"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hanging on, but so very grateful.

I don't have much time, but I did want to write a bit today since I found that airing my feelings was truly cleansing to me.

So, I will give a small summary as to where we are today and the response I have received. As to me, I am hanging in there. The emails keep coming and when I read the subject line now pertaining to my blunt and honest blog entry, I sort of cringe before opening it, expecting to be berated for my feelings. I guess that goes with the shame and the guilt and even the times when I am second guessing myself....am I doing the right thing, although my heart tells me I am. Well, every email I've opened has been full of love, support and prayers for me, Anna Grace and our family as a whole. THANK YOU!!!! I have not had one negative email and that means a lot. Your words of encouragement and prayers are holding me up and are appreciated more than you could ever know.

I have to laugh sometimes because I think to myself, who in the world wants to read this stuff, but I am eternally grateful that many of you do and are there to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I feel like the cellphone commercials with the "network" of people. heh!

I especially want to say thank you to two particular readers, who brought up two points that I had not thought of. One pertained to my guilt. He (yes, can you believe a man reads my blog?!) said feelings are not a sin. He is so right. It's the action that creates the sin. By the way, he spent 7 years in the seminary as a Franciscan, as he says...he knows Catholic guilt. :) Thank you, A. You have lifted a lot of that guilt from me by your words of wisdom.

Secondly, was a wonderful person that I did get to meet while in China. She adopted a beautiful little girl who, praise God, has adjusted wonderfully. She mentioned to me that she was so happy for Anna Grace. As I was reading her words, it dawned on me...."what if?" She brought up the questions of "what if Anna Grace had gone to a family without my faith or determination?" Then I started thinking about the fact that what if she had gone to a family who does indeed wear those 'rose-colored glasses', what if she would not be receiving the attention to attachment that she so desperately needs, where would she be? Not necessarily now, but years from now? I shudder at the thought of this little girl never being able to build a bond or trust anyone because her fears and the wall that she has built were allowed to remain buried inside her. I guess, no, I know, that the Lord knows what he's doing. If there is something that I have is determination and I am a Mama Bear when it comes to my little cubs. I will move heaven and earth to help heal whatever ails them, and the Lord knew that Anna Grace would need that. I again am humbled that He chose me, as difficult as it has become for all of us here, to be the one to help her.

Now onto Anna Grace. After I posted about the 3 bad days, yesterday afternoon was really bad. One of the important things about therapeutic parenting is that you really should not allow a child to see how they are "breaking you down". You should always be loving, confident and empathetic, yet discliplined. A lot to try and keep up with when you are holding a pretty large two year old who is fighting you. It is soooooo much easier to dump her in a crib and walk away, but I never have and never will, only because she lived her life that way and that is pretty much what she wants. She wants to be assured that I am gonna walk away, that I will leave her. Her mind is set that she can push me to the break of abandoning her. Well, she's met her match. That's never gonna happen unless the Lord calls me home. Gosh, I keep digressing and I only have a few minutes since they are soon waking from their naps.

So, back to yesterday afternoon, she awoke from her nap after having a "good morning" with me, playing and being loving. When I carried her, she was smiling, but I immediately felt the tension in her body as I picked her up. She didn't want the closeness. This is the time when indeed she needs it. So, I sat on the bed with her (while AJ went thru every drawer in the room), and held her. I told her I loved her and it was ok to love Mama. She started crying and pulling back. By then, with all that I had been through in 3 days, it became too overwhelming, I held her even closer and I started bawling. I let all of my feelings out. I told her this was so hard for me but I wasn't giving up. She was my daughter and I loved her and I know that Jesus was gonna get us through this. I began to thank God for her out loud and I prayed hard....very hard. A couple of minutes later, the crying (Anna Grace's) had seized. I look down at her thru blurry eyed tears and see her eyes wide open just staring at me. Her body now relaxed. She didn't say a word. She just stared. We had wonderful eye contact for what seemed to be forever. I hugged her and she hugged me back. As I wisked the sweaty hair from her face, I whsipered, "I love you, Anna Grace" to which she responded with the sweetest, "I wub you, Mama". Then, as quickly as it began, it was over. We had a fantastic day. We colored, played hide-and-seek, had bubble bath and life was great. At night putting her to bed, I held again and reminded her it was ok to love Mama and that Mama will always be here. She smiled and went to sleep.

This morning, she awoke pretty much all smiles. I dressed her and I thought we'd spend the day out somewhere. That was, until I went to hold her. I could tell that she was pulling away, and there was no eye contact. This is what I refer to as "payback" for having loved me the day before. I asked her to sit on the couch. She stood there as a statue. Would not budge. Instead, after the 2nd time I asked, she looked at me straight in the eye, and walked in the other direction to get a book. I said to her, "No book...please sit on the couch." She once again looked at me very stoically, turned her head, walked over to the bookshelf and knocked over all of the books. Then turned and gave me the same stoic look, as if to say, "I'm in control". Well, needless to say, our day has been spent with Anna Grace on my lap as glue. And I am doing what she hates most....loving her to death and faking it till I make it! ::deep breaths:: I just know that she is pushing every button possible until I "return" her to China, and she will eventually come to terms with the fact that it's never going to happen. Like it or not, we are a family forever. Once she realizes that and those bricks, from that wall that she has built, start crumbling down, all will be well. I just know it.

Oh, I did want to comment on an email when someone asked me if I thought that she had RAD (reactive attachment disorder). No, in no way do I feel she does. Anna Grace shows compassion and remorse and did from very early on. She is just a textbook case of a child coming from an orphanage, although she did spend a few months in foster care. And it doesn't matter how good the orphanage is that a child comes from, an orphange is still just that....an orphanage. To read more about RAD you can click here. I also want the readers to understand that there are different ranges of attachment, some so mild that they may go unnoticed.

Blessings and thank you again for your emails, comments and prayers. They truly keep me going when I feel like giving up.

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