This has become quite the adventure with Ewan. Although he is physically growing and has learned new words, he has quite the rebellious take on life and also shows a huge amount of fear when faced with a boulder that his brother is climbing on, his mother is touching and encouraging him to touch or in the face of a statue, he trembles and screams wildly. I can only guess what those families around us were thinking. Do I care? Not really as I know what we are going through but they have not a clue.
The car wash today, something Ewan has experienced roughly 8 times brought him to shaking and screaming again. I had to give him my iced coffee cup to distract him. In the mornings he pushes his legs against the bed. This happens almost every morning and sometimes in the middle of the night. I have even caught him in his sleep. He does not sleep very long, much like his brother about 8 hours if we are lucky. Sometimes he takes naps and other times he tries to hit the walls or create a disturbance to get us to come in and give him attention.
Recently, I think he might be headbutting the crib and now have to devise a plan to put padding along the crib sides. The banging early in the morning with his feet have continuously woken my older son up and he desperately needs his sleep. Acting out what he is not supposed to do, communicating with him in the simplest terms seems to make him want to do it more, hence the rebellious take on life. He knows as well when you walk in there and you are not happy with him, he bursts out laughing. Sigh.
8.5 months home now and we have a long ways to go. He is turning 3 in 5 months and I can only guess that he will be about 2 years old developmentally.
I can see why Russia wants to know what is going on through the transition period and how much support we have in the process. This is where my passion lies very deeply in helping support others as I know and have been through two adoptions and both varied greatly. There are no expectations you can possibly have as it seems like anything is possible. From Ewan holding his food in his mouth for 40 minutes because he does not want to swallow and we have had to teach him how and even then he chooses not to swallow to running into furniture so often we thought we may need a helmet for him.
His ability to understand that he could get hurt is not there yet. I use Oy, Oy as a method to show you will get hurt if you let yourself fall, run into furniture or headbutt a crib.
The pain thresh hold for these children are often so high that you cannot possible gauge just how much damage he has done to himself. When he broke his arm a couple of months ago. My husband and I heard the crack and we were just about brought to tears while Ewan just stood there, limp arm looking at us like why are you guys so upset? Um, hello Ewan, you just broke your arm, do you feel the pain? He didn't cry until the fear of the X-ray camera was in his face and it scared him. Pain though? Forgettaboutit. It's nothing.
Have him run along grass, beware, it is not the grass that scares him, he loves to pull it out but he doesn't like to run on the grass. If he runs on the grass, he will scream, crying and trembling. He will run in the house though like a little boy playing chase with his brother.
Heaven forbid he doesn't like his food because he will just go hungry. He will continue to throw it on the ground and smile and not eat a thing. Amazing when thinking this little boy used to have porridge every day and black tea and now he has juice and every food open to him and he will refuse it now since he has become very picky.
Take him out in public to the mall or grocery store and beware, he will caw like a crow through out. Distractions? Uh, no. So far, nothing has really worked, from food to toys to drinks. He just likes to caw like a crow, started it the first day we had him as we excused ourselves embarrassingly from the cupcake store. Did he care about the cupcake? Not really, he just wanted to caw like a crow very loudly.
Everything goes into the mouth, even at almost 3. Play dough, pennies, dirt, whatever can be tasted, he tries and when you redirect or say niet, no, non, he just stares at you blankly and repeats the behavior.
One of the most interesting examples for us has been when he lies face down at the play area in the mall with 20 kids or so running around him. He looks like a starfish minding his own business attached to the floor. Or when he tries to ransack a strangers purse or drink from their Starbucks cup. Yep, or hug a man's knee so much so after being dragging him away from the man over and over he finally looks at me like "what is with your son lady?" and all I can say is "we just brought him home, so sorry".
Another one is when he feels he should lick the entire grocery cart, at least every part he can find tasty while I look at him in disgust saying, "oh no, kacka, bad, bad, please don't, eww" and he laughs and sticks his tongue back on the handle.
Be prepared for every type of sensory issue from temperature sensitivity, check, food textures, check, sounds, check, physical delays, check. If one can have no expectations and work each day as if it is a new day, one can get through.
This is not a list of complaints, this is a true account of what really happens in transition and how parents must cope with frustrating days, days where they feel like wow, real progress has been made and then the next day back to before, figuring out what works one day and what doesn't the next and trying your hardest to be the parent that can handle it all, be as patient as possible and learn how to tag team with another person for support.
Transition periods do not have a time limit as some parents will be dealing with different items 3 years, 10 years down the line.
Adoption is not for the faint of heart but it is for those who have the strength and love to give a child a forever family and for those who are willing to do whatever it takes, even as far as admitting they need a little support.
Recognize triggers, learn habits, record everything, document, document as this will be asked once you do finally see the OT/PT.