Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Early days, or the universal language of... Barbies

It has been a long day. It began brightly enough with R. and Y. actually interacting with their Barbie dolls. This will amuse some of my close friends. My older children never had Barbies. Ever. Yet two days ago we bought one for Y. at the Walmart. I knew that R. really loves them, and it turns out that Y. does as well. (You don't need a common language to know what a child likes in a store.) It seemed expedient to purchase one for Y. since I was pretty sure that R. was going to be arriving with one. (Some it turns out.) Barbie seems to be the thing that get these girls over the hump of getting along.

The morning was spent doing paperwork... signing the official adoption documents and then heading to the notary office. Three times through this and I'm still a little unclear about what the notary does, except it costs a lot of money and I think they make official documents that we must never lose in our child's lifetime.

Coming out of the office where we signed the official adoption papers

Inside the notary office

After a quick lunch, it was time for some of the families to travel to the city of our children's orphanages to apply for the child's passport. For us this meant a 2 1/2 hour drive in a van, followed by at least an hour hanging around yet another police station, and then getting right back in the van for another 2 1/2 hour drive. We were all tired by the end of it. Tired and cranky. Myself included. (If I'm being truthful, myself most of all.)

P. did teach Y. how to blow a bubble with gum in the van. The time was not a total waste.

Of course, as we got closer to the hotel, Y. announces that she needs to go to the bathroom. The trouble was, we were caught in this daily traffic jam.


(That's our hotel there on the left.)

It was touch and go there for a while, and J. and I came very close to deciding, when the traffic was at a standstill again, to just open the door and take care of business right there. Thankfully, we did not have to resort to this and with a final mad dash into the hotel lobby, made it in time.

I'm pretty sure that Plan B, would not have endeared my daughter to me any more than what we already have going. Currently, I am low man on the totem pole, with P. being tops followed by J. She is pleasant enough to me, but I am not a person to be completely trusted at this point. I will be honest and say that this is very difficult. It is not unexpected and I am adoption- and trauma-informed enough to know why and that it is very common, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant. 

On the flip side is R., who thinks I am the best thing since noodles and is the velcro child. We are working on some appropriate personal boundaries because otherwise my claustrophobia will start to get set-off. This, too, is not unexpected and we knew R.'s tendencies before we met her. 

And here is where I feel I need to be honest, because all of this is so common and my reactions to it are so common. It's just hard. We're on day 10 of traveling, with some pretty emotional and life-changing days thrown in. Even though the girls have been sleeping, this is a fatiguing journey we have undertaken, and fatigue does not help matters at all. So, if you are contemplating, or in the middle of something similar, I want to say, it's normal. Hard, but normal. There is no such thing as an instant relationship; love at first sight is a fantasy. Love and care and real relationships are built over time on the basis of small, everyday occurrences. Even if things seem great, the reason people refer to a honeymoon period in adoption is that there is no basis to the relationship yet, and that still needs to be built. That basis comes when you deal with all the stuff of life, the good stuff, the hard stuff, and everything in between, together.

Adoption travel is hard because you are in the in-between times. Your old life, the old normal, has suddenly vanished with the arrival of the new person (or persons). Your new life has just begun, but it's not the real thing yet. You are not home, you are not with your whole family (usually), and nothing is familiar. It is something you do what you can to get through. 

This is not the usual chipper, happy post, but it is still a part of the story. Am I sorry we have undertaken this journey? No, of course not. But the path to a new normal is not always smooth and it is often tiring, even with the best behaved of children. 

The day ended better. We had dinner, which helped everyone's spirits immeasurably and the girls are now tucked into bed. I will be following in not too long and am hoping I will sleep well. Tomorrow we have nothing to do; it is a free day. The first truly free day we've had since leaving home. We will take our time, eat a leisurely breakfast, and maybe do some walking outside if the weather isn't horrible. It will do us all good to not sit and wait in government offices or have to ride from one place to another.

1 comment:

Alex and Riann said...

So thankful to be following along...what a joy to hear your perspective and to "taste and see" it all through your eyes, the nits and grits of travel and God's goodness. Thinking of you all

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