Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reality Setting In

 So, overall, yesterday (our second day together) started out OK.  We did paperwork in the morning and then came back to the hotel with our guide, Emily, and she took us shopping across the street at the fancy mall for Ershu's shoes.  We had lunch, then we came back to the hotel for a nap, and Emily went home, again with the reminder to call if we needed her for anything.  Overall Ershu was pleasant, but not as excited and animated as the first day.  She was quiet and kind of along for the ride. We also noticed that she wasn't really talking to us or trying to communicate with us.  She woke up from nap fine, and watched some tv with Daddy and Mateo, while I was reading reviews about where we could try to eat.  Here she is laughing about something funny on tv. 

 Then Josh and I felt bad for the kids all cooped up with not much to do and they were getting hungry.  We decided to venture out and walk around a little hoping to find some (safe) food to eat (we would like to avoid traveler's diarrhea if at all possible, but still want to experience great local food!!)  We were out longer than we expected, and throughout the walk I noticed more and more Ershu wouldn't look at me or hold my hand.  Then when we finally found dinner...(we did a lot of pantomiming that 3 of us did not want spicy and Josh did- nothing like a surprise dinner ordered by someone else)  she ate quickly not looking at anyone (she looked kind of like she was pouting...and would reluctantly look at us when we would try to communicate with her) and then when she was done she turned away from us in her seat and waited for us to finish.  It is so hard to know exactly what is wrong when you can't communicate!  Is she tired..especially of walking?  Is she mad because she really didn't like what we "ordered" her for dinner?  Is she frustrated because she doesn't understand us and we don't understand her?  Is she sad and missing her foster home and family?  Or all of the above!  And really there is not much we could do at that moment.  As we headed home and were crossing the street she started smiling, so then we think well maybe she was just tired and didn't want to be out anymore.  Once we got to the room though, you could still see she was upset. So when I motioned that we call Emily she looked relived.  She comes over and sits by me, and, as I am dialing and explaining to Emily what was going on, Ershu starts crying and before long (and all during the time she is listening to Emily) she is sobbing.  When I got back on the phone with Emily, she said that she tried to tell her that it will get better and easier for her in a few months when she learns English better and tried to comfort her that way.  She told me to call her back if Ershu wanted to tell her anything, or she could help more.  Ershu probably sobbed for 20 more minutes.  At first she just sat their crying while Josh and I were on either side of her, rubbing her back and saying things to comfort her.  And then I realized it probably be more of a help if she knew what we were saying, so I got up and started typing a few things Josh had said into the translate app on our laptop.  She listened and seemed to understand.  Overall we were just trying to tell her it was ok to be sad.  Lastly, I typed a question asking if she missed her mom (foster) and she looked at me and nodded and started crying even harder.  (We really already knew that this was why she was sad, but we new it was important for her to know that we understood why she was crying and sad)  At this point it is so hard to know what to do, because as a mom you want to hold her and comfort her, but she has been pushing me away today and I want to respect her space too, and not push myself on her.  But at this point I sat on the bed across from her and just grabbed both her hands and pulled her up and over, into my arms, and I just held her tight and rocked her! She let me ... as far as I could tell (she has tight, stiff muscles in her arms and she was sobbing and I was holding her tight). After a while I was thinking I would relax my hold and try to look at her face, but she would not let go, so I just hummed to her while she cried.  But after a while she was practically hyperventalating, so we tried to distract her with some juice.  That worked.  She calmed down enough to drink and then seemed worn out and she just leaned on my chest for a little bit.  Then we asked her if she was ready for bed (with our communication book) and she said no, so we colored as a family and she seemed to cheer up.  Then we washed her feet in the tub, and she was thrilled and amused that Mateo wanted to too.  So they both were sitting on the edge of the tub washing feet.  A sweet moment!  She got tucked into bed with kisses and love and she slept very soundly!  After they were asleep, Josh and I talked and we thought it was very important that starting tomorrow, we needed to not loose this opportunity with Emily to get to know Ershu and her background as much as possible.  Also, to spend sometime preparing her and describing what our life will be like back home together.  So we made a list of things to try to fit in and talk about during the next few days.
This morning she woke up and was OK through breakfast...though she seems to do better with Josh and she challenges me a little more.  Then we went to see the pandas!  I will post next on that.  As we were driving there (about 45 min) she looked more and more upset, or tired...not looking at me again.  In the park she didn't want to hold my hand and kept slipping out of my hand.  She wanted to hold Mateo's hand, but Mateo is always holding our guide's hand (that is a whole other post in and of itself!)  Eventually in some of the steep bumpy stairs, I just made her hold my hand, and she did not like that.  (Have I mentioned she is a very determined and strong young lady! :))  Emily backed me up and told her over and over to go hold my hand.  Once we were through some of the safety issues and I felt like she wasn't fighting me so much I let go of her hand.  It is tough for me...when to let her have her space and learn to trust me, and when to hold my ground...sometimes for safety, sometimes so she will know that I am her Mom and she will need to listen to me.  Toward the end of the park, the last time the guide told her to hold my hand instead of hers...I asked Mateo to let go of Emily and to come hold Ershu's other hand and that seemed to make her happy.  (I think Mateo is getting way too much special attention from Emily and just about everyone else! eyeroll...he is just lapping it up...but I am concerned about how it is making Ershu feel...again this will be in the other post sometime, but we are working on the part we can control)  At the end we stopped at the souvenir shop and bought a few souvenirs.  Ershu showed me a panda purse she really liked and a bracelet that we bought her, but there were a few other things we said no to.  (also, nerve-racking, because I am not sure how Ershu will react, or what Emily thinks of this)  One of the things I said no to (in English and Mandarin), Ershu shortly went and showed Emily, but before it went to far I mentioned to Emily that I had already said no, and that was the end of that.  No big deal. 
Things stayed about the same until half way back to the hotel, Ershu starts smiling at me and seems happier.  When we got back to the hotel we dropped things in the hotel went to lunch.  Today our guide is staying the whole day with us because we decided to go to the Sichuan Opera tonight, and she is going to take us.  We were so excited she was going to stay with should hopefully help us communicate better and learn much more about Ershu! 
 We knew to expect this reaction to us and this change/transition in her life.  And we know it could be a lot worse!  It is just plain hard though, to watch your sweet child go through this, and to know how to best help her through it! So we are praying, and we know you are all praying too.  We trust that God will help us know what to do and will be with us through it!

 Here is our coloring time together last night.  Ershu is a great color-er...and one of the first thing I noticed about her coloring pages when they handed me a couple from the orphanage, is that she colors everything, including that background!  My initial thought was:  It was beautiful! But,wow, she must really like to color! I would never take the time to color everything like that before I move on to the next thing.  During our family coloring session, I thought I was done coloring my page because I had colored all the Hello Kittys, but she insisted I color the background completely blue, before I could be done.  I was thinking about this later last night, that the difference between us was that I take coloring in a coloring book for granted!  How spoiled we all are sometimes!!  She colors everything because 1 or 2 sheets ripped out of a coloring book, shared by too many kids...might be all she has for a long time, so she is not going to be wasteful, she is going to use every last spot she has left on that page!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! Your experience is amazing. I know it's hard at times, but I'm so happy you are willing to share it with us. Continue planting seeds :)