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Post Adoption- 5 Months

It’s been 5 months since we met our sweet Lila Mei. So much has changed in 5 months. We have settled into the groove of being a family of five. I’ve finally begun to live with the idea that we’re never going to be on time anywhere, and that we ALWAYS forget something wherever we go. Other than the big fact that we have one more person in our family, we have pretty much resumed “normal life”. We have ventured everywhere with her, from the Arboretum to the mall to Target and Chuy’s a million times, to College Station, East Texas, San Angelo, and Arkansas. She is quite the little traveler and loves being in the car (thank God!).

The last two months have been harder than the first three. To be honest, those first few months home are a blur– we were all adjusting to our new normal and then the kids started school. Then we got busy with soccer and gymnastics and clubs and Bible study and… we just cruised along for a while. But the last couple of months Lila Mei has really started to settle in, which is good but also comes with its own struggles. We have seen so much change in her, but sometimes it is hard to really see the change since we see her all day, every day. I had heard on so many adoption blogs and Facebook groups that once you hit three months home, it is smooth sailing. I honestly thought she would be attached, talking non-stop, and mostly adjusted to our family. Well, three months hit, and I didn’t feel like that at all.

The attachment has been hard for her. For us, I do feel like right away and then somewhere in month one, I became attached to her. I know I’m her mom, she is my daughter, and I love her just like I do Chloe and Jack. But for her, attaching to us has been hard. As far as we know, she had never attached to anyone before. She had no remorse or grieving leaving her nannies, or really in China at all. Just the last few weeks we have really seen signs of attachment- wanting only Mama to give her bottle to her, crying when I leave, etc. But even those are few and far between at this point. When she wakes up from her nap or in the morning, she doesn’t call out to us to come get her. I honestly think she would wait all day in her crib! She still doesn’t realize that we are here to meet ALL of her needs- both physically and emotionally. She mainly offers affection when we ask, not on her own, and she still has a hard time making eye contact when emotions are involved. She will go to anyone and has no thought to strangers- the other day we were in line at Kroger and an older man was behind us. She just walked right up to him and hugged his legs! She doesn’t truly get it yet that she is supposed to treat Trey and I differently than she does other adults. So, that is just hard and I am constantly wondering if we should be doing something different. I want her to feel secure and loved. I know it will come, but it is hard waiting, and my expectations of the “when” this will happen were just off.

Communication has also been slow going. She still does a lot of sign language, but speaking words has been very slow. She will try to repeat anything we say, but many times it is just a hum sound and not anything like the real sound. Only in the last two weeks has she put more than one word together (other than “all done”)- she now can say things like “help, Mama” or “Hold me, Daddy”, but that is usually when we ask her to say it first. When she sings songs, more of the words are coming out like the actual word, but most of the song is still humming the tune instead of really saying the words. All of this to say that it is just coming so much more slowly than we anticipated. She turned 2 1/2 this week, and I just thought by this point her language would be progressing faster. We are still in speech therapy through ECI, but I am thinking about going the private route soon to see if there are other things we can be doing to help her language development.

If you know Trey and I, you know this is exactly what we need. :) We are both “control freaks” and struggle with the sin of control and expectations. We are planners and thinkers, and so of course God is stretching us during this time for sure. He is teaching me to love without expecting anything in return, to give myself even when it is hard, and to be patient even when I’m about to lose it. He keeps reminding me through His word just to LOVE her well. I know the rest will come, and if it doesn’t, that is okay too. But for now, I know I have to look in her eyes, remember where she has been, and just love.

There have also been so many wonderful things that have happened the last few months, and when I start to think of all the things she can do, it makes the things she can’t do seem less worrisome. She has really started to pretend play- she mimics so many things we do to her with her doll or her Minnie Mouse. She follows directions so well- her receptive language is amazing! I can ask her to put something away, put her water on the table, take off her clothes, go get something, etc… she knows where everything is and where everything goes. She has also learned so many animal sounds! She knows the sounds for cat, dog, bird, cow, pig, sheep, and duck! It is so cute when she says all of the different sounds. She has also done so much better with her screaming!!! Remember how I told you she used to scream when anyone came up to her, or at Jack and Chloe when they did something she didn’t like?? We were all going crazy hearing that scream 50 times per day… and now it’s down to maybe once a day, if even that!! HOORAY!!!!! Now instead of screaming she says “no” or just goes and does something else. She still screams when other kids approach her, but even that is getting much better as she is getting used to our friends and their kids.

Her gross motor skills have come so far! I would say she is caught up completely- she can jump with both feet off the ground, run, kick and throw a ball, etc. She is our little daredevil!! Jack taught her to stand and jump off of the ottoman- scares me to death but she LOVES it! She also loves to wrestle with Jack- it is so fun seeing this side of having a big brother. She is going to be tough! She gets hurt and will be sad for a second, but then realizes that she was having so much fun and goes right back to doing whatever it is they were doing.

I am so excited the holidays are here! We had a great Thanksgiving in Arkansas with Trey’s family- Lila Mei loves people and had so much fun being doted on by everyone! She has been very curious about Christmas. She loves all of the decorations, has enjoyed our first fire of the season, and loves to dance and clap to Christmas music. I am so thankful that she is here celebrating her first Christmas with us!!! I remember the last two Christmases I would wonder about her, where she was, if she was warm…it is so exciting that she is finally here.

So, if you’re still reading this extra long post, way to go! :) Overall, we are doing GREAT. Lila Mei truly is so amazing- that smile and belly laugh make our days so much better. She is so much fun, loves to make us laugh, and has changed so much since the day we met her. But I also wanted to share some real struggles we are having too- adoption is far from perfect and peachy all the time. Adoption comes from true loss. It is hard navigating through the attachment and communication issues. We knew that going into it that we were going to be blessed through the good stuff and the hard stuff. I am so thankful that God is using this time to mold me and make me more like Him! And I am so thankful that He chose Lila Mei for our family. She truly is the perfect fit for us, and I can’t believe we get to be her family.

I find myself singing this hymn often. I want His way, not mine, but sometimes that is easier to say than to actually experience. So this is my constant prayer- Lord, through all of this- the easy and the hard- not my way, but Yours!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

 

Comments

  1. Lillian Hernandez

    Sherry, you and Trey have done an amazing job with your family! With time you will see fruits of your labor. Praying for you.

  2. Katy

    Hi Sherry, Your daughter and our daughter (in China) have so much in common and even look alike. Reading your posts are like a glimpse into our future. It’s difficult to imagine the harder times looking at the adorable pictures of Lila. I appreciate your honesty and hope my expectations are in line with reality. Thank you, God Bless.

  3. Pingback: SIX months HOME! | Crazy Blessed

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