Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Last Days In China! part of a series...

Although we loved the sites of Guilin and our guide Julia, it was time to move on! This woman was amazing- she got us on a flight to GZ so we didn't have to take the train! Praise God!! The girls were not supposed to be able to board a plane without a passport! Julia's father worked for the communist Gov't and somehow she made it happen! I am guessing God was showing a little mercy on us too!! Thank you Jesus!!

I forgot to say that when ever the girls were in a plane they would loudly SQUEAL with joy! It was like a ride at the amusement park for them!

It felt so good to be in GZ and at the White Swan! Even though it wasn't the good ole USA- it was pretty darn close!!

Emma and Ellie were now on semi neutral ground. They knew the language we knew the island!

We went to Starbucks everyday (hey, we deserved it) and visited all the shops! The girls enjoyed this too but we did need to teach them how to behave in both situations. We continued to keep Emma very close to us. They wanted so many things and we often had to say no. We did get a few inexpensive items that we felt were worth it for our sanity and to keep them busy!

WE had fun and kept up our sense of humor!

When we went to the Zoo and we did not allow Emma to hold our guides hand- she alternated between hubby and I and she wailed the whole time. Everything was a game, a contest, a rebellion of some sort with Emma and we had to let her know we were the boss, we were in control and we were her parents (I know, I know only as of 8 days ago). 

Emma got more physical - scratching, hitting, pinching, and shoving small children at the pool and then laughing. She grabbed our privates at the pool- so we put her in a timeout right there- no towel and no returning to the pool. She broke toys that we brought for them, ate others peoples food and took and hid things she had found. She pocketed items from the little shops. She refused to apologize and we ended up in many power struggles. She laughed in our faces when we tried to tell her no and then had tantrums if we got mad and did not give her what she wanted.   She missed a meal because of her behavior and then ate cold rice when she calmed down. It was an eventful time.

We had to be tough. She needed to make major changes in her behavior if this was going to work. If we gave in now life would be miserable for everyone involved. 

When we were in CHina I never posted a bad pic of Emma. I was covering up all that we were going through. I was unable to share the truth- unable to face it myself- what direction where we going in?? I didn't know? We just kept things as light as possible and dealt with the issues one at a time. In the pictures I am posting now you can see the hurt, the anger, and the confusion- that was part of our little girl.

I seriously considered doing the unthinkable. I just didn't know how we could bring Emma home to the rest of the family. It felt so unfair to them. It also, at times brought out the worst in us and we did not like seeing that side of ourselves...

I talked to a bloggy friend at length about her behavior and possibly disrupting... I needed to gather information. Hubby at that time was taking a walk with Emma because of her behavior- he separated from the rest of us. I needed someone to help me process what was happening. Was it me? Was it us? Was I not seeing things clearly?? After talking to her,  Katie and I walked away- we talked, we processed and we found Hubby and Emma.

As I spoke to him I told him that we were justified in our feelings, our fears and in whatever we decided to do... but as I spoke the words began to come out differently. My mind was being transformed at that very moment. I know it was God- I could feel his presence. I felt peace and basically said "We could disrupt but I don't think we should." Hubby completely agreed and we moved forward with certainty that Emma was our daughter and that with God we would deal with the challenges ahead of us.

Deciding to disrupt Emma would have been like an abortion to us- it would have been seemingly the easy way out and yet we would have regretted it for the rest of our lives.

Now we did have an agenda...
We had 4 sibling brothers at home that would never be okay with this behavior.
We had a 16 yr old son that still lived with us that would never forgive us if we brought home someone that was going to cause constant chaos in our family.
We had to get things going in the right direction asap before heading home!

Our new guide was great but she was not a Julia. We had to tell her to talk to the girls and what we wanted her to say. She was sweet and kind and it was hard for her. That really puts them(the guides) in a tough situation. Most adoptions are not like this- this was exceptionally challenging- for them and us!

We just so happened to have the person in charge of all the guides with us at the White Swan. We were thankful to have him there! He also talked to the girls for us- with us present. Before leaving for home Hubby and I sat down with him, our current guide and our two new girls. We needed to have an understanding between all of us before taking them home.

We had our list ready and one by one we went through every issue with them. It took an hour and a half.
1. Parents are in charge. We make all the decisions.
2. We will love them and take good care of them.
3. They will have a good life but they need to behave and listen to us at all times.
4. We went over plane safety and that they need to stay right by us in the airports and throughout the trip home. No running, no wandering.
5. We went over seat belts in cars and how America is different from China- what they should expect.
6. They needed to try their hardest to learn English so we could talk to them.
7. No grabbing privates - EVER! Not us, not their older siblings, nobody- EVER! If she could not do this she could not live with us.

Since Emma never talked to us except to say "Bouy ya- No" we insisted on a verbal commitment from her, with eye contact and sincerity (no laughing or smiling). She had a very hard time doing this but after awhile she caught onto the seriousness of the issues we were discussing. I think she realized she was not going to America unless she agreed to all of our terms.
What would we have done if she didn't agree? I don't know? Probably brought her home anyways but thank the Lord she did agree!
Ellie immediately agreed to the terms. She said she liked us and could see that Anna and Sarah were well taken care of so she felt good about us being her parents.

Our guides/ interpreters supported us completely and translated everything- even the hard stuff.  He even offered to come to our house and help us if the challenges continued. We ended the meeting knowing we did everything we could to make it work. Now, we just had to put our faith in God and move forward positively! We didn't know what was going to happen next other than we were bringing the two girls home- the rest was all up to God!

