Hope for Healing

 March 27, 2012

If only every moment was like this one...
Often in the months leading up to an adoption we prospective parents spend many hours imagining what our time in country will be like.  We dream of a sweet baby to love and cuddle and coo over.  We fantasize about leisurely strolling though parks where old Chinese men and women are playing mahjong and practicing their morning tai chi.  And sometimes it is like that.

But not usually.

More often adopting families are stressed, exhausted and on the emotional edge.  Kids are melting down, grieving and throwing tantrums in reaction to their lives being turned upside down.

It's such a hard process, worth it of course, but hard.

One thing I've learned is it's best to approach the adoption trip with realistic expectations, a whole lot of mercy for one another, acceptance that the time in country is too crazy to really matter in the big picture and most of all faith that things will get better with time.

Today was one of those days when I had to remind myself of this.

I decided to borrow a stroller from the hotel and take Mia for a walk through the neighborhoods surrounding us.  She was really enjoying herself and it felt good to simply take a walk on a sunny day with my new daughter.  About an hour into our walk I passed by a little shop with baby things for sale.  I decided since she liked  the stroller so much I would buy an inexpensive one to use for the rest of our time here.

I selected a stroller and then picked out a small toy.  I chatted with the sales girls there who were very interested in and excited about our adoption.  The whole time Mia gleefully sat on a "pleasant goat" ride.  I dropped a coin in the slot and the ride began to move and Mia was thrilled with it; clapping and squealing with delight.

The ride finished and it was time to go.  

And that's when things turned ugly.

For the next 30 minutes Mia tantrumed... The MOTHER. OF. ALL. TANTRUMS.

She arched her back, screamed with fury, kicked, hit and scratched herself and me.  All in the middle of the street with plenty of disapproving Chinese grandmas to take notice. 

(By the way a word of caution while in China... apparently the only reason a baby cries here is because they are too hot or too cold.  I was told within  a six minute span that she was crying because she was too hot and then too cold. Grrrrr. Cultural sensitivity... tested.)

Eventually she calmed down...or more accurately wore out.  I was left with a few battle wounds and a new found appreciation for the depth of her wounds.

I am grateful I'm meeting THIS child now, after two other toddler/preschooler adoptions and long after my own parenting fantasies have been replaced by the realness, the raw humanity of adoption.  I know this is normal...for the situation...which is anything but "normal".   

And  I have faith that one day we will both be healed.

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