We have been home for over three weeks now, and things are going pretty well. I’m not gonna lie, though: adoption is HARD! There are so many challenges with both children, which we are facing and working through. But it is hard. A sweet friend of mine set up a meal calendar for our family, and I almost felt guilty about it at first, thinking that I could totally cook meals and don’t need help. After all, these are older kids, not newborns. It’s not like I just had a baby or anything. However, when I try to describe to people how exhausted I am at the end of each day, the only thing I can compare it to is when I had newborns! It’s just exhausting in a different way. With a newborn, there is the physical exhaustion due to long nights and a constant demand on a mother’s body to feed, hold, comfort a new baby. There is emotional exhaustion from not knowing what is wrong when a baby cries for an extended period of time for no apparent reason, or from not feeling like things will ever be “normal” or so many other things. With these two new “babies,” there is physical and emotional exhaustion as well. Both children need me a lot. Daniel needs constant attention and supervision, and he often demands this attention by acting out. Eden needs me all the time, too. She follows me around all day with a constant refrain of “Mama! Mama!” It is very sweet, but can be very draining as well. I am not complaining about this at all. It is very sweet. But it feels a little like the newborn stage because of the constant need for mama. Then there is the emotional exhaustion from wanting to help them when they are sad or angry, and not knowing how or second guessing myself about what I think they need. It’s exhausting not being able to communicate well with them because of the language barrier even when I am just trying to explain something simple like big sister, Abby, is now living in an apartment in Round Rock so we won’t see her every day anymore. The blessings are tremendous, but the drain is very real as well. Just being honest here. So, the meals have proven to be SUCH a blessing!
Speaking of meals, one thing that has stood out since we first got our children on “gotcha day” July 18th, is that FOOD is really important to these two. They live to eat. Daniel can be picky and many times refuses to eat certain things, but he still gets really excited about having that food on his plate. There are lots of reasons for this, having to do with living in an institutional setting, even for Eden, who was in a pretty good situation. We have variety and plenty, and that is something these children haven’t had before. When we were in China, they quickly learned the English words “eat” and “ice cream.” We did a lot of eating there, to pass the time. After lunch and sometimes dinner, too, we would stop at one of the little stores and get ice cream. The breakfast buffet was huge at the hotel where we stayed in Guangzhou. We were a little worried they would miss this when we got home. There is not a huge breakfast buffet here every morning, of course. When they wake up, they come to the kitchen ready to feast. The good news is that breakfast is pretty easy. They love fruit and eggs, so I keep boiled eggs and lots of fruit on hand, and they are thrilled with this. I thought the kids would enjoy something familiar for lunch, so I have been making noodles almost every day, and they practically jump up and down with excitement for their noodles! It’s pretty funny. Dinners have been interesting. With Daniel it’s hit or miss whether he will actually like something, but he always wants a lot on his plate. He is learning to eat better and be less picky, and he will drink a nutrition shake with dinner, which is good because he doesn’t always eat what is served for dinner. They get lots of fruit and snacks throughout the day. I want them to know that they never have to worry about not getting enough to eat, and that they can have a snack when they need one. I pretty much never deny them a snack,and even let them keep snacks in their backpacks all the time.
Both children have taken to eating with a fork really well. In fact, they will now turn down using chopsticks in favor of using a fork! Someday we will work on manners! 🙂 Eden shovels the food off of her plate or bowl into her mouth and then will come running for more while saying, “More, please” with a very overstuffed mouth and food all over her face. 🙂 Food is very comforting as we all know. In time, these children will understand that they don’t have to worry about being hungry. I am praying that they will also come to know the Bread of Life, so that they will never hunger spiritually. We are trying to show them love by meeting their physical needs. I am praying that they also will know spiritual satisfaction that only comes from the One who made them.
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that beieveth on me shall never thirst.”