The wild wonderful first week! · April 20, 2008

Yes- this first week home has been wild, wonderful, and everything in between! I have wanted to update sooner- but due to extreme exhaustion, and the clamoring attention that my five children demand of me...I have been unable to do so!  Hope has done very, very well- all things considering- but it still has been an adjustment! Just like when I would bring a new baby home from the hospital- everyone is trying to find their new place in the family, and now that I have introduced a very loud, Chinese talking, determined 2 year old- well- all bets are off!! LOL

Charlie- her "twin" has been better than I ever would have thought- and has taken his new sibling on as if she has always been here! For the first few days- there were battles between the two- even some biting on Hope's part- but now they have settled in and actually are laughing and having fun- even asking where the other one is- very cute! The one that has been my biggest challenge is my sweet Caroline- who I never would have imagined giving me trouble! She is four- and loves Hope- and has not acted out against her at all- but is very clingy, whiny, and all together being pretty difficult. She is a mama's girl though- so I should have expected this. She has been much better today- so I am hoping that we are making some progress!

Joseph and Hannah have been business as usual- Hannah and Hope are still super atttatched- although, Caroline is coming in a close second. Joseph cares a little more about baseball and more tales of the food that was eaten in China than I think he is concerned with Hope!! Although he does think that she is very funny and is sure to give her a big smooch in the morning!

Hope gave us a run for our money early in the week with sleeping- the time difference, and then being scared in yet another new enviroment- made for some long drawn-out bed times, and her afternoon nap- which she took everyday in China, has only happened 2X since we have been home. At least now, she has slept through the night for the past four nights- and this morning woke up without crying- which is great, I hope this means that she is feeling more secure! My biggest challenge early on has been how to correct her when she has acted out. Like I said- she did bite Charlie- and I was told by our agency director that this is largely because she has lost her entire language and she is frustrated. To correct her- she rcommended a "time in" - where I seperate her from the group, sit with her and hug her telling her that that hurt Charlie and we love him and want to be kind to him. This makes sense- this poor baby has had 2 1/2 years of "survival mode" in an orphange with 20 other kids- she will not change overnight! Again, though- she has stopped this over the past few days and seems happy as a clam with everyone!

Another lesson that I have learned is her comfort zone is our house. Here, she is animated, silly, dancing and smiling, and talking non-stop in Chinese. When we go out, howver, she is quiet, withdrawn, and acts like a shadow of who she is at home. We noticed this mostly yesterday at Joeph's opening day of Baseball. There were tons of people- all of whom had not seen her yet- and she just was so quiet- and then a little sad the rest of the day. I think- staying close to home- or with small groups would be best for awhile- till she feels more comfortable.

 All in all though- she has amazed us with her resilience, strength, and happiness and spirit. She has blessed us in ways that we did not know were possible. Her name is so fitting- Hope. She has shown us that we all can hope for something better- for a better future, a better day, a better hour or minute if need be. This child is the epitomy of Hope- she has a determination that has shown us that she has had hope since day one, that she will surpass the lot that she was given in this life. She is an inspiration to Darrin, the kids and I. Hopefully- she will be an inspiration to all of you- as we update you on what she has been up to. We are privileged to be a part of her story, and honored to be her family.

Following are some pics of our goings on---possibly 2 pages!!

1 of 20 photos
kisses for Joseph!
see page two for more of week one!!