Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our First Month Together

WOW!!!  I cannot believe it has been a month since we have first met our sweet little girl.  I am sure you are all wondering how are things going.  Well, things have been going pretty well although she certainly has her moments where things are not going well, which is to be expected.  This poor little girl has lost so much in her little life.  She has lost her foster Dad and foster Mom, her foster siblings, her home, the smells, the language, everything she has ever known.  Can you imagine if someone were to take you from where you are now and put you in an entirely different place where you know nothing, nothing around you is familiar and you cannot even understand those around you.  Think about how we are all in our own little comfort zone.  How would you feel? 

The biggest hurdle I feel we have been dealing with is sleep.  At night things are pretty difficult.  She is up anywhere from 4-5 times in a night.  One night she woke up, when I went into her room she threw herself back and almost hit her head against the crib.  She was literally throwing herself around like a ping pong ball.  I picked her up and I could clearly see her looking around trying to see where she was.  She was really scared.  She cried for an hour +.  She also threw herself back and tried to escape my arms.  It honestly broke my heart.  I cried along with her as I walked her around and tried to comfort her.  No one should have to go through this.  It BROKE MY HEART knowing that I could not take it away.  That I could not make this any easier on her.  I just wanted her to know that I love her and I am there for her.  I always will be.  I pray she will know this in time.

During the day, she does good.  She likes to have an eye on me and definately comes up to check in with me often.  I have been holding her and carrying her around in the Ergo to have that closeness, eye contact, nose kisses and of course real kisses.  I ask her for a kiss and she puckers up her lips, it is the sweetest thing ever.  Although she doesn't always give kisses.  She will kiss her sisters more willingly but Jon and I is more difficult. 

I would like to compare her similar to an onion.  Each day more layers peel off.  Sometimes the layers can go back on as quick as they came off.  Jon definately has to work with her.  She prefers me.  She will see in time that he is the best daddy ever.  He is so fun and loves his girls so much!!  Today she had progress.  She was bringing him toys and trying to feed him cheerios.  Little baby steps.

Another really difficult part is that each one of my girls have been going through their own moments during our adjustment to having Piper home.   I can see each one struggling at times.  My 3 year old the most.  She does okay during the day but night time is a whole other story.  We have kept our same routine but she SCREAMS and I mean SCREAMS and cries for hours.  We keep reassuring her that we are not going anywhere.  When we first got home, she told us that she does not like her sister and she wants her to go back to Ch*na.  We have now gotten past that part.  She loves her and truly likes her.  I can see that.  But it has been challenging for her naturally.  Piper has taken her mommy and daddy's time from her.  It is different when you have a newborn baby.  When you come home wiht a baby, the newborn is usually sleepy and sleeps a lot during the day.  Piper sleeps maybe a half an hour if we are lucky and is up all day until 8:30 PM when she goes to bed.  She also plays with all of the toys.  My 3 year old doesn't seem to mind her playing with her things but it has to be hard.  We just keep plugging away with her giving her extra cuddles and hugs and trying to reassure her as much as possible.  I know it will get better.  It cannot stay this way forever can it???  One thing that did help is we had her sleep on our floor in our bedroom for a week or so.  She went to bed easier and she did much better. 

Another hard part is that people view this differently than a pregnancy. If someone is pregnant people obviously can see that a woman is expecting and seem to be more understanding with a newborn baby.  Seems to be more understanding if you don't want to take your one week old out.  I feel that people have different expectations being that Piper is 16 months old.  I think people forget all that this little girl is going through and all that she has lost.  She has gained too but she does not know that yet.  It will be time.  Lots of time.  She is differnt than a newborn baby.  Newborns can be held by anyone and still have the security of their mom.  They know that their mom is going to feed them.  They can be hugged and kissed and they still know that their mom loves them.  Piper is learning that we are her parents, learning that we love her, learning to attach to us, learning in time that she can trust us, learning that we will feed her and take care of her needs.  Someone told me to treat our adopted daughter as a newborn.  Count each week from the time we have had her.  So according to that, she would be considered a 4 week old newborn.  This has helped me and has made perfect sense with what we have been dealing with here at home.  I have also talked to an attachment specialist regarding what happens at nights.  She said to treat her like a newborn, cuddle her, give her a blanky, give her a binky if she would like one, during the day she suggested holding her in the Ergo, making eye contact with her, playing with her, feeding her her food, even if she is feeding some to herself, touch her leg while we are eating etc.  All of these things help attachment.  She gets to a point during the night where she wakes up and I cannot get her to lay back down in her crib so I was bringing her into bed but I really do not want to start this habit.  The attachment specialist recomended I bring the pack n play in my room and transition her there.  She is used to us being in the room with her in Ch*na and used to foster siblings all being in one room.  I don't know why I did not think of this but things are different with an adopted child.  With my bio kids, things just came naturally.  I knew what they wanted or what was wrong.  With Piper I don't always know what is wrong, what she needs, if I am feeding her enough (even though I am following what the orphanage told me)  Is she drinking enough? etc etc. 

The one thing I can say is she sure is a HAPPY GIRL!!!!  She is loving her sisters more and more each day!!!  We have a little dog.  At first when we came home she was scared of her.  Petrified of her literally.  By the second day home, she was chasing her around with a chopstick (her favorite toy).  It was hilarious!!!  Each day she learned to love her more and more.  She now lets the dog give her kisses!!  She is precious in every way!!!  I will let you enjoy some of our pictures of our first month together.  You can definately tell she has been getting some extra love from her sisters.  Please pray for us as we continue our adjustment and attachment.  Thanks for following our journey :)