Monday, June 4, 2012

Wrapping up May 2012: A New Normal

It's not as if the new is fading - every day we are presented with new learnings or challenges.  Perhaps a better way to describe it is the shock is fading.  We are slowly beginning to feel a sense of normalcy around here as a family of three.  And normalcy is good.

We've been blessed with a good-natured little girl.  And I truly believe that is a blessing.  There are many, many families who adopt and struggle so much .  God promises not to give us more than we can bare, and He must know those families and children are resilient and strong.  And I am positive He also knows that Ty and I, as first time parents, have so much learning to do as parents and growing to do in Him.

I can definitely remember what life was like before bringing Lainey home, but very quickly she has become a part of our family.  We loved her from the start, although that love was more of a choice.  I can't even describe the love I feel toward her now, and it just keeps growing.  Ironically, each day as she gets better and better and putting herself to sleep, it gets harder and harder for me to let her out of my arms.  I claimed her as our daughter in mind and action ten months ago when we received our referral; she is now my daughter in heart as well.

Her little personality is blossoming.  I remember someone from the orphanage describing her as "petite but mighty," and "knows what she wants." Clearly, that person knew her well.  Though not high maintenance, Lainey is demanding.  She points at what she wants or where she wants to go and won't stop until she gets it or throws a fit.  It's often difficult to keep a straight face when she throws her little tantrums.  We ignore her during these fits and they usually last less than a minute.  

Shortly after coming home, more teeth started coming in.  She's up to ten now, with two more popping through now.  Though I feel badly for her, I am grateful to be able to soothe her and wipe her snotty nose as she reaches another milestone.

Lainey is healthy, overall.  I suspect she still has giardia and will need another round of med's to take care of it, but we return to UW Adoptive Medicine in late June, so we won't know til then.  She did not pass her hearing test there, so we will bring her to a specialist at Mary Bridge.  She will also see an eye specialist - one eye sometimes seems to lag behind the other a bit.  Truthfully, I'm not alarmed or concerned by either; we will just deal with the outcomes.  Thankfully, she is growing and healthy.

Emotionally she is also making leaps and bounds.  After several weeks of hesitation, she now seems to get it that Daddy is a pretty great guy.  He has a song for everything - bath time, diaper changing, eating, everything.  When he leaves in the morning, Lainey blows kisses and waves at the door, saying "daddy, daddy" long after he is gone.  In the afternoon she often points outside and says "daddy." She stops what she is doing when she hears the garage door and often runs to him when he comes through the door.

And I'm pretty sure she loves me, too.  Nothing warms my heart more than seeing her bounce up and down with excitement when I get her from her crib.  Or the way she pats my back as she hugs me when she is particularly snuggly.  Today she did it when I held her water bottle, like, "Thanks, Mama."  

We aren't experts, of course, but we feel like she responds well in social situations also.  She plays with other children with moderate interest.  She seems to have the stranger-danger sense and prefers interactions with other adults on her terms.  She will wave and blow kisses to anyone and everyone in the grocery store if she is secured in the cart or in my arms.  She is pretty neutral about others holding her, but loves to play peek-a-boo or games.  One thing I'm pretty certain of, and it melts my heart to be able to say it, she knows who mama and daddy are.  She tends to stay close, and "checks in" with us if she ventures to new places or people on her own.

Of course, we think she is the smartest girl ever.  Her words include mama, daddy, Lainey, doggy, mmm-mmmm, hi, bye, no, and yeah.  Her signs include pointing, please and up.  She can answer what the sheep, cow, rabbit and donkey say.  Stinkin cute.  She brings us books to read but doesn't typically make it through the entire thing.  

The little girl is also active.  She climbs on anything and loves to stand on high things.  She's fallen down the stairs - and laughed the entire way down.  Since then, she's mastered climbing up and down them.  We bought her a outdoor play set and she loves climbing in and out of it.  On rainy days, she climbs up the couch and down.  I don't know what is typical, but it seems she has a high pain tolerance, as she hits her head often without noticing, and her sense of fear isn't keenly developed.

And, she's silly.  The giggles have to be my favorite sound ever.  It means the world to me that we are learning how to get her to giggle and squeal.

Our routine is pretty established, which has been so, so beneficial.  Lainey wakes anywhere between 5:15 - 5:45.  She eats breakfast close to 7 and naps around 8 - 8:30 for an hour or so.  It's a great morning when she naps for 90 minutes. We play and read and eat lunch, and afternoon nap is usually around 1, and also lasts for about an hour.  Dinner is at 5:30, followed by bath (her favorite part of the day) and bed time, usually around 7.  For the most part, Lainey eats and sleeps well.  Can't complain in those areas.

The most difficult part of the transition to being a parent is navigating the differences and similarities between adopting a one-year old and having a biological child.   When she acts up, is it because she is a 14 month-old or because she doesn't have proper self soothing skills?  When she won't sleep, is it because she (again) is a 14 month-old, or because she doesn't feel safe?  Etc. etc.  We learned much about bonding and attachment prior to bringing Lainey home and, I regret to say, neglected to familiarize ourselves with "normal" behaviors of a one-year old.  Also, unlike families who have children biologically, we have not allowed others to hold, feed, change, or snuggle Lainey until a few days ago.  This was so she would learn she has a mama and daddy who will meet her needs and keep her safe - as opposed to the orphanage setting where many different people met her needs.  It is not easy to tell someone they can't hold our daughter after they've already picked her up!  Additionally, our intent was to confine ourselves to home much more than we have.  Albeit, we don't get out quite as much, I've not felt the need to be extreme in the "cocooning" stage.  But all these decisions come with conflicting feelings of guilt and wonder.  Questioning whether or not our actions are safe or beneficial for Lainey, a child who spent the first 13 months in two different orphanages, has been by far, the biggest challenge.

Friends and family have been so supportive as we work through these unique decisions.  To those reading this, thank you for being patient, supportive and understanding.

We are blessed beyond measure with this petite, mighty girl.  So much joy has been added to our household, and so much more to come! We are the lucky ones.

Here's a recap of the last half of May, in photos:

Peek - a -

She loves to be outside and in the water.

On our way to the zoo with Kim and Tyler.

Such a blessing to have Kim as a friend - great advice and understanding without judgment.

Our first night out was to Jared and Mesha's wedding.
Ty's mom, Marsha, stayed with Lainey, and they both had a great time.
Fun with our neighbor!

Teaching Ronan a few things about the water table.

I"m pretty sure this face means,
"I'm thinking about doing something my mama isn't going to like."

Peek-a-Boo with Kelly.

5:15 AM comes early.

With Teegan & Lia at the Chambers Bay park.

Yes.  They are that cute.
I rec'd a text early one morning from Tana saying, "Want to know something exciting?"
Shortly after, she face timed...from her sister's house in Tacoma!
Her and Miles traveled out for a visit.  The four of us have never been together.  Miles and Lainey
were last together in the orphanage in ET, and Tana and I were last together in Florida in February.

On May 23, the PSD School Board officially approved Ty as the Principal
at Minter Creek Elementary School, beginning July 1.
I am SO PROUD of him!
Lainey & I were there to honor this accomplishment.


  1. Such a fun update to read Rachel! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for sharing your true thoughts. Parenthood is such a journey...but a positive one for sure :)

  3. You guys are doing such a great job and it is so fun to watch you grow together as a family. Lainey is already so well adjusted which had to be so comforting. Looking forward to lots of fun times ahead with our kiddos - including some fun in the sun in San Diego!!