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!