Her homecoming was not without a hitch, however. I would never want to paint a picture of it being totally easy and that it is all sunshine & roses. Surprisingly, the biggest struggle I have had is me. Adoptive mom & author, Melissa Fay Green, wrote an article on post-adoption panic that I identified heavily with in the first week and a half. I had feelings I never expected to have. I didn't have much joy and I really couldn't eat much. I felt trapped and scared. Mercy's homecoming also brought out a whole new level of grief over the loss of Anchise. I am thankful that these feelings didn't last long and I fully believe it is because I had so many people praying for me. I have never been depressed in my life, but have a whole new level of empathy for those who struggle persistently with this. It is horrible and something I never hope to experience again. If you bring a child home and have these feelings, please reach out to those you can trust. It was utterly freeing to know I was not alone (65% of adoptive parents report feeling this way!!!) and that so many people were praying for me.
Mercy is sleeping and eating well. She is willing to try everything and has found a love of cereal. If you know our family well, you would know that my bio kids would eat cereal for just about every meal if I would let them. I find it particularly funny that she also loves it. She also loves hot showers and going to the park to play.
She has done a normal amount of testing to see what she can get away with. Let me tell you that it isn't much. We hold our kids to a pretty high behavioral expectation and she has learned quickly that no means no and don't keep asking over and over. I think using consistent phrases over the first few weeks has helped with that tremendously - "I expect you to listen" or "I expect you to not keep asking after I say no". Repetition, repetition, repetition...
I have to also say that I am so proud of Delaney, Keaton and Brezlan. They have welcomed Mercy with open arms and treat her like a true sibling...they love her one minute and find her utterly annoying the next. I would say she is closer to Keaton and Delaney at this point. Since they are both small, Brezlan finds her to be more competition than he cares for.
Believe it not, Mercy has started school. I knew since before she came home that school was very important to her. She consistently asked about school so we had her evaluated. She started kindergarten last Friday and absolutely loves it. Her teacher reports she is very well behaved and is doing great. She has a smile on her face when I pick her up and can't wait to tell me about her day. I never imagined she would start so soon, but it is obvious she was ready.
So we are finding our new normal here and starting to gel as a family of six. With God's help we will continue to grow and bond together until this time of transition is just a distant memory.