Before I gave birth to each of my children, I knew their gender and had an inkling from the ultrasounds that they were reasonably healthy, but otherwise, had no idea what to expect, especially with our firstborn.
From the moment the kids were born, Ken and I would talk, sign, and sing to them. I can't tell you how many times I sang the Alphabet Song to those kids! We played with blocks, signing the colors every. single. time. We read picture books out loud and signed the names of all the farm animals over and over.
At only a few months of age, each of our kids began to understand our words and signs. "Milk" and "eat" were two of the first signs/words they recognized, of course!
Somewhere between 10 and 12 months, they began to first sign, then talk. Our oldest's first signs were "more" and "dog." The other two first signed "more" and "milk" and "daddy."
That first developmental year is full of great memories of hugging, cuddling, reading, feeding, nursing, napping, playing, teaching and repeating. And repeating. And repeating.
|I wish I knew who first created this. Love it!|
Here we are, expecting yet again. The "expecting" we are going through with adoption is similar to our expecting with our birth kids, yet SO different.
Our two sons will come to us as a three-year-old and two-year-old. It would be easy to expect them to "act their age," but they won't! The first year with them, we will be "babying" them quite a bit by rocking them, "nursing" them with a bottle or sippy cup at bedtime and nap time, teaching them very basic words for communication, cuddling, reading, playing, teaching and repeating, repeating, repeating, just like we did with our birth kids during their first year(s).
We have neighbors, friends and family with two- and three-year-old children. We are preparing ourselves to NOT compare our boys to those kids. It's going to take them quite a while, years even, to catch up. Kids who are adopted across national lines must acquire a new language. Most lose their fluency in their first language. With our boys, they are coming to us with little-to-no language at all. We don't expect that to hinder their acquisition of ASL. We expect that they will be little sponges! While we know they won't reciprocate language back us to us right away, we believe they will readily understand at least the basics.
So what do we expect?
We expect the boys to:
grieve the loss of everything they know as "normal"
attach to us fairly quickly, but not all of us at the same time
throw some major tantrums
be cute, giggling toddlers
have some sleep issues and night terrors
be frustrated in trying to communicate their needs
soak up language!
We DON'T expect them to act their age for a while, nor do we expect them to be "grateful" to us for adopting them. Tian has been with his foster family for a year. It may take that long or probably longer for him to truly know he is with his forever family.
One thing we've heard is that adoption isn't for the faint of heart. I don't think parenting is in general. We certainly have an adventure ahead of us! We could not do it without the hand of God on our lives, your prayers, and the amazing support we have from friends, family, and both the adoption and Deaf communities.
Here we go!!