Sunday, September 9, 2012

So, What Have We Been Doing for the Last MONTH???

We're here and have our feet under us again (so to speak).  We've overcome the jet lag and are starting to get back to normal (whatever that is).

Tim and I are both back to work (I'm on a reduced work schedule so I can be there for our new son as much as possible). We have visited with both sides of the family's grandparents and a few aunts and uncles.  We had our 1st post-adoption visit with our social worker.  We visited our local amusement park (Worlds of Fun).  We got everyone's hair cut.  We signed SongSong up to play soccer with Seth at Seth's school (private school that allows home school kids to play on their sports teams) - there's a game or a practice 4 days per week. We started home school with Grandma for SongSong, private school for everyone else (2 separate private schools).  After 2 days we decided that home school wasn't the best fit for our new son - so we enrolled him in Oscar & Diana's school until he learns English.  Started all our therapies back up again (we took a short break from therapies over the summer due to the adoption).  We have visited friends.  And we have gone to church every week.  I know I'm forgetting a lot of stuff, but I'm sure you get the idea - WE'VE BEEN BUSY.

SongSong, our new addition, is very introverted.  I'm not sure he's shy though (don't worry, I'll explain - read on).  He has very definite opinions and voices them (albeit when via Google Translate it's sometimes difficult to "get" exactly where he is going with some things).  Recently, we've had to teach him about personal posessions, and why you can't do what you want with other people's stuff (ESPECIALLY computers and electronics).  We've spent a fair amount of time undoing some things he's done to Oscar and Grandma's computers without their permission.  It's all about boundaries and teaching him where his end and another's begin.  Consequences ensue when that line is crossed!

He doesn't like the food here in America either (unless we are eating at a Chinese buffet, but we can't afford to do that every meal, so he's just going to have to learn to deal on that one).  Even my efforts at Chinese cuisine have been pretty thoroughly rejected.  In answer to this, and as an "attachment parenting" technique, I have made it his job to help me cook dinner every night :).  That way, if he doesn't like it... well, he helped make it so... there you have it.  Much less vocal complaining about the food going on from him these days.

His other job is feeding the dogs.  He doesn't like the dogs.  He was afraid of Hanai when we first came home.  If you know our dog Hanai, you know how, well, almost funny this is.  She is so submissive that she rolls over on her back (and often pees) when meeting someone new (yeah, I know, she makes a great first impression).  I know he isn't used to pets, so I understand why he reacts the way he does (actually Claudia was afraid of them too when we first brought our other kids home.)  Anyway, he tolerates both dogs now, but still doesn't care much for them.  They still like him though :).

But I hafta ask, is this scary to you???

SongSong REALLY likes his electronics, and in a pinch, his books.  Unfortunately it's usually to the exclusion of human interaction (unless it's someone he already knows from China... or someone who is under the age of 9...).  Those qualifiers (also unfortunately) exclude everyone in our household - and most of the population of the United States for that matter.  Needless to say, getting him to engage our family has been a challenge.  Hence the helping me with dinner chore, the private school instead of home school, the soccer, the manditory 1 hour of English TV daily for "homework" and the everything-else-I-can-think-of-to-get-him-out-of-that-bedroom-and-socializing-with-the-family activity there is.  It's like pulling teeth, but I won't give up.

New people and new things put our new son out of his comfort zone pretty much immediately.  Whenever he is very uncomfortable he will (while standing) put his hands on his knees and look at the floor.  We saw that the first day we met him in China, we see it anytime he's even remotely the focus of a group of people (like when he had to get his physical with all the other kids before soccer), when a group of young people (mostly girls) came up and talked to us in Tianfu Square in Chengdu in order to practice their English, when our family was at the airport to meet him when we came home, I could go on and on.  You get the picture.  Speaking of pictures, here's one below of him and Seth at the airport the day we came home (notice he's upright while talking to his friend, but obviously uncomfortable with all the attention he is receiving).

I think SongSong definitely has the ability to bond, but I think his sense of trust has just been severely damaged with all he's been through in life. I believe he's testing us to see if we are going to kick him to the curb like his bio-family, then his first foster family, and then the orphanage did (because I'm relatively certain that's how he sees things - even if he doesn't consciously realize it).  I also believe that's why he holds on so tightly to his old ways and all things familiar. Oscar did this too (to a much lesser extent) when we brought him home. I just have to remind myself not to take the behaviors personally.  Intellectually I know he is only protecting himself from being hurt again, but when he's doing whatever 'it' is that is getting my goat at the time, it's often hard to remind myself of that fact!

Check back.  Our family's story only continues to add chapters.

This post is linked to Death by Great Wall adoption blog.


Unknown said...

I found you through a link on NingNing's mom's blog. We just brought home a 14 yo and LOLOL about the possessions and electronics. ALL computers are now password protected. He installed the virus machine, QQ on EVERY machine.... and NO it's not cool to come in Mama and Baba's room, rip back the covers and plead with us to unlock a computer so you can get on QQ because it's the right time in China.... So much of what u said made me LOL though.

Dana said...

Thanks so much for posting this at Death by Great Wall. It's so valuable to share this stuff while it's fresh because it really helps paint a picture for other families. I look forward to following your story.