Sofie’s Blessing

Today we celebrated the end to our adoption journey and the beginning of our newest parenting journey. My sisters helped throw Sofie a Welcome Home party! Around 40-50 of our closest family and friends were able to join us. It meant so much to us that everyone made such an effort to come out and meet Sofie.Ā Sofie did really well with all the people there. She started getting fussy about 2 hours in but calmed right down when I took her inside for a break.

During the party we took a little time to incorporate Sofie’s Blessing in. If you were reading my old blog when Livi was a baby you’ll already know what this is. If not, I’ll recap for you….

We have decided to do Blessings for our children instead of the typical Evangelical child dedications or the Orthodox baptisms. For Jon and I, being raised Evangelical, we both never really liked dedications. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how I could dedicate a child to God who was already so completely and obviously of God and from God already. It didn’t sit well with me. I also don’t love the idea of having a dedication in a large church setting with people there who are not in your close community. In Evangelical dedication services that I’ve been too, they always have a part where the church affirms they will support the parents and hold them accountable to rear their child in a Godly manner. I’m sorry, that is just opening up a whole can of worms that I have issues with. Most of the church goers, in my experience, are not going to actually support the parents, so why vow to? If anyone who is not in my close community comes and tells me I am not raising my kids right or in accordance with their ideas of Godly rearing, there is going to be some very pointed and harsh words spoken. It is not their place. As for a baptism, this was more my issue. I just can’t get totally on board with the theology behind an infant baptism, though I have no problem with other people choosing this.

A Blessing, for us, is a much better choice. We invite our friends and family, who we know are in our community who do and will support us. Because we have not really had any special bond with our church pastors, we have our closest friends do the blessings. This is also in part because when we did the Blessing for Livi as a baby, Jon’s dad had just died and he would have done it for us. So, we needed our close friends involved to help fill that void. We chose to have the blessings in three parts. Blessing the Child, Blessing the Parents, and the Pastoral Blessing for the whole family. It is such a special and unique experience for us that seems to be catching on with our friends too!

Geoff was Jon’s room mate all through college, best men at each others weddings, and have remained ‘hetero-life mates’. He is also our most “pastoral/religious” friend so he was the obvious choice for the Pastoral Blessing. He opened up the ceremony and closed it with some words of affirmation and a prayer.

Brent was also one of Jon’s room mates in college and we have remained good friends through out the years. Jon and Brent both met their wives in their college years and Mary and I have become good friends too! They are so good to us and help push us out of our comfort zones, which Jon and I need every once in a while. We asked them to do the Blessing for the Child. Mary made a beautiful quilt for Sofie as part of the blessing that will be treasured. Brent also read a poem to go with it.

Patchwork Quilt
This family is like a patchwork quilt
With kindness gently sewn
Each piece is an original
With beauty of its own
With threads of warmth and happiness
It’s tightly stitched together
To last in love throughout the years
This family is forever.
– Unknown Author

Ben was another roommate of Jon’s in college and the same as Brent, met his wife in his college years. All 6 of us have remained quite close through these last 10 years. Ben and Danielle became parents just a few months before we did, both times! So, they were the obvious choice to do the Blessing for the Parents šŸ™‚ Ben gave some words of wisdom and Danielle read a poem as well as gave some rocks with significant words of blessing written on them. The words were Space, Rest, Breathe, Release, and Gentleness. I’ve needed each of these things in the past few weeks and I’m sure in the coming years!

The Way
It is in spaciousness
That we breathe
Find stillness to rest in
Allowing what is
To be
Letting go of expectations
And embracing gentleness
As the way to truly heal
Opening and softening
We become
This is how we unlearn our way back to God.
– Lisa A McCrohan

All in all it was a fun party! My sister made a super amazing ladybug cake. She’s been taking some cake decorating lessons and getting really good at it! The weather was amazing and we had the kid’s pool out. I don’t know what we would have done if it had rained. We felt so blessed by all the love and support weĀ receivedĀ from people. We truly are one lucky family. My only regret was that I didn’t get to talk with everyone. I said goodbye to some people before I said hello to them. It is very different visiting when I have to attend to two little ones who need my constant attention and get in to everything!

Life is definitely full right now. Exciting, challenging, adventurous, difficult, joyful, fun, and frustrating all wrapped up together. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love my life, my husband, my girls, my family, and my friends šŸ™‚

Livi got a few gifts at the Blessing too.Ā 
This apron was from her Uncle Tony and Aunt Lisa.Ā 
They searched high and low for this gift and it was much appreciated by Livi!

Goings On

These last few days have been going much better. Getting to sleep for Sofie and Livi still really sucks but Jon and I are working at remaining calm. This is a very difficult task at times, particularly at night when Livi is being completely defiant and Sofie won’t settle.Ā Us being calm seems to really help Sofie especially. She seems to REALLY pick up on our moods.Ā Sofie is still taking about an hour to go to sleep at nap time and sometimes longer at bed time. We are laying down beside her crib to reassure her until she is asleep or nearly asleep. It is easier to do when both Jon and I are in the room. Livi gets jealous of the attention to Sofie and acts out keeping Sofie up at bed time. With one of us with one kid each, things tend to go a bit smoother and we keep each other calm too! Our rooms are attached so we sleep with the door open and she can see us in our bed from her crib if she wakes up but we generally have to wake her up. We are trying a strict schedule of up at 8am, nap time at 1 until 3 whether she sleeps or not, and down by 8pm again.

