Friday, September 25, 2009

How deep is the barrel?

8:00 p.m. Guangzhou.  Well, I thought last night was the bottom of the barrel.  I was wrong.  I don't even feel like typing about the day we had here, but what else is there to do?  Today was bad.  After my last update (around 10:30), the persistence by Meiying to call her foster family continued.  She threw herself an absolute fit that was quite scary to be on the other end of.  I called down to the front desk and told them to put a block on any outgoing calls.  When she figured out that she couldn't call out, she figured out how to call the operator (or someone) and ask them to help her dial the number.  3x's I had to intercept and say "no thank you" to whoever was on the other end.  She became mad as a hornet's nest.  Throwing her shoes, trying to throw the phone.  She packed up everything that she had; put aside the things that I had given her and decided she was going to leave.  Yeah.
I called my guide, who's name is also Sarah, and fortunately, she took a cab over from Shamian Island, arriving w/in about 30 minutes.  In the meantime, Meiying was crying and screaming and crying.  It was horrible.  She still wouldn't let me console her.  When guide-Sarah arrived, she talked and talked to Meiying.  I'm guessing this was around noon.  She was here for almost 5 hours.  Seriously, this went on all day.  The crux of the problem is the language barrier so Meiying says.  The guide says that Meiying is afraid that I won't be able to meet her needs (for ex. what she wants to eat).  I explained to the guide that for 3-4 days previously, Meiying and I managed to be able to figure things out.  I explained about the upsetting phone call to her f-parents last night and then another one this a.m.  I think what has happened is that it all became real yesterday, taking the flight away from her province.  To add salt to the wound, this morning, I had to put limits on her.  She kept taking soda from the "free" concierge area during Wii and she didn't like it.  Then, when we came back to the room, I told her no about calling her parents.  The authority became the "salt".
So, basically, she told guide-Sarah that she wants to go back to her foster parents.  When Sarah tried to explain to her that that couldn't happen and that if she went back, she'd have to live in the orphanage and her foster parents wouldn't be able to take her back, she said to call the orphanage then.  I know, what a terrible conversation to have to have with a child.  True, but terrible.  So, she felt that we were telling her lies.  On top of it, we found out that she never left the f-parents ahead of time like most children do, and return to the orphanage for a transition (scary, but true).  Instead, she left her f-parents home the morning of meeting me, got on a train for a 5 hour ride to show up for the adoption.
After about 3 hours and feeling like I was going to throw up, I had to go into the bedroom area of the suite and close the door.  Leaving the guide and Meiying to continue talking things thru.   After a while, she sent Meiying in to get me.  One thing I've learned is that when Meiying wants something or needs me, she can pull herself together in a second flat, but when the answer is no...the crying starts all over again.  So, I followed Meiying back into the living area and they had set up Jenga.  We played about 3 rounds.  Then we started looking at pictures from home (my album) and she was asking lots of good questions about every picture.  A definite interest and obviously lots of things she has been pondering, but couldn't ask because of the language barrier.  Then we moved to pictures on my computer and the many videos of Eliza and Allie.  She watched, laughed along with some of them and asked questions.  She even looked at pictures of the bedroom and asked which bed would be hers.  Aha, I thought we were making some progress.  About this time, the guide had to leave to take some families to the airport.  (She even re-arranged her schedule for the afternoon to be with us by finding another guide to help a family with another appt.  She is really good.)  So, after some back and forth and Meiying telling her that she wanted to leave with her and have dinner, etc., she talked Meiying into staying and having dinner with me (JOY)!  As the door closed behind the guide, don't you know, Meiying asked to call her f-parents.  And it started all over again.
At 7:15 p.m. tonight (no lunch, no dinner), she stopped crying, got up off the couch, put her pj's on and went to bed.  She's asleep.  The guide has some tours planned tomorrow for the group and suggested we go.  Honestly, I don't know?  She thinks it will be good for Meiying to be out with other kids and having fun.  The thing is, that's what we were doing in Nanning, but look at how she crashed last night and today.  I almost feel like she needs to just stay holed up and grieve this out.  I feel like the other things are distractions, she doesn't have to deal with reality.  Plus, she'll just hang with the guide and not have to learn to communicate.  That's what she did while in Nanning and yesterday during all the med appts.  I never thought we were going to get thru today and I certainly didn't think she'd get up and put her pj's on and go to bed.  So, that's why I'm thinking she might need to continue to grieve and work this out tomorrow w/ me so we can get to the point of starting to meet in the middle?
As most of you know, my fears coming into this adoption were centered more around worrying that Meiying was going to have an undiagnosed special need, similar to what we went thru w/ Eliza.  I had prepared for the grieving aspect.  I guess I wasn't prepared for the all out rejection.  I understand all the psychological aspects of her behaviors and emotions, but it doesn't make it any easier.  This day sucked (sorry) and I'm seriously worried that she will not accept this or move forward because of her grief, her fear and her lack of understanding.  I'm tired, but I don't want to go to bed because I'm afraid to wake up to tomorrow.


