Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dreaming and planning

If/when we get to bring Ahren home, what are we going to do? 
Obviously the crib we originally set up for him is not going to work (almost comical to picture trying to put him in it!) This photo, above, was taken in the crib the hotel provided for us last July.  This kid is a moose-boy. He is even bigger now. Luckily, we planned ahead and there are two twin beds in Levi's room (always intended to be the boys room) Levi sleeps better in bed with someone, I wonder if Ahren is used to sleeping with someone? When we visit, he sleeps in bed between us and does very well. Maybe we should put a full sized mattress on the floor and have them sleep together at first? 
Between all of us we speak about 10 spanish words, not including those used to order at a restaurant. We had thought we would be bringing home babies, not a little man. I need to find some info on basic spanish kid-speak. We have a large hispanic community here and we have many friends who speak spanish. We also have one dear friend here that is from Guatemala who has offered to help. Knowing Ahren's easy-going personality, I don't think we will have major problems in this area, but I still want to be prepared.
This child eats everything. Plus, I have been sending care packages with American kid-snacks every month so that he is used to what he will get here. We will keep things simple at first and stick to what is the most familiar. Then we will follow his lead and branch out as he is ready. Last summer I would order him a full-sized breakfast with eggs, black beans, fruit and tortillas and he would eat the whole thing! Again, in this area, I don't expect a problem, but will be prepared. 
Potty training: 
He has started potty training, and depending on how far along he is we will either continue or put it on hold. There is going to be enough going on in his little life that we don't need to put this added stress on him. 
We will minimize how many people he is around at first. Let him get his feet under him and let him show us how he does. There will be plenty of time later on to introduce him to all our friends and family. In this area we will not budge. He needs to attach to us and feel secure before he can branch out. He is a very social child, loves to go go go, so once he is settled I am sure we will be out and about a lot. Until then, we will stick to our home base like glue. 
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his curls, but his hair is now down past his shoulders. If you stretch out the curls, his hair reaches down past the middle of his back. He will be getting a trim, and those curls we cut off will be saved in his baby book. If his hair is shorter, more like last summer, it will still be very curly but not so hot or in his way. I have no fear he looks like a girl, although he is very beautiful, he is just too big and masculine.  I will be getting lots of long-hair pix before we trim it. This isn't something that will happen Day 1, but when he seems comfortable. I may even try and trim it myself, if he will sit still for it. A professional can even it out later.
Doctor appointments: 
We will need to schedule these right away. We can't risk any little critters tagging along and infecting the whole family. Our pediatrician has experience with internationally adopted children and we have talked about it several times. Initial exams will be focused on immediate needs (not shots, or development issues) Infections, parasites, anemia, etc. We can wait a while to look at other issues, as needed. We will also take a peek at his teeth and he can see our dentist (what a wonderful dentist we have!!!) if it looks like there is something that needs immediate attention. 

I think this covers the basics. If I have missed anything major, please let me know. Although I have 3 kids already, they all came to me as squishy pink bundles after growing inside of me for 9 months. I am heading into all new territory this time!


Susan said...

I think "cocooning" and keeping him away from other (understandably anxious to meet him) friends and family is a wise idea, initially. You'll just need to take your lead from him when he's ready to expand his horizons. You're lucky that you've already been able to spend some time with him. Will you or your husband be able to take some time off work to be home with him at first? I took an extended leave (much of it unpaid) to be home with our daughter when we brought her from China, and I spent about a month at the end easing her into the day care we had chosen. I know you have your Nanny; maybe you could have her come over as usual but with you there, too, at first.

Levi is going to be a BIG help! Ahren probably will really bond with him.

As for the Spanish, I'm sure you can find some sort of list of Spanish phrases for adoptive parents on the internet (or perhaps your agency has one for you -- ours had a Chinese version). Or get your friend from Guatemala to write out a series of questions or statements that you're likely to need. How about some lullabies in Spanish? You might be able to find some CDs in Guatemala if you go back to bring him home. Maybe some DVDs of Spanish cartoons or kids' shows? It might be soothing for him to hear his native language at first. Our daughter was only 10.5 months, so she wasn't speaking Chinese, but we played a lot of TV in China and I have a lullabies CD that I still play for her.

It's so exciting to see you planning to bring him home! I know how exciting (yet a bit frightening) this can be; if I can be of help with my limited related experience, let me know.

Kara and Darr said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile now. It is awesome! Your kids are just beautiful. We brought our son home from Guat this past Jan. He was 19 months and we had NO problems with language what so ever. It was just amazing how quick he learned. I can't wait to read your post that PGN has released Ahren and PBJ. Check our our blog at

Kim said...

Krystal told me about a product called Simple Language for Adoptive Families.

It's really great and teaches phrases that we need as parents. (not, can I have another beer, where's the bathroom, and if you agree with the terms of the contract sign here)

I ordered it thinking that I would learn Spanish before Baby A got here. 1) It didn't happen and 2) I found out that his parents don't even speak Spanish so it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

If you would like it, I'll be happy to send it to you. Just email me - kimhartz @ - and I'll drop it in the mail to you.

Julie said...

I just think it's really, REALLY cool that you're at this place with the planning! WOO HOO!! :)

Mommy said...

Hey girl,
I have the simple language for adoptive families that Kim is talking about. GET IT!!!!! It is absolutely wonderful and has helped us so much talking on the phone with Robbie. I am so thankful I ordered it!!!

As for staying home, I am wth you 100%. Every person we have spoken to from our ped. to a family friend that is a family counselor have told us no contact for a while and only mom and dad should be giving any and all care for an older child.

Can't wait to hear good news about your file being approved asap.

Love to you all,

Vanessa said...

I'm getting so excited for you guys and I can't wait to read the BIG post that your kiddos are coming home!! COME ON PGN!! I waited longer in PGN for our adoption than the average person getting their child home!! Life is so unfair sometimes!!

Stacey, Mike & las cinco chicas locas said...

I would make a picture board with photos of familar things like Ahren's sippy cup, toys, blanket ect on it. Take it with you on the pick up trip, that way he can point to what he needs, and then you can reinfoce the word in English. My girls were a little bit older so made flash cards and labeled them in both Spanish and English and they would shuffle through the pile of flash cards until they came to the one they needed. Very helpful in relieving frustration for both parents and children.
You will also want to make one with pics of his new home, room, pets so he can review it and knows what to expect.


Krystal said...

Girl, do NOT touch those curls!!! :) :) :)

Kristy said...

Be sure to get some transition items (like a blanket and some toys from his foster home). They will be comforting to him as he becomes familiar with his new surroundings. (And don't wash them right away so that they will still have the smells of his foster home). Also, it might be helpful to have pictures of his foster family members so that he can look at them at home. My foster mom called my son Colocho. That is the Guatemalan word for a curly haired male, and I can tell you that the curls were so hard to cut, but they make the kiddos sweat! So I think that you will want that haircut. Don't worry, the curls will come back.

Leslie said...

I wish you the best on bring your son home! You will do just fine kids are like sponges!!!

Many blessings,Leslie
Mommy to Abby home from Guatemala Nov 06