Friday, July 15, 2011

Back on Track!! part 5 in a series

Okay- I got a little sidetracked! My posts in older child adoption ages 8-10 have morphed into "our time in China". In fact dear Shannon thinks I am actually there right now! I'm not in China! I am home in MN!
Sorry about that! I am going to try to stick to my topic from now on! Although it was fun reliving our time in China! Even if it was challenging- the memories are good!!

Let's see...hmmm, I left off as we arrived in Guilin. Guilin is absolutely incredible! So much to see! Many of the scenery paintings/artwork that you see is actually of the Guilin countryside! The rounded semi pointed mountains, the large meandering rivers, the elephants trunk, etc. 

Okay, okay back to the children!!

Julia was our guide in Guilin. She was a smart, outspoken, confidant woman! When it came to our girls she did not mix words. She came right out and said this one is lazy- she only wants to eat and sleep- as she pointed to Ellie. Next Julia gave us her opinion of Emma- this one has no mind, nothing is there. GULP...

We new something was wrong before we arrived in Guilin BUT now it was being verified by a Chinese speaking person. Someone who just happened to have a daughter a year younger than our girls.

We began to notice that our daughters did not converse pleasantly with other Chinese speaking adults. Ellie did not speak to adults- she only answered them back very quietly if she had too. Emma would jabber away sometimes but we were told she was saying nothing that made sense.

Emma's voice was "off". It was crackly and broken. I am sorry to say this but it sounded like a witch. At first I thought maybe she had been choked and it had damaged her vocal chords. I don't think that now but I still have no idea why it is that way? I wondered if the sound of her voice would drive me crazy. ( I am glad to say that I am used to it now- it is just part of who our dear girl is.)

The girls knew we were in their hometown but they had never seen any of the sights. In fact they had never ever left the little area in which they lived. Now they were free to see all the beauty of Guilin BUT they had no interest at all in anything. It is not uncommon for new adoptees to be uninterested- all their energies are focused on the what is really happening in their life- adjusting to the new family and leaving their past. Generally the desire to learn has not been cultivated in older adoptees- they do what the need to do and what they have to do to survive- that's all. However their lack of interest in anything seemed even more so than I had remembered with Sarah's adoption.

We decided to enjoy ourselves and enjoy this part of China- despite whatever else was going on in our lives. Julia did a great job of keeping us busy and seeing the sights!!

The first full day we took a cruise- it was beautiful but the food was horrible! I was praying every second that I could! As I stood closely to the girls I noticed their hair... white dots attached to the shafts of the hair strands. 
Oh my word! 
26 years of parenting and this was our first encounter with head lice!
I turned away and said "Really God, Really? 
Oh please NO, no, no..." 
and then I just had to chuckle inside! I asked Julia to take a look and she agreed with me. Then we tied Sarah and Anna's hair in a pig tails - I pretended it was because of the heat. Next I told Hubby and we had to laugh as we planned how we would tell Katie! I had all sorts of scenarios going through my head- one funnier than the next!
We told Katie as we cruised down the river- and of course laughed at her reaction! She had no where to run- we were on a boat! In seconds Katie's hair was up in a bun!
(I treated the girls hair and we never saw any live lice- we think the nits were from long ago when their foster mom cut their hair- probably because of lice!)

Emma was getting more and more attention from a handsome army soldier on the boat who found Katie very attractive! The more attention she got the more inappropriate she acted and the more odd things she said to him (Julia and Sarah translated for us). She would walk away and stand very close to other families as if she were with them and not us. We decided we needed to keep her real real close to us from then on. So we basically tethered her to us at all times- either Jim or I would hold her hand and when she refused to hold our hand we held her wrist. If we couldn't do it then we had Katie do it.

She did not like it and would get very mad at us. We felt we had no choice. First of all she needed to be safe and it was our responsibility to keep her safe. Second she needed to learn who her family was and be with us only. Third she needed to learn who was in control. Fourth she needed to learn respect and appropriate behavior.

We were not going to budge on this one, it was too important for the successful adoption of Emma. If this didn't work, if something didn't work Emma could not be part of our family.

We believe that the new adoptees come into the families and need to mold and fit into the family. Yes they bring their pasts with them but everyone needs to work together to make it work out! The new family cannot change their whole life to fit the new child. (yes things change somewhat and are altered in different ways to facilitate a success family integration.) We think this is really important- for the birth children to eventually accept the new child as part of the family. If the birth kids look at their family and it no longer has any resemblance to what they know- they would surely be resentful. Heck- I'd be resentful!

The girls loved meat! Meat meat meat and fruit! The food they picked out from the buffet couldn't have looked more unappetizing to us. Chicken feet was the number one favorite for both of them! The would gnaw away at the chicken feet and spit whatever they felt was "unswallowable" onto the carpetted floor of the restaurant. I would then grab a napkin and wipe up the mess, while telling them no and pointing to an extra plate the could (gulp) spit onto, if necessary! At the same time apologizing to the waiters and waitresses for what just occurred! 

They came to us with a very large bag of chicken feet- we somehow inadvertently lost it (wink wink)! Praise God!

We held onto Emma - whether she liked it or not...
most of the time she did not like it...
(but we got the results we wanted!)

She would constantly yell at us "bouy ya". The spelling is wrong but it means NO in Chinese. We didn't listen to her and continued to hang on to her!
She would also stare at us- and not turn away. Katie being a school teacher said that is a sign of dominance and so we had staring matches until she turned away.

Emma was even more out of control in Guilin. If the room door was open she would be gone- running the halls. The hotel was huge and it scared us. We found her or she found us each time but it was tiring and it didn't help us bond to her...
Ellie continued to try to be a good girl and stayed close to Sarah. She would smile at us, sit on our laps and want to hold our hand. We felt their was hope for Ellie!

We really weren't sure about Emma? Was this going to work! Is this really what God wanted? How could this be his plan??

WE prayed and prayed individually - I know we should have prayed together but we really didn't know where each other was at on all that was happening- we couldn't look to far into the future. Not yet anyway...

Hubby and I talked and devised plans on how to deal with the behaviors that were happening and how to support and relieve each other so that we still maintained our composure through out the experience...

More to come!


Shonni said...

Love reading this!!

Lynne said...

Oh my goodness........God surely WAS, and IS with you. The things you are describing would be difficult at home, but on foreign soil, so much more difficult. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. God bless the beautiful heart God has given you. I just love your family ! xoxoxo

Holly said...

I've said this before but it bears repeating: Thank you for sharing this! Older child adoption is not easy but then again neither is toddler adoption! The challenges are different and I think so many parents face things similar to what you have but feel so isolated and unsupported that they don't see it through. Trusting God to use your testimony to encourage and educate those who are on the path behind you! Blessings, Holly

Sarah said...

Oh Jean, I already said this once, but I am SO GLAD that these girls are with you and you are with them! What a beautiful family!!

Hunan Mommy said...

It warms my heart to know they both are in the arms of a loving family!