6 Month Update

15 Oct

I sat down to write this post at 8:04.
My two littles tucked into bed and my big on his way with a big book in his hand.
Up in my bedroom with Hugo snoozing at my feet because I can not write with football in the background.
Hubby cheering on his team happily in the living room.

Life is good.

6 months ago, tomorrow, we hopped off that big, blue plane, drove 2 1/2 hours and landed into our new reality.
Today, our reality is SO much different from 6 months ago.

I think it’s time for a little update!
🙂

She’s Getting Stronger!

When Cora first came home she could not run faster than my walk. She easily fell down and was just completely unable to do a lot of typical kid play moves. She needed to learn! She needed to play. She needed time to get strong.

She spent HOURS and HOURS in my arms (or backpack) and gradually as her heart started healing, her body started getting stronger, too! And today I need to jog to keep up with her run. She can hold her own body weight with her arms. She can ride her bike (with training wheels) very fast! She goes up and down stairs with confidence and is just so full of desire to keep up with her brothers. She has come LEAPS and bounds in her large motor skills!!

She’s Totally Feeling Comfortable

When she first came home, she was stuck to me like glue.  Oh my gosh, I think back to those days with a big sigh and relief we made it through alive. 😉  I wrote this in April, just a week or so in, “She is 100% attached to me as if we were attached physically. Where I go, she goes. (Bathroom anyone?) Where she doesn’t want me to go, I don’t. (Shower anyone?) All day long I hear, “Mom! Come here!” even though I’m only 2 feet away.” 

I remember a day where it was just her and I.  The boys were at school and Dave was at work. I needed a shower terribly.  I set up my laptop on the floor right outside the shower and I put on her Tayo DVD. I explained the best I could that I needed a 2 minute shower.  She fiercely shook her head.  I tried explaining again that I would be SUPER face.  She shook her head so hard and tears started falling down her cheek. Silent tears.  I wanted to beg her and plead her to give me 3 minutes.  She was terrified.  I did not take a shower that day.  I remember those days. Those days when I would have given anything for 3 minutes of hot water and sanity.

Today, she still likes my backpack, but only about once every 2 weeks or so, and typically when we’ve not had such a great day. (FEW and far between.)  And honestly, I love it. I love the closeness, her smell, her weight, her everything.

She’s perfectly happy to be trotting of with her brothers doing something totally 100% boyish with them.
Or riding a horse.  Or bike.  Or playing minecraft. (oy!!)

If I want a shower, I get one!  But dare I say I want to go to the store alone. Or anywhere alone, really. Not happening yet! But as long as we’re in the house, somewhere in the house, we’re all good! Praise God on the shower, people!

She is SO confident in herself! What comes out of her mouth cracks me up on a daily basis.  Sometimes I look at her, her antics, her personality and wonder if she’ll ever NOT make me laugh. I laugh so much with her near me.

Food is Evolving

No, the food issues are not over. OH do we have food issues! But things ARE starting to improve ever so slightly.
Slightly being the key word here.

Cora isn’t eating at school. Not much at all, really. I started with the cold lunch option and made her things she liked, but she came home with a full lunch box every single day.  I guessed that she was used to a cafeteria-style meal for every meal as I saw her lunch room at her orphanage.  So, I decided to have her try hot lunch.  She’s still not eating.  But if I give her cold lunch she is confused on how to get it all out and together.  Not to mention they have like NO time to eat.  She cries and says she can’t eat really fast. So she doesn’t.  And I don’t know what to do about it.

At home, our meals are evolving, too.  Cora is starting to like SOME American foods.  *some* is the key word here.  And sadly, no matter what I try, they are the not-so-healthy options that she’s liking. But we’re evolving. I’ll take anything at this point.
For example, at lunch today she had macaroni. Miles’ favorite.

Miss Cora takes hers with a side kimchi, of course.

But as a family, we’ve totally fallen in love with many Korean foods.  I give full credit to the Korean church that we started attending in May. They have a full meal each Sunday after church and are just the most amazing cooks!  Not only have we fallen in love with it, but it has helped Cora fill her belly once a week with more than enough food to last at least a few days. 😉

We’ve tried to make more of it in our home, too.
Dave has taken the roll of chief Kimbap maker, but dude, I’ve got some japchae skills!!

We started taking Korean language classes again, too! Cora included! She’s in the group of kids who have Korean parents who want their kids to learn to write/read in Hangul.  She’s forced to speak in Korean in class. yay! The boys are in the kid class, Dave’s in the beginner class and, ahem, I’m in the advanced class. 😉

She’s SLEEPING!

This was something I never thought we’d see.

When we first came home, we didn’t really know what sleep would look like. This is a girl who slept on the floor with 8 kids just about her whole life.  Would she want to sleep in her room? In our room? We put a bunk bed in Miles’ room, just in case, but would she fall out? And would we be able to sleep with fear of her falling out?

