Friday, May 25, 2012

6 months home!!! (Logan)

I saved this one for last.  Why?  One b/c I wasn't sure what all to write.  Wasn't sure if everyone was ready for those true, raw feelings about how we felt about our son.  What we even contemplated doing at one point as it was that bad.  But, this is a story worth telling.  It is about a leap of faith in the adoption world.  It is about trust and about love. It is about perseverance and so much more.  So, that is why I must lay it all out there.  Others need to know that things can look so horrible, so grim, so bad yet can turn around w/ the right kind of parenting/ family.  I know now why these kids were passed over so many times.  Why that even w/a sizable grant attached to them, no one wanted them.  First time we saw the video of Logan & Reni we just couldn't understand why no one would ever want to even entertain the idea of them becoming their children.  It just blew me away.  Who would not want these two?  that's neither here nor there.  This is about just how far Logan has come.

I'll start w/ the second trip.  The pick up trip.  The one that is supposed to be a joyous occasion.  I...think...NOT!!!  It was horrifying. I am not going to sugar coat this one single bit.  You need to know. I know I told a little of what was going on.  But I like to be home a bit before I tell the whole story.  So, here goes nothing.  On the medicals, we were told he had epilepsy.  fine.  Told he was mentally challenged.  Fine.  Delayed.  Fine.  Told he was on anti-psychotics, begging in the streets, lying, stealing, etc.  Wow!  Really??  Once we met him though, we knew better.  Yet, it's always in the back of your mind.  It is.  On the second trip, he was opposite of what we had met and we were wondering what to do.  Do we go through with this?  You do realize you can change your mind even that late in the game.  And this may sound horrible to some of you.  I think the new ones need though to hear the FULL story of where we were, why we kept moving forward, etc.  I can almost guarantee you, another family would have disrupted him right then and there in Sofia.  We did not.  We couldn't.  Despite all the horrible things he'd done, we were in this for the long haul.  Shoot, we'd raised two RADishes already.  We could handle this kid surely.  Right?  Well, day two into it, we were questioning ourselves big time. 

Let me tell you a little of what Logan did.  Kept hurting his sister by punching her, not listening, running away (literally down the street!), took a knife to his sister at a restaurant, lying, tried to steal hospital donations, kicked a cane out from an elderly gentleman, yelling at protesters, saying nasty things, trying to order vodka/ beer at restaurants, telling Summer to smack people on the butt in the police station no less, and the list could go on forever.   You get the general idea I'm sure.  A mess is an understatement. 

This is a picture of him rinsing out his mouth.  If Reni looks shell shocked it's b/c it's 2am the night before we fly 4am!  URGHH!!  He couldn't get a reaction out of us when we separated him from his sister so he decided he should up the anty and pull one of his teeth out.  Now, it was not at all ready to come out.  It bled for 2 hours.  I think at this point Reni wanted to hurt him.  LOL.  We all sadly were feeling not much love for him at the time when he kept doing one bad thing after another.  That may not be what you want to hear but I said I'd be honest.  It was hard.  It was a very hard pick up trip.  
Could we handle this?  What was he doing?  Was he really that bad as they said?  What's going on?  There were only two of us mind you and Summer had her own set of issues as you recall.  Honestly, we needed a third person to help us.  That is my biggest regret on that trip.  Anyhow, I chalked it up to him testing limits.  How much could I get away with type stuff.  Why did I say it was that?  Because at some moments,  you could see a nice kid trying to help.  Yet, years at an older kids' home had taken their toll on our son.  We needed a plan in place.  We called home and set things in motion as to how they were to act, we needed massive help, etc.  Warren was to handle ONLY Logan on the plane and I would tend to the two girls and the other papers and such.  The plane ride itself for us could have been made into a movie.  No kidding. 

Get home.  I wanted the natural pecking order to take place.  Kids asked if they should let Logan win.  I specifically said no.  Treat him like your other mercy. LOL.  See, Logan was a bully.  That's just a fact.  Thought he was better than everyone else.  Better at soccer, better at arm wrestling, etc.  Keep in mind, he is little for his age.  Most older kids are when they come home from years in an orphanage.  We took all technology away.  He wanted to go to gambling sites.  Ripe old age of 11yo.  He was computer savvy.  We knew that had to go right away.  See here at our home, only the older teens have technology.  Max has his own computer.  Irina has the ipod touch.  Yana will be making a purchase of one of those two items soon.  Bojan has a tablet.  Yana had one but it got burned.  Melted.  None of the others have technology except for some cameras and mp-3 players.  We had to strip him down to basics.  He need food, clothing, shelter.  Period.  No extras.  No mementos.  Nothing.  He needed to learn and learn quickly, we were his family, we loved him, we would not send him away and essentially he was stuck with us.  The quicker he could learn that, the quicker he'd be able to mesh w/ the family. 

