Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Chick

Easter morning we went to church, followed by having our families over for Easter dinner. Angelina had so much fun playing with her Aunties, Grandma and Grandpa. Posted are pics of Angelina with her Aunt Lori, and the three of us.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quick Update


Just a quick update to let you know how life is for our new family. Angelina continues to settle in nicely to her new life (as do we). She is still sleeping through the night and takes 2 two-hour naps each day. Her appetite is good (she weighs just under 21 pounds), except now she will not just eat anything we feed her, like she did while in Russia, and for a short time thereafter. We know that this good, as it means she is probably getting the nutrition she needs, but it has made for more challenging meal times. What she loves one day will become her most hated food the next.

As for language development, Angelina now says "mama", "mom" and "mmmmm" in addition to the endless variations of "dada". She also can say "LLLLLLL". She babbles endlessly, but no actual words yet. She does, however, understand many of the words for common items (banana, brush, toothbrush, baby, eyes, nose, mouth, Dada, Mama (only sometimes), and bow), as she will point to them when you say the word. She also understands some simple phrases (brush your teeth, brush your hair, wipe your mouth, open your mouth) which she will do - or mimic doing - when you say the phrase. The only negative behavior we are dealing with is that she sometimes wants to hit Mommy (lucky me!) in the face, or scratch Mommy in the face (those baby nails are SHARP!). We try to explain that we only use gentle hands in our house, but I don't think she gets it because her very next move is - you guessed it - a swat to Mommy's face. When we try to put it in "baby terms" - "No hit Mommy!" - she stops hitting me but then starts hitting herself in the face. Ugh! Anybody else have this kind of problem?

Notwithstanding the swats to Mommy's face, Angelina is a delightful girl who has already brought us such happiness in such a short time. We simply adore her.

Friday Angelina is having her post-adoption tests done. Once we are sure she is not nutritionally deficient, we will begin administering those vaccines she is lacking (as compared with completely re-vaccinating her; which we have read may have serious adverse consequences). Hopefully, everything will check out fine.

Posted are pics from this past weekend, spent "swimming" and enjoying fruit salad with Mommy & Daddy. Soon to come will be pics from our Easter holiday. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

We're Not in Russia Anymore!

This weekend was a beautiful, sunny, 90-ish degree day - a perfect day to go swimming! So we slathered our little Angel up with SPF 100, donned some sunglasses and a sun hat and took a dip in the pool to cool off. After our swim, Angelina had some fruit salad (one of her favorites) with Daddy on the deck.

As far as adjusting to her new life, Angelina is doing very well (as are we). She has a healthy appetite, sleeps through the night, and even enjoys bath time! She likes "brushing her teeth" and loves making "cell phone calls" with her toy phone, which she promptly affixes to the BACK of her head and then starts babbling. This week I brought her to Publix with me. She hammed it up for the ladies at the deli, waved at the people we passed in the aisle and played peek-a-boo with the cashier. We feel like our little munchkin has always been with us, even though it has only been 3 short weeks since we were a brand new family, in Russia. In fact, it is hard sometimes to even fathom that our daughter, Angelina, came to us all the way from Baby Home 16 in St. Petersburg, Russia. What an amazing trip!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Greetings from Florida!

At long last, we arrived home last Saturday and have happily been settling into a routine as a family. Now that we are home, and things are in fact going well for us, I want to readdress our time in Russia, following Gotcha Day. I know in my previous posts I reported how well Angelina was doing following Gotcha Day. That is not entirely accurate. Gotcha day did go well, in that Angelina didn't seem to notice or mind leaving the baby home and being with us. In the days that followed, however, it became clear to us that she was indeed going through some kind of trauma as a result of leaving the baby home. While she had moments of "happiness" that we clung to (and I blogged about), the majority of our days were spent trying to comfort an inconsolable baby. She wailed almost around the clock, except when she was eating or had cried herself to sleep. She cried over everything that we did; the only thing that was acceptable to her was when we held her, while standing (no sitting or laying down allowed), and rocked her. She would wake up screaming and we couldn't seem to comfort her. It was so, so different from the girl we thought we knew. We became utterly exhausted, worn out, and were frankly bewildered. At one point, after about 6 days of this behavior, while Angelina was having another nuclear meltdown, we just looked at each other and asked "what have we done?" We were at a total loss as to how to handle this child.

Then, as if she sensed our despair, something shifted in Angelina. Her frantic, constant crying subsided and she slowly became the happy, calm girl we always believed her to be; that we had come to know through our time with her. Truly, it was a huge relief. Of course, we will never really know what that behavior was all about. We suspect it was Angelina's way of grieving for the loss of life as she knew it (although if given a choice now, we think she would never want to go back!). Anyway, I thought it was important to share what we went through with all of you, in case any of you go through a similar experience with your child in the days following gotcha day. Those days were very dark and very, very hard. It broke our hearts to see Angelina so, so upset and be unable to comfort her.

I am happy to report that since then, things have only gone up for us as a family. We are developing our daily routines and have been slowly putting ourselves back together again after such a long time overseas.

On a separate note, we want to say a huge "THANK YOU" to all of our friends in the blogosphere. :) The support, helpful advice, encouragement and friendship we received from all of you during our adoption journey really helped this "foreign experience" not be so foreign to us. It made all the difference!

And lastly (for now), please, please, please heed my advice and DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER in Russia! Yours truly broke that golden rule and as a result battled Stalin's revenge during the last part of our trip - ugh!

Have a great day!