I think Hope has hit it...and keeps on bumping her head.
We started yesterday morning in good spirits, but when it became time to leave Nanning Hope became very quiet and negative; every question was answered with "no". Unfortunately, our flight was delayed so we sat for quite a long time in the airport. Gone were the smiles, the willingness to play "tic-tac-toe", the desire to eat or drink. When we were in the air she lightened up a bit, and returned to herself by the time we got to the hotel. I thought it was all behind us, but I was wrong.
Friday stared fine; Dave went to work before we woke up, and the girls and I had a lazy morning sleeping in. Breakfast was fine, although Hope insisted on using knife and fork for her bacon. :) After breakfast, (which was around 11 am!) I asked Hope for her opinion on where to go. She chose (yea! she had an opinion!) the aquarium, and we went. Both Amanda and Hope had fun with the interactive screens; they "pushed buttons" on the screens playing games and doing puzzles for about 90 minutes! We wandered through the exhibits and had a good time, but soon I noticed that Hope was pulling back. Amanda was raring to go, so I kept and eye and a hand on her while trying to reach out to Hope, but she pulled farther away, both emotionally and physically. The aquarium was fantastic; we saw so many interesting species, plus feeding of the sharks, stingrays and other aquatic animals. (all overhead and next to us, as we were in the "tunnels"!)
When we finished the exhibits we ended in the gift shop, which I wasn't interested in, although I did offer to get the girls something, which they refused. There was the food court also, which I offered since it was 3 PM, but Hope refused. Once we got outside, I tried to find a restaurant, but Hope didn't want any of them. Since everything was in Chinese, I needed her cooperation to order, so I figured that we would go back to the hotel and find a bakery. That way I could point and choose!
When we got back, we did make the trek to a bakery around the corner and I let both girls choose what they wanted (BTW, bakeries in
have lunch items, not just sweets). We then went across the street to get some soft drinks, once again letting them choose their own. Amanda chose, Hope refused, but I bought two of everything Amanda chose. When we got back to the hotel room, both girls ate their food, as they were very hungry at this time. Mandy ate one item, Hope ate three, one of which was quite large. I told her that we were planning on going to dinner in 90 minutes, but she chose to keep eating. This was for a purpose, I later realized. China
We were supposed to go out with a co-worker of David's for dinner, but traffic was HORRIBLE and after driving for 90 minutes, she decided to go home and meet us tomorrow. David finally got home after being in a taxi for 2 hours and said it was time for dinner. Hope refused. She kept on packing and re-packing her backpack, which only contained books and two winter coats. Dave finally went out to eat with Mandy at Mc D's, I stayed at home with Hope. She crumpled, crying silently, and wouldn't respond for at least 30 minutes. When she finally did move, she hid behind a chair. The next hour was just her and I together; Hope crying or ignoring me, Me praying fervently for her and us or weeping for her. My heart felt like it would break, as she was so overcome by grief. She understands the written word better than the spoken, so I kept writing notes to her, asking if I did anything wrong, why she was sad, offering suggestions of what she may be feeling or why she might be sad, telling her over and over that I loved her and would love her always; she only shook her head "no" with every note.
Hope finally started playing the music we bought for her, and Dave and Mandy came back from Mc D's. Mandy was happy with her happy meal toy, and kept trying to get my attention. She noticed Hope's crying, and was concerned, but was more interested in getting attention in any way possible. It was then that Dave gave me the "reprieve" to go to the lounge and write on the blog.
Right now my heart is continually breaking for Hope. Hailey wrote her a note saying how much she loved her and has always wanted a sister close in age, and how Hope is an answer to her prayers. I know that I have prayed for Hope for months, and the desire to adopt an older child that stared WAY before we found our Hope has been made alive. Mandy sees Hope's raw emotions and gets her cues from her...but is not certain why this other girl is so sad. Hope is grieving...hard! I only wish I could hug it away and make it better. I love this girl almost as much as my own flesh and blood...yes, I will be honest and say "almost", because there still is a difference, but the amount of love I feel for her is huge and growing every day. God has done a work in my heart to make it grow and expand beyond I could have imagined just a few years ago. I would speculate that He did it to include my
Although this post has been predominantly about Hope, I won't neglect my other daughter here. Mandy is learning so much...she is as smart as a whip but yet less aware of limits. Unfortunately Dave has laughed at every antic of hers, and now finds her attention-seeking to be less than desirable. Mandy LOVES Dave, and would choose him over me any minute of the day. Mandy does like me, however, and will seek my attention and my approval. We had a good morning doing crafts together--painting and glitter art and playdoh. Or, I should say, I worked the too-dry-and-more-like-crumbly-plastic-stuff than Play-doh...I think it will be more workable tomorrow. I spent over an hour working it, not to mention that my hands turned smurf-blue when working the blue playdoh, even after three vigorous hand-washings! Anyway, Mandy seems to be wanting me; she grabbed my hands and arms when going through a part of the aquarium that had a rainforest sound, accompanied by a rainstorm...she did NOT like it and was quite frightened!! She also hid behind me when seeing sea-life that looked scary to her...I figure that if she is using me to hide behind, she sees me a someone that will keep her safe. That is money in the emotional bank, in my opinion.
I should keep a journal, as this writing has been very therapeutic. I don't know if someday Hope and Mandy will read this. I just know that getting the thoughts and emotions down helps. No wonder why my sister and my daughter Hailey journal so much! I do know that God has brought me and Dave here for a reason. I do know that God and God alone has increased my love for these girls beyond my understanding. If Hope and Mandy do read this someday, I hope that they realize that, even though I made and continue to make mistakes, I loved them SO MUCH even in these beginning days, and I KNOW that is will be multiplying in the days to come.
Why do I share all of this? Maybe for my daughters, so they can one day look back and know. Maybe for another adoptive parent, who is walking the same path. Maybe for someone else, who, faced with some challenge that only God knows, may glean some encouragement. I don't know why, but I just need to be obedient to the One who made all of this happen. He is the one who raises beauty from ashes...and if that doesn't describe my life, I don't know what does!!!
To Him who is Worthy,
All my best,