Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Missing limb

According to Wikipedia, "A phantom limb is the sensation that an amputated or missing limb is still attached to the body and is moving appropriately with other body parts (Mitchell 1871; Melzack 1992; Ramachandran & Hirstein 1998). Approximately 50 to 80% of amputees experience these phantom sensations in their amputated limb, and the majority of these people report that the sensations are painful (Sherman, Sherman & Parker 1984). "

These days I feel kind of like a limb is missing. Everytime I drop off Sophie. She has started staying with my mother once a week, and will begin her Parents Day Out on Tuesday of next week, so we're not even really into our schedule yet. Literally, throughout the day when she's been with my mom, I have this lingering feeling that I've forgotten something, or something is not here that I need. I feel sort of... awkward. It reminds me of how it felt, or still feels, when I have to go somewhere like a wedding or event without Josh, and it feels like half of me is absent. Now its like 1/4? or something of me is absent. She has been attached to my hip, for 10 weeks now, and I have begun to feel normal with one hip kind of haunched up to one side. I walk kind of crooked without her now. :) I know that I am merely expressing what 99.999999% of mothers experience when they leave their child. Even in hands that you trust, it still feels weird. You just get used to being a "unit" of sorts... for example we were sharing a diaper bag/purse; now I have to pack my own!

When we were getting ready to adopt, I had this recurring nightmare that I would leave my baby different places and forget him or her. I would say, "Oh where did I leave that baby?" to the people around me and I would find said baby in the grocery store, or whereever. Then I would wake up sweating and telling myself that maybe I wasn't ready to be a mother.

Now I cannot ever imagine forgetting her for one second or one minute. Just now, when I put her down for the night, I immediately said to Josh, " I can't wait till she wakes up!" And I really mean it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Night with Agape

A few pics from the Agape Child and Family Services Heartlight event last week. Mandisa, former American Idol finalist, performed and we had a get a shot with her after the show. She is so genuine and nice and stuck around for a long time getting pictures with people. It was a great night that raised a lot of money for the agency to continue its work in Memphis in the areas of foster care and adoption. Most importantly, for me, it reminded the guests that there is so much more to do.

We have a great thing in Memphis called the Adoption Center of the Midsouth which is supported by a number of adoption agencies in town. They are working together to provide services to adoptive families and persons through counseling, support groups, post placement, and I'm sure others I'm not aware of. All their services are free! The Adoption Center is funded partly, as I understand it, from Heartlight. My husband and I have been blessed to have Christie, a social worker with the Adoption Center, help guide us through our transition and bonding with Sophie. Her encouragement has meant a lot to us.

It is alarming to hear the statistics that we heard that night about Memphis and our country. A few that caught my eye (ears):

Over three thousand children are in the foster system.

At 14.2 deaths per 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in the City of Memphis is the worst in the U.S. One zip code in Memphis is deadlier for babies than Vietnam, Iran, or El Salvador.

About 58% of Memphis children under 5 years of age who are living with single mothers, live in poverty.

That's not even mentioning all that's going on in the rest of the world, the children who are homeless, starving, with no hopes for education or improvement of life. Children need someone to speak up for them today. I challenge myself and you to get involved in some way and on some level to protect and improve the lives of children everywhere. Let's make a dent in these statistics.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The latest

Here are a few more noteworthy moments:

With her first dolly (sitting with her daddy)

With her Uncle Jon (see shirt)

Waving and barely showing off her first tooth

On her new blanket

Saturday, August 04, 2007

How we're doing (long version ahead)

A picture in the DC airport on our way home from Ethiopia with Sophie

Everyone is always asking us how we're doing, but you know how that is, in a store, or at church, or on the phone, you don't really give a long drawn answer, you just say something like "yeah, her new trick is waving" or "she sleeps good and eats good" blah, blah, blah. Because that's not really what the person asking wants, not really, I mean they care, but usually there isn't time for the long stuff. Not that I mind giving quick answers either, because I usually need to get onto whatever we are actually supposed to be discussing at that time.

So, here's a more complete answer for those who like the long version.

This really cool thing has happened in the last 2 months since we met Sophie. She has slowly but surely started to figure that she's our daughter and we are her mom and dad. At first, I felt like she was much more drawn to Josh than to me. Which was hard at times. Not surprising, since Josh is like this baby magnet and all kids tend to love him, but it was kinda hard nonetheless. As most of my readers know, we have been keeping Sophie pretty close, not letting many people hold her, to facilitate bonding. I think it has really, really worked. I have been able to stay home with her for a while too, which has helped too. She now looks for us in a group of people, she lets us comfort her, she is more leary of strangers (but still doesn't mind them after a little while) and she reaches up for us (which is the best thing ever).

The "holding rule" seemed a little extreme to some, and I understand that, but I feel like it has really worked as we'd hoped. Those who are familiar with adoption probably don't see it that way. Bonding and attachment is a process that continues between parents and kids throughout life, of course, but with this time we have been able to, in a sense, make up for lost time with her.

Now, I'm coming back to work, in a physical, emotional and mental way. I have been amazed that, during my time off, I have been so completely swept up in Sophiedom. It has taken a lot, make that almost all, of me. I had hoped that I would be able to be a little more "around" this summer with HYG, but I am so thankful that I had enough time and flexibility to just focus on one thing: becoming a parent. And of course I don't really feel "ready" to come back to work, but I WANT to be ready. So hopefully that's close enough.

It's amazing, as much as I love the HYG kids, SO much, Sophie trumps them all in a big way. However, I am beginning to get inspired again about getting involved in teen's lives and seeing God's work in them since I got to talk to them last. Sophie can't become the center of the universe after all, though that would be easy for me! I want her to see me being used in whatever ways I can be outside our home as well as inside. Right now, that's at Highland in HYG. Today was our Intern Lunch, a day when we honor our interns. Chance, Marissa, Jess, and Jake were all great influences on the group and have really made an impact on our kids. They also left us with some great momentum to just off from as the teens go back to school.

So that's basically how we, or actually I, am doing. Josh will have to start his own blog or comment on mine to share his thoughts. Here's a more recent pic of me and Sophie. Don't we look bonded :).