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
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
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
·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
·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
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
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