Monday, February 22, 2010

Older child adoption - Our Time in China- Part 1

These pics are completely out of order. Here is Sarah talking a pic of herself. She photographed everything insight, including her socks, her toys, etc!

Our first stop! Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do!

Please Sarah! Come and watch a movie with me! It was in Mandarin with English subtitles! At least we tried... often!

For a moment she liked it... but it didn't last long!~

It turned into jumping on the bed!

Keep going Katie~ it's not full of air yet!

Nancy- Our wonderful guide in Nanjing! She was a huge help!

We even had playdoh!

We did our nails! Sarah was used to doing things herself. It took her awhile to let us help her!

We tried coloring!!

The three Musketeers! It was a challenge BUT we had FUN!

Talking to Baba on the phone!

This is the post I fear because there is so much to say- I don't want to forget anything and yet if you are busy like me it is hard to read the long posts. I'll have to divide it up! I hope this helps others that are on their journey to an older child adoption or are considering it!

Sarah had always been in an orphanage. She had visited the homes of caretakers on some weekends but she was all orphanage, so to speak. I had read about the orphanage behaviors and wondered what we would see. I felt like we would see a lot but to what degree? I prayed we would not see everything I had read about.

I remember feeling, once we had Sarah... okay... now want do we do? I was thankful to have Katie along, she was a great bridge between the ages. She could act silly and play better than I could- nothing inside of me was 8 yrs old but I tried hard, I knew I had too- I was on a mission! Katie and I had visions of moments where Sarah would color, watch a movie we had purchased in China or play nintendo DS- a moment here and there of down time. None of that came true- Sarah was a barrel of energy all day long. We played nonstop and were exhausted by the end of the day. Sarah had no time for movies- I don't think she could follow them and I am not sure why? Maybe she wasn't as good with the mandarin as we thought but our guide said she spoke well? We did piggyback rides running down the hall, we colored a little bit together, we tried to play the matching game but Sarah was not good at playing by the rules so we just did it any old way and laughed. The beach ball was a big hit- we batted in around the room. Bubbles were fun, too but messy. We tried doing them out the window but when Sarah dropped the wand down 11 stories I decided we should stop before anything else falls out the window! The best bet was browsing the shops. We got some fresh air (kind of) and she loved to shop! We said yes sometimes and no more often when it came to buying something. I learned early on she wanted everything!

She loved all our electronics- cameras, phones and computers. We let her play with the camera and phone and supervised some computer use. They were survival moments and I new we just needed to do this for now. We wanted her to like us and to keep things positive. The best advice I have gotten is from a veteran parent of many- said "Just keep everybody as happy as possible and get home as soon as possible! Once you are home in the USA you can work on behavior and the other more complicated issues." Amen!

Hoarding- we did not see this in China. She has always been very organized with her things. At home it was very minor. If she found a toy in our house that she loved she would keep it in a special place in her room. After a couple weeks she would lose interest and she would find other toys that were her new favorites and then put them in a special place.

Sarah had the fastest grab I have ever seen. We were shocked when she grabbed something away from me at lightening speed. I think this was a survival skill from the orphanage.

We had no bathroom issues. She was completely independent with this and has never had an accident. I did help her shower, wrapped her up in towels and helped her get her jammies on. She loved every minute of it! I brushed teeth for her! Later I found out they never brushed teeth in the orphanage.

Food- She was thin and hungry but she was also nervous so she did not overeat. She liked the traditional chinese food, she had not been exposed to any American food. Her favorites were fried rice, watermelon and oranges. She loved candy! I brought candy rolls in my pocket to give out occasionally. I think it did help her go with the flow knowing mom had candy in her pocket.

The issue that brought about a few problems were clothes. Sarah wanted to dress in the orphanage way. She wanted layers and layers of clothes, she didn't care if they matched or not and I could tell she did not understand at first why her new Momma didn't want to keep her warm! She did not like what I brought her for clothes and she made it clear. I just couldn't let her dress in her orphanage clothes and go back to the government building and see her director, etc. So I stuck to my guns and made her wear an outfit I brought her. I don't know if that was the right thing to do or not? I think she was proud of what she wore to meet us- it fit her and she liked it. She has told me now that she rarely had clothes that fit her, they were always too big. After this I would set out 3 outfits and let her choose, sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn't.

Sarah was desperate for control in her life and clothes became "her issue". If it hadn't been clothes it would have been something else. I probably should have gone with the flow more with this one. There are a lot of feelings floating around and we all have our reasons why we do things- whether they are good reasons or not, who knows?

I'll write more later- hope this helps somebody out there in bloggyland! I have so much more to say! Stay tuned!


Jerry and Christy said...

Thank you for your post on this subject. We are still looking at adopting an older child and any information we can get helps.
I can't believe who your guide was in Nanjing. Nancy was our guide for our first adoption and for part of our second adoption (the part in Nanjing). Our daughter is from Wuxi. It was a special blessing from God to have Nancy again.
Looking forward to your next post on your time in China.

Angie said...

You're giving me some great thoughts about our new daughter. Our son that we just brought home has been EASY! Honestly, so easy and adjusted so well. I'm praying that we're not in for a shock bringing home another older child (she'll be close to 4) because our son was so easy. Love the playdough idea, too. Keep sharing, friend.

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

I have really enjoyed reading about your experiences. When our children are older we want to do older sib adoption. We have a while, but I know that there is a lot of need. :)

Mom Of Many said...

Thank you for sharing sweet Jean about older child adoption. As you know, we are in the midst of only being home just about 2 months. I am exhausted. She has still not learned any English. ONly one word so far. I am going to post about it soon. It is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. I'm proud to call you friend!! xo Will read part 2 next.

David and Sarah said...

Great post! I definitely have made a few mistakes with Yana in not going with the flow more. It's almost five years later, and now I am trying to make up for it by being very easy-going on things that don't really matter. It really does help the relationship!


Tina said...

Thank you so much for sharing this info. I have read both of your posts on older child adoption and I really appreciate your insight!