Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Date In History 7/1/07 - Our Adoption Story

International adoptions is NOT for the faint of heart! After almost a month in Russia, I was near my breaking point. What got me there? Well, under the best of circumstances, international adoption is quite stressful. Add to that living out of a suitcase for a month, HOT weather and an even hotter room, unfamiliar food, huge language barrier, a local coordinator that, although very good at facilitating the adoption, not the most personable person in the world, our new daughter crying at the sight of her Papa and all of this on the tail of losing my mom only 18 days before we departed for Russia. Yep, I was emotionally primed for a meltdown and you can sense the change of tone in this email.....

Sunday July 1, 2007

Thanks to David’s mother, my friend, Kelly, and my brother, Marty for keeping everyone updated with the fact that David and I have been without Internet access for several days. In fact, our hotel’s WiFi service is STILL down with an estimated date of service of Tuesday July 3rd. We had to go to a local mobile phone store and buy an Internet card so that we could use dial-up service. Let me tell you…..the past few days SUCKED!!!!! Astrakhan is NOT exactly a tourist destination. We are half way around the world with unfamiliar language, food, television, comforts of home, etc, etc, etc, etc (the list goes on forever). For the fans of the reality show Survivor, we are living Survivor – Astrakhan. Plus, we are completely cut off from friends, family and (without the Internet, world news). Talk about feeling isolated! David and I often commented the last few days how friends and family probably think how cushy it is that we are “off work” for a month. We can hear people saying…..”Must be nice to be on a one month vacation”. At times we feel like we are in prison. We are literally counting the days to leave. Astrakhan is cute for a weekend but we are sooooo ready to go. Never did we think that we would want a “vacation” to end so quickly. Luckily, we can commiserate with the other adoptive families who are going just a stir crazy as we are.

As far as our adoption journey update goes….
This too has been quite challenging the past few days. On the bright side, it is probably a good thing that we haven’t had Internet access for the past few days as we haven’t had a lot of down time. Although the first few days went well…..that was the honeymoon period. Things have been a little rocky the past few days. As of the last update, I mentioned that bedtime was getting tough. David said, “No” to Madeline. (It’s not like he spanked her, just in a stern voice). Ever since then, things have been touch and go with Madeline and David. On Thursday (I believe) Madeline cried from about noon – 8:30 pm. She cried every time she looked at David or if David looked at her. She cried if he touched her, if he touched me or if I touched David. We were completely at a loss. I tried to assure Madeline what a nice daddy she had, modeled affection towards and from him, etc. We think a few things are going on here. (1) There is NO male influence in the infants’ homes. Although she was originally okay with David, the sternness in his voice probably really startled her. (2) Madeline probably also realized that she was not on an excursion from the infants home but rather this is a permanent change. (3) Her tummy is still bothering her from the dietary changes (4) it looks like she is cutting 2, possibly 3 teeth. We have been reading a book recommend by my friend, Tammy, that focuses on the bonding process of children coming from foster/adoption backgrounds. Taking the advice from this, we realize that although Madeline is on target with her physical development, we need to back-up the clock emotionally and in a sense almost recreate what was lost in the bonding process as an infant. Therefore, what would normally be disciplined in a 19 month old, we need to have behavioral expectations of a younger aged child. We are also focusing on Mommy and me time. This book is really good. We are finding that when we are concentrating on the Madeline/mommy bond, the daddy bond comes naturally. We were also trying to keep her on the infants’ home schedule as recommended. Following our gut instinct, this schedule sucked! It was too rigid. They still had Madeline on jarred baby food. We felt very liberated on Thursday evening when we ripped up and threw away the schedule. I figured that if I had to endure dietary change diapers, I’ll only have to do it once if I start transitioning her to solid foods now. The past few nights Madeline had real people food. Tonight, for dinner, Madeline had chicken, carrots and potatoes….which by the way was the best “home-style-like” meal since we got here….why did it take so long for us to find it?

Things are still touch and go, yet they are getting better each day. We figured Madeline gets up on the “right side of the crib” if mommy caters to her in the morning. She is then more comfortable to “venture out” to daddy in the later morning. We also have been a bit more flexible on her nap times and bedtimes (although not by much, there is still flexibility) we actually were brave enough to go to a restaurant (Russian restaurants are SOOOooooooo slow with their service) for dinner. Madeline was wonderful. All I have to say is thank God Madeline sleeps well! Otherwise, the adjustment period would be pretty darn awful! Madeline naps about 2 hours in the afternoon and sleeps 11 hours at night. I CAN deal with that!

Our only feeling of civilization is the other adoptive families that have come and gone during this process. In addition to Madeline, right now there is one other baby, Elena, here (2yrs old) that was adopted by a couple (Brian and Josephine) from Dublin Ireland. As of tomorrow, Karen and Huibert will be picking up 3 yr old Milana and Mike and Shari (from Des Moines) will be picking up their 15 month old, Abby. We have also had several pep talks from another Irish couple, David and Olive, who are awaiting a referral for a child (their 2nd adoption). As of tomorrow, the 3rd floor of our hotel will be invaded and rockin’ with kids! (We are all on the 3rd floor).

Wellllll…….I could probably type all night since it’s been so long but I need to replenish my super mom powers for tomorrow! Thanks for all your support and loving emails. (And phone calls – Ma G., Kelly and Margaret) We are both very anxious to get home!

Love y’all!

David and Amy
Oh....and by the way, Madeline has soooooo gotten over the Papa issues. Without a doubt, she is now Papa's little girl!

No comments: