Welcome to No Place Like Home.

This blog is a place for information, answers and support for families who are considering international adoption, waiting or are home with their children. My name is Kimberley and I am the coordinator of this site. This blog is truly a network of families who are willing to support others along their journey to their child. The blogs listed on my sidebar are arranged by country and these families have volunteered to act as a resource to anyone who needs one. These are amazing people who are dedicated to helping families who are on the journey to their children in another country. If you are looking for someone to talk with or if you have a blog and would like to be available to help others, please feel free to e-mail me at timnkim@gmail.com.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Meeting for the First Time...

This is my friend Lynn from 'Somewhere in the Sun'. I followed her journey as she went to China to adopt her beautiful daughter Olivia. Her honesty with her experience overwhelmed me. I think that it is easy for us to believe that our waiting child is just as excited to meet us as we are to see them for the first time. The reality is that often times they are afraid. They do not speak the same language that we do and they are not prepared for what is about to happen to them. Everything they have known is changing. Lynn was kind enough to allow me to link her travel blog 'Bringing Olivia Home'. Regardless of the country you are adopting from, I strongly recommend that you read her story.

Today her daughter is a beautiful and wonderfully fun and loving child. Do not be discouraged by the piece below. Not all children respond the same way, but many do have some difficulty adjusting during the early weeks. Use this information to prepare yourself for when you will meet your child for the first time. Lynn was very insightful and extremely patient when interacting with Olivia in the beginning and I think that it helped her transition smoothly. I learned a lot from this blog.

If any of you have documented your first experiences with your child, I would love to be able to link it to the blog. I think the more Gotcha Day accounts that people read, the better prepared they will be on the day when they meet their child for the first time.

Her is an excerpt:

The First Day

It's 2 am so of course that means I'm awake! I can't seem to sleep more than 4 hours.
So, on to the good stuff! When Olivia came into the room I, being the devoted mother that I am, looked right at her and didn't recognize her! Then Mary, my guide, started taking pictures and was saying "That's your baby". It really took me a minute to realize it was her! The pictures told the story but there were so many more of her crying. She really had a hard time. She refused to look at me once she realized what was going on. She would "steal" glances at me. Once we got into the car she turned and looked deep into my eyes. Her face was expressionless but her eyes spoke volumes. They were saying "You may have me, but you can't make me like you". She is so precious I can't stand it!!

Back at the hotel she got to see Blake aka Baba on Skype. She actually waved a little to him. It was obvious she recognized him from his picture. She was fascinated with seeing him. Same with Ben, Jackson and Joe.

She really did okay for the most part but she's so sad. She refused to let me take off her coat or shoes. Now you can tell from the pictures that she was HEAVILY bundled. As time went on she began to sweat. But she screamed if I even attempted to take them off. After I took her to the bathroom I managed to get the coat off finally. She won't play with ANY of the toys that I took when I met her. Only the ones that remained in the room. She HATES her doll. She LOVES tv. I found a kids channel and when they sing or dance she sways back and forth and softly sings. Occasionally she will laugh or talk. She has the sweetest voice.

I thought she might feel better if I gave her the toys that the foster mother sent with her. They are the ones that we sent to her. When she saw them laying on the bed she grabbed her coat and started putting it on very quickly. She then gathered all of her little toys in her arms and headed for the door. I nearly lost it. It just broke my heart. I knew that I had to get the coat and shoes away from her. She obviously thought that as long as she had her coat and shoes on she was leaving. It would have been worse to let her continue to think that she was going back home. It was just prolonging her grief. It was the hardest thing to take that coat off of her while she screamed and held on to it with all of her might. I quickly hid the coat and toys. All except the purse. I could not pry her fingers loose. So, she took the purse and headed to the door. She screamed and screamed and screamed. Then she screamed some more. She jumped up and down and yelled something over and over. Then she started knocking on the door. It was so incredibly sad. At first I tried to comfort her but she would have none of that. She pushed her hand at me and yelled something....obviously "go away!"
So, I did. I sat on the chair and just let her cry for about 5 minutes. I felt very strongly that I should not force myself on her and that she just needed some time. Then I slowly walked over and picked her up and she didn't fight me. I got her interested in the tv and that was it.
I managed to take the other 5 layers of clothes off and put her pajamas on without incident. She still won't look at me though. It's so comical to see her glances. Once, I managed to do something that she thought was funny but oh how she tried to hide it. She turned her head all around to keep me from seeing her smile!

