Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Challenging Gotcha day- July 5th, 2010 (Part 2 in a series)

I can't believe it has only been a year. I feel like the girls have been home much longer than that!

When we left for China we were confident! We had our army with us- that would be Katie, Sarah and Anna! We had matching outfits and intended to have lots of fun!

Sarah had been a challenge in China but Katie and I worked together to problem solve and to tame this little 8.5 yr old daughter and sister that had just joined our family! She was stubborn, clever, charming, cute, smart, fun, stubborn, born leader and personable. We had fun but she was a handful! After Sarah and Anna- I thought we had seen it all!

OH, foolish foolish me!

Emma and Ellie brought us new challenges. Ones that we had never even considered. Accompanying that were feelings... lots of them from many different people in our travel group- that would be our family. Many of the feelings were feelings that you won't want to have on an adoption trip. They scared me and I found that I could not even talk about them- I just needed to pray and pray and pray. To talk about them would validate them and I didn't want them validated- I wanted them to go away. By the look on hubby's face and the look on Katie's face I knew they were feeling the same thing.

Usually we work together, we strengthen one another but the opposition had taken us by surprise and weakened us. We needed GOD- big time.

We were very excited to meet the girls. When they walked in I couldn't believe how little they seemed. They looked excited at first but then fear filled their faces.
Tears welled up in their eyes and they couldn't help but stare at the large white people that were supposed to be their new parents.

It was hot in the room- so so hot! We were all dripping with perspiration.
Emma had a very far away look in her eyes. I thought it was more of a coping mechanism but now I realize that is Emma.

The meeting itself went very well and my heart felt good about these two precious children that were becoming our daughters.

I wanted to love them, to comfort them and to help them. I wanted to be there Mom and felt very thankful to God that we were finally together.

Ellie couldn't speak- she was in shock and felt shy. Emma on the other hand was saying things but something was wrong. Her voice sounded so odd. I thought maybe it was hoarse- maybe she had used it to much. It was very crackly- if that's even a word? I actually wondered if her vocal chords had been damaged?

Once we got back to the room Emma and Ellie were completely out of control. They were loudly laughing, yelling and walking on furniture. They went through every suitcase and backpack. They took food, they broke things, they spilled, the wouldn't listen to the guide or us. It was complete chaos.
Katie, Sarah and Anna were in shock and beginning to get upset with them.
Hubby and I were in shock, too!
We decided to get out of the room and get some snacks at the nearby store.

I also decided they needed to be close to me. I had no idea what they would do once in the open air! Would they run?

Katie was behind us taking pics and ready to grab anyone who strayed!

Anna found safety in her fathers arms! Smart girl!

They had never ridden on an escalator!
I wonder if they had even ever been in a grocery store before. Their foster parents did not take them anywhere.

Once inside, they went crazy in the grocery store! This time we were more prepared- we had just experienced the hotel room chaos! 

We had two baskets! One that they wildly threw stuff into and one with things that we actually intended to buy. I felt bad for the mess we made BUT sometimes "ya just gotta do what ya gotta do"!!

The next event was dinner. We ate at the hotel. They were very kind and understanding to us. 

Once again a first for the girls. They had never eaten in a restaurant. We had fun but we had to be more strict than we wanted to be. The girls ran around the dining room, yelled loudly, climbed on the chairs and the table. They tried to cut the table with the knife, spit on the floor and threw their garbage on the floor. It was quite a sight!

They had never used utensils - only chop sticks!
Okay, let's get at least one of those knives out of her hand and replace it with a fork!

Same with her!!

We had fun and were a little silly, while trying to teach them some kind of manners!

In older child adoption you never know where your child is at with so many things. It is quite the adventure!

On our first day we learned a lot about our new daughters. They had so much to learn!

Both Emma and Ellie were filthy and had bruises all over their body. Again- I don't think they had ever had a bath (just sponge baths).
They were over the top excited! Water was everywhere!
They could not contain themselves and they squealed with glee!

We had to hang onto them because they kept stand up and slipping and sliding.
We made the mistake of doing both at the same time- after that we did one at a time- whew- much more manageable!

They love the bubbles, the shampoo, the lotion and getting their hair combed!

Then they had a snack, brushed teeth- again I think it was a first!

And a movie!

