Six Months Home (So let’s hit the road!)

It’s been just over six months since Acacia stepped onto US soil. We have come SO far in half of a year.

She’s gone from zero English words to:

Mommy, Dada, Java, Dog, Cat, Please, Thank You, Up, Down, More, All gone, Apple, Banana, Food, Potty, Poop, Play, Outside, Seat, I see it, Put away, Here, Water, Wet, Wash, Dry, Hot, Cold, Fall, Hurt, Eye, Nose, Mouth, Hand, Foot, Arm, Head, Hair, Shoe, Hat, Coat, Shirt, Sock, Yes, No, Wow, Yay…. and I’m sure there’s a few I’ve missed.

She’s been a fabulous eater and sleeper ever since day one… making our transition way easier than it could have been. But, she now eats with much less anxiety than at the beginning, where she couldn’t hear the sound of a box of cereal opening without incessantly demanding to be fed. Before, I couldn’t put my hand to my mouth without her scooting over to ensure I wasn’t eating something (or, more importantly, that I wasn’t failing to share with her). She used to cry at the end of every meal. Now she accepts that dinner is over. We’re still working on the acceptance of things like ice cream being “all gone,” but that’s something I still struggle with, too, so I’m not too concerned.

She’s gone from clinging to my leg and crying at every un-held moment to contentedly playing nearby while I wash dishes or make dinner. …Well, sometimes, anyhow. She and Zinnia are getting along more and more, and once in a while, they will engage in a game together where I don’t need to mediate.  As far as relationships go, now that she’s spent ample time with my friend Keely, they are becoming very close! It’s wonderful to see her bonding with another person outside of our immediate family. Yet I am also now seeing how important it was to focus on our attachment first… had there been an over-eager family member or friend in the beginning, it may have set us back in our mother-child bond. It feels good to have done that “right,” to start, and to now see her ready to reach out to others for affection.

We marked her half-year anniversary being home by going camping at our favorite spot in Kennebunkport, ME: Salty Acres Campground. My dad brought me here for multiple trips as a kid, and while I’m sure some of my fondness for the place is due to sentimental memories, I’ve yet to find a campground I like better. We learned that the key is to go before June 15th, as the campground is still pretty desolate with school still in session, and the nearby beaches aren’t monitoring parking permits yet.

We got a prime spot by the marshes, which is just gorgeous.

Map of the campground’s back section. (It’s about twice this size.)

Marsh view from campsite. This was actually taken during our trip last fall as I didn’t take any marsh pics this time. (Too busy running after small ones!)

After getting set up at the site, we hit a nearby beach. I don’t even know what it was called, but Patrick couldn’t stop exclaiming how pretty it was. Kinda reminded us why many New Englanders shun the ever-so-convenient Hampton. This place was pristine.

This was Acacia’s second trip to the ocean. Like her sister, she’s now a total fish. We can’t keep either of them out of the water. Acacia even took a couple face plants into the icy Atlantic, and got right back up without a whimper.  Which prompts me to mention how absolutely tough this girl is.  She has begun to see how Zinnia’s drama results in attention, and thus there are more tears now than there used to be. Yet, she moves on from a big spill very quickly, making it hard to gauge when she’s actually hurt (which is often, due to her fearlessness).

“This sure beats the usual garden dirt!”

Thrilled to be in the water regardless of the temp! Shrieking her heart out as usual.

Watching Zinnia go wild in the waves…

… and eventually joining in.

An excellent game of chase ensued.

Finally got them to pause for a picture. (But the candid shots really are more fun, huh?)

She said she was “Daydreaming about being in the water.”

It was intimidating to be bringing the girls out for the first overnight as a family of 4. But, we never really discussed it much, we just bit the bullet and went for it. Acacia was awesome!  Eating dinner outside was no abnormal feat for any of us. Roasting marshmallows was fun, and a good exercise in patience for Zinnia. Acacia’s first s’mores consumption was full of num-num-num sounds at an exceptionally high volume.

After spending all spring plucking the girls from our folding chairs, we decided to get them their own. They barely sat in them, but this was one of the rare moments they took a break from stick collecting to test them out.

“Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot.” – Acacia’s reaction to the fire.

For her first night away from her bed, she settled into the tent with very little fuss. Her and Zinnia both slept like rocks, with the exception of mommy’s big faux pas. I forgot to diaper Zinnia before she crawled into bed. She woke up just before dawn- absolutely SOAKED, and absolutely mortified.  We had to strip her down and wipe her off by lantern-light. Acacia didn’t even stir, and Zinnia was able to crawl into my sleeping bag with me. I promised her this wouldn’t happen every time we went camping. She was appreciative of this. Thankfully we all rejoined Acacia in slumberland, and everyone stayed asleep til 8AM, which is incredible when I stop to think about it!

It was so nice to all get away from the homestead after having been hunkered down for many months. Acacia has integrated into our lives and the rest of her “new world” so well considering everything she’s endured up to this point. And I can’t help but say how happy I am to be past the initial stages of her arrival myself; now ready to get back into the swing of more elaborate plans and outings.  I think the only member of this family with mixed feelings is Java; he undoubtedly believes we need a bigger car.



  1. What a beautiful account of the progress Acacia is making as well as what you are all up to these days. Thank you

  2. Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing. It took my daughter awhile before she could stand me to be in another room from her. She recently completed 3rd grade and has been with us for 5 years, and still she prefers to be in the room with someone rather than alone. She will go to sleep in her bed in her room at night, but sometime around 3-4am she wanders into our room for the rest of the night.

  3. Michelle · · Reply

    aww LOVE it!! Such beautiful pics of you and the whole family. You guys look SOO happy… it all just makes me smile from the inside out! :):)

  4. Love the pictures! I’m so glad your first outing was successful. We have yet to brave camping with both kids (I’m a little ashamed to admit that!) but we’re going to attempt a back yard camp out this summer. Did Java camp with you, too?

    1. Really? Hey, if we could do it, you surely can! Yes, Java came too. I can tell he misses the days when he was our only kid. 🙂

  5. Erica Ouellette · · Reply

    The girls are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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