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Questions and Answers

Chad Dykstra - 2011-01-07
3 comment(s) - View or write a comment

I’d like to take the opportunity to field a couple of questions that we receive on a fairly regular basis. 

Question 1:  Are the boys adjusted yet?

Answer:  No, not yet!  The boys have been through a lot in their short lives.  They’ve experienced more loss than most people ever will.  Their entire world is different now than it used to be, and it’s going to take some time for everything to become normal.  Things have to get worse before they get better.  We are, however, making slow daily progress.  Meal times and bedtimes get a little easier as time goes on and it will eventually happen.

Question 2:  What do you mean by things have to get worse?

Answer:  As the boys adjust, they’re no longer timid and complacent young gentlemen.  The “honeymoon” as it were is quickly fading and we deal with a lot on a daily basis.  Just ask anyone who has spent any amount of time with us!  It’s nothing for someone to throw themselves on the floor kicking and screaming because we turn off the TV (or turn on the wrong show), or because when they ask for more food their brother gets more too.  It’s not unusual for them to throw a toy at someone they’re angry with, or to whine incessantly about any little thing.  If absolutely everything doesn’t go their way, an explosion is imminent.  Our calm, quiet, sweet, level-headed Abatu is the biggest surprise.  He has surpassed his brother lately on the count of daily tantrums.  The "suggested" discipline for the boys had become almost impossible, they just laugh in your face.  It can be quite frustrating!

Question 3:  When will you bring them to church?

Answer:  We don’t know, but not soon.  Right now, anything outside of our house is overwhelming.  OK, it’s even overwhelming at home (see #2).  Public places are very difficult.  The kids will go tearing across a parking lot without looking or want to run laps around a restaurant.  We only go out when absolutely necessary.  We aren't ready for church just yet.  We tried school for Zinabu one day this week, and he was definitely overwhelmed and not ready.  We’re considering trying something smaller scale in the coming weeks/months – like Lakeshore Little People’s Place preschool (for both boys).  Although Abatu is younger, he is more interested in books, coloring, English, and learning in general than Zinabu, who is just everywhere.

Question 4:  Do they speak English yet?

Answer:  No, not yet!  They are making slow progress and are only using a handful of English words right now…most of them are ones they hear a lot, like “no” (or no jumping).  They’re able to understand quite a bit more than they are able to speak.  I look forward to them speaking English, but I’m sure I will also look back and miss this at some point.  I’m enjoying continuing to pick up words from them, and I look forward to being able to ask them what language those words are!

Question 5:  What do they think of the snow?

The really like it!  The climate change has been no concern at all.  They’ve never had coats (nor have they needed them) and they enjoy getting bundled up to go outside.  They like sleds, and they enjoy attempting to ride a bike – yes, ride a bike - in the snow.  We can’t tell them no, they absolutely insist, even though they have no idea how to pedal.  It's pretty funny to watch them trying to ride bikes in the snow.

Question 6:  So how are you doing?

We’re tired but alive!  The last week has been a challenge.  We’ve begun the medical blitz – stool samples and blood work are under our belt.  In the coming days/weeks we have several more doctor and dentist appointments.    The boys have been sleeping pretty well in general, but one of them has been having real bedwetting issues lately and gets up in the middle of the night to go, and usually wakes up wet (and early!).  Last night was another short night – work until 12:30am, 3 kids visiting our room for needing to go potty or bad dreams, and then the boys were awake at 6:30.

I’m sure all this sounds like a lot of work…and believe me, it is!  We have good days and bad days.  Most bad days are 1-parent days.  Managing our home is a two-person job right now, and any less can be completely overwhelming.   I’m blessed to work from home so I can save Lora when things “escalate quickly”.  I’m not sure how she’d do it alone.  I’d be lying if there weren’t times that I miss “the old days” when life was simple…but I think any “new parent” can have that from time to time.

Every once in a while we catch a few glimpses of the sweet little boys that are hiding in there.  It’s heartwarming to have Zinabu say “thank you” with a smile and it’s great to see the kids play together without fighting (which does happen sometimes – especially outside).  Zinabu also can do a great job on tasks if you give him something specific to do (like picking up toys).  We look forward to the days when these kinds of things will be “the norm”...or at least happen on a regular basis!  We feel very good about their attachment to us (and their comfort level with us).  From that aspect, things are going very well.

Now I better sign off…lots of screaming upstairs.  Time to go help!

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Posted by Sara on 2011-01-07

I know God has and will continue to be with you both! Thank you so much for sharing the good and not so good time that you bothl are dealing with. It is very enlightening. Please know that our thoughts are with you and someday (hopefully real soon) you will be able to look back on this time with laughter. 

Posted by Wendy Tanis on 2011-01-11

Such an honest post!  We went down the same road a couple of 4 years ago, however we did not have any other children - so they were our only focus.   Everything was hard about it at the time and most everyone's blog that I read were all up beat and positive about how wonderful things were when they got home so at the time we felt like we were the only ones going through a hard adjustment phase.   It is amazing how some of Kaleab's insecurities creep back into the mix even 3 years later!

We will keep your family in our prayers and thank you for being so honest!


Posted by Candice Petersen on 2011-01-11

Just an idea for the bedwetting.  Our 7 year old still struggles with bedwetting as do many boys that age.  Instead of it causing a lot of stress and lack of sleep, I just put a pull up on him for night.  Don't know if that is an option you would consider but I know it sure helps us.  That is something you could deal with later when they are settled.  I'll try to remember to pray for your family.

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