*This post was updated with photos and additional info after adoption
Today was a really interesting day - we experienced all of the highs and all of the challenges of toddler parenting. Don't get me wrong, it was a great day and the three of us are getting to know and love each other better every day, but we want to be real about our experiences here, even when they are challenging.
Our morning visit was really exciting - she said my name! Mama is the first non-mimicked word that we've heard her say (that we understand - to be fair, it's very possible that she has dozens of words in her vocabulary that we just can't decipher with our ears) and it was really cool. She referred to me as Mama throughout the day, and I just love having a name!
She hasn't quite started calling Steve Papa yet (the P sound is easier for her to make than the D sound, so we're going to try out Papa for a while and see how it works. Besides, Papa is the normal name for Daddy here and that's how her caregivers refer to Steve so we might as well stay consistent.), although she has mimicked the word a few times. But this morning she did mimic the sign for father after Steve did it, so we're hoping that the baby signs that we're trying are starting to connect.
Our afternoon was considerably different from the morning. When we came in to her room to get her, she was playing with a small McDonald's toy. Galya, one of her caretakers, came out to us and mentioned that our daughter was needing to hear the word nyet a lot in playtime. When I asked Sasha to hand me the little car, she pouted for a bit and then chucked the car across the room. Ah, the joyful routine of toddler boundary-testing.
We spent most of the afternoon in our 7x20 foot room repeating a firm but disimpassioned "no" and then redirecting her attentions away from picking apart the foam chair rail, banging on the door, or throwing her toys. I won't say that our afternoon was the easiest we've had, but there was nothing that happened that worried us about her or our abilities as her parents - she was just a toddler testing her (and our) limits. We cuddled and read books and sang songs and never got beyond stage 1 of the pout, which was nice. She simply needed to see that the world with us will remain the same, with safe limits just like she is used to. This is a good thing for her to connect to us in this way, because as soon as we set foot out that big door things will look a whole lot different, but we will need to feel like a safe anchor to her. She'll be depending on us for that. We are so lucky that we have more time with her here to do that - the two week bonding period is long, but it is such a gift to build trust and rapport with her before heading out into the big wide world.
We are just finished our first week of bonding time and now we move into week 2. I'm glad that we have the time here to make those bridges.
Prayer requests: Sasha is totally on the mend and didn't have a fever today - hooray! I'm a little slower than she is, but I am feeling a little better every day. The cough is almost gone and now it's just turned sinusy.
We'd sure appreciate your prayers over, oh, let's say the next 16 years that we are able to consistently provide and enforce safe, reassuring, healthy limits for all three of our kiddos to flourish within.