Over the last year I’ve chosen to share both the struggle and the joy of our adoption process. Too often I think there is a ‘storybook picture’ of adoption. A family welcoming a new child into their home and everyone lives happily ever after. And yet, there is so much more to life than a storybook. So much of the beauty of life happens after the struggle. We began this week ready to see our daughter grieve hard, to scream all night, to refuse to eat, to shut down. The very opposite has happened. She is eating like a champ. She cries some, but doesn’t scream. She sleeps soundly all night next to me. It is far too early on to know how she is really adjusting or if she is attaching to us. We don’t know if her content and peaceful nature is her personality, an answer to prayer, or a defensive mechanism she has had to build up. We just don’t know yet. Hard days could be ahead, or it could really be this wonderfully smooth for her and she could attach easily to us. And honestly, it just doesn’t matter. Today we are soaking up these wonderful days of bonding with our daughter. We are delighting in her and enjoying the slow paced days learning her ways. Each day is a new day and we are thankful for every moment we’ve been given.
So despite my intention of not sharing a ‘storybook’ picture…well, that is kind of what is happening! She is doing remarkably well.
Some answers to some questions that have been asked:
- Yes, she is with us all the time. We were given custody on Monday and that was that.
- She does have a name, but I have chosen not to share our kids’ names on my blog. “FireCracker” is a nickname, not our oldest daughter’s real name. Little One might get a new nickname once we know her a bit better. Her real name means “God is gracious”. Her real middle name is “Song”….it is part of her given Chinese name.
- I wrote a post regarding common questions about her cleft lip & palate, click here to read it.
About 6 months ago I lost my appetite…well it returned on Monday night. China is a great place to gain your appetite back. Breakfast of champions.
So I mentioned before I left that I got a bunch of really cute Tea Collection clothes for Little One. Well, evidently a few of the ones I picked out don’t scream “Little Girl”…we have been asked many, many times if she is a boy or a girl. To me, the pink dress she wore yesterday and the t-shirt with ruched sleeves today are both totally girly. I’m thinking her little head will look quite lovely in a headband tomorrow.
There is that amazing hand again. With my first four kids I would just assume they are in the ‘hand phase’ – you know the one where they discover their hands. With her, so much is a mystery. I wonder if it is just a normal baby phase. I also wonder if it is related to hours in a crib without a toy. Either way, she sure likes her amazing hands.
We had her medical exam today. She did great, some tears but overall was a trooper. She actually did better than I did. I couldn’t help but think about all the medical stuff she will face in the future. I wish I could endure surgeries for her. I wish I could protect her from all the physical and emotional pain. I wish. I wish.
We found a beautiful park, but we will have to explore it later. She and I were covered head to toe in the formula she spit out all over me. At least the formula/cereal smell covered the stinky sweaty smell I am sure I had from walking with a baby strapped to me in the heat. Her brothers wanted a picture of all of them with the elephants – she was so excited about that idea.
She is slowly learning how to be held and carried. She is very strong and stiff – not relaxed in our arms at all. Even when we hold her close, she will not hold on or grasp…just holds her hands out. And that is totally fine, we have to earn her trust. We have to earn the right for her to feel safe and comfortable in our arms. It could be a very long process or short process, but it will be a process.
Tomorrow we will make the 3+ hour drive to our daughter’s hometown and orphanage. We are grateful for the opportunity to visit where she spent her first year of life. We are also looking forward to spending a few days in her hometown to learn more about her history and what life is like in her community. I hope to get lots of pictures to share with her one day. We are also going to visit a little island on our way back to Guangzhou. Both towns are very small by China standards, so I am not sure what our internet will be like. The next few days will probably be wonderfully hard. Such a treasure for us to get pieces of her past, but so difficult to come to grips with those pieces too. Onward we go…