We’ve been home now since Tuesday night. Thankfully, my mom has been here until today helping us out. She has been a huge help, and will definitely be missed!
Overall, Maya is a great girl. We are going to have fun with her, and I think she will be a thoughtful and helpful big sister. However, there is still a HUGE adjustment to take place.
We have heard off and on that when you adopt, you should try to keep the birth order in tact. Meaning, you should bring a new child into the family who is younger than the current children. Well, that wasn’t an option for us, so we’re hoping for the best… I have now learned one reason why they recommend that. Had we had Maya in our family for a while, and were now bringing in Elijah – we could explain to Maya that he just needs some extra attention for a while, etc. We can’t explain that to Elijah – he’s just mad that someone else is hogging his mom’s lap! It’s definitely a challenge having 2 adopted children, when the first one is still relatively new to settling in. We will have to be very intentional to not backtrack with Elijah and give him the attention that he needs too.
Our first day home with Maya was hard. Draining, to say the least. Adopting a 3-year-old is a whole different ballgame than an infant. Elijah wasn’t old enough to really have opinions and an attitude! And the hard part for me is knowing when to say no and set boundaries, and when to have grace and love her into our family. I know that she was corrected very strongly in Haiti – we got to see one of her careworkers correct her somewhat harshly, and saw Maya shut down because of it. So, I don’t want to be that. She needs to know that we love her and have grace for her – accidents happen, mistakes get made, but we still absolutely love you. On the other hand, she needs to understand boundaries as a part of this family. It’s hard to know when to discipline, and how to explain with a language barrier. And the other struggle for me is, when I am frustrated – to not stay mad! So, we are working through boundaries – and she is one to test every single one of them.
She has great instincts with Elijah. She gives him kisses and gently holds his hands. She’ll share toys, and rub him when he cries. Of course, they already have tugging wars over the same toys, but what kids don’t? One sweet moment was with our dogs, who she is still very scared of. They were in their kennel and Elijah was crawling up to the door, like he often does. She started yelling frantically, and waving for him to come away. Finally, as a last ditch effort, she ran up, grabbed his arm and drug him away from the kennel – saving him from “certain death!” I think she’ll look out for him!
Maya loves to dance! The first time we saw it was on Sunday, the first day we had her. She was sitting on my lap on our hotel balcony. We hadn’t even gotten a hint of a smile or word from her yet. There was some music playing below, and as an instinct, her hands and shoulders starting going. Very subtly, but it was there! Now she’ll start up Elijah’s music toys, and let loose in the living room. Today she had her hands on her hips, doing some type of dance. I would love to see the dance that she’s imitating!