Monday, August 23, 2010

& now I've held her longer...

An update on my girl, on her attachment, her anxiety, her physical delays, her
life....

On May 24th, 2009, the world changed in an instant. You might have felt a tip in the universe as well when some stranger handed me my daughter. When I say this journey has been more
beautiful than anything I could have ever dreamed, I mean it. I still get very teary eyed when I remember her journey home. I wish the entire world had the ability & or desire to adopt just so they could experience the weight of it all.
My girl has now been with us longer than her time in China.
So over the past 15 months, we've been really busy healing her wounded heart and teaching her to learn what trust is and just how to enjoy life.
When I see this photo of my girl in China, I am reminded how everyone
thought she looked so peaceful and content. Sadly, her little eyebrows tell a different story.
Fear was her life.
I know this look & when I see it now, I can usually pinpoint the issue quickly.
This is not a look we have seen for a long time.
Fear does not control my daughter anymore.
We watched her experience a life like she had never lived before.
From day 1, she loved the water...my kind of girl=0)

& it was also in these waters that she allowed her Daddy to hold her for the first time, nearly 3 weeks after she was handed to me. It was just a moment for them both, but it was progress. She didn't cry & better yet, she didn't vomit on him;0) Their journey as Daddy & Daughter has been slow & I melt everytime when I see her go running to him.
He has had to work very hard on helping her to trust him.
I do not see this anxiety ridden fear anymore, but we do see moments of uneasiness about certain situations. If there was a choice between Daddy or Mommy, she'd always pick Mommy.

Her sensory issues have improved greatly.
She despised grass instantly and warmed up to sandy beaches very quickly.
Loud noises are still not her thing, but we've noticed her improvement on this issue as well. Just this weekend she enjoyed the high school football team doing there thing and all those obnoxious horn blowers and cow bell ringers in the stands.

She's grown an incredible amount. She was once so tiny, so weak, with no muscle tone and now she's sturdy=0)
Though we've grown together on her attachment, we've had our share of set
backs with her hospitalizations and all the tests they've had to run on her. Anxiety crept back in like an old unwanted friend.
This photo was taken after we returned home from some very nasty tests that made both her & I sob. I pouched her up in the ergo for several days afterwards and brought back the warm fuzzies of security. Her crinkled up brow soon turned to a relaxed look.

She's been able to form a special bond with each of her brothers and she knows which one she can call on for the activity she's in the mood for. If it's pushing strollers and carts, then W is her man. If it's riding play toys outside or playing in the park, she'll need C for that & G has continued to be her bright shiny man to go to for all things, including comfort. She does not seek comfort from C & W, they are her playmates.
She's also very good at knowing who's clothes are who's when we are folding them. She calls out the owner of each item.
She's also a reliable source for finding out who was at the park and who took her potty. ;0)
We said goodbye to the paradise life together & I worried about what this might do to her sense of security. It's been 3 months since we left and I am shocked how well she has transitioned. I am all about expect & plan for the worse, and I can honestly say that she has handled this like a pro. We have seen no anxiety in her and felt safe enough to move her crib into her own room shortly after moving. She did fabulous! Like it's where it was always supposed to be. Just 2 weeks ago, we moved her to her big girl full size bed and removed the crib from her room. And like the trooper that she is, she welcomed this transition with open arms. For the most part, she goes to bed very well and sleeps through the night. If she's had to good of an afternoon nap, then getting her back down can be kind of tricky. Occasionally she will come into my bedroom in the middle of the night and I will snuggle her for a few seconds and carry her back to her bed where she falls back to sleep. Girlfriend has come along way with sleeping!

We've continued our visits with her China sisters, this year it was a trip to Ohio and she now has the memory to know them by name and loves her LL. LL & her have a love/hate relationship, but they love seeing each other. We look forward to continuing these relationships throughout her life.

Her strength has improved greatly since moving to Ga. At the beginning of summer, she could not hold herself up in her swim float, her abs were just not strong enough to keep her swim legs
underneath her body. Now she's a pro=0)
My beautiful girl has grown by leaps & bounds in more ways than I could ever count. It's been a process and I now know the reward of taking life slow with her, of not allowing anybody into her personal space except for J&I at first & then her 3 brothers & then J's parents. We now have relaxed so many of the initial attachment rules that were in place over the past 15 months.
I'm so glad we took it slow. I have ZERO regrets and the only thing that I would share with the waiting world is that it's better to be safe than sorry. Attachment is a process, not an instant thing. The more attached my daughter became to me, the higher her anxiety grew...which is to be expected. We've earned her trust, but we still keep proving ourselves to her daily.
Recently I got the feeling that we might be ready to experience some gymnastics together and I'm still playing on the idea. I also was thinking I'd join a gym and begin leaving her in the kid care while I work out. A preschool program is right around the corner and I toyed with that idea as well, though I think we'll wait another year on that. We are also thinking of another weekend getaway and leaving Grams & Gramps in charge. But with each new *thing* I have to weigh out what this will do for her sense of security.
She recently was able to attend her first birthday party and I can say that as fun as it was, she did not handle it with 100% assurance. It was a bit to much for her, she went into shut down mode, but we were able to pull her right back into her old happy self very quickly.
I am so thrilled with how far she's come with her speech. She speaks sentences and it's always in the 3rd person. Sometimes she has a way of letting you know exactly what she wants without saying anything at all. She is predictable with most things in her life. She is a parrot and repeats everything. e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
She has potty trained herself and only wears a diaper at night. I usually put one on her for nap, but they are always dry when she wakes up.
She is happy, busy beyond belief & the joy she brings to our lives is overwhelming...
& I have held her hand longer than anyone else has in this lifetime and I am blessed to be the chosen Mom for her.

