Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Child Within A Child

2nd Forever Family Day - 2013

 1st Forever Family Day - 2012

 The day we became a family - January 21st, 2011

Like many adoptive mother’s, I try to keep my fingers on the pulse of the adoption world, as it is one of my favorite subjects with which to bend one’s ear. For most of the past year; however, the news has been less than positive as the stories of families joined have been few and far between, with nothing but longer wait times in sight for friends in progress. Recently, a few friends have taken steps forward, with one or two even seeing the first glimpses of the children that will one day join their own families and another one or two families who have actually traveled to their children. This warms my heart and sends me back to that day for us two years ago when our Treya joined our family forever.

I can hardly remember that timid girl we first met. The one who would run from us wearing clumsy leg braces that clearly did nothing but slow her down. She was adorable with a cute little pot belly that pushed out, arching her back and tucking her square chin. Her skin was so powdered, her complexion was more fair than mine. How I longed to just pick her up and snuggle her, but quite clearly, we had entered her perfectly happy and content world all ready in progress and her needs were all ready being met. She was stoic, hardly spoke and interacted with no other children. Her time was spent with the ayahs that cared deeply for her. I vividly remember the sadness that overcame me when I asked who shared a crib with Sonalika at night. The response was “With anyone. She has no connection to anyone else.” Sonalika got pleasure from the order of things, putting things away, showing where she slept, or the organization in how a meal was served. Her spot was beside whomever was hand feeding the finger fulls of rice.When she was full, unlike the others who kept seated at the table, she would get up and walk away. It was evident that she didn’t see the point in playing, because working in the kitchen or folding clothes in the back room was far more resourceful - this being one of the only personality traits she has kept from her young life.

Comparing that with the changes and growth we have seen in Treya in two short years is astounding. When I stare into her forever smiling face, I can hardly believe she is the same child. Occasionally, I find myself staring at this beautiful little girl and see so little that is reminiscent of the child we met. Even her cute Indian head bobble is gone. This reminds me of something I read in an adoption book that said to expect to see the biggest jumps in growth when a child has been with their family longer than they lived in an orphanage. Today, we cross that milestone, as Treya turns 4 and has now spent half of her life with us. In this first month of the new year alone we have watched our pudgy baby blossom into a lanky little girl.

Treya decided she is too old for Pull-Ups. We’ve left her in them because she does have an occasional accident, and can not get up out of bed at night due to the corrective shoes she wears to bed. “I a big gurwl, momma!” Yes, sweetie you are, so away they went. The bed rails? Gone. This one was frightening because she is a prize fighter in bed typically, but to date has not fallen out once. Treya has nearly mastered hopping on one foot, a true accomplishment, when you consider that two years ago she fell often and could not run or jump. She has moved from her baby car seat to a toddler car seat with a cup holder (a very grown up accessory) and she can clip some of the restraints herself. Once silent, now she LOVES to sing and has taken to singing her own lullaby to herself at night while we listen. The words are a jumbled mess with a contagious giggle breaking through from time to time, but the tune is recognizable. You know that when she is singing, she truly adores herself. She has gone from being a righty to becoming a lefty, due to surgery and yesterday, beaming with pride, wrote her name for the first time unassisted! Her lefty scissors are a prized possession by the way.

Though speech proves to still be difficult, she manages to get her message across eventually. Once a woman of few words, she now has a lot to say, often starting over again and again to make sure she is telling the entire story in order. She has two favorite phrases. One is “Here's the deal...” then she starts her speech, but because she is a bit of a copycat, often times she will repeat what you’ve just said, truly believing it was her independent thought, making it difficult not to chuckle under one’s breath. Easily confused by sarcasm and how quickly we all change from subject to subject she also gives small summaries to ensure she is keeping up with what is said. Ninety percent of her sentences begin with “SO” (she says Dough) her second favorite phrase. Treya always addresses the person she is speaking with by saying their name after each sentence. If you don’t acknowledge her, she will continue to say your name until she is certain she has your full attention before moving on with what she wanted to share. This alone can make conversations go sideways or she will forget what she was going to say while she waits for your acknowledgement. In her flustered state she will just say “I love you”. I guess that is way better answer than I forgot what I was going to say!

