April 19, 2010

For the last 7 years, the word bedtime has really had no significant meaning to my life. It was just something I did. Steve and I would spend a quiet evening together or we would come home from a youth event late at night and we would just go to bed. It was never something I thought about, never something I planned, never something I spent time envisioning. It just happened.

The past 2 months have redefined the word bedtime for me. Steve and I have spent a lot of time reading and studying about bedtime for an adopted child. About how bedtime and nighttime are really “battlegrounds” for trust. We all know that our biggest fears and scariest thoughts come to us in those quiet moments as we are drifting off to sleep.

Now imagine if you are a little person and for the last 2 years of your life, you have fallen asleep in a room with 15 other little people. All of a sudden, your whole world turns upside down and one of those changes is that you now sleep in a very quiet room…completely alone.

So, Steve and I made the decision that for the first few weeks, Dima would sleep in bed with us. Not a popular decision, I know. But, one that we felt peace about.

So for the 10 days in Russia with Dima, followed by the next 2 weeks, Dima would fall asleep in our arms…looking into our eyes. Most nights, he would end up with his head on my chest and his feet on Steve’s chest – ensuring that we would not leave.

Once we felt like he understood his new home and new family, and that we weren’t going anywhere, we moved him to his own room. But we would sit beside him until he fell asleep assuring him that although he was alone in his bed, he wasn’t alone in his room.

But, as he gets more and more adjusted to his new family life, and continues to trust us more, we feel the responsibility to give him new ways to expand his trust in us. So, this past week, we made the decision to “leave the room”. I know, for many of you, you may be thinking, that’s no big deal. But, for me, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done.

We told him before we began our nighttime routine that after mommy and papa finished reading him his books, we were going to leave the room. I’m not sure how much he understood, but we felt like it was important to try to prepare him. So, after we read “goodnight moon”, we gave him kisses, turned of the light and left the room.

We stood outside the door and every time he got out of bed, we would quietly come in, lay him back down and then leave the room once again. After 35 times of him getting out of bed, and us putting him back in, he finally fell asleep. In the midst of these times, a lot happened.

He first went through all of the words that he knows. At one point he sat up, smiled and said, “cheese” (glad he couldn’t see us laughing). He then went potty (or as Dima says, “polly”) in his diaper…not once, but twice. Again, we entered quietly, change his diaper without saying anything to him and laid him back down.

Once he realized he wasn’t going to win this showdown, he started to cry and say, “mommy, come eeyah…mommy, come eeyah…” My heart melted, but within 2 minutes, he was sound asleep. Since that initial battle, bedtimes have gotten easier. When Dima wakes up, he sees that we are still here in the morning. It has given him a “big boy” victory as he is learning a redefinition of independence within a family.

In light of this, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with God…about how He builds trust in my life. Sometimes in my life, especially through the process of this adoption, there would be times when I “felt” God wasn’t there.

I couldn’t see him, I couldn’t sense His presence like I normally do. At times I felt as if He wasn’t listening to me or responding to the deepest cries of my heart. Many times, my heart would cry out, “Daddy….come here”…and I would feel nothing.

Now, after this week of “bedtimes”, I wonder, was God expanding my trust in Him? What would happen if God gave me everything I wanted right when I wanted it? Would I ever learn trust? Would I ever learn patience? Would I ever learn to give up my control over my life? Would I ever learn that even in the dark times when He seems absent, that He is still there…and that His joy comes in the morning.

And His joy really does comes in the morning.


  • our battle with scabies has been extremely frustrating. It requires us to wash everything any of us wear, even for a short time, and vacuuming every room every day. 2 baths for Dima a day, changing his sheets after every nap and every night, washing every washcloth, towel, pillow, shoe…
  • We are doing another round of prescription cream tonight after experimenting with natural cures for the last 2 weeks

Prayer Requests:

  • that scabies would leave our home forever
  • for friends of ours who are finally cleared to travel to Russia to finalize their adoption, despite all the news we’ve heard in light of the case involving the Tennessee woman and the volcano ash

Until next Monday, love Kate & Steve.

8 Responses to “Bedtime”

  1. Carrie said

    Beautiful, beautiful sentiments. You are a very wise woman and mother. Dima is so blessed, as you are as well.
    And scabies?! Those are real? I thought those were in the same category as “cooties” and “heeby jeebies”. Eek, that does not sound fun.
    Love you!

  2. Marie said

    Dear Kate,

    It’s been so touching reading about your family’s continuing journey! I think it’s great that you co-slept with your son in the beginning. You write that it wasn’t a popular decision – with all due respect to your friends and family, they probably don’t know much about adopting from an orphanage. Sometimes well-meaning people unfamiliar with adoption just don’t understand how and why things are different. I for one think your son’s progress is AMAZING – to be happy sleeping in his own room a month after arriving home is great. You must be doing a wonderful job nurturing him while at the same time fostering his independence. Congratulations!

  3. Mom said

    What a perfect analogy of God developing our trust in Him! Thank you for that wonderful example. I don’t know who your Mama is, but she must be so pleased with you…..oh that’s right….it’s me and I AM more than pleased with you.
    Your ever lovin’ Mama

  4. Magret said

    Once again I am grateful for your entry and the excellent analogy for gaining trust in God. This little fella really has been blessed with such a set of responsible parents. Letting him sleep alone in stages…that was a very good move.

  5. Ang D said

    Thanks Kate 🙂 I so needed that.

  6. Light said

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now and I really enjoy it. We’re in the process of adopting a child too (not from Russia) but international as well. This posting really got to my heart as I too have felt that God is not with me sometimes… I too have wondered.
    Thank you for those words… and good luck with the scabies. BTW I think trying out natural remedies at first is always a good idea…

  7. Donna said

    I am so glad you got Dima home before the fallout. I have been following your blog for awhile and praying for you and your family.
    We adopted our son, Matthew, last year. He too, was covered with scabies. It was the worst thing that happened to us during the whole process. It is a very frustrating thing to experience. My advise is to see a dermatologist. She really helped us. Our peditrician is great but just did not have the experience of having resistant scabies. I wish you the best of luck with this and hope it is soon just a bad memory in the midst of many, many good ones.

  8. naodebel said

    Sounds like you guys are doing a wonderful job both behaviorally and emotionally with him! He sounds like a very special little munchkin 🙂

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