Geez, where does the time go? April somehow turned into May (like it does every year), and our first week at home somehow turned into a full month since we became a family of three. And somehow… Nanjing, China seems like a distant memory after successfully transitioning this wonderful child into her new life as a Brown (including a whole lot of appointments, random milestones, and Sarah’s first Mother’s Day along the way).
Sorry not to have blogged as frequently, but we’ve been trying to soak up every minute of this dream before the REAL real world begins again, with going back to work, daily routines, and all. And funny enough, for once there doesn’t seem to be a “theme” to our last two weeks and update here. So no cutesy lyrics this time – just a progress report on our Jujube, plus lots and lots of pictures (and video), as always, for those who have already skipped to the bottom anyway. :)
Our biggest happenings so far this month include two significant check-ups: the first post-placement visit by our social worker, and Julia’s all-important medical evaluation at Vanderbilt.
As required by China, our local adoption agency has to visit us and complete a post-placement report at 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 3 years, and 5 years. Yep, you read that correctly… six times! The report – complete with a minimum of eight photographs – simply gives Chinese adoption authorities a progress update on Julia, but in no way, shape, or form can they take her away from us. She’s ours forever, so these visits are more intended to let China keep tabs on adopted children around the world as a whole. And while having a social worker come into your house six times in the first five years sounds annoying and invasive, we actually welcome the interaction and are thankful that it’s part of the process. We love our home study agency, Miriam’s Promise (located just a mile away in our quaint neighborhood), and are equally fond of our knowledgeable and caring caseworker, Tami. In fact, since we’ve been home we’ve been collecting questions for her and doing a lot of “What would Tami say?” type decision-making.
The first post-placement visit on May 7 was casual – with a lot of questions both ways while the little lotus played all around us – and we learned a lot. Mostly, we took great comfort in Tami’s assessment that we’re doing all the right things, and that Julia seems to be adjusting well. Yay! Our social worker feels that while Julia is definitely not “attached” to us yet (as we already knew based on small signs like only sporadic eye contact), she is indeed “attaching” and showing numerous positive signs of moving in the right direction. Tami also feels that Julia’s bad days infrequently mixed in are classic signs of delayed grief (which is apparently pretty common). Our Bee is still struggling with some food issues (like meals being over and anyone eating without her) and breakdowns during innocuous events like diaper changes, but we never know what is typical toddler stuff vs. an adoption issue. So as instructed by the pros, we treat *everything* like it could be a reaction to abandonment, fear, or grief… and continue being thankful that our hitches are seldom and minor, in comparison.