Wednesday, March 21, 2012

baby steps

We have had two great nights of sleep in a row – or I should say that Joya has because I am still waking up at 4:30 in the morning with nothing to do but stare at the walls or get on my iPad and read what you all have to say to me. She has been sleeping in her crib without a fuss, but I suppose it helps that she has fallen asleep on her Baba’s chest at dinner each night and not even made it into her jammies because Baba just laid her in her crib for the night.

Today was a really good day overall. I will admit that I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps about a combination of things. Joya had moments when she let me hold her or comfort her today, and overall, she is making bits of progress every day. But the afternoon was filled with wailing and grieving. We figured out that her red photo book that was such a comfort to her on her first full day with us, has become a trigger to her for remembering why she is with us and brings long periods of sobbing and crying for her Mama. We have changed how we refer to me as “Mommy” so that she doesn’t feel we are replacing her sweet Mama who did such a good job loving her.

The other thing bringing me down is the state of my boys’ behavior at home. I was hoping that they would rise to the occasion and really shine while we are gone, but that does not seem to be the case and each time we have talked to them on the computer, there is chaos, arguing, and stories of disobedience – tonight I just walked away from our conversation with them because I couldn’t do anything about what is happening at home. We all just have to suck it up and plan on recalibrating when we are home next week. I know this trip is hard on them as well, but I am just ready to have all my chicks in one nest.

This morning we had breakfast here at the hotel buffet with our new Nashville friends Jill and Scott and their new daughter Hannah. My impression is that Hannah is having an even rougher time than Joya and Jill is the one carrying the weight of the slow transition. We have been sharing our struggles over the last few days and gaining comfort from each other’s encouragement. The first time my feelings were hurt over Joya’s rejection of me was not a time when she drew close to Kenyon, but when Jill walked in our room and Joya went running to her and cried to be picked up. That was hard. She prefers a woman who is a complete stranger over me.

Jill was telling us this morning how she has rarely seen her husband cry over the course of their 16 years of marriage, and how he has been a complete rock through this tough time even when she has broken down and spilled her emotions through tears. However, this morning she heard him sobbing in the shower, and how it was such a relief to see him react emotionally to the tough task of helping Hannah accept their love.

The sweetest thing occurred when Scott added that he just couldn’t hold the tears back anymore because this interesting mix of emotions is like nothing he has ever experienced – he and Kenyon started tearing up together right there at the breakfast table. The best they could do was nod in agreement with each other while Jill and I felt our mouths hit the floor watching that unfold. It was a very sweet moment.

I sure do love my man.

Tracy picked us up at 9 and we took a taxi to a very beautiful and famous Buddhist temple. The weather was beautiful, and although we are wearing coats in the pictures, it really isn’t cold here. We spent the morning touring the temple where there are several enormous halls with Buddhist gods sculpted and put on display. The grounds of the complex were immaculate. It is in the middle of the city, yet it is quiet and peaceful and smells of incense. There are huge fish and turtles in the ponds and we all enjoyed watching them. Joya only wanted Kenyon for the majority of the time, but his back started to really hurt him, so I bribed her with snacks and got her to sit on my hip in my sling for about 30 minutes.

We left the temple and went to a local (hole in the wall) dumpling restaurant. Now, the way to eat Chinese food in China is to have a Chinese person order for you. Our lunch was DELICIOUS!!! We had two different types of dumplings and two vegetable dishes and Joya had congee. Tracy showed us how to use all the sauces and tutored Kenyon on his chopstick skills. It was definitely our favorite meal yet. Kenyon said it topped the Pizza Hut meal we had the night before :-)

Each Chinese province is famous for one thing in particular, and Fujian is known for tea. Tracy took us to a traditional tea room to enjoy a tea ceremony where we could taste different types of teas. Rich with tradition and ritual, the ceremony was wonderful. We learned how to hold the small teacup and how to sip each kind of tea uniquely. Our little parrot was so well behaved throughout the entire demonstration and when she got a sip of tea, she would make the noise that she heard us make while drinking it. She also said an unsolicited Mandarin “Thank you” to our tea hostess, which impressed us all.

