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Inevitable First Month

We have now been home as a family of four for one month! And inevitably, we are experiencing some "inevitables"...

1. My house inevitably looks like this, all the time. Well, ok, it has been picked up a few times and has looked "clean" for maybe five minutes at a time! The boys are a windstorm and have found toys I didn't even remember existed - but I sure am glad the toys are getting some regular use.

2. We have inevitably been to a couple medical appointments with many more to come. Tope has now seen the dentist and we had a three hour visit to an adoption clinic. He handled himself well at both appointments. The dentist was the hardest because the xrays were scary for him. I was having a hard time holding it together watching him quietly cry all while I couldn't be with him because of the stupid radiation, blah. He will have to have some oral surgery done soon to remove a bunch of decaying teeth, but good news is they are all baby teeth and the newest permanent teeth are looking pretty good. He just won't get to try an American steak anytime soon. He is taking a couple different meds for tooth pain, and now we are trying to get him a medicine for giardia. Fortunately the giardia hasn't been too bothersome for him because it is taking us a long time to get him his medicine. The first night he took the wretched tasting liquid he preceded to loose his whole supper (luckily on the hardwood floor). I've never heard him cry like he did. My heart ached for him, but we got through the night with lots of extra cuddles. Then the next day he refused to take it - go figure, so we are trying to find a flavoring that he can handle and swallow. Please pray that he responds to the next try at the meds, we need to get rid of this nasty bug!

Because of our visits, the boys have taken to playing Doctor at home. It's quite relaxing being the patient - I'm fine playing it over and over!


3. The dog is inevitably starting to put up with Tope's antics. Izzy has never had so much loving in her life! Tope hugs her like there is no tomorrow and our strong dog can hardly wiggle herself away! But I have now noticed Izzy actually smile a couple times when Tope comes over to hug or pet her. They are quickly becoming good companions.

4. Inevitably he is no doubt a five year old and I dealt with his first temper tantrum. It was loud. It was ugly. I kept going with the task at hand. Pretty short lived. In the end, he lived without the piece of candy I would not let him eat and I had a small headache. Just reminds me that I am his Mom - good stuff. 

5. There are new things every day we learn that Tope is gifted and succesful at and it is inevitebly always exciting to learn, and yet, there is this sense of loss knowing we were not there when he first learned these things. It is also hard realizing there is a lot more that he knows that we just may never learn. We are having fun watching him do artwork. He does such a nice job coloring and cutting. Yesterday he drew his first picture for us and he chose to draw our family! Heart melts! Tope also knows so many songs. Each day we are learning of new songs that we can sing together. Some of his favorites are "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "Row Row Row Your Boat", "The Wheels on the Bus", "Jesus Loves Me", and the "ABC Song", along with a few more. This of course, in our musical family, is such a blessed gift for us to be able to share with him.

The biggest face is the dog, Izzy!
6. Attachment is a HUGE focus for us now, and well, inevitably we are having our gains and our woes in the attachment area. Overall, we couldn't be more thankful for how well Tope is attaching to all of us: Dad, Mom, and Brother. He initiates hugs and kisses with us all now, he cuddles, holds tight when held, regularly asks to be held, comes to us when he needs something, and he has shown us when he is scared or upset and lets us comfort him. We are not blind to the fact though that there is and will still be so much work to be done. We had a quick taste of it just the other day when Caleb was dropped off by another Dad from a playdate. The Dad came in and Tope got this huge smile and before I knew it he had jumped into this man's arms with an embracing hug. To the naked eye this looks sweet. To the adoptive Mother eye this is not a good sign of attachment. He is much too trusting of a complete stranger, which has its own scary implications, let alone the attachment ones, but it just clarifies that being home with him and spending so much time in "isolation" really is what is needed right now and for awhile to come.

7. It was bound to happen! These two brothers were bound to become best buddies! Annnnndddd inevitably, they are also becoming best enemies! In just the last week especially, Tope is really showing that he is more comfortable around Caleb. They are playing together with a lot of laughter. The energy level is very high and the volume level is quite loud, something Jon and I are not used to, but I rarely mind it (at least for now!). They have their "moments" too which usually revolve around toys, but those times are typically very minimal and short lived, so I think we are on an up-swing of brotherhood. I was very touched with a quick note from Caleb's teacher today, which really says it all:

"This morning  we read Dr. Seuss’ My Many Colored Days.  We talked about the colors and how Dr. Seuss related them to feelings.  Caleb said that before he felt brown (sad, lonely, and bored), but now that Tope is here he feels yellow (happy and excited).  It is great to hear him connecting to Tope."

8. Tope has inevitably learned how to shovel - and he loved it! We got a good fluffy snow today, one of the first since he has been home. Somehow we have missed all of the crazy snow down south, but I'm sure we will get our share mid-April, because that is how Northern Wisconsin works!

9. There is inevitably always a new food for Tope to try. He is a GREAT eater, but our once not-too-shy-to-try-new-foods kid, is starting to tell us what he does and does not want to eat, but he still eats almost double what Caleb does so I'm not too worried. We have found he especially loves baked type goods. He couldn't get enough of some of the recent makings of biscuits & honey, cornbread & honey, and rhubarb muffins. Here he is trying one of his Dad's favorites: peanut butter & honey... can you tell he likes honey!? He fits in well with this family! 

10. We are inevitably falling in love. I heard many stories from people warning us that sometimes it doesn't all feel natural right away, and not to be alarmed if we didn't have strong feelings right away. We have been blessed though, Tope truly feels like he has been a part of our Schack Team for a long time. It has felt normal to have him home. What's not to love about his smile, dark brown mischevious eyes, gutt laugh, comedic jokes, strong snuggles, or the way he says "Mama" and "Daddy"? Our hearts have been won. I can't imagine my life as a parent without him. I know there are days to come that won't feel so easy or normal, but there is no doubt in my mind that this child is my son. It is such a blessing to be able to share my heart with my Caleb & Tope. I am so very blessed. 

Inevitably this post became long. Inevitably, I am finishing it past my bedtime. And inevitably, you now know more about how life is going in the Schack house. We want to thank you for the continued prayers and encouragment as we are learning more about our family of four. Although we aren't out much to see you all lately, please know all of the love you are sending our way is surely felt. 

In Christ,


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