Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What if...

What if, a year ago, Kristopher was sent to a foreign country.  He couldn't speak the language or understand anything anyone said.  He was unable to move, unable to talk even in English.  He was at the mercy of strangers, living in their home, and being called their son.  How might he feel about that?

Tonight's been a rough night for Wesley.  I can tell he misses "normal."  He was in a decent orphanage where the caretakers took care of the kids' basic needs.  I don't think he had much teaching/interaction on that level but I do think he was held on one caretaker's lap a lot of the time.  He loves to be held.

Tonight each time I try to leave his room he starts crying.  Unless I'm touching him and talking to him, he's upset.  I'll leave, give it 5 min, then go back in to reassure him that I'm here, he's ok, and remind him (in Russian) that it's time for sleeping.  He calms immediately (so I know he's not genuinely scared) and then when I try to leave a few minutes later the cycle continues.

We have no idea how much Wesley understands of what's going on.  We don't know what his "cognitive function" is, but though we are making things 'simple' since he's transitioning languages and environments, we are pretty sure that he's understanding a LOT of what's happening.

But he has no movement.  And he has no language.  And he's never been expected to express himself or his needs or wants or desires in any way (because he was in an orphanage and on a routine and whatever happens, happens en masse).

So now we have a 5, almost 6 yr old little boy who is communicating the only way he knows how... by crying his little heart out and fighting sleep.

My heart just breaks for him. Having spent almost 8 weeks in Ukraine, I understand how frustrating it is for people to talk to you-- willing you to understand-- and having NO CLUE what's  being said.  He's lost everything he knew.  And right now, he's missing the orphanage.

In his eyes, we took him away from everything he liked and knew.  He had no idea that in a few short months he'd be leaving it anyway... being transferred to the worst institution that I know of in Ukraine.  He has no idea that this really WILL be a better place than where he was headed as an orphan.  He has no idea that we're permanent and we love him and we want what's best for HIM.

Right now he just knows that he's not in his crib lined up against the wall with a grandmotherly lady holding him on her lap all day and the same Borscht and porridge to eat every day.  He misses 'normal.'

Aleksa hasn't gone through this yet, though I expect she still may.  We've been home one week tonight, and that's usually enough "vacation" for anyone before they begin to realize that this IS the new normal.

I came out here to take a break.  To think through and adjust my attitude.  He's crying, he's fighting me, he's being mad and mean... and my response still needs to say "I love you, you're safe, and it's ok to be sad."  It's sometimes hard to do that when there's a little person that appears to be doing something *just* to frustrate you... though I know that's absolutely not the truth.  Michael's with Kristopher at the church for a bit still, and I'm headed back in to little Mister.  I hope he gets to sleep nice and peacefully after he decides it's ok to fall asleep tonight...


  1. oh mer, thats heartbreaking. You will get through this. I have a feeling seeing pictures of him that there is a very strong person inside that little body, his eyes speak incredible things. Its normal for him to be struggling, and its normal for you to hurt for him. Just gotta love him through it. Poor little guy.

  2. Meredith,
    When we get to these places with Jacob, I rock and sing to him. I sing songs you may not being so young and all...The Carpenter's "Top of the World", The Chordettes "Lollipop", any other poppy, bubblegummy, impossible to feel bad while you are singing it type of song. "Silent Night" makes a great lullaby, keeping my attitude where it needs to be. Praying for Wesley, and you, tonight.

  3. Poor kiddo, and poor mama. Alina went through this too, and still does some days. She will do things just to see if we will react and how we will react, will we be mad enough to take her back or toss her out? Thankfully she's calming down and I'm praying for Wesley's little heart tonight. How confusing this all is for them.

  4. Praying for sweet Wesley and his Mama! May he rest well and know the love of a family as each day passes!

  5. I hear you, Meredith. It's hard to keep a calm, patient attitude all the time, especially dealing with it 24/7. I imagine it's even hard for Wesley than our kids, because he has no way to communicate his needs. I'm glad he has such a wonderful mama and papa to work through it with him.

  6. *THE* very best lullably CD that I know which works wonders even for me as the Mom when I have a kid who just can't be consoled is: "Hide Em in Your Heart" lullabies. They are great--Scripture songs . . . I don't know if it's still available or not, but we used to have a tape and CD. Loaned out the tape and never got it back and the CD is about worn out or I'd send you ours. I hope you can find a copy. . . .