Tag Archives: August

One week home

We have survived our first week home. Jet lag is worse than I remembered. In fact, I’m writing this after I finally gave up trying to sleep after waking up at 4 am. I will resist the impulse to write a full paragraph complaining about it.

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August’s appetite has really picked up since we’ve been home! And look at him picking up self-feeding right away when there are pancakes involved. Children in Chinese orphanages are spoon fed until they are much older. They are also well trained to not touch the food or utensils. It took us a couple of months to teach Leo how to self-feed and we are beginning that process again with August. He does know how to drink with a straw but not a cup. He will still only drink water or hot broth. However, he has been eating a variety of foods for us. Unlike Leo, he loves meat. He has eaten chicken, sausages, and fish. He loves oranges, too.

With Leo I think we got the only kid who slept through the night every night since his adoption. He was completely immune to jet lag. Sleep has been a real challenge with August. That’s probably a factor in our slow jet lag recovery. He slept well with a two hour daily nap in China. Since we’ve been home, naps are dozing on the couch. The first few nights he woke several times. Then we had a couple of nights which involved a single two hour block of screaming. He has a bad cold right now and after we started giving him some medicine for his cold symptoms his sleep has been a bit better. Or perhaps he is feeling more comfortable here. Everything is all mixed up these early days home. There was definitely grieving involved in the nighttime crying, not only the cold. For many children it is easier to be distracted during the day, but night time or naps is when the grief for all they have lost really comes out.

August is accepting affection from us now. He asks to be picked up and he knows how to be carried (Leo didn’t). If I hold him, he is beginning to lean against me. He hasn’t returned any hugs or kisses yet but he does refer to us as Mama and Papa. When I returned from running an errand he greeted me by yelling “Mama!” and coming over to receive a hug.

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Other than the sleep situation, August is settling in incredibly well here. He is much happier than he was in China. I think now that he was a bit bored with hotel life. When we met the orphanage director she told us that he was an easy baby who likes everything. She said he was always well behaved and polite. I don’t know if she was blatantly lying or if she simply didn’t know him very well. I would describe him as non-stop action, mischievous, curious, energetic, and playful. He is into everything. He was determined to conquer going up and down our stairs as soon as possible and he did. August is bored if he’s up earlier in the morning than his siblings. As soon as Vincent or Leo come down he calls “Come along, follow me!” in Chinese.

Speech was such as struggle with Leo (and continues to be) that August seems like a wonder child to us. We don’t understand much Chinese but we have recognized him saying: Mama, Papa, older brother, younger brother, older sister, dog, yes, no, want, don’t want, drink, drink water, come along, go away, do you want this or not?, and good. He says “Wei?” when he’s pretending something is a phone. I’m not sure what the literal meaning of it is but that’s what people say when they answer a phone in China. He is picking up English very quickly and repeats many words after us, even more difficult ones such as “sweater” or “Pudgy.” Speaking of Pudgy, he has adjusted to the dogs very quickly as well.

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We didn’t go out much at all this week. We had a quick blood draw for some standard testing plus a visit to the dentist. Most Chinese orphanages do not brush teeth at all so it is not unusual for children to come home with significant tooth decay. Leo came to us with one of his front teeth crumbling from decay. August has no decay at all, which is wonderful! We are introducing him to tooth brushing. Having older brothers is a great help there. Every evening August watches Vincent and Leo brush teeth, then has his brushed. Then he watches them get changed into pajamas before he is changed. There is a bedtime story, then Vincent and Leo are tucked into bed. He knows what comes after that. For children this age, knowing what comes next really helps with the transition. August is going to bed much easier now that he is understanding what is happening.

Leo is having a typical adjustment to becoming an older brother. He likes August but he doesn’t like sharing his toys. He needs more snuggling and reassurance from me. Amusingly, he only refers to August as “my baby” or “Baby” if he addresses him directly. I think they will soon be as thick as thieves.

Matched!

The matching part of the adoption process is never easy.  Not that any of it is easy, but since this is the point of the entire ordeal things are especially high stakes involving identifying the child who will be yours.  Some people can’t handle waiting and want to see that face as soon as possible.  They scour photolistings, both their agency’s and others, and advocacy sites until they they find their child.  Other people are completely uncomfortable “choosing” a child.  They all need homes and it feels wrong somehow to single out one from so many to give a place in your family.  People who feel this way prefer to have their agency select the child who seems to be the best fit.

We’ve done things both ways at this point.  In our first adoption, I kept a close eye on our agency’s photolisting.  When we were close to being done with our homestudy (or so we thought) I saw a picture of an adorable little guy who had needs which seemed so minor.  My husband wasn’t sure about choosing a child, but said it was okay to inquire with our agency.  Although he had been on the photolisting for over a month, we were told only one other couple had asked about him.  We didn’t have that “I just knew he was ours” moment which seems so common among adoptive parents.  But he was ours anyway, and he’s been home with us for two years now.

When we began the process this time, the one thing my husband asked is that we let our agency match us.  He was very uncomfortable with the idea of choosing a child, although he loves the result very much, but he wanted to try having our agency match us to see if it felt better to him.  I dropped out of the China waiting child advocacy group and stopped cruising by our agency’s photolisting.  Our medical conditions checklist was very open so I didn’t expect to wait too long after our homestudy was finalized.  But a week went by and then two and three.  I might have accidentally run across the photolisting and I knew there were at least three children with our agency that met our criteria.  Why didn’t they call us about one of them?  Were their needs greater than it appeared or some other reason they didn’t think these children would be a good match for us?

I finally realized that we wouldn’t be matched until our dossier was in China.  I focused on that goal and stopped waiting for the phone to ring.  In fact, when the phone did ring and the caller ID showed it was my agency, I assumed they were calling about a problem with one of our documents.  Instead it was a referral call!  I commented to the China program director that I hadn’t had a referral call before, which made her laugh.  She began to tell me about the child they thought would be a good fit for our family.  A little boy, younger than Leo.  As she told me more about his special need I realized this child sounded familiar.  Back in January, there was a little boy on the photolisting who was really extremely cute.  Gorgeous, really.  He was only just turning two at that time and I remember thinking that he would be matched quickly.  And he was.  I asked the director, was this the same boy?  She said yes, it was.  She was surprised that I remembered him.  She said that he had been matched with a family but that they had to stop the adoption process for personal reasons unrelated to the child.  (If you’re wondering–this could be a lost job, divorce, pregnancy, not being able to come up with the needed funds, something like that).  Now they needed to find him a family again, only now he is further away from the easier to match age of “under 2” and much closer to 3, the age when adorable little boys with minor needs seem to linger on photolistings.  They were referred him to us and we said yes.

So if you’ve been keeping track on the sidebar you can see that our letter of intent to adopt has been sent and our dossier has been logged in to China’s system.  We are now waiting for approval to adopt this little boy that I first saw on our agency’s photolisting nine months ago.  How ironic that we were matched with one of the photolistings boys that caught my eye in the end!  As I mentioned earlier, I will not be sharing pictures on the blog until after the adoption is finalized.