After our tea tasting and purchasing, we went back to the hotel with good intentions for naptime, but it really turned into a couple hours of crying before she went to sleep.

After her nap on Baba’s chest, we went for a walk in the park with Jill and Scott and then out to dinner where Joya ate and ate and ate and then turned toward Baba and decidedly checked out into a near slumber.

I know you are all going to encourage me to hang in there and that you are praying for her to love me. Don’t worry, I know she will. I know this time is necessary to detach from her past and attach to her future, and I am prepared for that. I still adore her just like I adore my boys even though they are being knuckleheads at home right now. The messiness of it all is just an uncomfortable place to be.

Tracy told us that Joya’s foster sister has called her twice since Sunday’s hand off meeting to check whether Joya is doing okay. That level of concern and care just continues to impress us and clarifies what a treasure she was and still is to them. I can’t even imagine their pain tonight.

Here are some of our best photos from our day in no particular order because blogging on the iPad sucks.

13 comments:

  1. Hang in there Sweetie, I'm on the way to the airport and soon I will get those boys in line!! Don't worry. I love you, mom

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  2. Uh oh!! Just saw the previous comment...Grandma is on her way!!! I love it! So "Good Morning!" (if you are reading this at your new 4:30 wake-up time!) Just a few thoughts apart from the standard...love you, praying for you, hang in there... When my other friends went to China to adopt their daughter, Zoe, I also remember her being attached to Ted at first. In your case, let's face it...God knows what He's doing. I mean, if you don't initially warm up to Kenyon, you might have a problem. I mean he is sort of a "love him or hate him" kinda guy, right?! Hopefully you didn't laugh too loud and wake everyone up. You know I'm just kidding (sort of) and busting Kenyon's chops. I do find this attraction interesting, in all honesty. I wonder if it's Kenyon's reward for the 4 children who were most attached to you (literally) for the first year of their lives. It's nice for him to be the favorite parent for once in his life...at least for a little while ;-)...

    Remember that God is strongest when we are weakest, and that our feeling out of control is God's way of reminding us that we've finally "wised up" and He is in complete control...even of those Hooligans back home! ;-) Signing off now with what you already know to be true...I love you guys, I'm praying for you guys, oh, and I wish I were there with you!! <3 <3 <3 <3

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  3. You're in Fujian? That's the closest dialect to Taiwanese (prob from some shared history from long past)-- so I'm feeling a little kinship to Joya now =)
    Got an update from Connie, they are in the same boat as you, wailing grieving for her foster mama.
    These tears are washing away the loss of the days past and so much joy awaits for you all ahead.

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  4. Btw, anything else besides congee that Joya likes to eat? We can research how to make it for her! Just an idea...

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  5. Good something...I think it is your evening. :) I so agree with what Candis said..and did LOL with her comments about your dear hubby. :) I am also in the same camp that this bonding that Kenyon has with Joya will glue them together for their entire lives. I love it. I love that he can calm her spirit... hang in there. You are an amazing MOMMY to all 5 of your kids. I will pray for those boys...it's hard to have your parents in another land...their little minds and hearts are all disconnected too. If it makes you feel better, my boys made jeff's mom cry when we were in Cali. in Jan. :) I'm sure you just want to take Joya home and forget all the "waiting" you are doing for the paperwork. In my bible study yesterday, we learned about Faithfulness. And Beth Moore was teaching that FAITH fights. So keep up the fight dear friend. You can do this. God chose you to be Joya's mommy. He can supply your needs..He loves you BOTH so much. Wish I could do more than pray..xoxo

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  6. Sitting in your words, your struggle and your joy. Battle well mama, there is joy ahead. Keep those pictures coming of that sweet girl. Love her. Keep the updates coming too. Our family is praying. Love to you all.

