Now that Sweet Girl is home we can be a little more open about the procedure. For all those coming here as a resource about adoption, Sweet Girl is from Vladimir, Russia. All posts about being in region reference Vladimir and all posts about the capital reference Moscow. Sweet Girl's new name is Anastasia Caroline. We are calling her Callie.
I hope to keep the blog up but transition it into a journal of our family and Callie's place in our lives! So with that, here's an update on what we've been up to!
Ten things I didn't expect in our first two weeks home:
1. Audrey and Harper to not bat an eye as Callie has seamlessly taken her place as the big sister. The interactions between all three girls are genuinely sweet and caring. There has been very little issue over toys, attention, etc.
2. In Moscow, Callie slept on a pallet next to the bed with us. Here, we have her on a little cot next to our bed. In Moscow, Callie slept 8p - 8a without issues. At home, when Callie wakes, she's up. This has been from 3a - 8a. Our hopes of getting her into her own room at night after a couple of days have turned into we hope we can get her into her own room by Christmas.
3. All 3 girls at once is still pretty overwhelming for Rob and I individually. It's our issue though, not theirs, as we learn to split our attentions well enough to fulfill all three girls need for affection, attention, and positive reinforcement. I feel exhausted 99% of the time. I try to not let my frequent frustration show, but I am human and I fail. Rob is super dad and is continually patient and present with them.
4. While deep down I am not surprised, Callie is modeling all the twins behavior. They throw food on the floor, she wants to see what happens when she throws food on the floor. They want a book read, she wants a book read. Callie watches their behavior as a model on how to act in our family. Thankfully, the twins are surrounded by a village of people who have helped us model good behavior for them so they can now model good behavior for Callie... except for that throwing food thing :)
5. Callie has attached very quickly to Rob and I - moreso Rob. She comes to me and loves me and needs me, it when her Papa is at work, her little world breaks down. It is getting better as she realizes when papa leaves he will always come back. Overall, when not at home, her anxiety about being forgotten, being left, or all of us not going home is palpable. The shocking degree to which she "needs" us has been slightly overwhelming, but we're managing.
6. Eating is harder than I thought it would be. In Moscow, Callie was pretty picky about what she ate and that has continued at home. It is a little bit her controlling her completely uncontrollable surroundings and a little bit that she thinks we are crazy Americans for eating all this food out of boxes. We are learning her and she is rewarding us by trying and liking new things occasionally. She has no pressure with food. She can eat as much or as little of whatever she wants whenever she wants.
7. Callie loves going. As a way to avoid the insanity that comes from being inside all day every day, we try to go out for little trips every day. She loves to crawl into her carseat and get buckled. She loves going into stores and looking at all the stuff. In the grocery, she just wanted to touch all these things she's only seen in pictures.
8. She is SMART. She prefers to teach us the Russian word than learn the English word, but she is learning new concepts so quickly. She can bead patterns, sort, color, trace and overall learns so fast. She tries to mimic words we say and already understands lots of basic things we tell her. We taught her A and C this week and now she can consistently say, find and write those letters. And I don't even need to get into her expertise at what she's now taken as HER iPhone and HER iPad.
9. She doesn't like warm Krispy Kremes. I know it's a travesty, we are working on it.
10. She has maintained lots of orphanage habits, but others she has dropped quickly. While she can dress herself, she prefers to let us dress her. She knows she is supposed to sit for meals but sometimes, her curiosity about the cat causes her to get up and investigate. She shares well and is tolerant of Audrey and Harper being in her room and riffling through her stuff. She is opinionated about what she wears. She is learning what happens when she doesn't respond to "Nyet!"
I won't lie. This is HARD. Adding another child to your home who already has so many life experiences is not roses and daisies. But God said to follow Him. He didn't tell us it would be easy and not fraught with heartache, but He did tell us that the reward would be worth it. Seeing the light in her eyes the first time she saw fruit at the grocery store made every document we chased worth it.
So, here's our first two weeks in PICTURES!