Hannah has been a part of our family for seven months. Seven months! Remember how I talked about finding the sweet spot at six months? That everyone told us six months would be a big turning point and things would fall into place? I said that they were right. And they were. Month seven has been by far, the sweetest month we've experienced with Hannah. Yes, we had major surgery during the seventh month, but you know what? That didn't seem to hinder us much at all. She took that surgery by the horns and just conquered it. She amazed me by her strength and ability to overcome.
I've found month seven to be more joy filled than "hard" filled. We've had more fun and good than challenge and difficult. Does that mean things are easy? Well....no. We've had less hard, but truth be told, some of the hard we've had has been really, really hard. Short lived though it may be, still it is hard. There are things I long to "fix" in her ex-orphan's heart. She still has deeply rooted fears of abandonment and worries about food. She's been home seven months and still every night when I tuck her in, she has to ask me when she will get to eat and drink again. Every....single....night. And every single night I have to tell her, "Yes! Hannah will get to eat and drink again at breakfast right when you wake up!" She asks me this at least three times each night when I tuck her in. Emotionally, she struggles to regulate her reactions to things and generally overreacts to anything that might be interpreted as slightly negative. But the good.....oh the good. I have laughed and giggled more at her antics than I have previously and just found more joy in the personality she adds to our family. She has laughed and giggled more than she has to date. She is letting the walls come down. She is releasing herself from the bondage of fear. She is figuring out we are really here to stay. She's not just accepting that she's a Burris now. She's letting it define her and shape her. She's letting herself fill the role with gusto and her own spice and flare of personality. She is not just a temporary addition. She is a Burris. And will be for life.
Seven months. Seven of the sweetest things:
1.) Conqueror of Fear: Hannah overcame major surgery this month! She didn't just cope. She conquered!
2.) Big Girl Bed: Shhhhhh!!!!! Nobody tell Hannah that she is successfully sleeping all night long in her big girl bed and has been doing so for about the last 10 days! This is huge and seriously totally unexpected this close to her surgery! She hasn't been able to successfully do this since her lip repair occurred in April!
3.) Silly Sister: Sibling relationships are starting to bloom! Including those we once though would never happen. Everyone is finding joy (and frustration, like normal siblings) in their relationship with Hannah these days!
4.) Dearest Daughter to Daddy: This girl? The one who wouldn't go near Baba? The one who screamed and could barely take a goldfish cracker from her Daddy's hands? Yeah....that girl. We don't know who she is anymore. Our girl? She cried when Daddy went to work the other day and asks multiple time to "go with you" when Daddy leaves the house these days. Her favorite pastime? Riding like a maniac atop Daddy's shoulders.
5.) Fluent with a Frenzy: This girlie is 100% fluent in English. She gets it. All of it. And she speaks it. The trick is to understand it. Speech therapy is finally underway!! She talks and tells many a tale!
6.) Passionate with a Purpose: She....does...not...back....down if she thinks she is right. This girl has spunk and passion. This month we are really working on harnessing the passion and displaying it appropriately.
7.) Smart as a Whip: She is smart. Super smart. Unbelievably smart when you take into consideration her history, that English is her third language, and that she's experienced some major amounts of trauma in her short life. Smart....smart....smart. Tomorrow, we will also celebrate Hannah's half birthday. She'll be two and a half and so advanced for her age--well beyond what we had prepared ourselves for and the delays common to the majority of ex-orphans.
Seven has been so sweet. I cannot wait for eight! On deck for the eighth month? Big girl panties and starting to separate a little from mom and dad to stay with other caregivers! It is going to be a big month!