23 comments:

Pink Velvet Mommy said...

a post that just makes me smile:)

So glad that things are going so well and so glad that E is doing awesome.

Sandra said...

Good post! So many things in this post are so familiar (vomiting on daddy is the one that sticks out the most). Glad to hear things are going so well.

Shannon said...

I'm tearing up. She is just so beautiful and you have let her show her lovely self bit by bit. Isn't it hard to imagine your family without her?

Abby's Mom said...

Love this post! Little E has come so far and it has beed a joy to watch her bloom with the love and security of her family. Great Job Mom:)

Briana's Mom said...

E has blossomed into such an amazing little girl! And I have witnessed how that girl can swim!

I'm so glad E came to Bri's party. We loved having her. It was a pretty big party. Lots of kids, lots going on. I'm glad she was able to bounce back from it rather quickly. I think I went into shut down mode after it myself. ;)

Can't wait to see you in a few days!

Kim said...

Great post and you did a wonderful job on the attachment process.. I know who I can ask questions..
You are an amazing Mommy and a wonderful Family.
Have a great week.
Thanks for this post.. made me smile..

Suzie said...

It's amazing to see the transformation that she has made since coming home from China. The difference in her photos brings a smile to my face. Thanks for writing this great post.

Daniella said...

beautiful post....

Chinamama said...

That was a great post! Made a tear come to my eye because it was like reading about LiLi. Thank you.

Sharyn

Randi said...

That is awesome! I was thrilled to get a chance to meet you both at that birthday party.

Diana said...

This was just a beautiful post!!! She has grown in leaps and bounds in more ways then one. You can see how happy and secure she is in her eyes. I so wish I knew what I have learned from a lot of you when my youngest was little.. I go back and look at pictures and see the saddness in his eyes and know the mistakes I made and it breaks my heart!! I so wish I could go back and change some of the many mistakes I made..
You have a beautiful family and hugs to all of you!!

a Tonggu Momma said...

I loved this post and it took me back in time through your journey and even our own. So glad to hear that she continues to blossom.

Lindsay said...

You are such a great mom and so sensitive to E's needs. I am so thrilled for you all that she has grown and blossomed so much in her family.

meme said...

I am sooooo happy for you and your beautiful little angel!! This journey has been difficult at times as you have so beautifully let us know and now you are blessed with all your care and love. Be happy and love every day! From your Kentucky Friend Linda

Terri said...

Great post & so many things sound so familiar!! It has taken us 4 years for Annalei to really trust & enjoy life without fear. E is just precious & I have enjoyed so much watching her grow & blossom!!!

Ani said...

What a privilege to watch E grow and blossom right before your eyes. This post touched my heart... Thank you for sharing this!

ww said...

T- thanks for sharing this wonderful update. You are such an incredible person - thanks for letting us follow your beautiful family's life.

Joanne said...

This is just a beautiful post and I thank you for your willingness to let us all share in all the progress that your sweet daughter has made since she has been home. You are an inspiration to me as I continue to raise my daughter, who is now five and also from China. I try to infuse the same kind of joy, fun and love that you bring to your family. Thanks for sharing!

Steffie B. said...

wonderful post T~.....I know it has been a hard journey for you....and you handled it just perfect for your girl....she is so precious and I love reading your heartful words of love and devotion to her.....might be time to start thinking about another journey?!?!?!? ;)

CrombieClan said...

Tears...sob...Luv you!! Jaylee excitedly said "Eme..pool" and then jiggled her little body back and forth with an attempt at snapping her fingers to your music. Add in a genuine smile for her lifelong friend and sister.....neighbor at heart. Sigh.......

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

She is SO BEAUIFUL!

What an amazing 15 months it has been for all of you! To think back to those very first days in China.....or your first weeks at home, and to see her now...... She has grown so much, on so many different levels. She is one strong little girl:)

xoxo,

Lisa

Wanda said...

Wow....this post makes me so happy. Good stuff.
:)

Kayce said...

I loved reading this post and am so happy to read all the joy from it! Your girl is such a sweetie with a family so full of love!

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