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Monday, April 22, 2013

10 Days Home with Holden

Today marks our tenth day at home with Holden, and, to be perfectly honest, this whole parenthood/adoption thing, has been:

(and now I prepare to duck under a table while moms everywhere, both adoptive and not, hurl pureed food and vomit-soaked clothing at me)
                                                               much EASIER than I expected.

     Yes, we are still fully in the honeymoon stage of this adoption, and I realize that 3, 6, or 12 months from now, Holden might get really comfortable in our love for him.  He might start to really get that we love him no matter what...all the time...forever; and he might really test what that actually means.  It's a pretty common phenomenon in adoption (although often with kids a bit older than  Holden).  So I am still prepared for difficult times ahead. 
     I also know that at this point, most adopted toddlers are in full-blown grieving mode.  They cry often and for long periods.  They don't sleep well.  They are angry, and tantrum-y.  They are destructive.  They refuse to accept affection and comfort.  Holden does none of these things.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that I still need to filter our parenting through the adoption standpoint, because it's already hard for me to remember that he came to us differently than most families.  We fit together so seamlessly. 
     I was also prepared to feel differently about this whole adoption/parenting thing than I expected.  I read up on post-adoption depression, on feeling like you were just babysitting a kid, feeling like you had a tiny invader in your home.  I read up on being a parent to a child with special needs -- that it can be stressful; you can feel isolated and discouraged.  Again, I don't feel any of those things.  I still have a lot to learn and experience, but being Holden's Mom just feels very natural to me. Also, being a Mom to a child who is differently-abled (got this phrase from Laura, and love it!) hasn't really affected our lives too much yet.  Yes, we still have a load of specialists to go see.  We will soon have physical therapy and occupational therapy.  Holden will get fitted for a wheelchair.  I'm still pretty confident that to us, Holden will just seem like a regular kid who gets around a little bit differently.  We're bound and determined to give this little boy the most unlimited life possible. 

     I've had to do 5 of the first 10 days with Holden solo as Chris has been out of town for work, so don't be too jealous of me, mothers of the world.  Also, I'm fully aware of the fact that I can take no credit for how awesome Holden is doing or what an incredible little kid he is.  I keep saying this over and over, but Chris and I truly are the lucky ones in this arrangement.  I'm pretty sure Holden has had his second thoughts about this whole thing once or twice! 
Little things that tell me Holden is adjusting well:
- He calls me Amma (the word for mother in Malayalam) and Chris Daaa.
- When he wakes up from naps or in the morning, and we come to get him, he greets us with a smile and outstretched arms, ready to be held.  (Seriously, favorite parenting moment ever, this was the kind of stuff I dreamed about before Holden came into our lives.)
- He accepts kisses, hugs, and "I love you's" from us.
- He accepts our praise and encouragement and often claps, and gives a "yay!" right along with us when he does something awesome (which is every other minute, as far as I'm concerned :)
- When I leave the room to do a quick chore (I always tell him first, "Mommy will be right back") he often calls for me or starts crawling to where I am.  He likes to keep tabs on where I am at all times.  (This might seem too clingy for a typical toddler, but for a newly adopted one, it's a good sign.)
- He accepts comfort from us when he is sad.
- The longest amount of time he has ever cried is 5 minutes.
- He sleeps really well at night.
- His appetite is starting to pick up.
- He is always laughing and joking.  I'm telling you, this kid is going to be the class clown.  I'm determined that he'll be a kind, respectful class clown, but still, he just loves to get a laugh out of people.
- He is eager to learn English, and often repeats after me on things we see in books, at the store, or on walks. 
- He plays often and has tons of fun doing it. (Many newly adopted toddlers are too stressed to really play with their toys.)
- He is eager to please Chris and I, and when we have to set limits and tell him, "no" he often gets a little sad and puts his head down.  (And yes, it makes me feel terrible to see it, but I know it's a good sign.  I'm thankful that at this point, a stern "no" is enough consequence for him not to do something again.  We haven't had to do any sort of time out/time in, taking away toys/privileges because a simple "no" stops this child in his tracks.)

     There is so much more I could say about our time with Holden, and hopefully I'll start picking up on this blog stuff again and keep you informed of all his adorable escapades.  For now, I'll leave you with this thought:  adoption can be really hard and take a ton of sacrifice, but it can also be really wonderful, and an incredible blessing.  Sometimes, it seems like people only hear the hard stuff about adoption, under the auspices of being "transparent and real" and too many are scared to even start the journey.  I'm here to tell you that our story is just as real and valid as anyone else's, and it has been an absolute joy.  I don't want anyone to think that every adoption is this easy, but I also don't want you thinking that every adoption is super hard. 

Prepare for the worst, and then be pleasantly surprised when it doesn't come your way... 

It certainly hasn't come our way..... yet! 

And now I'll leave you with some family photos. 

Thanks to Laura Mustio of for these beautiful photos of our very first day together as a family of three.


Did a little tear just form in the corner of your eye? 
I thought so.



  1. Rejoicing with you, Beth Anne. I love your hiding under the table from moms who haven't had the seamless transition, and I love your determination that Holden be the Respectful class clown. Mostly, I love your following your calling with courage and sharing your joy as God provides abundantly. Praying for the road ahead, especially with Chris's schedule. -Grace

  2. Beautiful pictures, beautiful story!

  3. The first thing I noticed was the new picture in the blog header! YAH! Beth Anne, although your experience hasn't been typical, I am GRINNING from ear to ear in celebration with you! Praise God that Holden is adjusting well and easing the transition for all of you. Your heart is so honest and sincere, and anyone who knows you can tell that, and you don't need to hide anywhere. We want to hear it all and rejoice with you that your SON is home and in your arms. Looking forward to hearing LOTS more about H's adorable escapades. ;) Jen T.

  4. So happy to read this post -- and grateful to hear that you're off to a wonderful start together! Enjoy every minute (I know you are!). I love the photos of your family . . . beautiful!