Saturday, March 20, 2010

Home 6 weeks now

Home for six weeks--it seems like such a short time and like its been forever. We have had so much to do and so much free time also.
We have been to two doctors, a dentist, visited family, had visitors, gone to parties, visited daycares and choose one, and had lots of fun times at home and at the park. I have had some serious dental work done so have had to leave Hannah with a friend twice now. I really hadn't wanted to do that so soon but I couldn't have her at the dentist with me when I was getting crowns so it happened. It actually went very well. My friend came to my house, Hannah did really well with her, and was happy to see me when I got home.
I was just looking at pictures of when I first met her and it is amazing how much bigger and brighter she looks now. She is so much more animated than at the orphanage. My mom visited the first day we were home and then was just back this week. I asked her if she noticed any differences and she said, "Well she is much more smiley and comfortable now".

I have seen really good growth in the bonding and getting to know each other.
She sat on my lap in Russia but I think it was because she thought she didn't have a choice--when we got home she did not want to do that anymore. She also didn't like me to read books to her and if I did she just sat beside me. Today she brought me a book to read and then climbed up on my lap. She sat there on my lap through the whole book. I was so happy.
She has never gotten out of bed until I have gone in and told her that she could. We cosleep at night so I am always there in the morning but for her naps I would check on her very often so that I didn't leave her laying in there for long. This past week she has started calling for me when she wakes up. She has come to trust that I am there even when she can not see me--she knows that I am out there and will come when she calls.
This morning we walked to the park. After about an hour of playing Hannah told me she was cold. I asked her if she wanted to go home and she said yes. So she started off towards home. After we had taken a few steps I felt this little hand reaching for mine and she held my hand all the way home. For any other 4 year old this may sound like just an ordinary morning but I was excited about many things. first of all she told me that she was cold--she knows she can tell me her needs. Second she wanted to go home and knew exactly where home was. And third she reached for my hand and kept holding it. This was especially big for me because I usually have to tell her that she must hold my hand and I certainly have always had to initiate it so that felt pretty cool.
This afternoon she found a packet of pictures and wanted to look at them. It happened to be pictures of her during my first trip so they were all at the orphanage. We were about half way through looking at them when she all of a sudden turned to me and wrapped her arms very tightly around my neck and held on--I don't know if she was saying "Thank you" or "Don't make me go back" but her face looked very happy so I took it as a Thank you. I just held her and told her I loved her. She then said, "I love you" back to me. I got quite a few hugs over the next few minutes. It really felt good.
Naps and bedtimes have become quite easy and fun lately which I love. I think it is partly because I can read her signals better now. She falls asleep in my arms and I hate to put her down.
I know that every day won't be quite this good but we are definitely moving in the right direction.
I am still waiting for the day that she can speak English and actually tell me what she is thinking.

Go back about three posts and you can see I had some trying moments also. One thing I did after that that has really helped is to tell all my friends and family to always redirect Hannah to me. She would often prefer to go to others when they were around so I asked them to not do anything for her but to redirect her to me. If she wants something to eat they say, "Ask your mom" or if she needs help they say, "Ask Mom to help", if she want to hold their hand when outside they say, "Hold onto Mom's hand". Even if she wants them to play with her they say, "Let's ask Mom if we can play now". I saw the difference in just one day of doing this--it really helped her to learn that I was the one she needed to go to for all things. It was awkward to ask people to do this at first but when I saw how much it helped I was so glad I did.

The love was definitely there from the very first day but this bonding--the feeling that we absolutely know each other and fit together and can trust each other--is also a process for the new mother. I am getting to know Hannah just as she is getting to know me and every day I feel more (I can't even think of the right word so I can only say "more").

I hate that I only have three more weeks off work but the truth is that I have to survive so back to work I go. It is another transition that Hannah and I will have to go through but I feel that we have started a solid enough relationship to get through it together.


Kelly and Sne said...

What a great post! I'm so happy to hear that you are seeing progress in the bonding. I think it sometimes comes as a shock that it's not 'love at first site' all around and that it actually takes time to really know and trust someone enough to give and receive love. Pregnant women just have that luxury of 9 mos of gestation to do so. Hannah is such a pretty girl and seems to be so happy. I can really see her blossom even more in these recent photos. Hopefully the transition back to work won't be too bad. Perhaps you can work from home a couple days a week for the first week or two so the transition is a bit more gradual. And, hopefully the daycare providers will work with you just like your friends and family did to reinforce the bonding and attachment while still allowing her to feel safe and comfortable at school.

Kimberly said...

I have tears in my eyes and hope in my heart as I read your post! I love that she grabbed for your hand and knows where home is! That is wonderful!

Cameron and Kyle said...

What a beautiful post. I am so happy for you both. Her eyes are sparkling in the photo. I love following your journey and your life with Hannah. Sounds like you both are doing wonderfully.

Pamela said...

Sorry that I haven't posted for a while. This is such a lovely post and I'm so happy that Hannah is connecting with you...and that you noticed the meaning in it. What a wonderful feeling you must have had inside when she brought you the book and crawled up in your lap...when she reached for your hand when walking home. Awesome.


Tammy said...

What a beautiful time you two are having together!! How incredible all the hugs she has given you and all the "I love you's". I am so happy for you both. After all the waiting and heartache! It makes it even more beautiful!

Margaret and Tom said...

Yeah! What an awesome day! These types of days will hopefully be more and more frequent, but it sounds as if you guys are bonding well. It is a process for sure! I love all the detail in your posts, it really helps me picture what is going on in your world!

Emily said...

The story where you were looking at pictures and she turned and hugged you tight made me cry!! So happy to hear about all the good bonding happening between you two.

Misty Clark said...

It's so wonderful to hear you're both doing so well and are so happy. I enjoyed reading every bit of your entry.