The Strange World of Adoption

A lot of people ask how is Caroline doing? So I thought I would give a little update.  She has been home a little over two months now.  And although she has a great interest in airplanes (formerly known as wag-ees) she doesn't seem to have a great interest in hopping back on one and heading back to China.  So I guess we are doing something right :)
She is speaking a lot of English and surprising to me she is saying more phrases than individual words.  When a toddler learns to talk it is one word at a time when a 4 year old learns a new language it is by phrase apparently.  Do you know how many words there are in the English language???? It is exhausting.  And it must be for her too.  I about cried yesterday over the word "stick" because it was the 3000th object she asked about.  She mostly just holds it up and waits for you to name it.  I guess writing that I need to teach her the phrase "What is this called?" it would be her favorite!  But I'm not sure I can handle it!

She has had to learn a few concepts that we take for granted that children would know.  The biggest and most fun is Family.  That Mama and Daddy aren't just our names but it is our title too.  I'm not sure what she thought when we went to a park and other kids were yelling out Mama!  I think it might of helped in realizing that all the kids had "their" own Mama.  And that I am hers!  One of the kids got hurt and she wanted me to help him so I scooped her up and said "his Mama will help him" and then we watched together as his Mama comforted her son.  This morning we saw a dog and a puppy and she was processing that there is a Mama Dog and a Baby Dog.  Families are everywhere...except in orphanages.

If anyone has any tips on how to heal "boo-boos" on Asian skin I would love to hear them!  Up until two months ago she lived in a foam padded orphanage.  All the boo-boos and bruises you would normally get when you are two she is busy getting now and they aren't healing quickly and actually scarring it seems. We let her play hard and explore throughly which has helped greatly with her mobility and coordination.  We are even starting to see cute little calf muscles in those legs!

She still doesn't like bread (waffles, tortillas, breading on corn dogs) but will eat just about anything else well except Ranch.  She loves oatmeal, noodles, yogurt, popsicles, all fruit, chips, and pepperonis minus the pizza.

She has been an American citizen since June 17th but Monday I got the piece of paper to prove it.  So it looks like we will spend some time this week at the Social Security office trying to get her a # and such.  As not fun as that sounds I've been looking forward to that moment all summer!
This pic was taken Day 2 with us.  Two months later she looks like a different kid!!!  Crazy what a family can do for a child!

Somewhere I read that the first four months of adoption are the hardest and that seems about right.  Two months down and we are doing so much better together.  The reality is adoption is hard, scary and full of unknowns.  Everyone expects that it is hard on the child but the same is true of the parents.    Attachment goes both ways and just takes time.  There is the ideal child that you dreamed of from the files that you read, re-read and memorized and then there is the actual child with trauma from day one of life with needs not being met over and over again.  There is the child that was kept alive for four years by someone else (or lots of people) and the sad reality is that it wasn't you.  Everything they do is not like you would teach them to do it.  It takes time for that child to not feel like a stranger in your home but instead your daughter.   We loved her June 8th because we choose to love her. We love her now because we are starting to know her.  To me it is similar to my wedding day almost 8 years ago.  I chose and vowed to love Grant no matter what that day and I thought I knew him.  But today I love him because I KNOW him in a way that I could have never have known him then because it just takes time.

 Caroline is a tough cookie, she is a survivor, she is independent, a quick study, energetic, the best mimic I've ever met, a people pleaser (for Mom and Dad...well most of the time), a hard worker, and joyful.  She is learning to play pretend and take all the sand out of the sand box, and LOVES to swing.  (The teeter-totter is awesome and she can do it herself or with Luke).

I can't wait to see how the next two months with all that it offers bring us more together as a family.  Two months in I know she wasn't always with us and some of her actions or quirks remind me.  But I have a really hard time picturing the Caroline I know now in an orphanage.  I think we are in-between somewhere and that's ok.
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