Transition

I think it’s fair to say the adoption agency won’t be asking us to be a panel family. I find myself wondering if they seek out the “best case” familes for that – you know, like in birthing class, when the “coach” (who had never had a baby) had a young woman come in to say “I was in labor for about 4 hours and then the baby just sort of fell out.” Um yeh, and from all of us who had unplanned C-Sections after 24+hours of labor, or other difficulties, how nice for you. So yes, our post home-coming transition has, in many ways, mirrored the messy way my labor with M went down. Nothing as planned. Nothing as anticipated.

Mr. Coffee brought C home about 3 weeks ago, and while he is no longer CLAWING at the tag on his shirts until his neck is bloody, we are still in a difficult transition period (yes, I confirmed his clothes from Korea also had tags).

We are still taking turns, alternating nights sleeping with C and our older son, M (bio, almost 5). We had planned to just have the big Family Bed, but C alternates between “singing” to stay awake and fighting like mad, so he gets one parent/night. I’d like to get him in the crib, so I can face him and bond with him each day without an angry night of tummy-being-kicked.

Although he was 10+months old, he was still getting a once/night feeding from his foster Mom and initially wanted to have a bottle ALL NIGHT when he came home. We are down to one to two bottles per night now and he is no longer waking up screaming, but if the bottle is not RIGHT there RIGHT away whne he wants it, he will ramp up. He seems unable to ramp down.

He won’t go down for naps without movement, and if I dare to try to have him nap in the crib, even if I stay right with him and rub his back or head, he’ll scream until he vomits. Pretty much anything else he’s unhappy with too, same thing – scream until he vomits.

He is VERY bonded to Mr. Coffee, and even if he is playing contently with me or M, as soon as he sees or hears Mr. Coffee, he crawls to him and starts screaming if he doesn’t get picked up QUICKLY. Needless to say, Mr. Coffee is pooped!

M is doing well but is being mean to Daddy who isn’t paying him enough attention [can’t!]- Mr. Coffee is a stay-at-home Dad, so it’s just been them up to now most days.

All this said, when C is happy, he is hilarious. He loves to bang on things, “sing”, and he’ll eat anything (actually, he’s putting EVERYTHING, including rocks in his mouth, but it does carry over to the table where he will try any thing and prefers to feed himself). He is excited by our cats and dog, and while he yanks on them, that’s typical for a kid his age (almost one).

He had an older foster Mom (age 64) and so, very traditional treatment in Korea. The continued night-feedings by foster Mom may also have been simply because he is very strong-willed and it was easier to give him what he wanted (I am 20 years younger than foster Mom and can’t say that I blame her).

The file says he goes to sleep easily in a darkened room, which we have yet to witness, though the file is otherwise accurate (not a picky eater, wakes up happy, likes toys that make noise). He does some head rocking, leg kicking things too while falling asleep. They were a bit scary to us at first, and we’ll be checking with the doc on those. I know those things are common in kids from orphanages but I feel pretty secure that he was RARELY put down in Korea, so it shouldn’t be the same kind of thing (?)

So – anyone out there who had a similar adoption transition? How did it turn out? If you had an older sibling at home, how did he or she hold up? How did you hold up? How did you stay sane, and um, stay married?

And yep, I am open to advice, though we’ve tried damn near everything…

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6 thoughts on “Transition

  1. Tracy

    Hey, I’m sorry you guys are having such a rough time! I remember going through a lot of this kind of stuff with kids (not adopted) at that age. You got him right in the middle of the separation anxiety phase. What you’re saying about how bonded C is with Mr. Coffee, playing while he’s gone, but then wanting him whenever he sees him… that sounds like separation anxiety. From what I’ve read, it’s a necessary and healthy part of development. I would actually be concerned if he were NOT acting like that at his age. I remember it clearly with all of my kids. Mine did the exact same thing, but without the screaming. I feel for Mr. Coffee, because I remember how frustrating and tiring it is… just when you think you’re going to get a break, you don’t!

    I forgot how terribly frustrating and exhausting those sleep issues can be. I had one or two that only seemed to be able to nap while being held. I wore them around in a sling, and tried to go about the rest of my day while they napped. And, all of mine nursed at night for at least a couple of months past 10, and one of them well past that. I never managed to have anyone fall asleep in a crip (nap or night) until at least a year old. So, no good advice for you there, but I feel your frustration!

    If it were me (which, I only say this because you actually asked for advice), I would put aside any expectations I have about how he “should”, as a 10-month-old, be acting. I would try to respond to C right now as if he were an infant still in the trust-building phase. You know, quickly and consistently. Since, really, a big part of what he needs to learn right now is that he can trust you. I would leave the sleep issues and other issues alone for now, until that trust is solid. Maybe that might help with the screaming?

    For M, what always made a big difference was a little one-on-one time. Which, I realize, Mr. Coffee getting away with M right now might not be realistic. Even something simple like a picnic or ice cream in the backyard, just the two of them, might do wonders for M.

    *hugs*

    1. Thanks Tracy. He’s over 20 pounds, so there’s only so much “wearing” we can manage! Plus, he often struggles when held too. But these are all good thoughts, and though we are trying to have one-on-one Mom or Dad time for M, we probably make too much work of it and don’t seize the little opportunities for that. Your suggestions are helpful. I would love to leave the sleep issues alone too; that is good advice. But I can’t…more on that another time…

      1. Tracy

        You’re right about seizing the little opportunities for alone time with M. Sometimes they’re all you can get, but you’d be surprised at how they add up for the kids. It’s like, have you ever asked M, “what was the best part of today?” after you went out and had a really big day? It’s surprising how often the answer is some little (trivial, even) thing that happened in the course of that big day! 🙂

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