It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about Malachi and how he is adjusting. Malachi has been in our lives for 8 weeks now and it has been the most joyous and, at the same time, the most difficult thing I think we’ve ever done. Don’t go thinking that it’s bad or anything like that- It’s been a big adjustment.
Health: Malachi went to the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania in October and the doctors were surprise at how healthy he looked based on his previous medical records from China. His head circumference and body weight were encouraging. He is still a little guy as his height is “below the chart” according to the doctor.
Attachment: Attachment is the process were children bond with their parents and learn to see them as “Mom and Dad.” So much of this happens by hearing a voice in the womb and during the first year of life when a baby must be nursed and held. Malachi received none of that from us. He has been growing in his attachment- he will run to Andrea or I with a big smile on his face and hug our legs. Just as important is that he gets shy around other people and will sometimes (not all the time) cling to us. This is important because in the orphanage he would see any adult as a source of food and care. Now, he needs to learn that Andrea and I are that source of care and love.
Language: When we saw the CHOPS doctors, they said that Malachi was 2-3 months behind in his language abilities. In the last week or so, we’ve seen some great progress. First, Malachi is doing FAR less yelling at the dinner table to get food. I imagine that “he who yelled the loudest got fed” in the orphanage. He is picking up on non-verbal communication such as shaking his head “no” when he doesn’t want something; waving “good-bye” or “hello” when it is said. He will also sign “more” and “thank you.”
We have now begun to hear Malachi forming words. He says Momma with regularity (easier since it’s basically the same in Mandarin). He has said Dada. The real excitement is hearing him say “hi” and just this week “Thank you” when given something. (You might not decipher it as such- but it certainly there. Our daycare provider confirmed it today.)
We are truly blessed with Malachi. There are a lot of things we are learning (how to be a family of 5 and how to build in some margin- for instance)- but there is so much joy in our house with Malachi in our lives. Abbie and Chloe are such good big sisters to him. If you are able to hear Malachi give a belly laugh or see him show off his big cheesy grin- you’ll experience the joy that adoption can be!