Yesterday, I took Sofie to see Kathy. She is a doctor in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I love her. She has done a lot for my entire family. I can’t recommend her enough! She made some suggestions of food to watch out for with Sofie that will hopefully help her get healthier and sleep better. She also recommended a few minerals that we are going to try. Sofie is obviously deficient in some of her nutrition and minerals but we are working hard at getting her healthy! The bags under her eyes that she had in the orphanage are almost gone and her color is so much better. She was so pale when we first got her. I’m so amazed at the change.Ā Hopefully these mineral changes can help with her sleep too.

Melatonin really worked for Sofie. We had tried it at nap time for a few days and it really worked. She slept for over two hours both days but then wouldn’t sleep until 10pm each night. We weren’t sure which way was worse. We didn’t want to give her more at night because we’ve heard that dependency can form on melatonin so we don’t want to prolong or over use it at all. With her hour and a half settling time though, we are definitely thinking of using it again. We’re going to give Kathy’s suggestions a bit of time to work though before we go back to it.

We were able to go to the water park the other day. Sofie really liked the swing but the water was too cold for them to really play in. Livi is more of a pool girl anyways. With how much Sofie likes baths, I suspect Sofie is too.

Enjoying the swing way too much šŸ™‚

Ā Staying close to Mommy!

Ā RUN!!!!

Sofie has all but not given up baby food! She refuses to eat her food unless it is the fruit purees. She has eaten fish and rice, taco salad and mac ‘n cheese. She thinks that we are trying to trick her too and won’t eat it unless it is off our plate from an adult fork! A little frustrating but great developmentally! She has made leaps and bounds in this area. She is still not chewing properly but it is coming. We just have to make sure she gets small bites and it is mostly soft. I’m not sure what we are going to do with all the baby food I bought!
Today was Livi’s first day of gymnastics! All summer she has been talking about how she is going to gymnastics in September. She was so excited. She was in the big girl class all by herself with kids up to 5 years old! She didn’t need Mommy or Daddy to do it with her. I must say I was exceptionally proud of her. She listened to the teacher like a pro and did everything! The teacher was really impressed with her jumping and bum drop ability! She starts dance on Tuesday then the following week both girls, with Mommy and Daddy, have a music class that I think is going to be tons of fun! Livi isn’t in preschool yet so we figure some extra activities are good for her šŸ™‚Ā 

A Rough Day

Today was rough. Sofie hasn’t napped in three days. I know some people might think that maybe she doesn’t need to nap. She is three after all. Many three year old’s have given up there naps. As her mother, I truly do not believe this is the case. If we can’t figure this out, it may turn out to be the case, but in my gut I feel like she still needs naps. When she misses her naps she is tired, grumpy, hits and pulls hair more, has more melt downs and bigger food issues. She needs a nap. Quiet time isn’t cutting it.

I had a melt down today too. Up until these last two days, I’d been doing really well. I think I have still been on theĀ adrenalineĀ of bringing Sofie home. I remember that same adrenaline when I had Livi. I felt like I could do anything. I had Livi on Thursday and I think it was Tuesday that we went out for the day, my house was clean and I wanted to show off my baby! The feeling hasn’t been quite so drastic this second time around but it has lasted longer. I’m at week three today of having Sofie home and only now having my first melt down. I think with Livi it was within the first week.

There is such a thing as post-adoption depression, like postpartumĀ depression. I don’t think I am there. I think I am just entering the ‘blues’ stage. Like baby blues. I remember crying almost every day for a few months with Livi. I don’t feel like that is going to happen with Sofie. I had a lot of other stuff going on when Livi was born. I am just adjusting, just like everyone else in my family.

Jon was trying to be sweet and supportive but he had had it with the kids today too. I think I handle it better when only one of us is at the end of our rope, but today we both were. He suggested I go out with a friend or my sisters tomorrow but I honestly don’t have enough energy to go out. I wouldn’t be relaxed. I would just be thinking of all the things at home that I should be doing or cleaning. I know he was trying to help. This is my issue right now. I feel like once I get the house clean again and things more organized then I can handle it all, but the reality is setting in that my house will never be clean! I’m living in a basement suite with a sub-standard kitchen and unless we want to invest some serious money, things will never be as organized as I want them. There will always be splatters of who-knows-what on various perplexing spots around the house and I will continually step on things that are lying in the floor. I know I’mĀ exaggeratingĀ things but this is my reality right now. I’m trying to tell myself that this will pass but tonight it doesn’t feel like it!

I don’t like feeling this way though. I yelled at both my kids today… surprisingly it didn’t seem to phase either of them. Livi had been defiant as usual and Sofie was trying to throw poo at me for the second time today. It was not my finest hour. I don’t know exactly what needs to change in my thinking to handle this better. Sleep will help. What if Sofie never naps? I’ll be alone in December and need to figure it out for myself. Losing control and yelling Ā in frustration or anger scares me. I can’t let myself go down that road. I know where that road leads and I will die before letting my kids experience any part of that. It is in me though. I think that is why it scares me so much. I will be better tomorrow. I know I will. I just need sleep.