Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 4: Hard Day

oday was one of those days that aren't enjoyable when you go through it, but none the less a day that I will remember years from now.

This morning was filled with "work stuff". I asked if it would be appropriate to take Kendi along, but I got a no. =-( So I had to leave Kendi behind for the morning. At about 1pm I got back to Eban House. One of my key staff was out sick today, so I had nothing else official to do. I basically had the afternoon to do with what I pleased. The Eban kids were all napping. So I decided to bring Kendi back to the hotel for one on one time this afternoon. I had to wake her from her nap to bring her. [Note to self: NOT a good idea to wake Kendi from a nap!]

It was "lights off" today, so the hotel was extremely hot. Oppressively hot. This hotel was built with A/C in mind so the windows don't give good ventilation. And of course there is no electricity so there is also no fan. To make it worse, there was very little wind today. Keep this in mind when you imagine our afternoon.

Kendi was reserved on the walk from Eban to our hotel. I put her on my shoulders and she settled in, but said nothing. When we walked into the hotel room and she saw it was just her and I, she got a look of horror on her face. I've never seen her like that. Around people she is outgoing and spunky and confident. But today...just the two of us...she was a scared and withdrawn little girl.

It wasn't long until she began to wimper. Toys provided a very temporary respite, but eventually I had to tell her no about something. The dreaded NO! This child is so spoiled that she just doesn't know how to take a no. After she would finish a fit from being spoiled, I would try doing something else. Singing, doing rhymes, riding on my legs, snacks--nothing would bring her out of her shell. Eventually I thought, "All toddlers like the mirror! I'll take her to the mirror!" Let me tell you...toddlers that have never seen their own reflection do NOT like mirrors! Or at least mine didn't! She was TERRIFIED!!!!! The mirror did her in. We had a long crying jag over that one.

At one point she decided that it wouldn't be too horrible if I gave her a pringle. I opened the can and handed her one perfect pringle. She accidentally dropped it. Uh-oh. My kids at home (and I'm venturing a guess that most kids) would just pick that thing back up and eat it. Not Kendi. The pringle was ruined. The pringle was spoiled. It was lost forever. The thing didn't even break! Losing the pringle brought on the biggest fit of the day. She totally lost it.

At this point I'm listening more to the mommy instinct that has told me the whole time that this child is just really tired (not JUST tired, but the tired is making the fear and grief worse). I have tried off and on throughout the afternoon to see if she would go back to sleep but she wouldn't let go and kept getting back up. I had had it. I picked her up, rocked her, and held her tight. She was going to go to sleep! She screamed bloody murder. I held on. She went rigid. I kept humming. Eventually she fell asleep. Thank you Lord!!!! It had been three hours of struggles before that point. She slept the last 1.5 hours until I had to take her back to Eban House. On the walk back to Eban House she was not crying, but again, not responding to anything. Blank stare.

Upon entering the home and seeing her "people" I finally got to see the real Kendi again. The happy, spunky, confident Kendi I'm used to. I figured she would go off and play and forget about me. Honestly, I was pretty bruised up from the afternoon. I had my own cry while she was sleeping. My own confidence was shaken. It's hard to know that it's right to bring your child to a point that they aren't comfortable with (one on one time). It's hard to do something that you know will cause your child sadness and fear.

A few minutes after I sat down at Eban, Kendi ran up yelling "Mommy!" showing me a mango that she had found. Wow. This child hated me all afternoon, but all was forgiven once she was back in her usual environment! I was at Eban for about an hour, during which time I never sought her out, but she came to me for hugs and interaction a handful of times. When I started walking out to leave, Kendi was in the arms of one of her beloved Aunties. I honestly didn't want to feel rejected anymore, so wasn't planning on making her say a goodbye to me. No need. Kendi saw I was leaving and started crying and putting her arms out for me!!!! She wanted me! She wanted to go with me!! I took her for a moment to hug her, kiss her, and tell her I loved her. It was like pulling off a tick to hand her back to her auntie. I walked out of Eban with a smile on my face, to the sound of my child crying for me to take her.

It was a hard day. An emotional day. A day of asking myself, "Am I doing the right thing?" But it was worth it. I do believe it was right. It was hard (on both of us), but it was right.


Laurel 6:21 PM  

Wow! I've heard that the toddler adoptions are TOUGH. Thanks for sharing.

While adopting older children (school age) brings along many of its own issues, our children at least understood that we were their new mom and dad, and they were excited to "come to America".

Praying for you!


Awo 8:06 AM  

Anita, I think you said it all in a nutshell when it comes to adopting at this age. Abena is totally bonded to and spoiled by her foster family and sees me as an interloper. It's made for some tough moments during visits, but I know that we'll begin the attachment process when we get home. I'll be praying for you!

Andrea 9:02 AM  

Anita, I know how very draining that is! Both our adoptions were toddler/preschool age. It's hard to know what to do or say or not do or say. Hang in there you will be home soon. You are in my prayers.

Heather A. 9:34 AM  

That sounds like a Tough day, but you're doing the right thing. Hugs my friend, and welcome home.

mary grace 1:02 PM  

Anita, We saw the same reaction in Oliver when he came for his first visit. It's so hard to have your world shaken. Keep at it. A year and a few months later, and his bond is stronger than I ever imagined. :-)

Amy 9:13 AM  


I just want to thank you for sharing openly about your experiences. Someone will read this that needs to and will be more confident in themselves because even Anita, the adoption coordinator and experienced adoptive mother, has a hard day with her toddler too. :) They will not doubt themselves, and their abilities, as much because of your words.

I know you already know what you need to, but even so, it is hard to have "one of those day." We all still seem to have this deeply ingrained belief that if we were just "good enough" that melt downs wouldn't happen. If we were just everything our kids needed us to be we could prevent these things, which of course is folly. It shakes our confidence when really it shouldn't. It is, as you now, just part of the bonding and growing. I wish knowing and experiencing felt like they were in the same realm more often! I wish you ALL the best in every step of the transition (and that the true transitioning starts ever so soon!!!!!).