Friday, May 31, 2013

A Very Good Day

As we slowly worked our way out of bed yesterday....Thursday, May 31st, 2013.... our heads were foggy.  It's not unusual (even in the middle of the day in the States...rotfl).  We wanted to get up a little early to stop and get some flowers for the director.  Again, it's a gifting culture and everything is very inexpensive here...very.

 We mimed at the flower shop (again) and I think the shopkeeper just thinks I have a really nice husband. 

When we got to the institution activity was everywhere (and continued throughout the day).  Something is going on with painting, cleaning, and extra people (at least we have not seen before) everywhere.  We're thinking that we may just have a clue today. 

As we spotted the driver of the institute that Thomas has "clicked" with, we found out the director wasn't feeling very good (stressed...maybe whatever is going on today?).  We waited until we saw her later to give her the flowers.

Side note: Thomas and the driver bonded over military life.  Serving in the military is huge here as well and he and the driver, with the few words of each other's language they both know, were able to communicate some of our (and his) history.

Today we found ourselves discussing (a lot)  counter-intuitive parenting that is VERY necessary.  Things that would seem wrong, but so very necessary to begin healing.

For example, when you get hit by someone, a first reaction might be to get frustrated or angry.  If your nine year old did it, they would have immediate negative consequences.  With Ben, it wouldn't make sense.  He has learned that hitting (from his past and present when we are not around) is ok.  We cannot expect him to know something he's never learned.  We have to teach him as a very little one.  We grab his hands, so he doesn't injure us or himself, say "Nice Nice" and have him redo (guide his hands) the action to "train him" in the correct way.  Only one time? Noooo...many many many many times to reprogram him brain.  He has done this action SO much that he needs to do the correct action MANY times before it's automatic.  We see him resist the urge to hit us.  He's trying, but it'll be awhile before it's automatic. No consequences at this point is counter-intuitive. 

There were many times today that we had to use counter-intuitive parenting.

Though repetition is important to Benjamin and calms him down (the same action for thirty minutes), there are things he needs to learn.  We could focus on only a peaceful interaction in all of our visits.  If we let him play ball 100% of the time, it probably would be...most of the time.  Yet, Benjamin needs things like mirroring, touch (which we do incorporate into ball throwing), rocking while singing, other sensory input, and playing in other ways.  Ok, there's a TON more, but you get the idea.  Calmness is not the ultimate goal, processing real life...loving...touch...are just a few of the goals we have for him.  Teaching him we are a safe place is a HUGE one.

Safety is another place that is like a puzzle of reactions for us (if he does this, we do this).  We throw the ball, the ball rolls away, Thomas or I go and get it.  Occasionally, we have Ben go and get it.  Yesterday, this had him MAD.  He would kick, yell...and eventually go and get it.  We had to balance responding to HIS wants and needs (which he has never had done before) with showing him that we are authority and in control (so he will feel safe and be safer outside the institution).  Could we have got the ball EVERY time? Yup...but it wouldn't have started teaching the lessons he needs to start learning before we leave. 

When he kicks and screams, we give him a moment to process this emotion.  When he had emotions before, most likely he was disciplined for them (told "shhh" when crying, etc.).  Oh, we will handle this a tiny bit different out of the institution, but we've found when we allow him to process, he often comes to the right decision (to obey mommy and daddy himself).  It's seriously cool to watch.

We are FAR from perfect, but as we learn about our son we realize that it's often a cycle of figuring out the right thing to do.  Being the authority could teach him safety or cause him to stim.  He craves and seeks touch.  Sometimes Ben sinks into us, but if it's too much for him to process (after a life of deprivation) then it can suddenly lead to stimming, a smack, or behavior that hurts to see (because he's hurting and confused).

After the first visit of the day, we headed for a lunch of Borsht.  There is a VERY inexpensive restaurant down the street from the institute.  It's a long walk, but yummy and there are wonderful owners/waitresses there (one even speaks English and we practice the language here on her).
Right by where we are required to stay daily in the institute.

Did you really think their wouldn't be a cat picture?  The funny thing is that I can't figure out why I'm taking them.  Now that I've started I can seem to stop.

The outside of the open air market on the way to the restaurant (closed today).

The grocery we go to every few days.

The restaurant where I made a mess.  I don't usually drink soda (ok, pretty much never), but have been to keep awake (having problems finding good coffee...and because of the heat).  Of course I exploded a Coke (laughing right now)...and applesauce later (with Ben).  Makes me think of Kim (when we met in the capital upon first arriving) and her "Chicken Kiev".  It didn't like her and exploded all over her.  Sorry Kim, I think we have a poultry problem and it's my fault...dysfunctional rooster and all.

Dog were feeling neglected on this blog, so...I'm being fair.  I'm cool like that (laughing...again).

