Friday, October 29, 2010

"I have BIG hair! Looks like Cotton Candy! Yummy Candy!"- Chad Ona Sullivan

If only I had a dime for every minute I spent on hair and skin care, I'd adopt another child!  I never imagined how much time I would spend on hair care for my boys.  I guess I should be more specific Chad's hair.  Ian still has fine thin baby hair.  Hopefully one day it will grow in, but for now I am enjoying the ease of Ian's hair.

Chad on the other hand....he has the kinkiest hair I have ever seen.  I am still absolutely in awww of how tight it is.  Just look at this.  That little black circle is Chad's curl.  It is almost 4 inches long if streched out staight!

I know it would be much easier on me just to shave it down.  But the back of his head is really really flat and he looks so much cuter with hair.  And I just love his hair!  Unfortunately, I was not using the right products for his hair until recently.  His hair was hard and dry.  I didn't know this wasn't normal until I felt the hair of one of Chad's new friends, a fellow adopted Congolese girl.  (Yeah, I am the ignorant white mom).  Her hair was soooo soft.  So, I began to rethink our hair care products.  The products I was using seemed to work for  most afican american children, but my boy has A LOT more african in him!

I asked one of the more veteran OFA parents, Cami.  She gave me a list of products from Miss Jessy's.  I about had a cow when I saw the price of these products!  But I do not want Chad to be known as the "poor little black boy who has a white mama who does NOT know what she is doing with his hair".  So, I bought shampoo, conditioner, Rapid Recovery Treatment, and Baby Buttercream.

Well, I was absolutely AMAZED by the difference in Chad's hair after one use of these products.  It was so soft and it was so much easier to pick through.  Which was a blessing, we spent I am guessing at least 20 minutes a day picking this boy's hair out.  If it was not done twice daily, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to pick out the next day.

Here is a picture of some twists I tried a few months ago.  I made the twists to big, so they only stayed in for a few days.  I didn't like them well enough to have them lock.

So, Megan introduced me to the NUDRED.  You have to watch the video. I really wich I had known about this product before I spent 3 days twisting Chad's hair!  If you haven't noticed, Chad does not like to sit still!  So, I twisted while he ate  and even while he sleeped.I have done part of Chad's hair with it and it is a real time saver!  If his was shorter, it would be breeze to make little twists!  To most of you all's suprise Chad's hair is close to 4 inches long when it is stretched out!  But I am thinking of getting it cut just so I can use the NUDRED on him with ease.  I apologize the music is REALLY annoying, but it is amazing how quickly this guys hair transforms in front of your eyes!

Today, I tried something for the first time.  I used Missy Jessy's products and blow dried his hair combing it out continuously.  This gave him a little Afro.  The pictures don't show it very well.  I should have spent a little more time blow drying it out.  As some parts are much longer than others.  After, I finisheded, Chad looked in the mirror and said, "I have BIG hair!  Looks like cotton candy, yummy candy!"   And well, it did.

So, his hair is somewhat under control.  Now we have skin issues : (   I thought we had his skin under control, but now he has this dry skin rash on his face.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with african skin, it takes a lot of work to keep it healthy.  Last winter, we would apply a lotion and then a vaseline type product on top of it THREE times a day.  Yes, they were greasy little boys.  I had greasy hand prints on all of our windows, but without doing this their skin would get ashy gray and dry.  With two babies, I felt like this was and changing diapers was all I did!

So, all you mothers of african babies out there, what are you using on the skin?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Our Arms for ONE YEAR

Wow!  It was a year ago that we arrived in Kinshasa.  How time flys by!  So, much has changed since then.  The boys were so small!  Chad weighed in at 17# and Ian at 11#.  Now the are 38# and 22#!   We have seen amazing physical growth this year.  But even more amazing is watching them open their hearts to us, to trust us.  This seems like a simple task to most people.  But it was the hardest thing Chad has ever had to do. To open his wounded heart back up.  I proudly say today that he has finally adopted me.  I am very honored to be Chad and Ian's Mama.  I thank God everyday for these boys.

I am celebrating our Family this week.

