Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Advance: A New Chapter - An Adoption Update

The international adoption story unfolds in predictable chapters. First comes The Process: an anxious age of waiting and paperwork. Then comes The Meeting: a surreal experience. The Arrival and Post-Adoption Adjustment closely follow: a period of trauma and trials, wonder and hope, burrowing and bonding.

During the early stages of The Adjustment, we mapped our progress by days and weeks. Every Friday marked another milestone. By week twelve, we changed integers and started counting by months.

Today we crossed another significant marker. Six months has passed since Sensi's arrival. Half a year has passed since The Arrival. Moreover, Liz and I suspect a new chapter has begun: The Advance.
The Advance describes developments in almost every area of Sensi's life--emotional, behavioral, physical, and social. (Spiritually, Sensi shows little growth, though the demons seem to have departed.) The Advance does not eliminate the low-grade exhaustion each member of our family feels, but it wraps the strain in a garment of promise. There is an evolution; life-as-we-now-know-it (aka, the new normal) has begun to bud.

An comprehensive list of advancements is not necessary. However, a few glimmering anecdotes provides a picture of growth.
Six months ago Sensi sat at our breakfast table with his back turned to us. Today Sensi faces forward.
Six months ago Sensi spoke no words. Today Sensi knows more than a hundred words, counts to ten, writes twenty letters, and utters some unprompted phrases.
Six months ago Sensi ignored his sisters and avoided strangers. Today Sensi often shows more etiquette to strangers than his sisters whom he cherishes.
Six months ago Sensi stayed indoors, rarely played with others, and dragged his feet when he walked. Today Sensi ventures outside, engages with others, and skips and struts along the sidewalk (unless someone's holding his hand... which is most of the time).
Six months ago Sensi deferred getting dressing to his parents. Today Sensi dresses himself, though not without incentives and reminders.
Six months ago Sensi seemed happy and compliant. Today Sensi seems happy, loved, and healthy in his rebellions.
Six months ago Sensi scribbled copies of the same drawing for hours. The image: a man with a ball bouncing off his head. The caption: Bonk! Today Sensi draws vampires and mummies, pirates and ninjas, and Christmas scenes galore.
The Advance is far from complete. We continue to pray for more and stronger words. We continue to push for more and stronger independence. We continue to watch Sensi tear through reams of paper and get trapped in Infinite Garfield Loops. But six months later, The Advance is evident. The evolution of Bonk! and other developments stoke our gratitude.

1 comment:

Stefanie Goudeaux said...

Loved reading the update! What a difference 6 months have made. Looking forward to reading more as he grows in your family's love. -Stefanie from Village to Village :)