Join Angela, Axel, Abel and Asher as they welcome their new sibling home.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Talk

Soon, very soon, Asher and I will be coming home. With our arrival comes the excitement of showing him off to new family and friends. I hope to see some of you at the airport, as I'll be ready for some familiar faces!!!!!!

If you've met Axel you know that like most orphans he was indiscriminate with affection when he came home. This from a child who'd spent two years in a family already. Axel has been home an entire year now, and just in the last 2 months we've noticed there's been a change in him. When we're out in public, like the grocery store or Dean's bowling nights, Axel is less likely to talk to just anyone.  In fact, he hardly says anything at all. But if there are extended family members there, he definitely shows a preference for them over total strangers!

I think there are few factors at play. First of all, we spent the first 6-8 months not allowing him to hug anyone who didn't live in our house. Not grandparents, not aunts or uncles, nobody. He had to learn that you don't hug just anyone who walks in the door. After all, how was he supposed to know the difference from Grandpa or the guy coming to fix the fridge? (No offense Verlie!) Some of his new reservation about talking to people in public is that he's always told not to. That's ok! The last factor coming to play is that I think he's figured out most people can't understand him, and that Dean, me and his teachers are the only ones in his life who sign. I know he's learned the difference between those who cannot hear him (He will make sure he's in his teacher's line of sight before talking to her) and those who hear just fine. (will call to us from another the room, etc.) Whatever the reason, Axel has gotten it figured out.

And then there is Asher.  He has never been in a HOUSE, much less in a family. In his world, 20 people come in and out of his group room every day, all of them saying hello, and every one of them picking him up to hug when he goes to them. It's only natural since he's so cute and cuddly. (and he is!) Every day one of 10 different people could bring the food to his room. As a matter of fact, he has NEVER seen a kitchen or a refrigerator/cabinets full of food. This will be an issue for a little boy who's spent most of his life hungry.

So, as strict as we were with Axel, we are going to be even MORE strict with Asher. We welcome family members to come and visit after we've been home a few days, but there will be rules to follow. I know you all understand how beneficial this was to Axel.

Right now Asher understands that I am called "Mama", but he has no idea what that means. "Mama" is someone who shows up at his door a couple times a day and plays fun games with him. That what "Mama" means in his world.

Hugs/holding: Asher is adorable. He's super cuddly (too much so, if that's possible! It's how he gets out of doing anything.) Nobody but Dean, me, Angela or Axel are allowed to hug or hold Asher. If he comes to you to pick him up, please turn him back the direction of Dean or I. Don't worry, we won't be out of eyesight. ;-)

Food: Nobody but Dean or I are allowed to give him food. NOT EVEN A BITE! Asher has had his entire life thinking that every adult is his. He has been in survival mode. He has NO concept of Mom or Papa, and that we are here to meet his needs. Every plate of food, every bite of a cracker, every drink of juice, MUST come from Dean and I and nobody else. It's not a game, it is vital to his bonding with us, his parents.

Caregivers: Asher will have no caregivers other than Dean or I for several months (see all the reasons above!) unless he's already in bed for the night and of course we have NO CLUE how bedtimes will go! That means if there are adult-only activities, Dean and I will either have to take turns, attend alone or not go at all. We're ok with that. When we need a break we'll get out, but for now this is just how things go.

Because Asher is significantly developmentally younger than Axel was when he came home, we anticipate some of the transition will be easier, but there will be other things that are much more difficult. Some of the difficulty will be Asher's, and some for us. Asher will require much more 1:1 care than Axel did. Axel was pretty independent as far as dressing and things like that. Asher is far closer to an 18 month old developmentally than he is his actual age of 7.  He has to be taught to play with toys (or to even look at them!) he has to be taught how to eat and how to drink. We have our work cut out for us.

Please know that we appreciate the love and support all of you have given us, and we can't wait for you to meet Asher. He's going to change before our eyes and we want you to be able to witness God's miracle of adoption and redemption right along with us.

Love
~Dean and Leah~

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