Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 1....gettin' real

Well, I could sugar-coat this and tell you
that our first full day home was wonderful,
and it was, BUT....there is a flip-side.

I was determined to stay home all day without
leaving the house because...that's what all the books
say to do. And I agree with that totally and that's what
we did, however, it made for a long, awkward day.
When we were in China, we were constantly on the go
so the "awkward" moments weren't so bad
because there were people around us almost constantly.
Plus, we were in her culture...with familiar
things all around her.

Now, Shu Li isn't speaking much English...
not like she did in the beginning. I think her confidence
has dropped now that she's been around real English-speaking
people, instead of just in class at school.
I sense that she is grieving a lot.

With a younger child,
it's easy to hug and kiss...comfort and nurture.
With an older child,
it's so different. Though we do try to be affectionate
often, and she does tolerate it, I think it is
uncomfortable to her.
We try to give her her space...but yet not leave
her alone much.

I think the bottom line is right now,
it feels very much like we have a visitor in our
house, as many of you had told me it would be.
And she no doubt feels the same way.

I plan to start giving her things to do around the house,
starting tomorrow. She needs to feel like she belongs
and I think that will help.
Plus, even though I had planned on taking a couple
weeks off before we started homeschooling,
I think it's best if we start right away.
It will give us something to work on and give us more
opportunities for bonding.

Oh and Lucy isn't responding well to her right now.
I think the language barrier has caught
her off guard, even though I tried to explain to
her all about it. But, she's 3.
She refused to sleep in her room with Shu Li last
night, which was difficult. I'm not sure how that
made Shu Li feel but I just tried to explain that Lucy
just wanted to sleep with us for the night.
I plan to try to get the girls to engage in each other
by playing together on Lucy's level.

All of this has reminds me that the love that Christ has
for us is so unconditional. He is so gracious
to be patient and kind to us....even when we don't respond
to Him. He never gives up on us. He yearns
to have a deep, personal relationship with us.

The boys and Shu Li putting a puzzle together.

A good moment with the girls.
And yes, that would be Lucy in her new
Chinese outfit with part of a Halloween
costume around her neck (a pumpkin leaf).

Brenden setting up Shu Li on Facebook!

Oh and one last and important thing!
The name issue has come up again. I asked Shu Li
what she wants us to call her....Katie or Shu Li.
She tried to use her translator to tell us
something but she couldn't find the right words.
Bless her heart.
She was chatting with one of her recently adopted friends
whose family named her Katie.
I'm starting to wonder if she doesn't want that name
now since her friend has it.
I still feel determined to let her choose (we have given
her 2 English names to choose from or keep her
Chinese name), one wants a name thrown at them
that they don't like...especially at age 13.
We will see.
But for now, we continue to call her Shu Li.
And for all my family and friends,
I would like you to call her that as well, for now.

Please continue to pray for our transition.
It is difficult. But not as difficult
as I imagined that it might be. Shu is very
compliant and goes with the flow.
I just want her to feel like she belongs.


Lisa said...

Praying that each day gets easier and easier for all of you. I know that Shu Li will feel at home once it all settles in. It always amazes me at these kids how there lifes can be turned upside down and they still be so compliant and trusting. If our kids were made to do the things that these kids go through I do not know that the transition would be the same.

God is so in control and will pave the way to the bonding of your family.

God Bless,

Newark, Ohio

Tony and Rett said...

Bless your hearts! Such a desire to be close...which will come!

I'll be praying for opportunities to bond and experience joy together. I'll be praying Shu Li continues to try her English. I will also be praying that your love bridges that gap so that she feels connected and a part of your family, SOON!

Thanks for being real, friend.

Praying now! At my desk at school!

Joy said...

It is hard, isn't it? Please feel free to email me directly if you have any questions or if you just want to talk.


Debby said...

Welcome home! I don't know how I missed your post yesterday, but I did. I think it is very normal for everyone to feel like there is a visitor in your house....from both sides!!
Lucy & Shu Li will careve out & define their own relationship in time. I do imagine she probably relates better to your teens though.
I lover her name Shu Li......could even Americanize it by calling her the mom with the daughter whose Chinese name was LinDa & still changed it to something

Can you send your cleaning crew to my house??

Enjoy today!!

jan said...

lori, i have been following you every step of the way. and praying for that 'connection'. our agency requires several book reports which has turned into a blessing :). one of them explained the extra challenge of adopting teens (our new daughter turns 11 next week :) -- as a parent, that is the age/stage that you/her begin the move toward independence. the 'normal' adoption process says to bring them in to you, let them fully rely on you. this can present a confusing situation for both sometimes. we get this extra challenge when God brings them to us as a much older child but as we know these 'trials' are when He provides major breakthroughs in our understanding of Him.

for all of us who are following into uncharted waters, please keep it real :) and full of opportunities for us to learn :)

on a personal note - would appreciate your thoughts on sending care packages over to them. next week is Ming's 11th bday. the agency thinks it is awesome to send her a gift. did you send things to Shu Li along the way? how much in advance did she know she had a forever family? what, if anything, would you do differently to prepare her heart?

I could write on and on but I am texting (beach vacation :) so if i do something stupid and lose this message i will be sad :(. look forward to a post on the above or email if you want:

thanks, xoxoxo, and love you :)

Jean said...

