Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Building Castles and Relationships

These past couple of days, the boys have been very involved with construction projects. The castles they have built together have been great fun. I put all of Luke's toys away since I found he didn't play with them anyway and he needed to know that having access to his things is a privilege that must be earned. This worked wonders in unexpected ways. I have found that he is now actually enjoying playing with toys. He asked specifically for a toy and then plays with it, sometimes even alone. Up until now, he has seemed to have no interest in toys, let alone playing by himself. Since making it a privilege to play with them, he seems more content. Maybe this will stay, maybe it wont, but for now, it is working.
Luke had a phone conversation yesterday with the FM (foster mom). He instantly went to baby mode and remained baby-like the entire evening, even to the point of wanting to sleep in our bed last night. We went with what his needs seemed to be and he seemed to recover faster this time. It is still too soon to know right now whether we will continue to see the effects today and into tomorrow. In the past, just the suggestion of a call caused disruption for 2-3 days following. We feel that since we are continuing to be pressured by the social workers, we had better start jumping through their hoops to keep them content. Hence, the suggestion for a phone call. Pray we will be able to keep a visit from happening. We don't think it is in Luke's or our best interest to have him see them again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Luke was very excited to be baptized last Sunday.
We were unsure whether to have Luke baptized now or later, when he becomes lawfully our son. When Luke came to the time he wanted a new name, we decided that this would be a good time to go ahead and have him baptized, after all he is our son in every way except lawfully. We had him baptized with his new name, Luke Bradford Ewing. We may later, on his new birth certificate add Jonathan as another middle name, but at this time, Luke has been adamant about leaving it off.
After Lukes baptism on Sunday, we had our congregational lunch with our church, then a time of celebration for Luke becoming our son. We recieved some nice gifts and donations. We sang some songs and Luke enjoyed watching a small skit put on by some of the young people. All in all, it was a very nice time.
Nathaniel spent time on the trampoline teaching Luke about static electricity. He came in and tried to do it on the carpet, but without any success. Nathaniel's hair was standing straight up during the lesson.
Today, we explored pine cones to see if we could see where the seed is. We never did find them, but enjoyed dissecting it to look. We have also spent time together working on a phonics program to find out how well he can read. So far, he does very well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tears Instead of a Fit

I felt like we had major victory today! We had friends over today to work on a quilt for Luke. He was having fun with the two boys visiting and his brothers, but at lunch started to act a bit less than nice to me. So, I figured a rest time would be best. We have been having him take a nap each afternoon. It helps him stay nice throughout the day. He was very disappointed about the rest time today, but instead of the fit that I might have had to endure in the past, I kept reminding him to make wise choices, and...he did!!! I was so happy. He was very unhappy. He cried, he was so unhappy. But, that was a milestone, because before now, he almost never cried and usually had a huge fit when he was made to do something he did not want to do. I was sad about his sadness, but so very happy for his decision to be in control and be sad when sad was appropriate.
Yay! It's been a rough week with a social worker visit and negative interactions with the FM(foster-mom). It felt like I had a little miracle of sunshine in my rainy day. Thanks for your prayers. They are working!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Jonathan or Luke

Well, I know this is a little confusing, but I am going to attempt to make some sense of it. During snuggle/bonding time a couple of nights ago, I told Luke (formerly Jonathan) that if we had had Luke "from the beginning, when I found out I was pregnant, Daddy would have been so excited. Right away, we would have started to think of names to name our new little boy." Right away, Luke jumped in and exclaimed, "What would you have named me?" I answered back with one of the names that Tim and I had considered when we had thought we might rename our adopted little boy. Luke immediately responded, "No..., it's too long. I want a short name." I asked him about a few names that start with 'J', thinking he might like it to sound a little similar. He responded, "No. I don't want any 'J-O' names." I went to thinking and named the gospels to him, all except John, since he had already nixed that anyway. When I said the name Luke, he asked, "How do you spell Luke?" So, I spelled it for him and told him I thought it was a nice name and that Dad liked the name as well. He said, "Okay, Luke." He then asked," Will people laugh at me if I change my name?" I assured him nobody would. That was pretty much the end of the topic until I said, "Good-night, Jonathan." He looked at me sideways and said, "Remember...?" So I said, "Good-night Luke." And he said good-night.

