I was immediately attracted to Smita's eyes and her smile when we saw the referral picture for her...and how awesome that her name means smiling lady! Smiles are usually the first thing I notice about people when I first meet them.
Smita has fit right in to our family. She is cheerful, peaceful, affectionate, and smart! She can be independent, but she is allowing us to meet all of her needs which is great for bonding and attachment. She will allow us to feed her, hold her, rock her, bathe her, dress her and much more...but she is fully capable of doing all of these thing herself if asked to do so. Smita loves to hug and kiss her family and she is sure to compliment everyone on their appearance or on any food that is served. Her favorite words are BEAUTIFUL and SO SWEET. Her favorite color is pink. Smita is compassionate. If anyone is the family seems sad, she asks if they are crying and tries to comfort them. Her verbal English language skills are coming along great. She makes every effort to speak to us in English whereas Ajay is still only using Gujarati or Hindi. Smita interprets for him. We were told that Smita is good at art and singing. She loves to sing in the car...she has quickly learned some radio and movie songs from America and remembers about 20 songs from India. She will sing for 30 minutes straight when given an audience! Although we were told that Smita is in second grade and Ajay is in third, they need to start in either kindergarten or first grade here in America. Smita definitely has the potential to be academically successful in America, but both children need to start from the very beginning to build a strong foundation for American schools. They know the English alphabet, but not the sounds that the letters make. They do not know how to read in any language as far as I can tell. They can count to 100, but do not know how to add or subtract. They have tried to add using their fingers, but are only right 50 percent of the time. Smita is very concerned about fairness and wants everything to be completely equal. If she perceives that anything is unfair or that things are not going the way she wants, she will shut down and not respond to anything we say or do...she pouts. This only lasts a little while, then she returns to her cheerful self. We've had a few sad tears, but they do not last long. It's tough work for a new child who has never had a family to learn that not everything is fair and equal 100 percent of the time and that children do not have free reign of the household. Smita is a girlie-girl and loves to wear dresses, hair bows, necklaces, nail polish, and make-up. She loves to play with dolls and jump on the trampoline. She goes with the flow and does not seem to fear much. She is also a typical girl in that she loves to tattle on her siblings. After being home for two weeks, she expressed an interest in moving out of our room into her big girl bed. We allowed her to make the transition as she sleeps soundly through the night, and she has had no problem making the move to the room which she shares with her sister. We have noticed that she gets insecure when we give hugs and attention to our biological daughters. She immediately wants hugs and attention for herself and will do whatever it takes to get that attention. This does not come as a surprise based on all of our adoption education. Smita is adjusting remarkably well and has been a joy to our family so far. We are very thankful for her.
We are coming up on the one month mark of meeting our new children. I would say that we are no longer in the "honeymoon" stage. They are now comfortable enough to start showing more of their personalities, expressing displeasure at things, bickering with each other in front of us, trying to share details of their past, etc. We are seeing more behaviors that are a result of being institutionalized. We are working on discipline, manners, and appropriate ways to express emotions and affection. Our early days with them have been tiring, and it has been a huge life change for all of us, but so far we consider ourselves to be extremely fortunate in how they are bonding/adjusting to our family and how our bio kids are accepting them. Ajay and Smita seem to belong here.
If time permits in the weeks to come, I would like to keep it real and share some of the brokenness that comes along with adoption. I really appreciate the families who have openly shared their challenges as it has helped to educate and prepare us for dealing with the same potential issues.