9/15 – How Goes It (For Other Adoptive Parents)

Posted On: Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Before I begin, I should let you know this will probably be a longish post.  I know that the blogs of others were incredibly helpful for me, so I’m sharing this primarily for the benefit of other adoptive parents.  (Although I’m sure friends and family members may also find this helpful.) 

Here’s how we’re doing and what we’ve learned about our new daughter. 

First, her files were pretty accurate.  She is a happy girl.  She is very bright.  Her language expression ability is strong.  She loves attention. 

LANGUAGE.  Her files said that she was learning pinyin (spelling Chinese phonetically).  We’ve discovered that she can also read many Chinese characters!  We’ll have to keep up with her Chinese studies so she can improve her reading.  Her Mandarin (speaking) is also very good.  She keeps Todd on his toes and corrects any mispronunciations with the tones.  He said, “Ah!  She won’t let me be lazy!  She wants me to pronounce every single tone correctly!”   Good work Jiao Jiao.  Keep it up.  🙂 

The good news is that if a child does well in their first language they will most likely do well in a 2nd language.  I noticed today that she is picking up on words that we are not deliberately teaching.  Today she said to me, “Daddy shi baba”  (shi=is, baba=daddy).  Then she asked if mommy meant mama.  She’s also started saying “no” and “okay” in appropriate context. 🙂   She’s talked a lot about her English name, Jasmine, too.  She said, “Jasmine, mo li hua.”  (Mo li hua=jasmine flower.)  This probably doesn’t sound like much, but I just started speaking a significant amount of English to her on Sunday, only 3 days ago.  Until then daddy was speaking only Chinese, was translating for me, and I was communicating to her with the little bit of Chinese that I know.  She’s been repeating many more English words this morning, too.  (Btw, I cannot imagine doing this without Todd speaking Chinese!!!)

THE STAGES.  I’ve been studying and reading over the past year or so and here’s what I’ve gleaned from my reading.  The first stage of adoption seems to be trust and communication.  It usually takes a few months for any significant amount of trust to develop, especially in international adoption since there is a language barrier.  The child is in the dark on what’s going on and many times reverts to survival mode.  They try to be as pleasant and pleasing as possible for fear of being abandoned or abused, until they feel secure.  It’s commonly called the honeymoon phase.  I feel like that stage lasted about 24 hours for us.  She seems to know exactly who we are and trusts us to take care of her.  Her behaviors are not always “pleasant and pleasing” but that’s not a bad thing.  (Just to clarify, we haven’t had any major behavior issues.  Just normal kid stuff—whining, pouting, testing boundaries, etc.)

The second stage seems to be a stage of dependence and seemingly baby-like behavior.  No matter what age the child is when they come home, they will have a “baby/toddler phase” that seems to last from 6-12 months.  There is a lot of dependent behavior and discovery—many of the things babies and toddlers go through.  This is actually a good thing and is part of the attachment and bonding process, but is hard to watch from the outside.  It just seems weird to the general public to see an 8 or 10 or 12 year old “baby”!  🙂  We think she is there.  She went from being extremely independent and doing everything herself to asking us help her get dressed, shower, brush teeth, put shoes on, etc.  She even wants us to carry her!  No thanks.  I’m all about bonding, but really don’t want to carry around a 50+ pound baby. J  It is a very, very good sign that she is asking for help!  Some children don’t get to this stage without intervention, so I’m very grateful for this. 

Of course, we’re only 9 days in and we may have a different view of this in hindsight.

Here are some other things we’ve noticed:

  • She also loves attention and will seek it out if we’re not freely giving it to her. 
  • She has probably seen way too much TV.  🙂  It was probably a good babysitter in the orphanage.
  • She has no volume control.  Loud and off are the only settings. 🙂
  • She is very sweet and affectionate.  She loves to say I love you, give kisses on cheeks, and is quick to apologize if she accidentally hurts someone. 

When we  go out, it’s probably hard for people to tell that she hasn’t always been with us.  I think she is doing remarkably well at this point.  (Have I mentioned how HUGE it is that Todd speaks Chinese?!  I can’t imagine not being able to communicate with her!  She’d probably go crazy!)

Okay, enough rambling for now.  Can’t wait to get home and have her meet the boys and everyone else!  It will be so nice to get into a routine at home–sans TV. 🙂

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2 Responses to “9/15 – How Goes It (For Other Adoptive Parents)”

  1. Karl says:

    So glad to hear that things are going well. Safe travels.

  2. randi says:

    Jill I’m dieing for a new update!!!!

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