Two China Dolls and a Prince!

This blog chronicles the story of 2 of our adoptions, both older children when they came home. It begins in 2008 and will continue in the hopes we can be of encouragement and information to anyone thinking of older child adoption.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Emotions and Grieving

It is the hardest thing for a mom to see her children in pain, whether that pain be internal or external.  Perhaps, though, internal is worse, because you can't put a bandaid and ointment on it, give them a kiss, and make it all better.  And when you have NO IDEA of the inner turmoil an adopted child is experiencing, it is heartwrenching.  As NingNing works through some grieving issues (to protect his privacy, I won't go into intimate details), we struggle to understand and sympathize with him.

NingNing has the hardest time letting his emotions show.  For the first 4 and a half months, he did everything he could to NOT rock the boat.  He let us make all the choices for him, haul him hither and yon, put him in school, and generally didn't make waves.  And around Thanksgiving time, the "maintaining" started to crack a little, then a little more, and then a little more, until some real emotions finally pushed their way to the surface last Friday night.

It was a quiet breakthrough, but a breakthrough nonetheless.  No tantruming, no raging; his way is to shut the world and everyone in it...out.  We attempted to help him say how he was feeling, but I imagine that type of overwhelming emotion that is so strong you can't hold it in, simply cannot be put into simple words. We let him know we loved him, and were sorry he was sad, but that it was ok to have those feelings and miss parts of his China life. So many new things for him, new experiences, new everything.  And while we think it is all good and so much better than he had in China, to him it may not be.  People sometimes say these kids, especially the older ones, should be grateful.  Why??  Even if it is their decision to sign those papers, it is still a choice they make because they HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.  So is that really a choice at all then?  And they don't get to choose their family; they have no say in who adopts them.  They have the ability to refuse to sign the adoptions papers in China, but when you've known someone for less than 24 hours, that's not exactly the basis for an "informed" decision.

We think he's done a remarkable job at finding his place in our family and figuring out all the dynamics involving a large family, navigating school, dealing with more rules than he's ever had in his whole life, and learning a whole new culture and language.  In the meantime, we'll just keep on loving him and have the "bandaids" handy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Happenings 2012

Handsome boy!
NingNing's first Christmas Day was amazing.  Christmas Eve we all went to church, then to Applebee's for dinner.  Everyone was dressed up, even NingNing.  I managed to get a side shot, but that's all he allowed.

Christmas Day was even better. NingNing enjoyed all his gifts very much, especially the Ipod Touch, which he kissed upon opening.  We even got real kisses and hugs for that!  Another neat thing is we got him a K'nex set and he and Jr built this huge thing from it, but now won't let anyone take it apart to make anything else!

Christmas Eve Angry Bird pajamas!
The K'nex masterpiece!
He spoke a lot of English on Christmas Day, so now we know it's in there, he's just choosing when and where to use it.  At one point, he smacked his finger on one of his presents and mock moaned and groaned and said "oh my beautiful finger!!".  That cracked us all up and he and James could not look at each other without laughing.
Jessica got her Nook!

My "Mom" pin from NingNing
We finished up the holiday by spending the night in the city while our kids spent the night with friends (NingNing and James stayed with Seth's family) for our anniversary.  Had a quiet New Year's Eve at home with the kids; NingNing is going through a melancholy stage of post-Christmas letdown, missing his friends, boredom, and lack of sleep.  Also think he had some sensory overload from the busy days we had before New Year's, so he's been staying in his room more to get some quiet.  School starts back tomorrow, so it will be nice to get everyone back in the swing of things.  We also found a piano teacher for NingNing and he starts on the 8th of January; he is looking forward to that!  Hope everyone's holiday was wonderful; our first Christmas with NingNing truly couldn't have been better and he has decided he likes Christmas VERY much!