Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3 Months Forever: Honestly

This weekend we celebrated 3 months as a forever family.  It's hard to imagine that we have only had our little peanut for 3 months.  She feels like she has been in the family forever. 

Much of our transition has been so so easy.  She has bonded fast to us and we to her.  She loves our kids, plays beautifully, is meeting most of her developmental milestones very quickly and has far fewer delays than we expected. An added bonus she is one of the happiest children I have ever met.  Always, always full of smiles and giggles.

Olivia and her buddy Reese


However, I want to be really honest on this blog.  I don't want to pain a rose colored picture of adoption because, adoption is HARD.  I want to be real.

The things we struggle with are different from what we learned in our adoption education classes.  The main theme in adoption preparation is bonding and attachment.  Thankfully those have come easy to us.  However, we have had our struggles. 

-Sleep.  I know I have talked about sleep or the lack of it.  We are still struggling in that area.  She sleeps all night some nights but often is up multiple times.  The problem is my motherly instinct says to rock her and soothe her but that doesn't help.  She cries the moment I lay her back down.  Co-sleeping doesn't work, she just plays in the bed.  So we have resorted to letting her cry with frequent check ins to let her know we aren't gone.  She can go for 2.5 hrs screaming.  Nothing works and we are at a loss.  (Please no judging).  On the rare night she sleeps all night she is up by 5-5:30.  This has left me one exhausted momma.  I fall asleep at 8:30 most nights.   
I have explained the exhaustion to others as beyond having a newborn because I have an active toddler who is into everything and doesn't sleep.  She doesn't nap all day like a newborn either and besides that I have 2 preschoolers I'm chasing. 

 
She is so precious when she sleeps.



-"No".  I am fairly certain Olivia never heard the word "no" in the orphanage.  She does not respond to "no" or even redirection.  She is one of the most strong headed children I have ever met.  She loves to look at us, do something naughty and wait for our reaction. Over and Over and Over again.

-Food:  We went from having a child who would eat anything sometimes even to the point of making herself sick to a picky toddler.  Her pickiness however, is a strong preference for baby food and purees as well as fruit and veggies.  We are seeking a speech/feeding eval next week to help with this issue and make sure she is getting adequate nutrition. 

-Quiet.  This may seem like a weird thing to struggle with.  But, we decided when we brought Olivia home that I would stop work and cancel my gym membership.  Those were my two outlets, time away from the kids.  Well I am loving the extra time and less rushing around, things are a little quiet.  I spend all day with my 3 little kids without much time for "me".  I know this is a season but, it is a part of the season I struggle with.  I savor every moment of adult time I get.  

- "1:1 time with the big kids".  Praise God I haven't felt the guilt that I felt when we had Brooks.  I now understand the gift a sibling is to the family.  However, I miss the 1:1 time I had with each child when it was just two.  1:1 time with 3 kids is much harder to find.  With Kyrie approaching Kindergarten I know how important those times are and want to be more consistent with spending alone time with each child.  For any mommas with 3 or more kids would love your advice!

 
Homemade sidewalk chalk entertained the kids for hours


In the grand scheme of things these are all minor bumps in our adoption road.  We have been blessed beyond measure to have 3 beautiful children who love each other immensely.  We are so thankful for God's blessings and our sweet girl who has given us so much joy over the past 3 months. 

 I want to rejoice in what is good in our 3 months home.
"for our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name." ~ psalm 33:21


- "Sibling Relationships"  One worry I had before going to China was that Kyrie and Brooks's deep bond would be severed because Ky is such a baby lover.  Has not happened in. the. least.   They still dance and play bride and groom until their hearts content.  As I wrote about here Brooks struggled with the transition to big brother hood.  Thankfully that is in the past.  He is now a doting big brother who has to learn his own strength as he smothers is baby sister with hugs and kisses. 

-Managing 3.  I will admit I was a bit petrified about getting 3 in car seats, three into school each day, 3 to the grocery store, to play dates, to the park etc.  But, life with 3 truly hasn't been that much harder than life with 2.  Thankfully Olivia is an easy going child who transitions well from one situation to the next.  Also, she still loves the ergo and thinks a shopping cart is a roller coaster ride.  Both are huge bonuses.

- Adoption support:  This journey continues to bless us beyond measure.  I have had the pleasure of meeting with multiple families who are in the process of their adoption journey or just beginning the journey.  Nothing gives me greater joy than sitting at my kitchen table with other couples who are embarking on their adoption journey and helping to guide their path.  On top of that Olivia has filled our social calendar lately with play dates with other children who have found their forever families in our area.  It is a pleasure to chat with the mommies who know exactly what we are going through while watching our little ones play.

-Loving her daddy:  Can I get an Amen?  Seriously!  Grace!  We struggled for 3 months with these two finding their groove and now this girl is turning into a daddy's girl.  She squeals with joy when he gets home.  Climbs onto his lap when he is working in his office and loves a dance party in the kitchen.

