Monday, July 19, 2010

Survival Mode, Medical, The Yuck, and Other Technical Terms

Survival Mode: A period of time in your life where an attempt is being made to recover from a major event or change in your life. It starts with the effort to attain as much sleep as humanly possible, followed by an effort at adequate nutrition, and finally an effort is made to attain a semblance of sanity that was previously present before said event. "Survival Mode" is often accompanied by a feeling of "haze" or "fuzziness" over all conversations and events until said rest/nutrition/sanity is accrued. Also, the symptom of briefly forgetting that life exists outside your domicile may be partnered with lack of sanity.

Finding the New Norm: The step of recuperation from a major life changing event that may coincide with the end of "Survival Mode". This step incorporates the finding of a new routine that may or may not change with the next major event (example: school starting, summer ending, sports, lessons, etc.).

Yes, I am still alive and kicking (though not as much, my kids complain). We have full on attained "Survival Mode" and are beginning to "Find the New Norm". We are all tired and happy, exhausted and joyous.

I won't pretend that "Survival Mode" is easy. I won't sugar coat the hard stuff. We are praising God that our two little ones are home! Yet, we are still trying to find our way...just as anyone with a new family member (or two).

The babies are adjusting faster than we could ever imagine. "Adjusting" is the key word though.

They LOVE LOVE LOVE their brothers and sisters. They are already saying, "Mama, Dada, and No". "No" is not directed at us for the moment, so we're okay with it (smile).

Rachel decided, as soon as her daddy went back to work, that she wants mommy at all times. It's a little rough, but a very good sign. She will smile at daddy and let others in the family hold her, but mommy out of eyesight is devastating for her right now. She has chosen me as her anchor. That's a good thing. She's decided I'm important and different from others...very good. Her muscles are weak right now as she recovers from neglect, but her heart is strong.

Why is it hard? I'm a mommy of seven that does need to get a few things done. My older kids (actually all of them) are pitching in a little extra right now. Friend's brought meals for the first two weeks. We are getting through "Survival Mode" with flying colors. I hoping to get to the point of returning phone calls and emails soon...seriously. I have never been so exhausted in my entire life (smile). ...very worth it, but exhausted.

Why am I more exhausted now? Really, we've never hit "Survival Mode" before. I traveled to Ethiopia with my oldest son last time and came home to a rested husband. When we went to Russia, it was very comfortable and easy and Max was AWESOME flying!We had to go through "Finding Our New Norm" and attachment/transitioning every time, but never "Survival Mode".

I'm not sure how much sense this will be making in a few minutes. I am so tired I can't think straight, but blogs (as always) have been running through my head. They will have to wait though. Here's a rundown of the haps in our house...

A virus hit right after my last post, as well as numerous trips to the doctors. Our throats felt as if the glands looked like those of an inflamed Wildebeest (I couldn't think of anything else that sounded as descriptive).

The kids have run the gauntlet of blood tests. They came, they saw, they conquered. All the tests came back negative (that's the good negative, not the bad)except one white cell count which they feel is the after effects of a virus and are retesting.

The babies have from just the medical standpoint between them...
* Giardia (still waiting on a couple other "output"
*Allergy to ALL bugs and a general asthma issue needing a nebulizer
*A virus
*An abscess
*We are still waiting on a hip x-ray (which may just be from the neglect they suffered or could be possibly from a breech birth). Hopefully tomorrow we'll find out what we're looking at. Best case scenario, lots of floor time and strengthening muscles. The worst (most likely) would be surgery if her hips grew wrong in utero. It's hard to know what to think.

Some may say, "Wow, that's a lot." It's not though...really. These things are all "fixable" and are so much less than some are dealing with.

Our International Pediatrician was wonderful and spent an hour and a half with us evaluating the children...awesome. She feels there was pretty serious neglect, to be completely honest.

