April 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in family | 1 Comment


Last week I wrote a little bit about Zach… this week it’s Philip’s turn.  The notes in red are thoughts I have in terms of Philip and adoption / development.

  • Philip is very much a team player and wants to be part of the action and part of the solution most of the time.   (That’s such good news in that he is not choosing to be a loner or choosing to cause trouble, rather he wants to contribute positively.)
  • Philip is gentle most of the time and is affectionate, even apart from prompting. (This is really reassuring to me as it relates to bonding)
  • Philip is imaginative and can amuse himself with a toy, pretending that he’s flying or that he’s an animal.  He’s also really good with puzzles, small motor toys and toys that require logic.  (That’s reassuring as it relates to age appropriate learning abilites.)
  • Philip loves structure and a schedule he can depend on.   It’s important to him to have things happen in an expected way, so we try to create that environment for him to give him a day he can feel safe in.   (Sometimes kids who have lived in an unstable life really need consistency to breed security and internal comfort.)
  • Philip loves going in the car – anywhere.   It doesn’t really matter as long as we’re in the ‘motorcar’!   (and I love that as we are turning onto our street, he recognizes it and says ‘We home!”)
  • Philip has great language skills when he’s relaxed and having fun.   Not so great when he’s upset.   His favorite upset exclamation is “eet-a Zachary” which loosely translated means , “Zachary stole my toy / hit me / is looking at me / is standing in the basket / has a runny nose / is eating a ladybug / etc.”       Hard to decipher sometimes.   (I’m thinking this is probably typical three year old stuff!)
  • Philip loves being outside.   Now that it’s warm, he wants to be outside as much as possible.   He’s very cautious of new things and afraid of the slides, but will do them with some help.    We’re still working on helping him develop courage in many areas.  (like we’ve mentioned in other posts, fear is still strong in him)
  • Philip still wakes up almost every night at least once – sometimes more ~ crying, half asleep and usually saying, “eet-a blanket”.   Go figure.   (Lots of kids have trouble sleeping, but this is one thing that makes me wonder what’s going on in his little restless mind, late in the night when he’s not as aware as during the day?   Dreams?   Memories?   Those fears that push to the front?)
  • Philip loves Veggie Tales (only 2 of them actually) and if we’re not careful, would watch it over and over and over and over all day long.
  • Philip has a great smile and great eyes, as you can see in the picture!  [And a great laugh  ~ which you can’t see in the picture.]

Philip has covered A LOT of ground in his short time as a Harding and is adjusting really, really well.    Still, I find myself looking at every behavior and every response and every quirk with a question in the back of my mind as to whether it has to do with ‘adoption issues’ or if it’s just little-kid stuff?     Adoption books in their attempt to cover it all,  can be scary references, telling you every weird thing that ever happened in an adoptive family.    So, sometimes I feel like I’m walking through the woods at night and am super aware of every little cracking twig or hooting owl.   My ‘hearing’ seems heightened with Philip and while I’m trying to really pay attention, I’m also trying to relax and enjoy the scenery!    The hard work of adoption has almost nothing to do with diapers, spaghettios, reading books to them or baby-proofing the home.   The hard work is helping them emotionally navigate their new reality in  a way that helps them develop a confidence in your love and your faithfulness.    It is surely the stuff that prayers are made of!


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  1. It’s so wonderful to read about your life “after adopting”. It’s very insightful to me. I have an almost 3 year old boy right now and Philip reminds me of him. I am reminded in this process as i think about what will my life be like after we get our son here…that all children are imperfect. We are born in sin. We come with no instruction manual. We all have our problems. In our adoption class, they kept focusing on how “messed up” these kids are when they come into a home and I kept thinking to myself how many of these problems happen in my own home with my biological children. I’m not saying that children who are adopted don’t have bigger issues…of course they do. My point is that each child, no matter if they are adopted or not, will need extra care and discipline and security. We just won’t get to do that while they are in the womb or the first year of life (in some cases, the first several years of life) so we have to make up for it. But God is so gracious and wonderful, allowing us His own grace poured out on us so we can give grace to these little ones.

    As for the fear stuff, my 2nd born daughter who is 7 almost still struggles with fear. She was born in fear, I think. LOL. She used to come in our room every single night in tears and shaking. Over the years, I’ve had to constantly remind her of God’s love and how He protects us and loves us. I also reminded her that I am in the house and her sister is in the room with her. It’s so hard for them. The brain doesn’t connect all the time to the feelings they are having. My daughter has overcome the night stuff, but still is deathly afraid of other things, like storms and being left alone in another part of the house by herself. And I agree, emotional stuff is so hard. I have a hard time with my own emotions…sometimes i feel lost in directing my kids through it. I have confidence God will give you wisdom in this area. You have a great list of things here that God has already done. God bless!!!

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