These two boys are different as night and day. But they are not different in their slow adjustment to family life. Pauly pictured smiling, will generally allow a photograph to be taken. But Julius-pictured with Hope, will avoid having his picture taken at all cost.
Sometimes when I read other adoption blogs I am sad. So many of the kids are progressing and healing emotionally so much better than our boys. I find myself wishing my boys were so happy and friendly! Our boys are very behind developmentally for their ages. Even more so than most kids with DS. I shouldn't even compare them to the other kids I read about. But it's hard to see so many of the other family's children excited and happy about their new lives; while our boys avoid even "looking" around their environment. They are not observing our routines or interested in recognizing cues of what to do. Some of this still seems grief related.
Pauly usually finds one of us to sit on or he sits alone. He even looks for a place to lay flat on his back-alone. Always doing his repeated-rhythmic hand movements, stiffening his body, contorting his head, hissing and spitting.
He has quit slapping his face and grinds his teeth much less. But he still doesn't respond to us appropriately. He knows us from strangers, but he just likes to "exist" with us.
Julius is "hyper"! Always on the move. Moving quickly from one activity to the next. Throwing toys, taking toys. Grabbing lamps, pulling blankets off of everyone's bed! Crying to get his way. Demanding, and yet we can't understand what exactly he wants so in frustration he cries and spits. He just wants to "get away" from everyone. But we don't know where he wants to go! So we have to keep him near.
None of these things deter us from LOVING them. We LOVE them unconditionally. They do like that we LOVE them, even if they don't reciprocate. We kiss them and hold them alot! Sometimes we just wonder how can we reach them or if they are reachable. They often still "act" like they are in an orphanage. Will they ever relax and just be little boys? If we sit them together they turn back to back to each other. They never communicate with each other. If we try a group picture, Julius tries to escape. Pauly goes into his "stiff" mode.
Will they learn to say "hi" or "goodnight" or call us mom and Dad? The skills are there. The desire to do so is not. Their hearts are not willing to open up to us in any intimate way. They don't know how to reach out to us. Waking them each day-we smile and tell them "good morning", but it means little to them. Julius can clap hands, he's shown his brothers and sisters. But he won't show Tom or I. He "plays" dumb. (Our little RADish Molly used to "play" dumb when she didn't want to attach with us.) Is Julius showing signs of RAD? We've already bonded to him regardless! :o)
Our boys don't act like typical kids with DS. Pauly acts like a boy who has Autism and happens to have DS. Julius acts like a child with RAD who happens to have DS. The DS may "soften" these things. We wonder how much their developmental delays add to the "wall" they have built around them. And then of course being raised in an orphanage has not helped their mental health either.
These things are not bad things. They just are what they are. We wish our boys could feel our LOVE . And relax and enjoy their day more,rather than stress about things so much. They both are very serious. No matter how hard they laugh, they always return to being very serious, on guard.
What I love is that God sent us these boys because He knew we were the parents they needed. We are humbled. We are overjoyed! No matter what- they are our precious boys!