I debated writing this post, but I had a good conversation with a dear friend today....and felt it made things a lot easier on both ends of the friendship to be open and honest about our transition period. We know so many have prayed for us during the whole adoption process and we really covet your prayers so much during this transition and bonding time.
We have decided to scale back Nathan and Owen's birthday party to mainly family. Right now we just can't have a large group of people in our home. Karis would seek love and affection from each of them, thus continuing to delay her bonding with our family.
It will also be a very rare occasion to find the Hite 6 out in public together. Karis came from an environment where everyone was a caregiver. The concept of just a Mom and Dad is new to her. She is evaluating everyone and deciding who would be fun to be with for awhile. Just two random examples of innocent situations that turn harmful to our bonding process.
1) several weeks ago we were at a Samford game. We had her close by us, to try as control all the situations. A family came up to us that loved special needs kids and were talking to Nathan and Owen. We were about 20 feet from the concession stand and Karis caught the eye of one of the workers. The lady gave her a bag of chips...for free. Wow, what a super nice lady...I mean, who gives free chips from the concession stand....WRONG...Karis sees a lady that just gave her a great treasure....and her Mom and Dad did not provide her any treasures at that moment. Right then, that lady is more appealing.
2) Each week we go to community group at church. There is yummy food, fun, other kids but most importantly to her...dessert. In Karis's mind Mr. X house is so much better than ours because there we get chocolate cake and at home she needs to do horrible things like brush her teeth. Again, an innocent situation...that is just not good for bonding.
Eventually we will bond enough that these will not be real issues, but for now they are huge.
We are not sure how long bonding will take, but it will be quite a while. I wish she was small enough for us to put her in an ergo...but I am pretty sure they don't make them for a 4'2", 8 year old.
I know many of you have inquired as to how she is progressing in her English, in school, etc. This is another great area of prayer. We have her testing results from the International Adoption Clinic. Just a quick glance at her results:
Cognitive level: 24 months
Expressive Communication: 12-18 months
Gross Motor Skills: 24 months
Fine Motor Skills: 24-30 months
She also has trouble with more than a one step direction. I did not realize until I counted today that a trip to the bathroom is an 18 step process. She needs cuing for all 18 steps or she cannot move through the process. She literally freezes until you tell/show the next step. Some days she stands at the dining room table not able to process, even with verbal cues, that it is time to get in the chair, or even eat. There are areas of good progress. She can now buckle the seatbelt...most of the time...if she is given about 5 minutes to complete the task. She is also understanding lots of English!!!
She is so beautiful and precious to us. She is a real gift from God and we love her. She has a long road ahead of her and we just ask that you pray for this road, show our family grace and patients during this time and when she is ready to meet you, love her as you do our other children.