**Hey FB friends! I interrupted my FB break to post a link to these blog posts, b/c I really want to share them with our wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive! Love that you still ask about our little guy. Here's an update!**
It's been nine months since we became a family of five! Insert cliche here about how time flies, sometimes it seems like yesterday, sometimes it feels like it's been forever. I know I haven't been super informative or detailed on the blog about how we are all settling into the new normal, so I decided to give an update. I'm still humbled to the point of tears when I think of the hundreds of people who invested in our family with their love, prayers, finances, and so many other types of support. I love that you all care about our family deeply and want to keep in touch about what it's like to have Asher home!
I decided it would be best to split it into two blog posts, b/c there is no simple answer to how it's going. I want to start with all the great things that have happened in the last year, and talk about how amazing and brave our son is! A few weeks ago I realized I never posted a video of the first time we met our son, Asher Saran. It it possible it was a subconscious mental block. :) Our sweet little guy was crying hard before he even got in the room, and that was the beginning of many, many tears that week. I was able to do a very basic raw edit of those first few moments. It will give you an idea of how they introduced us...what the scenario was like. I included plenty of non-crying moments, as he just sat focused and solemn. Near the end of the video, Trent tried to toss him a ball, and he completely ignores it! I especially want to share it for my fellow adoptive parents who will someday sooner or later be meeting their precious, long-awaited kiddos. It's good to be realistic and prepared for the kind of possible grieving these babes are dealing with. You can see on the other side of the screen that sweet Layla was on the opposite end of the spectrum! Here's Asher on June 3, 2012:
When I watch this video, it reminds me of how incredibly brave my boy is. He was taken from EVERYone and EVERYthing he had ever known at the tender age of 22 months. In a matter of days, his entire world was gone and replaced with a new one that was NOTHING like the old one. And he has continued to take steps towards adapting and trusting us day after day. Although I'm happy that pictures and video of his foster family do not make him sad (he calls her Mae and says "Thai-yan!"), but it is bittersweet that I think he doesn't truly remember that amazing woman. I think he knows that's her name b/c we tell him that.
Although I am certain that the illusive "attachment" is some mystical creature we'll be chasing for years, I know that Asher has made so much progress in the last 9 months. We've seen measurable steps, like his ability to stay in his little sunday school class at church. Although he occasionally still gets clingy, it feels so good that he finally trusts us enough to know that WE ARE COMING BACK for him. He is still not a snuggler, and doesn't like to be rocked or cuddled (we're working on it daily!), but he does really enjoy reading books. He will bring us book after book after book, which provides some great bonding moments. He gives tight hugs and kisses and says "I yuv you!" to all of us...sometimes even to the girl at the Safeway bakery who gives free cookies!
To give you an idea of his personality at home (compared to the video above) here's a video of Asher and his sister providing a little entertainment last week:
It gives me such joy to see him interacting with us, singing, being silly (you should see him dance!), mimicking his siblings, asking to see himself on the camcorder, and just being a little boy! I love that his sis has to translate for me and that he's singing a song about his brother's basketball team. (And for you curious folks, that green thing is a physical therapy tool used to get knots out of your back, but it's used as a microphone or weapon daily in this house.) One of the most incredible ways that bringing Asher home has affected our family is the way it has impacted his siblings. I truly can see that his presence has changed them. They are more aware of children around the world who have lives very different from ours, they know what it means to be an orphan, they are more aware (and excited about) other interracial families, talkative about adoption, but they would be the first to tell you that WE are the lucky ones to have Asher added to our family! Asher is a sweet spot for both of them--they still fight between them like crazy, but they forgive their little brother with a lighting speed for some pretty serious crimes, and sometimes their fighting is OVER who gets to spend more time with him!
Probably my favorite thing about Asher is that he is more curious than ANY child I have ever met. I mean, he makes George look positively apathetic. We get excited when we get to take him somewhere new or different, because we know he'll be totally captivated. Each new park is an ecstatic adventure. A friend's house is a whole new world. But sometimes his curiosity still surprises me. He and I had to take the car for an oil change last week, and I was planning for us to take a walk while they were working on the car. Well, we never made it out of the garage, because Asher was COMPLETELY enthralled with the oil change. He was staring, squinting, squatting down with his head lowered to the ground so he could see the guys working below the car. He started circling the car to try to get a better look from a new angle. Then, it was not enough for him, so he LAID down on the ground, about 3 feet from the opening under the car where the mechanic was (chuckling and) working on our oil, so he could get a better look. He makes it so wonderful to see our world through new eyes.
Another hilarious thing about Asher is that he will eat ANYTHING. I think part of it is a cultural, and part of it is just his beautiful appetite for food and life. He puts my picky eaters to shame when I toss him an apple and he eats that thing down to a nub! He gnaws through most of the core and only leaves the very, very center and seeds. He'll happily eat orange and watermelon rinds, although I ususually try to stop that. If he spies the leftovers of some treat in the garbage, he'll go dumpster diving for that last bit of popsicle or string cheese. Yes, it grosses us out, but it also cracks us up! He's also very aware of what other people are eating. Sometimes I try to sneak my own little treat--my go-to is dark chocolate covered espresso beans--and he will smell it on my breath! He'll point accusingly at my mouth and frown and say "MOMMY EAT! MOMMY EAT!" Nothing gets by this kid!
A dear friend met me today for coffee, and I had my little man in tow. I was armed with drinks, snacks, books and an ipod to keep him busy. She complimented me and said I made it look easy! That truly made me feel good (I don't like feeling frazzled and out of control in public!) but I told her that if she ever hears anyone who wants to adopt say that about me, tell them to come talk privately ASAP, lest they get the wrong idea. :) I think it does a disservice to future adoptive families when we only highlight the happy stuff. Soon I will write another post about some of the harder parts of the last nine months, while still trying to convey to you how crazy we are about Asher Saran and how happy we are that he is in our family!