Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's Hard To Believe...

That Asa has been home for three weeks! There were times when it seemed impossible to even fathom him actually being with us. And, yet, here he is - sleeping soundly, tucked into his bed in the room above me. Wow.

Over the past two years, this has been a journal about the process, the wait, the frustration and the joy of a Haitian adoption. Now that Asa is home, I hope to give a really honest and accurate picture of our transition in the hopes that it may offer encouragement and insight to other adoptive parents. Many of our experiences might be unique to our own family and child, but there will certainly be some common issues we'll share with other parents of children coming home from an institutional (more specifically, a Haitian orphanage) setting. So....

Right now, things are going really well. By "well" I mean that we have not been especially surprised by any of Asa's behavior, and his adjustment seems to be similar to what we've researched and heard about from other parents. That doesn't mean that we don't have tough moments. But we feel prepared (at least moderately) for the times when Asa feels sad or tests boundaries or acts out. If pressed, I would say that, right now, Asa is joyful, engaging, funny, and cuddly 80% of the time. The other 20% can range from sulky and sullen to sad, angry and maybe even confused. Yes, most of those things are typical for any three year old. But, sometimes, there is unique element; it feels like there is something coming from a place inside him that is quite different from a child who had been parented in a family since birth. And that's the reality which I hope to convey.

Ironically, I wasn't sure what I'd touch on, first (there's so much to write about). But just as I was finishing the above paragraph, I heard the cries of my tiny, little guy coming from upstairs. A few minutes of cuddling did the trick, but I expect to be up there again in another few hours. After about two weeks of sleeping pretty well, Asa began waking up more often though the night. It was normal for him to wake once to use the potty, but he'd usually go right back to sleep. Now, he's waking three or four times a night and the result is that I'll just stay with him in his bed until morning, because he really seems to need the reassurance that I'm there. He wants my arm under his head and he usually maintains a firm grip on me (even in his sleep). This makes for a slightly sleepy & sore mommy in the mornings, but I absolutely believe this is teaching him that we will always meet his needs. Right now, his "need" is to know that he is not alone (just like a newborn who cries at night). It's a lot like "musical beds" at our house these days, because Camden (age five) often opts sleep with Asa on the bottom bunk instead of sleeping in his, up top. So when Asa cries, Camden moves out and I move in. And this works for us, for now. I'm sure it will be one of many phases through which Asa must pass to ultimately feel safe and secure in our family.

8 of your thoughts:

Kristi said...

This is a really good honest post. :-) Thank you.

Tifanni said...

Loved it-Thanks

dreamingBIGdreams said...

Thanks for sharing this. As a family that is not far behind you (hopefully) .... we cherish your real thoughts!

Amanda said...

I love this! I'm so very curious about "what to expect" and what is normal and such. It sounds as if your Asa is doing wonderfully considering all things, and finally...the ability to comfort him...that must be a very tangible answer to prayer.

Praying for you guys right now that you'll continue to find the strength you need to aid Asa in his bonding and adjustment to his new life.

Tracy said...

Thanks so much for sharing... I think there are a lot of us out there that love reading what life will really be like once our children do come home. Right now, it honestly seems like it will NEVER happen, but reading your post gives me a little more positive outlook! :)

Greg's Wife said...

Thanks, Beth. This is helpful info for those of us who are waiting. I look forward to learning more through your experiences!

Major Mom said...

Thank you Beth. It is certainly not all sunshine at our house either. Alot of it is our adjustment to having a toddler around,and some of it is her adjustment. Bella slept well too for about 2 weeks and then decided to wake often. It is hard, that is all there is to it.

Melissa E. said...

We had issues with nighttime waking with Vitali. Except that he would come to our room. Funny thing was, he'd look at me and walk around the bed to Steve. Then one night when they'd been home around three weeks, my mom came over so that Steve and I could go out for dinner. (her idea;I was very reluctant) The surprising result was that leaving an angry Vitali with Grandma and going off TOGETHER changed the dynamics entirely. From then on, he had the balance right: Mom as comforter/nurturer (what moms do!--not that dads don't, of course) and Dad for activities and roughhousing and that stuff that dad's do. It was interesting to me in how these little people who have never had a family have to learn life all over again. And for Vitali, seeing us as a united front separate from him made all the difference in the world! Suddenly he was so much more secure. Not that his issues were over...

I know, it is really not what you are experiencing so much but just an anecdote about what you said regarding there being something more than just normal misbehaving and such.

People often said to me, "Oh, my son does that all the time!" And that sort of thing. But somehow, you just know that it is different and comes from a different place in a child who is learning to find his place in a new forever family.

Thanks for the updates! Looking forward to more!