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Re-entry: Not Pretty

Some of my publishable thoughts on arriving home: Whoa. We got in at 11:00 night before last and the kids were up until 3. We hauled them through yesterday, even taking Sam and Lily to a tennis lesson and getting the boys a haircut–and put them to bed at a relatively normal time (when Rob and I were nearly asleep standing) but at 1:30 the first of them–Rory–appeared.

And this is where the fact that they all sleep in the same room bites us in the ass, because although I get her to go back to bed, Wyatt wakes up soon after and awakens everyone with his screaming, and it all goes downhill from there in a big way. Only Sam, who came down and slept on the sofa, got anything like a normal night’s sleep.

At 4:30 we let them get up and trash the house while we went to sleep. I woke up at 7:30 feeling like it was non. All night I dreamt of China, chaotic airports, crazed shopping, chasing kids through hotels. I woke up and inhaled a panful of brownies one of our friends baked us last night. So I’m doing fab.

Rory fell asleep midafternoon and had to be woken up using the kind of cruel behavior (turning them upside-down, standing them up even though they are asleep) that forms a parent’s only revenge for sleepless night, but because we were in public, I couldn’t really appreciate it. Which reminds me of the glorious moment in the airport where she whacked Wyatt full in the face for nothing–as in, he walked up to her and she hauled off and belted him–and she had to be removed, screaming, to a corner until she became willing to apologize, which took about 20 solid minutes of screaming. (We do cut her plenty of slack, but there are a couple of non-negotiables, don’t you think?) Anyway, the stares were impressive. At least she was screaming in English, which gave us some credibility…

We’ve also had a couple of episodes where she’s been with Rob, howling for “mama”–and although that’s fine, we don’t let her get away with it if she’s hitting him and refusing his help for something because she wants me–and when she finally gets me, it’s clear that I am NOT the mama she had in mind. This is hard for all of us…but mostly she’s doing remarkably well.

I am doing slightly less well. I am not a patient person at the best of times, and I become particularly unpleasant with lack of sleep. I’m also not very playful anymore, I find. I do not want to play Wii with Wyatt, or play with blocks or the remote control train with Rory, which makes me feel like all I do is dress them, feed them and say “no” to them…and I am not sure I really truly considered the ramifications of one more voice crying mommy mommy mommy in our particular wilderness.

I’ve resented every new child in turn for taking me away from the old ones. There are elements of that here–Wyatt, in particular,needs me badly every time Rory does, and saying no to him is heartbreaking. And there is just the added drudgery. Look, more toys on the floor! Look, more sippy cups! Look, more laundry! Oh, boy, somebody else who needs me to wipe their ass! I’m intensely aware that some of the people who are reading this “told me so”, and that others will be worried that I can’t meet Rory’s needs or learn to love her. I think it will all loosen up in a matter of months or even weeks. I think it will be fine, even great, fairly soon. But I don’t want to minimize or hide the growing pains. Wyatt screamed hysterically last night because he wanted me to remove this baby doll from his bed–a doll with Asian features, that we bought partly in order just not to have a whole house full of blue-eyed blondes. And when she’s the one causing the bedtime and wake up issues. I boil over. Lily gets frustrated because Rory’s not exactly what she pictured–which, as it amounted to a fully cooperative live doll, isn’t too surprising. Only Sam seems fine, and we all know that Sam has a lot of himself invested in always seeming fine.

We’ll get through it. But probably not today.

KJ (aka Lola Granola)Re-entry: Not Pretty

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  • Lynne - Friday, July 10, 2009

    I have enjoyed following your blog and your adventures as a family. Just wanted to say that as a mom, I appreciate your honesty. Obviously, we absolutely adore and love our children but some days they are just really hard to like! I find myself “In service to the Queen” (our 3 year old daughter from China who is going through a very bossy, needy period) 24-7. It’s exhausting and sometimes maddening, especially on little sleep.

    Congrats on your daughter and hang in there with all the little guys.

    Best to all.

  • shirlee - Friday, July 10, 2009

    Who cares what anyone else thinks? Let them say, “I told you so” as they live their safe and predictable lives. Live your adventure and remember that you had a reason and purpose for bringing Rory home (even if you can’t remember it right now).

    Every kid has their issues, and (as you’ve said) every new addition to a family causes stress and disruption. They’ll settle down. Jet lag will disappear. Routine will become something that exists rather than hoped for.

    As for the mommy guilt…I’ve got my fair share, so I understand completely. Eat some more brownies. They won’t help, but chocolate can’t hurt either!

  • Misty - Friday, July 10, 2009

    When the jetlag wears off and the routine settles in this will all be a distant memory. Like labor–you won’t remember in detail–only in a fog. As for those who say “told ya so” or think you won’t be able to meet her needs–tell them to stick it. Your life. Your family. You will all be fine once you find your feet again. Hugs, M

  • Joy - Friday, July 10, 2009

    Hang in there! Vent all you want. I’ve been there three times. :-) Jetlag is horrible. Our most recent addition was 14 when we brought her home and I wondered if she thought there was something wrong with her, not being able to sleep and night and then wanting to sleep during the day. There was no way to explain it to her.
    Joy

  • JK - Friday, July 10, 2009

    It will get better. All I thought when I read the post was how brave you are…. Really. I wish I could be there to help in some way. Is your Mom still around? xoxo.

  • Kelli - Friday, July 10, 2009

    I cant even imagine what you are going thru so I wont even try to pretend to. I have many negative people in my adopton decision too and they will be there to kick me when I am down, Im sure. Hearing this from you is scarey but I really believe that you and your family will find your groove. Rory will learn to respect you and your children as soon as she learns to trust. Her behavior is more than likely from fear. Pour the love on thick and you’ll get it in return. A smile for a smile. Read Buddhism for Mothers its a great book. Kelli

  • Dana Slahta - Friday, July 10, 2009

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! For saying it like it is and not pretending it is easy or great. I have been home for almost 8 weeks with our new daughter and evrything is not always rosy. And I so identify with the resentment of time away from other kids.I know I love her but sometimes I have to remind myself why in the world did I want a third child when the other two are now much more self-sufficient? I have followed your adventure since quarantine and I think you are amazing! Hang in there. I think I might have felt human about 10 days home, but I am still waiting for the “new normal” feeling.

  • Carla - Friday, July 10, 2009

    Yep…had those feelings when we got home with Katie. While I had cried buckets over every delay in getting to her…the re-entry into normal life was hard. The adjustment to another child was HARD…especially the “drudgery” aspects of another child.

  • Diane - Friday, July 10, 2009

    Life is messy – life is emotional and there is no reason why you have to hide the emotions of this journey. There is a common saying which I know you have heard….adoption is a beautiful way to build a family. And, indeed it is but it is just that a way to build it – Rome was not built in a day!! It takes time to “build” a family….time will heal Rory’s wounds created by her experiences in China. I have adopted twice once a 3 month old in Vietnam and once a 11 month old in China and I see a HUGE difference. Just stay focus on your goal… you are building a family!! Keep you tools handy (love, hope, joy, friends, etc) and remember all “workers/builders” need to refuel (need a break). Take care of YOU.
    Best wishes from fellow adoptive mom


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