Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hakuna Matata

Jackson had his one-month (or six- month, depending on how you look at it) pediatrician visit today. To say he is doing good just might be the greatest understatement of the year. He has gained nearly four pounds in one month. That’s the difference a high-protein diet makes.

As noted in an earlier post, Jackson has gone from looking like a frail infant to a healthy, robust baby. The gain in strength alone is amazing to me. When I look at his girth I find it hard to believe this is the same baby we met April 13th in Africa. His weight has gone from the less than five percentile to the 25th percentile on the (American) chart for a normal male infant. And his height is right in the normal range. This is amazing!

Additionally, I really feel as if we’ve turned a corner this week in attachment and bonding. I really feel as if Jackson has finally learned he can truly trust us to be there from moment to moment to care for him. For the first four weeks of our lives together I felt as if he was holding back somewhat. He was very quick to cry at every turn but now sheds very few tears during the course of the day. He is such a joy to be around. He makes me laugh and laugh—all-day-long. I just love being around him. He makes life make sense.

Hakuna matata, friends. Hakuna matata…

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Six-Month Birthday, Jackson!

Today is Jackson’s six-month birthday. It’s almost hard for me to imagine because he was only seven weeks old when we received our referral. It’s hard to believe three months have passed since that day. I remember the telephone call as if it were yesterday.

Jackson has changed so much since meeting him five weeks ago. When we met him he was a tiny, fragile, dazed little sprite. Now he is robust with a big roly-poly belly and chubby legs. He is amazingly strong in my opinion. He is learning to sit up on his own and loves to stand erect on his own two legs. I yell, “Hurray!” and he just laughs and laughs. When we met him he was incapable of grasping anything but one of our fingers. Now he grabs anything within reach. One thing he definitely does not like, however, is “tummy time”. He hates to be on his belly and I can’t blame him. He has virtually no strength if you place him face-down. But he does just fine if we’re reclining and he is laying face-down on our chest. He has plenty of arm strength to lift himself up and backward, looking all around.

Another thing I must comment on is the attention Jackson garners when we’re out in public. I’m going to have to add thirty minutes to my anticipated shopping excursions because everyone stops us to talk to him and comment on how big his eyes are and how beautiful he (she—which is what people actually call him) is. And it’s true. He is all of those things: charming and beautiful with these huge, lovely eyes that absorb every detail of every possible thing in his line of vision. Sometimes in our quiet moments I get lost for long periods of time just watching him observe the world around him. He has a look of utter surprise as his head turns 180 degrees right to left and 90 degrees straight up to the ceiling. I would LOVE to possess that innocence and be that fascinated by the world around me. What a beautiful space to be in.

Greg and I still cannot believe he is here—in our home, in our lives, in our arms, in our hearts. The process of adoption is fraught with so many ups and down and unforeseen obstacles and delays that it sometimes seemed like we would never have a baby. But he is here. And he is ours. And he is lovely. And his name is Jackson and he is six months old today.

Happy birthday, my beautiful son, and here’s to many, many happy returns. I love you.

A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men.

Martin Farquhar Tupper
(British poet, 1810-1889)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One Month

Well, we’ve been home with Jackson for one month and what a month it’s been. We’ve had many adjustments to make, but I honestly I can’t imagine life in this house without him. Having Jackson here is as natural as breathing.

Having an infant can best be summarized by this thought. Want to forget the rest of the world? Have a baby. Seriously. Want to forget about the economy and the state of the world, global warming, swine flu, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, getting older, crow’s feet and belly fat? Have a baby. With a baby in the house, nothing else matters except snuggling, feeding time, nap time, bath time and dirty diapers. Nothing. And I’m okay with that. It’s a welcome mental vacation!

I am overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from friends and family. The cards, emails, visitors, telephone calls, food and gifts have literally poured in here. We are so blessed to have so much support. It has helped to alleviate the sorrow I feel in not having family in close proximity.

The past month has not been without challenges. The greatest of which was getting Jackson’s internal clock set to our time zone. Our nights were his days and vice versa. Thankfully that did not take nearly as long as I had anticipated. He sleeps through the night most nights. I’m actually getting more sleep now than I have in years.

I just completed the required one-month post-placement report and am trying desperately to find information on the re-adoption process for the State of Florida. The former was easy. Almost each answer was “Great”. The latter is causing me angst. According to my online searches we do not need to hire an attorney but I cannot find anyone who can give me direction. I even went to the court house today to inquire (which is another story in and of itself) but got absolutely nowhere. Ugh!

Jackson’s smooth transition isn’t the only great thing happening in our lives. Wonderful things are happening in daughter Brittany’s (and hubby Mike’s) life too. She begins grad school in just a few weeks. They are in the process of packing up and moving quite a distance to begin the next phase of their lives. I am so very proud of her and am honored to be her mother. She is an amazing individual who has so many wonderful things ahead of her.

Before I sign off (gotta sleep while the baby’s sleepin’) I want to share a few verses from 1 Chronicles that have been floating in my head since last week. I’m still trying to read through the Old Testament, but it is now a struggle. I am firmly a month behind in my reading but I believe it’s better to be a month behind than to not be reading at all. I’ve written about my love for King David in previous posts. He was so perfectly human and perfectly flawed yet was chosen by God above all others to do great things. David’s heart is what mattered to God. Oh, how I would love to be as full of faith, humble and God-focused as David.

This scripture speaks to me of Jackson and how eternally thankful I am to God for blessing us with this precious baby. If I could only offer up one Psalm of Thanks to God in heaven for this blessing it would be this.

David’s Psalm of Thanks

1 Chronicles 16:8-12

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.”

I hope to be back here soon. Until then, blessings, peace, love and gratitude to all.