"Mommy, we are so, so lucky to have our new baby, Evie!"
-Jude, this morning
I have been told that it takes a good six months to a year to really congeal as a family after an adoption. I would say this is true whether you are growing your family through birth or adoption. Either way, it isn't as though something magical happens at that 6 month or 1 year mark. It's a process. We met Evie almost 4 months ago and I would say it feels like we're finally in our family rhythm.
Our four months home have not been without their challenges (and of course, many, many blessings!). According to my reference book, it seems that everything we've experience is not only normal, but to be expected. More than anything, it has been evident to both Dan and I that Evie was/is a hurting child. We were her fourth stop by the time she was 10.5 months old. I felt frustrated at times by the lack of resources I had to pull from. There are many professionals who are knowledgeable about child development, but not necessarily adoption. There were days that I felt like I had to be doing something wrong. Evie was having sleep issues, especially at naptime. She seemed unhappy - whining and fussing a lot. She wanted me to carry her all of the time. She was an extremely picky eater. Then I referred back to my book. Every single one of these issues is listed in the book and listed as a positive sign! It means that she feels like she has a voice, that her opinion means something, that she is becoming part of a family.
In all honesty, I would say that most of our transition home has been much easier than I expected. Admittedly, the bug possibility freaked me out. But other than treating for scabies (as a mostly precautionary measure) when first coming home, we had no issues with parasites. I worried about giardia tearing through our household, but none of us got it. Evie is a champion sleeper at nighttime. She seemed to want to connect with us from the start. She wanted to be carried, she wanted to be with us. This was and is a huge blessing.
Now, just four short months after meeting Evangeline, it is hard to imagine life without her in our family. Both kids are smitten with her and Indigo tells me every day how much she loves having a baby sister. Evie is settling in to a more predictable nap routine and is mostly contented and happy. She appears to enjoy her role as baby of the family.
All of this said, my experience has been that there are challenges in adding a new member to the family, period. Saying that going from 0 to 1 rocked our world is the understatement of the year. Going from 1 to 2 presented it's own set of challenges, namely an extremely jealous Jude and one hugely sleep-deprived mama. So I wouldn't say that adoption has been more challenging than adding a child through birth. In fact, in my opinion, in many ways it has been much easier. However, there are certain issues that tend to arise in adoption that are unique to adoption.
On a lighter note, we did have quite a time finding a hair care routine that worked for Evangeline's hair. African Americans would stop us and try to give us hair care advice - not a good sign (!). We tried the suggestions on the Happy Girl Hair blog (in addition to lots of other products), but they just did not work for her hair. Then I landed on this blog, and couldn't help but admire their daughter's hair. Who couldn't? It's amazing. Lucky for us, they have a section detailing their daughter's hair care routine. These products have completely transformed Evie's hair. The difference was noticeable immediately after using them. I have been so pleased with the results, so I wanted to pass along the link in case others would find it helpful.
To completely shift gears, like I tend to do :) I wanted to share a couple of great recipes that I've come across. I love pie. Someday I would love to master making my own pie crusts and whenever I have an experienced pie maker in my home, I ask for a tutorial. But alone, my success has been limited. So I buy them in the freezer section, which means that I can make a pie in almost no time flat. If it's double crusted, never fear. You can just invert the frozen crust and let it thaw. It will flatten out. Then just pinch the two crusts together.
This is our favorite pie recipe. It's peach-blueberry. It's so easy it's nearly wrong. Dan says I should submit it to some 4-H pie contest or something. Haha! My crust on this one got a little too brown, but it was still good.
Another favorite around here is this strawberry pie recipe.
What I like about this recipe is that it does not contain food dyes. If you're into the strawberry-chocolate combo, you can paint the crust with melted chocolate chips. (not my idea - from the comments section of the recipe) Also, in both of these recipes I cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup. The fruit is so delicious and sweet already, you just don't need that much sugar. And that way you can say yes when the kids ask to eat it for breakfast. ;)
Jude "reading" stories to Indigo yesterday morning