Now after a day like that wouldn't you think we would all be exhausted and sleep well...

That didn't happen! Once the lights went out the two girls could not contain themselves. They ran around the room, jumped on the beds, yelled, screamed, turned on the lights and ran into the hallway.
(I really should have taken pictures of our struggles but at that point snapping photos was not high on my priority list)

We understood their excitement but Emma got very rebellious and would not obey us. We all had to switch beds just to have some peace. She ended up sleeping next to her Daddy who was going to let her do a thing.

I blogged that night in pictures. We had moments of joy, of love, of fun but we also had moments of complete chaos and behavior we did not recognize.

I would have looked back and said it still was a good day but because of the night time difficulties it left me with few words... at least none that I wanted to share at that time.

I went to bed and prayed myself to sleep.
Tomorrow would be a new day!


Vicky said...

That had to be totally exhausting on every front, spiritually, mentally and physically. I'm amazed by your grace, love and determination to help these two little girls! A lesser person would have disrupted the process.

Angie said...

Oh, Jean, I can feel my level of anxiety rising as I read this. In a very different way, it reminds me of our trip to get Laura and slowly finding out she was not "healthy" and being so scared not knowing what to do except plug along. Unlike you, though, I didn't know God very well and couldn't pray myself to sleep...only cry. I'm so thankful to know God now and can rely on Him for each new day! Your girls have come sooooo far!

Sammy said...

Wow! I knew you had it rough at first, but I didn't realize it was that bad. Did they go back to the orphanage before you got them? None of the bruises had time to fade? I guess bruises can last a long time. My last two weren't treated well in their foster home either and both said they were hit, but they didn't have bruises. I think they mostly worked Remi to death.

God sure picked the right Momma when He picked you. I really admire you for hanging in there!! Thanks for sharing the story.

Susie said...

Jean, you looked calm and collected! I remember you telling me at Lucy's that you had to be careful and keep a hand on Emma because she was a runner. Thanks for sharing yourexperiencea. The changes in Emma are really miraculous over the last year. Just think what additional changes she may experience in the next year witth the good nutrition and love she is experiencing. Sky is the limit!
Just wondering what Sarah thinks of Emma's Chinese...if she is delayed in that?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jean - my heart is with you, completely. It always has been, but to read your words, I cannot wrap my mind around the anxiety and concern for each one of you during your trip to Emma and Ellie. I am so thankful to God they are with you. We know our God is able. I've said this before - but the transformation on the faces, and in the beautiful eyes, of Ellie and Emma, since being "home" and sound - is completely miraculous. I know God has great things in store for them, as well as for all of you. Thank you for being the greatest Momma Bear EVER. You are just the best. xoxoxo

Holly said...

Just praying now that your sharing this story will move others and bring more children home. I do think that so so many people go over unprepared and many disrupt in China or come home and dissolve adoptions when things could be worked through. No judgement on my part just saying...I'm glad you are sharing this. May God get the glory and hearts changed!

Lori said...

Oh, Jean...WOW. I had NO idea that you had all these struggles with the girls. Wow.

You are doing an amazing job writing about it...and that will NO doubt help others...and YOURSELF as you walk through that difficult time again retelling the story.

Girl, I applaud you! I am in awe that you have adopted again since then. And are doing it yet AGAIN!

Sarah said...

Oh, sweet girls...what a difficult day for them and for you! So glad you stuck with it and that they are now thriving in your home!

Karin said...

Oh wow...I am not surprised but still...I had hoped it wasn't this hard for you. I am so amazed that you had the courage to adopt again after that experience! I am exhausted just reading about it! I think it's awesome that you are sharing it because I think it will help many people who might find themselves in a similar situation. Many blessings to you as you continue to be a wonderful mommy to your precious treasures.

kippi said...

Thanks for sharing this side of adoption - we have experienced a bit of the difficult side ourselves - the part nobody wants to share or talk about. But it is real and maybe it will help other parents be better prepared in their journey. Love seeing how God is using and moving in your beautiful family.

Sally-Girl! said...

Jean, I do think this post is very important for others to read as well. I know how challenging those days were for you and your family. I know that many others who are adopting older will read this and remember it when they too find themselves in China getting their "Emma's and Ellie's!"

Love ya to pieces!