Our new daughter is doing really, really, amazingly well, especially considering everything she's been through! She began calling us "Mommy and Daddy" from the first moment, without any coaching from us. However, she did cry and scream and pace for a good 2 hours after she was brought to us at our guesthouse, desperate to go back to the caregivers and friends she was comfortable with at the orphanage. She wouldn't let us comfort her for a long time and finally let me pick her up and rock her and then she fell asleep in my arms. She woke up crying but this time let me comfort her right away and the crying didn't last very long. It was really heartbreaking to watch her go through such grief and illustrates the tragedy that is the flip side of every adoption.
We had some really sweet moments with her, too, in Ethiopia. I'll never forget the proud smile on her face as she pranced around the guesthouse showing off the new shoes we brought her. She came to us with literally the clothes on her back and nothing else, and the shoes from the orphanage had holes in them and straps that didn't stay fastened. She slept in her new shoes and hair bow that first night. She insisted on the shoes for several nights, and as it turns out sleeping next to a child wearing shoes is not the most comfortable! Thankfully we transitioned her to slippers once we got home!
The airplane rides home were not too bad. The parts of the flight where seat belts were required were really the only screaming, crying spells and then a kind flight attendant allowed us to use the infant tandem seat belt so she could sit on our lap and be strapped to our seat belt, which went over a whole lot better! Actually the in-airport time was worse than the on-plane time, the wide open spaces of the airports just made her want to run wild, and she was not too keen on our rule that allowed us to survive 3 other toddlers, "You may walk and hold my hand or be carried." We discovered that rule is easier to apply to a child who has not spent the last 13 months cooped up in one room of an orphanage!
In just 1 week she has gone from not even wanting her daddy to get near her (all her caregivers at the orphanage were women so we were warned to expect that) to a total Daddy's girl. She cried when he went back to work on Tuesday, and when he got home she squealed "Daddy!", ran to his arms and wouldn't let him put her down the rest of the night! The last couple of days she's called me "Mommy-yay" and we know that in her language of Amharic, adding "yay" to the end of name is an expression that the person is especially dear to you. It melts our hearts to see the progress in our relationships with her!
She loves her sister and brothers, and immediately began playing with them after we got home. Really it seemed like she was relieved to have other kids around again after being with just adults all week in Ethiopia after leaving the orphanage! At one point the Saturday evening we got home our 3 older children were acting out The Grinch movie they'd seen the night before, setting toys out under their Christmas stockings and then sneaking in with a big bag and "stealing" them. It wasn't just a couple minutes before our new 3 year old was in on the action running down the stairs squealing, "Steal toys! Steal toys!"
She is still adjusting to our time zone; she wakes up around 3:45am every day and sings us what sounds to be Ethiopian children's songs for an hour or two before finally falling back to sleep an hour or so before the other 3 kids wake up!
She's totally potty-trained which is awesome, but we are lamenting the fact that the Amharic word for pee-pee is "shint", so we (and strangers who may happen to be nearby) hear, "Mommy, shint!" every 30 minutes :)!
In Ethiopia we were treated a few times to her dancing, complete with the traditional Ethiopian shoulder shimmy. She's a really, really good dancer! Since we've been home we introduced her to our Wii Michael Jackson version of Just Dance and she loved it, doing complicated moves our 8 year old can't master! The first song, "Billy Jean" ended and she declared in perfect English, "I LIKE IT!"
We are recovering from the trifecta of a new child, jet lag, and Christmas, but really enjoying our new little girl and so thankful God brought her into our family!