Zoya had a fantastic morning and was pretty good during all the visits. When we got home she was a little cranky and ended up crying to the point that we were unable to console her for about 5-10 minutes. She just cried...very loudly. This was the first time we've ever seen this. I felt so sad for her. We knew it would be hard for her to leave the orphange. We are so lucky we have bonded so quickly, but that does not mean she will not have times of stress and feelings of loss and sadness. We've heard that many newly adopted babies go through crying spells the first few weeks. We felt so sad for her and felt terrible that there was nothing that would make her feel better. She loves us, of course, but I'd be scared too if I were in her situation. Everything is so different, from the smells, to the sounds and language, to the routine, to the environment. I think she was a bit overstimulated and crashed from there. After she settled down a little, we took a walk with her and ended up just getting McDonalds for dinner. The walk seemed to calm her down. When we got back she was back to her normal happy self for the most part. I fed her dinner on the floor and let her come to me when she wanted more. She would take a few bites and then scoot herself back for some alone time. We are figuring out that she needs both our love and touch, but we also need to let her take a break from us when she needs to. After all, she only saw us twice a day for 2 hours at a time, and then she went back to her comfort zone. We all know the orphanage wasn't the best place for her, she didn't have her needs met in many ways...but it was what she knew and it was what she has lived for almost 2 years...her entire life. Zoya needs prayers for peace and transition and we need prayers to continue being patient and understanding of the difficulty of this transition time for her. Yes, it was only 5 or 10 minutes that she cried, but it broke my heart. All the other minutes with her she has been happy and silly and funny...so she is more than allowed 5 or 10 minutes to break down from all the change she is dealing with.
I know a lot of people don't think about what it is like at home for the first days and weeks after an adoption, but we're not expecting it to be easy. Many social workers and doctors recommend that for the first week home the child meet only very close family and friends. Many even suggest not to let others hold the child, as it will take time for the child to bond fully and know their mom and dad. Too many other people holding the child might confuse him/her. It is suggested that we treat Zoya as a new baby...giving her a lot of physical attention, holding, hugging, rocking, swaddling and treating her just as if she were a newborn. It is not okay to let her cry it out if she wakes up in the middle of the night. We have to respond to her and let her know she is communicating with us and that we are there to comfort her. So we don't have any set rules or a plan we are going to follow, but we will see how Zoya is doing and decide what is best for her from hour to hour the first few weeks home. Our only plan is to do what is best for Zoya and we will know that better when we get home. She may do better than we think, or it may take her longer than we think to feel at home in her new environment.
Oh and a funny little side note: Zoya loves McDonald's french fries...every kid I know with Down Syndrome loves McDonalds...yes that is a generalization, but it is so true! One in particular is obsessed with McDonalds...not mentioning any names...Seth. Anyway, she scooted over to me on the floor while I was eating my fries and she signed MORE haha. She was asking for french fries so I gave her little pieces and she kept signing more. She would scoot away, but always came back and either signed more or just stared up at me with pleading eyes! Too funny! This was the first time she signed more without being prompted! She is sleeping peacefully as I type this and she looks like an angel. Sweet girl!