When it came time for bed I turned the lights out and laid her on the bed with me. She started screaming. I gave her the bottle and she laid down to drink it. When she was done she scooted as far away from me as she could to the other side of the bed and rolled over. I scooted up against her and she let me stay! She is learning that she needs me. Soon she will love me. She was asleep in seconds and has slept peacefully.

I remember when I was reading my friend Jeanette's blog about when she adopted her daughter. I hoped that we would have as many prayers said for us as they did and that Olivia would adjust as well as Elizabeth did. I can tell you that we do have those prayers! It is so obvious and I'm so grateful to each one of you who has lifted us before the Lord. Olivia is grieving appropriately and showing signs of strength and courage. I'm so very proud of her!

5 comments:

Somewhere In The Sun said...

Oh wow! Reading this again, I was flooded with emotions. I look at that picture of Olivia at the door and my heart breaks again. Even more so now because I love her so much more! But, I also know how the story ends now! :)

I agree that reading travel blogs is an excellent idea for waiting parents. The children are all different but so many things are the same. It's good to get ideas about what worked for others and what didn't.

Thanks for sharing our story.

~Lynn

The Byrd Family said...

It really is so very different for each family but parents should educate themselves and even read the "worst" of the situations also. Emma Jane (South Korea) came home to us at 23 months and had lived with her birthfamily for 19 months of her life. I had read and read about night terrors, grieving, attachment etc. but reading is nothing like living in this emotional spiritual battle.

She was happy and giggly but very, very controlling during the day but extreme night terrors at night which switched to day terrors that I called "out of body experiences" to where I couldn't even reach her by voice...she was just gone.

Then almost one year later we were remodeling our home and she had to begin sleeping with her sister and I and everything changed. No more terrors, no more controlling. She trusted me and I guess sleeping with me made her realize I was not going to leave her. I told her every day from the moment she came home, "Emma will always stay with Mommy...Mommy will never leave Emma". Now she tells me that....just blesses my heart.

It could be a very tough transition and it could be very easy like our Lottie (China) but all of it just takes prayer, time and patience. We are so excited to finally meet our babies that I think we tend to forget the strange new world they are being forced into. I can look back at Emma's pictures when she first came home and then at the one year mark being home and there is a HUGE difference in her face. She is relaxed.....and she is happy....she is with her forever family.

Ashley Winters said...

Your new blog is beautiful. I would love to be a part of it. Thanks for asking.

Ashley

LaLa said...

When we met Annslee she was smiley and happy and Daddy could make her laugh easily. The worst part for me was that she wanted NOTHING to do with me...for the first three days I didn't even hold her...I was patient and now of course she is Mama's girl : ) I thought in China she wasn't grieving her foster family at all and was doing great but now like Kim said, when I look back on her pics in China I see a totally different girl than I see now. She was definitely stunned in most of our pics in China and the first few months home. I think it is important to not set yourself up for some fairytale moment on the day you meet...We had been waiting for her for years but she was NOT waiting for us...she was perfectly happy with her foster family so we really shook her world up.
I always worry when I read blogs of waiting families and they write about "their child waiting for them in China or wherever" They need to realize that their child is not waiting for them...it will take patience and time to become a family but it is worth every moment!

Jewels of My Heart said...

Oh, she is so beautiful.... I can't imagine how heartbreaking for both mother and daughter.... we dream of what the first moments will be like.... we pray for our child.... we hope they will be comforted and not afraid or grieving.... but we must prepare ourselves as much as possible for a reaction from our child that is very possible... for their sake.