As you've probably noticed, I have the camera most of the time.  My husband just takes weird random pictures of me...bwahahaa.  Here, the big event of the day....Im' putting on socks.  Thanks honey!

Getting even time (random picture of Thomas).  The last two pictures are in the room we sleep in.  There is a bed on either side, though Thomas and I only use one, we are thankful as my bro will be heading here soon.

This afternoon was one of those AWESOME, but hard days.  I would do it ALL over again and celebrate it.  Today we started on the path of deeper attachment.... Benjamin getting his needs met by us.

We had never seen him like this.  He melted down for no reason several times.  He threw the ball away and threw himself to the ground.  We scooped him up and coaxed a few smiles out of him.

We discovered though.  He was BEYOND hungry.  We had brought some food and found he just was so very hungry.  Once he had some food, he calmed down some.  He pointed to the backpack repeatedly and let us know he was very thirsty as well.  Attachment that never happened as a baby...was being worked on today.  Baby cries and is hungry, mommy/daddy comes and feeds them, baby is satisfied....the beginning of what should have happened as a baby. 

I gotta admit, Thomas and I fist bumped when leaving.  This was good...VERY good.

Yes, we are sad he's hungry, but he came to us (JOY).

Almost nothing could've beaten today...meeting the needs of our son.  Seeing our kids at home though, got it...still AWESOME!!!!


Max, explaining how he got caught in the rain.

Our girls cracking up...too cute!
We continue to appreciate all prayers.  We ask that you please continue to pray for Benjamin’s name to be removed easily from the orphan registry.  It can be complicated, time extending, and expensive. 
ALSO, please pray for protection of Ben when we are not with him...not only from others, but also from his fears and anger (anger because we left him and fear of us not returning).
Finally, a new request.  Please start praying for our trips to the place of Benjamin's birth on (possibly) Tuesday and also our trip back to the States.  Being in an enclosed area may cause Ben to stim.  He needs peace and calmness beyond human understanding.  Please also pray that Thomas and I know what we may do to prepare (wisdom and ideas).  Lastly, please pray everything works out in the capital to process things quicker (if it's God's will).  It looks like it may.

An  extra prayer... For a family dear to us that is fighting for the life of a family member against the addiction to drugs.  Please pray he turns to God and seeks help.
ALL Prayer Requests

*Please pray that God continues to prepare Benjamin's heart and calms his spirit.  Giving him restfulness.  Please pray he attaches and learns to love (and learns what family is) quicker than we can fathom.  This will be scary for him.

*PLEASE pray that the master of lies hands are tied. 

*Please pray that the small town's gates are “figuratively” thrown down and God’s love floods the streets.

*Please pray our children at home (and on a senior trip) are safe...physically/emotionally/and spiritually.  Attacks on the kids happened last time we were gone on the trip to bring Jael home.  PLEASE cover them. 
*Please also pray as our children at home try to stay organized in our absence, that things go smoothly for them and time passes quickly.
*Please pray for my husband and I, for our SAFETY and that we remain WELL.  We are going somewhere VERY rural with no one that speaks English most of the time.  
*Please pray for my mom, brother, and friends as they care for our children (safety, smoothness, etc.)

* Please pray that the current trip has a speed that can only be explained as a blessing of God. 
*Please pray that our trip home with Ben is peaceful and uneventful.  Please pray that calm (beyond understanding) reigns for our sweet Benjamin and that we see what we need to do to help him.

*That ALL paperwork needed is sped (by God's Will) in country (with NO hiccups). That the registrar quickly and easily removes Benjamin from the orphan registry, making things easy.
*Please pray for comfort as we continue to mourn Jonathan.
*Please pray for us to have a connection with the head of the institution. God has given us a love for the head of the institution and the caregivers.  Also, please pray for our connection to those in the village.
*Please pray that the head of this institution shows us where Benjamin has resided these last two years...and around the institution and laying rooms.  This is a wish, but we respect their decision.

 *Please pray the trip  itself is smooth.  There are NO issues.  That every blip, every ironed out before us.

*Please pray that our lines of communication with our children are successful (Skype, Magic Jack, international texting).  We will be in a very rural region.

*Please pray that we will feel rested and adjust to the time change while here.

"About Benjamin He said:'Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.'
Deuteronomy 33:12


  1. Oh man! What a perfectly worded blog about attaching and what these lovely children crave and need. I am fist bumping you as well.
    He is so very beautiful. Prayers for you all on this journey!

  2. Ok, I feel better now that I've received some information from you. Btw, Max getting caught in the rain was HILARIOUS!!!!!! Good memories!!!! Praying! Praying! COMFORT, COMFORT, my people, says your God:) Isaiah 40: 1


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