Dinn Family said...

Oh Sarah... we are praying for you and Ava. I'm sure you can't wait to get home... it seems from others' experiences that is when she will truely begin to heal. I agree to just keep her distracted until that point. It sounds like she has the kind of personality that it'll all come out in the end anyway (which is good!) At least at home you'll have the support that you need!!

Elizabeth, David, Katie, &Chloe said...

I am so sorry. I can't imagine what you are going through. I think you are doing the right thing by not letting her call her foster parents all the time. Maybe once a day until she leaves. Hopefully you were able to get their address so your daughter can write them letters one day. It is so hard on her to realize that what she knew is no longer there. She is 7 and we would think she should understand what is happening. I think the foster parents tells them what a beautiful thing it is to be able to go to the USA. They are all excited about it and then after a few days have passed they realize that they are not going back to their foster parents. I wish I could help you with what you are dealing with. I do recall while in China Chloe did not like to stay in the room either. What we did was just stay on the go. We did not go back to our room except at night to get a bath and then go to bed. That made it easier. Chloe liked to communicate with the guide which was wonderful in my opinion. I was able to tell the guide what I wanted to her to know so the guide would explain it to Chloe. Chloe played with the other 5 chinese girls and that had a wonderful time. I did see her expressions change when she was only with us in the hotel room. There was a scared look because she would talk and we had no clue what she wanted or was saying. It is a hard situation and you will get through this. It may take your daughter a great deal of time to get through this.

Kristi said...

Just a thought... I think it could benefit you both if you allow Meiying to have some contact with her foster family. I think she needs this to work through her grieving...fading it through the transition period (e.g. maybe allow her 3 calls for 2 days, then 2 calls for 2 days, then 1 call till departure to US, then allow her access to email to them (hopefully they have some way to communicate that won't costs anything). Perhaps you could give her a visual chart of how this is going to work?) I mean, you don't want her to feel grief like a death where all communication suddenly is gone?? Seems like that will make her very angry with you and not help bonding. I think she needs a "bridge" to her new life. Make sense?? I know you know this all and I'm likely not helping you any... Also, I wonder if you had one of those (yeah, sorry, sure this is a big expense) computer translater things if that might help a lot. That would allow you two to have more meaningful conversations to ease her fears. Perhaps someone in the travel group has one that you could borrow a couple of days?? My heart is breaking for you both. She's a sweet girl she's just terrified. Hang in there.

Jean said...

I hope that it is okay that I keep referring to our adoption of our Sarah. between that and the books I've read that is all I know.

Our Sarah was very similar to your Ava. It will be okay just survive China and get home! Our S made it very clear to us that she would never learn english if we wanted t talk to her we would have to learn Chinese.
Our S would have and did behave just like your Ava but we had 2 people so we out numbered her. That gave us more strength and power plus Katie was cute and she loved Katie right away- she did not like me very much but once home I was the cats meow! The rejection does hurt - try to have a sense of humor with it- which you do and remember one on US soil you are the one she knows best!

I watch "all my children"- I love it- it is relaxing! Started watching 40 yrs ago with my mom! I don't see it everyday BUT whenever I can!

The day of the exam S wouldn't get dressed. We missed BKF and almost missed the appt. Our guide had to come to or room and talk to Sarah.

I would probably say go with the group, have fun, just survive and get through the days. Let others interact with her BUT don't let them touch her. so that you can have a break and interact with other adults. once you get home is the teaching time.

our Sarah constantly went against what we told her- she is trying to control the situation and the environment because she has no control.

Ava is showing that she is resilient that is good and will serve her well as she transitions into your family.

Bless you! Hoping today is a better day!
BTW we spent thanksgiving eating cold rice, crying and me sitting in front of the door so she wouldn't run out!


The Vickerman's said...

Hang in there girlfriend!! I know it is a very tough road!!! I know things will be different once you get home but i know that doesn't help now - i do agree with your mother instincts of staying and not touring - it sounds like she needs to grieve and bond to you. I remember how hard it was when we were with the guide - Maylynn just wanted to talk to him and not us etc... And Maylynn also went right from Fmom to us - no orphanage "detox"... praying for you!


Colin and Jill Canada said...

Awww Sarah. I have nothing to say, because you are far more experienced with me, but I am praying so HARD for you and Meiying right now.

I know I'm not experienced but I think she is grieving the right way and I think you are doing the right thing, not letting her do things and setting some ground rules. Seriously. I also think you are right to stay home formt tomorrows excursions with the other familys and just hang out together.

You will do the right thing, you are a wonderful wonderful mother.

Jill xx
Praying. Jill xx

Anonymous said...

