Learning the Ropes
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Owning the Children’s Museum, firefighter style.

 

It’s hard to believe it’s already and only been six weeks since Carrigan has been home. In some ways it seems like he’s always been a part of our family and I am amazed at the progress he’s made and how far we’ve come from those first difficult two weeks home with him. He has not had a night terror since we last asked for prayer for him, and he’s now sleeping in the bedroom with the boys and falling asleep without us needing to be in the room with him. He is no longer falling out of bed (he was doing this seriously at least a half dozen times a night the first couple of weeks home) and is just seeming so much more settled now. His routine is the same as the other children and he is even taking a nap occasionally, or at least staying in the bedroom quietly during the 2 hour nap period each day. This is huge! In the morning when he wakes up, instead of coming out of the room and roaming around the house looking for trouble, he is staying in the room with the boys until after 8 when we allow them to come downstairs for breakfast. In every way he is fitting in to the routine and flow of daily life here at the Odell house.

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A variety of manners on display.

Mealtimes are another story. He’s like a ravenous beast at every meal, scarfing down as much food as his little chipmunk cheeks can hold while still requesting “more” with a mouthful in reserve. He basically “collects” food on his plate, trying to steal off anyone else’s plate he can reach and hoarding it even if it isn’t something he plans to eat. It is nuts. It’s hard to even take a bite myself because at the same time as he’s furiously eating, he is also grabbing my arm constantly and attempting to take my food and be reassured that more is available and coming. It is really quite a job just to sit next to him and try to have a meal. Just when I begin to feel really frustrated with him, though, he’ll lean over with his messy, food-covered lips and plant a huge sloppy-wet kiss on my arm before he dives onto my plate. If we don’t invite you over for dinner for a while it’s because we would seriously not be able to have a conversation over dinner anyway, and I would be mortified for you to see the atrocious manners around our dinner table lately. It truly is just a feeding frenzy that will take some time to tame!

I think mealtime is GREAT!

I think mealtime is GREAT!

He is also completely obsessed with water (“walth-uh”) He cannot get enough to drink (and yes, he wets the bed A LOT- even through the overnight Pull-Ups) and I cannot count how many times a day he asks for water, spills water (which Garrick then slips in all over the house), or how many glasses he drinks in a day. He is seriously like a camel. We were told that at his orphanage they were only allowed to have water once a day- which limited the number of times the nannies were having to change diapers, take kids to the bathroom and change soiled bedsheets- so this explains his obsession. He’s also quite smart and takes great delight that there are certain things he can ask for and he will pretty much always get- water and potty. He does both eagerly and often!

Dogpile on Corin?  Yes, please.

Dogpile on Corin? Yes, please.

When we think about all he has been through in the six weeks we’ve been home, we marvel at what a trooper he is. He’s had more bloodwork than all of our other kids put together (which has been very traumatic for him because they can never find a good vein and have to poke and prod multiple times to get anything out. He now starts whimpering just on the drive to the hospital once he has figured out that’s where we’re going- again), at least a half dozen office visits, x-rays, dental appointment, CT scan, oncology, urology, and to top it all off- a recent circumcision that probably made him think the orphanage wasn’t so bad afterall!

Well, the Italian Ice is good.  Everything else here is the pits.

Well, the Italian Ice is good. Everything else here is the pits.

However, interspersed with all these less than fun appointments he’s also had some fun outings, too- he’s been bowling, to the park, a field trip to see replicas of Columbus’ ships, to an outdoor sculpture art center, a nature center and a children’s museum.

The Pinta - legit!

The Pinta – legit!

Chillin' at Storm King Art Center.

Chillin’ at Storm King Art Center.

We're totally into art.  And boxed water.  Well, they sell that here, at least.

We’re totally into art. And boxed water. Well, they sell that here, at least.

Nature!  (Carrigan kept his distance)

Nature! (Carrigan kept his distance)

At home he’s settled down (some- we still have a ways to go!) and will now sit to hear a book for more than a minute or two, but it is still a struggle to find any activity that will hold his attention for long. I have been making him complete a puzzle when he would rather dump it out, then change his mind and move on to something else. Sometimes this results in a fit that gets him a “time in” on the dog bed in the living room (he loves the dog, by the way!), but he’s figured out that he has to finish what he started, or at least clean it up before he can wander off to do the next thing that suits his fancy for the moment. He’s still learning how to play with toys, and which things are toys and which aren’t (the toilet bowl brush, Daddy’s electronics, garlic powder). A big portion of each day feels like I am just on one disaster recovery mission to the next between the three littles boys and their messes.

Nothing to see here.  Ignore the dog food, Cheerios, and water, and go back to your homes.

Nothing to see here. Ignore the dog food, Cheerios, and water, and go back to your homes.

He’s quite a loving and gentle little boy, and we’ve seen a sweet side to him when he interacts with his siblings. Today he set up the step stool for Charlotte to get into the van and motioned for her to go in first before him- I am telling you, he is going to be a total ladies man. He still communicates mainly with gestures and facial expressions, but he also has some new words and phrases he’s been using regularly, his favorite being “want that” (which can mean he does or does NOT want something, depending on tone and if he’s throwing something at the same time). He loves playing with a particular doll and carries it around with him everywhere, sleeping with it and constantly asking for “washy baby?” While the past six weeks have had some insane moments and crazy times, we are counting our blessings that Carrigan is doing so well, has improved so rapidly from where he was when we first got home, and how quickly he has bonded and adapted to family life.

Dominating the tram.

Dominating the tram.

We have a post-placement visit scheduled with our home study agency in late July, and at this time we are going to update our home study for a mere $100- chump change in the world of international adoption. A new home study typically costs about $2,500, a regular update about $1,000, but because we are already established with this agency and we can do the post-placement visit concurrently, they are only asking $100 and minimal paperwork updates. We will see what the Lord will do with this over the next year. He has given us so much to be thankful for- today was a confirmation of how He has cared for us and provided for every step of this adoption process. We received a grant check in the mail for $1,600- almost unheard of to receive a grant after the adoption process is complete. International adoption costs tens of thousands of dollars. Carrigan was worth every penny. He’s charmed us all with his endearing smile and funny gestures. Seeing this little boy blossom before our eyes in the love of a family is absolutely priceless.

What a blessing!

What a blessing!