We’re home! As scheduled, we flew home with our new daughter Rosenaicha on Wednesday, August 20th. Without a hitch. So incredibly smooth, I could not believe it. Zipped through immigration in Miami and had time to sit down for a nice dinner. Learned that baby girl was completely freaked out by being buckled into her own airplane seat. Had a blast with her looking out the window while we taxied on the second flight, chattering away, only to have her zonk our and sleep soundly the whole way home.
We were greeted in our driveway at 10pm by our dear sweet super awesome 1:17 adoption support group friends! My parents and kids had made cool signs alerting the neighborhood and my girls in the Katy Social Media Masterminds group left flowers (roses of course!), balloons and a gift. We felt so loved. Baby girl just stared at everyone. And then freaked out at the dog. She has got some lungs!
Since then life has been pretty much awesome. We have worked hard on establishing a solid connection between Mike and I and Rose. That means lots of intentional eye contact, lots of identity games, meeting all her needs promptly and just having playful fun. She loves Nathan and Alex and they love her. As predicted, Alex has a bit of adjusting to do with not getting all the attention all the time. But overall he’s fine.
I’ve been watching Rose closely to see if I can figure out how secure she is feeling and all signs are good. She is super easy to read as far as knowing when she’s stressed. She stops smiling, purses her lips and sucks her tongue, stares off into the distance and grabs her belly button. She’ll still do that ANY time a new person looks at and talks to her. She does it when she wants to eat (which is like…ALL the time) and the food isn’t quite ready. She does it if I correct her.
Rose sleeps like a champ. I know that falling asleep without complaint and sleeping all night was initially a coping mechanism, how she was trained at the orphanage. After a few days of her feeling more secure at home she started to protest bedtime and nap time. We decided based on her behavior in Haiti to have her sleep in a pack and play crib right next to our bed instead of IN our bed and that is working great. I lay down next to her too at naptime and bedtime. Sometimes it takes as long as an hour for her to fall asleep, but there’s not fussing, only stalling. “Mama….dlo” (water) “Mama…diaper” “Mama…blanket”
Basically the child has learned how to ask for what she needs and that’s super important. I cannot emphasize enough how much my Creole learning has helped in our bonding and her security. She still gets frustrated when she says something new that I don’t understand and I can’t pacify her, but that is not often. She does not throw tantrums. She does hit, spit and throw things occasionally because she’s mad or to get attention but we are working on that and it’s so infrequent I cannot complain.
Adoption experts recommend cocooning with a newly adopted kid for weeks or months when they come home. That means staying home, no visitors, no outings, no stores, no church, no nothing. We decided that things were going well and certain outings were necessary anyway, like walking too and from school every morning and going to get my allergy shot once a week. I also brought her to meet my grandmother a few times and she even went with me to school orientation night. She seemed to do great in these situations…she did her stressed coping thing sometimes but there were not repercussions as far as my connection with her or sleep disruptions. This past Sunday we even took her to church…sat in the back row. How do I know she wasn’t totally stressed? She tried to get down off my lap and started making noise so I had to leave the service for a few minutes. She won’t get off my lap or out of my arms when she’s freaked out.
One of the coolest things has been watching her bond with Mike. She LOVES her Papa. He is awesome with her. He got the first “I wuv you” out of her, whether she knows what it means or not, it’s freaking adorable. She was doing so well with him that I decided to go for a run Saturday morning, knowing she’d look for me first when she woke up and I wouldn’t be there. Mike handled it with ease and she was perfectly happy to see me return an hour later. In fact the next night, at about 1am, I heard her call for Papa first. He didn’t respond so she tried Mama next and it turned out she had soaked through her diaper. A quick change and back to sleep with everyone happy.
While she naps I’ve been reading “Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child” again. It’s enlightening, but mostly it’s super affirming of how well adjusted she seems. A lot of the damaging affects of orphanage care the books speaks of, such as inability to chew properly or indiscriminate affection, just aren’t there. We spent one morning at Texas Children’s Hospital’s International Adoption Clinic and the doctor had nothing but great things to say about her. She’s smallish, around the fifth percentile for weight and height, but her development is above average. I have a feeling that once she starts truly speaking English, she’s never going to stop talking.
P.S. My husband insists that we not portray this experience as all sunshine and lollipops. It’s not, I assure you. It’s hard work. And we’re probably still in a honeymoon period with her. But I’m over the moon with delight and gratitude that we are finally at this point of the journey and I have felt God’s presence with us constantly. He has prepared the way for us.