Tuesday, February 1, 2011

first day by myself

Double diaper change

What a ham! We went outside today and Bohdan was in the Johnny jump up behind Ash in this picture.

Yuri sat on the fire engine

Josh and Yuri was pushing Asher in the swing. I love this picture. they have the same expression.

During our day outing, Caius was in the swing.

The three muskateers, ages from left to right, 3.5 years, 3 years, 15 months

Yuri and Granma Di

Eating dinner.

We tried to feed Yuri but he just wiped the food all over his face. It did make for cute pictures.

Bohdan ate a little better than Yuri but still got it everywhere, so he needed a bath. When I saw Josh walk by with him I just knew I had to take a picture. Poor little man!

After the bath

Yuri is doing well about crawling. He crawled on all fours over to this toy yesterday and played with it while on his knees.

Yesterday was the first day I was alone with all 4 boys. You all must have been praying your guts out because it went well. We even had two therapist appointments for Caius.

Yuri threw up once yesterday but overall is eating like a champ. Bohdan eats but not as much. I wish I could tell you everything is perfect and wonderful but this is life we are talking about. I wish I could tell you that both boys are doing fabulous and taking to their new life easily. I wish I could tell you that I'm doing fine. I guess I could tell you all of this but I want this blog to be truthful and I figure you all have been with me through the other rough parts why not this. Good new is Caius and Asher are handling all the changes really well.

Needless to say I'm reading the 'Connected Child' again. If you have any thoughts about these behaviours please share them.

I'm just amazed that these babies are so skinny, malnourished, dehydrated and yet will throw their bottle and refuse to eat because the consistency isn't exact or because we aren't holding the bottle for them. Last night both boys were hungry. We know this because they were starting to self soothe. Josh made their bottles and neither would take it. Not even when Josh was holding them. So we added two more scoops of cereal and they both finished their bottles, Bohdan having to be held of course. They are very, very picky eaters which suprises me. At first I though their tummies were upset or they just weren't hungry. I made them a pediasure bottle thinking it would be some calories since they didn't eat dinner. I figured it would take some time for them to even want it but oh was I wrong. They both finished it in record time with no issues and no pauses. I realize they can't only eat only pediasure but you hate for them to skip a meal and that is exactly what they are doing. ??

Another thing that I think is strange is that no cup, bottle or bowl is allowed to be sitting upright. If either boy sees these atrocities they fuss, make a bee line for it and then knock it over, dump it out and in Yuri's case continue to hit it. Bohdan won't allow a bottle near him knocked over or otherwise, even if he is still hungry. But heaven forbid we take a bottle out of the room he is in. He can be full and refused the bottle, it can be an old bottle or Yuri's bottle and he will sob if a bottle leaves. Too peculiar.

The hardest thing for me has been how contrary Yuri is. He fights me on EVERYTHING!! Whether it is a nose wipe, diaper change, taking his bottle, getting dressed, etc. Even something good he fights and fights and then finally will give in. I understand both boys are going through a ton, more than I can possibly imagine. And I think it would be easier if Mt. Doom wouldn't have been so darn BIG! I feel like my patience needed some recovery time.

Both boys are showing progress each day. Yuri has been hitting his brothers in the head and face. We have been working on that. He is smart. Now he will look straight at me and go to hit someone but will stop an inch or so from their head. Today I was changing Asher's diaper and I hear Bohdan start crying. I run in and find Yuri smacking him in the face. Oi! He waited for me to leave. As I'm typing this Yuri crawled up to Bohdan and hit him. I called his name and told him no which usually will stop him but he just looked at me and hit him two more times.

Please keep the prayers coming. They are much needed.


  1. you are doing a great job! times will be tough yes,but they will get better! and it wont hurt them to only have pediasure for a meal here and there and if thats all they will take and totally refuse food then give it to them.Pediasure is meant to be a meal supplement so it has plenty of calories for them to grow and gain weight,not as ideal as them eating I agree but a good replacement in rough times :)Prayers coming your way!!

  2. Thank you for this post, being so open and vilnerable...i have no experience on adoptive kids and their behaviours (yet) but read a post on RAD from a mom of 10 that could be of any help her blog is called; http://www.storinguptreasures.com/

    Praying for you and your treasures!