The next day, I carefully tested the situation to see if it was one of those topics that we can talk about at night, but are taboo during the daylight hours. I was right. He did not want to talk about it. So, I didn't mention it again all day. Then, unexpectedly, when a young lady introduced him as Jonathan Ewing to her little brother at a church party last night, he looked up at me and said, "Mom, I'm not Jonathan, I'm Luke." He then asked me to fix the name written on his cup to say "Luke". After that, all evening, he was telling people his name is Luke. He corrected me any time I made the mistake of calling him "Jonathan".

This morning, I waited for him to show us what he would be called. It is still Luke. So, I would say at this point, even though we have not decided what we will do with a middle name at this point, our new son has a new name.

Incidental, Luke is a little dancing machine. He loves to dance and is not shy about dancing with any of the girls. It was fun to see the girls all wanting to dance with him. He should have the dances down in no time with all of his practice.
Luke, waiting with David this morning, to go get his first pair of pistols.

After a nice nap, enjoying his new guns.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reasons to Sing Praise

Yesterday was a long, tired, somewhat bored day. It's not that we had nothing to do. I think the rain and not being able to play outside just created that feeling inside of us. We found many things to do: Play Doh, learning games, drumming, watching an educational DVD, reading, school work, hot/cold game and other short-lived activities. The day seemed to crawl by for all of us, but perhaps it was good to have a slowed-down restful pace.

Today, feeling fresh and renewed, we started off with a bang. Right after morning devotions and breakfast, we went into a 15 minute cleaning race. We set the timer and everyone worked as fast and efficiently as they could to get the house looking tidy again. I figured that if each of us, including Jonathan, put in 15 minutes of continuous work, that is over an hour of cleaning when added all together.

Jonathan took the responsibility of vacuuming the living room. He says this was the very first time he ever vacuumed. He did a great job! What a big helper! Nobody even had to go over his job when he was through. Of course, we didn't expect perfection, we didn't have him move furniture and Nathaniel gave him brief instructions, but he did the job on his own.

Jonathan continues to appreciate snuggle time at night, and continues to want to play the "if I were your baby from the beginning" game. This has been making huge strides for us in the bonding process. He has becomes very willing to obey and eager to please, particularly for me. I think after this weekend, when things get back to some semblance of normal with Tim's work, Tim will also start this bonding process with Jonathan. It can be a little irritating at times to have a 6 year old acting like a baby, but I know it will be short lived, and it doesn't go on continuously, all day. He just has moments when he wants to be treated like a baby, other times he insists he is a big boy. One other nice thing about the baby play, believe it or not, the potty times seem to be getting better during this baby spell, rather than worse. Yay!

The older boys are doing a great job of entertaining, encouraging and playing with their new little brother. They have dawnings of reality occasionally, when they see that there are times when they would prefer to not have the big brother responsibilities and have more time alone.

Jonathan stated quite frankly, when the subject came up, that "NO!" his sister will not be allowed to marry, "ever!" He says we need to put a few "holes in her clothes so she wont be so pretty" to make sure it will never happen. ROTFLOL. I think our little boy has become completely enthralled with each them.

We feel so completely blessed by how well our time is going with our little Jonathan and what laughter and joy he brings to our home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Butchered Birds and Other Happenings

