie wears him, yes we take turns, everyone always stares at him. The women typically wear the baby on their back so it is unusual to see a man with a baby strapped to him. I love seeing him wear Isaac. I feel I get to love my husband in a new way. When he takes care of our son, I love him on a whole new level.

Isaac's goodbye ceremony at the orphanage. We got to say thank-you to all the beautiful nannies who cared for him for 8 months.

Thats all for now, the boy is awake!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Day one, Forever Family Day

Yesterday was our first day with Isaac. We weren't sure how he would do so we were prepared for the worst... we were so wrong. Our first day as a family was perfect! We went at 9am to the orphanage. We immediately went and got Isaac out of bed. We were able to put our clothes on him and we both carried him around for about an hour. We found out his routine from his nanny and she showed us the food they cook for him. The routine didn't really stash up to what we saw but it was a good general guideline. We didn't want to stay too long as we were excited to start our adventures as a forever family. We said goodbye to everyone, it was clear to see that his nannies loved him! We will be going back on saturday to have an official coffee ceremony.
We said goodbye to the orphanage for Isaac's last time spending the night there. I was so happy to tell him it was no longer his home, but he now belonged to his mama and papa.
We headed home in a van. There are no carseats here so I go to carry him in my sling in the back seat. He looked out the windows in a daze the entire ride, not even a peep out of him.
We went to our room and laid down on the bed. We played with a few toys and just spent time together. We gave him his first bath in the sink just to get the orphanage smell off of him. I suppose we just wanted him to smell like us. Around noon we gave him a bottle of boobie milk, he drank the whole thing down and then fell asleep in Arnie's arms. We were a little choked that he fell asleep so soon after getting home and we contemplated waking him up!
After his nap we spent more time playing, he ate another bottle and we just hung out. We had to fails our first day. Arnie was playing the finger biting game, which Isaac loves, and he accidently chomped down on his finger. This was the only time our first day that Isaac cried. Arnie felt awful but regardless of being hurt by Daddy, he still loved him! Our second fail came when it was time to change his poopy diaper. Parasite poo has a smell that just makes you sick. It was liquid and he had his hand and foot in the poo before we could clean it all up. Second bath of the day happened at this point. He is such a trooper, he loves the water and did not complain one bit about the bath! Around dinner time we went for a walk down the street to get a cold drink. I got to wear him in the sling again! I love going out with him in the sling. He is so tiny and fits nice and snug in it. This was one of the things I looked forward to when we got him. He fell asleep at 6 in the sling so we headed home and laid him down. We woke him up after an hour to feed him. He ate spinach, apple and rutabaga baby food! He has never tasted spinach before but was such a good sport and ate the whole thing! After this we played a bit more, but he was so tired he fell asleep on Daddy.
We weren't sure what to expect for the night and figured since we had gotten off the hook for the day that we should brace ourselves for the worst. He went to sleep at 8. Arnie and I stayed up for a bit after him, we kept checking on his every few minutes as he would roll around a little and we were worried about him falling off the bed. It was hard to fall asleep as we laid staring at him and then when we did it was a very light sleep. Arnie was awake for most of the night not because Isaac was awake but I think to make sure we were all ok. We woke up at 2 and dreamfed him a bottle. He then woke up at about 6 and I gave him another bottle as he was half asleep. He woke up for good at about 630! We couldn't believe how well he slept. It really is a miracle. We are hoping we get a better sleep tonight!