  3. I've followed your whole journey but never commented. I think you could really use some uplifting comments from around the world right now and I'm happy to be the first to do that. You are doing an amazing job at what has to be such a tough time. I'm sure Yuri is so used to human contact being a negative thing that his brain (and heart) are just not used to accepting that you are here to help him and love him. Might the boys like those Gerber puff things that dissolve? Getting used to texture could help them with eating. I love seeing the photos and have a good feeling that your one month post will marvel at how far the boys have come. Last thing- it's so good to see them in normal boys clothes:)

  4. I made a mistake in my comment recently and it seemed to have disappeared. Sorry if it appears twice :)

    Thank you so much for sharing how it is going with the boys' adjustment. I will pray for Yuri and Bohdan, and wisdom for you and Josh on the issues that you shared. I am glad to hear that Caius and Asher are doing well with the new family dynamics.

    You're doing great! :) It must be hard with everything so new.

  5. What handsome boys you have! I'm so happy to hear your two boys by birth are handling this big change to their family and their home so well. I'm happy that Yuri is crawling and exploring his new home. And that he's smart! Now, praying he can learn that he will still be loved and get plenty of attention from good behaviors and that he doesn't need to go around bullying on his brothers to get your attention. Praying for patience. And rest. And to be recharged. Wishing I lived closer and could come do your dishes and laundry so that you could focus on yourself and your children. Hoping those with more experience who have been in your shoes can help you with the behaviors and the insight you need. Glad though that the boys are eating at least something even though everything is new to them. If someone dropped me in Japan and put sushi and other seafood infront of me, I'd probably go really really really hungry before I'd give in and start picking at the food- and I'm in my 30's. Three year olds are difficult to feed in general- you just have so many other challenges added on top of that. Praying for wisdom as you nourish your new 3 year old sons.

  6. Please know I am praying for you and your whole family!

  7. I am praying for you and I love that your blog is so honest. I think it's important for other families on this journey to see the good and the not so good, it's real life! Can't wait to see how these boys grow and prosper under your care. God Bless

  8. Just remember that things will get easier over time. I remember after having my first baby, I was thinking "What have I done with my life?", but now I wish for many, many kids. I think Yuri looks so much happier already. That sad look in his eyes is gone :-)

  9. I would really really like to encourage you. Any way I could email you?
    The boys are throwing fits about the consistency of the food/bottles b/c just like they didn't get enough mental stimulation in the orphanage, they also didn't get enough oral stimulation. Their little mouths aren't used to anything with texture. Are they going to get occupational therapy? You could look for a nuk brush or just put your gloved finger in their mouth to introduce some texture in there. It has nothing to do w/ calories to them. They don't know when they're hungry and when they're full. That will have to be learned and it will take time.
    Regarding Yuri's fits, it sounds like he is just begging to be held, held, held. I know that I know that is overwhelming to hear b/c you have 4 littles right now, but those boys are attaching and they need lots of holding. Do you have an Ergo that would allow you to wear one boy for a couple hours, then another? If there's any way even just when hubby is home, feed them from your lap not from the high chair.
    I could say a ton. Can I please email you? I was nauseas the first half of the day for the first week or two b/c of the stress and frankly b/c of the toxic diapers as their bodies adjusted to an American diet.
    This is the hardest! In three months you will look back and think: life feels normal now; I don't know how we did it three months ago! In 6 months you will look back and think: it wasn't normal then! It was still hard! NOW life feels normal. I feel like I know what I'm doing. But again you'll be wrong. It will keep getting easier. I hope that encourages you in some way.
    I know so well how you're feeling!

  10. Oh sweet Yuri, please give your mama a break! Yuri looks like a whole new boy though, he's living the toddler dream, testing his limits and all!

  11. It really is ok for the boys to have pediasure - our little one that has a dx of quadriplegic cerebral palsy has pediasure as her primary calories. She does eat by mouth for enjoyment, but needs the calories from pediasure to thrive. Kind of a catch 22 when the kiddo doesn't require a g tube, but can't maintain calories by chewing food. Also, you might read The Out of Sync Child or check into sensory processing disorder. Our son has spd and is our bio, so came by it genetically from us, but it also can happen to kids who don't get what they need in sensory input early on. The good news is it is a dx that can be helped tremendously by an occupational therapist and by things that we learned from the book. I am just thinking that the lack of stimulation has caused their bodies to overreact to very basic day to day occurances. Anyways, good luck and I think you will be amazed to look back in just a month or so and see what great strides your boys make.

    Dannette (mom in Kansas that found your blog)

  12. We've been away and I was not on your blog for a few weeks, and all of a sudden you're home with your boys! Congrats! And keep up the good work. Patience is not easy for any of us. You're doing a great job. Hoping your getting good sleeps.

