Friday, December 6, 2013

Two Weeks Home

Hard to believe we've been home only 2 weeks. Seems like so much longer, and China seems like a distant memory already.  Sometimes I cannot believe we actually went to China!  To say that I'm relieved to have that behind us is an understatement!  We've come a long way in 2 weeks. The fog has lifted and I think (knock on wood) that we are pretty much over the jet lag.  Maggie has slept 4 nights in a row all night.  I hope I don't jinx myself by writing that!

She has gone from a girl who flinched the first day whenever we touched her to a girl who joined right in to the family wrestling and tickle party tonight.  She has gone from being so in shock that she wouldn't move or make sounds to a girl who is on the move and has a lot to say!

I feel like we have a lot of the tough stuff behind us.  We survived the trip home, the jet lag, the first several big medical appointments and initial adjustment stuff.  And we still have much ahead. We're still figuring out how to do life with 4 kids.  Maggie has days (like today) where she screams every time I put her down.  She is giddy in my arms, but panicked on her own.  This will take time, I know.  She's been through more than I can imagine, and she's not going to overcome it in a few weeks.  I'm sympathetic to her of course, but selfishly sometimes it's just hard!  I've been with her since Nov 11 pretty much 24-7, even with her sleeping in our room, except for a quick escape to the grocery.  Sometimes I wish I could just go pee without having to endure her crying!  I know this will get better with time.

Another sad thing we've noticed is that she has had several giant poops during nap and nighttime and she doesn't even cry out. She just goes back to sleep until we smell her when we go in the room. Maybe some babies just do this, but someone pointed out to me that maybe it's because she learned in the orphanage that it didn't do her any good to cry when she had a dirty diaper, so she learned not to. Who knows, but such a sad thought.

Allie is also really, really struggling.  We're not surprised, but she has really regressed.  She wants to be held, rocked in the night and babied just like Maggie.  This is totally normal, but man is it tough. She doesn't understand that we can't hold her every second!  She battles us over every step of the day: getting dressed, eating, brushing her teeth, playing nicely, going to bed.  She's still awake tonight screaming at the top of her lungs that she wants to rock, despite having a fun day with lots of attention. We were home together all day, decorated for Christmas, had hot chocolate, had 3 meals together, had a wrestle/tickle party tonight, she sat in my lap while we read books(they all fight over my lap and tonight was her turn), she had Daddy time in her room at bedtime (she has a wipe board she loves to write and draw on with him) and he rocked her.  I think we did a pretty good job of making her feel loved and safe, yet it's not enough.  She is constantly desperate for more and more individual attention.  She's always been a tough kid, but she's really struggling now.

I'm not trying to complain, it's just our reality right now!  The boys are doing better than the girls, although Sam is pretty emotional too right now, and can fall into a tantrum at the drop of a hat. Ben is definitely the most adjusted. He's old enough to not need that same kind of attention and he takes an adorable "older brother" role with Maggie, which helps me so much. He entertains her when I can't be right there and it's truly a help!

I also find myself a little grumpy at the weather.  Allie came home in June, and although we "cocooned" for a couple months with her at home, we were able to get outside every day in our yard, take walks, etc.  We are pretty much stuck inside right now.  Although Maggie is pretty social and outgoing around other people, she also gets very overwhelmed after, and we know not to push her yet.  I can see her still attaching to me more and more. A few days ago she would willingly go to anyone as long as she could keep her eyes on me. The past few days, though, she doesn't want other people to hold her. Which is really GOOD! That means she knows that I'm her primary caregiver and she prefers me. We are seeing friends and family for very short visits, but also know we're doing the right thing to continue "cocooning" her for a while longer and avoid lots of outings and big groups.

Sometimes it hits me hard that we have 4 kids, ages 1, 3, 5 and 7.  Quiet moments are rare right now.  But that's okay.  Despite the bickering and difficulties, I see how their hearts are being stretched. I see that they've once again opened their hearts to love someone who is not our blood and is yet our family just the same.  Maggie looks different and has a special need, yet they still get so excited to see her and spend time with her. They accept her for who she is and love her completely as a sister.  I truly believe that long term this is going to be a life changing experience for them and their hearts.  It's shaping who they will become, and it can only be for good.  We live in a country where things tend to be very self-focused. I pray that our kids are learning something big about putting others first, stepping out in faith, and LOVING BIG. We're not perfect by any means and it's not easy.  It's messy, loud and crazy, but this is absolutely what God intended for our family, and that feels really, really good.

Out in the freezing rain last night to cheer on our hometown football team 
as they headed to the State Championship game!!!  Our town lined the streets for the team as they rode on buses through the town towards the high way. It was so cool.
They won the game tonight, undefeated State Champs!!!!!

Pre-bedtime Daddy Time.  She loves to watch TV, which is so funny. 
Our other kids weren't interested at all until much older.

Piggy back ride to bed!

Look closely at the 3 in this pic.  We were trying to put up the tree and Maggie was screaming in her exersaucer, Allie was playing hide and seek in the box.  Ben was actually helping with the tree and Sam was trying to calm Maggie while bickering with Allie.

Big brother Sam comforting a still unhappy Maggie.

Big helper.


Hanging on the couch before bed.

Not asleep, just chilling. Don't worry, I was right there making sure she didn't fall off. :)
Is she cute or what?

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