I think it started Saturday, the day we came home- my eyes were swollen from the THE TRIP. Then, it became a sty. Then, I slept with my eye mask on because Lyric was TERRIFIED of the dark and I had the light on in our room. The next morning, it was worse and I poked around in it too much and voila by this day, DRIVING ME CRAZY so a friend of mine and my mother-in-law came to my rescue with the boys and my other mother-in-law (I have three, it's complicated :) ) drove Lyric and me to the eye doctor. He gave me some eye drops and a "bandage contact." Oh my, was it light sensitive!
"Thoughts on having a daughter:
She is delicate and deliberate. She's quiet and capable of playing by herself. The whole way she plays is different, much more ...subtle. Tickling her is just about barely touching her. She doesn't break things or throw things, she's not LOUD. She follows me around and studies what I do. The first time I used the vacuum I was afraid that she'd be afraid, but instead she studied it for a minute and then came and tried to help me push it."
|She was determined to figure out the trampoline. |
The boys made it seem so easy.
|She LOVED Middle Child.|
|He thought she was pretty nifty, too.|
Wild Child turned 5:
|See the sunglasses? Light Sensitive.|
" 'A-wuh, a-wuh.' Lyric's, 'I feel stress,' cries usually end with me picking her up and soothing, 'Sweetheart, Lyric, Mommy's not leaving you. No one is EVER going to leave you, again. Not EVER, I promise.' And then, I get choked up. We're both a mess. :) "
"I just walked up to my daughter in the hallway, she looked up at me, smiled a big smile, and said, 'MaMa!' <happy sigh>"
"The jet lag is easing...the eye is so frustrating but it's getting better, I may NOT poke it out."
Lyric was a puzzle, her sleep was awful but it was getting better, her behavior in China was either kicking and screaming fits, or giggly. At this point, the fits had subsided, she did seem to be attached to me, although insecurely, and she'd decided that K-Man was okay and would let him hold her and carry her around.
"This evening we went to Publix and she walked around and danced to the music and held my finger...she won't let me get far away but still...K-Man and I looked at one another timidly and said, 'Okay, where is the train wreck that we were expecting?' "
One thing that I could not take for granted was how hard this had been on the boys -they were whiny, they fought with each other, they were clingy -particularly Wild Child, and they back-talked us- particularly Middle Child, they were OVER THE TOP. Also, the fact that school was suppose to start back soon and that they were bored (with a capital B) -and nervous- was not lost on me.
"So, after seeing the third eye doctor, and being prescribed another antibiotic and a steroid, this eye MAY be feeling better. On a happier note, I do NOT seem to have the 'Chinese Funk' in my eye. That's good, right?"
If someone EVER tries to tell you that little kids don't feel intense emotions, that they don't grieve, that they forget the trauma as soon as it happens and move on...kick 'em and say, "Nuh-uh! I've seen the pictures." (And these pictures are why it's taken me a while to get this blog post done, they just squeeze my heart until I feel like I can't breathe.)
Lyric kept getting stuck in the hallway just before her bedroom, she would just stand and stare into space. I investigated and realized that she was stopping and staring at a photo that we have of her and her foster mom, it hung right at eye level for her. So, I decided that it was time <gulp> and I took down the picture that we have of her and her whole foster family and handed it to her.
She sorta collapsed over the top of it.
It was subtle, it would have been very easy to miss, to have stepped over her and thought to myself, Thank God, she's quiet. Maybe now, I can get the laundry done. I didn't. I sat down with her and if I hadn't she'd have learned that I was not accessible, that her emotions in the large scheme of things really don't matter that much and to shove them down. Instead, I sat down with her on our hard wooden floor in the hallway and, I hope, taught her that she is important, that she matters. I am SO GLAD that I did because if I had stepped over her I'd have missed this. This is what life is all about.
These photos are still hard for me to look at.
She studied that photo. And studied it. She patted it and talked to me about it in her sweet little Lyric language, she waved her little hands around over the top of it, she made these little pushing motions with her hands between the picture and me, she very intensely was communicating something to me. She looked at me, she looked at it, she talked. She moaned. It was just heart-breaking.