Oh yes I do remember the awkward time. Thank goodness it does get better! I am sure Shu Li is grieving and she will need to off and on for quite awhile.

I remember our social worker telling us not to have her do chores but I don't agree with that- it made Sarah feel useful, part of the family and took her mind off of her grieving.

so glad to have you back!!

Angie said...

In some ways it's so much easier adopting an older child (no bottles, diapers, feeding, etc.) but in other ways there are challenges like bonding. I'm with you, friend, as we're going on month #2 with our older son.

Janet and Kevin said...

Praying, praying, praying for you all. I can only imagine all of the transitions you all are going through.

I remember thinking that once we got home with Philip, it would be so much better; but in reality, that was when things got more difficult for a bit.

Praising God for a safe trip back home and praying for better days ahead.

Janet, Kevin, Ted, Philip, and waiting for Eli

Melinda said...

Praying for you all and for Shu Li's adjustment. I love reading your blog...yes, I'm a blog stalker. I've laughed and cried at your blog. It warms my heart everytime I see one of these beautiful children come home and makes me think of when we brought our girl's home.


Sarah the Kool Kid said...

aw, I was praying for you guys last night about some of this very same stuff. I knew it would be hard for her with this. I'll keep praying!

Sally- That Girl! said...

Thanks for keeping things real and not sugar coating. I think it is so important for future adoptive parents to get the truth and then when life is going great they can see where you started and where it took you!

I will pray that you discover the right activities to do with her to help the bonding and feeling like she is part of the family. Does Bryson need to send more stick dot pages???

Loving in you in California!

Sharla said...

I could so relate to your words, having just been in your shoes a year ago... But it's amazing looking back now! For months I felt like Abby felt like a stranger, honestly, I felt like we had a guest in our house, I can't imagine how she felt. And even now, there are still times that I sense that she feels like she doesn't completely belong, mostly because so much of our kid's lives happened before she became our daughter. But I know that God's grace covers an abundance of bumps in the road, so just keep your eyes on Him, like you're doing. He's the Master of Attachment... creating a bond between Himself and His adopted children, look to Him and you can't go wrong!

Sending hugs...

Sherri & Todd said...

It's easy for me to say things will get better, but I haven't been there yet I only hope that they do. She seems like a real sweet girl. Giving her things to do to make her feel wanted sounds like a great idea.
I will keep you all in our prayers.


christy rose said...

I was gone on vacation for most of the time that you were in China. So I missed most of your posts while you were there. I just got caught up on most of them. It seems like overall everything went pretty well. God went before you and prepared the way, that is for sure. I am so happy to hear that you are all home safe and sound. What an adventure that you are embarking on. I am praying for all of you, especially Shu Li. Getting started on school right away is probably a good idea. I bet that before long Lucy and Shu Li are going to be the best of friends. How sweet the whole experience is. I am so excited to be a part of your lives, even if it is only through the blogging world.
Continuing to pray for you and your family and expecting great things,

connie said...

Dear friend, we are praying for Shu's transition. I can't even imagine what must be going through her mind. I know God will guide you through as her mama.
Please do keep it real! Very good insight as we prepare to leave in two weeks for our 13 year old AND 2 year old :0)

Mom Of Many said...

Thank you for keeping it real. Blogs can present whatever they want...but all of us have real struggles...whether it be adopting an older trial or tragedies that leave us questioning lots of things....either way, we are praying. We were passing by KC (north of it) just about the time you were landing. Wish we could have swung down and welcomed you all back to America! I have been praying for all the adjustments and will continue. Grieving for her would probably be an understatement. I know that Isaiah grieved for a long while and he was only just under 4. May the God of all comfort minister to her tender heart. Love from Colorado Springs...and heading home today - Lord willing. xo

Kathy said...

Praying for all of you through this time
of adjusting. I really appreciate your
keeping it real for us.
We haven't received our TA yet. Our
agency is anticipating we will leave
on Oct. 22nd thru Nov.6. I am excited
and nervous.
Praying the Lord is preparing Piper's
heart and mind for all the changes
that are going to take place in her

Holly said...

Well, that sounds pretty much exactly how I would assume the first little while with an older child would be. Everything so different...for everyone. And that's an understatement. We will be praying for you all that the transition will be smooth and sweet. Love you, Lori!

Chris said...

I second the motion to "keep it real" In less than a year we hope to be in your shoes...we are madly paperchasing for Gao Liang (didn't agree on an american name yet)
Any tips will be appreciated

Karin said...

Praying for you, sweet friend. My heart aches for her, but I know it will get better. I remember when we moved a few months ago. The first few days I looonged for something familiar (all of our stuff was still on the truck). I remember thinking how hard it would be for ShuLi to have nothing familiar when she came here. It will take time--but I know that God will comfort her and help you all bond.

Anonymous said...

It is so good of you to tell it like it is for others. Wish more people had helped us that way. We had a rough 6 month adjustment but things could not be more wonderful now. Trust me it will all be ok soon. PRAYING...hang on our Lord can handle this! :)

Karen said...

So glad you are home. I wish I had words of wisdom to share with you. I will be praying for you guys though. I love the picture of Shu Li flanked by her two older brothers. I bet they will be her protectors. Keep the pictures coming (but don't forget to rest up):-)

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