Last Thursday was our first full day at home as a family of 5. We have survived the first week!
I feel like we've been adjusting well. The kids seemed to instantly have a bond with each other and have been getting along fairly well. Katya has some typical orphanage type behaviors. She gets extremely upset if she thinks someone is touching something that is "hers" because she is used to things being taken away and never getting them back. She is very territorial and feels like she has to claim her space. I think since she couldn't walk around like the other kids at the orphanage and she was one of the smaller ones that she may be used to people just taking things from her and running off. She also will YELL very loudly and with way more volume than is necessary if someone even touches her and she doesn't like it. Again, I think it comes from being ignored unless she was screaming. I've seen an improvement in this already just by quietly but very firmly telling her not to yell and showing her that the boys aren't trying to hurt her or take things away.
I've been supervising them closely while they play just to try to teach her that its ok to share and that the toys are everyone's. She will get very upset if one of the boys picks up something that she had played with previously and they aren't quite sure what to make of that. They have picked up some of her Russian and what I use to communicate with her and now try to boss her and me in Russian. We get lots of "Ni!" "Nyet!" "Stoy!" "Da" "Yeist" "LaLa"
All 3 kiddos think that its ok to boss each other like they are the mommy. Phillip and I have told them that WE are the mommy and daddy NOT them. Wes keeps saying "Well I will get bigger and then I'll be the daddy and then I can pick up Katya." Ummm... ok buddy. He can already pick up Katya and both of them think its hilarious.
Speaking of the size difference. Wes is still the oldest. He will be 5 in Feb. Katya turned 4 in September of this year so they are 7 months apart. Wes weighs 46lbs and is about 4 feet tall. Katya weighs 26lbs and is only about 2 1/2 feet tall. HUGE size difference. Wyatt is 2 and weighs 28lbs and is as tall as Katya. The two of them look like twins.
We are working on fattening her up. We got a prescription called in right away for parasites because most children in EE have them and we suspected it of her right away because of excess gas and not wanting to eat much. Her stomach also would get upset. 2 days on antibiotics and we have a child who now eats as much as our kids. She ate soup for the first couple of days and that was all she would eat. It was familiar so I had canned several jars of it and she was happy to eat nothing but soup and drink juice.
However she noticed that the boys weren't eating soup so she wanted to try what they were having. She will make the most awful face when tasting something for first time and then ask for more. So far she likes toaster strudel, chocolate cereal, bread, chicken nuggets, hamburger helper, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and teddy grahams. She finally drank some milk today in the form of hot chocolate. I had tried milk before mixed with ovaltine and just plain. Both warm and cold. Nope. So I made the boys hot chocolate today as they requested and guess who had to have some?
So far the sleeping issue has gotten a lot better. She would scream and thrash like we were committing her to a fate worse than death by putting her in bed even if we sat in the room with her, and we understood that she was probably scared we would leave her so we tried a few different things... put her in Wyatt's room with him. Did not work. The two of them fussed at each other. Tried just her in there and him with Wes. SCREAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMING. And the two boys wouldn't go to sleep either... Then we put her in our room and that seems to be working ok. I feel like we've lost "our space" but at least she is secure enough to sleep. I really hope that pretty soon we can move her either back in with Wyatt or put the two boys together again and her alone because once we put her to bed at night its really imposing on what we can do. Our shower is in there and all of our dressers with our clothes and closet. Phillip gets up early to go to work and he has an alarm that goes off and then he has to get ready while trying not to wake her up so we're showering at night in the dark after she goes to sleep. Urgh... Its not ideal by any means for all 3 of us, but we're hopeful she'll settle down pretty soon. At least things are the same for the boys. That seems to work for them.
(I thought about not blogging this part, but I have learned SO much from reading other people's bluntly honest blogs and sometimes the greatest comfort is just knowing that you are not alone!)
Bonding: well no one mentioned that it went both ways. Everyone prepares you for how much difficulty your child will have attaching to you and how its up to YOU to make sure that they develop a healthy bond with you, but no one ever mentioned that it could be really hard for parents to bond and attach to their new child as well. I think that more than anything has been by far the hardest for me to deal with. I wanted to have this instant connection with the child we adopted and I didn't. Yes, we saw her and knew we wanted to adopt her and asked God to move mountains on our behalf so we could bring her home but that doesn't mean that I immdiately had that "I would walk through fire" feeling for her. I wanted to. I expected to, but really what I felt the most was nothing. We visited her every day at the orphanage and I enjoyed seeing her and playing with her and wanted to bring her home, but I was terrified of why I didn't fall in love with her right away. I thought it must just be because I was missing the boys so much, but even when Phillip came home with her I still couldn't work up those super motherly feelings.
She was here and that was it. WHAM! So I felt terrible all week and cried my eyes out and wondered what was wrong with me... I mean something must be right?
Then I talked to two other adoptive moms who were like "Oh yeah that is so normal. I felt the same way and I am still working on growing in love with my child."
Wow so I'm not a terrible person. Just hearing that made me feel so much better.
She's only been here a week and my expectations weren't fair of myself. So we are working on bonding to each other. Not just her to me, or me to her, but to each other. Maybe this is for the best since if I was instantly in love with her, I couldn't empathize with how hard it might be for her to develop an attachment to me.
We had a pediatrician appointment this week and that went pretty well. We were told a lot of scary sounding stuff at the orphanage and were wondering if she might have more complex issues than we originally thought but it seems that its pretty much just her CP and possibly an eyesight issue that we need to address. Her CP is severe enough that he feet stay flexed constantly and its really hard to put shoes on her foot. She can't walk unasisted but crawls and pulls herself into chairs