I had no idea what to do next, I just waited to see what she'd do and hoped that I was smart enough to figure out what she needed from me.
(I've spent some time, this morning, trying to figure out how to explain how her moaning sounded. I can't. Every description that I can come up with seems melodramatic and overly emotional on a nice, sunny, morning in the middle of September. It would, however, be entirely accurate. It was the sound of...sacred brokenness. A sound that no two year old should EVER make.)
Finally Wild Child found us in the hall and crawled into my lap, she immediately got jealous and made her fussy noises at him. It was like she was trapped between that picture and my lap. (Oh, so symbolic.) He reached out and tried to touch the picture, she got mad. Mad? She practically barked at him (she never gets mad about sharing anything - except me- but this picture DEFINITELY belonged to her.) I couldn't take her pain anymore and so I pulled her into my lap next to Wild Child, with the picture. She looked at it a bit more, fussed at Wild Child, looked at the picture, and finally put it down but with "warnings" to Wild Child (I don't know how to explain that other than Wild Child and I both got it, DO NOT TOUCH!) and I moved it into her room, on the floor, where she could reach it whenever she needed to reach it.
Bless her poor, torn-up, heart.
|July 17 in Nanning, Guangxi, China|
<gulp> Oh, my sweet baby girl.
This was actually the day that the adoption became final and she's looking at the SAME photo. I remember thinking, Well, she's stuck on that photo but she doesn't seem that upset by it. Silly, Mommy. The experts call it "dissociation," she was literally emotionally numb because she couldn't process the emotions. They hurt too much. She really was stuck, in every way. In this photo, she's escaped to a place inside her own head, far, far, far away.)
And, like any kid, she felt strongly, she reacted strongly to her feelings, and then she moved on. (Surely, this is MUCH healthier than what we do -deny, deny, deny, run too hard, work too much, pretend we don't feel it, and then...crash.)
She had a leisurely lunch (she was finally beginning to eat) and ate lots of different stuff, although she did still seem to prefer noodle-shaped things -IE green beans.
|That afternoon I caught Wild Child and Lyric playing together,|
and later I saw him tickling her and singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider."
They were slowly making friends. :)
This morning, Lyric picked up her picture and, as I was already sitting on the floor, she walked backwards toward me with her butt sticking out- the universal "kid" for "hold me." We sat and looked at her photo and she moaned a bit. Not nearly as much as the day before but some. This time it didn't take me so by surprise and I found my voice and I told her, " I know, I am so sorry. Just so sorry." She kept looking behind it so I showed her that it came out of the frame and soon she was more interested in putting it in and out of the frame than the picture itself.
That afternoon, we traveled to Birmingham to visit the International Adoption Clinic and they did lots of lab work (6 vials of blood, took three of us to get it done and she fought the whole time, one of the lab techs said, "She's a little fighter, she's been pulling against me the whole time." :) I said, "These kids have to be or they wouldn't survive." It's true.)
We also spoke with the family therapist who gave us some pointers but said, overall, that things looked excellent. "The way that y'all do it, she should be fine." !!! This from a woman who'd spent the last 45 minutes with Lyric, me, K-Man, and BOTH boys, stuck in a little room where we'd been for at least an hour before she'd shown up. :)
She did say that Lyric's "a-wuh" was a sign of stress. She also said Lyric definitely looked like a grieving child to her. The constant going from K-Man to me, anxiety when doors were opened or closed, the fear that I would leave, and the constant need to be reassured -all grief and response to trauma.
We talked about the picture of the foster family and the therapist said that the fact that Lyric comes to me for comfort while she grieves and that I will grieve with her is a VERY good thing. (So, that's what I'm doing? Grieving with her? Thank God because it felt like I was just floundering around, hoping desperately to do the right things for my daughter's broken heart. There is no handbook for this.)
|That night, she met Step-Son and Girlfriend K.|