Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day Two - Adoption Finalized!

The next morning we woke up and got dressed. Emma was happy. We continue to be amazed by her. She is really smart. She will watch you do something once and then will be able to do it. If she can't figure something out the first time, she doesn't give up until she does figure it out. We are also amazed at how quickly she is responding to our family. She is happy, spunky, and affectionate with us. By the next morning, it was clear that she was already attaching to our family, especially to me. We have also seen some things that make us sad. She has at least 7 bite marks on her arms and legs. From the way she reacts when she doesn't get her way shows us that she has had to learn to be a tough cookie. The big bump on her head was not something that happened right before the video we received, it is something that happened over a year ago. I don't know if it will be permanent or not. Emma can get a lid off anything. She is also VERY curious and gets into everything. Childproofing may be quite the challenge. She shows no interest at all in books. I don't know if she has ever been read to before. I really hope that this changes. Breakfast with her also showed us that there is some work to be done. She is fiercely independent and does not want any help when eating. This makes me really sad because I believe she is this way because she has had to do so much for herself. She makes a huge mess when eating. I really don't think I packed enough clothes for her! She did not want a bottle at all. That was a wasted purchase. She does not have very good manners. I know that some of this is cultural. For example, she throws any food that she does not want, even if it comes out of her mouth and is partially chewed. We are already modeling please and thank you and working on discouraging the food throwing. The food throwing is already better. She does seem to have some mild food issues. When she wants food, she wants it NOW. She likes to be snacking the majority of the time. If she isn't done with her snack and someone acts like they are going to take some of it, then she will raise her arm as high as possible with the snack in her hand. Here is a picture of her doing this.

After breakfast, we headed back to the adoption center in order to finalize the adoption. Emma was happy, laughing, and playing while we were there. Once again, Mark took care of the paperwork part while I had the joy of watching Emma. A couple of significant things happened during this time. Emma went up to another white mom because she thought it was me. She looked up at her and realized that it wasn't me. She looked for me and came straight to me. Also, some of you may remember the white guy playing the guitar at Emma's birthday party. He runs a school for orphans and also cares for some orphans. He and his wife were finalizing the adoption of a little girl with significant special needs. She has lived in their home for four years. He said that she was a part of their family and would never be adopted because of her significant needs. He has had a lot of contact with Emma and with her foster family. Before I met Emma, I was worried that she would never smile and that she would not have a lot of personality. She never smiled in her pictures and did not appear happy in the video we received. This man talked to me for a while. He was amazed with how well Emma was doing. He told me that he had never seen her laughing and playing and that she was always so serious and non-emotional. He also told me that the foster mother is extremely quiet and that the foster grandmother was really the caregiver. We had assumed that was the case. He also stated that he felt they met Emma's physical needs but did not really treat her like a family member.

Here is a picture of all the American families who were adopting with us along with the adoption officials. The man with the guitar is not American and isn't in this picture.

We then headed back to the hotel. After a while, we headed out walking to go to Walmart, partly to get out of the hotel and partly to find something to eat. Walmart here is different than at home. We managed to accidentally steal from there. Emma saw food she wanted, so I grabbed the package and let her eat it and was just going to let them scan the empty package. I grabbed another one later. At checkout we discovered that those packages are like our pay by the weight candy bins. We couldn't pay for them because they were already eaten. Whoops. Emma fell asleep while we were checking out, so we stopped at the park area by the Walmart and laid her down on a bench while we snacked on foods. There we were an attraction. Everybody stared at us. After Emma woke up, we headed back to the hotel. Mark walked to Pizza Hut later that night. The pizza is not the same, but it was still better than our other options. By the afternoon of this day, it was obvious that Emma was quickly attaching to us, especially to me. She likes everyone, but she wants me to hold her and carry her. She cries if anyone else carries her for very long. I admit that I am loving it. She is amazingly affectionate and gives me big open mouth kisses. I also love it when she presses her cheek into mine or presses her forehead to mine. She will also come snuggle up next to me on the bed and will pull her covers up. It really is amazing what the love of a family does for a child. She may not understand a word we say to her, but she understands that we love her and adore her. I can't believe the difference in her during the two short days that we have had her. She has been kissed on and held and loved on more the last couple of days than I believe she has ever been before. She is soaking it up. I can't express how much we love her and how wonderful and precious she is.

She is fascinated by Dylan's braces and does this frequently to him. She will then look at Chase's teeth and start telling Chase all about Dylan's braces. She doesn't seem to have any developmental delays. Her gross motor skills and fine motor skills seem really good. Her speech also seems good. She is clearly talking in sentences, we just can't understand what she is saying. She already calls me Mama and that is the sweetest word of all.

She had no problem eating pizza. The girl is serious about her food. This is very common in children who have been in an orphanage or foster care. For right now, we are giving her food anytime she wants it. This should decrease dramatically after a few months home. It took her a little longer to go to sleep this night, but she still slept well.

- Jenna

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