Monday, May 26, 2008

Decisions, decisions

As the time to get Dennis is getting closer I have all kinds of thoughts running through my head. He will be around 2 years old when we bring him home.... an official toddler but not too big to be treated like a baby if you know what I mean. Besides, he can use some babying, can't he? There is no way he is going to get away with not cuddling, snuggling, tickling, cozying, and kissing before I let him officially move on to toddlerhood.

So.... if you were me would you just let him stay in diapers for another year? Put him in crib or let him sleep with his new brother like I did with all the other kids at that age? Let him drink a bottle and be hand fed or move on to a sippy cup and the road of independence?

I have also had a few moments where I've worried that maybe we won't be able to handle Dennis' needs. What if we make a poor decision on his behalf when it comes time for him to have surgery, and he has to live with it for the rest of his life? I am trusting God to walk us through these times or else he wouldn't have laid Dennis on our hearts in the first place, right?

So there you go. Now you know that I am an emotional Mama to be, and I don't even have any pregnancy hormones to deal with. You would think that after so many kids, I would have this "about to become a mama again" thing down. Ha, who says?


Meredith said...

Hey Christine,
I'm not sure whether I told you this or not, but I think that Dennis eats babyfood as well as a bottle :) I know a few of the kids do and I'm pretty sure he was one of them.

I hope your journey goes quickly! I bet a crib might be a 'comfort' thing for him in the beginning, but I only know what's true for my guys. Emma LOVED being put in her crib away from all the excitement for a little bit each day (even tho she rarely actually napped). Our house was a bit overwhelming at first (and we have only 4 ;) ). As for the bottle, you might find that because of his mouth it's better to keep the bottle for a little while. If he can do good lip closure on a soft sippy that might be a good alternative. Most of all I just can't wait to see him HOME with your familY!!


DoveFamily said...

I would give him as many comforts as possible - chances are they'll only work to improve the attachment process! Things like the crib will also probably create a "safe place" for him in his new environment. Plus, he's missed out on so much, a little regression might be just what the doctor ordered for this sweetie pie.

Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

I would guess all kids would be different and I am sure you will pick up on what he wants.

My child had an upsetting past and should have had extreme attachment problems- but she did not at all. She is also a very social out going person.

My just 2 yr old wanted to be treated like a baby. She wanted to be held and carried most of the time by me. She could feed herself but she liked me to feed her too. It was like she was making up for lost time. At first she rarely talked and was sort of stunned.

She wanted a lot of affection and cuddling. She hardly weighed anything so it was easy to hold her. She would also go in a umbrella stroller which worked great for shopping.

She loved being around all the other kids and alternated between being a baby with me and a little kid with them (running with the big dogs). Being around the other kids let her know how to act within the family and she was a lot more comfortable once we got home. She loved them to take her into the pool, and she loved them to take her on the trampoline.

She was very underweight and she would eat everything and anything. I put lots of snacks and drink boxes for her in a low drawer in the kitchen. She liked those toddler meals that are in the small microwaveable can. She also loved oodles of noodles -you can throw a lot of extra good things in oodles of noodles.

She was potty trained and trained at night too. But she woke up all night terrified she would wet the bed. I used pull ups at night and after a year she began sleeping through the night a lot better but then she occasionally wet the pull ups. I think once she relaxed she relaxed all the way.

My little girl HAD to sleep with someone. She frequently woke up very upset and if she saw someone next to her she would just fall back asleep. I did not use a crib.

She could not be left alone for time outs. You had to make sure if she had to sit for being naughty you were also in the same room.

She had very poor vision and she managed to fall down the stairs several times the first weeks until she got the lay out of the house in her mind. Her muscle tone was poor and she stumbled around for a while. I took her to mommy and my gym classes, and also mommy & me swimming class. That was fun for both of us.

She loved to watch Sprout & Noggin- if you have cable. At first I did not so I taped several hours of the shows she liked. Pingu, Kipper and Bob the Builder.

She did not know how to play with toys at all but liked her doll. She did not like books at first but she does now. She did not seem to have much imaginative play at first but she does now.

She really loved preschool. It was only a few hours 2 mornings a week. I figured she would not like it but gave it a try and she really loved it.

She wears a patch over one eye and glasses. She is also obviously tiny, Asian, and brown. I am old enough to be her grand mom. Most little kids and some grown ups ask her about her eye, and comment. It never seems to bother her. She is so social she just uses it as a take off to talk to people and see if they want to play.