  13. I've been following your story and wait for your posts daily. It is such a wonderful thing to see these little guys in a normal loving home, wearing normal clothes, being outside and having the freedom to practice their crawling and playing. You are doing an amazing, amazing thing. Of course it won't be all smooth and easy for you all to transition. Remember what it was like with a new baby, the sleeplessness, pain of breastfeeding, unexplained crying all night etc. etc. And for that you had all of those feel-good hormones coursing through your system. Now you are dealing with three year olds, not newborns, and of course they can get into all kinds of trouble. Plus you have your first two. Four little boys on your own would be difficult for anyone. Just know that you are doing really, really well and all of these adjustment issues are entirely normal, I'm sure.

    For the feeding I would just give them their milk the way they like it or the pediasure and just focus on the bonding and other issues for now. I think the eating will come on its own and there is no point making it a point of contention. They will get the nutrition they need while you don't need to stress about feeding issues. And what Yuri is doing sounds like classic testing. Not just trying to get your attention but seeing whether you will still love him even if he is bad (the poor dear is probably waiting for the other shoe to drop and for a return trip back to the orphanage).

    Just remember- you are doing a fantastic thing and you are doing fine. The bonding and all of the adjustments will take time. If you could only see a snapshot of your life a month or two months from now you would be amazed at the changes, I'm sure.


  14. Oh my. As always I love the pictures. Each one is a treasure. I sure hope someone is collecting them for you and making a scrapbook. I would put the word out now that that would be a great Mother's Day gift.

    You are doing such an amazing job with everything you are dealing with right now. It is amazing you handled everything all on your own yesterday and had two appointments! Wow!

    I have to say that if everything was perfect this early in the boys transition something would be horribly wrong. What has already been accomplished is pretty astounding. I think some grace for yourself is in order. : ) Do you have anyone that could come help out for an hour or two a day to give you a break to run to the store, library, take a walk or a nap, etc? At least for the first month? I would volunteer to be 'grandma' if I thought I lived close to you.

    The boys: I am so thankful Asher and Caius are adapting SO well. Special hugs to them. I think a lot of the boys responses to things are simply from their lack of ....anything. Their food never varied, was probably made in a semi-assembly line mode, so only taking their bottle if it is 'just right' could be because it is all they know, and perhaps is just a bit of a security issue for them. It is familiar. I wouldn't worry about the pedisure right now. Maybe even put some of that in their bottle with their cereal just to do something different since you know they do like that? Or slip just a bit of yogurt, cereal, or pureed veggies in with the pedisure? I'll add to my prayers that they get better with food at the table quick. I certainly understand your worry over that, they are so tiny and thin that you don't want them to miss any nutrition. Yuri may be fighting you for sort of the same reason as their food issues. He has never really been touched, and he was probably very medicated so even when he was it really didn't mean anything to him. He may just not know how to respond. Yuri and Bohdan lived in such a sterile world. I am thanking God for the hope you are giving them!

    Yuri hitting: Could you put him in a playpen when you have to leave the room, and then take him right out of it as soon as you come back in? At least his brothers would be safe. The awesome news is; he is stopping when you tell him to, AND he has the complete thought process to know that when you leave the room he can do what he wants. I find that pretty amazing at this point. You have some SMART boys! Can you redirect him with a toy or something if you are close enough, when you see he ready to pop one of the other boys? You must be going non-stop all day long! I sure hope these boys take naps and all at the same time!

    I will continue to keep you all covered in prayer. I am really hoping you sleep well at night. I think I will also be praying that someone comes to your mind that could watch the boys for even a couple of hours (can the boys go to bed early?) so you and your hubby can have a date night and dinner out.

  15. I appreciate the honesty of your posts as it helps me know how to pray for your family as you go through this time of adjustment. I promise to be praying for all SIX of you!

  16. I also have no experience with this but I imagine what the other commenter said is right--in a while you will be amazed at the differences and the things that are no longer concerns. I cannot imagine the food issues these guys must have. I know they are hungry but they do not even know what food is really! And it is so good to see them in regular boy clothes like Megs said! :) They are all so handsome.

    Four boys these ages would be a challenge for anyone Autumn. Throw in the delays and shock the 2 newest ones must be in....and of COURSE you need prayers! God is not surprised by any of this and He is way ahead of you. We're still praying!!!

