what does mayhem look like?

i'm pretty sure it landed at our house for a few hours this morning. you know, just in time for the nice lady (in heels and a WHITE skirt) to arrive for our Univ of Delaware adoption study interview. the one that is VIDEOTAPED and VOICE RECORDED so it can be STUDIED in a federally funded 5 year study. yes, a perfect morning for mayhem. the very classy allison arrived to a driveway full of bikes and sand toys and markers and coffee drenched blankets and construction paper blowing like tumbleweed...mixed with the Rover pulling up and my granny's departure to the senior center. oh and we have a wonderful aid (adore her) who comes every morning for a few hours to help care for granny. it's challenging, to say the least, to explain, so i just said "we're in a bit of mayhem this morning. come on in." she graciously smiled. the boys were in rare form when the day began. i could tell a nap was necessary and it was 9am.

i don't care to relive the morning, but after various high round kicks, volume wars on the vbs sound track, and large amounts of brotherly "love" also known as a headlock and punching bag, i felt like screaming. i felt like i was the worst mom ever. i felt like these two boys are going to drive me bonkers and if they don't calm down and stop flailing every known body part. yes, they are showing off. yes, they are boys who don't sit down long enough to pee. yes, i get it. but we had talked about it. i had explained yesterday and today that the nice lady in the heels and white skirt would be coming. i explained the sitting and the quietness.

so, i resorted to my best known weapon. the whisper. and when mom whispers, kids listen.

oh, and then i took them calmly into the other room and gave them a mound of food and let them watch 3 consecutive shows. perhaps this is how i should have started the interview, instead of expecting such grand calmness.

then the nice lady in the heels and white skirt then informed me that they would be glad to provide an intern who could come to each of the 10 week sessions and play with the boys so i could focus on jing liu during the VIDEOTAPED interviews and physical therapy sessions.
yes, please.

oh and this little lady?

rock star.

for the last part of the interview, the nice lady set a voice recording device next to me and said "now, please talk for 3 minuets about jing liu, and tell us anything you want about her."
wow, what a fantastic exercise! intimidating since i'm sitting in front of someone who doesn't know me at all, but fantastic that this someone who doesn't know me at all, cares so deeply about seeing kids transitioning from institutionalized care flourish with their family. tears streamed down my face, feeling the weight of a sleeping baby on my chest as i talked, i realized with each word how incredible all of this is. how easy she feels in my arms. how i already know her sounds and her expressions. how much i know about her in the 3 short weeks since we met. we have moments when we don't understand each other. or days like today when she is exhausted but refuses to sleep. she's different than i expected. she's even more terrific and brilliant and adorable than i could have dreamed. and she's determined. she hasn't once given up. oh, and quick? this girl learns like a sponge on acid. already signing "more" and "all done." and she loves cats. goes positively wild when she sees a cat. she prefers cheerios over puffs, smiles proudly when she flings food over long distances, and throws her hands up for "so big" like she's been doing it for ages. she's petrified of men, but 2 mayhem boys are her biggest delight. and when i hold her, she rests. she finds comfort when she's in my arms. and to me, that is the biggest success so far.

after the beeper beeped and the 3 minutes were over, i realized i need at least an hour just to get through the basics about this girl. then a lifetime to tell her all the ways i adore her. admire her. the dreams i have for her and the prayers i breathe for her future.

and my boys of mayhem....they are peacefully asleep as i type. i have a feeling 2 boys will awake that will once again breathe mayhem, but i wouldn't have it any other way. perhaps the video session review board will learn a few new high kick maneuvers :)


  1. im laughing and crying so hard at the moment. let me catch my breath. seriously, i am in the room with you when i read this post. the funniest part is that, as a social worker, i have been in so many situations like this and i was reliving my days when i visited clients in their homes. trust me, she gets it. don't even give it a second thought. and the intern comment, i definitely choked on my golden oreo at that one. hilarity. life is just hilarious. and awesome. and so are you. oh ang!!!

  2. oh gosh- i forgot to mention- love the new header. blog is looking super cute!!

  3. I recognize your blog header as one of my favorite pictures!!!!

    Gotta love the mayhem that life brings on! If you didn't have it you'd be.... well, I just can't say it.... but it's the opposite of alive!

    So exciting to be a part of a study for adopted kiddos from institutions. Your girl is truly a real fighter, determined, maybe her story had to happen in order for her to be strong! (and never-mind all that other stuff that your family experiences and that you witness to others!!! -wow! This is really big stuff!)
    God Bless your family!

  4. A) I love that you put the TV on for them. B) I love even more they are giving you an intern (aka key word, student with energy to spend with the boys) so you can have 1:1 time with Emery.

    I am rarely the whisper mom. I wish I whispered more. But I often am the TV mom. Glad to know I am not alone. :-)


  5. BTDT...the mayhem...the TV pacifier. Love your heart for Jing Liu! (Maybe she can come teach J how to sign "more.")

  6. What a day - well done for getting through it! Your new header is so sweet and meaningful. It was a treat to watch the videos you posted of your little one - loved her proud smiles when she kept raising her hands in the air.

  7. Oh, this post brought my first visit for that DE study all back...I remember that 3 minute exercise and how what I said wasn't so much about Lydia as it was about me. She hadn't showed much of herself to us yet..and I knew I had a lot to learn about her. When they came back after the intervention, they asked me to do that exercise again. And, that 3 minutes was over so fast as I talked and talked about HER.



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