Jam packed with celebration this week, we’ve tested poor Treya’s limits of comprehension. Not only does her Forever Family Day and Birthday fall on the same day, but she is also coincidentally the VIP at preschool this week AND her princess party with friends is this coming Sunday. Because of this, we celebrated her forever family day on the day we first met (the 19th), rather than when she left the orphanage with us on her birthday.

I cooked an Indian feast of some of Treya’s favorite dishes. Pickles!!! She loves Indian pickles. Paneer!!! Yes, I made and served Indian cheese. Rice!!! True since the day we met, the girl adores her basmati rice. I will never forget watching her stand and cry at the room service cart after dinner one night while we were still in India, trying desperately to see what she wanted. It was the rice. She cleaned up every last grain on the plate every time. And the reason for the multiple exclamation points on those words? Our once silent child is actually very very loud! Both Pat and I are constantly reminding her she only needs to speak loudly enough for the person she is talking with to hear. The neighbors down the street don’t care to know what she is talking about. 

Channa Masala

Muttar Paneer
In addition to the our savory meal, we lit a special candle in Treya’s honor and we snuggled up on the couch to peer through the pages of her Life book together. Laughing at her tiny and crooked foot prints, a photo of her wrinkly face at 6 days old, and the lock of hair collected from her first hair cut, we marveled at the changes in everything about her.  Our once emotionless girl, now boils over with compassion for others, she is quick to say she is sorry and to comfort anyone who is in need. Those sink-into-me snuggles I longed for so desperately two years ago, though she made me work for it, are freely given and were so worth the wait. I will never tire of her weight in my lap, our arms around each other with her fingers intertwined with mine. I love to breathe in the scent of her hair and dot her broad forehead with kisses,  which are usually met with her protests and giggles. That forehead is simply irresistible.

Though the day started out very confusing for her, by it’s end, I think she finally understood why we were celebrating. Treya Marie Sonalika Ross, you are our miracle. A child within a child, that just needed a little coaxing to come out. Happy Second Forever Family Day. We love you jelly bean!!! This I hope the neighbors down the street DO hear!


Kristen said...

"Here's the Deal" that is too funny! I love hearing about how your sweet little girls are growing! They are adorable and it's encouraging to hear how well they've adjusted. I pray for the same!

Peter and Nancy said...

You're my "tester" -- having been there and done that with a two-year-old. I always read things about Treya with K in mind . . . and your insights and memories help broaden the picture that all the books paint. So thank you!

She is such a sweet, brave, loving little girl! Can't wait for the day when I get to meet her in person at camp! Many congratulations on Forever Family Day, and meeting the 50/50 milestone.

Miche said...

Oh I love that so much! The "more time at home" milestone is so awesome and I look forward to our day so much. And I love the positive changes you have seen in her-she is a special little miracle :) Happy Forever Family Day, Julie!

Amanda said...

I love visiting your blog because your posts and pictures are always so great. I am hoping to adopt from India in the near future as I was adopted when I was 2 yrs old. It seems things have gotten much more complicated than in the late 70's when I came over. I will not give up and look at your pictures and reading your posts gives me hope. Thanks for keeping this up. ~Amanda

Amanda said...

I love visiting your blog because your posts and pictures are always so great. I am hoping to adopt from India in the near future as I was adopted when I was 2 yrs old. It seems things have gotten much more complicated than in the late 70's when I came over. I will not give up and look at your pictures and reading your posts gives me hope. Thanks for keeping this up. ~Amanda

Mummy J said...

What a wonderful mama you are. I loved the pics of the food. What a great day Treya had. I guess I had been following your blog so much, I almost thought that Treya has been home much longer than 2 years... What a lovely family you have.