One month ago, we became this precious little man’s parents!
To see our Gotcha Day video, click: https://youtu.be/AnM8JuK8ZGU
In so many ways, I feel like Brooks has been part of our family forever, and in so many ways, I feel like we met him five minutes ago. There are still things that surprise me about him, and he is continuing to open up and show us more and more of his personality everyday. We feel so blessed that God chose us to be HIS.
Before I dive into telling you all the things about Brooks…I just want to take a moment and express my gratitude for all of you who made this adoption possible. When I think about the hundreds, yes HUNDREDS, of people who rallied behind us to get this little boy into his forever family, I just about erupt into tears. Throughout this adoption process, we sold over 500 t-shirts, received more than thirty private donations, took donations from friends and family for a garage sale, were showered by our friends and co-workers not once but TWICE (seriously, I won’t buy diapers until 2018), and received thousands of well wishes and prayers from people who represent so many different stages of our lives. God sets the lonely in families…but He doesn’t do it alone. He used each and every one of YOU to make this happen for Brooks and for us, and I will never really be able to find the right words to express my gratitude for that.
So, each month, rather than just rambling about what we’ve been up to, I’m going to try to really focus on a few specific areas – language, physical development, attachment, sleeping, food, health, and random facts. So, let’s go!
LANGUAGE: So, Brooks is 15 months tomorrow, and he’s basically on track with his speech and language development from what we can tell. Fortunately for us, we were able to bring him home so young that the Mandarin wasn’t totally ingrained into him yet. Right now, he says mama, dada, ah-da (all done), ma (more), and no. No is his favorite…he thinks it’s hilarious. 😉 Funny story – last week when we were playing at the mall, he walked over and listened to two Asian ladies who (I think) were speaking Mandarin. He was a total creeper and just stood there listening with a very intent look on his face. My initial reaction was to scoop him up and take him away, but I didn’t. I was so curious how he would react to that, so I watched. After about five minutes, he turned around and came running to me with a big smile on his face, so I don’t think he cared too much, but it was very obvious he remembered it.
PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT: According to our pediatrician, Brooks is right on track. He walks, stands up on his own, has the pincer grasp, throws and bangs everything, and has mastered the squat. It’s seriously my favorite thing to see him just randomly squat in the middle of the floor. Developmentally, there are no concerns about Brooks at all. The only physical concerns we are monitoring are his size…he’s a peanut. At 14.5 months, he was 18 pounds and 29 inches. (That’s the average size of a 9-month old American baby.) He is below the chart for both height and weight, so when we go back in January, our pediatrician would like to see some growth on both fronts. Based on how much he eats and sleeps, I don’t see that being a problem. 🙂
ATTACHMENT: Brooks came to us very willingly, and after about four or five days of being with us, he began showing a preference for us over anyone us which was great. (At first, he would willingly go to just about anybody…can’t let that happen!) He has started showing stranger danger which is wonderful and totally age-appropriate, and if we do allow a family member or friend to hold him briefly, he always quickly reaches back out for us which is what we want to see. He has only been in the care of me or Blake since we got him, and we’ll continue that another couple of weeks before attempting the church nursery in January. If we attend a play-date or birthday party, he comes back and “checks in” with us every couple of minutes which is also what we want to be seeing. We’ve really had no issues here at all…huge praise!
SLEEPING: Aaaaaand, this is where we’ve struggled. You knew it couldn’t be ALL good news, right?! That’d be too easy! So…jet lag…it’s a bear for an adult, but it’s an absolute beast for a toddler. Those first 7-10 nights home were absolute hell. I’m sorry, but there’s just no other word for it. We were up and down ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Thankfully, we began to see glimpses of hope about a week home when it was down to 2-3 night wakings, and after lots of discussion with our social worker, we made the decision to move Brooks to his own room after two weeks home which was the best thing we’ve done for him and for us. He sleeps so much more soundly in his own space. The first night in his crib, he woke up once for about 20 minutes, and the third night in his crib, he slept nearly 13 hours straight with no crying. He naps in his crib daily for about two hours, and we are so thankful to be seeing major improvement here.
FOOD: When we first got Brooks, he was somewhat dehydrated and oh so very hungry. The first morning we went to the breakfast buffet at our hotel in China, he screamed bloody murder at the sight of so much food. If he could see food, he had to be shoveling it in his mouth as fast as he could or he’d be sobbing. When I would go to lift him out of his highchair because I felt like he had eaten enough, he’d quickly grab just a little bit more in his fists and take it with him. The first full day we had him, he vomited from overeating. 😦 We’ve been working hard to reassure him that there’s always more food available so he won’t overeat, and we’ve come a long way since those first few days. We had to slow him down to just one bite at a time, and it’s been hard, but he’s made huge strides. The only food he’s ever not eaten that I’ve offered is hamburger, but for the most part, he eats everything. Some of his favorites are rice, bananas, hot dogs, Cheerios, peanut butter crackers, yogurt, and anything that comes out of a pouch. He drinks milk, water, and occasionally apple juice out of a sippy cup.
HEALTH: So, I think I’ve discussed this before, but Brooks’s file mentioned premature birth and anemia as his medical concerns. We were a little hesitant about the anemia because we knew it could be a symptom of a bigger issue or a misdiagnosis altogether (which is very common in China), but now that we’ve been home and had both a check-up and blood work done, I can shout from the rooftops that Brooks is a 100% healthy child. He has some mild eczema and allergies, but he has absolutely no medical concerns whatsoever. We still don’t know how or why his file ended up in the “special needs” program, although we have theories. He is certainly the exception, not the rule, in the China adoption world, but he is such a blessing to our family, and to hear we have a healthy child was just the icing on the cake. We are truly so, so lucky!
RANDOM FACTS: Brooks is not scared of Santa…but he’s not exactly a fan either… (NAILED IT, KID.)
Well, that about sums up our first month home! During this second month, we will celebrate CHRISTMAS! So, so excited! As always, if you or someone you know is considering adoption from China or elsewhere and ever want to talk or ask questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email anytime – email@example.com. It’s been such a blessing to hear how many of your hearts are considering adoption…if it’s on your heart, let’s chat!
To read more about our trip to China, click HERE.
To read more about our adoption process, click HERE.