Tuesday, September 17, 2013

SOS

I'm sending out this cry for help as I simply don't know what else to do right now...

1) Sleep - I'm not getting any. I mentioned in my last post that Samuel will not sleep without his body wrapped around mine. That is still true but since then Samuel is refusing to get in his bed at all, even when I'm in bed with him. Shortly after I hit publish on my last post Samuel woke up crying because I wasn't there and now I think he's scared that if he falls asleep in his bed with me that I'm going to leave him there alone. I rock him in the living room and wait until he's fast asleep before trying to move him but the second we enter his room he knows it and his whole body tenses up and he starts to scream and cry. Try sleeping on a recliner with a 50 pound weight on your chest... It just doesn't work. The night before last the two of us ended up spending the night on the couch, which is half the size of his single bed! This is just not sustainable. At this point I would be prepared to let him cry it out with me in bed beside him but I live in an appartment and his fits are loud (think torture chamber screaming) and long (1 hour +) and I can't have him waking up the whole building in the middle of the night...

2) His fits - He's having more and more of these every day which consist of ear piercing screams which last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Sometimes they seem to be triggered by not getting what he wants (like when he wanted to eat raw eggs or put dish soap on his spaghetti) one started yesterday afternoon when I sat on his bed and invited him to come look at a book with me and then he had one at 2:00 this morning when he woke up crying for no obvious reason. His fits start with crying but turn into the kind of screaming that you would expect if he were in serious pain along with kicking, thrashing about, etc. He wants to be held and will cuddle with me for a minute but then pull back and start thrashing again. I've wondered if he is in fact in pain but he doesn't seem to be grabbing at anywhere on his body and is fine the rest of the time. It seems to me that these fits are fear based which absolutely breaks my heart. Everything I try to do to distract/comfort him only makes things worse so I just sit with him on my lap, pray and wait it out. As hard as this is, I know this is part of his grieving process and am not shocked by this. What I did not anticipate however was how difficult this would be in an apartment. I'm sure half the building can hear him and I'm just waiting for someone to complain to the landlord or call child protection services...

3) Eating - My son has pretty much stopped eating. Samuel has been sick since Saturday with a runny nose, fever and vomiting so the eating may be related to that but he hasn't vomited since Saturday night and his fever broke yesterday morning so I'm starting to get worried. He's saying no when I ask him if he wants pretty much everything we have in the house and when he finally does say yes, once I've prepared it he changes his mind and refuses to eat it. I feel that this too may be emotional. Yesterday all he ate was a handful of goldfish crackers and a couple bites of spaghetti... At what point should I be worried about this???

Well, there you have it. I knew this was going to be hard but I guess I had a false sense of optimism after how well Samuel did in Hanoi. If any of you have any suggestions based on your experiences with your own adopted children, I would certainly be open. More than anything though, I could really use your prayers. What we really need right now is some divine intervention. Please pray that Samuel would experience God's peace and His comfort and that God would give me the wisdom, strength, grace and patience to help my son through this difficult time.

10 comments:

hoonew said...

Our son was 2.5 when we adopted him, and we went through 6 months of rages. Tantrums doesn't seem like the right word. We had never seen anything like it. His strength was superhuman, and I was stumped as to what to do. I couldn't hold him- he fought me off. He didn't want me to leave his side, but didn't want me next to him. He repeated the same phrase (in Russian) over and over- it was non-sensical, and had nothing to do with the situation at hand. Usually I couldn't figure out any trigger at all. I just tried to tell him I loved him, and kept approaching him, and then he would settle down, after a long while.

Now it is much better, and in retrospect, he was just terrified, couldn't speak the language, missed his former home- all good reasons to freak out. He's a great son. Hang in there.

Chantal, Zackary et Cie said...

Have you tried Melatonine to help him get to sleep at night ?
My daughter was sleeping on me for about 5-6 weeks. Now she only does her nap on me. She can bare being in MY bed now without being all over me. Melatonine helped. There is also Nervita, an homeopathic medicine that you could give him.

Have you tried moving a matress in another room ? First important thing is that you need to get some good sleep. And try putting some music, that could also help him relax.

Good luck to you !

JML said...

