Friday, March 12, 2010

We've been home for a month!

Wow! We're so sorry we haven't been better at updating our blog over the past four weeks. It's hard to believe how quickly the time has passed since we've been home. We had good intentions of keeping this up to date but wow... by the time we finally get both kids to bed and the house straightened back up from the daily arrival of Hurricane ConnorClaire, we just haven't had much energy to sit in front of the computer. We are in a continual state of exhaustion right now. It's getting better but I'm not sure we've ever been this tired.

Let us bring you up to date on how things have gone for us since we arrived back in Knoxville. When we last wrote, we were preparing to leave Taiwan. I'll start with our journey home.


Everything started out going really well. We caught an 11:30 pm flight from Taipei to San Francisco and it was fantastic. The kids were so tired by the time we got on the plane, they slept for about 8 of the 11 hours. We were loving life... then we got to San Francisco.

First of all, the immigration line was insane. They made us wait in one line and when we got to the front of that line, they sent us to the back of another. Then they made all of us move to another line. It took over an hour. Not cool. After that we had to pick up our bags to take them through customs which was a guy who looked about 14 glancing at our bags for about half a second and mumbling "you're fine". Good to know they're on top of things. Instead of allowing us to recheck our bags right there, the wonderful San Francisco Airport gave us the privilege of carrying all of our luggage about half a mile through their airport where we had the joy of waiting in another long line to check them in with Delta for our flight to Atlanta. Then the fun really started...

Our flight to Atlanta was supposed to take off at 9:30. At 8:30 they said it was delayed until 11:30 because, get this, they couldn't find the crew. Seriously. Well, big surprise, the missing crew never turned up so the flight was postponed until 9:30 the next morning. I got in line to take care of our free hotel and food vouchers and by the time I reached the front of the line and we made it to the hotel it was 4:00 am. I called our travel agent and she was able to switch us to a different flight to Charlotte but only if we could go back to the airport immediately. So, we had about 45 minutes in the hotel room which was enough time to get a shower, then we rushed back to the airport and finally caught a flight to Charlotte.

We were originally supposed to arrive in Knoxville on Sunday morning at 10:45. Because of the missed flight, we didn't end up getting home until close to 8:00 that night. It was great though... many of our friends and family still were able to come to the airport to welcome us home. After all of the uncertainty leading up to the adoption and during the process, it felt so good to be home with both of our kids.


The first week, I'm not going to lie to you, was horrible. Jetlag whipped our tails, Claire was terrified of our dogs, Connor started to act out a little (and immediately had to go back to school), and we were all just generally in a really bad mood. It wasn't really the way we had imagined it but hey, none of our adoption had really gone the way we had imagined it so it wasn't really a surprise.

The good news is, over the past few weeks, things have gotten a whole lot better. Claire is thriving. She blows us away how quickly she has picked up English. She has been able to understand us almost since the very beginning and her comprehension is incredible for someone who had never heard English a month ago. She's learning to say lots of things and her normal vocabulary includes words like "bye bye", "be right back", "eat", "yeah", "no", "shoes", "bow", "doggy", "pizza", "come here", "I love you", "night night", "bottle", "mama", "baba", "Connor", and more. She learns new words every day... all that talk about being a sponge was true. She's amazing.

After a rocky start with the dogs, Claire now absolutely loves them, especially Molly. She wants Molly with her everywhere she goes. She wants Molly to sleep with her, she wants to hold her, she puts Molly in her little shopping cart and pushes her around, she basically terrorizes Molly until she finally just hides under a bed and won't come out. She likes Emmy too but Emmy is too big to pick up and cram in a suitcase and thus, less fun.

Her temper has improved considerably as well. The first week she was tired all the time and we've learned quickly, a well rested Claire is a happy Claire. When she's tired, the smallest little things will set her into some of the most ridiculous conniption fits you've ever seen. I'm talking grade-A grand-mal conniption fits. It's hard for us to figure out how much of this is "she was raised in an orphanage and the loudest screamer got the most attention" and how much of this is "she's a two year old and that's what they do". Probably a little of both.

Fortunately, these fits are down from several a day to one at the most and many days, none at all. As she has become more and more comfortable in her new life, her personality has really begun to shine through. She is really a sweet little girl. She's very compassionate towards others, always wanting to help with things and take care of people. She's extremely silly... always trying to get a laugh out of us. When Connor and Claire get going, look out! They're hilarious together.


We'll have more later but this is all there is time for right now. We've received a lot of questions by email and have tried to answer them all but we wanted to open it up to see if anyone had any questions about the process or how things are going. Leave questions in the comments of this post and in the next post we'll answer some of them. That's all for now! We'll leave you with a few pictures and videos.

Claire at the Disney Store in West Town Mall

Taking Molly for a walk.

Don't you just love her green coat? Too cute!

Trying on a sweater her MiMi made her. This is her "posing for a picture" smile.

She LOVES her big brother... she'd follow him anywhere.

One of the first things we did when we came home was to take Claire to Target to let her buy some toys of her own. She wouldn't put them in the cart but insisted on trying to carry them all through the store. That worked for awhile but here is the point where she started to have trouble.

This is about 2 weeks after we came home and we made her ramen noodles for the first time. She was very excited to get them but seemed confused by both a fork and a spoon so we gave her some chopsticks. That did the trick!


Robin said...

Congratulations on being home was a family of 4 for 1 moonth! She is adorable. I LOVE that she says bow. Such a girl. The video of her toy shopping made me laugh. She seems to have a really cute personality. Enjoy!

Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family said...

your daugter is adorable and yall are all lucky to ave eac oter :)

Annie said...

Welcome home! She is beautiful and I love her charming happy smile in the videos!

Erin Ly said...

You simply have a gorgeous family. I'm so glad you're doing well. The reactions/fits that seem beyond what seems reasonable - I really do think that's mostly adoption related. My dd (now 4)still has them ocassionally 3 years later. It is when the defenses are down with illness, being out of routine, being tired that it happens, but mama instinct tells me that it is MORE than just those normal tantrum reasons alone, that it's something bigger triggered. They're just too intense and too hard for her to calm down from. But, gets better with time.

Robin said...

I hope that all is well with you. I keep checking back hoping for another update. When life slows down a bit I would love to hear and see how everyone is doing:)