It has been two weeks since Roland came into our family, but it is just now really sinking in that our son, who we have waited for over three and a half years, is finally home. It has always been my plan to continue this blog after he came home, but I simply have not had time to write anything until now. We have basically been in survival mode the past couple weeks, just trying to get through the days with what feels like a 30- pound newborn. Now that Christmas is over and our new family of three has had some time to adjust to each other, life is starting to feel a little more like normal, instead of just trying to survive the day (and night).
Roland was escorted home from the DRC by his foster dad and we met them at the airport in Spokane, Washington. Meeting our son in Spokane was not the exotic trip we had envisioned, but this was the easiest, quickest, and cheapest option for us at the time. Our meeting was way more special than I had ever hoped. I assumed we would be meeting a tired, cranky, and possibly scared 3- year- old boy. However, when Roland came through the gate and saw us, his face lit up and he squealed in delight as he walked over to hug us. We have been Skyping with Roland for the past year and it was obvious that he recognized us and that he was expecting to see us. It was such a special moment for us.
Roland slept the whole three hour drive back home. It made for an easy afternoon, but a horrible night. With all the napping and time changes, he only slept a couple hours at a time and then was wide awake for another couple hours. After that first night of hardly any sleep, both Matt and I came down with colds, making our first week with Roland a bit more miserable than it otherwise could have been. Being sick, exhausted and adjusting to a new 3- year- old who speaks no English was (and still is) tough.
Roland woke up frequently the first week and a half he was home. Every time he woke up we had to go lay down next to him until he fell asleep because he can not fall asleep on his own. We think we have figured out the mystery of his poor sleeping, though (besides just the time zone change). I was keeping his bedroom around 73 degrees, assuming it was plenty warm since I like sleeping at 65 degrees. Well, we have since discovered Roland sleeps best at 80 degrees and he was probably waking up so much just because he was cold. Now with his new tropical climate bedroom he has only been waking up once per night to go to the bathroom.
One positive surprise about Roland was that he is fully potty trained. Unfortunately, though, he enjoys his bathroom time a bit too much. He will ask to go when he is just bored, wants more attention, or when one of us is in the shower. Once he is in the bathroom, it is a challenge to get him to leave. He loves sitting on his little toilet seat, singing and making jokes that nobody understands but him. It can be pretty cute, but most of the time it really tries my patience when I don't know if he is done and is just goofing off. We are trying to teach him potty time is "no- nonsense time" because we are getting really tired of spending so much of our day in the bathroom.
Besides the sleep issues, there also have been a large helping of crying and tantrums every day. Since he is our first child, we really don't know what behavior is normal for a 3- year- old and what might be adoption- related. One of the toughest things has been the fact that he is not a big fan of toys. It seems his favorite thing to do is get into everything he is not supposed to. So there have been many, many "time- ins" every day. He is learning what the house rules are and tests his limits every day.
Roland really has two sides to him. One side is the mischievous, crying, tantrum- having toddler. The other side is the sweetest, happiest little boy you have ever met. It is clear that he was given such loving care while he was in Congo. He really loves receiving and giving physical affection. He just soaks up hugs, kisses, cuddling, being lotioned, and everything else. Even from the very first day, he has been very affectionate toward us.
There is so much to say about Roland, but I should probably stop for the day. It is my plan to keep you all updated on his transition into our family. It has been trying, but we are so happy he is finally home with us and we can't wait to watch him learn and grow and develop into the man he will one day be. We are just loving him the best we can and taking things one day at a time.