Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bumpin' along

I *could* tell you things are as rosy as can be. But I'm not known for fibs.  That's not to say it's unexpected adjustment issues, it's not. Nor is it horrible or unmanageable. Maybe draining with so much going on and jet lag nipping at my heels each day.

BUT I might have been known to write to the other mom who was in our travel group and adopted a 9 year old that  we hung out with in Guangzhou and say "Is it the 6 month mark yet?" ALREADY. Shame on me.

Seriously. I want to ENJOY each step our newbie makes, to see her grow within the family in  a fast forward way that older child adoption brings. But my tired brain has been known to think "Really? You can't dress yourself? And you are almost 9?"  It makes me think of when I first found God and asked Him in to my life and I was so child like in my faith. Taking baby steps. He was so patient with ME, so I ask Him for patience with this child of His.

 Because I'm not used to having a toddler in the house and that's where she is pretty much right now. Watching her, providing for her, loving on her. All wonderful things I do enjoy.  Things tougher--- her acting as if she can't do a THING for herself, finding things she likes to eat.  The other kids-- yep, everyone is having to adjust and it's not been effortless.

Nope. We've had regressions-- big time. We've had "ah ha" moments with others showing things they need to work on to get where they need to be. 

One of the biggest issues became apparent quickly. We had to ban Chinese speaking with Phoebe. After we encountered one telling her we were going to "go back to China someday." Meaning the heritage trip we do plan on taking SOMEDAY for all our Chinese children to visit where they are from, but we would have NEVER told any of them we were "going back to China" less than a week home.

Because WE know they might take it wrong and think we are unhappy with them and returning them!  But as the one speaking Chinese said this we did not know it was being said.

Then we encountered another issue of the Chinese speaking siblings. Phoebe saying (ALREADY) she didn't want to learn English and she was going to Chloe and Paisley for all her needs. She would not even listen to me.

So when I banned Chinese speaking and instructed the kids to send her to me we had our first meltdown from her. She fussed, she cried. She refused to listen to me. So I made her sit. Till she was willing to listen to me. I have no doubt she understood me because I did have Chloe translate to her what she needed to do. (She also admitted later she knew what  I wanted her to do)

Well, we have a smart girl here because it took her a very short time to realize I would meet her needs, that she did indeed need to come to me or dad. And she is learning English words and ways to communicate with me and dad.  Without trying to have her sisters parent her. I've got flash cards ordered that should help too, giving her tools to use to learn and communicate here.

She still talks to the teens in Chinese here and there but they answer her in ENGLISH. They also tell me what she is saying when needed, but they do NOT answer her in Chinese unless I tell them to and I tell them what to say. Poor Chloe was so worried Phoebe wouldn't "like" them if they refused to answer her but I explained to her they aren't going to be able to go through life at her side translating for her, so they needed to help her and she would love them as her big sisters, NOT look to them to parent her.

Both Chloe and Paisley were getting burned out translating for her anyway, she tends to repeat things over and over which stopped quickly when they stopped answering her. She sees there is no point when she will not get an answer. And I told them to send her to me, she is not doing this to get any of her basic needs met, she is doing it to complain and act as if she is helpless.

She learned how to get in and out of the car, how to hook her seat belt. She's learning how to dress herself. How to take her plate and cup to the sink, how to put her clothes in the laundry.  All things that she "should" know but she doesn't. She was pampered, meaning everything was done FOR her and she had no desire to do anything for herself. As well as she compensates for her low vision I knew she was capable of much more self care than what she is doing. 

This is NOT to say she has not gotten showered in love and cared for as she should be, she's gotten LOTS of hugs, lots of kisses, told often she is loved. She is a lover, that's for sure. It's sweet to get those hugs and kisses and be told she loves us. And she does. That's very obvious. It's as if she was waiting for us all along and she finally has us. Total love. Just as God loves us. Even in our imperfectness. He never stops loving us and we will never stop loving her. She's part of our family.

Right now she's gotten Kat to understand she wanted to go downstairs with her (Kat is home with PINK EYE) and all with pointing:) Told ya she is smart. It's such a good sign that she responded so quickly with losing her communication crutch, although it was tough to do it, it's clearly the right thing to do for her. We've had a good day so far:)

She is no different than any other child adopted to an American family that doesn't speak Chinese in the home, besides the older kids telling me what she is saying, so I can indeed, meet her needs easier. Which helps even more to bond her to me. She is finding positive ways to communicate, repeating English words and that personality plus she has is shining on through.

She's figured out how to tell me when she is hungry (she comes and points to her open mouth) and when she is full or wants more. (She is saying "more") We are finding more things she is willing to eat and likes, she loves Cap'n Cr*nch cereal, corn dogs, some veggies, even meat. She said she did not like meat, well she must have meant those bones with tiny chunks of meat they serve in China because she's had chicken, beef, pork and fish all with second helpings? 

I'd like to get her eating healthier stuff but for now knowing she is getting her belly full is enough. She got sick of noodles VERY fast, so that left us scrambling to find ways to get her full. And we have not heard that her belly hurts since day 2 in China, she said it hurt when she was with "grandma"and with me some, I suspect it was hunger pains.

For her height, (about 4 ft 5) she is thin, only 54 lbs. I would say she probably falls in the underweight range, just like Kat. They are built like bean poles.  She's got another cold, teaching about blowing nose in tissues and not sniffling constantly have commenced. 

She's spent a ton of time playing Barbies, we dug out the ones Kat has never played with and the chest of Barbie clothes and she has all of them dressed and sitting on the coffee table. She's whispering to them:)

Yep, all "normal" stuff. 

Well, the kids are home and I've already heard "I'm telling MOM" so that's it for now. 


Chris said...

Oh sounds like fun! And you know she's 'normal'

Rebecca said...

Sounds like things are going really well! You're a pro by now:) I love gleaning from your experiences... Thank you!!!
Oh, I have something I want to send you. Email me your address?

Keisha said...

THis all sounds a lot like my life right now. LOL! Glad she is adjusting & things are going well. She is Beautiful!

Therese said...

Would it be cheating to ask all my questions without doing the backreading first? My husband is on the couch next to me. I was telling him about your family and he asked where your Chinese sons and daughters come from, how you came to adopt them at such late're freakin' amazing.

thesleepyknitter said...

Love the update! You are such a good, wise mother!

Vickie said...


It is cheating, but let me help you.
Go to April 30, 2009 and start there. You *could* skip on to May 4, 2010 and go on from there but you would miss many steps of God's miracles with our sons and I would hate to have you do that.
Just know that GOD has done amazing things, not us, we are just blessed to parent these precious children.

Mdivgirl said...

I live in Taiwan and my kids (1 and 2) tend to make huge messes in high chairs with us Western parents and get spoon fed (running around the living room) with the nanny. (However, I can't complain. She can get my one-year-old beanpole to eat way more than we can. If it were up to us, I think she would starve.) Anyway, when we go out, people are very impressed at 2-year-olds ability to feed himself (fairly neatly, even) because kids here are definitely babies way more than at home. Sounds like despite your bumps, things are going well in getting her settled. I love reading blogs like this now because if we get to adopt again someday, I'll be glad of all this reading I'm doing now. I know once a new child comes, it's hard to read up on things! Besides, you sound like you've got some fun kids.

Lisa M said...

This is my first time to catch up with your blog since you have gotten home and it's such a blessing!!!! I'm thrilled to know that she is adjusting and that the worst of the jet lag is behind you. Since we are adopting a 13 yr old in the next6-8 weeks, I'd love to know what flashcards you ordered. Welcome Home!!!!!