May 06, 2004

Miscellaneous memories...

Memories of our early days with Dalton:
On Daddies and Cats!

�Mommy, I think Daddy should move out so we can have a cat.�

This was the utterance to begin the afternoon and throw me off guard! Evidently Dalton had been thinking of this for quite a while. He was remembering his previous foster home and missing Becky�s cats. As he was happy to inform me, and anyone who was within listening range,

�I used to live with Becky, and Terri, and Bobbi, and Jamie.
They had two dogs, and two cats.
I like cats!
I wish we had cats.
I wish Daddy wasn�t allergic.�

So, began a talk about love, and family, and wouldn�t he miss his Daddy?

�He could come and visit.�

I told him that Mommy, Daddy and David loved him very much, and we loved each other. I liked cats too, but I love Daddy more. I explained that I would be very sad if Daddy did not love with us, and that David and I would cry, we would miss him so much. Daddy would be sad and miss all of us as well. I asked:

�Who do you love more?
Daddy, or cats?�

He got very quiet, with a faraway look in his eyes. Concentrating, so hard. Finally, he looked up, sad-eyed, and grudgingly told me:

�I guess Daddy can stay.
But, it would sure be nice to have a cat!
I love cats.�

To this day, Dalton still loves his cats and baby kitties. He usually is hugging one or more when he sleeps, and � every so often � will look at me with those pretty blues, and sadly comment:

�I wish Daddy wasn�t allergic to cats, Mommy.�
I simply say:
�Me too!�

I want my Other Mommy!

In the early days of Dalton�s adoptive placement, anxiety, grief, and loss were a constant presence. Diagnosed with Attachment Disorder, he had learned that:

To trust was to hurt.
To love was not safe.
To let anyone new �In�, meant pain.
He felt he would die.

Every night would be the same. This lovely child, (He was so beautiful!), with his big blue eyes, shiny blond hair, and soft, hurting soul, became


My sweet, sweet boy would disappear.
He was so scared;
He was so hurt;
He was so lonely;
He had such pain;
And he was mine.

Every night, when it was bedtime, he would scream. Raging down the hall, throwing toys and anything else which came to hand, kicking and hitting walls, he would fight to live. Heaven help anyone who got in his reach.

Yet, what was I to do?
I was his Mom.

Once we finally reached the haven of his room, the fight would escalate.

I was the enemy.
I was a danger.
I was the opponent.
He was not mine.

~I want my MOMMY!~

Here I am.
I�m right here.


Each night, every night, this battle would go on, two to three hours at a time.

I would hold him.
I would rock him.
I would sing to him.
I would cry with him.
I would hope for him.
I would pray for us.
And we�d go on.

Each night, we would repeat this scenario, only to begin again on the next eve.

I would tell him the story, His story, of how he came to be.

One time, not so long ago, there was a Birth Mommy named Marsha.

She had a baby.
That was you!

You grew inside her tummy for a long time. Then one day, when God decided it was time, you were born. Marsha loved you very much, but she did not know how to be the Mommy you needed. She had trouble taking care of you and sister Sara, and, one day, some people from the state came and took you away to a new home.

Then you lived in a foster home. This home was a temporary home, just for a little while. They could not be:

�Always and Forever�

but they cared for you, and took care of you. Later, you moved to another foster home and lived there for a year. When you lived in that home, you went to Becky�s daycare.

She was nice!

After a while, your foster Daddy died and went to heaven. Then foster Mommy could not take care of you anymore.

She got sad.

Becky loved you so much that she said, you and sister Sara could live with her for a while. Becky, and Terri, and Bobbi, and Jaime, all loved you very much;
They still do; They always will; but, they were not able to be:

�Always and Forever�

they were only able to be your family for a while. They loved you so much that they, and the state, decided that they needed to find you an �Always and Forever� family, with a Mommy, and a Daddy, and a brother.

Do you know that Mommy and Daddy wanted another little boy? We had David, but we wanted to love another little boy as well. David wanted a brother to love and play with. Then one day, the people at the state told us:

You could be our boy!
We were so happy.

Remember when we came to visit you at Becky and Terri�s? We brought you a big batman? Then we looked at pictures of our family; and our house; and our doggies; and our cars?

