Bringing home a newly adopted child will doubtless bring nights that are lacking a certain precious commodity:
We brought home a 4-year-old boy last summer, but for the first month or so
the dark circles under our eyes would fool you into thinking we had brought home a newborn.
Here is a glimpse of the sleep journal I kept our first few days home:
Nap: On crib mattress beside our bed. Tantrum lasted 1 hr. 40 min. He eventually slept for 2 hours, I did too.
Night: Rocked to sleep in his room and placed him on his own bed. Woke up approx. every 1-1.5 hours crying (so did he! jk ). Stroked hair and/or rocked back to sleep. Woke up for the day at 5am!
Nap: No tantrum, I sat in rocking chair in his room while he fell asleep on his own bed.
Night: Sat in chair while he fell asleep on bed (this seems to work well). Woke up ev. 1-1.5 hours crying, cried from 2:00-3:50am. Woke up for the day at 5:30am….some improvement at least.
These first days and weeks at home are vital for fostering attachment and for giving your new child a sense of security in their new environment. Even though our son was four years old, we had learned through books and classes, that initially we needed to provide for his needs on demand as we would a newborn. So, every night we were in his room (We are not co-sleepers! Please don't hate!) at his first whimper to reassure him, let him know that we were still there, and to reinforce that his mom and dad will always take care of his needs. The first weeks this happened every night… every few hours. Believe it or not, he wasn't spoiled by it, he actually grew to need night comforting less and less as attachment and security grew.
My nights in the rocking chair holding our new son were often filled with frustration and exhaustion BUT they were also awesome times where God's strength saw me through my weakness. They also turned out to be the perfect time to pray over the life that had been placed in my arms.