Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why my baby may live in a sling..

Just so you don't think we are being stingy with Olivia.  Or overprotective.  Or rude.   Parenting an adopted child looks a lot different than parenting a biological child.  Especially at almost one year of age.

So a brief summary of our new daughter:

We arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday morning. After not sleeping much on the plane with sleeping pills and Melatonin on board I asked 'should we bring Olivia home today? Or wait til tomorrow when we are more rested?' We/I decided we would wait and see how she reacted to us and if she was very skittish, we would let her stay at the Transition Home one more night. Turns out she did great with us!  She was a little scared at first but within an hour was smiling and playing so I decided to take her with us even though the little Livvie that loved being held by mommy from our court trip wasn't quite back yet.

As soon as we entered the guest house, her fear level went through the roof. Big eyes. Scared cry. Big tears. Even though she was ok with me holding her, she was just so, so scared.   Clinging to me with wide eyes.
And now, almost a week later - She is extremely attached. Extremely to the point of me not being able to take a shower or go to the bathroom without her screaming. And I mean screaming. Loud! If I stand up, she clings to my legs and cries to be picked up. If she is on the floor, she wants to be sitting in my lap.   She is scared to death of falling asleep in her portacrib.  She finally has a mother and is so scared that I might not be permanent.   Although today, with our last official Embassy appointment - she is definitely permananet. 

Her official birth certificate with Tony and Tracy Wages listed as her parents. 

So what does that mean for the coming weeks/months?
- Olivia has been abandoned by those that loved her at least three times in the last 11 months.  So while she is attaching to me great.  And loves me.  She doesn't understand or know for sure that I am forever.   So we have to teach her that WE are her parents and not just another shift of nanny care.  Which means WE will need to be the ones to comfort her when she is upset, give her her bottles, and feed her. 
- She also doesn't understand that every new stranger may not be a new 'mom' or 'dad' wanting to take her away.  So she gets very serious when strangers talk to her and will cry if taken or held.  It has taken a week for my sister and mom to be able to hold her without her crying just so I can go to the bathroom.  So you can imagine that she would not be comfortable with lots of different people holding her at church or the ballfield.   I will be trying to keep her in the sling as much as possible to assure her that she is attached to me/us.
- Just as she became very scared as we enter new places here, she will get very anxious with new and unfamiliar places outside of our home.  So aside from 'have to' appointments and places for the next several weeks, we will be trying to limit how much transition she is exposed to, to help build her trust.  If she settles in great.  But if not, we may need to limit church, grocery stores, park outings, etc.
- And just as this new mommy came and took her away from the nannies that she loved.   She may have trouble adjusting to new people coming to our home to see her as she will not understand or know if that means she is being taken away or not.   So we may have to limit visitors as well for a time.  And all the above is up to Olivia, not us.   If she begins to settle in great.  Is showing that she is attaching to our family vs every family.   Is sleeping without night terrors or screaming fits of fear, we will be able to return to our 'old' chaotic, crazy lives much quicker.  But all that is up to her little emotions.

So please don't think we are hogging our new baby, not wanting to share her gorgeous smile.   Or that we are withdrawing completely from all our friends and family.  It's just that until we see what this little fragile 11 month old mind and soul can handle - we don't want to expose her to more stress and anxiety than absolutely necessary.   Which is why she may hang out safely in my sling for the next few weeks.  At least she is loving it now.   Kind of hard to take a shower with a 22 lb baby attached though...

We love you all and thank you so much for the many prayers and support we have received in the past, almost 3 years.   She is finally coming home.  Praise the Lord!!! 


tjacobs72875 said...

Tracy, we hope & pray that Olivia makes an easy transition into your home when you bring her home. I love seeing your pictures of her sweet face & all of your other pictures of your other sweet children.

We spent a week in Hilton Head & as we were driving home through Columbia I was thinking of you & wondering if you had gone to get her yet.... Such sweet sweet joy... for you as a family! I hope that all goes well through your transition for Olivia, you, Tony & your other children.

Wish that we lived closer so that Olivia & Sarah (who turned 1 in March) could have playdates!

God has seen you through an amazing journey. Congratulations to you & Tony. Best Wishes...


A and W mom said...

Ohh, sweet baby girl. What a process and adjustment! I had read about the adoption bonding process on another adoption blog; totally makes sense! Praying the adjustment and bonding process goes well for you guys.

Brandy Wade said...

Awesome post Tracy! Thank you so much for writing this! I am going to put this up on our blog for our families to read in preparation of our homecoming.

Our little girls have to learn what a mommy and daddy are and that is going to take some time.