Haben is doing super! The first several weeks home Haben has been an overall happy guy and so go with the flow for all of our busy, family activities. His adjustment has been so much of the basic adjustments that you could expect. After reading a toddler adoption book on the problems possible with bonding, we are so blessed things are going so smoothly for him and us. He had his kind of whiny moments as expected and needed Mom to hold him often as a cure. I would put an Ergo back pack carrier on the chair in the living room and when he was needing to be close to Mom, he would go get it and bring it to me so he could be held. It was a perfect fix for him and me, a busy Mom who just couldn’t hold him all the time but carrying him on my back wasn’t a problem. I’ll never forget strapping him on in my pajamas just to get breakfast served for the rest of the family. The Ergo was so much easier on my back and I would highly recommend it for any Mom with a desire to hold and bond with a toddler. I’m so thankful my adoption Mom friends recommended and loaned one to me. We didn’t leave home without it for a while. I could tell he liked to be held more when the siblings were at school. Probably just too quiet around here than he used to and possibly creates anxiety for him. Thank goodness for this noisy house full I guess.
All are still adjusting well and we think it's going pretty darn smoothly somehow. We have heard and read that toddlers usually have the toughest transition with adoption and can, in turn, make for a challenging start. I guess we are getting lucky. I keep wondering if some new big challenge will come our way. Haben is sleeping well, always eating well, playing well and seems to be a pretty happy guy. He fights going to sleep at times like most toddlers, not wanting to miss the action. He will sleep without his shoes now and will sit down in the bathtub (we can tell he has never been in a shower or bath and we learned from an older child he knew from the orphanage that he was washed with a hose in a basin tub outside).
We did find that he was getting confused after the first 3 or 4 days with all of the adults we have in our home (Aubrey almost 18 and my dad who is living with us). Haben was clinging to anyone that was there for him at that moment and then refusing to go back to anyone else. He was kind of a wreck for a few days until we remembered what we needed to do to help him adapt better. I focused on the bond with Mom only and requested that I be the only one to hold him, feed him, bathe him and put him to sleep. This consistency really helped after a few more days and we found him to be more adjusted and understanding of who Mom is. I knew that strengthening the bond with Mom, who is the primary care giver, to develop that trust would help him feel more confident and trusting. We have moved to allow Dad to help some more and he is still doing well. We continue to have the food issues but are used to them and they show some improvements. We have learned a few tricks like putting away the food in sight (hiding the fruit bowl and not leaving family sized bowls of food at the table for buffet style eating.) It's hard to find the balance of showing him the food is endless without letting him stuff his face beyond belief. It's a super sad thing to see a two year old feel this way, but on the other hand hilarious to see him pound five bananas or load every crumb in a napkin to save it. (Hopefully I will learn to be a better saver from him.) He's gained a pound and a half in two weeks which is not bad for a 22 pounder.
He has caught on quickly to a lot of our family rules and expectations and he loves being in the mix with his brothers and sisters. He cracks me up when he copies things like taking his plate to the sink...too cute.
Haben is just so smart. His language is coming along great and he has probably learned 20 English words already. Often the sounds come out very different but we know just what he is saying. He says Mommy, Daddy, Aubrey, Mayla, (Liam & Kaylee come out crazy although he tries), water, bye bye, hello, night night, all done, shoes, no no (to the dog), beep beep, peek a boo (or more like teek a tu...precious), thank you, monkey, teeth, Papa. We feel he understands us so well. We can give him so many requests that he understands...we are so impressed. He is also requesting to use the potty and goes every morning. Not sure if it's a good idea to break out the big boy pants or not. Quite a lot of new adventures he is taking on at once!
He has enjoyed his first trip to a playground, enjoyed the swing and slide, had his first of what will be many rides in a stroller and wagon, seen his first t-ball game of his brother's, went in the pool, had his first egg hunt, has his first tumble down a few stairs and ate a flower his sister gave to him.
He had a really good check up with the doctor and didn't even flinch when he had tons of blood drawn. He seems to be a healthy little guy somehow.
Haben loves spoons and forks, musical instruments, looking in the mirror, anything with buttons (phones, computers, remotes, the IPad), yogurt, bananas, sword fighting with Liam and Daddy, being silly, kissing, brushing his teeth, taking a bath, riding in the stroller and wagon and eating of course.