Oh it is good to be home! Many have asked how we're doing so I'm sorry that I haven't updated in a while.
We really struggled through the jet lag but now feel fully adjusted back to our time zone and happy to be back into our new 'normal.' We've all been doing some adjusting to our new place in the family. Trevin may be taking the adjustment the hardest as it is always hard when you're no longer the baby, but each day is getting easier for him also. All the kids just love on Rachel. Abigail wants to take care of her all the time so we're learning when it's okay to play mom and when it's not. Joshua is extremely gentle with Rachel and so patient. That boy will be a wonderful father one day. Trevin wants to be in her face all the time and she's really not interested in that. We're fairly certain she has told Trevin off in Mandarin several times. He does however love to tell everyone that he's a BIG brother. Size matters a lot to boys so the fact that he's now the BIG brother and not the little brother... that's big news!
Rachel is learning more English every day. We're just amazed by her. She is starting to respect boundaries a little more also. When we say no to something, the meltdowns last only a few minutes where as they used to go on longer.
We've seen that she is obsessed with dogs but not so daring as to touch them. My in laws had their dog over and at Josh's baseball game tonight, she just follows the dogs all over the place and screams if she's not near them but she just can't bring herself to pet them.
We had our first post placement visit today as well. Our social worker was amazed by how big she is as most two year old's that come home and are typically a lot smaller than their age and how well developmentally she is doing. She really amazes us every day. We expected a two year old child who would be physically and developmentally delayed but she does not appear to be at all. We showed her a puzzle and she amazed us with how quickly she learned to match up shapes and colors after only trying it for a day or so.
We are taking her to the Children's hospital of Phili next week for an appointment with the international adoption specialists. They will do a full assessment on her as well as blood work to see if any of the Chinese immunizations actually stuck.
Others have asked if she came home from China potty trained. No, she was in diapers when we got her. They did not start training her yet and we are not yet either. We will wait until she understands English more and is more comfortable with our family. She was also using a bottle at the orphanage so we haven't stopped that either as that is still a comfort for her but we probably will soon after meeting with the IA (International Adoption) team at CHOP next week. For now, we wanted to change as little as possible for her as we could control since there was so much already changing in her life.
She is attaching well to us but not as much as I had thought so we are going to continue to cocoon for awhile and try to avoid a lot of visitors and try not to go out too much (which with three other kids schedules is quite difficult!) For those not familiar with the adoptive terminology of cocooning, it is when the new family through adoption will stay home just with immediate family so the child can get used to what a family environment is like rather than their understanding of rotating nannies. So as her parents, Russ and I will do all the holding, feeding, changing and meeting all of her needs so she understands that we are her parents and only caregivers. The more regimented with this we are in theory, the quicker the attachment to our family and will help her understand she is safe with us and that all of her needs will be met by us. I'm thankful for great friends and family who respect and understand these boundaries.
Overall we are doing really well. I know so many of you are dying to meet her. Thank you for being patient with us as we try to determine what's best for Rachel's attachment to our family.