We have officially survived the first week home!! It’s been an adventure with both ups and downs, though overall I’d say things are going well.
We are still not on a regular sleep schedule, though we are working toward that. DoubleShot is either still on Taiwan time or is forcing herself to remain on Taiwan time. She owns an MP5 player that she uses late into the night. We’ve debated taking it away from her or restricting use but at this point we’ve decided to let her keep it. She’s definitely using it to comfort herself with all of the other changes going on.
We are slowly moving up both bedtime and waking. When we first came home from Taiwan, we were going to bed around one or two in the morning and waking up at one or two in the afternoon. Now we are in bed with lights out by 11:15. Jeff and I wake up about nine in the morning but DoubleShot has to be dragged out of bed. Yesterday I woke her up at 11:30. Today I’ll wake her up at 11. We are hoping that getting her out of bed earlier will force her to fall asleep earlier. If she doesn’t start getting more sleep, we’ll have to reevaluate her MP5 nighttime usage.
At this point, everything is about bonding. When we did all of our pre-adoption training and research, Jeff and I decided that we would focus on bonding first and foremost. A lot of “issues” will work themselves out once we have that bond to draw from. Without it, we are just caretakers. So far, DoubleShot does not know how to ask for anything. She may not trust us to meet her needs or she may not have the confidence to ask. I am not sure of the root cause, but I have noticed she asks for nothing. With connection, we will earn her trust and give her the confidence she needs to know that she is important to us. Her opinions and thoughts and dreams matter.
I’ve had another thought floating around the past couple of days – I now completely understand why parents post on adoption boards and are panicked about English acquisition and schooling. At one week home, our communication is limited to grunts, a few simple English words (mostly interjections), and very little Chinese. One day earlier this week, DoubleShot and I were having some short back and forth dialogs in Chinese but she’s since clammed up. I can see why parents panic about both English and schooling. “Why isn’t my child trying to speak English yet? How in the world am I going to educate her by the time she’s 18? There isn’t enough time!!”
I have had to stop and remind myself that we’ve been home a week. No, she’s not speaking English yet. At this point, I’m trying to get her to speak at all. But we’ve only been home a week. I know conversation will come. We plan to homeschool DoubleShot. Again, at this point, homeschooling is not really an option. We have to build DoubleShot’s confidence levels so that she will start communicating with us on some level before I can teach her math and science and other life skills.
Bonding, bonding, bonding. It’s all about the bonding.