Really does God ever cease to amaze you! It was tough in China but God was so present!! Our hearts were so thankful to be going home with our daughters, to have had the talk that we had with them and to feel His peace!

The next part of the story is the best part of all!


Shonni said...

I’m sitting on the edge of my preverbal seat. LOL said...

Eagerly awaiting the next part of the story. You should seriously consider submitting the story to Guideposts or another magazine. Not a doubt in my mind, it would get published.


Jodi said...

Amazing!!!! Thank you for sharing this part of your adoption journey! It is soooo important to know the Good, Bad, and Ugly - but knowing that God is fully in charge! :)

And wow - how did you get ALL those matching outfits! :)

Our "older" children adoptions (5 and 6 yrs) were rough - esp the 5 yr old. - It's always sad that the idea parents have and wanting to have fun with your new children is not an option because "parenting" needs to happen first!
Y'all are awesome! Thankfully you had a good friend to call and chat with!
thank you again for sharing!

Mandi said...

Jean, this is awesome that you are sharing your story. As a mother of an older adoption, I LOVE that you are laying it all out there. Adopting an older child is definitely not easy, we have had our fair share of good times and bad as well. But at the end of the day, (and I am sure you will agree), they are our children, and God led us right to them.

Hugs, waiting for more...

Holly said...

I have chills after reading this particular installment. I don't know how far back you followed my blog but we had a failed/disrupted adoption that we did not go through with of an older child (almost 13). it was and still is the hardest thing we have ever endured. She hit, kicked, stabbled, bit, spit, cursed, threw things, refused to obey, called everyone in the family names, broke things, spilled things, threatened us, used every put down she could think of, lied to us, lied to our other children and tried to convince Josiah that he should be angry at us and grow up to kill us for taking him away from China. Very very sad and disturbing. And I am not writing the worst of it...the bottom line as to why we knew we could not continue the adoption. Each and every adoption is different. Children have had different life experiences, different temperments and different coping mechanisms. Some parents have adopted older children with RELATIVE ease while others feel like they are living in Hell- literally. It is so important to be prepared but the fine balance is not living in fear, trusting God but not with hearts and flowers in your dreams if that makes sense.
Thanks again for sharing. despite our experience my heart continues to break for older children who are less likely to be adopted....and for what their futures hold :(

Sean and Lisa said...

I loved your comment about "if you disrupted it would be like an abortion and you would regret it the rest of your lives"....we too have felt the Lord say this exact same thing to us in regards to a very difficult on going situation with our son.
Thank you for sharing!

Cari said...

Hi Jean! I was out of town for the weekend and just caught up reading July 15-17 posts. It's been such an interesting read for me, especially seeing how you handled the "rules list" in GZ. Although, we didn't have those specific behaviors with our daughter during the traveling phase, we did have some "red flags" go up before we even came back home...but the worst of the behaviors spiked at home within the first few weeks. It's taken me a long time to learn how to handle it {and I'm still learning} and try to break the bad behaviors and instill the good ones so our daughter will adjust to being a family member and not just a person living in the same house as us trying to cause chaos.

Sarah said...

Oh Jean, I'm glad that I know the end of the story, or I would be so nervous. I'm so grateful that you trusted in God to bring good out of a very tough situation!

Janet and Kevin said...


Thanks for retelling a story that needs to be told. We had similar issues with our little Elijah when we returned home. But God. HE worked it out perfectly in His own time. Sounds like God did the same thing for you all.

janet and gang

Nicole A. said...

Amazing! What a ride! It must have been so intense, and yet reading it here at the time while you were away in China, it seemed like a whole different story! I really do appreciate your insight and honesty ~ what an amazing God story this all is!

Thanks for sharing!

All the best,
Nicole A., now in LA

Annie said...

Oh Jean, I cannot wait for the rest! God Bless you and your courage to post about all of this! It is so important!!

kristin said...

Jean - Thank you so much for sharing all of this. My girls were 10 months and 20 months at adoption. I'm waiting for my 3rd (a boy) who is right now 2 1/2. I am in awe of you and your family for what you are doing. Even with the young ages of my children at adoption there have been tough time, but hearing your story sure puts things in a little different perspective for me.

Again, thanks for sharing!

Jerry and Christy said...

What an amazing and difficult journey God took you through. I am so glad you shared this. It shows that God is SO in control even when it doesn't feel like it. So glad you listened to Him and not your own feelings. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

Sammy said...

Most people never have it that rough. Actually, most people get easy kids and many still don't handle it half as great as you did. We adopted an easy 11 y.o. a few years ago, but I still had to take her down to a shop and have the owner translate for me. I let her know we would love her forever, but whatever I said she would do. That meant if I told her to get in pictures she had to. If I told her that her little sister watched her wash (she wouldn't get in the tub) she had to. I thought I was doing her a favor that I wasn't going in to watch her. : - )

The sad part is the "experts and guides" often tell people not to discipline at the beginning.

Karin said...

Wow..Jean...I am SO glad you are posting this! It has to be so very encouraging to those who are going through similar experiences. To see God at's just awesome!!

Jen Barbee said...

Reading these post has brought back so many memories of our time in China adopting our 7 yr old daughter. It was intense and difficult, but time has healed so much. I think honesty is important within the adoptive community. It helps us know we are not alone.