The 2nd of August marked one month with E in our family. His adoption won't be official for a few more months, but we still see July 2nd as the first day he became a Newingham. (For those interested, Nasko was adopted on March 2, Louis was born on June 2, and we'll celebrate E's adoption on July 2. My mom and aunt both have birthdays on the 21sts, and my brother and I were born on the 22nds of two different months. Kind of cool!) The orphan court has asked me to write a monthly update while we are hosting E, so I figured that I would also share it with my faithful blog readers!
E's One Month Report
We really cannot complain about E overall. For a child who has been taking from an institution setting (which was all he had known) and flown around the world with a family comprised of only two other children and consistent caregivers who talk at you in some other language, I'd say he's adapting beautifully.
E goes with the flow pretty well, and picks up on our cues. (Example: scrambling around packing a diaper bag means we are probably going somewhere. E will go and find his shoes without being prompted.) He gets along well with his brothers and loves to bring comedy to any boring situation. (I think his new goal is to see how many times per day he can get Louis to laugh!)
E seems to be attaching to us well. He likes being around new people, but when he is feeling overwhelmed, he always comes to find Chance or I.
Our family is pretty busy and active, and we sometimes wear E out! Because of his left leg being shorter and weaker, he has to work twice as hard to keep up with us. He struggled with this some in the beginning, but now he is just as fast and Louis or Nasko. Despite any physical limitations, he is determined to find ways to keep up. Just today, I saw him run across the room and even jump a few times just to catch Nasko. He does not seemed bothered by the adaptations, and we're pushing him to learn to be independent as much as possible.
Because of some issues with our health insurance (which have now been resolved - hallelujah) and the long waiting lists that many doctors have, we haven't been able to tackle some of E's health needs as aggressively as I would have liked. Regardless, we are doing what we can! He has been seeing our chiropractor three times per week to help with his scoliosis. We began those visits with an X-ray that confirmed his spinal curves (it's shaped like an 'S'!) and Dr. Allen started treatment immediately. He is not sure how much of the scoliosis will be corrected, but he is hoping to at least lessen the curve significantly. Honestly, we all think that E is standing a bit taller and straighter already. E enjoys seeing Dr. Allen, and giggles whenever his back is popped.
Per Dr. Allen's advice, we've decided not to use E's back brace for the time being. We are exposing E to many activities that he's never participated in before (jumping on the trampoline, swimming, chasing after an active Bulgarian). This presents the possibility of different muscles being strengthened, and a back brace might hinder some of the muscles from developing naturally. When we meet with back surgeons in the future, a new brace may be necessary, but for now, we are encouraging natural and typical physical growth and development.
We've lined up a few more appointments for August and then a comprehensive evaluation for children adopted internationally in October. We have been able to refill the prescription for his daily medicine as well.
As I stated previously, E is attaching very well to Chance and I. Chance remains his favorite, but when Taty is gone, he loves to be held by me. E has major separation anxiety when Chance does leave. Thankfully, he calms down within 5-10 minutes of Chance's departure.
The biggest problem we've had with E so far, is his sleep routine. E cries at nap time and bedtime every day. He wakes up crying multiple times throughout the night. We've put him in a crib with three sides and butted the open side up to our bed. Chance sleeps next to him, and comforts him when he cries. Many times though, E is not able to be comforted, and cries uncontrollably for a while.
The orphanage workers said that he slept fine while he was there, but liked to have someone sitting near his bed. I'm not sure if this is accurate, or if this is his way of demonstrating adoption grief, but we are doing some reading and research on the topic of orphans with sleep issues.
E (like Nasko) has the problem-solving skills of a former-orphan. He is smart and knows how to get what he wants - from being sneaky to batting his eyelashes while he's in trouble.
He likes to be read to and he loves to complete matching puzzles. He enjoys coloring and playing with stickers. When we first came home, he mostly wanted to dump large baskets of toys onto the floor (and not play with them), but after a couple rounds of time out, some yelling, and some required cleaning up, he has moved on to a more constructive version of play!
E is beginning to communicate in English some. He is responding appropriately when we say phrases like, "Time to eat," "Back up," or "Sit down." Like a typical toddler, he has mastered the word "No!". He also says/signs "more," "eat," "please," "all-done," "Mama," and "Taty." He has mostly stopped shrieking and grunting to communicate what he wants, and has turned to signs and gestures. He likes animals and has learned many farm animal sounds.
We haven't quite figured out what is going on, but E is having some issues with his bowels. We're thinking he may have a food intolerance, but we aren't wanting to rush to change his diet, as he's still trying all the new foods we are presenting to him. He does regularly communicate when he needs his diaper changed. We're not going to begin potty training yet, but this fact does give us hope for the future!
We are so thankful that E is in our family. Other than additional food, diaper changes, and dishes, his presence has honestly not changed our daily routine too much. I had some friends say that after you have two kids, you hardly notice the third, fourth, or fifth. I'm not sure about all of that, but I'm thankful that E has assimilated into our family so well!