Colleen is brain dead so they're taking her off life support.
Victor needs a heart & she is a donor so he might get hers.
Nikki is back, Paul tracked her to the mountains so Ashley didn't actually hit her.
When Ashley saw Nikki, she flipped out so they finally committed her.
Nikki said she has been writing the whole time so apparently Adam has been hiding them.
That's all I know.

Catching Butterflies 3 said...

I'm very sorry. It was so hard with Sarah...very very hard! I don't think they ever showed Sarah our photos once. They dressed her, took her from her nanny and gave her to me. She hated me for 6 months. I don't think this is going to get resolved in China. I think you should relax with the group. The time will go by faster. Being serious can actually make it all worse. I would get out.

HMK said...

A friend of mine passed on your blog to me. I have been through it! If you need to email me when you get home, please do: hollykladder(at)hotmail(dot)com. My daughter was 6.5 at the time of adoption from Ethiopia, but we went through ALL of what you are talking about. Our time in Ethiopia was terrible and heartbreaking; we cried every day, dealt with complete rejection everyday, anger, grief, oppositional behavior; don't even get me started on the plane ride home! All that to say... we are in a REALLY good place now, one year later. It WILL work out. It WILL get better. Others have walked in your shoes and made it through; you will too! Again, feel fee to contact me if you need to!

Mom 2 six said...

Please see my private email that I sent you. I can completely relate !
I thought that I would have to disrupt the adoption it got so bad ! Eli was also given directly to me from his FF.
My email is

Cheryl said...

Oh honey, I don't even know what to say! I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through. For what it's worth, I totally agree with how you're handling EVERYTHING! I'd give you advice, if I knew what advice to give! I think you're going with what your instincts tell you to do and I really think that will win out in the end. When will you see that? Who the hell knows!!! We just got a new computer with Skype. Tell me if you want to talk and when. Our userid is "tom.cheryl.gocke". Sending a HUGE virtual hug and drinking a glass of wine for you (even though it's red).

With love!!

Truly Blessed said...

Sarah, my heart is breaking along with yours, reading this. I see that you have tried to reach me through Skype, and I tried to get you twice also, but no go.

God, I wish I was there to help you. Moreso, I wish Derek could be there to help you, but he needs to be home with Eliza.

Do you have the name of a good attachment therapist back at home? You might try emailing him/her and getting a meeting scheduled for soon after you get home. Also, do you know someone who speaks Mandarin that can help you when you get back home? Maybe call one of the colleges and see if there is someone who can assist you in communicating with her?

I feel so helpless. I want to help and don't have the vaguest idea of how to.

Have you looked up the Older Child Yahoo group and asked others who have BTDT what to do?

Praying as hard as I can...


Sally- That Girl! said...

Just found your blog through Jean's. I have gone back and read every post since you arrived in China. I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. Each day is a new day and when you get home you will be able to work through all of this in the comforts of your own home. I know it doesn't help right now, but you have people praying for you and sending positive thoughts your way. Adopting an older child is not easy, but so worth it when you get past this difficult stage. You have already identified some great qualities about your new daughter. They will shine once you get past the muck! Take care!

Tiffany said...

When I read your posts I feel for each of you SOOOO much.
What an emotional time (in different ways) for each of you.
For Meiying it can't be easy to leave her foster family.. to not understand that what is ahead for her is a family that is going to love her so much.... that her life is going to be good.... that you are an awesome mom.
For you... Sarah you are one VERY strong mama. Taking it all on... away from all that is familiar.... away from family...away from home...etc.
My prayers are with both of you!

Kristi said...

Sarah ...I'm up thinking of you two and hoping that today proves to be much better for the both of you. I think you are holding up amazingly well in a VERY difficult situation. Luckily, you are a tough cookie ..parenting E has taught you so much hasn't it?? I know being Viv's mom has truly taught me more than I could have ever imagined. - You have so many skills for dealing with non desirable behavior that are structured yet kind and effective. Your wisdom and faith will get you through this extremly tough time. Patience and prayer my friend. Hang in there!! You will be home soon and things WILL get better.

Jill said...

Just came over from Jean's blog and wanted to say HANG IN THERE MAMA!! I went back and followed your story and wanted to tell you that you are one amazing chick! The prayer warriors are out in force!
Hugs, Jill

TanyaLea said...

Dear Sarah,

I just linked over here from Jean's blog and wanted to send you a note of encouragement in knowing that you have many people praying for you and this challenging time. My heart is breaking for all that you are having to endure on your own. Going through this storm has got be SO difficult, but I truly believe that if you can stand firm and lean on the Lord and your friends/family to help you through this 'season'...that there will eventually be a rainbow on the other side. You sound like a WONDERFUL mom to me, and your line of thinking sounds like it is filled with much wisdom (thinking of the touring trip and your reasoning for staying behind!) I'm praying that God will shed his grace upon you and give you the strength needed to sustain yourself during this difficult time. Hang in there!!

Sending BIG hugs your way! <><