Too big to baby

Im not a "share the good without the bad" kind of person so I feel like I should be truthful when I encounter a struggle along this adoption path as well.

Ok so I knew going into this that I needed to prepare myself for Jaydn to be older in age than she would be developmentally. They say to cut your "institutionalized" child's age in half which would make Jaydn, developmentally, a 1 year old even though she is 2 by age. After spending over a month with her, I think she is actually developmentally younger than one. Either that or she is going back to the days of infancy so that I can show her how she SHOULD have been held when she cried or how she SHOULD have been corrected when she disobeyed etc. Regardless there is one thing that I was NOT prepared for.

While I am willing to go with her to the emotional depths, physically I cannot do it. I believe that if she could be, she would want to be strapped to my side all day, like in one of those baby slings. She is at that stage of developmental and emotional need. Even though I don't like to foster clingy behavior, I know her need has greater purpose than that and I want to be able to meet her there. But I cannot carry her around or hold her as often or as long as she would like me to. Not b/c I am emotionally incapable but b/c I am physically unable. She is a BIG girl. She is 40+ lbs of dense weight. I am a strong person but I cannot add 40lbs to my daily activities and expect to keep up. As a result, I have been placing myself on the floor most of the day so that she can sit with me without knocking me over or killing my back.

Not only is she heavy/big, she is REALLY strong. When I correct her she looks like a tantruming 2 year old to the outside eye but she feels like a bucking 12 year old boy shoving and pulling me while I try to calm her down. I hate feeling like I am physically restraining her but if I don't try, I will have a bloody nose or a black eye from her flailing and head butting way of "handling" things. It doesn't happen often (thank goodness) but when it does....LOOK OUT!

Anyway, I just wanted to ask you guys, my prayer heroes, to add this to your list of petitions. Physically I have to parent in a whole new way and you should see the way Jax and Jo look at us when Jaydn and I are "at it." They can't believe she is so loud and violent and that mommy has to protect herself and them just in case it gets too out of hand. Please understand me, Jaydn is not trying to hurt me/us. Its just that because she is large, when she acts up it becomes very physical and potentially harmful. I am thankful that when she throws a fit she doesn't run away but runs to me but that also means I have to physically react to her when I can't connect to her emotionally yet. We both have a lot to learn.


Amanda said...

Oh man! I'm so glad you are in good shape physically. Thank God for that. I will be praying.

Kendra_Kendle said...

Hi I'm Amanda's friend Kendra. I've been reading your blog for a while now. My parents started fostering when I was in 5th grade and stopped when I was in college when they eventually adopted my brother Tyler was 5 at the time and is now 14. I know you mentioned something about your readers dropping off because the adoption was complete. I was more interested to read this part of your story because of my own childhood experiences. I resonate with Jaxon and Jovie even though I was a good bit older than them. I'd love to share more with you sometime...


Will and Karly said...

Hi Bethany,

Hello and how are you?! My name is Karly, and I am a recent blog follower. My husband and I are just beginning the process of adopting our first child from Uganda. I’m currently addicted to reading any and all blogs written by families who have adopted from Uganda or are in the process of adopting from Uganda. I can’t tell you how much of an encouragement your blog has been to me! We are still such novices to this adoption journey, I am trying to connect with several families who have tons of hard-earned wisdom.

I was wondering if I might be able to pick your brain on one thing… We are literally just beginning this process. And right now we are trying to decide whether we should use an agency or an attorney. Currently, we are leaning toward using an attorney. Do you have any recommendations either way?? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Anyways, I understand you are busy… However, if you have any time to share some of your wisdom (or direct us to a blog post of yours that may help answer our question?), my husband and I would GREATLY appreciate it! You can e-mail me directly at KarlySavoy@hotmail.com, if you are able. Thanks again for sharing your story!



Amy Durham said...

I am certainly no expert in these matters, but I think the following line from your post speaks volumes:

"... when she throws a fit she doesn't run away but runs to me..."

I think this really speaks to the level of security she feels with you. When she's upset, she turns TO YOU. If that is the case, I just have to believe that as she experiences more and more with her new family, she will come to understand how to handle her frustrations. I have not adopted, but I do remember my youngest son having similar reactions to frustrations... becoming physical, struggling against me, yelling loudly, etc. Most of this occurred when he was between 12 and 18 months. He was a "late" talker, and I really believe that his inability to communicate with me during those months were what lead to his frustrations. Once the "talking" began, his frustrations lessened considerably, too.

I will believe and pray with you all that the Lord will move and hasten her ability to communicate with you... as well as your strength of mind, heart, and body!

Anonymous said...

Just a thought: Show and reward her along with your other two children, for coming to you and sitting down with you quietly about five minutes several times throughout the day. Then when she gets upset, apply the technique to connect her with quiet behavior.