Awful pics but I had to include them.  They were dancing.

  

-Love:  It's true that with each child your heart is not divided it just grows that much bigger.

So thankful for these 3!



Thursday, April 18, 2013

ENT

As I have mentioned before, Olivia's special need is right micotia/aura atresia.  This basically means that in utero her right ear did not form properly and is missing the cartilage.  Her ear canal is also absent. 

Today we took Olivia to a pediatric ENT and audiologist to have her hearing assessed and come up with a game plan on how to address her hearing loss.  The doctor read her reports and reminded us that one of the reports from China showed mild hearing loss in her left, unaffected ear as well.  So, we went into the audiology appointment a little nervous.  

Girl was a ROCK STAR.  Much to the surprise of the audiologist she allowed all of the equipment to be placed in her ear and on her head without any complaint.  In fact rather than looking up at the lighted toy when she would hear a noise, she looked at the audiologist in the sound booth, smiled, waved and blew kisses in response to sounds.  She is such a ham!

The news was the best we could have expected.  Olivia hears perfectly out of her left ear.  Praise God!  She has conductive hearing loss in her right ear (this is because there is no canal) but, the organ is hearing.  Her hearing loss is considered moderate so she can in fact hear our voices they are just muffled.  The doctor and audiologist met to discuss her case while we waited in the exam room.  They are in agreement that Olivia's speech and language should not be compromised and do not want to use any type of amplification device at this time.  She does not need to be seen again for 6 months.  Praise God again!




A little snack after the hearing test.  Poor girl was woken up for the appointment which took over 2 hours.

Buddies


Heather and I met on a facebook group for China adoptions.  Shortly after "meeting" we found out that we live in the same town.  We planned to meet before going to China but, with the craziness of packing that never happened.  We had high hopes of meeting with our girls in China (we had the same Gotcha days) but, who knew how exhausting that trip would be?  So, we never met in China either.  Finally, this week we were able to get our girls together for a play date.  It was so fun seeing them together and being able to "talk adoption".  There are certain things only fellow adoptive moms get and it's so nice being able to share with each other.  I look forward to these girls growing up knowing they have some of the same roots. 





Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Randomness

The kids had spring break the week after Easter.  Unfortunately the weather was less than spring like so we had to get creative finding ways to entertain them.   One rainy cold afternoon we baked cookies and had a fancy tea party.  The kids loved getting dressed up and drinking out of the fancy china tea cups.
 
Love Kyrie's "pinky out" tea drinking 


 
Another day the kids had fun at Build a Bear using their gift cards Nana sent for Easter.



 
We had a fun play date with friends at the mall play area and a picnic lunch in the food court after.


 
Soccer season is in full swing.  Between two kids we have three days of soccer at our house now.  Today was Kyrie's first game.  I learned the way to keep the younger two entertained is LOTS of snacks and the wagon.  They sat for half of the game before I ended up chasing them around.  Not too bad!
 
 
 


After an unusually cold winter and first part of spring we are so happy that we are finally having spring weather. This has meant a lot of time outside. Today we took out the sprinkler and jumped on the trampoline. The kids had a blast.










Thursday, April 4, 2013

Two Months Home

Two months ago today was one of the happiest days of my life.  We became a family of 5.  I dreamed of this moment from the very start of our adoption journey.  Despite the pure exhaustion, it was everything I dreamed it to be. 
We walked down the hall, past security and through a glass panel I saw my kids waiting with Nana.  The tears began to fall as I shouted, "Brad there they are".  I couldn't walk fast enough.  My dear friend Nikki who has counseled me through each step of this process snuck upstairs with the kids and captured our reunion.  I have yet to bring her a CD so I can get the pictures but I know they will be priceless.  She told me that as Kyrie noticed us a single tear rolled down her sweet little cheek.  Oh my sweet sensitive daughter!

 
We went down the escalator and were greeted by dear friends and their children all of whom have prayed relentlessly for Olivia even before this process started.  Without the prayers, fundraisers, child care help, monetary donations, yard sale and shoulders to cry on we never would have made it to our daughter.  It was a beautiful sight to see these faces as we ended our journey to home.

 



 A proud Nana

 And a proud Poppie
 The proudest big sister ever. 
 And a happy little boy who was about to get his world rocked
 This mama couldn't have been happier.  Her three babies.  Finally together. Forever.

 Beautiful signs made by Olivia's new friends
 The luggage belt entertained the little ones
video

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter

What a perfect Easter we had.  I sat in church marveling that a year ago we had only just begun researching agencies.  We hadn't even signed our application and this year I sang praise songs to Jesus with my precious daughter snuggled sound asleep in the ergo.  Blessed!





 Why does my big girl look 16 here?  Time is moving too fast.

  After church we headed home for an egg hunt.  The Easter bunny hid the eggs in the basement since rain was in the forecast.  The kids took very short naps and we headed to Uncle Keith and Aunt Caroline's for a great dinner and an egg hunt.  Such a fun day!