Recently we attending our local annual adoption Christmas party. So many faces that I only see a few times per year, and some who didn’t even know we were in the process of adopting again. A lot of people giving Giselle attention which is always overwhelming for her. A lot of people asking me “How is it going?”. Meaning… how is your life since you adopted an older child? Some people (who have been there, done that) are asking because they know how hard it can be. Some (who are considering or in process of an older child adoption) are desperately hoping that I will say it is all wonderful and has gone smoothly.
I simply say “It was a really rough start, but we are doing much better now.” And it’s true – we are doing MUCH better now! I realize that with the healing in our children it is often two steps forward, one (large) step back, so perhaps that means we are on a forward step right now. But I’m enjoying this time in our family’s life.
Giselle is sleeping much better. While she still wakes up at night a few times per week, she is doing better with self-soothing and eventually falling back asleep. She is still in our bedroom as she often still sleeps so restlessly, but I’m hoping (REALLY hoping) she will move into Amara’s room soon. I am really missing having a room to retreat to.
The Doctor’s office says she is free of her parasite. I’m not sure that I believe them. It can take a month or two for the symptoms of the parasite to clear up, even after it has been eradicated. So we will give it a bit more time and see if it seems to have cleared up or if we need to re-test.
She is growing! She can finally wear size 3 clothing – up from the 18-24 months and size 2 that she was wearing when she first came home. Her feet are still very small and haven’t grown very much at all.
The biggest changes are in her language development. She now speaks in small sentences “Open door please” or “Mommy, don’t close eyes” when she wants me to wake up in the morning. This morning she scolded me “Mommy, no socks! Daddy’s socks!” because I bought new white socks and she thought I stole Darren’s socks. The funny thing with this language acquisition is when she picks a phrase and says it over and over and over. Lately it has been “I know!” or “I don’t know”. It’s cute at first, but… ;) She seems to understand almost everything we are saying.
The tantrums have been cut down by about 85% from when she first came home. Language acquisition has helped a lot. Feeling more rested and secure in her place here has also helped. She tests our boundaries sometimes now, not constantly like when she first came home. Food issues are mostly resolved. She is eating better and a bit quicker than she was a few weeks ago. I started to set a timer when she was dragging meal time on for forever. When the timer went, she had to leave her food and wait for the next meal. That only had to happen a few times and now she eats fairly well. Also, it is recommended when adopted children first come home, that they are fed every 2 hours (so they know they won’t go hungry and also helps keep blood sugars stable). I finally realized she wasn’t needing that anymore. Too many snacks weren’t helping with dinner time eating.
Giselle and Amara are playing really well together. As well (if not better) than I would expect most siblings play together. They go play together in the basement – my kids have never played in the basement before! This is huge for me as it keeps them from constantly being under my feet in our little bungalow. This is especially helpful when I’m cooking.
She is still a Daddy’s girl. While she still prefers me when it’s bedtime, she is very happy with her Daddy and generally follows him around the house when he is home. I am so happy for Darren as he finally has a Daddy’s kid, and I still feel like she is sufficiently bonded to me that I don’t worry about it. She is also great about making him go through some of the issues that she puts me through – the holding food in her mouth forever, and then saying she needs to go poo (because she doesn’t want to eat the food), but not actually going to the toilet, but instead sits there for ever… it makes me giggle when he gets so exasperated with her because he often doesn’t see these day to day frustrations that I sometimes have with her.
She feels like my child. I knew that this would just take some time – but it took longer than I expected. I am so relieved that it no longer feels like I am babysitting. My heart really does feel deep affection and love for her.
I am blessed to be her mother.