She has come so far since we first met her on Monday. It's obvious she's opening up to us and beginning to trust us and enjoy her time with us. Zoe will be 13 months old next week and in some ways she is very much a 13 month old, but in most ways she is not.
When we first met her we were surprised to see her standing and taking a few steps just holding someone's hand. But getting to know her, we've discovered that physically she is delayed, more like a 9-10 month old. That's common growing up in an institution. Apparently even in a small one where you get much more one on one attention. Zoe can sit up by herself very well, but she cannot get to the sitting position herself. She could not crawl. In fact, she could not even hold herself up on all fours. She gets very frustrated being stuck on her tummy. She is figuring out how to feed herself finger foods, but it looks like she has maybe only done this a couple of times. She has no idea how to sit still for a spoonful of food. And we were told she ate many solids. When she shows affection, she is more like an uncoordinated 6 month old throwing herself at you with no ability to slow down before head butting you.
Here she is giving me her love tackle.
It's amazing how a child can be both spoiled and neglected at the same time. Some of her delays are likely from being over bundled and left in her crib. Other issues, like throwing her head back and getting immediately upset if she doesn't get what she wants, is from being spoiled- held when out of the crib and always being handed what she wanted. It also appears that she may have always been rocked to sleep because going down for a nap and bedtime is becoming increasingly difficult. It's a tough little path to navigate. We have to show her a love that she can trust and discipline in a way she can trust us, too.
Last night I think was the first episode of mourning since the one when I first held her in my arms. It took 3 hours to get her to calm down and go to sleep. She was throwing her head back and pushing me away. It was hard, exhausting and painful. It's hard to hear your baby cry out "Mama" and not be referring to you. Then she woke up 2 hours later and went through another episode. But she didn't push me away that time.
But she is also thriving. On her fourth day with us, she not only got up on all fours, but crawled a few steps a couple of times! She started waving and clapping and even said "Dada"! She will look at the correct person when we say Mommy and Daddy, and she is responding to the name Zoe. She let us give her a bath last night AND wash her hair. She only got upset when we took her out! And she is starting to warm up to Daddy. She is smart and she is catching on quickly. She may be a little bit delayed, but it is not going to last long.
Ups and downs and all around goes the roller coaster of adoption. Well, that's just parenthood and becoming a family, too. She may be nearly 13 months old, but she is newborn into our family, and we have to remember that.
Heading to Guangzhou this afternoon with a medical appointment tomorrow morning. Then there are a couple of free and touristy days before our big Consulate appointment. We'll see you in Guangzhou!