"You've turned my mourning into dancing again; you lifted my sorrow."
These two verses have new meaning for me. Having witnessed firsthand a transformation like none other, I know they are true. We have the bravest girl and the most merciful Father.
Let's start at the beginning...
We left off last blog with Miss Gladdie choosing to sleep on the floor by the door in case she was allowed to go back to her "mama." Heartbreaking for sure. But, this little one was so exhausted from her difficult and trying day that she fell right to sleep and slept for ELEVEN HOURS!! Hallelujah!!
I was there with her when she woke up..."Ni hao, Yu Chun" (Hello, Yu Chun). She was groggy at first, but I could tell when it clicked where she was and what had transpired the previous day, and she started to weep again. Not an angry weeping, but the most sorrowful, saddest mourning I think I've ever heard. She put her coat on almost right away; she had slept in her shoes, but I had to put one back on as it had come off during the night. But she was ready to go. Truly hoping with all her being--and her tears--that she could go back to "mama" today.
She did go with us up to breakfast...with her coat on. BUT...she left her backpack in our room. Baby steps. In between weeping and watching Strawberry Shortcake, she ate a boiled egg, mandarin orange slices, 2 pieces of watermelon, some apple juice, and some fruity yogurt drink (these things are like liquid yogurt and are the bomb dot com, but we can't find them anywhere in the US). We were SO thankful that she was eating! Many children, upon being adopted, refuse to eat anything for days. This was so good for Gladdie.
Then we had to go back to the office where we met Gladdie yesterday to finalize the adoption today. China calls this 24 hour period the "harmonious" period. We were nervous to take her back to the place where she first met us and had to say goodbye to her old life. She was weepy all the way over. Weepy once we got there, and on occasion, put her head down on her folded hands and just sobbed "MAMA" for minutes at a time. Heartbreaking! She DID have her backpack with her at this point, but I'm glad she did. She was able to pull out a favorite photograph of her foster family and weep over it from time to time. She would point to each person and name them (mama, baba, etc) and just weep.
Well, we finished the paperwork and received our official "RED BOOK" adoption decree. This makes it final, legit, and real. GLADDIE IS A MILLER!!!
She wept in the car on the way back to the hotel, and once inside our room, took up position in her same spot on the floor by the door. Coat on, backpack packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. But, she stopped crying. We sat with her for a bit, listened, but there were no tears.
From that point, 10:30 am, until we put her to bed at 8 pm tonight, there have been no tears. She went from iPad apps, to coloring in books, to building with legos, and back again all day long. We pulled out things like nerf basketball hoops and balloons, and the Gladdie we got a glimpse of yesterday reappeared. She was giddy at some points with excitement and joy. Batting the balloon around, throwing the ball at the hoop...in fact, she got so warm that SHE voluntarily took her own coat off! Baby steps.
When she colored, she would pick a crayon and I would say the color then look for the same color somewhere else to reinforce. She started doing that on her own. Choosing green, and pointing to something green on her shoe, etc. When she finished a coloring project, she made sure to get my attention and show it to me. I clapped and said "YAY!" and did the sign for applause. She smiled.
We made some instant noodles in our room, and when I asked Gladdie if she wanted some, she agreed. Baby steps. She ate a whole bowl of noodles and a banana for lunch.
It is SO important to foster attachment between adopted child and adoptive parents, that really and truly the parents should meet each and every need the child has for as long as it takes for trust to build. It is especially true the younger the child. But still true for older children. But since Gladdie doesn't have as many specific needs as a baby or younger child has, we feel comfortable allowing the 3 Gs to step in at times and be there for Gladdie. In fact, all on her own, Gia came up to Gladdie when she was crying and started to stroke her arm and pat her back.
Anyway, we asked the Gs to sit with Gladdie from time to time...all the while she was still sitting on the floor by the door. During some of these times, we heard the BEST giggles, Gladdie's voice putting the smackdown, and general silliness! Music to these parents' ears!
Finally, dinnertime rolled around. We decided to go to the noodle shop in the hotel since it was rainy and dark outside. Gladdie came willingly with her iPad but...NO COAT OR BACKPACK!!! More baby steps. Actually, that was a HUGE step for her! She even grabbed Gracie's hand to hold at one point.
She ate a great meal of fried rice and noodles. She even drank jasmine tea with me. She is a silly, silly girl. We can tell that she was the apple of her foster parents' eye. And rightly so. She is just a peach.
She's a tiny peach, though. Comparing her to Gracie, who is quite petite herself, I was amazed at how small Gladdie is for her age. Can't wait to get her to the doctor and see if she even lands on any of the US growth charts. Also, I'm sure all the clothes I brought for her are too big.
Back to our room after dinner and we decided it was bath time. I was worried about this. I knew it would be a struggle for Gladdie when I suggested bath. I knew she wouldn't want to take her clothes off. The clothes that her sweet foster mother had dressed her in the day before. But, it needed to be done. I started untying her shoes. She shook her finger at me and shook her head no, but I kept going. Slowly. I showed her that I would set them right next to her. She seemed okay with that and started undressing the rest of the way.
She got in the tub with Gem, and I started to wash her with the washrag when she took it from me and shook her finger "no" at me again. She did all by herself. She even got her hair wet and washed/rinsed it on her own. What a big girl! She did NOT like the PJs I picked out for her, but when we made a compromise of her wearing the PJs but not the socks, she agreed. She also did NOT like how I brushed her hair to the side. Nope. Straight down in her eyes, thank you very much.
When it was time for bed, she even agreed to brush her teeth with her Barbie toothbrush AND sleep in bed with Gia. Huge, giant baby steps!
We don't for one second believe that her grieving is over and that everything's hunky dory. Not for one second. But we do believe in the power of prayer, that God is giving her the courage to walk the path He has set in front of her day by day, and that His mercies are new every morning.
Thank you for your continued coverage of prayers. We love sharing our journey with you all!