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Monday, February 18, 2013

Expectations!

I was reading another blog the other day and there was a really cute picture of this mom's  three girls sitting together on the steps -- one of her girls just got here from Bulgaria not that long ago. It was so nice to see her girls looking so happy and natural together and it made me think about how exciting adoption can be to our kids, but how sometimes it is not exactly how our younger kids may picture it --- well, at least for mine it wasn't.

I think in our family Bethany was the one that had the hardest time for the first two or three weeks after the girls arrived. Before the girls came home, all Bethany could talk about was her two new sisters. She told everyone she met about them and talked about them to our friends every chance she got. She was so excited. I tried to explain to her that they would probably not play with her at first and that Sophia could not crawl, or walk or really do much of anything and that she would need to help Sophia learn to play. We talked and talked about the girls and that they might be scared at first, or might not want to play, or would not know how to play very well. Bethany listened and seemed to understand fairly well for a six year old, so I figured she was prepared. The day the girls arrived, Bethany was beside herself all day long -- asking over and over and over when would we leave for the airport, when would they be here, how much longer? She had picked out things for the girls and was so happy she was dancing around the house most of the day. 

Finally, we left for the airport and the entire way there she asked how much longer would it be. All the kids were excited but I think Bethany was over the top with excitement. As we waited at the airport, she picked out another gift for each girl  -- a doll -- and asked again and again how much longer since the plane was a little late. Finally, the girls arrived and everyone was so excited and we talked and held the girls and it was just a rush of activity as everyone tried to get a chance holding the girls and talking to them. 

For the first four or five days Bella would not let anyone touch her unless it was Bill or me and maybe one of the older kids. She cried and fussed and would not touch a toy or play or even let the younger kids get near her. She just wanted me to rock her all day long. I kept telling Bethany that she was just scared, and had to get use to everyone. Bethany tried and tried to play with her and talk to her or share her toys, but Bella just pushed everything Bethany offered her away. She would not let Bethany touch her or any of the other kids either.

Sophia just laid on the floor and made noises and would not even look at us -- or anything we put in front of her. It was like she didn't even see us. Bethany tried and tried to get her attention but no matter what she did, Sophia never even looked at her. She just kept on grinding her teeth and making strange noises in her throat. 
To say that Bethany was disappointed is a real understatement. She was heart broken. She tried so hard, but they would have nothing to do with her. After about a week or so, she came to me and told me that her new sisters didn't like her. She looked like she was going to cry. I tried to explain that she just needed to give them a little time and that she was being a good big sister by trying to help them. I told her that they just needed time to adjust to everyone. It was sad to me because she was the child that had probably been the most excited about them arriving, and then to see her joy turn to sadness so quickly hurt me. We talked about  everything over and over and she kept on trying to play with them  -- and finally, Bella started following her around and trying to play a little. Then we noticed that Sophia didn't seem to pay much attention to toys, but her eyes followed Bethany all around the room. Every time Bethany passed Sophia she would rub her head or grab her arms and swing them or just tickle her. It finally all paid off, and Bethany is a very happy little girl now. She loves to grab Sophia's arms and swing them up and down and play games with her that seem to make Sophia happy. She and Bella run and play now, and Bethany is finally enjoying her sisters so much, and is so very happy they are here. 

I don't know if I could have prepared her better or not. I tried to, but I guess when you are six years old you just don't understand, and you can only think of two new playmates and how much fun it will be. I am just so happy that the girls are finally enjoying one another and seem very happy. 

I don't know if any other families have had any similar experiences or not. We did not have this experience when we adopted from Ukraine or Russia. The kids jumped right in and played. I am wondering if the fact that I didn't go pick up the girls had anything to do with Bella's reluctance to let anyone get close to her. I don't think Sophia really cared much, but with her delays and so many orphanage behaviors she was hard for the kids to get close to. Anyway, maybe the fact that the girls were picked up by someone else and spent that first week or so with her made it hard for them to transition to someone else again so quickly. That is all I can come up with. I am just thankful that Bella is running and playing and is so joyful and that Sophia seems to be coming out a little more each day. And Bethany is one happy little girl!






















































Bethany turned away to play with Bella, and Sophia actually grabbed Bethany to try to get her attention again. She is finally showing that she wants interaction with others -- something that she showed none of at first. This really excited me. 






















































This was new, too  -- Sophia grabbing Bella and not letting go. We really feel like Sophia is finally waking up a little. She is starting to show emotion and also letting us know she does want to be a part of things. 

















































We have had a few nice days and the kids are thrilled to get outside and play. I am thrilled, too. 





























