Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sooo I've Been Dying to Ask . . .

And I would really like to Answer!

You know those questions---

So what's it really like with the language barrier with two older adopted children?

How has it been to adopt two at once?

How are yall Really Doing?

How is Leighanne doing?

What about the boys?  How are they adjusting?

What about you and Ben--yall okay?

So here we go . . .

The Language Issue
So what's it really like with the language barrier with two older adopted children?

I want to be completely honest here--the language has been a challenge for us.

Now--Having said that--the girls have been such troopers. (Can you imagine making that transition? )

In the beginning we used lots of sign language.  I'm not talking about "real" sign language, but our made up kind.  It's been quite inventive!

It seems that we then went to the "parrot" stage.  Where we would say a word and they would repeat it. 

Somewhere in between, the girls have started using a combination of sign language and words to communicate. 

And translation from Yan and Bailin has been so helpful.  The girls are beginning to make great strides with our crazy English language.

Hannah now tells us when she "likuhs" something.  As in -- "I likeuh school mama."  or "I likeuh pizza."

Sara is making slower strides in verbalization, but she is really catching on in comprehension.  In fact she has been Hannah's translator a few times in the last week.

Now for the real sticky question-- How has it been when they both speak Chinese and you don't understand?  This is probably our biggest challenge.  We are learning to read body language between the two girls.  Sometimes though, we still can't tell if something being said is just normal communication or if they are bickering.  When tears are falling, I know something big is up and I call Yan.  Most of the time the argument is just that--normal sibling arguing.  But we still have to work through the issues via the phone.

How has it been to adopt two at once?
Well--that's not a real easy question to answer.  We've never adopted two older children before, and since Leighanne was a baby at adoption--her transition does not compare.  I will say that I think it would be easier to adopt one at a time.  BUT on the other hand there have been times when Hannah and Sara have felt great comfort in having the other "newbie" around.  They do have a special bond.

I do believe that both girls are making the transition wonderfully.  There are still moments of grieving--which is totally normal.  Hannah still gets out her picture book of her previous life and we listen as she tells us about the pictures.  I am so thankful for this treasure of pictures.  It's something I wish we had had with Leighanne.

Sara--like any teenager--has her pictures on her bulletin board and in frames around the room.  I think Sara was ready for a family and she is loving family life. Until things don't go quite her way :)--but again, she is doing well even in the rough moments.

How are yall Really Doing?
Next week will be 3 months since we "got" Hannah and Sara.  So we have been a family of 8 in transition for a little while.  There have been a few moments of total exhaustion.  And--there was a week right before Christmas when Ben was working alot--that I had an "all I could take" moment.  We made plans for me to get away for about 5 hours, and I had a time to refresh. 

Just like any change in the family, your new normal takes a while to get used to.  We are still becoming aware of each other's moods, signals of tiredness, and other things that tell us- uh oh back off.  At the same time, we are finding that we have a lot of fun playing games together.  Sara is very competitive, and has picked up the game Sequence which is a family favorite.

How is Leighanne doing?
I will have to give her credit--she is  hanging in there with all of the transition.  Of course, she is experiencing growing pains, and  I would have to say that sharing her room has been the hardest adjustment for her.  She likes everything to have a place, and Hannah doesn't mind a little randomness.  I guess it's good that they are roomies and get a dose of reality. :) (Wake up call Leighanne--your husband will probably leave the toilet seat up and not hit the laundry basket with his dirty clothes) 

We did experience a time when Leighanne spent some time "grieving" her old life.  And truthfully, her world has been turned upside down.  I think that she is seeing now that having sisters has its good points too.  Like making up dances, playing games, riding bikes together, and watching movies.

I have seen growth in Leighanne also--she does take time with Hannah and Sara and overall--I think she really enjoys having sisters.

What about the boys?  How are they adjusting?
The guys are really handling things in stride.  They have been really helping with the girls, and they are becoming like true brothers and sisters--you know--"Who has my _____?",  "Hey!  Get out of the bathroom!", and  "It's my turn to watch TV!"

They are learning what it's like to live with sisters X 3!  Right now--Sara and Hannah are making up for years of very little "princess" knowledge. They both enjoy the same shows about princess  life.  Let's just say that the guys are not thrilled.  But--I tell them much like their days of Veggie Tales and Barney--this too shall pass.

What about you and Ben--yall okay?
We are hanging in there. Our tiredness comes from the number of kiddos and their needs.  Because of the age of Hannah and Sara, we are not exhausted from sleepless nights, making bottles and changing diapers.  Instead, we are getting tired from dealing with schedules, changing emotions, and behavior issues.

We have had a couple of date nights and boy did it feel good to get away with my man.  We even snuck away to the movies and saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Pretty Good--Tom Cruise.

A few more pieces of information . . .

School started back up on the 9th of January.  Everyone (except Sara) went off to school.  She and I have been more productive in two days of home school then we were in a whole week before the Christmas break.

Hannah loves school, especially recess.  Her teacher called me to let me know that she had a really good day. Yay!  I am still going to work with her  throughout the year and over the summer to work on her reading and math.  Hopefully, she will make great strides.

Well--that's a Wrap on the Q & A for now.  If there's something you've been dying to ask--feel free--I'll see if I have an Answer.


Joan said...

Glad things are going so well! We think of you often, and Nathan often asks to see if there are any new pics of Hannah on your blog.

kimjax said...

Love this post!