The first few days she slept with us and she thrashed around like crazy. It was not good. Not for any single person.
So, we brought in her mattress and she slept on our floor right next to me.  It worked well, but we knew the goal was to have her move out of the room eventually, so we brought Miles in with his mattress so she could correlate Miles with sleep.  For months, this is what I saw right next to me every single night.

We knew we wanted to connect sleeping with Miles since he was the one with the bunk bed.
And after a few months, we moved her out, begrudgingly on her part.  For about a full month, Cora slept on the floor on her mattress, Logan slept on the top and Miles slept on the bottom. She had peace with all three kids in one room. But every 3rd day or so she would be back with her mattress on our floor.

About a month before school, we kicked Logan back to his room and made Cora sleep on the bottom bunk. (Another big adjustment.)  She didn’t like it, she was scared, but with a bunch of check-ins, slowly she got used to it.

TODAY, she sleeps happily on that bottom bunk. Bedtime is a breeze!  Teeth, stories, songs, prayers and hugs and kisses and we’re out of there by 7:50-8:00.  I am finally able to go downstairs each night to hang out with my hubby again. If you would have told me 5 1/2 months ago that in 5 1/2 months I’d be seeing her off to bed at 7:50 each night, I would have laughed at you.  God is good!!

Sibling Love is SO SO Amazing

Miles asked me yesterday, “Was Cora here last year?”
I could have cried.
HUGE.

We are at the point with our sons, at least Miles, that he can not really remember a pre-Cora.
They have the biggest sibling rivalry, but he is kind and patient and loving and blows me AWAY how easily and quickly he took to being a big brother. I am impressed by him DAILY!  His sweet voice that he only uses to Cora and when she’s bossing him around, he talks to her with patience and guidance. (Most of the time.)  He was meant to be a big brother!

And Logan has rocked big brother-hood for almost 8 years, but there was no learning curve with Cora. He has been sweet and loving and kind and patient and there is just so much *I* can learn from Logan’s love to Cora.

She was Meant for School!

School and Cora go hand-in-hand.
She has so many friends and no one cares that her English is far from perfect.
No one cares that she calls everyone a “he”. 😉

She is SO confident, SO happy and it has done only good things for her.
I worried it would affect our attachment. It has not.
I worried she wouldn’t find friends. She has so many.
I worried.  I didn’t need to.
Her tiny little body is a GIANT in that school! Everyone knows her, loves her and humors her silly behaviors.
And lucky me, I get to see it when I volunteer each week!

Pretty much we have gone full circle.
And this sweet girl has changed our life.

But just the other day, she said to me sadly, “When I go back to my Amsa, I will miss you.”
😦
What does that say to me? That she doesn’t know it’s forever yet.
That hearts are still healing.
We’re still breaking through the stone.
We’re not done.

Though each and every day brings happy memories and days for us, in her mind, no matter what we say, no matter what we do, there was a long life before we just showed up and started spewing promises of forever. What is forever, anyway?

She talks about who she slept by in her orphanage.
About her baby.
She tells stories about her caretakers house that she visited.
She talks about a popular amusement park.
She talks about Korea.
She remembers it so much.

She tells us she missed us at her orphanage.
She tells us she cried for us.
She asks us why we didn’t come right away.

She’ll believe us eventually.
I know she will.
But how we will explain the 5 years it took us to get to her, I have no idea.
We wrestle with it, too.

If you would have seen us 1 month in, 2 months in, 3 months in, we would have looked like we were bobbing in the ocean, grabbing a gulp of air before we were thrown under the wave again. And if we didn’t look that way, you saw us on a day where we put on our happy costume and went about our day.

Today, that happy isn’t a costume.

We’re happy!

We still have soooooo much work to do.
We’re still on shaky ground.
Every day is not guaranteed to be a good one.

But God has seen us through the storm.
And will continue to do so.
And we praise Him for that.

———————

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

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6 Responses to “6 Month Update”

  1. Wendi October 15, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Love love love this blog!!! So similar to us right now. Other than the sleeping in her bed.;)

    • Jen October 16, 2012 at 2:22 am #

      Haha! I’m sorry, but picture you laying in between two toddler beds always makes me laugh.

  2. Michelle Lim October 15, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    I had no idea you kept this blog until now!
    It was/is a blessing to get to know you and Cora through the VBS program we had at our Korean church. It is such a blessing for our church (KPCM) as well to get to know your family. I will definitely be keeping up with your blog to know more about Cora’s condition. I hate to admit that I don’t get to say hello to you or Seung-joo much at church, but you and your family are in my prayers!

    God bless you 🙂

    • Jen October 16, 2012 at 2:24 am #

      Michelle, the KPCM has been such a blessing in our lives. We walked in in May completely uncertain if we’d find a good fit and we have been blessed ten times over. It truly is one of my favorite places to be. 🙂 Thank you for loving on my kids this summer!

  3. daysofwonderandgrace October 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Jen,,Your post has me grinning! God IS good!

    • Jen October 16, 2012 at 2:25 am #

      Thank you!! Xoxo!

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