September 2008

My apologies that this update is coming to you 3 months after arriving home from Taiwan. We have been super busy getting adjusted to our new little man, being parents and getting back into the swing of life on this new and wonderful road. This will be a long update because I want to provide all of the interested folks with all the wonderful details of the journey so far. So the best place to start is where we left off….Rudd in the arms of daddy for the first time…

There we were home, together at last with our precious child…and scared to death! I was drunk with jet lag and worthless. I can’t believe that jet lag has that much affect on you mentally and physically!!! Bruce was overwhelmed but ready to take on whatever he needed. He really was a natural but didn’t have confidence that he was. It was amazing watching him take care of Rudd while I was in LA LA land. The two weeks after coming home for me, was unbelievably difficult. I doubted everything and Rudd continued to want everyone but me. It was so difficult to know I had been there with him from day one to be the one he didn’t want. A perfect stranger was better than me!!! The pain and hurt was more than I could bare…My heart just continued to break and I thought I was destined to be the worst mother ever! I cried to Bruce…broke down and just said I can’t be with him right now…I can’t bare to take the rejection anymore. Bruce just listened and held me.

My mom was coming over to help with Rudd so that I could try to catch up on my sleep and get back into our normal time zone. She was in a no win situation because when she came over to help, Rudd just attached more to her and would cry like nothing else when she would leave. She knew it was hurting me but we had no choice. I finally lost it with her one day. I didn’t make it obvious but I just couldn’t bare to see Rudd so happy with her and so miserable with me…so I walked away from them and just began cleaning a house I just cleaned, over again. My mom left and I knew I had to talk to her. I called her up and told her I was sorry but I didn’t know what to do.

She knew something was wrong. She told me, “Linda I am not here for Rudd right now. I am here for you.” I cried to her that I felt like the worst mother. I told her I can’t do anything else. He just doesn’t want me. I could feel my mom’s concern over the phone. She tried to tell me I was doing everything right and that things would change. I told her I believed her….but I didn’t. The next day she came over and while Rudd was napping we had a long and much needed talk. We went back to my own childhood and how I had rejected her when I was younger. She had been through exactly what I was going through…and the pain that I felt after knowing, now first hand, how I made her feel was more than I could bare. I saw my mom like I had never seen her before. I have always respected and admired her but this was different…I was looking at her and thinking back to all of our years and memories and I can not think of a more strong, smart, beautiful woman than her…and she was my mother! I knew what kind of kid I was and I knew the pain I had caused her. (not on purpose…just being a brat kid) And well…that was a turning point for me. I knew I had a job to do…and whether I was going to get the type of affection I wanted from Rudd…I had to do what I had to do. I dried my tears and pushed up my sleeves and said to myself, “Linda, you have a child in the other room who is hurting more than you could dream of…and you need to set your needs aside and think of his and if it takes a life time…well it will just take a life time!” The role my parents have played in this journey is more than anything I can describe to you. Not only were they physically there for us during our actual trip…but the parenting they did from day one has prepared me for this….the knowledge and support they provide now is just amazing.

So I began the process of giving Rudd everything he needed. I lined up a meeting with our psychologist for help with attachment issues, we got him an appointment with a physician, we studied and watched what his likes and dislikes were and got him support through the state for language and speech development. We shut the world out and put all of our focus on letting Rudd get to know us. We gave him his favorite foods and all of the things that made him feel comfortable. We played non stop and did everything we could that we had been told would help with his transition and attachment.

FYI…to first time parents…be prepared for the first doctors appointment. We had only been home about 2 weeks and well having to be naked in front of strangers while being poked and pushed is just about more than little Rudd could take and of course we are in the room letting this happen to him. Then the blood had to be taken…and we thought that would be the worst of it….not so much! In came 2 nurses and they instructed Bruce to hold Rudd a certain way that would ensure not a muscle could move. Rudd of course was freaking out…and so was mommy!!! We were not prepared for the “double shot” move…YES TWO SHOTS GOING IN HIS LEGS AND ARMS AT THE SAME TIME! We heard a frequency come out of him that I think could have waken the dead! Not only was he crying…but mom was balling her eyes out! It took everything I had to not yank him away from them and run as fast as I could out the door! He ended up getting 12 shots that day, blood drawn, eyes and ears checked, a TB test, urine test and well there might have been more…but we all passed out after getting home and we thought for sure he would never come near us after that!

Rudd continued to be “ok” with us but preferred anyone else to us. He was happy for us to let him be with other people and cried when we took him back. He tolerated us but challenged us all the time. About a month after being home we introduced the time out chair. A GOD SENT!!!! We never made it a big production and we never kept him in there longer than 2-3 minutes but let me tell you…he responded immediately to it. We were so afraid to do it because we felt it would keep him further from us but it was quite the opposite…he wanted the structure…he wanted to know boundaries. We could tell a change immediately when we started using the time out chair. Then we began holding him accountable to a few things that we knew he knew…and well…it worked!

