I was looking back at my posts for this month and it looks like February has unofficially become “adoption” month on the blog.  For anyone missing the more DIY and designed focused posts you should start seeing those pop back up in March. 🙂
The quickest way to sum up our trip home on Friday is to share my husband’s Facebook status update…

“This has been the longest Friday of my life… literally! It began about 36 hours ago in Hong Kong as I wrapped up loose ends on packing and preparing for travel. I went to bed around 1 a.m. and set my alarm for 3 hours of sleep, so I could get up to send some emails to check our immigration approval status and make travel changes if needed. We finally got our travel approval 16 minutes before the 6 a.m. “get up” alarm was set. We got the family of four ready for our 8 a.m. ride to the airport. Flew from Hong Kong across 14 hours of time zones to Chicago. Made it through US Customs and Immigration check points. Dragged two toddlers and all our carry-ons from one end of O’Hare to the other. Hopped a quick flight back to B’ham. Welcomed Esther to her new home. Everybody fed and in bed. Girls asleep. Now it’s my turn! Sounds like a great way to spend the last 2 hours of my 38 hour Friday- 2/21/2014 ”

It was long but we are home now and so happy to finally start our cocooning process. What does this mean? Cocooning is a term used in adoption to describe the period where an extreme emphasis is placed on attachment.  After talking to the doctors yesterday this period should last around three months for Esther. This is a time for Esther to learn who her primary care givers are, us, and that we will be there to provide all her needs for her. To do this interaction with others is limited and she must always be accompanied by one of her parents. This means that anything given and handed to her comes from and through us.  Right now this is hardest for the grandparents who would love to hold their new granddaughter and shower her with gifts but doing this could confuse her and cause complications with her attachment to Mommy and Daddy because in her little mind it is not unusual at all to have twenty or so people looking after her all the time and meeting her needs.  Why should her new life look any different?  It’s up to us to help her form a trust in us that we will provide all her needs and then she can start forming other healthy relationships.  So during these three months we will primarily be at home with minor family outings here and there as long as they don’t cause any setbacks.  I get a little nervous thinking about it but know that this is best for our little girl.

So how is Esther doing? She is doing great! We were slowly making progress in Hong Kong. By the time we left she was starting to smile and goof off some.  When left alone with Michael Luke she would really open up.  Sometimes even singing songs for him in Mandarin.  He captured some of it on video for me.  It is so cute!  While in Hong Kong it was difficult for her to return to the hotel room every night.  Sometimes she would break down in tears because of having to face the reality that this was her new life.  Other times she would refuse to remove her shoes and protest getting ready for bed.  Now that we are home she still isn’t fond of getting ready for bed but is doing much better over all. Not once has she cried entering our house.  In fact the first night she kept saying over and over, “Mommy, me here.” She knew she was home because she had been so well prepared by her caregivers and because she had the photo album we had sent her with pictures of our house.  It didn’t take her long to learn her way around our house.  We don’t live in a McMansion though so it wouldn’t take anybody long to learn the layout.  We did show her where the trash cans (rubbish according to Esther) and other important items were located.  Now she pretty much has everything figured out and has made herself at home.
Finally being home has really helped speed the attachment process.

She is much more verbal around me now and freely gives me hugs and kisses sometimes. She’s so verbal that we have wondered if the other kids at the orphanage ever got a chance to talk!  It is so sweet to hear her voice! And it’s amazing to see Noah and Esther beginning to form their bond as sisters.
Noah has been in love with Esther from the beginning, hugging her and wanting to play with her.  Esther is finally warming up to her.

Noah still has a lot to learn about personal space and sharing but they are so cute playing together and definitely feed off each other’s energy.  Things are also easier now that we are home and have more than a handful of toys to play with.

Limited toys, miles of walking every day, a new sister, and a fourteen hour time difference didn’t exactly make for the happiest Noah in Hong Kong at times.
Now that Esther has started talking we have learned that she can speak in complete English sentences.  Keep in mind English is one of three languages she knew prior to her adoption. She will drop the other two over the next few months because of lack of use.  Noah has easily slipped into the little sister role and started learning from big sis.  In the past two weeks she has started speaking in complete sentences and picked up other little talents like jumping in forward progression. I look forward to seeing their relationship develop as well.
That pretty much sums up where we are now and what we have before us.  It’s a long road but I look forward to the journey!

To see all the adoption related posts check out our “Hong Kong Adoption” tab at the top of the page.

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7 thoughts on “Adjusting

  1. Kirby

    I just loved reading this! I’m so happy for y’all! I know they are going to be an awesome duo! Can’t wait to see more sisterly (and family) pics! 🙂

  2. Sandra smith

    So happy for you all. I know you are glad to be home. Now to begin a great life with a sweet new addition to the family. Cherish your moments with big sister, little sister Noah, which might be a little harder for her. But time will help with the good Lord watching over all. God bless you.

  3. Amy

    I’ve sure been praying for your sweet little family. Glad to hear things are starting to settle down. 🙂

  4. Helen V

    I’ve just now caught up with all the adoption posts – WOW! Esther is even more adorable than I imagined she would be. I believe she bonded with ML more quickly because of the lack of a male figure in her life up to that point. I have some friends that adopted 2 girls from China and the same thing happened with the dad on both occasions. I suppose he made them feel safe and secure.

    A great non-verbal way to indicate to the girls that they are sisters is to put matching dresses on them. My grandma used to make matching dresses for me and my 2 older sisters (and our dolls, too). Then, when my daughter was a toddler, my grandma made she and I matching sundresses.


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