I keep meaning to post during the week between these weekly posts but life is just so busy! I am still trying very hard to stay off the computer most of the day so that my daughter does not feel that she is being ignored. Plus, I want to set an example for her that we do not use the computer all day long.
Two different parents told me that the six week home mark would feel like we are finally settling into a routine, like things are finally calming down. Do I feel that same way? Yes and no. Emotionally, we seem to all be settling down. The lows are not quite as low. The high points are still high (yay!). But we are still seeing big changes from day to day and I feel like that will not stop for awhile.
The biggest change this week is that we are now co-sleeping. We did not push for it but we also did not discourage it. Our daughter has never slept in a room alone. At the orphanage, she had three roommates. So being in a bedroom by herself is part of what was contributing to the really rough bedtimes we were having. Over the past few weeks, we had established a routine for DoubleShot to spend an hour or so laying on our bed reading before bed. But once we turned the lights out, she would stay up for hours more, reading or writing letters or playing on her electronic device (before it died).
Four nights ago, we went through our normal bedtime routine. When it was time for us to turn the lights out, DoubleShot stayed exactly where she was. She’s done that before, stayed for a couple minutes, poking me and telling me that she’s bored or not sleepy. But this time, she calmed down. She cuddled up to me. And then she fell asleep and slept the rest of the night. The next night? Same thing. Four nights in a row now of her falling asleep fairly quickly and sleeping all night. As a result, she’s waking up easier in the morning. She’s reaching out to me more during the day. She will touch my face or my arm now without always yelling “yucky!!” Giving her permission to sleep with me has helped her reach another level of safety and comfort.
DoubleShot and I have been playing games on the computer together, sitting side by side at the kitchen table. The past two days, she’s pulling her chair right next to mine and laying her head on my lap. She even let me stroke her hair. Huge, huge steps forward.
For the first time yesterday, she said the word “home.” It was in the middle of a meltdown because I dared to encourage her to walk to the UPS box with me. But she stood in the middle of the sidewalk and pointed back toward our house and said she was going “home.”
My biggest challenge this week is relaxing too much. Things ARE getting easier but they are not easy. DoubleShot is reaching out to me more but she is still pushing me away. When things are going really well, I forget how easy it is for things to fall apart. DoubleShot is so very sensitive to correction or feeling like she’s being rejected. The slightest correction causes her to shut down. We have to be careful about how we correct her or she’s curled up on the couch for the next two hours. This doesn’t mean we ignore her negative behavior. It just means we have to connect with her first and then teach the correct behavior.
So we are officially six weeks home. Life has gotten easier. We do have more of a routine, but we still have a long way to go. Thankfully we see so much potential in our relationship with DoubleShot and enjoy every step of growth.
I suppose these things will continue for some time. With little kids, they can be moved to their own beds once they have fallen deeply asleep.
I wish your daughter could make friends with other adoptees who might have had the same issues. The fact she id more comfortable with you two than alone is a good thing.