These are my peoples


Lena is still melting down constantly. She just bursts into tears over the most odd, random things. One day, we were headed to the grocery store and she started crying. I asked her what it was and she said “grocery store” (as in she wanted to go there). It was the same way we always drive to the store. I was not too thrilled. This is very typical of her lately. Crying usually slows us down from what she really wants to do. Go in the car, go to the grocery store. This weekend she was particularly upset and missed out on eating lunch with everyone yesterday, a trip to the playground and Sunday school today. She starts crying and can’t stop herself.

While everyone went to the playground today, we just cuddled and I gave her a bottle of water like a baby. She seemed to really enjoy this and I took the opportunity to rub her back and tell her all of the things I’ve been telling her a lot lately– that I’m her mama, that I love her, that I’m always going to come back when I go somewhere. After she was done cuddling, we looked at some photos of the orphanage. I thought this might help us get somewhere. We looked at all the rooms and she told me about them. I am not sure if it is real memory, or just that she can recognize a bed, a sink, a play room, etc. We talked about the different people that we saw– and whether they were nice or mean. She alternated for every person “nice, mean, nice, mean”. Then I asked if she ever wanted to go back there and she told me “no”. So, I told her she wouldn’t and we said goodbye.

I thought that might all help, but when it was time for Sunday school, she started in tears again. I told her she needed to calm down to go and we gave her plenty of time to calm down. But, she never did. I took her upstairs and held her for awhile. Eventually, she asked me for water again and she took it like a baby, laying in my arms, drinking the water. Then, we laid down together for awhile. I don’t know if this is what she needs right now, but she doesn’t resist it.

In one of her better moments.

Reed has been doing really well lately. He can really hold a conversation with you and talk about his feelings. He can tell me about different things that have happened, even awhile ago. He told me that “Liva” (which is either Olivia or Alina) got attacked by a big brown bird at the orphanage one day?! He can tell you what is wrong and what makes him feel better. This is just great and I feel like it has really improved his relationships all around. He can also understand so much, so we have lots of talks about what it means being part of our family and what all of our roles are.

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He and I had a good talk about a week ago. Aaron and Lena were already in bed, so I asked him if we could talk after his bedtime story.  I brought up the orphanage, “the dom” as we call it. I asked him how he felt living there, happy or sad, sometimes happy, sometimes sad. He told me he was sad. “Why?”, I asked him. “Because there was no mama and no papa.” No hesitation… he just melted my heart.

Tonight, we piled on top of him to give him his pre-bedtime hug and he wrapped his arms around our necks and said “these are my peoples.”

These are my peoples, and my doggies.

All photos courtesy of Photography by Amy Hall.

15 thoughts on “These are my peoples”

  1. So glad to hear Reed is doing so well and it sounds like you are meeting Lena's needs perfectly. Bless them it is so hard to process where they have come from and family life. I bet that extra snuggle time is just the thing she needs. Good luck, love the last pic!

  2. The cuddling and bottle feeding is an excellent way to bond. I am not saying that she has an attachment disorder. But I do know that children who have RAD or PTSD have a difficult time with bonding. Many times these children are "treated" by taking them back to the infant stage by holding them like a baby and "feeding" them a bottle. It is beleived that it helps to encourage trust, which they missed as infants, and bonding with the parents. Here is an interesting link kids are growing beautifully and you are doing an amazing job!

  3. Man they are cute! I love the Christine Moers videos you shared on your blog. Patty Cogen's book on intntl adoption has some awesome sections on developing what she calls the "foot break (nerve structures)"- which give the ability to calm yourself. One of the ways to develop the vagus nerve is the suck swallow breathe, part of bottle feeding. She suggests doing it with juice boxes for older kids in the day time. It took me 3 months to get through her book without any kids, but if you have the time it is pretty interesting.Lauren in WA

  4. You are doing wonderfully….keep going with Lena and doing just what you are doing with the holding and bottle feeding. It is so wonderful that you are giving her such a gift of love, patience, and empathy. Glad to hear that Reed is transitioning so well! What a gift these children get when they get a family that loves them….it doesn't get any better!Cynthia

  5. They are both so precious! It's so hard to think of everything she missed out on in her first 2 years and it's wonderful to know that it's not too late – you are providing the missing nurturing. You can carry her in a sling, bottle-feed her, sleep with her, play silly baby games like peek-a-boo – anything she missed out on that you can provide now so she can heal.

  6. It's fabulous to see someone write about the realities of life after adoption! Stories like yours really keep me going in this process — thanks so much for sharing!

  7. I was considering the bottle feeding with Olivia for bonding reasons – but any mention of a baby and she yells, "I BIG GIRL! NO BABY!" – so um, I dropped that idea. I have tried a few times to show Olivia the orphanage pictures but she just tells me pretty much what Lena told you. I then switch it up and show her an orphanage she has never been to before and she tells me the same thing. It's great that you can have a real conversation with Reed. 🙂 Helps you fill in some blanks from their past.

  8. Does Lena self soothe? I know that when Zoya came home Sarah did a post on having to teach her how to find a doll, and snuggle with it to find comfort. Sounds like there are a lot of emotions going on in that little lady. Reed melts my heart.

  9. Awww, I love this!!!!!! I am glad Reed communicates so well with you, and it's good Lena lets you comfort and love her when she cries. It's that Victor doesn't want us to that's hard. So, clearly she is more attached and probably in a healthier place, which I know still seems overwhelming to you. But, compared to kids with full blown RAD, she is doing SOOOO WELL!!!! Keep up your awesome work!!!!xoxo

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