Our journey to bring our new daughter, Aliya Kathryn Perry, home was one filled with anticipation, frustration, stress, joy, and elation. The anticipation, stress, and frustration of course are classic with parents adopting internationally with the documentation, physician’s exams, HIV tests, psych evaluations, etc. etc. etc..
Then there is the in-country process which is at the same time thrilling to experience a new culture, wonderful to meet such dedicated and caring people in Kazakhstan, terribly stressful when experiencing governmental delays and mistakes where there is no communication between offices and no information for you, and makes you incredibly grateful for the country you come from. The joy and elation: arriving home with your new child.
Aliya rejected us at first with stranger anxiety. How is she to know we are there to love and nurture her? She refused eye contact, rocked herself, sat motionless, rolled her eyes in the back of her head. Five days later, she held her arms up to us to pick her up and hold her. Seven days later, she cried when we returned her to the caregivers at the end of our visits for the day. Ten days later she cried if we played with other children, demonstrating jealousy and “ownership” of us.
Four and half weeks after our initial meeting with Aliya, she comfortably left the orphanage with me, took her first plane ride without incident, slept through the night every night in Almaty, ate well, and played happily as long as she had me.
She is an amazing joy. Happy, bonded with all members of her new family (brother, sister, and yes, even the dog), is curious about everything, has learned to chew and walk and run, loves to dance, have books read to her, play “kitchen”, talk on her cell phone or anything she can fashion into a cell phone including a Hot Wheel’s sized pick-up truck! Her eczema while in Kaz was so bad that her little baby skin was like sandpaper, and she was covered in scratches and sores from head to toe that it appeared to be a bad case of scabies. Now, after proper treatment from a pediatric dermatologist, her skin is soft and clear with only minor outbreaks.
She is beautiful! She’s always happy in the morning and happiest at meal times. I find that what she wants to do most is touch anything she can, almost as though there’s a need to satisfy a deficiency in tactile stimulation. Maybe there is. But, she’s busily working on all those fine motor skills and is learning her “head, shoulders, knees, and toes”.
Ahh, the joys of being toddler with a family to love you!