  17. It sounds like you are doing awesome for all your exhaustion! I have not adopted yet, but am an adoption blog reader (we're committed to get a little guy from RR later this year, God willing!)... and everything you've said sounds like typical adjustment issues when coming from their background.

    Maybe not the best suggestion, but if you have a young friend or Grandma or somebody who could come over and get you a short break? Like a breather, while you're still there?

    Gotta say, though, their is a spark in their eyes I've never seen before. Even in the pictures.

  18. The photos of your boys are beautiful! The newest additions already look happier and healthier than ever :). The transition is already amazing to witness. I can understand that this moment in time is really really trying and taxing. It is a massive life change for you all. You are going through so much, and so are they, as everyone adjusts to this new reality. Yuri does not understand anything that is going on, it is all soooo unfamiliar in every way, he is bound to be acting out in any way he can. It will be hard at first but things will get better. Might take a while... hang in there! :) My thoughts are with your family.

  19. You have a family in California praying for you. I can't imagine how hard it must be, especially considering you could probably use a week's vacation just to recover from your recent trip. I admire you greatly and I know you realize the strength and grace you all need now can only be provided by a loving Heavenly Father.
    And as an outsider looking in, seeing only photographs, great things are transpiring. You may be too close to it to even see it, but when you look back on pictures, even just in a week or two, you will see that two little boys have gone from death to life. I see sparks in their eyes, and despite hitting being a big no no for Yuri, there is spunk! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! In the meantime, I will lift you before Him asking for an extra measure of stamina and patience, and I know He will do great and mighty things in your family!
    God bless you all,
    Laurie Sparks

  20. Oh my friend....I read your post and felt like I had just gone back 8 months in my life!

    Hailee did all those things that Yuri is doing. She still throws things around, drinks from a bottle and the tosses it---everything must be chucked around :) We laugh about it now, but had no idea what the heck she was doing back then. Okay, so we still have no idea what the hecks she's doing, but at least we can laugh about it now. These kids pick up the strangest habits in their confinement. Harper does NONE of it.

    Ugh, eating is a huge deal. Boy do I understand. Those caretakers totally lie when they say these kids eat a whole bunch of different foods. There is no way. They have no idea what it is! Hailee still spits things out if the taste/texture is not quite right.
    I started with Gerbers baby food. The custards and sweeter ones get them to at least TRY different foods. It did not take too long before she realized that sweet equals GOOD!

    Hang in there. I KNOW it is not easy adjusting. Soon you will be a pro. Take baby steps and ask your loved ones for help whenever you can.

    Sending you a great big hug tonight.

  21. You're doing a wonderful job! Take it one step at a time. These boys have been exposed to such a limited array of "stuff." Try to imagine if someone suddenly turned the volume WAY up in your ears so every little noise was TOO loud. Then someone puts glasses on you that makes all the colors MUCH brighter. Then the softest of clothing transforms into sand paper and horse hair. The smells suddenly amplify so that even the good smells hit you in the face like a baseball bat. Chances are that is what your little ones from EE feel like - especially Yuri!
    Having SO MUCH new and different sensory input all at once is frightening. He cries because he can't take any more stimulation. One more color or one more smell becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back.
    When that happens, try a dimly lit, quiet room without much visually stimulating objects. Perhaps a plain bathroom or bed room with only a night-light on and all the curtains drawn. The less busy, the better!
    It will take Yuri more time to adjust, but he will. Just give him LOTS of quiet, dim time to let his brain absorb all the "stuff" he has seen, felt, smelled, tasted and heard.
    It's a little like breast feeding your first child. It's a new sensation and can be a bit much in the first few weeks. Yuri will need longer than than to get used to so much new stimuli.
    Once he adjusts, he will start to bloom :)

  22. I am sure it is hard! We are praying and praying - things will get better every day! The boys LOOK GREAT!!!! I see a huge difference in the pictures you posted today! Keep your chin up - toward heaven!
    Love you lots!
    godsarrowsinourquiver.blogspot.com - check it out - FINALLY we have posted two new posts - one from John and one from me!

  23. I am so glad that Asher and Cauis are adjusting well to their new brothers. It is amazing to see what Yuri and Bohdan can do, just given the slightest chance to do something. They are both looking so much better, brighter and happier. No expert here, but I would imagaine that Yuri is testing everything in this new world, where he has possibilites and some freedom, and he may be trying to take out the competition a little. OCD behaviours like needing something to always be in a certain way get worse when the person feels like many things are out of their control.

