Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Dark Underbelly of Adoption...

I know, Emily and I have already posted twice in the last couple of hours, but as the three of us sat around our hotel room this afternoon, looking for something other than old hat games and books, and Chinese television (wow, it's really cheesy) to distract us, I realized there's something Em and I have never told you all. For that matter, maybe no adoptive people have ever talked about it.... It's embarassing and hard to admit, but we feel we owe you the truth, and it's this.



Lions aren't the only creatures with the propensity to eat their young.



Now, I'll explain...



Emily and I were sitting in Lucy's, a western style restraunt here in Guanzhou, which specifically caters to Americans, as there are about 6000 of us who travel to this city every uear to adopt. It was about an hour ago, which made it 7pm our time, and it was hopping with lots and lots of Americans with their little Chinese "bundles of joy". Well, some were bundles of joy; others were bundles of 150 decibal sirens, blowing out the eardrums of more peoples than a Kiss concert could ever accomplish, and without amps to boot. Lots of crying. Lots of screaming. Lots of parents at their wits end. We all thought we'd come here to China and adopt a little one and them, bam! everything would be fine. Somehow, the kids would all, regardless of mental processing abilities due to age, be rejoicing and thankful, looking forward to their new lives to come.



Ha. Ha. Ha.



We look at things with rose colored glasses sometimes. There are a lot of things we don't think of. We don't realize sometimes that there is trauma, and it doesn't go away after the first night. We don't take into acccount that we're still jet lagged, and as such, are not as "capable" to handle things as we could be otherwise. We don't take into account the week to three weeks before the adoption that we spend in country, every thing we do is a small challenge, either to our language, or our cultural, or our patience skills. These small challenges add up. Struggling to order food from someone who doesn't speak English very well, calling the front desk of the hotel with a simple question that take 5 minutes to communicate, having your child insist on something which you don't understand, only to have a local laugh and say 'he doesn't like the water' and look at you with a mixture of pity and humor....these all add up. Every adopitve parent here just wants to go home; back to a place of comfort and control. We're all strung out.

Here's another secret we'll let you in on.... If we're having such a tough time with so much, then why do we have so many positive posts, you're wondering. I'll tell you: we're manic right now.... Everything is so crazy and overwhelming that any moment of peace or normalcy, and I mean any, is a breath of fresh air and cause to celebrate. "Look, Jesse didn't scream when we washed his hands! Woo Hoo! Let's post a blog and tell evrybody how great this is!!!

Let me tell you what it's like to sleep at night with our new son....very easy. Sounds good, right? Well, sometimes not so much. You see, when we put Jesse down for the evening, it's about 7:30 or so. We turn off nearly all the lights, lie him down, crawl into bed ourselves and 'pretend' to sleep. Well, we last for about 5 minutes, then read for about 5 minutes, then we're out too. So we go to bed around, umm say, 7:45 latest. We're emotionally and mentally drained, so the dropping off part happens quick. Then around 1 am I'm wide awake. I try to sleep and the rest of the evenings is full of wierd dreams, and I mean wierd. I'd tell you about them, but if any officials found out about my very odd subconscious, they'd yank my liscense to adopt, or whatever the heck official parental standing I have. Emily tosses and turns, shivers and sweats the night through. So yeah, we sleep quick, but it doeasn't last. Come morning-time, Jesse is wide awake, and Emily and I are like extras from some Cesar Romero living dead movie.

Please, don't take any of this the wrong way, we are having the time of our lives, but things can be difficult. When we look at all of the other paretns though, two things go through our heads: one, we're glad we're not the only people in this boat, and two; we could have tings a lot worse. Jesse really is adjusting great; he's very happy and curious, and is growing closer to his mommy every day. We are blessed to have such a great son, and we know it, and those are the things we most want to convey to everyone, but sometimes, it's also nice to vent. So thank you all for taking the time to read this, and I know we've said this before, but we really do love and appreciate the support you give to us: it helps us more than we could probably let you know.

All right, I'm going to bed now, probably to dream about crazy Brazilian dolphins dancing to Aerosmith, but don't tell anyone...

5 comments:

Angel said...

Well... just so you know... and I think you do... you are SO SO SO SO normal. It's just CRAZINESS! Each day gets a little less weird and then begins to approach normal until finally it equals a family. I think you two are doing so great. Hugs, Angel

michele nicholson said...

I think that's why adoptive families become so close... you try to share this incredibly amazing life altering wonderfully horrifying experience that's almost impossible to convey until at last you just want to say, "ya had to be there." When you do talk to those people who "have been there" you just start the sentence and before you complete your thought you're both either laughing or crying; they're right there with you. Anyway, I'm loving your blog and, I GET IT!!!!!
Love,
Michele

Michael said...

Guys, seriously, I have no idea the stress you are going through...going from zero to four year old in a matter of days is unimaginable to me. But just so you know you are not the only ones to contemplate eating their young...not by a long shot :). Stay strong, you guys are amazing! Now, I have to see if the oldest has tenderized enough...

Anonymous said...

seth says: opt instead for the stuffed mushrooms, chix fingers, and crab rangoons... and fill your pockets at the buffet table, you got a long flight home ahead of you...

Anonymous said...

Ruth and Scott Brown said..."We totally know how you are feeling. It doesn't matter if your child is 4 hours or 4 years old...the things that you mentioned are things that every parent goes through. We all have to interpret our child in some way. We are so excited for your arrival home and can't wait to show Jesse all of the wonderful things about Sanford. Happy Mother's Day, Emily! You're doing a great job!"