Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thought I would share

The agency we used to adopt Shayla has a large email base. You can ask questions or share information through this email. It goes to everyone. Recently people were interested in adopting a toddler. Here is what I said.

We adopted a SN child at the age of 2.9 years. She had a repaired Cleft Palate in China. That was her only SN. I hemmed and hawed due to her age. We really wanted as young as possible for our first child. However, we decided to accept the referral and go forward. Best decision of our lives. We went to China in February 2008. They brought us this tall and chubby little girl. She was so sad and congested. Her cheeks were blaring red. My husband got down immediately and started chatting and playing with her. I held back so that I wouldn’t overwhelm her. I did eventually offer some goldfish to eat. She allowed my husband to hold her. After some time, we headed to the hotel. She was so sad and scared.

Her background:

She was left at the orphanage. She was there for 6 months and then went into a China Care facility. After being there for 6 months, she went into foster care with an older couple who had gown children.

So back at the hotel, we tried to calm her. The guide spoke to her about coming to live with us. She just wailed. She missed her foster parents. Who could blame her? At the urging of the staff that brought her, we gave her a bath. We peeled off 5 layers of clothes. She was hysterical. She was not going to take a bath. However, she was so filthy from the coal in her province. That and she had an accident on the way to us. So my husband got in the bath with her. She wasn’t thrilled, but she calmed down. We gave her new pjs and combed her hair. I think she thought this was just a sleep over. We had been told that she slept with the foster parents the entire time she was with them, so my husband slept with her. She seemed to really take to him. She hated me and I mean HATED me. She rejected me. She would try to scratch me and claw out my eyeballs. I am NOT exaggerating here! I was prepared for a mad child, a sad child, a confused child, but not a child that was going to detest me to this level. I cried. My husband cried as he adored her and felt bad for me. It was a terrible night, but I knew it would get better. I jumped on the computer and went to the adoption forums in the business center of the hotel. All of my online friends kept saying “wait till 6 months have passed and this will be a distant memory.” So I vowed to make that my mantra!!!!!

The days went on and she started to attach to my husband. I was still the enemy. All we could do was assume that she adored her foster mom and that liking me would be a huge betrayal. It was hard on me and very embarrassing to be rejected in front of the guide, etc. I knew that we needed to get out of China. She needed to start seeing Caucasian people as she could not make the transition from Chinese Ayi’s whle we were there. Now mind you, this had nothing to do with China. We wanted to be there and experience her culture. We loved seeing the people and watching her interact with them, but I had a feeling that when there was a complete separation, it would be better for our relationship.

My husband works and goes to school. We decided that I would be a stay at home mom. So this little girl was basically forced to deal with me daily. It was hard. She loved her daddy. She trusted him. She was hysterical when he left for work. She didn’t want to warm up to me. However, within a very short amount of time, she accepted me. We went everywhere together. I continued on with life with her in it.

It will be seven months tomorrow. This little girl is the brightest shining star. I had no idea you could love someone like this. She is bright and sweet and caring and funny as all heck! I have to pinch myself daily to remind myself that she is truly ours. We have been so blessed. I often say to our friends “how they let her out of China is beyond me.” I am so grateful to them for letting us adopt her.

My husband just went to the cemetery down the street to plant mums and put pumpkins at the graves of my parents, great aunt and uncle and grandmother. She of course wanted to go. Daddy just got a brand new tractor, so they carefully road over together. I took the car. It’s a close walk, but I have a terrible sore throat, so I wasn’t in the mood to walk. I drove up and Miss Shayla Yu Ping, known as Ping Ping to us came running towards me. She was smiling and waving and yelling “hi mommy!!!!!” She had been asking for me since they got there, which was only minutes before I showed up. To see her beautiful face light up is a true gift. Amazing that 7 months earlier, she wanted to kill me!

Would I adopt a toddler again? You bet!!!!! It just takes time to get used to each other. As you have already learned, they are taking in new faces, smells, foods, locations, etc. It’s overwhelming to them.

I did take a few WeeHands classes with Ping to learn some sign language, but she didn’t really need it. You can usually rely on your instincts and know that if they are thirsty, you offer them juice. Once you say “would you like some juice” and show the container and the cup, they pick up that word and stick it in their memory bank. It’s amazing what is learned daily.

People are absolutely shocked that she has been here 7 months. They think we have had her since birth. Her English is amazing. I am so proud of her! Her reasoning skills are fantastic. She is far brighter than we ever imagined. I won’t say it’s been sunshine and roses every day since she has been home. It’s been tough at times. Asking her to grab her “yellow shoes” when we are in a hurry and her just looking at me blankly has occasionally been hard. However, it’s been minor in comparison to the absolute joys. She is my little buddy. When she goes to school, I miss her like crazy!

You just have to remind yourself that what you are experiencing in China is fresh. It’s so different as every month at home ticks by! This is truly the most exciting life changing trip you can ever take. Enjoy it to the best of your ability.

One thing I would suggest right off the bat is to familiarize yourself with the age group of the child you are adopting. 3 is such a tough age. My husband and I would joke with our friends that when their toddler turned 3, we would be in Kenya vacationing till the child turned 4! LOL. After all, 3 is 2 with intent. They are such mouthy independent little buggers. If I even buckle up my daughter in the car because I am hurrying, she will literally unbuckle herself so she can do it. Parenting a toddler is a test of patience. Sometime I have to say to myself “breathe, does it matter if we are 2 minutes late?” So I believe that if you know what to expect from a toddler, it will help you discern between age appropriate behavior and attachment/bonding/adoption type behavior. I would also suggest that as soon as you get home, call in your Early Education people if you are able to. Ours stop evaluating at age 3, so I wanted Ping Ping to get into that immediately. It was great as we had someone once a week come to the house to help her with her English. It was just another person that could talk to her and teach her other ways to say something. I also took her to a play group every Wednesday for 2 hours. Just another teaching tool. As I said before, she is now in school. They have told me that she is the happiest little girl and she is so very bright. It was nice to hear.

I have attached a few photos to show you the girl they brought to me and the daughter I now cherish more than life itself. She is every fiber of my being and hopefully you can see why in the photos.


Proud mom to Shayla Yu Ping

1 comment:

Tammy said...


What a wonderful post. Since I was in China with you I can attest to the rejection you received, which makes your post all the more sweeter for me. You and Ping have come a long way, and I am soooo very happy for you both. :)