Now you are our son. I love you so much. You will always be my boy. I will never leave you. Nothing you say or do can ever make me let you go.

You are mine.
You are Daddy�s.
You are David�s.
We are yours.


I know you want your Other Mommy. That�s ok. It�s ok to miss her. I�m sure she misses you. But, she is happy that you have a family:

Always and Forever!

It�s ok to miss them. I know you�re sad. I�m so sorry that you feel sad.

I love you, and I�ll always be here.

These bouts of fear, grief, and rage would eventually end with crying, and sobbing. Finally, he would stop fighting my comfort, my touch, and my voice. Sometimes, he would softly mumble:

�I wish I grew in your tummy.
I don�t want to grow in Marsha�s.�
I simply said:
�Me too.�

It took many months, actually about two years, when, one day, Dalton was playing in the drive. The neighbor girl was over, jumping on our mini-tramp. Dalton was sitting in the driveway, in his swimsuit, playing with his toys, while we were washing cars,
when I heard:

�Before I was born
I grew in Mommy Marsha�s tummy.
Then I lived in a foster family.
Then I lived with Becky,
And Terri,
And Bobbi,
And Jamie.
They had two dogs and two cats!
I like cats!

He barely turned his head, but he sent me a look of confirmation.
Then, he continued to play.

�I Don�t want JESUS in my heart! Get him out! NOW!�

When Dalton came to live with us, I don�t believe he had ever gone to church. Certainly not often, and with his impulsivity, church, was an experience. The songs I knew and sang as lullabies, were all the songs I grew up hearing and singing. These were songs which my mother sang to me, songs which I learned in Sunday school, and songs I sang in choir:

Jesus Loves Me Every Day With Jesus Jesus Loves The Little Children
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest Name I Know Put Your Hand In His Hand
I Know Fill My Cup Lord I Asked The Lord Safe Am I Thank You Lord

Just to name a few. I would sing these songs over, and over again. I would sing until I was hoarse and then, still keep singing. I would sing and rock, holding and restraining his little body and soul, by wrapping his hurting self in my arms.

I would sing
and sing,
and Rock
and cry,
and Cry
and scream internally,


Tears would often stream down my face, and occasionally, Dalton would connect for a moment and touch my tears in wonder!

At times, during the day, we would talk about our Jesus songs, and church, and family, and love. I told him that Jesus lives in our hearts. He loves us, and comes to live with us, when we love him. I told him that God and Jesus made us, and that they �Adopt� us into their family, like he was �Adopted� into our family. Dalton liked this idea, and was happy and proud when he would explain to Grandma, or a perfect stranger, that Jesus lived in his heart.

Nighttimes were always the worst. When his paranoia, his fears, his grief, and his rage took over. When his brain simply ceased to function in a meaningful way. When my sweet boy was taken over by his overwhelming emotion.

There was a period of time, about a year into our adoption, where, added to the physical struggle these times always entailed, he upped the ante.

�I want Jesus out of my heart!
Get him Out!

Where did this come from? His oppositional nature? His fright? Was he just throwing this out because he thought it would make me angry? To hurt me? Or, as my mother said: Was it Satan�s demon�s possessing my child?

I gave the only response I knew:
Sweetie, when Jesus comes to live in your heart, he will always be there. You cannot send him away. Nothing you do, say, or think, will make him go away.

When you are
it is
�Always and Forever.�

I simply held him
and kept on singing,
and crying,
and praying,
and screaming internally,


Memories of our early days with David: Re: Febrile seizures�
He stopped breathing!

One day, David was only about seven or eight months old, I was at work, when I got a call from my mother:

�David stopped breathing!�

My first reaction was panic. I managed to get her to complete the statement that he was breathing again. She said she tried mouth to mouth, and then he seemed to be breathing again. She said after he was breathing again, he was stiff sandwiching all over. I told her to take him to the hospital. I remember thinking:

�Thank God�

she was there. My sister was watching him for me for a couple hours. Dorothy was only 16. Mom said that he seemed fine �now�, so she felt better waiting for me to get there. I was twenty-five minutes from home, on a good traffic day. I remember getting into the car, and driving like a �Bat out of Hell� to get home. Like any time when you are having a true emergency, there was a wreck! Traffic was slowed. Then, as I finally got past the wreck, there was a train�.. It seemed, I would never get home to my baby.