My prayer is with you. This is an extremely hard time. And I can really identify and sympathize with you. I have been there and done that (except not in an apt.) Prayer is the best answer I have. I wish I had tons of advice having gone through very similar reactions from our daughter when we brought her home from Russia at the age of 5. And I hate to tell you this, but for our daughter it was like this everyday for 2 and half months. I am no expert, but I would guess that the eating issue will resolve itself quickly. Most kids who haven't been abused and starved, will not starve themselves willingly. Just keep offering food and liquids. Maybe even leaving it out where he can get it at anytime. I personally wouldn't let him manipulate you into making lots of different things and then he doesn't eat them. Make something and offer it and if he doesn't eat it, keep it sitting out (unless of course it would spoil) and let him see he can get it anytime. But I wouldn't make something else. I think on that point he needs to see you will always give him food, but that he can't manipulate you into whatever he says. Now if he had eating issues before coming home or if he has had very little food all his life you might need some expert help. It seemed the routine of life helped us as well as just lots of reassurance during her fits that we loved her and being gentle but firm with not letting her hurt herself or anything else. He needs you to be in control. Hope you have friends and family to pray with and for you.

Rob Nalle said...

Andrea = Are you on FB?? E-mail me!! covenantb@yahoo.com - I am in a group of moms/dads who are in the trenches as you are. We support each other - help each other... Come join!!

Julia Nalle

Ruthann said...

Praying for you and your son. I don't have any great advice. I know if I could go back to when we brought Lucas home, I would do so much differently. But in which way, I'm not sure. I think I was told once that if a child eats as many tablespoons a day as they are years old, that they can be sustained without your worry. Offer any fluid he will drink though, that's the most important. Love him through his grief, as you have been. I will be praying for you!

lizzielou said...

Andrea email me. Faith did a lot of the same things and I could help you. elisabeth.schaap@videotron.ca

Praying hard for you both, I know how hard it can be xoxoxo

Dashers said...

Do you have any support close to you? Are there any adoption support groups you could call? Adoption the first six months is really tough! It is even harder as a single! Does Samuel speak his native language? If he does could you find someone to speak with him to assure him and maybe translate for you. When he is sick is he drinking fluids? If he is getting fluids he will probably be okay with out food and will probably eat when he is really hungry. Maybe some of the food issues are part of his grieving? Could you take him to a family doctor for a check up? What about meeting your neighbors that are closest to your apartment? Maybe write a simple letter telling your story. Dealing with his fits is much harder if you are worried about what the neighbors are going to do. I can not stress enough how important it is to not try to do it all on your own. You need to find someone who is supportive of what you are doing. It does get better but it takes awhile! I wish so much there was something I could do to help you! Amy Dasher

Chantal said...

I just finished hosting an older wonderful boy from Ukraine - 13 years old. No special needs. It is a big shock for them and we can't underestimate the fear and shock they are going through. Even the 13 year old wanted to know where I slept and he didn't want to sleep in a room alone. Samuel did well in Hanoi because it was still his culture. I think right now you are the only thing familiar and thus his comfort.
Prayers that he feels safe soon.

Anonymous said...

Andrea - I agree with Dashers - connect with your neighbours simply to explain your situation. JM is right about the food. If you are really concerned with his intake - they do have Pediasure (meal supplement) until his full appetite is restored. Some ideas for sleeping. Sleeping options - what are your thoughts on bringing a sleeping bag/cot or matress into his room, and sleeping on the floor beside him - eventually graduating to sitting at the door until he is asleep. he may be used to always having someone close by at night so this may take him sometime to move past it. Night lights throughout the house may work if he seems fearful of the dark; I've had to invest in a fan that made just enough noise to create white noise to block out the creaks, cracks and traffic for my guy. Another idea - body pillows can create a warm "body" feeling to replace your warm body; or a "stuffy" - stuffed animal or blanket he can start to work on self soothing when he becomes more comfortable in the environment.
My heart breaks for this little man - so many changes, he's adjusting to a whole news way of life. Oh and you too sweetie! He is definitely making life interesting for you. Lol
Combining all the changes, along with the illness and no appetite - this could definitely be contributing to all the behaviours you are seeing.
I have more strategies - email me if you want to start a support chain. I can only imagine what you are going through.
Praying for you both as you work through this :)
Cecilia

Anonymous said...

Keep trusting in God my friend. He is faithful. Keep praying without ceasing. I wish I had other advice for you but I will PRAY for you Andrea and for Samuel to receive the peace the surpasses all understanding. Love you lots, Jenny