We left early yesterday morning to go to Birmingham to the International Adoption Clinic. Rachel was rather pitiful. She has a stomach bug. She kept wimpering and hold her stomach, and she throws up anything except tiny sips of Gatorade or Sprite.
This sounds crazy, but this has helped me. Her being so pitiful has brought out my maternal instincts. It’s easier to feel sorry for a sick little girl than it is for a demanding, spitting, throwing, kicking one. 😉
Our visit with the social worker at the clinic was so very reassuring. This is supposed to be hard, but we are going to make it is what we got out of it. Also, we are reading The Connected Child. This along with talking to the social worker has helped us be more understanding about where Rachel is coming from. She is terrified that we will leave her because that’s all that she’s ever known. So all of her behavior stems from that.
I read a good bit about attachment before this, but it has been hard for me to see this little girl as needing me or anyone else. Honestly, her behavior has grated on my nerves to the point that our last few days in China and our first couple of days her I kept thinking, “What on earth have we done?! And is it too late to undo it?” I’m sure this sounds awful to those of you who feel an instant attachment to your child. This is for those of you who don’t, so you will know that this is normal and it will come. I know because I’m already seeing the beginning of my feelings for Rachel growing.
I talked to other moms in China, some who have adopted multiple children. They all talked about how hard it is at first and the problems they were having with their children. But I just have to wonder if Rachel is somehow a bit harder to handle. I would look around and their kids were playing or sitting quietly while Rachel would be bossing, kicking, throwing, spitting, or burping.
God and I have had quite a few conversation about this over the past few weeks. I haven’t been too happy with Him in many of them. So thankful my Papa can handle me even at my worst and still loves me anyway. 🙂 I have come back to the fact that He gave us Rachel because He knew we could handle her. He knows that we can love her and give her what she needs no matter how difficult it may be at times. I sometimes question His confidence in me, but He seems to know what He’s doing. 🙂 (Reminds me of a Sara Groves’ song, of course, “What I thought I wanted, what I got instead leaves me broken yet grateful”)
One of the biggest things I got today besides reassurance that things are normal and we will make it was permission to ask for help. Our social worker told us that this is very stressful, harder than bringing a new baby home, sleep deprivation is part of it, and I will be exhausted for quite a while. She also said that we will need help for more than just a week or two. So I have called on all of my dear friends and family who have offered to help. 🙂
Rachel Suhui was so pitiful at the Adoption Clinic. She didn’t want anyone to touch her. (At our medical appointment in Guangzhou she laughed and played with the doctor.) We did find out something new about her when they did a renal ultrasound (routine screening with kids adopted from China because of the melamine found in the formula). The ultrasound technician kept asking me if anyone had ever told me that there was anything wrong with her besides her heart. After the third time, I finally asked her what she was seeing. She told me the name of a syndrome I can’t remember, but basically all or most of Rachel’s organs are on the opposite side of her body from where they normally would be. This can be part of other disorders but likely will cause her no problems. The cardiologist said that he sees this problem with people with her heart problems and didn’t seemed concerned about it.
The cardiologist was fantastic! He did an ultrasound of her heart explaining it to us. He was great at explaining her problems, the surgery that she already had, and the surgery that she will probably have. He was much more positive than the earlier reports we had gotten on her condition. We were told to see a cardiologist as soon as we got home, and we were expecting her to have surgery within a month or so. He told us to go home, get over our jetlag, and come back in three months for a heart catheterization. After this he will be able to tell more about her condition, and then we can decide what to do next.
This is really great news because Rachel will be understanding a great deal of English by then so that we can explain what is going on. This has been a fear of mine–her having surgery when we cannot really explain to her what is happening.
But we got even better news! Although Rachel’s condition is extremely complicated and she is at higher risk for certain problems, things are not as bad as we initially thought. The cardiologist spent a great deal of time answering our questions. Tommy asked him what would things look like if Rachel could not have her next surgery. His reply was, “I wouldn’t expect her to live too far beyond 70.” I almost laugh when I think about this! We were told that if she couldn’t have the next surgery that she would not live beyond her teenage or young adult years! The cardiologist said that he has adult patients who are right where she is, the same problems but they cannot have additional surgery. So we were extremely thrilled to find this out!
It was a long, but good, day. And I even squeezed a Target trip in there to buy Rachel some shoes and a few other things. 🙂 We all got some sleep last night which is another good thing. I’m looking forward to trying to get into some sort of normal routine with Rachel and the boys this week. I feel like this is our first normal day since we’ve been home.