The first 4 weeks are a bit of a blur, honestly. Whoa! It was a big adjustment, nothing less than we expected, but when you physically have to do what you have only imagined in your mind, it can wipe you out! Interestingly, my challenges have been ones that I didn't expect. I expected to be tired, running around like crazy, changing tons of diapers (5 kids in cloth diapers!!!), holding lots of crying and overwhelmed kids and babies, doing lots of laundry, constant demands all day long that come with all the little ones and so on. All this has been happening and it's totally doable and fine (and crazy!! :). It's a "job" I have completely chosen (fostering while we are adopting) and I don't begrudge it or regret it for a minute (and it's not a job to me...it's my life and my family). I love all the kids God has let us take care of right now, and I feel overwhelmed by the gift they are to me right now. And I am again reminded of the incredible man I married that not only supports what I am doing but has jumped in with both feet and loves on all these kids just as much as me. Wow. Not many men would go for it with the same gusto and enthusiasm he does (he now calls his work, "vacation" compared to taking care of the kids :).
What I didn't expect was how the lack of privacy was going to affect me. I am an introvert and because we have a cook, housekeeper, and nanny (for our sweet foster kiddos), I am never alone and have many eyes watching me all day (a bit of a challenge to keep my cool ALL day :). Add to this that the kids all sleep on different schedules, I really struggled to adjust to the complete absence of a moment to hid away and "energize". I found myself very annoyed all the time and wanting everyone to leave (even though I knew I needed the help, obviously). Thankfully, I've had a couple good friends (thanks Heather, especially!) point out some very encouraging things to me in the midst of my moments when I thought I might run out screaming and pulling out my hair :). And I'm better rested and more adjusted to the pace, people, and I've gotten to know our new babies so much better. It does take time to adjust and begin learn to know each other. It's like I just birthed 9 month old twins!....it doesn't come overnight-the knowing and trusting each other, it is coming which is making everything so much easier. (AND I now have 15 minutes from 3:30 to 3:45 when the big and little girls are all asleep or at least resting! whoohoo! 15 minutes really helps! And of course, at 7:30 ALL the babies are in bed for the night and stay asleep all night. Hallelujah!)
Humorous side note. For those who don't know me so well, I have had crazy sleep problems in my past. All kinds of walking and talking. I even cleaned my room in my sleep one night, got dressed, made my bed, and sat on the edge of my bed waiting for my then boyfriend (now husband) to run through during his marathon! (He was training for a marathon at the time and somehow in my sleep I was convinced that my room was part of the track and that I couldn't let him trip on the junk on my floor or cheer him on only partially dressed!). ANYWAY, for the last 4 weeks I simply am not sleeping. All night I am dreaming about kids, kids, kids. I dream there are babies in bed with us that are rolling on the floor. Last night I was walking around in our room searching for the kids that didn't have their pajamas one. One night I dreamt that Mike was the mwamikazi (the "queen" of Kaziba) and that she was in my bed because she wanted to talk about the orphanage! Exhausting! Thankfully, Mike is a sound sleeper for the most part. Well, when I shake him awake telling him not to let the baby fall out of the bed he may actually rouse from his slumber to tell me to go back to sleep! (When I worked as a nurse practitioner in the peds ER, Mike was constantly worried I was going to do some procedure on him in his sleep like stapling his head or something!)
Well, this is pretty long for an update! Oh, we received our US approval to be adoptive parents today, FINALLY!! Whoohoo!
The six piles of jammies and diapers I get ready every night.
We take a "walk" in our driveway every afternoon, it is too dusty to go on the road right now.
Ellie and Mia