What would make you even more crazy was the looks Logan could manage when first home.  Very smug.  Laugh when he was in trouble.  Let me explain the laughing part as some of you may not know.  It's a coping mechanism for older PI kids b/c many truly don't understand various emotions.  Their lack of understanding of it makes it difficult b/c truly as new parents, you don't know what they don't know or what they're trying to get away with.  After 10 kids though, all PI kids, we know.  No fooling mom and dad.  He learned quickly.  Not too many fits.  He did not have rages.  He is not RAD.  Yes, in the beginning he had those behaviors but clearly was not RAD and I knew that from the get go.  His were purely testing limit behaviors to see if mom and dad would still want him.  We did.  We knew there was a good kid in there but peeling away that rotten onion was a test of strength like no other.  Yes,  you want to give up.  Know we can't.  And for us, we can thankfully see the end results.  Visualize it.  Many parents can not.  I know years ago it was hard for us to see the forest through the trees.  So hard to not know if the end result would be a positive one.  We put Alex in a lead role which at the time helped Logan.  And Alex for that matter.  

Fast forward from all that to 6 months later.  We are here.  We have arrived.  Logan listens.  Yes, he still gets in trouble but it's more typical 11yo boy behavior versus the other stuff.  He helps out.  He is very healthy.  Only issue is the color blindness.  Severe color blindness.  His siblings help him out with that.  He plays soccer.  He's learning along w/ the rest of them.  He's reading, knows the alphabet and has some science facts down that we've been doing.  He is much more tolerant of women.  Oh, forgot that part.  Even the driver said no, he won't listen to women and gave a chuckle.  They still think over there that women are some how lower than men in many areas.  Women can't do this or that.  They were shocked ot see a woman police officer here.  Logan about fell over when I told him Alyona and Reni are indeed allowed to play soccer.  He is now used to women being allowed to do many things.  Logan has learned he is not in charge.  He has learned there are consequences for his actions.  He has learned that Alex is not always the best example to follow.  He idolizes his brothers but it will take time for Max and Bojan to come around.  Max and Bojan's bond is so tight that making room for a "new member" is difficult.  They're working on it.  Bojan is a lot better about it.  Max still has a ways to go.  Logan has learned that people here will help him and not hurt him.  He is learning that he does not have to be the bully any more.  He can be kind.  Logan has a passion for soccer and excels at it.  I am still unsure of putting him on a higher level league next year.  We'll see.  I can go into a store now and not have to worry about whether or not Logan will steal something.  He won't.  He doesn't hoard money around here any more.  He returns it if he finds it.  He's gotten nicer to Reni.  Not to say they still don't have it out from time to time but it's normal sibling fighting.  There have been many, many positive changes in Logan in the last 6 months.  Yes, we still have some work to do.  But, not nearly as much as it was when he first came home.  Honestly, in the beginning I thought it would take at least 6 to 8 months to even get a sense of normalcy.  However, it happened much, much quicker than I anticipated.  

I did not tell all this to scare you or say don't adopt older kids.  I really and truly wanted you to see the before & after in just a few short months.  I know many would have rushed to a therapist right away.  No.  They simply need a little time to get to know what exactly a family is and what their part is in that family.  We are very proud Logan has learned as much as he had in such a short time.  It was a 180 for sure.  He still tries to get away w/ stuff but so do his siblings.  We are learning more and more about their history as they speak much more English now.  I'm going to start writing some of it down.  Some is hard to listen to.  Some is really expected coming from an older children's home.  Their home was much better than most.  However, you have 17/ 18yo's with 8 and 9 yo's and well, that can lead to disaster at times.  Logan is a sweetheart.  He really is.  His smile is contagious.  He has manners now.  They came here, there were NO social skills.  We forget that sometimes.  At camp, he couldn't find the forks so he was using his hands.  They didn't known how to open a milk carton.  No manners when first home.  None.  All that has vanished.  I can only imagine his progress at a year.  Our story may not be typical but I think you'd be surprised.  I've heard many similar over the last 12 years in the adoption community.  Despite our rough beginnings w/ Logan, his future is unwritten.  He will easily fit in with society and with the right guidance, do very well.  It really is amazing what a family can do for these kids.  As well as what love can do.  I knew deep down, there was an awesome, awesome kid inside.


  1. I'm pretty sure that in a few years, you will have to peel the girls off this handsome and bright young man. He's going to be a chick magnet.

  2. It IS amazing what love can do in a child who never knew what family life is. I'm so glad you followed through with the adoption! I do have a question about that. If you had decided to not adopt him, would that mean leaving Reni, as well? Is it a package deal with siblings? (I say that with humor! Kids are not something you buy!) All 3 of the Newbies are appearing to have settled in really well. I noticed on a photo in a different post...the photo was Max holding Summer. You wrote that he was spoiling her or something to that effect. It was written under the photo, but as I read that post, I saw the photo first and my immediate thought was "Oh, how he loves his Baby Sister!". And, then I read what you wrote. He really isn't spoiling her, is he? I think he's giving and she is actually receiving Love! She has come SO FAR since your first trip! I find their relationship to be very special. Max is a shining star in my opinion! Your children come from tough places, yet they ALL are beautiful and bright. You are a Blessed Mama! Hugs ~ Jo