About 6 weeks after coming home Rudd was really starting to respond to me. He was still not anywhere near close to completely opening up to me…but the door that was shut was now cracked. However, now I had to go back to work. I was so worried that I would lose him and we would back track…but things remained consistent. Bruce is working out of the house so that one of us is always with him. We realized, however, that he needed more stimulus than we could provide and he had been diagnosed with a speech delay and with the direction of our psychologist and the state, we decided to place him a part time pre-school. It is 4 days a week for 3 hours a day. We knew he would love it…and we just knew he would be happy to be dropped off and cry when we came to pick him up. I was not worried in the least about doing this. His first day we are all happy and get him ready and he is happy to be going anywhere….we get to the school and he is super curious about what this place is about. The kids start rolling in and we tell him Bye Bye….he reached for us and started to cry like you wouldn’t believe. THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME HE CRIED FOR US!!!!! We didn’t know what to do! I wanted to just grab him and not let go….So the teacher told us to just walk away…that he would be ok. So we walked away while he was not looking. In his back pack was his favorite pillow and pacifier in case the teachers couldn’t console him…we knew those two things would calm him. I had the worst feeling in my heart. Bruce went home and I drove around town just thinking about what had happened. Then I got this sick feeling inside… “what if he thinks we just dropped him off and are not coming back?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The setting was similar to the place we had gotten him and we left him with the two items he was left with, the pillow and pacifier!!! I went back to the school and met a friend there and tried my best to not go into the classroom. The person who heads the program came out and said Rudd had a tough day…and that was about it for me. The other mothers were starting to roll in and I had decided…that’s it…I am going in. Bruce was already on his way back to the school and as I was getting ready to go into the classroom when he showed up. We walked in a saw Rudd sitting with a teacher on the floor on her lap with another kid. He was facing the opposite direction so he couldn’t see us. Bruce slowly walked over to him and I will never for as long as I live forget the look on our child’s face! His face was swollen from crying and he looked pitiful! He looked up at Bruce and had a look of shock and disbelief!!! He didn’t think we were coming back and he couldn’t believe we were here!!! He cried a different cry when Bruce took him like total relief!!!! We held him and never wanted to let him go. We felt like the worst parents in the world! But we knew in our guts this was the right thing to do. The next days that followed, Rudd cried at the drop off…but gradually got better during class….then after about a week…something happened. He started becoming super affectionate and he finally “let us in”. He has been amazing!!!! He loves school and no more tears and he has become this whole new even more amazing child. He finally realizes we are mommy and daddy and he can’t stop sharing his feelings and emotions with us. He prefers us to others and shows caution now when strangers approach. He comes to us when he is hurt, scared, happy, excited, confused…you name it.

Rudd has been introduced to his extended family, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, neighbors, co-workers and friends. He now knows our “inner circle” and everyone has fallen in love with the little guy. He is comfortable with the people that mean the most to us and that means the world to us that we can now share him with the ones we love. It was really difficult to stay locked up for that first month or so…but it truly was best for him…and for us.

So we feel we have accomplished a great deal in these past three months but still have lots more to work on. Our big focus right now is getting him up to speed on language. He understands everything we say…to the point of really complicated things…but is not yet to the point of speaking. He has about 15 words that he says in “play” but he doesn’t really use words in conversation. Everyone we have worked with has said that it will come and with his speech therapist and going to pre-school everyone feels it will come with time so we are not stressing over it. We are still focusing on helping him to feel confidents and loved. We are big into providing him a consistent routine and making things predictable. We are also focusing on his creative side which is amazing…this kid IS SMART!!!! I know all parents say that about their children…and we are no different. HA HA! So this is a good place to share some of the things that he does that have left us in tears of laughter or melted our hearts. Enjoy!

·Reads the paper like his daddy…rustling the paper and everything…hilarious!

·Reads his books standing up like a Baptist southern preacher…he speaks gibberish but he is passionate and meaningful when he does it….we have it on video…priceless!

·Directs us on what music to play in the car…this is serious for him…if we don’t play the music he likes…there will be tears!

·Can mimic almost all of Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber. Now I realize this isn’t the best movie for kids…but when you see him do Jim Carey its amazing!!!!

·We started doing the “1, 2, 3” blow out the “candle” which is his light when he goes to bed…and now he thinks if he blows hard enough things will turn off and on…HA HA…too cute!

·He LOVES LOVES to talk on the phone. Again its gibberish but he is very serious about it and will talk to you for as long as you will stay on there.

·He is still all about buttons and electronics…if it makes a noise, lights up, has buttons, or clicks or switches…he wants it and wants to figure it out…then he is done with it.

·His favorite toys are things that are not toys. We finally made a bag full of little things we had around the house like poker chips, plastic containers, old keys on a key chain, old wallets, discount cards, coasters and well it keeps him busy for hours. He just wants to take things out…and put them back.

·He loves to have choices…if we make anything a choice…we just upped the excitement factor….clothes, food, places to go, toys, chores…you name it…make it a “this or that”…and he is all about it.