The only thoughts, other than Murphy�s Law for driving, that I can remember were:

Please God, let my baby be ok!
Please God, let my baby be ok!
Please God, let my baby be ok!
Please God, let my baby be ok!

When I got home, all I wanted to do was pick him up, squeeze him to my heart, and never let him go! Next, lay him down, look into his eyes, make sure he was �there�. Hold my ear to his chest to make sure he was still breathing. He was so hot!

I rushed him to the emergency room, only to have him go into another seizure. Evidently, David was having �Febrile Seizures�. These were explained to me as, seizures caused by his body temperature raising too quickly for his brain to handle. This fever was caused by an ear infection. They prescribed antibiotics and gave him a shot of Phenobarbital. They told me, chances were, that this was an isolated thing, and he might not have another.

If only�..

As time passed, it became abundantly clear, that David was going to have many more. We were referred to pediatric neurology at Children�s Mercy. This doctor explained to us that febrile seizures were fairly common, but usually were genetically inherited. Turns out that Gene had had some when he was little. He had been on Phenobarbital until age five. The doctor explained that this is not epilepsy and children, usually, outgrow the problem about age five.

He explained that Phenobarbital has been found to cause learning difficulties, so his recommendation was Valium for 48 hours if his temperature reached 101 degrees. David always seized at 99! He would seize before we knew he was running a temp.

As time passed, David was almost always on antibiotics due to ear infections. He would be on the antibiotics ten days, then off a week, then sick again, then more medications. He had tubes in his ears at age four. Almost all of his seizures were due to ear infections. And, almost all his seizures happened at 4:30am, in my bed. We usually had him sleep with us because he was sick.

I would wake up with him �Twitching� in the bed.
Lots of early am showers after being thrown up all over.
Ahhhhhhh, the joys of motherhood.

In addition to having a unusually low fever threshold, David had unusually long seizures. One of the earlier bouts, was a 30 minute seizure, he began to come out for about 10-15 minutes, then went back into a full-blown seizure for 90 minutes, unceasing! They did a lumbar puncture, to check for meningitis. We were told his ears were clear. However, 24 hours later, sure enough, �Ear Infection!�

I wanted to shoot the doctor who did the lumbar puncture. I swear I could hear him screaming through two closed doors and sets of walls! They told me they do not administer anesthetic to babies, because�.don�t you know?

�Babies don�t feel pain!�

Thank God, David did outgrow his tendency to have seizures. His last one was just over five years old. He was with his Daddy and Uncle, in a snowsuit in a mall parking lot!

The funny thing is, that, at the time, it did not seem David was sick all the time! It just seemed normal. Like not leaving the house without a diaper bag packed with liquid Valium in little glass vials, and apparatus to administer it rectally in case of a prolonged seizure of over 15 minutes, was normal!

It is only in retrospect, do I realize just how sick he was, and how lucky we are. I counted once. I think he had somewhere around 45-50 separate illness incidents where he seized. Some of these were more than one seizure, per incident!

Nowadays, I wonder how much all his seizures impacted his diagnosis today?� About Mr. Moon�

I remember when my David was little. You know, that inquisitive stage, when every other word out of their mouths is:

One evening, when we were driving home, he noticed the moon. Maybe I had pointed it out or brought it to his attention, I don�t remember for sure.

I used to sing a song my mother sang to us, when we were children:

Oh Mr. Moon, Moon
Bright and silvery moon
Oh won�t you please shine down on me?

Anyway, one of these times,
David noticed the moon.
He noticed that it followed us.
It kept following us:
No matter, how far we drove.
No matter, which way we turned.
No matter, where we were going.
It kept following us all the way home!

From that moment on, for years to come, and carrying on into his brother�s life, Mr. Moon has been a guardian watching over our family.

He follows us to school.
He follows us to the store.
He follows us to Grandma�s house.
He follows us to church.
He follows us on vacation.
He sits outside our windows.
He is always there.
To this day we look for Mr. Moon.
He has become a symbol to me
that God is always watching over us all.

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