Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Early Days Home

The early days home (maybe the first one to one and a half weeks) are a blur now that I try to look back on them.  I feel like I say this a lot about our adoption process, but it was hard.  Not the kind of hard that makes you give up and run, but the kind of hard that makes you feel really rewarded once you press through it.  We had a lot to overcome in those early days home.  And it was hard.  Chaos.  Disastrous.  Just like it would be any time you bring a new child into the family.  Routines had to change.  Structure of the home had to change.  It was a lot of change...and stretching....and growing and some of that was easier than other parts.

First, we had jet lag to deal with.  China is 13 hours ahead at this time of year.  That is a huge change in the 'ole sleep pattern to make with a 23 month old child.  Second, Hannah had never slept outside our bed (or the foster parent's bed) and now that we were home, I wanted to change that (she now sleeps in a pack 'n play, in our room, right where she can see us).  Hannah also had been the only child in her foster home and from the photos we have of that home, there did not seem to be a true abundance of toys.  Now we are home...and there are more toys than she knows what to do with...and three other kids who want to share them.  So we're overstimulated by the toys, trying to learn how to share, and trying to learn how to play with them correctly, period.  It was a lot for her senses to take in.

Our home was the third location we had taken Hannah in two weeks time.  Two hotels in China, several flights, many van rides, and now, suddenly our home.  She did not know what to think and was not settled with it.  She seemed on edge and angry, probably wondering when we would pack up and leave again.  Her anger with us reached a boiling point in these early days.  We were all very tired and emotionally drained, which only compounded the anger.  I had three children who had missed me and needed me desperately, but there was Hannah, who didn't know how to share me with them and was so terrified and so angry...  I didn't know how to spread myself amongst all of them and felt like I was falling apart (I still do feel this way to some degree).  As you would do after giving birth, you shed some hormonal tears.  I shed post-adoption tears.  Lots of 'em.  Once, I fell apart so badly my poor mother had to literally put all my pieces back together and tell me I was not going crazy and that it would get better.  She was right.  The exhaustion was real and the emotions were so raw in those early days....for all of us. 

Once we got a good week or so of routine under our belts we started to find some security in the safety of our home, the trust that comes from doing the same thing each day.  Hannah thrives on routine.  She gets easily flustered and upset when we deviate, even in small ways, right now.  She likes to know what to expect and what will come next.  She does not like change.  Even weekends are hard right now because our routine is just that much altered. 

The early days were dark for me.  I cried.  A lot.  I prayed.  A lot.  Was I depressed?  No.  But I was truly overwhelmed by what we had tackled.  I was struggling with inadequacy.  I doubted my ability to do it.  And then He came and spoke to my weary heart and reminded me.  I couldn't do it and I didn't have to do it.  I needed Him.  He does it.  Each day, He does it for me because I simply can't.

So, how were the early days?  They were hard, but by the grace and strength of God each one of us got through it and we see how He used those days to build into us what we need for each day that continues to come.
The weather was really nice for a day or two after we got home.  This was taken two days home.  First time exploring the backyard.

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