Here is a post that I wrote a few days after we arrived in Kinshasa.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

First, I apologize to all of those who have been checking my blog.  I simply have had no time to write!

Well, Sunday night was the hardest day of my life.  Leaving Livia and Parker was so hard.  They are so excited but just did not want us to leave them.  I didn't want to leave them at all.  I was very mad at myself.  I really wished one of us would have stayed home with them.  We have called home several times and of course they are doing fine.  But we all terribly miss each other and we can't wait to get home!

We arrived in Kinshasa on Tuesday around 2:00.  Pastor Loma picked us up and drove us to the guest house.  The boys arrived a few minutes after we did.  I was so overwhelmed with emotion!  My boys were right before my eyes!  I could actually hold them.  I held myself back for a few minutes and talked to them.  Ian came right to me.  He is so adorable.  I then passed him on to Jamey were he fell asleep.  I decided to spend all of my attention on Chad.   Chad would cry everytime I looked at him.  I believe they had been preparing him for this day.  He knew what was going on and he did not like it.  My heart broke for him.  Pastor Loma and his family stayed with us for probably 45 minutes.  I finally decided to hold Chad.  He did not cry and hasn't ever since.  When I finally gave him to Jamey, he fell asleep too.  Daddy seems to have the magic touch.

We all slept together in a king size bed surrounded by mosqito netting. Using a flashlight, I felt like we were camping.  Couldn't help but think that Livia and Parker would really like it!  Wednesday we took the boys to the clinic.  It was probably only 5 miles away, but took about 2 hours to get there.  The boys were wonderful.  The trip was a very long one still.  With no air, high tempeture, high humidity and 11 people in a  mini-van it sure was hot and sweaty!  The boys only got blood drawn and will have a thorough examination next Monday.  They had a very hard time finding a vein on Ian.  It was very hard to see him in pain.  But he was over that very quickly.

Ian has bonded with me very quickly.  He wants to snuggle and give me kisses all the time!  Yesterday, he would fuss if I was not next to him.  He would cry and stop as soon as I picked him up.  He is a very happy baby!  He laughs and smiles and coos a lot and sings a lot too.  He is also very active and jumps on me non stop.  He's sort of hard to hold.  He is very strong.  Jamey found a scale here at the guest house and he weighs 11# and Chad weighs 19#.  We aren't for sure how accurate the scales are, they appear to be very old.  But they both are very small!  Ian has been wearing 3-6 month clothing and some 9 month old.  The clothes I packed for Chad 18-24 months  have been big on him and he has been wearing Ians 9 month old onsies.  I have a feeling both of the boys will be growing very quickly.  Ian takes lots of formula and Chad is eating all of mine and Jamey's meals (at the guest house we are served our meals and only a small amount is prepared)!  We are so excited that he has such a good appetite.  He had been eating mostly bread.  So, I am so pleasantly suprised that he likes green beans, greens, chicken and meat.  He just will eat anything so far.

Chad hasn't cried at all.  But he is not himself yet around us.  When we are with Pastor Loma he lights up and his personality comes out.  He smiles and talks (French and Lingala)!  With only us he still talks, unfortunately we cannot understand him.  He is much more subdued.  It is such a big change for him and he has been through so much already.  But he does love to snuggle!  Will stand and try to walk with assistance.  But he tires very easily.  He had Malaria and I don't think he has ever recovered his full strengh since than.  Well, they just rang the bell so I've got to go feed him some lunch.  I will try to right more the next chance I get.

Well, I am back.  Well fed happy babbies!  They are both so easy.  They never cry.  Ian cries only when he is hungry and has as I mentioned cries when I leave the room.  But he has started being fine with Jamey today.

 Oh, and did I mention how cute they are!  Here are some pictures! 

Chad looking at a book.

Ian giggling!

Ian kissing Stori

Ian and Stori

Chad asleep on Jamey

Monday, October 18, 2010

Three Boys on a Log

Chad's face tells the story.
Guys, quiet, here she comes.  Be calm. She'll never know what we are up to.
Mom, we aren't doing anything.  Just three boys sitting on log.
Guys, don't make eye contact.  She'll figure us out.