Rachel was floppy...pretty much all over low muscle tone. With her strengthening as we hold and love on her, we are shown that the "floppiness" was not medical as she gains strength (though the hips may be). This has been a tough one for me to deal with, though we pretty much knew this already. I'll have to go into that one further in the future. We know their are so many babies that it can be hard to care comprehensively for all of them, but our concerns go beyond that.

Some may wonder why Gabe hasn't had the same issues. If you knew this little ones spirit, you'd know why. He's a fighter and has such strength that amazes us. We were told he couldn't even sit on his own (he sits, stands holding things, and crawls now). That is just Gabe. He was probably lying there figuring out what he could do when he got the Rachel is a sweet, calm little one (okay, most the time...boy can she scream when she wants to

Anyway...with all the health issues we have been instructed to expose the little ones to as little as possible to insure that we keep them healthy as their immune systems build. This is a trick in our large family. We all have a little bit of cabin fever (okay, now the muppets song is running through my head.)

I must admit braving the grocery store...and promptly wondering when I lost my mind. Don't get me wrong. I'm the mom that LOVES to have all our kids there, but what I failed to take into account (blaming sleep deprivation) is the fact that our newest children are overwhelmed pretty much ANYWHERE there are more than a few people they don't know...totally understandable.

I know this. I knew this. We needed diapers and formula. I pulled a brain hiccup. Picture diapers wet through in both children. Our child that LOVES people (Gabe) screaming for mommy the entire time (of which I tried to carry him most the time). Bottles given to both mid-store while we're walking. We just about collapsed upon entering the house...not just me, but the kids as well.

I share that because I live in a land of brain hiccups. I'm no where NEAR Super Mom (though I must admit having goop from my child's diaper get in my hair should have at least given me platinum level I am human and thankfully a child of God.

We have gotten a lot of, "This is so great what your doing!"

We are not great or terribly stupendous. We are children of God and when we follow Him great things happen. We are not doing anything...God is. He is blessing us.

So before I lose consciousness and slip into oblivion, God is the giver of all blessings, whether we acknowledge Him or not.

In our exhaustion, illness, and just plain chaos (as we adjust) we do not regret this for even a second. We are blessed that God granted us two amazing blessings. We are blessed that He would honor us.

(Remember I'm a tad sleep deprived right now so I hope this makes sense). I think we often limit God by saying, "I can't" or "I won't". I think we often limit His blessings. Often we think so inside the box that we can't even comprehend what blessings could be waiting outside. Please know that God is waiting outside the box for you (He can't be contained inside any box) and can't wait to meet you there.

Love to you my friends, little one is calling from the crib...

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the Desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4


  1. love this and praying for strength for you and your little ones :)

  2. You are all in our thoughts and prayers Kat. Here is another twist on your adoption and being in "survival mode". You are not getting any younger! :o) We know this because we are 53 & 56. We are adopting for the 12th time. (these 2 boys will be #16 &17) As we get older, it doesn't get any easier to adjust. You get set in your ways, your body ages,gravity isn't kind. But the children are so much fun and they need us; we can't quit now! So what if we can't remember our names.........or theirs!! he! he!!
    Elizabeth (COChomeschoolers)
    Joyfully in Christian Love,

  3. I discovered your story on COChomeschoolers just before you went to Ethiopia to get the twins. It has been such a blessing to hear about your trip and to get a glimpse of your new family "normal". May God continue to bless you!

    In Christian Love,

  4. I just want to take you and hug you, I can't imagine all that you have to do in your household, but also so happy for you regarding all that God has given you to do!

    I guess when people say to you that it's a great thing that you're doing, consider that things to be answering God's call, because that's what that great and special thing is. I hope to one day soon be able to bring little ones home too. :D

  5. Thank you so much for the update. And it breaks my heart to think of the neglect children suffer while waiting for someone to love them. . .


In the joy of following our Heavenly Father, we sometimes choose to proceed with a whisper, a verse, or a downright matter how we follow Him, the momentum that follows is like nothing we've ever experienced before.

Join the is a beautiful place to be. It's not always easy, but then the best things never are.

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