Friday, 29 August 2014

A Month Home

It is truly amazing that a month has passed since we met and adopted Maya. This happened on July 21st and 22nd that are as important as the birth of a child. In a way that's exactly what it was, a birth in our family and we had a little baby girl named Maya, ok not so little, she s nine years old going on sixteen at times and being barely five at others. Her transition to her new life has not been easy by any means. I'm sure she expected some changes but this is beyond anything she could've imagined.  Some days she's taking it like a trooper and others she does everything possible to alienate us. It was all to be expected but still hard to go through.

And now it's already been a month, short of two days since we've been home. July 31st was when we returned from China all tired and bleary eyed from the long plane ride home but excited to be on Canadian soil, to see everyone we love and to bring Maya to our family fold. It was a very long day and as tired as we were it was hard getting to sleep that night because of everything that's happened. We were a family of six now. Things would be different.

Since then days have passed one by one filled with happy, sad and awkward moments. There certainly have been all kinds of moments and emotions going on around this house but certainly never a dull moment.  We've battled sickness, some nasty cold virus. My husband and I each took a turn with it but Maya was not affected. She may have just had it or was immune to it. This made handling the transition even harder. Sometimes energy was lacking when truly needed but even so days have passed, weeks have passed and now it's been a month since we came home from China.

We were trying to keep up school so she can learn English as well as continue her Chinese. School wasn't always successful because she often got frustrated because I was teaching her things she already learned a long time ago but I'm trying to teach you the words for it, sometimes that was ok and sometimes it wasn't, she still wasn't interested. When she wasn't interested nothing really worked.

Brandon came over and wondered what to do with Maya because she wasn't going home - the home that was somewhere else not grandma's house. He tries though in his three year old way to get used to this but has some hard times transitioning himself. It is very much like if his mom had a baby and he realizes the baby is not going away or if he was in school and he figures out he's not the only kid in class. What is a little boy to do?  Retaliate of course any way he knows how but slowly he is learning to get along. It could be a very hard fact of life, to get along with others.

Sometimes they are very much like siblings instead of aunt and nephew, teasing, poking, pinching. Yes, this is her hand trying to steal his dad's hat but he would not have it. He was fiercely protective. 

This beautiful smile is also a smile for I don't hear you, I'm not listening or I'm going to do this and you can't stop me. Some days it can push my buttons and others I know to leave well enough alone. Older child adoption seems to be all about learning when to step up and when to back up, not always easy that is for sure.

And this little guy was going to roll in the puddle on his roller coaster even if he got his pants soaking wet so what's the use of getting upset when it's just a moment in time that will pass and tomorrow will be another day.

Maya Lanlan you certainly give me a run for my money sometimes but that too shall pass and I will still be your mom and you will still be my daughter. Soon you will know that your forever family will be here forever.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The First Weeks with Maya

Looking back on the first couple of weeks with Maya I can see a big difference already in the way that she acts, behaves and gets along with the rest of us. I mean, we are both learning to get along with each other. Even a nine year old is very much set in her ways but some of those ways may need to be changed and it's hard to accept that. That goes for all of us, we all have to change in some ways and though we may not like it at first eventually we realize that change could be good. Sometimes we don't even realize that we've become set in some ways that are really not to our benefit but we've been either too busy or too lazy to change it and now some things must change for us and for the child. It takes a while to get used to and it takes effort to see the good in the changes. It takes great control to think of the positive, be positive and act positively because it is so easy to act negatively.

In the beginning Maya acted negatively to almost everything. With older child adoption we expected some negativity and non-cooperation but not with practically everything. It was Nooooo to food, to clothes, toys, to TV, to outdoors, pets, baths, to bedtime, wake time, school time and it's hard to hear and stay positive when all you hear is No followed by a chuckle that tells me she has no intentions to listen to anything I had to say. The complaints were many, all the clothes were too long or too short, too tight or too lose or just plain no good, outside she's always too hot or too cold (wait till she feels the real cold of a Canadian winter) and yes I know with our weather we are usually either too hot or too cold but it does not do us any good to keep noting it every five minutes.

I know that everything she'd ever known or done is different now and even though she realized she was moving to a new country with foreign people she had no ideas just how much her life would change and how many things she'd already learned she would have to re-learn because some of her manners, not sure if they are just typical Chinese manners, orphanage manners or just her own will not be accepted here in Canada and not in this family.

A quick example would be if we can't finish our food we don't automatically scoop it off onto someone else's plate. I have no idea if that comes from the fact that in China they have no money to waste food as most families are poor, so if you won't finish it give it to someone else or she is suppose to finish everything and if she can't or won't she gives it to someone else so her plate looks clean . It also saves her from throwing it into the garbage which is maybe something children get in trouble for. In either case back to the No, I eventually had to tell her more than once that the complaining had to stop; no more word no and this was a serious matter, not a joke. Now, she catches herself saying No and will quickly say no, no - okay. I think by saying no even to computer sometimes it gives her control over the life that's no longer the life she once knew.

We do let her go on the computer to play some kid's Chinese games. I really think she needs that time for her brain to relax from it all. In her case it re-charges her. Besides we have been in quarantine for twenty days because a child in our adoption group came down with measles. The department of health called us and asked us to stay put, this meant lots of time indoors. It is good bonding time as well as opportunity for tempers to flare both hers and ours. Walks helped, either in evening or morning while not too many people were out.

We had many seatbelt issues; she would not wear it. She didn't like it being tight around her hips or shoulder. It was not tight but snug as it should be but she'd sneak the shoulder strap off and then quietly unbuckle. We'd ask her time and time again to put it on and leave it on, it is the rule of driving and we follow rules. So for a moment it would go on and very quickly as I noticed after taking these pictures it was off again.

The girl likes to look pretty but not for long. She'll take her glasses and hat, wear it for a couple of minutes and then it's off. I think it's because she's not used to it. She wants to try it on but quickly feels silly in it. Obviously, she had clothes at the orphanage but no frills though there was one nice dress she brought with her.

Our little man Brandon loves Maya and she loves him but the usual sibling rivalry type relationship ensues and soon there's teasing, screaming, pinching and such going on. Although he seeks out Maya, he's not keen on sharing the space with her or the attention of grandma and grandpa but slowly it is sinking in that she is not going away. 

We try to have school time or at least time to learn English, words, days, seasons, colors, her name, etc etc and oh yes, coloring together is good bonding time. We do some math and with math there's no stopping her, she finishes a workbook of math in one sitting. It was meant to last at least a week, lol. I have to find some more. It frustrates her when I try to correct something she feels she already knows such as the letter i and letter l are the same size and if I try to show her the l should be tall she's ready to pack it in and she did in the beginning but now she tries hard to move on to whatever else we are trying to accomplish