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  7. Our mutual friend, Nicole Diehl, sent me this link and I have been following your journey. I so relate to your frustration over what is happening at home. 7 years ago we left our 3 kids for our 2 week adoption trip to meet our son. He was desperately ill. We were so overwhelmed with his care and talking to the kids at home didn't help. They were suffering. They had never been left without one of us for such a long stretch of time. Your heart is torn between 2 very different places now. I'm praying for the 3 of you dealing with grief in China and the 4 dealing with uncertainty at home.

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  8. Laurie - Thanks so much for sharing this journey with us! I have learned so much as you have opened up and shared your joy and tears. Praying for you all! I just can't wait to hear about when she meets her 4 brothers :) You all are so blessed!

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  9. I want to say something profound and uber encouraging, super spiritual and perfectly comforting. I have nothing. So tonight, I read your post twice, and then a third time and then just stopped to pray. You are going through things emotionally that I cannot even imagine, and then you wake up and you do it again.

    Your strength astounds and encourages ME. Perhaps I did a bit TOO MUCH praying for Kenyon before you left ; ) I'm so glad he gets a taste of what us moms are spoiled with almost daily but I am hopeful that soon you will get to share in the wealth (again).

    I find myself praying also for your new friends. I believe they are a blessing sent by God from those of us so desperate to comfort you from afar.

    Love you so much. Am so very proud of you (can I say that?) You are amazing friend and I will continue to pray as I (not so patiently) wait for tomorrow's update.
    xoxoxo
    Gomez

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  10. Sweet Laurie and Kenyon...Joya's journey is similar to my daughter's (Lily, gotcha day 9/17/2008). She slept directly on top of me at first and when she would relax enough that her little arms would fall "off" she would awake with a startle and begin to groan. My heart ached for her through her pain and I recall that pain as I read this. She refused to speak. She rejected Chinese when she realized I spoke another language. But the day came that she reached out her arms to me and said, "Mama." Joya went to Jill so easily because she knows that YOU are her forever Mama and she hasn't finished transitioning from her foster mother to you. Jill was easy. You are forever. Deep in her little heart she knows forever is the best thing that could ever happen to her...but saying goodbye to what she has known is hard to do. I know you are exhausted, but try to soak up as much of China as you can because you are now tied to this amazing place. And Joya will want details about the first days of her "forever story!" If I can give you a little glimpse of your future....four years from now you will have a gorgeous little chickie who is adored by her big brothers, who plays and sings and laughs and paints her toenails blue when you aren't looking and prays to her heavenly Father-thanking Him for His ability to create just-right families from opposite sides of the earth. This is a weary and challenging time. But God is good - all the time.

    Love,
    Diana P.

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  11. Sweet Laurie and Kenyon...Joya's journey is similar to my daughter's (Lily, gotcha day 9/17/2008). She slept directly on top of me at first and when she would relax enough that her little arms would fall "off" she would awake with a startle and begin to groan. My heart ached for her through her pain and I recall that pain as I read this. She refused to speak. She rejected Chinese when she realized I spoke another language. But the day came that she reached out her arms to me and said, "Mama." Joya went to Jill so easily because she knows that YOU are her forever Mama and she hasn't finished transitioning from her foster mother to you. Jill was easy. You are forever. Deep in her little heart she knows forever is the best thing that could ever happen to her...but saying goodbye to what she has known is hard to do. I know you are exhausted, but try to soak up as much of China as you can because you are now tied to this amazing place. And Joya will want details about the first days of her "forever story!" If I can give you a little glimpse of your future....four years from now you will have a gorgeous little chickie who is adored by her big brothers, who plays and sings and laughs and paints her toenails blue when you aren't looking and prays to her heavenly Father-thanking Him for His ability to create just-right families from opposite sides of the earth. This is a weary and challenging time. But God is good - all the time.

    Love,
    Diana P.

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  12. Sorry about the double publish!

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  13. Congrats and prayers sent your way. Our Lilian (2 at adoption)was baba's gal until the day before the LONG flight home, then it was all me. I stood with her while Baba recuperated for the 17 hour flight :)
    Maureen
    www.pathsofjoy.blogspot.com

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About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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