Bella really likes these gumballs that my husband despises  -- I wonder if they have gumball trees in Bulgaria?


13 comments:

  1. Well good for Bethany for being so persistent and now they are noticing her and taking an interest in her! I think it would be confusing for a 6 year old to understand that children may not know how to play or want interaction, no matter how you tried to prepare her. It's great to hear Sophia is joining in the activity. That seems to have happened pretty quickly. Someday I'd love to hear which other children were adopted internationally and when.

    Sue H.



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    1. Sue, It is very new that Sophia is wanting to interact at all. She still pays very little attention to toys but will watch the other kids play. Now she will reach for you sometimes and last night she took her head and laid it on my leg -- I was sitting in the rocking chair and I guess she wanted my attention or wanted to be picked up. She still spends a lot of time grinding her teeth and making growling noises and seeming to be in another world but now we are finally seeing some changes. She has really surprised me.

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  2. As always, your pictures are beautiful. Bethany looks so much older. It's like the Waltons when they change seasons and all of a sudden, Elizabeth looks 2 years older. She's just stunning. I think each of my kids did that when I added another child, whether by birth or adoption.

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    1. Bethany really is seeming so big to me lately and it kind of makes me sad -- I guess I hate to see her grow up.

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  3. Your photos are gorgeous! Of course, your subjects are all beauties, so how can you go wrong? The 2 Littles are really changing. They are precious! You are one Blessed Mama. Oh, and I love love love your Pink house! If I ever could own a house/home, it would be Pink, just like yours!! Tell Bethany that she is a Super Great Big Sister and she's doing a Good Job loving on her Little Sisters. : )

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    1. Thanks -- Bethany says she always wants to live in a pink house, too. She has really taken to being a big sister now that the girls seem to enjoy her.

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  4. Oh, sweet Bethany...her persistence has paid off. Ally didn't want to be touched the first couple of days either. It's amazing the difference a month makes. Our girls have been home one month today!!!

    Bella and Sophia look so great! I can't believe how much better Sophia seems to be doing. Great update! I'm sure you didn't mean to make those of us living in the north (and buried under snow) jealous. ;)

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    1. Hard to believe they have been here a whole month. I don't know about you, but I feel like things are finally getting back to normal and the girls are blending into the family.

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  5. I'm so glad they have come around. Alyssa took some time to warm up to playing with Marni too and Marni was not happy about it. Unfortunately, now Marni is able to tell Alyssa what to do (things she should not) and Alyssa will do as she says, most of the time. Ugh!

    When Marni came home though, it was REALLY hard on Nadia and heartbreaking. Marni only smiled or laughed when she was running away from us :) Nadia could not get her attention for anything, she would hug Marni and Marni would not smile, respond, or engage...but after probably 2 weeks home, that began to change. Before it changed though, Nadia was soo soo heartbroken. So one night we prayed together specifically about that and it was incredible how the very next day everything changed!! God is so amazing!

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    1. It is kind of nice to know that others have had similar experiences. It is hard though, when it is happening.

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  6. Sharon,
    I've been following along with the girls' homecoming and posts but haven't had a chance to comment with all the new baby stuff going on here at our house.

    So glad to see Sophia and Bella home with all of you! Sorry to hear the adjustment with the girls and expectations has been a little rough but it sounds like its starting to turn a corner and get better. I'm wondering if our youngest is going to have a hard time when Joseph finally does come home...he has pretty high expectations that he is going to do EVERYTHING with him and be his little shadow.

    Praying that things continue to get better and better for your family :)

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    1. Your youngest sounds like Bethany. She was so excited and planned to do everything with the girls and it was so hard and sad to see her disappointment when they would have nothing to do with her. But, the good thing is they are playing together now - and Bethany seems happy.

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  7. What a sweet girl Bethany is! We told our kids very similar things - "they have never been in a family, they aren't used to being in a big room with nobody telling them where to go, they have never smelled our house or food before, the sounds here are all new... etc. They have never had a mommy or daddy or brother or sister before and it is so scary. They dont' know yet that you're nice and fun." My big girls did a good job of being kind to Jordan, but since he's so hard to engage, they eventually just ignored him (they were only 2 and 4 1/2 when he got home) and.... eventually he started watching \and following them! Now, to get him to play with the toys instead of just taking them and chucking them around the house! :-)

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