Disclaimer: ***If you’re just joining our adoption journey, please read the posts before and after this one before leaving our story altogether. We’ve experienced MANY wonderful moments as a new family, but for the sake of honesty, I felt I could not move forward in our story without sharing the entire journey with you. If you prefer tales of bright sunny meadows and butterflies over woes of hardship and loss, stop reading.
From the moment we met our son (even before) we loved him. Yet, while we’d chosen to love and care for him, he had yet to choose us.
To say times were tough would be the greatest understatement I could possibly make. I experienced a certain kind of brokenness as our son cycled through moments of laughter and hugs, to all consuming panic and terror. One minute, he’d make up little games to get hugs and kisses from us, the next, he’d stand screaming in the center of the room, fingers crossed, eyes lost, staring into the ceiling.
We tried to hold him, but he wanted space. We tried to quietly talk with him, but he wanted silence. It was heartbreaking to watch him choose to face his grief alone. But, letting go of the heartache and allowing us to love him was something only he could do.
So we waited.
We sat on the floor at his level and held out our arms. Through hours of endless tears and screaming, we made it a point to routinely show him we cared.
I wanted so badly to find a sense of normal for our new family. But, 5 days, 45 minute episodes, nearly 8 times per day later, I had a thought… What if, this IS our new normal?
Fear struck the heart of me and I found myself crouched in our hotel bathroom, gasping for air, swallowing my own muffled screams, trying my hardest to pull it together.
I cried out to God, begging for comfort… for all of us! I believed this terrified, hurting boy was meant to be a part of our family.
I sat across him. I let him scream at me, stomp and wail. I let him shut me out, push me away and choose silence over singing.
But, I wasn’t going away.
Someday, sometime, he was going to need someone and I was determined to be that someone.
We lived these moments over and over, and I lost count of the days.
Then one day, after an hour-long episode, I began to stand from my crouched position on the floor. “Ok,” I whispered, “Momma loves you. I’m getting up now, but if you need me, just reach out and I’ll be here.” I stretched out my arms, once again showing him the motion, and began to step away… and it happened…
With tears streaming down his cheeks, he looked into my eyes and reached for me! I took him in my arms as quickly as I could without scaring him and sat with him in the overstuffed armchair across the room. Burying his head in my arms, he closed his eyes and the cries silenced. It was there, in our own little corner of the world, we found our first bit of peace as he fell asleep in my arms.
I wish I could say after this moment, the episodes ended. But they didn’t. The remainder of our time in China would be filled with these moments.
But, we pressed on and continued our adventure! We toured the area, tried new foods and experienced new and exciting things together, as a family. And, as each day passed, he turned to us more and the panicked moments grew shorter. Each day, he showed us glimpses of the happy, giggly, loving, cuddly little boy we knew he’d temporarily locked away; hidden in thoughtful reservation until the day he knew it was safe.