5 months ago from today, we waited anxiously in the Guangdong Civil Affairs office for Sophie's arrival. There were many other families waiting with us.
Sophie was the first to arrive. Dave recognized her, but I wasn't sure as the most recent picture we had of her was over a year old. I wasn't so sure she was our "girl", because they seemed to do all they could to make her look like a little boy! They dressed her in a little boy's outfit with boy sandals and a blue superhero backpack and of course the shaved head little boy haircut. Come on...couldn't they have put a little sundress on her for her gotcha day? They had some...I saw them on our SWI visit.
Her gotcha day was quite the opposite of Ella's. Ella was 14 months old when placed into our arms. Sophie was 2 1/2 and fought us with all of her might. She was terrified, of course. She "escaped" from me and ran right to her new sister's side. She grabbed hold of Ella's hand like they were sisters from day 1...and that is where she found comfort.
Because They Waited is an excellent DVD series for adoptive parents to watch as they wait to meet their new child. It goes into detail about many of the issues our new children can have all due to the fact that "they waited". They waited in an institution and they waited for a family and they waited for the nurture they so desperately need to develop into happy, healthy little beings. They waited for the love of a family that no institution can duplicate.
Sophie came to us very ill and very malnourished. We could see from photos the SWI gave us from 2 months earlier, that she had lost a significant amount of weight recently. She came to us with pretty much ALL of the possible issues a newly adopted child could experience. She exhibited many autistic like behaviors most of the time we were in China. I was prepared for all of this... knowledge wise, but it was still intimidating to actually deal with it. I prayed and prayed as this was His plan and He was in control. I had to walk around our hotel room repeating that to myself for the first few days.
We got Sophie back home and did the easy things first. Gave her meds for the Giardia that she had and was making her so sick and then we fattened her up. The autistic behaviors went away after about a few weeks, but were replaced with such an intense anxiety that completely took over our home. Her anxiety made it appear like she was a child that was sooo hyperactive. She had such control issues that it seemed to consume all she did. She HAD to have the upper hand and it took every ounce of strength I had to teach she is/was not in control. That took at least 3 months and every waking minute to achieve. The attachment work began. She had HUGE rage and self hurt like nothing I had ever seen before in such a tiny person. And then her sensory issues...her sensory system was so out of whack that she did not register pain. At All. I could keep going and I am always happy to share our story and what has and is working for us. Some people have e-mailed me and I am happy to go into more detail there.
They say that it often takes a child to be with their new family equal to or longer than their time in an orphanage for them to work through everything. That will probably be the case here. Sophie has made much progress, but still has a long way to go. She has a strong team of people/specialists working with her to achieve that and more importantly many of you keep her in your prayers!
The areas that are still still a struggle are the sensory issues and the anxiety around people. The sensory issues cause her to have no sense of body awareness, meaning she does not realize where her body is when she is moving about and this creates her to have MANY falls and crashes.
The people anxiety...Sophie came from a SWI where many of the nannies really loved her and cared for her, but she has shared with us that one of them hurt her. She has created a safety triangle that includes Me, Ella, and herself. Just in the last few weeks, she is occasionally creating a square and including her BaBa.
Praising God for the baby steps and for entrusting us with another one of His precious children!
5 Months Ago-Then
Monday, December 31, 2007
posted at 6:26 AM