    I'm not going to list all of the things that I'm sure that you know and have already thought of. You are doing great. Keep loving them up, and reminding them of the "rules" of the house (like NO hitting your brothers, or what has worked well for us "Hands are for helping and hugging, NOT hitting. Show me how you can hug Nicole/Emily".

    Good luck!!! Thank you for your honesty!!!!!!!!

    Big hugs and tons of love to all of you:)

  24. I'm so glad to hear that your first day went fairly well!

    My advice would be this: fight one battle at a time; don't try to take it on all at once. Most kids do best when you pick one issue and put most of your effort into working on that behavior (I'm sure this is especially true for these boys, since they've seen their world get turned upside down!)

    As for Yuri's contrary behavior and hitting, it's likely an attention-getting mechanism. Think of it like this: in the orphanage, those kids got very little attention period. They never got attention or any real reward for positive behaviors.
    Negative behaviors would do the trick. Struggling, failing to cooperate, etc. meant a few extra seconds of one-on-one attention from a caregiver. (Negative attention is better than no attention in many kids' minds).
    Now, suddenly, the game has changed! The rules of how the world works have turned around entirely! That's hard to understand and confusing and difficult to accept and process!

    And once he understands that the game has changed, he'll need to figure out how to change his behavior -- that's really difficult. Many adults can't change their behavior! It's even more difficult for a child who can't fully comprehend the situation in the way that an adult could.
    It's even more difficult for a child who comes from a world of strict routine; a world where nothing ever changed. That makes this change all the more dramatic, since he doesn't really have any experience in adapting to a new "game."

    That also explains the refusal to eat unless it's prepared very precisely -- again, it's something that he's used to; it has never changed before! He just can't adapt to that sort of change.

    In some ways, he may be clinging to this familiar food as a source of comfort. Everything else in his life has changed. With my own kids, I found it was easier to keep constants -- like the food -- for the first few weeks.
    Once they find stability and routine in their new home (you'll know when this occurs -- it will result in very noticeable changes and strides in the right direction!), changing eating habits becomes a lot easier.

  25. Hi Autumn,

    I have been reading your blog through your journey and can completely relate to where you are. Three years ago we adopted a 3 year old from China who was much like your boys are today. I have to say it has been a looooong road, but we are getting to a pretty awesome place today. Hurray for you on the food thing...getting our daughter to eat solid food took about 8 months! There are a few things we did to try to help her in the beginning. Lots of rocking - even when she did not appreciate it :) There are great bonding ideas in a book called "Theraplay" by Ann Jernberg - things like patty cake which you are doing. One crazy thing that helped us in a big way (this was probably my sanity saver) was that she loved to have me hold her and we would bounce up and down on one of those big yoga balls. I can't even count how many nights I would hold her and bounce to calm her down. For the first years I described life with our daughter as two steps forward and one and a helf steps back...but at least we were moving! Now we are probably at 2 steps forward and one half step back - progress! I have kept you in my prayers and will certainly continue to do so. I am no expert, but if there is a question I might be able to answer, please e-mail me.


  26. It is so hard in the beginning. Not fun. Oh, it breaks my heart to see his little spine sticking out like that. :( Just remember that they may have belly aches. Until they are cleared from all the bacteria, etc testing, you never really know. Make sure you push your ped to test for H-Pylori too ... so many are not testing for it, yet everyone is finding out they have it. My daughter actually gave it to me. :( Good luck ... hang in there ... I'm going to add you to a post-adoptive group we have on facebook ... just a small group of parents who get it. :)

  27. Prayers for you all--and it sounds hard, but you're doing *great*.

  28. I've watched your story (lurking) since Adeye first called attention to the boys, and I'm so grateful to the Lord for your hearts! We are in the process of ransoming our little boy who lives in an orphanage in Ukraine. As we have all prayed for you, please pray for Misha as well. We're stepping out in faith, as you did, that the Lord will open doors and that He will provide the funds necessary for Misha's adoption so that he can also be set free. God bless you!

  29. Wow, what an incredible story! Its so great to see these boys in a loving home. The pediasure is fine for them to have as a meal replacement,many children who cannot eat get nothing but pediasure. I am sure they are totally overwhelmed with all the stimulation and its not surprising they don't want anything different in his mouth. Have you ever listened to "Taming the Tiger WHile Its a Kitten" by Nancy Thomas. She recomends carrying babies and toddlers almost full time after they come home for quite a while. Like in an Ergo or similar carrior. Its has been a lifesaver for me. Your life of faith is an inspiration!!