The Adoption Journey of Chris and Lydia Bischoff
Monthly Archives: July 2012

Weeks 2 & 3

by Lydia

In our training, one of the things New Horizons told us is that, typically, Week 2 is the hardest week as that is when the kids start to really test you, push the boundaries and see what you’ll do. I couldn’t even imagine that happening with our sweet children. They also told us Week 1 was the “Honeymoon” phase. The only thing they were wrong about is that testing would take up a good part of week 3, as well, hence no blog update until now. :-)

Testing is common for every child, but it takes on another dimension when the child and parents speak different languages and don’t have a history together, or when the boundaries and expectations of the child have been few and far between in the past. We’ve dealt with physical aggression, complete shut down/blocking, pouting, screaming (just ask our downstairs neighbor who has come upstairs to complain a couple of times),  jealousy, accusations of favoritism, and complete melt-downs. I’ve done some new things, as well, like issued my first “timeouts” and other things, as well. It’s been a ride!

In the midst of it all, we’ve gone to the zoo and to the dentist. The snakes were a big hit, as were feeding the birds. This was the first time I saw K smile all day, and what a smile!

I was a bit worried going to the dentist. I had heard stories about other kids needing multiple fillings and extractions, and had visions of us visiting the dentist 2 times a week for the rest of their time here. I’m so happy to say that they had such a great report that they didn’t need ANY work done! X-rays were clear and after a cleaning, they were good to go! Woohoo!

One of the things we’ve discovered is that there is extreme competition and jealousy between them. This really comes out at the pool. If Chris or I are playing with one, the other gets mad or aggressive because they are jealous. I also think they’re not used to spending so much time together. One of the things that has seriously helped us this week is that D has been going to Cheer Camp for 3-4 hours in the mornings. This has allowed K to sleep in (which he seriously needs) and given us some time to hang out on our own. So they’ve had time apart and one-on-one time. K and I have been bowling and to the putt-putt course this week, so it’s been really good for him!

In spite of this, we’re learning a lot. The following is something Chris shared with some friends of ours who are also hosting, and I thought it would give some insight in to where we are right now.

I was just reading this morning in Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, and in Chapter 9, the Levites prayed a long prayer after the walls had been reconstructed, reminding themselves and everyone of the miraculous things God had done for them. Verses 16-21 really struck me about God’s character; how long-suffering, gracious, and merciful He is with us… and I believe that this is how we are to be with these little ones who try our patience by reverting to their orphan ways (like “returning to their slavery in Egypt”). At this point, they don’t know any better. It’s what they’ve had to do to survive. But as they rebel against the love we give them (mostly because they don’t understand how else to react or how to accept this love), we need to be long-suffering, gracious, and merciful to not show any “shadow of turning” in our love towards them. Only then will they begin to understand that they no longer have to survive as orphans, but they can thrive as sons and daughters of the High King.


Week 1

by Lydia

It’s hard to believe the kids have been here for over a week already! Then again, some days it feels like it’s been a month. :-) We’ve had the normal ups and downs of family life with preteens. We’ve gone from quiet, reserved, polite and shy, to the two of them fighting, yelling, rough-housing, pouting… and back to fun, bonding, and laughter. Whew. I had about 36 hours where I wanted to just pull my hair out and hide in the closet and cry, but things have gotten better since then.

Our days have been full of swimming, and this glowing white Buckeye has a tan for the first time in probably close to 30 years. The kids have gotten better about using sunscreen -something rare in LV, but so essential in TX. It did take a pretty painful burn for them to accept it, though. K also has chosen to wear a rashguard/swimshirt instead of smearing sunblock all over this shoulders and back. He’s a great swimmer and can do tricks off the diving board, as well. He’s so anxious to please Chris and lights up when he sees or hears him come home after work.

They both love to help… cook, shop, unlock the door, slide the debit card, vacuum… anything new. They also enjoy playing Wii and watching “Shaun the Sheep” and “Wallace and Grommet.” They’ve started making friends with our BFFs and their family, and love to play at their house, especially when it contains a water fight. And singing together before bed has become routine in our house. We’ve ramped up the English, as Latvian had become our household language, and I think they understand a lot more than they even thought they knew.

Yesterday I remembered the relaxing joy of having my hair brushed as a child, so after the pool, D let me brush her hair… and wouldn’t let me stop for about a 1/2 hour. Then during singing time last night (when she begins to get silly and such), I sat at the foot of her bed and rubbed her feet. She’d never been so quiet for so long. K wanted his done too, but couldn’t handle it because he’s too ticklish. :-) Just as we were saying goodnight, a good TX thunderstorm rolled through. It’s rare to have them in LV and they were both genuinely scared. I remembered feeling like that as a child, as well, so Chris and I brought our pillows into their room to “sleep” on the floor until they were out. D feel asleep with Chris holding her hand. K was shuddering with every clap of thunder, so I asked him if he wanted to lay on the floor between us. He couldn’t get there fast enough. He was out 10 mins later. Even 13-year-olds need to feel safe and protected from a thunderstorm.

Settling In

by Lydia

The past few days have been interesting, to say the least. K & D are very shy and quiet, especially around people they don’t know (which is everyone, at this point) and at meal times. They’ve started to loosen up around us, becoming playful and talking to us, which is great.

Unfortunately, I think us knowing Latvian has become a hindrance, though, as we’re speaking a whole lot more Latvian than English. Today is Day 4, and I hope to start more of a routine with them. I’ve discovered that they LOVE to swim and would nearly live at the pool if they could (hence the sunburns we all have). So, yesterday when they fought me on studying English, I told them we wouldn’t be going to the pool until after our English lesson. We’ll see how that goes today. :-)

We have gotten them out into the world, as well. Saturday we hit Academy to buy shoes, sunglasses and water bottles. K has a mind of his own and in a sports store the size of a Super WalMart, he could only find one pair of shoes he liked. (Thankfully they were fairly close to our price range.) D could easily become a shopping Diva. She tried on almost every pair of sunglasses they had and then picked out some for me. :-) She also loves the credit card machines and always wants to be the one to slide the card and push the buttons on the touch pad. We also went to Target to exchange some clothes I bought. They both did fairly well at picking out some things. D is all girl, loving pink and purple and skirts with shorts. K is fairly preppy in his style, which is ok by me… I was scared he would be a “pants on the ground” kind of guy, but he’s not. We’ve also made it to Chick-fil-a, which they loved, and we learned a lesson about caffeine for dinner!

They are sweet kids who obviously care about each other deeply. They rough-house and fight, and then help and protect each other. It’s been so interesting to watch and be a part of it all. D is coming out of her shell a bit faster than K. She’s helped me cook, we’ve painted each others nails (she choose the color… egads!), and after Chris finished putting aloe lotion on the kid’s sunburns, she decided he needed it on his face and arms too, and proceeded to do that for him. Small things, but huge in this kind of situation. K and Chris are starting to click more… I haven’t seen either of them laugh as much as they were yesterday playing Wii!

Our bedtime ritual is still working through some kinks, but the part we all enjoy is singing together. They know worship songs from camp in Latvia, so we’ve started choosing 2 or 3 songs to sing together before they go to bed. What a great way to leave thoughts of the Lord on their mind as they go to sleep.

There are more photos on Facebook, so if you’re on there, be sure to friend me. :-)  Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement! They are so precious to us!!!

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