Here's the deal. Madeleine comes from a really hard place. She is not your typical 20 month old child who has always known the love of her parents and of a home. She has likely had multiple caretakers and has probably never truly attached and bonded with anyone. The concepts of warmth, love, and home are completely new to her. Guys, she slept in a sterile room with nearly bare walls, cold tile floors, and with 15 cribs, each with only a thin mattress. She was one of 600 children in her orphanage. Her caretakers did their best with the resources they had, but it's simply not the same. While we have a happy child during the day, Madeleine's fears and anxiety clearly come out at night. This place, while better, is just not the same. We knew nighttime would probably become difficult and while we certainly don't look for pity, we need you to all know where we are -- and where she is.
Before it gets too far gone, I'll call it -- we need some help.
First, even if we may not do a whole lot outside the house (and let's be honest, we never really did anyway), please don't let us become isolated. Don't assume we're busy with Madeleine and don't need to stay engaged. We are busy and she will remain our priority, but we still need our friends and family. Please send us texts, encouragement, prayers.
If you're willing, food would be of great help. We're fighting jet lag, for starters. We have a new toddler who probably needs 11-12 hours of sleep in addition to a daily nap. While she gets a nap in, she's been averaging 4-6 hours of sleep every night - which means that mama and baba are getting even less. This means there isn't a whole lot of energy to even think about meals or grocery shopping at this point. So if you'd like to help, that would be a huge blessing to us.
And if you would like to stop by and see us, we'd love to introduce Madeleine to you. But because we're trying to attach and bond with her, we do need your patience, understanding, and respect on a major rule: please let us parent her. If she wants to be picked up, please redirect her to us. If she needs a diaper change, please let us do it (and you're welcome). If she wants food, even if it's just a little puff, please let us give it to her. If she needs a drink, let us give her the sippy cup. This may sound a bit extreme, but we believe that over time, these small steps will allow her to attach to us as her parents, which will in turn make night time hopefully that much easier.
And one last thought... I highlighted a few points above -- Madeleine's former sleeping situation and the fact that she lived with 600 other parent-less children. I don't say this to get your pity for Madeleine. I say this to spur you to action. What can you do about this?