·He loves kisses and hugs….he wants to be held and told he is loved. He responds to being praised…he wants to do a good job. He really wants to be a good kid. He doesn’t want to disappoint us…its obvious that all the love this little man has is coming out…and he has enough for everyone. If you are one of the lucky ones that gets to have him in your life…he will immediately steal your heart and every time he sees you…he will remember you and open his arms to exchange his love and excitement. He wants to make you laugh and smile…it seems to be his goal in life right now.

·The guy has a high pain tolerance. He is doesn’t seem to be affected by falls and things that you normally see in other kids. He just gets up and brushes off and moves on. He got stung by a bee at the fair as soon as we got there…and we are freaking out because we didn’t know if he was allergic. He just rubbed it a little and was like “ok get me on those rides already!!!” If I had gotten stung I would have cried my eyes out!!!

·He picks up all his toys and puts them away…he eats his food with little fussing…he enjoys his bath time and goes to bed with no issues. He wakes up super happy and ready to take on the world.

·Oh and I AM MOMMIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, the neighbor isn’t momma, daddy isn’t momma, the tree isn’t momma, the dog isn’t momma, the teacher isn’t momma, the strange man in Wal-Mart isn’t momma….its ME!!!!! And to be honest…it means much more knowing I had to earn it from him. I am so proud of him for not just giving me the name because he was told to. He did it on his terms…on his time. And that is Rudd summed up. He is a good kid that has had everything taken from him and although things may appear nicer here…he is not going to just lie down and say ok. He is going to feel things out…he is going to make you earn his trust…he is going to hold you accountable to what you say and do….and then…he will let you in. And I love that about him. So title of mom is not taken lightly….we might have adopted him and been given the legal right to call him our son…but Rudd was not going to let us have that right until he was ready…and I get that now. For a 2 ½ year old…he is already making mom so proud at how brave and resilient he is.

So what does the future hold? We are going to have formal family portraits done in November with in my opinion the best photographer in the world, David Clapp. He did our wedding and I have waited and waited for the day he would take pictures of our new family. So we are looking so forward to seeing what he captures!

The thing I have most looked forward to is sharing Thanksgiving in Hilton Head with our child. Our entire family goes down there for a week of just hanging out and enjoying each other and this is where my family took us when we were kids. It has been so difficult over the years to go down there each year thinking this will be the last year without our child…and this year will be our first year with our little man and I am excited beyond words!!!

Our first Christmas!!!! Linda is going all out with decorations! I did nothing last year just so I would be that more excited to do it! I am actually going to cook and we are looking forward to having our first Christmas in our home with our family! This will be a first…and soooo special!!!

So….there you have it. I made a video of our trip to Taiwan and it is amazing to watch it. It is so hard to believe it was only 3 months ago. We feel like we have had him forever!!! This has been just the most amazing journey for us. We were just Bruce and Linda for 10 years….just going through life doing our thing…then here comes this little amazing child into our lives…and well it is just more than words can ever express. It is true what people say…your life will never be the same once you have children….you give up pedicures and nights out with your friends, you don’t have time to change your outfit 20 times in the morning, you stop buying name brand items for yourself so you can buy the good stuff for your kids, your conversations are about the cool stuff he did today instead of work and American Idol, instead of humming the latest hot song on the radio you are humming “the wheels on the bus” and “A B C “ song, you do laundry everyday instead of once a month, spaghettios find their way back into your pantry, and you realize chocolate milk is more important to have than Budweiser, at the end of the day the only thing sexy about you is….well there is nothing sexy about you at the end of the day HA HA!, sleeping in is not 12 but rather 8:30 and last but not least you realize that nothing you did before no matter how much fun it was is better than what you have now….although I would like my pedicures back…HA HA!!!!

Thank you again to everyone who has been interested in our journey and all of the wonderful comments and support that have been given to us. We know we have not made this journey alone and we love you all!!! Enjoy the pictures…I wish I could include them all…these are just a few of our favorites over the past 3 months!!


Grandma Mildred and Papa Joe meeting Rudd for the first time!

Mommie and Rudd happy to be home!!

Rudd learning guitar hero...he is a natural!

Daddy and Rudd taking the dogs out! Rudd has his own dog he takes out....he did this all on his own.

Daddy and Rudd reading the news paper...again...Rudd did this on this own...TOOO CUTE!

Balloons were waiting for Rudd at his Grandparents house for Rudd Day with the family!

Granddaddy and Grandma Patton giving pony rides to Rudd and his cousin Charles

Enjoying a meal with his Godparents Steve and Ashley!

Enjoying the outdoors on a hike with Daddy!

First day of school...ready to go...back pack carrying his pillow and pacifier.

Oh those Cheeks!!!!

Cousins enjoying the rides at the fair!

Grandma, Daddy and Rudd taking it all in!

Daddy and Rudd playing in the river!

Mommy and Rudd getting play groceries!

Mommy and Rudd playing busy at work!

Rudd reading to Mommy and Grandparents!!

Cousins Elizabeth and Charles meet Rudd for the first time and become instant friends!

God mother Ashley playing bank teller with Rudd.

Mommy LOVES Rudd!!!!

Mommy and Rudd

Enjoying the rides

Shoot'em up!!!

Rudd gets to enjoy
cotton candy for the first time!!!

A three makes Family!


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