Saturday, January 5, 2013

Decision Time

(Pictures courtesy of Rachel Brinton)

I realize it may look a little odd/bad that the last thing I wrote was "I will only write positive things going forward" and then I stopped writing.  This was not intentional.

I want to play a little catch up.  A lot has happened.

The day after I wrote my new positivity goal, I actually had a great day.  I felt like my old self, and I think it was largely because I decided to let go of some of the small stuff and not fight every fight.  Let them work things out for themselves, let Aloysia go a little crazy if he needed to and not chase him or deal with him or punish him.  I don't have to teach them everything - especially not in 1 month.

Of course by the time 4pm rolled around I was a crying heap on the floor again, and the tantrums became un-ignore-able, BUT hey, progress.  I went 9 hours in a positive frame of mind.  It's the simple things friends.

Overall the last couple of days in Michigan felt better to me.  I spent less time in the dark cloud of despair and more time happy, although always lurking in the back of my mind was the knowledge that soon I must return to D.C....alone again with the kids.

There was one particularly tough night with Aloysia.  It was Sunday and he seemed to go from tantrum, to tantrum to tantrum.  He broke my parents doors, ripped up DVDs, and seemed bent on destroying all in his path.  Even my saintly husband finally reached his boiling point.  Every bedtime he takes Alyosia into a separate dark room and tries to put him to sleep away from the other two so that he isn't a distraction.  He endures spit all over his face and clothes, punches, kicks and head butts before the child goes to sleep at last in exhaustion.  James was with him for about 30 minutes when he finally came out and handed him to me.  He said, "I can't."  Tonight he had been bit and had a hard object thrown at his head and I think he was ready to kill Alyosia.  He knew his limits and handed him off.

I of course was at the end of my rope, because when haven't I been on this journey with the buns and suddenly I thought of what my dad had told me to do earlier that day.  After witnessing one of Alyosia's outrages and the damage he did to people and things, my wise father told me to duck tape his hands and feet.  That way he couldn't hurt anyone.  It sounded crazy, and I think you'll agree it is...but at that moment in my crazed and tired mind I thought....well, my dad is a good man...he wouldn't suggest it if it wasn't OK.

So I went upstairs and got Duck Tape from Shawn and Lisa who were appalled.  Shawn followed me down and said he would take Aloysia, and then James came around the corner and saw Shawn with Aloysia and me with duck tape at hand, and in his own words, "He snapped back and felt capable of taking Aloysia back on."  He couldn't believe I had even considered it.  I told him it was my dad's idea and he said that he was going to have a serious talk with my dad.  One which I might add, I would have liked to witness.

It was all real and crazy at the time....and it became pretty funny the next day when we thought about it.  Although I'm sure it wouldn't have been funny at all if we had actually done it.  In my dad's defense, I do think he was just trying to protect us and Aloysia and didn't think of it as the crazy punishment it would have been.  Or maybe he was joking.  But... I don't think so.

The car trip home was relatively uneventful, and we made good time.

Arriving home we had a Latvian chaperone come and stay with us.  She has been a Godsend.  She can speak to the buns in their language and help us to understand each other.  She quiets them and has been more than willing to take them downstairs to play when I think I'm going to lose my cookies or I hit a fatigue wall.  Bless her name forever.

She usually goes out with friends she met in D.C. at night, and at dinner the last two nights we have had pine cones thrown at us from short range while we tried to ignore them, dinner plates full of food  thrown, Water tossed all over the food and one of my good plates broken.  But all good fun right?  Who doesn't love a food fight?

Through the course of the week, James and I changed our perspective which has been a blessing.  The first week and a half was literally all about survival and wondering if WE could do this thing.  After we caught our breath and talked we tried to change our frame of reference to the buns and what was best for them.

We realized that in all likelihood we would not be able to adopt the children because of the timing of our trip to Tbilisi and my pregnancy.  Even though we had talked about finding a backup host family for them, we were never really ready to let go.  We still wanted to maintain the chance to adopt.  As we thought about timing and the children we realized we were being selfish.  That if we couldn't adopt them, we should give them a chance while they were here in America to meet a family that could.  There was still much debate, and we still had and are having a hard time thinking of letting go, but I'll share James' gratitude email from this morning to sum up where we now stand:

"Since we returned from Michigan earlier this week, a few things have changed.  One, Shauri's fatigue and morning sickness have gotten worse.  Two, little Alyosha's outbursts have increased in intensity and frequency.  Three, Shauri and I realized more and more clearly that even if everything worked out, it would be nearly impossible for us to adopt these three little ones in the near future and have the baby and move to Georgia and start our new life there.

Yesterday morning I called Delsa and talked with her about everything going on including the doctor telling Shauri that she could not have stress during this part of the pregnancy.  Delsa asked me what I felt was the right thing to do, and when she said that I knew I needed to seek God's mind and help in determining what to do.  I wrote Shauri an email.  In the email I said I thought we either needed another adult to help with the kids or we needed to find a backup family to take them in.  Although the idea of the little ones going to another home made me sad, I felt peace as I wrote the email.

Later Shauri and I talked and she said she really didn't want the kids to go to a different home unless it were in their best long-term interests.  Shauri felt it was important to only give them to a backup family if there were a good chance that family might adopt them.  We agreed to keep praying about it and talk together at the end of the day.

Last night we received a surprising email: a family in Fairfax, VA, who has hosted twice before would be interested in hosting and possibly adopting the kids.  They have no children of their own.  Shauri and I had a long conversation with them last night on the phone and they want to pick up the little ones after church on Sunday.  The wife asked, "When did you tell the program coordinator you wanted a backup family?"  We told her we had been communicating with her all along but that we hadn't decided until the night before.  The woman told us she had just seen the online announcement yesterday and was surprised by how close we were geographically.  She said they had been looking for a sibling set that was just the ages of these children.  We were all startled by the timing.

I am thankful to know these little ones and to love them.  I am thankful for God's love for them.  I am grateful for the couple we talked to on the phone last night.  I am thankful to clarify my purpose and priorities and seek God's love and will."

We have the kids until Sunday afternoon.  As I woke up this morning, I smelled pancakes cooking and Sasha came running up to get me out of bed where I was swimming in nasuea.  He told me "Presents! Presents!  Sasha make presents mama."  He had helped James to make me pancakes and breakfast and was so proud.

I felt a little twinge as I thought about these kids moving on.  I've wondered and been frustrated by the fact that I hadn't felt very connected to them, but I saw clearly in this moment that there is something there.  I will miss these little buns.  At times I've felt like they would kill me or I would kill them.  I never thought we would make it through this journey.  But yesterday I went through photos and videos we and others have taken during their visit and I saw all the little things I loved and the fun and funny moments more clearly.  I realized that no matter how right this feels and how much confirmation we have felt that it is the right crying won't end when they leave.


  1. An amazing journey: the good with the difficult. Thank you for sharing your inspiring experience. Wishing you well!

  2. Shauri, I can't imagine how difficult this has been. It has been so fun for me to read your blog posts. You are an inspiration! 3 kids, all at once, without the benefit of having reared them from the start... this has been a lot to take on at once. But I am sure you and James are changed by the experience, and that the children are too. Thanks for sharing this.