Surviving Toddler Adoption: Small Victories

We’re home. A little over a week ago, we walked past airport security to a huge group of family and friends. We were so relieved, exhausted, happy and proud to introduce everyone to our little guys. We felt like we’d reached the finish line.

But the finish line was very much the starting gate. I’d be remiss if I ended our adoption journey with the joy of coming home. Our journey has just begun. And just like I’ve said many times the last year – adoption is not for the faint of heart. Bringing home two toddlers from a different culture, who aren’t used to being in a family setting, and who don’t speak your language is the greatest reward and the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced.

Judah talking on his phone.

I have the feeling we’ll look back at these first few months as the “survival period.” As hours and days pass, we’re celebrating the small things. Here are a few of our family victories from our first week as a family of 6:

1. Our toddlers’ hitting and spitting is on the decline.

2. We’ve all gotten out of bed every morning.

3. My daughters are fascinated with the new boys in our home. They want to help with everything from feeding to stinky diapers. Not sure how long this will last…but for now, it’s cause for celebration.

4. Nobody has missed a meal.

5. The boys are settling into a routine – they know where they sit at our table, where they sleep, when it is bathtime, etc. Structure is our friend!

6. Ceiling fans and cars are huge hits. Judah (age 2) notices the ceiling fan every time he walks into a new room, and Levi (age 1) is in car overload whenever we leave the house. When we drove downtown yesterday, he pointed out each and every car on the interstate during our 30 minute drive.

7. The full-fledged toddler temper tantrums (think Super Nanny here) that were so prevalent the first few days are almost non-existent.

8. Bedtime is easier. Now rather than leaving his bed 30 or 40 times before falling asleep, our 2-yr-old just stands on his toddler bed and yells at us in Amharic before lying down. I’m so glad I don’t understand what he’s saying.

9. Our tiny wiener dog no longer strikes fear and panic in my boys. They can tolerate seeing him through the glass door without screaming. Maybe someday we’ll even be able to let him back inside.

10. Joel and I have teamed up. With four kids in the home, we’re now outnumbered. We decided the only way we’re going to make it out alive is to stick together.

Thanks for caring about our family. Adoption isn’t all sunshine, roses and lullabies. It’s tough. It’s frustrating. And it’s challenging. But it’s also the way God chose to bring together our family, and we wouldn’t trade this for anything.

  • Cara Mihlfeld Davis

    Wonderful accounting of your first week!

  • Glenda

    Thank you for sharing, I’ve been following Kristys, your Moms story. I was excited when I saw your link, so at 2am I had to read it.
    Btw, on my fbook, one of my ” friends ” will be venturing this path shortly too.. Also from where you went…( “sister of a lost classmate))
    Please keep me in mind when you write more…
    Thanks so much

  • Amy Severson

    Ah yes, the poor dogs! This brings back memories of our early days home. Wooshas. It took our daughter quite some time to get used to us having 3. It blew her mind that we allowed these animals to live among us as part of the family. Dogs in her mind were creatures you swatted away because they were trying to bite you and steal your food. Slowly she warmed up to them, and vice versa. 2 years later they actually cuddle to some degree. But I don’t think she’ll ever be a ‘dog person’! Congrats making it through your first week at home! :-)

  • Shannon Litton

    Those wooshas! If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that word…in panic…the past few weeks….I could probably fund another adoption. :)