In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Whoa Nellie!

Meeraf at home, instead of just hanging out as a picture on our fridge!
Sunnie and Meeraf playing in Ethiopia.
The car ride from home from the airport.

I want to go back and talk about my trip, because although I NEVER want to do that again, it really was a great trip. It was so fun to take someone there who had never been to a place like Ethiopia. It was so fun to go with my best friend from high school, Sunnie. It's not even like we keep in touch all that well and it's not like the plan for her to go was years in the making. It was a 9th inning call that was made within a few weeks of traveling.

If you know me well, you know that laughing takes me a long way. Life without laughing for me, is a bit like life without water. I have to laugh. It is what makes everything OK. When we boarded the plane from Denver to Frankfurt, we were already doubled over with laughter at the Italian guy next to me who snored louder than a buzz saw before we were even in the air and that trend continued throughout the whole trip. Of course, as the trip went on, it was mixed in with crying and temper tantrums and boundary testing, etc. . . . , but the laughter kept me sane. We were also, so beyond lucky to travel with Steve and Kelly, with whom I'm sure they are still thinking, "what would those girls have done without us." On the flights home, we put Steve in charge and he took up the challenge with great resolve and a smile on his face. So, thanks Steve - we would probably still be in the Sudan if you were not there to help us out! And thanks Scott, for letting Sunnie go with me.

At this very moment, I could use a little laughter in my life. The honeymoon is officially over and this has been the hardest day so far. Before today, I kinda thought that maybe we were one of the lucky ones. Sure, she was shunning me, but she was in love with Dave and from time to time she would give me a little encouragement and let me in a little. She smiled, she played, she shared, she was funny and silly, but BOY HOWDY, today has been a rough one. Hopefully, it is a growing one, though. Earlier today she had a melt down over washing her hands, so I picked her up, which sent her into a new level of melt down, complete with hitting and biting, but I just held her tight. Maybe it was the wrong thing to do, but after a slew of angry Amharic, she relaxed and then in a completely different manner, she began to cry. Not the angry cry that she had carried on with for quite a while, but a real sad sad cry. It was like two totally different languages. One of anger and one of pain. Oh - this is hard stuff. Mostly, for her, but it takes a lot out of us, too. I can't tell you how much I am dreading Dave going back to work. If he didn't have to go, then I would feel like this is totally doable, but I'm getting a little nervous. She will let him do anything, and me do nothing. Although, she will let me do whatever after she throws a little fit. It's just that I'm not sure I can handle a little fit, every time I need to put a shoe on, brush teeth, put lotion on, give her medicine, bathe her, pick her up, feed her, etc. . . I am so grateful that many well seasoned adoptive parents have told me that it is normal that a child attaches to the dad first, due to the fact that they have never had a dad that has hurt them, only a mom and a couple of female nannies who have left painful wounds in their tiny hearts. Well, that's about all I can muster about now, so I'm signing off.

OK, so I never sent that last post, so I'll just continue for a minute now. It is now 3 days later from the time I wrote the previous stuff. The next day was GREAT! She was so smiley, would let me help her, she played, and she didn't recoil every time I went to touch her. The hope is back! Whew!

Then yesterday was another pretty hard day, but kind of what I expected. Dave went to work the whole day. Spencer had a fever, but didn't want to stay in bed, Leah is getting another cold and I think Maci Meeraf thought she gave in a little too much yesterday. Under those circumstances, I think it was impossible to have a good day. We actually had a pretty good morning, but the afternoon was a train wreck. It was mostly Spence and Leah that were acting out, but Maci Meeraf was certainly keeping her distance from me. It felt awful, because I'm supposed to be providing this safe, cozy, comfortable place for Maci, but Spence and Leah were fighting, crying and falling apart and I had no back up. I found myself giving in to all my kids, because I couldn't risk multiple melt downs by everyone. Terrible - I know! It was the worst day possible for Dave to go back to work. It feels frustrating that Dave has saved a million vacation days for this very time, but he can't even use them, due to circumstances at work. Anyway, now I am whining. I know these posts are not terribly imaginative and just kind of informative, but I just want to keep people informed, I guess?

Today - it is only 7:58 on Friday and who knows what the day will hold. Please God - let it be better than yesterday!


Emily said...

left you a note on FB- but please call me 593-8568.. i have been there- i've had 2 rough adoptions-- amy's i was not prepared for and made HUGE mistakes. noah's i was ready for but it was still hard.. you can come and vent and play :) people who have not been there can smile and say "hang in there" but they don't know-

Sally from CA said...

One of the best things I ever heard about parenting was that when a child is acting up or being their worst self is the time they need the most love. Not that you give in to them when they are acting up, but it helps a little to keep it in mind.
You are doing great, Holly. Can you hire a high school girl or someone from your church for some help, maybe in the afternoons? It's good to just have that scheduled, and then maybe have a little time for yourself. Maybe even a few afternoons a week. I know you teach piano, but hopefully not every day. Hang in there!

Lara Lynn Lewis said...

You are not a whiner! What you just wrote was the story of our first summer with Ian at our house down to the last detail of the holding tantrum. I know that cry too. Instead of the mad screaming, it's so sorrowful. Not that you can hear anymore, but it's totally different. I'm sorry that everyone was melting down besides Maci. The whole thing is hard on everyone. Spence and Leah's honeymoon with her is over too, I'm guessing. Things will get better, but it really is hard for a while when it starts that way. You ARE providing safety and security for her, but it's so shocking to her system that it's awful for her. Imagine chaos being normal and love and stability feeling terrible and scary. Ugh. It just takes time, but different amounts for each kid. Keep talking to Spence and Leah about it and let them know that it's ok if they don't like her sometimes. Love is there all of the time, but like can come and go. They might feel like they have to like her all of the time. They don't even get along with eachother all of the time, but she's new and they didn't expect all of this! You are doing great, Holly. On the bright side, you are getting a full body work out without yoga! Hang in there. God is right there with all of you when things are so rough. :)

Lara Lynn Lewis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mama said...

I posted recently about some things that worked for us (our son is 3 1/2 now and was 2 3/4 when he joined our family).

The biggest things that helped were:
-wearing him in a carrier as often as possible (we used a Boba carrier and he LOVED it, it really helped him calm down and feel safer and less overstimulated)
-cocooning completely
-reading "The Connected Child" and "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child" several times

You can do this! It's an amazing journey, but definitely a hard one!

Anonymous said...

This also might not be related entirely to you or her. If she came from Ajuuja Orphanage in Awassa, there are now children who have been home long enough from that orphanage to feel safe enough and begin talking in English about abuse suffered there. These children have also had rough transitions into their adopted families. In a nutshell, it's pretty devestating, be alert for signs of trauma. Try searching for some Ajuuja families who have been home since late 2009/early 2010 Just FYI.