Yesterday, we butchered 20 chickens. Jonathan was right out there watching and playing nearby. He was quite curious about the insides, especially the gizzard so we had a little biology class for him.
Jonathan has been wanting to be treated as a baby now, starting at snuggle time Sunday night, most of the day yesterday and then snuggle time again last night. I suspect today will not be much different. He continues to ask what I would have done in certain situations if I had had him from the start. To me, this seems like a great healing and bonding time. We are making great progress with our relationship right now.
We had only one small tantrum yesterday. I was very impressed this time with the self control he used. He was angry and said so, but did not use naughty words this time, and did not try to hurt anyone. He also apologized for some of his actions without prompting, as soon as he calmed down. He then went right back into his play, and was a happy, snuggly boy again. The positive times certainly outweigh the negative by a long shot now. We never hesitate to take him anywhere. He behaves, most of the time, as any other child. At first, I would be nervous when we needed to go out, since I had been warned that he could be so difficult to get into the car and would run out of buildings unexpectantly. We were even told that he would run out into traffic and put himself in danger on purpose. We are not seeing any of these behaviors. We did at first have some difficulties with the car, but possibly because we were being so careful and nervous that we set him up for them. He has never put himself into danger on purpose with us though. We are now trying to let him just be a little boy and ignoring all the info (possibly all false) that we have been told, and letting him show us who he is and what to expect of him. Mostly, he shows very good behavior. I would say that he does not misbehave any more than any other child. He only needs to learn what we expect of him.
Potty time does continue to present challanges however. He does not ever want to go to the bathroom, but is embarrassed to wet or mess his pants. He hates us reminding him or asking him to use the toilet. It takes a lot of determination and creativity and talking to essentially manipulate him into using the bathroom.
Another interesting situation, considering all of the clothes sent with this boy is he has nothing to wear. Apparently his foster parents did not want to spend any money on clothing since they knew they would be giving him up. All of his clothes are size 4/5 and we have a size 6/7 boy. A friend at church gave us 2 pair of jeans and a nice sweat shirt. I made a new pair of pj's for him, he has maybe four t-shirts, but otherwise he is wearing clothing that is much too small. If anyone has any fairly decent size 6/7 clothes that their child has outgrown, we definately have a need. Church clothes would be helpful as well.
Thank you all for you continued prayers and support.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Worried About Nothing

We had an amazing weekend. The wedding of our friends was beautiful! The reception was every bit as much fun as we had anticipated. We celebrated our 22nd anniversary by attending this wedding. The wedding was at 2pm, as was ours. Tim and I did not get a chance to dance together as we had hoped, but we had a wonderful time together nonetheless. Even Jonathan got in on the Virginia Reel. He can't wait for his next chance to dance. Jonathan had a lot of nervous energy during the reception and wanted to get a little carried away at times, but no more so than the other children there. Occasionally, we took him away from the activity just to help him level out for a few minutes. We celebrated to the very end, when they were beginning clean-up and Jonathan was all tuckered out.
Church on Sunday morning also went very well. I was pleasantly amazed to find that he wanted to cling to me this time, rather than Tim. Tim has been gone so much for work, that when he is around, Jonathan has seemed to ignore me as much as possible. This was not the case yesterday, however, maybe because he had spent the entire day of the wedding with Tim. Sunday service, Jonathan sat very quietly. I rewarded him as the service progressed with chocolates that I had left in my purse from the wedding. That worked very well. Even during the longer parts though, for instance during a very long scripture reading, he hung in there with only one very quiet whispered comment on how long it was taking.
After church, our family went to a soccer match to watch the son of a friend play. We then joined them at their home for BBQ burgers and a movie. Jonathan enjoyed playing with two young friends on and off during this get-together. He was very obedient and polite the whole day. Everybody enjoyed him and he seemed to enjoy everyone too.
Last night, when we returned home we had the best snuggle time ever. Jonathan wanted me to tell him more of how it would have been if he could have been my baby from the very beginning. He wanted me to sing him lullabies and pat him on the back like burping a baby. I love these moments because he asks lots of meaningful questions and shares bits of his fears and concerns. Last night, he wanted to know if I will ever give up my kids for adoption. We talked about this quite a while. The conversation included helping him know his birth mom tried to take care of him, but was unable.
Today, we will have another very full day. Our broiler chicks are long past needing to be butchered. We have 20 of the them. Pray my hands hold out for all the skinning we do. We do not pluck them, we have found it easier and cleaner to skin/gut them in one action. My arthritic hands however don't much like to cooperate in either event.
We are hoping Mindy has puppies sometime this week as well. She has not been going through a false pregnancy this time. She appears to have pregnancy symptoms as her due date approaches, but is not very big. Hopefully at least two pups will be delivered. The money from the pups will be a blessing.
Pray for Tim today. He has a very tough day at work to get through and the burden that follows as the week continues.