Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Settling in..

It was two weeks ago and one day that we met our sweet ShaSha, and I can hardly believe all the changes, challenges and joys that we've gone through in just two weeks. It's hard to believe that she's the same child we met in that Civil Affairs Office, rocking back and forth against the wall, screaming periodically in terror and anger.

We have spent the last few days settling in at home, and with the exception of night times all has gone really well. Lia seems to enjoy being at home, loves playing- her two top favorites right now are the water table (it used to be a sand table but we emptied out the sand as she wasn't really into the sand)- she can play with that for hours and a baby doll that has a highchair and a little doll stroller that she likes to push around. She also likes to ride in her own stroller to go to the park. She wont go outside onto the grass or walk outside the house on her own- she wants to be carried or in the stroller- but once we're at the park she runs around at the playground there. She doesn't seem to need a lot of structure (which is good because we are pretty unstructured here!) and as long as everyone is around she's very content.

Best of all she is seeking out Mama lots, asking for me when I'm not in the room, coming to find me and running into my arms whenever we are reunited and giving me lots of hugs and cuddles and wanting lots and lots of tickles and kisses.  She is even occasionally choosing me over Baba. So massive progress has been made on that front! I am so relieved as I was worried how things would go when Erik goes back to work and I have to put her to bed by myself. In retrospect I am so glad she bonded with Erik first- it made it better for Nora in China, easier for me to do all the paperwork, etc. and now they have that connection when he goes back to work. So thankful to God for that.

It has been so nice to be home where we have let her go crazy with the food and water play and we've been able to set clear and consistent limits on behavior. She's learned so quickly and only challenged us on a couple things before conceding fast. She shows eagerness to figure out the family rules and participate appropriately. She likes to get a twinkle in her eye and stand up on her chair or deliberately do something she knows she's not supposed to, but then she'll stop doing it really quickly and sit down with a big smile, as if to say "I was just trying to keep things interesting!"

Nights have been very difficult. The second night we were home no one slept well at all. The next night Lia was up until 3 AM crying on and off- thankfully I was able to get a good night's sleep that night as Erik stayed up with her and then I let him sleep in. Nora had gone to my Mom's to spend the night which worked out well as then I had lots of bonding one on one playtime with Lia in the morning. Last night she was only up until 12:30 with on and off crying so we're hoping that is progress and that the jetlag can be overcome and that some of the crying will stop. We haven't even attempted any naps at all in the hope that she'll be really tired each night. We were co-sleeping in China but when we tried that here she still just stayed up and cried and cried in our bed so we've found it's better for Erik to lie on a mat next to her bed and at least one of us gets sleep this way. She comes into our bed in the morning and cuddles so that is nice.

It's crazy that the orphanage told us she slept from 5PM-7AM with a noon nap! She definitely needs more sleep than she has been getting but she doesn't need anywhere close to that much.  I also suspect that she doesn't really need a nap anymore :( Even with all the changes she's remarkably even tempered during these past few days on relatively limited sleep. She obviously dreads sleep too; as soon as we say "it's night night time" her eyes fill will tears. It makes me sad to think of how alone she must have felt at nights for so long...but no more little one- you aren't alone any more. Now if only you could know that in your heart so you wouldn't have so much sadness about sleep...

So that is our new normal- here are some pictures finally. I have been a terrible picture taker lately and I am so grateful for my iphone that at least I'll have a few snaps to remember these days...it's just too much work to edit photos right now...

Playing in the play kitchen

Meeting her new doll in her room- she wont go into her room during the day :(- she gets so scared she's going to have to go to sleep

First trip to the park

Nap on Baba's lap on the porch swing

Love the pigtails but she wont keep them in!

Feeding baby Cheerios. Lia eats about three bowls of Cheerios every morning

Loving the stools at the kitchen counter and we finally found the right yogurt

In her boat!


  1. Lia looks fantastic. Glad to hear that things are going well and she is attaching to you before Erik has to go back to work. The sleep thing is not fun but it will get better. Jet lag just wreaks havoc with them. Hope night time gets better soon.

  2. Welcome home! So happy to see pictures- she is too cute! Hope things continue to get better and better. I am so very happy for you all.
    Sleep was an issue with both of our kiddos too- it will get better, but it takes time. Enjoy these moments.
    xo- Stacey

  3. Hi Christina,
    I am glad to hear that things are going better nd mostly that he is bonding with you. It makes me sad to think that the kids spent so many hours alone at night.

  4. It is so nice to see you home and moving into sanity. She looks great. I am glad you are feeling your groove as well.

  5. Hi Erik and Christina,
    Welcome home. Thanks for posting pics and words so we can enjoy the journey with you. She's a cutie :) Enjoy this sweet, challenging chapter in your life right now.


  6. Awesome play kitchen! Love how she only has in one pigtail in the last picture! Such a cutie!