Adopting Grace

The journey to bring our little girl home

Browsing Posts tagged nap

Little by Little

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We’re making progress slowly. In the daily grind it’s easy to lose sight of that, but when I realize that Leeza has only been home about 3 weeks I can see that it’s getting better. The number of times she wakes up at night screaming is decreasing and it’s turned more into being mad that she has to stay in bed than fear. She still hates nap time, but is becoming resigned to the fact that she’s going to have a quiet time every day with the rest of us. It still surprises me that she reacts so violently to ‘spat’ (nap/bedtime) and I can’t help but wonder if she somehow thought she wouldn’t have to sleep anymore when she came home. Sorry, sweetie!

The clinginess and lost look on her face is easing some as she is learning the routine here and she’s even started looking at an occasional book or watching a minute or two of TV when the other kids get to watch Curious George. Even though there were a few toys around the orphanage the kids didn’t play with them much and I noticed they were usually kept out of reach in her room anyway. She likes the idea of toys and is interested in them when a new one is introduced, but has no clue what to actually DO with one. The same with crayons or markers. Josiah and I have been trying to work with her on how to play with toys each day and hopefully it will start to make some sense soon. We’re continuing to work through the concept of possessions. She spends huge parts of the day scooting around the house asking who each item belongs to. Trying to fold laundry with her can be exhausting because she keeps grabbing each piece of clothing (even if it’s already folded) so she can guess whose it is. Again, she likes the idea of having her own possessions, but doesn’t yet know how to take pride in taking care of something that is hers.

But in the midst of all this I’m seeing change. During school time she’s trying to be engaged and even learned how to cut with scissors this week (and did really well!). She’s trying new foods and has decided that cheese and chocolate are not disgusting and she LOVES squash. She watches over Kasia and helps her when she falls or drops something. She’s learning to take turns and how to say ‘thank you.’ And the biggest change yet….as I’ve been writing this she crawled into bed during nap time and fell sleep for the first time ever! :)

PS Totally unrelated, but these are a couple questions that I’ve gotten several times lately.

“So, what did they send her home with? Does she have a wheelchair?” No chair, no equipment, no clothes. The kids leave in the clothes that you bring and any equipment they had stays for other children.

“Is the adoption process all over?” Yes and no. She was officially adopted and is legally a Dean. However, we are choosing to re-adopt in the US so she will have a SS# and US passport. It doesn’t really change anything except that it could save her a lot of headaches if she ever chooses to leave the country when she grows up. She will be a legal citizen of both countries.

On the Floor

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The book of Russian phrases I ordered a couple weeks ago finally arrived this week so Josiah, Leeza and I listened to a bit of it after nap today. As Josiah and I were trying to repeat the phrases Leeza literally fell on the ground laughing at us. We are apparently very bad at Russian! What amazes me is that she doesn’t seem concerned that she has to spend the rest of her life with people who can’t even say ‘good morning’ correctly. She was excited that we could say a few new words and I was relieved to finally have another little glimpse into who she is.

Later in the day I saw her quietly trying to read the booklet that came with the packet. She has no idea how to read and is almost never quiet, so I knew something was up. With a quick sideways glance to make sure I was watching her she started pointing to the words, like I had been earlier, and slowly read out loud, ‘Leeza spat nyet’ which means ‘Leeza doesn’t nap.’ I guess she thought if she could convince me that the book said she shouldn’t nap then I’d stop enforcing nap time each day!

Animal Crackers for Breakfast

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The whole family finally together

I’ll post something while Leeza gets used to the fact that she has to take naps here too…it was apparently an unexpected surprise and she’s yelling ‘I don’t want it!’ in Russian at the top of her lungs. Considering how much in her life has changed in the past couple days  it’s amazing that this is the first full blown fit she’s had since being here.

Philip and Leeza started out their journey home with a quick flight from Kiev to Munich and, I’m told, she loved everything about the ride except take off and landing. Then they hopped on the 9 hour flight from Munich to Chicago. You might remember a prayer request I had a few days ago that they would be upgraded to Economy Plus to have a more comfortable flight and I understand I had a few scoffers. However, when Philip went to get their boarding passes he realized he and Leeza weren’t seated together so they had to be moved to, you guessed it, Economy Plus. They even got bulkhead seating so Philip could stretch his legs out! Thanks,God! She ended up sleeping a little bit and it sounds like it was a pretty uneventful flight home. As they were landing on American soil I got a phone call from a dear friend who had managed to get Leeza’s medical records translated for us (thank you , thank you, thank you!) so they were ready for her appointment next week and then it really seemed to hit Josiah and me that we only had a few hours until they were going to be here! The house was as clean as it gets with 3 little kids in it, they were all dressed and we were just sort of running around in circles with excitement until it was time to leave. Thankfully we got there just a little bit early because so did they! Another dear friend was there to take pictures of the kids all meeting each other for the first time. Leeza was excited to see all of us, but especially Josiah, or ‘Jew-Jewa’ as she calls him. We came home and let her explore the house a bit, bounce on the couch and play with some toys before putting everyone to bed.

We thought we were going to get off easy when she’d settled down by 10pm, but then she woke back up at midnight. As I sat beside her I could hear her stomach growling so I asked if she wanted a snack and some water and she got excited. When I came back she had her pajamas partially unzipped and I thought she might be hot so I asked if she wanted them off (they sleep in their underwear in the orphanage when it’s warm). It wasn’t until she started insisting that I find her day clothes that I did the math and realized it was time for her to get up in Ukraine and her body was wide awake, despite almost no sleep, and she thought we were starting the day! The kids there ate cookies and tea for breakfast every day so when I brought in animal crackers and water she must have just thought these crazy Americans eat their breakfast in the dark, in their beds! She was confused and wouldn’t let me leave the room the rest of the night, but she did stay in bed and try to sleep. If it wasn’t for a bad cough that woke her up every time she might have drifted off. We spent the night with me trying to sleep a little as she held my hand and styled my hair. Here’s to hoping she’s really tired tonight and we all get some sleep!

Other than sleep times she’s been doing really well. She loved playing on the fort and jumping in a pile of leaves. She took a bath with the girls and at least tried a bite of pancakes for breakfast. She LOVES milk and refuses to even touch a chocolate chip. I’m not sure she knows what cheese is and wouldn’t try it at lunch. She’s in heaven with all the hair bows the girls have and has brushed her hair (and anyone elses’ who will sit still) with every brush in the house already.  I think we have a budding hairstylist on our hands. She has no concept of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ so we have a lot of work to do on sharing and being respectful of someone else’s things and space…and sippy cup. She is fitting in so well already and has given us the biggest smiles and loudest laughs we’ve ever heard from her while she played with the kids this morning. We still have a long road ahead of us, but we’re just enjoying today for right now.

PS Apparently nap time will take more than one day to go smoothly. Philip and I are betting we’ve got at least 2 more days of screaming before she accepts it. We feel like Super Nanny…we’ve already put her back in bed more times than I can count. :)  (Note: Day two nap time went about as well, although she did fall asleep with about 5 minutes left.)