One year ago today:
A Tough Day
Well, the honeymoon is over. :) Yu Fei is having a hard time. She has decided that unless we are holding her and preferably swaying or patting her then she is going to cry. She didn't sleep much last night at all. She absolutely does not want to be in her crib and is sometimes upset regardless of what we do. She finally slept in Jeremy's bed after hours of trying to console her. Then of course we had to wake her this morning so we could make our big trip.
We traveled 2.5 hours by van with our agency rep and a driver to Anyang, the city of her birth. New law here in the Henan province requires we travel to her birth city to apply for her passport. So the 6 of us families here together had to separate out to 5 different cities... seems a little silly to me considering it took us 10 minutes and 2 signatures. Her province is the only one that requires this. Anyway, she slept on the way there in Jeremy's arms.
After we applied for her passport, we drove to her orphanage. We were told it was 15 minutes away, so we thought we had plenty of time to feed her a bottle and prepare ourselves. I wanted her strapped to me in her carrier so she got the message that she stayed with us even though we were going back to the place she has called home for the past 3 months. But it was less than 5 minutes away and suddenly we were being ushered in while she was still eating. It threw me off, but we tried to roll with it. Her orphanage is a part of a big complex of buildings, some I think house senior citizens. There are some older kiddos at her orphanage that will probably never be adopted. They were excited to see visitors and I felt terrible walking past them.
They showed us 2 of the baby rooms, one where Maggie was. I know 5 mommies through an online group whose little ones are currently at that orphanage waiting for paperwork to go through so they can go get them. We were able to find those 5 babies, take pictures for their mommys, and tell them they are loved and their moms are coming as fast as they can. I also tried to give some attention to the other kids too, not knowing if they have families waiting.
It was such a tough place to visit. It had an institutional feel. Very old building, dark and chilly. The rooms are packed with cribs with only 1-2 nannies per room. They said they have trouble finding staff. Many of the kids had the same look that Maggie had when I saw pictures of her in there. Just bored and lonely. It's heart breaking and very bittersweet. I'm so glad that she's out of there, but every one of those kids deserve a family. They all deserve a process that moves quicker to get kiddos home where they belong.
We noticed that she showed no recognition or connection to the orphanage or the caregivers there. She was only there 3 months, but it doesn't appear that she formed an attachment with anyone in particular.
On the long ride home, it struck me that she is losing that orphanage look. Her skin is brighter, has more of a glow to it. Her eyes are brighter. She took more of her bottle in my lap and just adored me with those eyes of hers while she drank. She cried for a while and then slept most of the way home on her daddy's lap.
She's not a special needs kid. She's just a kid. And all kids deserve a family. Praying all those little ones find their way home.
Eating continues to be a source of frustration. Solid food and baby food are not happening. She is 100% dependent on a bottle. Which makes it hard since we can't give her a snack when she's getting fussy, etc.
We've also noticed that she doesn't reach her arms up to us when she wants to be picked up. I don't think that they are responded to when they're at the orphanage, so they don't give cues like raising their arms because they've learned it doesn't do any good. I can't wait for her to learn that I'll respond when she raises her little arms.
We went out to dinner tonight and she sat in my lap and just talked to me. She's jabbering on my lap now. She has a lot to say and is becoming more free about saying it. She likes to mimic what I do, she likes to be tickled under her neck. As long as she has our undivided attention she is completely happy. I'm not sure what all the crying is about. I'm guessing she has discovered what it's like to be held and loved on and has decided she wants that every second. I can't blame her, that's just what we want her to learn! Hoping we can find a happy medium where we can put her down some and have her trust we're not going to leave her. She's reminding me very much of her big sister and her fears of being left. Praying we find a way to get some sleep tonight and that her little heart is filled with peace and contentment that we're not going anywhere.
In other news, she has a really cool trick. She can put her finger in her nose and reach down into her mouth, thus choking herself. Bet you can't do that.
We're so in love with our tiny little girl and are so thankful she's in our arms.
Maggie's former room at the orphanage. Her crib was the empty one up front.