Oh crap.....Ian is going to let the cat out of the bag!

See Mama, we are just your three precious boys sitting on a log.

Mommy is guessing from the following pictures that you boys were up to something!

Got to Love My Boys!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord!

I am giving much praise this month!  Chad has made some really BIG steps!

First, I should probably explain, because this is a topic that I didn't share with most people.  Not even the details with my husband.  I felt there was something wrong with me.  I didn't want to people to think that our family was a failure.  Maybe I thought if I didn't say it out loud it really wasn't the case.  But anyway, I know now that was all very silly of me to think.  So, now I share the details.

The day I first saw Chad.  He looked me straight in the eyes, screamed and cried hysterically.  I felt like he had seen the devil.  His foster parents had showed him pictures of me and had told him that I was his new Mama and he would be leaving them to live with me.  This was something he did not want at all!!!  My heart ached for this little guy.  I knew how scared he was.  The next few days, Chad was limp.  He had no expression and didn't talk.  After a few days he slowly started opening up.  And one day we found out he had those gorgeous dimples : )

He bonded with Jamey pretty quickly.  Actually, it seemed like he bonded with everyone very quickly, except for me.  He wanted no part of me.  It was hard for me, but I understood, he had lost his Mama and he didn't want to risk losing another one.  So, he would rather not have one at all.

When we returned home everyone was greeted by the most loving child ever!  He snuggled, kissed and hugged everyone he saw.  Well, except for me.  As I heard everyone say how sweet he was, my heart broke.  How could I ever tell these people how Chad was when they left.  You see when there was no one else around and he was stuck with me, he would start to love on me and then he would stop himself and either bite me or scratch my face, aiming for my eyes.  It was so hard to take, day after day after day.  I finally expressed my concern to Jamey.  He thought I was a crazy or jealous of their bond.  He never saw this side of Chad.  Because when Jamey was home, Chad had someone to cling to and he was able to ignore me.

This went on for probably 5 months and then this summer he began to get much better.  This summer he started having very few of his "attack mama" spells.  Certain things triggered it, such as our Our Family Adoption reunion.  My heart was so broken when I couldn't pick him up for a week without him attacking me.  We had made so much progress and I felt we were back at square one.  But he soon stopped the attacks again.

In September I took a much needed weekend getaway with my two besties.  I was somewhat worried about how Chad would act when I returned.  To my surprise he acted like I hadn't even left.  But then the day after I returned,  Chad came running into my arms, looked me in the eyes and said as happy as he could be, "Mama always comes back!"  Yes, I do Chad!  My eyes were so full of tears.  Tears of joy that he realized this, tears of sorrow that he had a past that had made him doubt this.

So, here is the BIG STEPS I am giving PRAISE for:

Chad loves to look into my eyes now.  This was something he always had avoided.  

Chad loves to run into my arms.  Unfortunately, I still find myself crinching as to protect myself when he comes to me with his mouth open, but I always get a kiss now.

Chad yells for MAMA when he gets hurt!  This child would go to any stranger in Walmart for comfort before he would come to me.  Yes, it is quite embarrassing when your child walks ups to a stranger with tears, clings to their leg and begs to be picked up.

Chad wants to be with me when he is scared.  He used to sit alone with big terrified eyes and would push me away.  Now he wants to be in my lap with his head snuggled in my neck!

Chad has actually cried or fussed when he knows I am going to leave and does not want to go with anyone else.  He previously would walk out the door with anyone.  People would jokingly say that they would love to take him home.  And he would cry because they did not take him home!

I hope this gives some of you hope out there that have been dealing with attachment issues.  And I hope this might prepare some of you that are in the process of adopting.  It will be hard not to somehow blame yourself.  It will be hard to always want to hang in there.  Please find someone who has been through this or is going through this to talk to.  I would never have made it through this year without my great friend Megan. This is one of those new friends that really gets my life now!

I am not naive, I know that we are on the top of a mountain now and we will fall back into many valleys along our path together.  But I am so PRAISING the Lord that Chad finally knows he is home in his Mama's arms.  He knows that he is greatly loved!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . .And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-13