Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lost in Translation

I got the pictures back from the disposable cameras I left in Vladivostok back in October. I left two cameras with her caretakers - one was "full" the other had "some" pictures taken - or so they said. The cameras had a built in flash and it appears that the Russian caretakers didn't understand that because most of the pictures came back very dark.

I am thrilled that even though they are a little dark, I have a peek into Tatiana's early days and the "friends" she spent time with. Someday they will be great to share with her to show her where she lived for two years. It's a great look at how the kids spent their days and in a couple of the pictures there are even "Christmas" type decorations up so I suspect it was around the holidays.

These pictures also show her hack job of a hair cut in the early days! When I left her in October she had longer hair with the best curls. She must have gotten a chop shortly thereafter - look how short it is in this picture. And to think I was complaining about how short it is now!

I have also been thinking about some of the things that the Baby Home director and the Social Worker were trying to say back in Artem over a month ago. I dismissed some of what they said back then as "over-reaction" and "institutional response". I realize now what they were likely trying to explain and believe some of it was lost in translation.

1) I shared with you that Natalya, the Baby Home director kept preaching about "not spoiling" her. I took it at the time to mean what we'd literally think about spoiling children here in the US, giving into their every whim and giving food and toys in excess. I believe now that her message was more about providing limits to a child who isn't used to "freedom". Tatiana is a GREAT girl - but she's also two! She's got her "terrible two" moments and sometimes when you give her an inch, she takes 5 miles! She's used to boundaries and she needs to continue to have them - all children do. It's hard when you want to give them all they've missed - but boundaries are good!

2) One of the things that I didn't share with everyone back in March was that the Social Worker said that Tatiana had ADD. Internally when she said this I honestly laughed - but I kept a straight face to Svetlana. I shared with this a couple of my friends who are teachers and their response was the same as mine. I've told you all that Tatiana is a SPITFIRE. She's got a ton of energy and wants to see and do everything NOW. Likely compared to many of the more sullen children at the Baby Home - she was a handful! Imagine trying to harness all that energy while living in basically two rooms. NO THANKS!

I am grateful for the insights they provided and I don't doubt their best intentions. I wish I wouldn't have discounted the information up front and listened to the meaning vs. the words! But it's good information now.


Barb said...

I totally get the "no spoiling" thing. When you first get them home, you want to give them so much - things they've missed out on. With us, it was only after a couple days that she started to think she should everything she pointed at! We had some fast back-pedaling to do to fix a problem we had created ourselves. But, I don't think this is advice that we can give anybody . . . it's one of those things we learn by doing!

Lindsay said...

I love your first visit photo - I can see the curls! :) She does look cute: I can see why you miss them!

Some unsolicited - but meant in the best spirit - advice. Sorry if I'm telling you exactly what you already know.

Totally get the not spoiling too, but from a slightly different perspective also. Too much, too soon and you have an overstimulated and sensorily over whelmed child who cannot process everything they are experiencing: never mind 'can't cope with', but literally cannot process everything hitting their eyes, ears etc. Their brains can't cope with all the new 'stuff.' Limit her toys to just a few so the world at home is small, just as you are keeping the world in general 'small.'

Also, re the ADD: be aware a lot of PI children are misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD because they have trauma and attachment issues. Perhaps what they were seeing was signs of this, rather than ADD?

Best wishes to you and the gorgeous Miss T.

sarah said...

There are days when I wonder if my daughter, adopted from Ussuriysk, has ADD! She is far more active than other 2 year olds. She also is a very happy girl when allowed to potter around, but cannot even come close to sitting still at church or her music group. I wonder is she spent a lot of time in the orphanage in a playroom environment and was not used to sitting still and having cuddles and quiet time.
We also had some testing times with our 3 yr old, also adopted from Ussuritsk, with boundaries. When he first arrived home he was lost if he felt the boundaries were blurred or if he felt someone wasn't in control then he would try to take control. At times people thought we had too many rules and were being too tough but it seemed to make him feel more secure. After about 8 months things were a lot more normal and everyone (kids and parents) seemed to relax, although our 2 yr old never stops - but at least she sleeps well as a result of all the activity!

Clarese said...

That is great insight about making sure our kiddos are happy but setting limits. I imagine it is a difficult ballance, especially knowing where they are coming from.

Troy and Rachel said...

She sounds TWO!!! Any child will take 5 miles if they think they can! My mom constantly says it's a battle you have to keep fighting until one day they realize they can't win. Sometimes that isn't for quite some time!! Daniel still tests me at times and in spurts!! I'm so glad you got those photos, dark or not. What a wonderful thing to be able to share with her later.

Joy said...

I think this is one thing that I will have a problem with too. I have such a large family and if everyone gives her just one toy the room will be full not to mention the things that I want her to have. I am going to take you advice to keep some of the limits in place. Maybe that will help with my transition to Motherhood.

By the way I just saw the first picture of her and that hair was so sweet. Little Banana had already had her first "hair cut" so I missed seeing that first soft baby hair.

I am so glad that you got pictures of it.

Roger and Joanne said...

How great that they actually took photos of her between trips. Very cool treasure.
I get the not spoiling. I just think it's going to be hard to do. Even tho I don't have much family, we have lots of friends that want to come and shower with attention and gifts. We're trying best to inform people of our cocoon-like state we'll be in for awhile. My huge house and pool are going to be enough sensory overload for the first few days.
If someone in Russia told me my children had ADD, I would be freaking out. What made you not take them seriously. Should I not either? Well, I guess the international doc will give me his 2 cents....
I've already started looking into therapists and such...thinking the worst. You're so cool. I wish i could be. Right now I'm more of a worrier. Maybe til I meet hem...
Sounds like you're all doing great.