She is six now and I have had her 4 years. She is a wonderful child. She has always been very easy to take care of. She makes being a mom so much fun because she is such a happy child.

Brandi said...

Davis was just under 2 1/2 when we picked him up. He's been home 6 months now. We are starting potty training today (aagh!). He ate regular food. . mostly b/c he wanted control of it (you may not have this issue in the Ukraine?). He slept in a bed in the room with his brother from the first night home . . however, we rocked him or held him until he fell asleep and he woke up at least a few times each night to see if we were still there.

Can't wait for that boy to get home to you!


Troy and Rachel said...

Daniel is almost two and we put him in diapers as he wasn't fully trained anyhow, we keep him in a crib as he won't stay in a bed. As for feeding we kept him eating himself but did switch him back to a sippy cup, although we let him use a regular cup at meals. I think you'll find some things you may want to change and others aren't worth the fight! I'm sure you'll be able to tell what Dennis needs. Also my mom told me just this morning that you muddle through life the best you can!! You'll do great!

Amy W said...

Hi Christine,
I brought Caleb home at 2 1/2 years old. He has DS so he may have been more like a baby than your little Dennis. Caleb was eating solid foods and drinking from a cup so I'm not sure about how you want to feed Dennis. As for potty training, theres no need to rush, really. He will be ready in time and there are so many more important things for him to learn, like your LOVE and hugs and cuddles. Your touch and smiles and not to mention, language. Now for bedtime, I used a toddler bed BUT I rocked Caleb to sleep first every night for over 2 years. I never did this with my older children but Caleb had missed out on a mommy and that closeness for so long AND I had missed out on that time with him too. I don't regret it one minute, I loved it!!! It was so relaxing for him and me. You will be a wonderful Mommy to Dennis and I am so excited for you and for him.:):)

Heather said...

Christine, you don't need to worry about making future decisions for Dennis. God is entrusting Dennis to you and John and he will give you the insight to know what is right and when it is right. I had three children before I had one with special needs, so of course, I wasn't prepared in any way. I am constantly amazed at how God lays what Davin needs on my heart and prepares me just one step at a time. I can't wait for Dennis to be home!! You all must be getting so excited!

Stefanie said...

Hi Christine, I agree that God will show you exactly what you need to be doing for Dennis. Trust your instincts...they are perfect for this little guy. I brought my now 4 YO son home at 23 months and he was not potty trained. I wanted to comfort him as long as possible so we put him in a crib....which he LOVED, fed him in a high chair. I really looked closely at (yes even tasted the food) that he ate. It was a porridge look and taste and I copied it with baby cereal adding organic baby foods (carrots, green beans, fruits etc). I put him on whole milk because I know he did not get enough fat in his diet. I mixed his apple juice with flouride water (and still do) because I know he did not get flouride. There is really no right or wrong answer, it's what works best for your child. He sometimes wanted a bottle and I held him and gave to him. I promised myself I would not stress out about potty training and guess what? It happened. I've never been asked in an interview at what age I was potty trained so I figured it really didn't matter at what age it was! You just may think you have it all figured out and then boom he has a surgery and everything you did is out the window!! That's usually the way it works! I'm so excited for you! Stefanie

Kelli said...

Even though he is two, he may not be like the rest of the two year olds we know. I would keep everything as much the same as he has had it and then little by little see which things he is ready to move up to being a little older two year old. Like my 20 year old. He got a kidney transplant when he was two, but that doesnt mean he was ready to be potty trained. He had never got pee before, so I gave him a couple years just like others, only by then he was 3/4ish, but he still needed to go through all those stages and feel what it was like to go (plus I also knew how much he was going at first after the transplant) Dennis may like the suroundings of a crib rails, to feel secure or he may like sleeping with someone else. Or he may develope an attachement to that someone else more than you and his "new" father, I think you will have to wait and see his personality just like if you were pregnant with him. He will be older than new born but I think you will have to go with it slow just like a new born. Its a new country and a new "large" family for him. Good luck with all that. I am sure your better able than I would be. You have done it before.

Lea said...

I have babied all my fosters 3 and under, unless they were very mature for their age. They get bottles and diapers or pull ups and the baby bed, I have found they sleep better this way and pacifier if they will take it. Food is dependant on how well they can feed themselves. Most of the time, I have given them finger foods and Gerber toddler meals.

