So we’ve been home a month and it’s finally time for an update. It feels nearly impossible to wrap up a month worth of memories into a blog post, but I’m going to give it whirl because someday, I’m going to want these memories and I won’t remember as well.
Here is the truth…. the first couple of weeks home were so, so hard. All of our lives were in complete upheaval, Josh had bronchitis, our sleep was all messed up, Josh and I were learning how to parent Jia in our house, and how to parent two kids for the first time. Eden was figuring out how to share her parents with a toddler sibling, and how to manage her expectations of herself and of Jia, and Jia was just totally overwhelmed and out of sorts and trying to figure out her boundaries and how to be a member of our family. We got home on Saturday, Josh went back to work on Wednesday and the girls and I muddled through to the weekend (I honestly have no idea how. None. I’m sure I have pictures.) By Monday I had to call in reinforcements in the forms of my parents and they generously gave up the rest of their week to come and help so I could try to get my head in the game. It was a solid two and a half weeks before I felt like I even began to truly adjust.
So here I want to sing the praises of my village. My parents showed up every day for two weeks and stayed as long as I needed them. They supported us emotionally, physically, and mentally, and they were the rock we leaned on hardest when things were messiest. My parents are so amazing… I am so thankful they’re mine. My group of fellow China mamas picked me up, brought me food, gave me a safe place to tell the truth, and loved me so well. My friend Heather made us a meal train, which saved me in so many ways. I had multiple people (thank you Heather, Lindsay, Anna, Kendra, Sarah and Danielle) who texted me every day just to offer support and love and commiseration. Never, not once, did anyone make me feel anything other than loved, supported, and believed in, and that alone is a gift beyond what I can possibly repay. I have always felt like I am rich in the friends and family department, and this has proven me right. You all can’t know how much I love you.
In the end, my path to adjustment has included antidepressants, visits with my therapist and a lot (A LOT) of support from family and friends. But a month in, I can tell you that I feel like we’re finally starting to find our new normal. We’re finally starting to have a rhythm to our days and a decent idea of what to expect when, and how to navigate the potholes when they come. We’re starting to see what the long term is going to look like, and it’s going to be awesome. Jia truly is adjusting SO WELL, and we have so much to be grateful for.
Let me tell you a few of my favorite things about Jia, now that we’ve known her in person for 6 weeks…
Her laugh is THE BEST. We will work HARD to get that giggle going.
She is seriously silly, and loves to be a goof ball.
She is very sweet and motherly. She loves to play with her dolls and is such a sweet mama to them, laying them down, patting them, feeding them. She is also very caring when someone is crying or hurt, and will come over to check on them, give them pats, and make sure they’re okay.
She’s an awesome dancer.
She’s recently started saying “thank you Mom”, which just slays me. She’s always been very polite, but there’s something about how she says it that melts my heart.
And then let me tell you about Eden. That kid, man. She is such a good big sister. She’s patient and loving, she forgives easily, and keeps staying open, she’s usually willing to give up what she has to make Jia happy, and she’s such a good example.
We are so, so, so lucky to be the parents of these girls.
So, moving forward, Jia and I are finding our path together now that I’m home with her full time and we’re learning all these things together. I delight in her more and more every day. Like I said before, life becomes more and more “normal” every day, although it typically takes about 6 months to a year for most families to really settle into their rhythm.
I promised myself when we started this process that I wouldn’t sugar coat it, because there are people coming after me who need to read that not everyone comes home and settles into normal life, no matter how it seems on Facebook. I think we in the adoption community need to be more honest about what “after” can look like, and sometimes it looks really hard and sucky for a while. I am so fortunate to have family and friends who made those hard parts so much easier and that we all recognized that this wasn’t something that I should wait out, and that my people encouraged me to get professional help. If you’re in the position of being a “person” to someone who is bringing home a new family member through adoption, keep an eye on them… it’s a lot like being postpartum, except to a toddler, or preschooler or 3rd grader. And sometimes they need the extra push to take a break or see their doctor or find a therapist.
So, anyway… that’s how the last month has gone. Not at all how I expected or hoped, but it’s what it is and I want to use that to help someone else who might have a hard time. And now, I am really looking forward to the future and to tomorrow, and to a lifetime with my awesome family. At the end of the day, we’re just so freaking lucky to be here.