Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reality Hits

Roo remains the happy little boy that we met a mere two days ago. He is full of smiles and is starting to give spontaneous kisses and hugs. Yesterday was spent finalizing the adoption; in the eyes of China, he is officially a member of our family! Today we visited the Pearl TV Tower and the Shanghai Aquarium.

Both days were full of fun but Roo is out of control the second we step out of our hotel room. He takes off in the opposite direction and Stu and I are spending the majority of our time trying to catch him or carry/drag him to where we need to be. I'm sure it is a variety of factors. He is very overstimulated, going from a rather-sheltered life to being constantly in and out of vans/offices/meetings. We can see that he has never experienced many ordinary aspects of life so he is experiencing many "firsts" with us. We are seeing that he was very spoiled by his foster family; I'm not sure if I shared that he was living with a foster family for the past two years. Such a blessing in that he was obviously adored by them and learned what it is like to live in a family; however, we can easily tell that he was given most anything that he wanted and expects us to follow the same. I am beyond thrilled that he was fostered... he had the warmth of a family life and loves to snuggle. However, trying to establish boundaries where there have been none is challenging, to say the least. He laughs in our face if we tell him "no" and will not allow us to redirect him to a new activity. We saw our first temper tantrum today (all 30 seconds of it) and he lashed out at Monkey a few times over sharing toys. We know this is completely healthy and a great step forward that he is letting down his walls and figuring out that we will be here for him no matter what. But it is hard to deal with this when we are stuck in a small hotel room for hours. And we can't attempt too much discipline at this point as all eyes are on us the second we walk out of this room. I know this is just the beginning and things will get easier once we get home but for now it's hard on him and us.
On the other side of this story is our adjustment to Roo. It goes without saying that we adore him and think he is one of the cutest kids ever. When he looks at us with his big smile and dimples our hearts completely melt. Hearing his big belly laugh is like music to our ears. But the reality is that he is a five-year-old little boy. He is a preschooler that has a fully formed personality and is full of opinions of what he likes and doesn't like. We can't expect a child to erase the first five years of his life and come to us with a blank slate. We just need to figure out a way to incorporate those first five years into the new relationship he is building with us. At this point we are still more like strangers than family and we are all struggling to figure out what to expect from each other. I suppose right now it seems like we are babysitting for a really cute kid. I know that in time the deep feelings of love and bonding will come but right now we have are slowly getting to know each other and are having a good time. And that's enough for now.


Becky and Keith said...

I remember very, very well what those first few days were like and boundaries where invisible. Nathan, although younger than Roo, would scream bloody murder if he didn't get what he wanted. The worst part was on Shamian Island. When he would cry, every shop owner would come out and hand him a toy to calm him down which, of course, we ended up paying for because there was no way we could take it away. These two weeks in China, as you well know, is survival mode. So hard trying to begin new rules with so many others watching on. Deep breaths and a glass of wine. :-) He is SUCH a cutie and his smile is absolutely contagious!

the Kahler Family said...

Soon you'll be home. Just keep saying that to yourself ;)

Every single time we told Asa no while in Kyrg, he screamed. And tantrumed. And every single Kyrgyz adult would run to him to find out what we had done to make him cry. It was difficult. But we are home now and he has quickly learned the rules. Hoping that your little Roo is a quick learner once you get home!