Chelley said...

I really think that it doesnt matter how many times you become a mum it will always be a worry and there will be things you will doubt!

Know that I am sure you and your hubby and your kids will be a WONDERFUL family for Dennis! I am sure that when you get to hold him you WILL know what is right and what will be the best for him!!!

I cant believe you are SOOO close to having him in your arms!

pearly1979 said...

I would let him stay a baby as long as possible. For sure. If he will do it, let him. It will be wonderful for bonding. I was just thinking this morning about my friend's little girl from China. She is 20 months and less than 15lbs. My friend is wearing her almost constantly in a sling and the baby loves it. I think it is SO good for her, getting all that Mama time. Learning the smells of mama, learning her heartbeat. I think it's wonderful. Dennis is going to need that baby time with a mama, there is no rush to grow up, that is for sure and it WILL happen.

Connie said...

All kids are different and I believe that you will automatically follow your instincts when Dennis is home, which will be the perfect solution. With Brian and Honor, we co-slept (no crib) and let them decide when to move to their own rooms. We also let them toilet train when ready - no 'training', we just gave a small potty, cute underwear, and let them do what they wanted. Brian switched in 1 day. Honor took a couple weeks to make up her mind. These times apply to both moving rooms and potty-ing! (both before they hit 3yo). Letting them choose the timing, giving them control, meant no regression, no fussing, no trauma or drama. Dennis will need comforting, and to grow, he needs to have control of himself. You're not going to know the details of how to give these things to him, until he is with you. Just hang in there sis - soon, soon!!!

MMrussianadoption said...

K was 22 months old when we brought him home. He was still in a crib at the home so we put him in a crib here until he climbed out of it. I gave him a sippy cup without the stopper and quickly changed to a straw sippy cup. He still uses this. He fed himself so I did not fight him on this one. He is a food crammer and had issues with us trying to touch his food or help him with it. So we let him do it.

give him as much affection as he will tolerate. my guy did not give eye contact in the begining and would turn away, so I used to rub his back or leg while he played until he would let us do more. I would tickle him a lot too and try to steal a hug or kiss every now and then. It gets better over time though.

Go by his lead.

andrea said...

I have no experience with adopting or having a child come and live with us, so i'll stay away from the advice.
I am simply encouraged by your love and your mothering style. There is no better place for Dennis than with you.
May you feel God's arms of strength holding you tight when you feel emotional and indecisive.

John and Amy said...

Hi Christine!
My advice would be to prepare what you can to make sure that he has his own space - whatever that may be... You really won't know until you meet him in person what will come about! If you have one of those cribs that convert into a toddler bed - that would be awesome. I highly doubt that he is potty trained... maybe in the eyes of the Ukrainian orphanage system - which means he pees when set on the pot - at the regimented time of day after only drinking X amount of fluid!
We adopted all three of our kiddos at age 3 and under. At 16 months - my middle child was sleeping in a toddler bed- my youngest was 2 years and still in a crib at the baby house....
My advice to you would be to meet Dennis first - then decide! Leave a few people in charge of items at home - like having one person in charge of getting you a crib or toddler bed, etc. When you are in Ukraine and make your decision - just email them with what you need!
Also - you may find that you want him to sleep in your room for the first few nights - just in case. I would not advise the co-sleeping thing - as this little guy and you will be beyond exhausted and overwhelmed when you get home. Those are just my thoughts!
I know that you will do fine!!


Rachel said...

I'm for lovin', snugglin', and comfortin' as much as possible.

I know I haven't commented in awhile but have checked on you and continue to pray for your family...

MamaPoRuski said...

I hope he enjoys the babying! T still likes me to feed him when no one is looking. It's our "secret" but he blushes with joy when I ask if he wants me to feed him. He likes to lean into me while I do it as well. Don't worry about being a "new mom" again-It's like riding a horse, or so I am told! LOL!

BoufMom9 said...

Just try to trust in yourself and I am sure you will know what is right for dennis & for your family.

Steve & Amy said...

I say baby him all the way! They grow up too quickly! I think that it would be good for bonding too. I think once you have been with him for a few days you willl be able to see how things are going and play it by ear (or your motherly instinct:) Praying that Dennis will be in your arms FOREVER soon!