It’s hard to believe we’ve been home one week and that Emily has been with us for three weeks. She’s not the same little girl we met outside the Civil Affairs office in Nanjing.
The first few days home are a little bit of a blur as we recovered from jet lag. Thankfully my parents stayed for a few days and my mom through the weekor we might have been eating cereal and living in our pajamas.
We are slowly adjusting and finding our new normal as a family of five. The boys love their little sister and have started calling her Emy.
We’ve had a few rough nights and some tough moments but Emily is doing well in so many ways. It’s kind of like we brought home a newborn and a one-year old wrapped in a two-year old’s body full of two-year old emotions. Emily still wakes one or two times a night unfamiliar with her surroundings or to make sure we are still there. During the day though, we feel like we’re seeing lots of progress in her attachment to us. She laughs and smiles and enjoys playing games with us. She wants to be held a lot and gets anxious if she can’t find me nearby.
When we first brought Emily to the hotel in Nanjing we would walk the hall to the elevator each of us holding one of her hands. She often preferred this to being held. Now she feels confident walking on her own but loves to be held as well. She’s even made efforts to run in the last few days. She takes off with a huge smile on her face despite the fact that she often loses her balance and falls flat on the floor. And when her brothers begin jumping around like crazy people, she tries to copy them with a huge smile on her face.
Beyond sleep, one of the biggest struggles is food. In the orphanage, she was only fed very soft or pureed foods. Because of this and her repaired cleft palate she has never learned to chew or feed herself. It’s been a challenge to figure out what she can eat and what she will eat, while providing her enough food to sustain her. She definitely has aversions to specific textures and cold foods. She is loving the opportunity to hold her own fork or spoon though, and is so proud of herself when she is able to get food in her mouth on her own. I’m proud of her too! In China, all she did was bang the utensils on the table. Simple things like picking up a cheerio are new milestones she is just now achieving. We are still working on actually getting the cheerio in the mouth.
She’s joined right in with her brothers. When they wrestle with daddy she jumps on top and they had her sword fighting the day after we got home. Collin is having a little harder time adjusting to having another child similar in size in our home but he loves her fiercely. He will definitely let you know that Emily is his sister.
In the first week when I’d open a book to read to Emily she’d often shut it. It seemed like a game to her. Now she will sit in my lap while I read a book, and occasionally she’s even brought me a book to read.
I was looking forward to getting home to our rocking chair. Interestingly, she sits facing out with her back to me. If I face her toward me to rock, she turns herself around. Last night though, when she woke in the middle of the night she turned in to snuggle and let me rock her to sleep. It was a sweet moment even if it was at 1am.
She loves the water – bath or pool – which we learned in China but she hates getting her hair washed. It’s quite the struggle.
She loves things that spin and she loves banging things together. She bangs things on her chin, which I haven’t quite figured out.
We are learning more and more about our daughter every day and love watching her grow and change in her new family.