Friday, January 15, 2010

Some expected bumps in the road

The negatives:

Well... my head was expecting it, but my heart wasn't ready! Annabelle is finally acting up after all of these changes. You read all the books about post adoption behaviour, but until you experience can't really understand how Anna must be feeling in this new environment, away from everything and everyone she has known for the last 20 months. I am so sad for her, but tell myself that it is something to overcome and that her grief is something that she needs to deal with in the only ways she knows of. She has taken to biting me. Today, we decided to stay put and focus on making her feel reassured. So much to process in such a small child. I feel sad for her... I just want to help her go through this. She is very confused at this we are just trying to show her what is acceptable and what is not while reassuring at every step that she is a much beloved member of our family.

She is also demonstrating the very typical gorging of food. We can't reassure her enough that food will always be available. She travels to that tiny kitchen at least 15 times a day asking for whatever she can see. We are giving her less in amount, but more in frequency to show that there will always be food for her.

The positives:

Thankfully, they outweigh the negatives ;0 She is really "gelling" with Yannik. She is coloring with him, playing hide and seek and just allows herself to be tickled silly. She now tickles her own belly and laughs and then looks expectantly at him! Too sweet for words.

She is making herself understood and is nodding her head to say that she understands. She is understanding us more and more.

We survived the first bath ;0)) She had tons of fun until I slipped in the shower...does not like it at all if I am not around....she's completely stuck to me. Good sign.

Yes, she bit me...but she is also stroking my her very sweet way.

I think we're doing alot better than yesterday... I will wear my bruised cheek as a badge of honor...Guess that's the best way to look at things. She is a sweet little girl with so much going for day at at time Anna....



The Robeys said...

I have a book recommendation for you for when you get home. We adopted a pre-schooler and I found this book to be the most helpful. As with anything, I thought some of it a bit much, but found most of it fairly sound ideas. It takes you from infancy to teen with adopted children so I suspect I will be going back to it as our son grows up.

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years (Paperback)
~ Patty Cogen

Don't fret, she will move past this before you know it!

Diane said...

Ah the biting, I remember it well, my daughter did the same thing also not when she was mad. For her it was a matter of being over stimulated and excited, it took me a few bites to get it that it was her way of trying to communicate something to me. I was told to say "owww" very loudly and tell her in a stern sort of voice "that hurts" and I also quickly learned the triggers and then how to avoid the triggers. For example I leanred how to tell if she was getting overstimualted/excited and then just simply changed the situation. It did not take long for her to catch on, I once had a lovley circular bruise on the inside of my thigh...right at her mouth level, oh yes and onthe cheekbone too, so I know how painful that is. I hope Anna settles that down soon,

sue and craig said...


Our son Nickolas is now 21 months old but we brought him home from Almaty when he was 5 days shy of 13months. He was very clingy with me and of course unsure. He is still really clingy but has an outgoing personality. He has also started hitting. He is around the age that children hit and bite since they don't have the verbal skills to say what they want. We too give time outs and tell him that the behavior is bad but that we love him. It is exhausting, and we hope it will end soon but know that it probably won't. I agree with you that children do act out to the ones they love the most, knowing (hoping) that we will always love them.

Take care, I feel for you and your poor cheek.

Sue Bradshaw
If you feel like chatting!!

Ken + Tanya Gerbrandt said...


I've been following your journey and I am so happy for all of you and the wonderful family of 4 that you are. Annabelle is a total cutie-pie.

We talked to you a bit when you were on your first trip (we were in Kaz at the same time). I found with Cooper it was totally different (in a good way!) after Gotcha Day. He wasn't a biter but we did have a couple 'bumps in the road' during our last two weeks in Kaz. We lost our laptop due to a coffee spill among other things. :)

As with Annabelle, he loved going to the potty and brushing his teeth. We bought the same type of potty he used at the baby house (at only $3 you can't beat that!). We weren't going to schlep a used potty home in our luggage, but at the last minute my husband threw it in and boy has it been a lifesaver. It was something consistent that he was used to from Kaz so the transition to back home here was a lot more smooth.

Overall, I'd say just go with your instincts. We just stayed consistent with our parenting style and Cooper adapted really quickly. It's amazing to think of all the things Cooper can understand when just a few months ago he had never even heard any English.

It sounds like you're all doing a great job and that you're really gelling well as a family.

Take care and I hope your paperwork comes through really soon.

If you have any questions or want to chat, feel free to email (


Kelly and Sne said...

Hang in there! We hit that same "wall" when we traveled from Semey to Almaty with our boy. He scream-cried for hours and hours and wouldn't sleep. The good news is that they 'get over it' eventually. Overstimulation can be a very big deal so you may want to limit her world. She is probably also affected by the lack of sleep. Our boy is prone to hitting/biting (still!) when he lacks sleep or food. Since she is probably acting out of fear or grief or simple sleep deprivation, you might want to curb the usual discipline for now, however, and simply attempt to dodge her bites, telling her that OW! That hurts! loudly. Try holding her close to console her or simple distraction works wonders in our household. There will be time for setting up house rules, etc. when you get home and after you have bonded (this takes longer than you think!) - for now she just needs to know that you are there for her and that she can trust you. Good luck and remember that they DO sleep eventually!