Way Back Wednesday

*Adoption blog, star date November 2010

**We had been home for about 2 weeks when I wrote this post.
What's Way Back Wednesday?

I once read from an adoptive mom that as hard as the adoption process is, the real work begins after you get home with your new child.

Obviously our process could have been way worse, but it’s true that we had several difficulties along the way. It was a rough process. But even with all of those glitches, some days I have to agree with that mom. Some days are really hard work.

Today was a hard day for Pearl. She has been showing some signs of teething, and seemed to have a bit of trouble with her tummy as well. We are still waiting on results from the International Adoption Clinic, so she could have more going on in that wee widdle body than we realize. The girls and I had spent the morning out running errands, so her nap was pushed back by about an hour. That added to the, um, grumpiness.

She woke up about 45 minutes into her nap crying. I waited a few minutes to see if she would whimper herself back to sleep, but the crying only escalated. Finally I went in to get her, and my sweet baby girl went positively berserk. She wanted me to pick her up, but then she went all noodle-like, as if she wanted me to put her down. I readjusted the way I was holding her several times, and she just cried harder. Her diaper was fine, she’d had lunch plus 8 oz of milk, so hunger shouldn’t have been an issue. I tried again with a bottle, and she took an ounce or 2 but then went nuts again, screaming and thrashing around. I finally sat in the floor with her, which made her madder. I laid her down on the cute little daisy rug in her floor and patted her back. She grabbed my hand and flung it away. She scratched at me. She tried to bite me. All the while, she was getting madder and madder and madder. Eventually she would crawl back over to me and lay against me, but if I tried to put my hand on her she would scratch at me again.

I just kept telling her I was so sorry she was so sad, and that I loved her. I told her I loved her at least a hundred times sitting on the floor with her. I wanted her to know that I am her mommy, and even on the bad days, I’m not going anywhere. Even when she’s ill as a hornet and madder than a wet hen, I’m not going anywhere. Even when she scratches me and tries to bite me and thrashes around on the floor, I am not going anywhere.

 I tried one more time on the bottle, and this time she took it and settled down. She let out a burp just before I gave it to her, so maybe that was her trouble. Maybe it was the teething. Maybe she was overtired. Maybe she just wanted to pitch a good fit and see how I would react. Maybe this is an indication of deeper attachment issues. Maybe it was a combination of some or all of those troubles.

Only time will tell.

 As crazy as the moment was, I was actually quite calm. I remembered that Sassafras had some pretty good fits at this age, and there was always an explanation for it...we just had to figure out what it was. I remembered all the things we learned about in the adoptive parent seminars, and how adopted children experience so much grief during their period of transition to their new home. I remembered that from our perspective, Pearl is in a better place than she was, but that in her perspective, she has lost all that she knew and everyone she loved.

And maybe she holds me responsible for that.

I remembered that Pearl has every right to feel angry and hurt and sad and lost, and that my job is to help her feel through those emotions. Because, of course, I’m not going anywhere.

-Added a few weeks after the event:
Since this day, Pearl has been the sweetest, most pleasant little baby girl in the world. Even though at this moment I was worried that we were headed for more hard days, knowing what I know now, I believe this was a major turning point in how Pearl viewed and related to me as her mother. I honestly believe that in this messy, hard moment, Pearl tried and tested my commitment to her, and found me worthy of her trust. God used these tears to knit our hearts together even more tightly than before. And because of that, we have many, many more GOOD days ahead!