A hug is a hug, right?

by Michele

Well, nights here are very hard. In the middle of the night Jenna and Quinn continue to scream and cry for hours on end.  The one bonus is that they did stay in bed the whole night attempting to sleep (the first night they got up and played for three hours).  I know I am in the middle of it right now and that it will get better but inside me I have the feeling that there is no hope.  Ted and I are only getting about 3-4 hours of sleep each night.  To top it all off, I started feeling sick last night and today my throat really hurts.  I know, I sound like a whiny baby but I guess three nights of barely any sleep will do that to a person.

Besides the sleep issue, the girls are starting to warm up to others; however, they still do not like Luke and Ryan touching us.  I guess that should make me happy that they are possessive of Ted and me.  Last night I was reminiscing over the past day and remembered how comfortable Jenna and Quinn were with our neighbors Bella and Michel.  They were very excited to be held by them last night and did not really care what Ted and I were up to.  At the time I thought it was a bonus, Ted got the kitchen cleaned and I played with my boys.  However,  when the girls have been screaming for the two night-time hours, I wonder, “What if the girls are trying them out as their new parents, what if they prefer them over us, their real parents?”  I mean can you blame them?  For those of you who do not know Bella, our next-door neighbor girl, she is nine but is unbelievable with little kids.  She is going to make one incredible mom someday to some very blessed children.  She has been helping me with my kids since Luke was 1 (Bella was just 5 then) and whenever I babysit other kids, Bella is always here to help.  Kids love her.  So it would only make sense that they would choose Bella over me.  I know, Jenna and Quinn come to us to get comforted….because they need it, they have no other option.  It is different with Luke and Ryan.  They come to us because they want to, they love us, they trust us.  Yes, the boys need us too, but when they hug us, they hug us, and I mean, really hug us.  The girls come to us, but it is different…yes, they hug us but it is out of their need for comfort.  If there was a better option, they might go there instead.  Their hugs are hugs, but they feel different, maybe like a nervous hug…an “are you going to leave me, too” hug,  or “should I really trust you hug.”  Maybe this only makes sense to others who have adopted and felt the same difference.  Before, I thought a hug was a hug.  Even in China when the girls would come for a hug, Ted and I thought we were doing good, we have bonded, there is no need to worry.  But after the boys came home and we started getting hugs from them and from the girls, it has become obvious…there is a difference.

I know it will take time, I mean, the girls have only known us for 12 days.  And they are 1 1/2 years old.  Their world has totally flipped, down to the basics of when to sleep and when to play and eat.  I know one day they will hug me just like Luke and Ryan do, just like most parents experience hugs from their kids.  But now I think I just have to be content with a “I need some comfort” hug, a comfort stroke….as I held Quinn’s hand at 5 this morning, slowly rubbing it to help put her back to sleep after screaming for three solid hours…some day it will be better.  The multitude of adoptive parents will testify, it is worth it and it will get better.

I know my pictures don’t really fit into the post but you can’t have a post without a few pictures.  They are a bit grainy because someone forgot to change the setting on the camera but, oh well.

Quinn

Jenna

We love Ryan too but he and I were sleeping when Ted was taking pictures so we have none of him today.

Jenna and Quinn got their first bike ride today.  They started crying at the beginning but as soon as we started out, I got some big grins.  They loved it.  When we got back they each wanted a turn on Ryan’s bike.  Quinn had a temper tantrum when I took her off so that Jenna could have a turn.  So even if it looks like I don’t care it is because I know she is ok and there is nothing wrong with her.  I just don’t know enough Chinese to tell her it was her sisters turn on Ryan’s bike.  My boys continue to amaze me.  They are so giving to the girls.  Things that they used to fight over they now hand over readily to the girls to make them happy, they are bending over backwards to help the girls feel at home and let them know they are loved.  Today Luke tried to give Quinn a hug.  He asked her, and then used some hand gestures to let her know what he wanted.  She started to shake her head no.  Luke just shrugged and said, “maybe tomorrow” and then went back to playing and entertaining her.

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About tochinaandbackagain

I am a stay at home mom to two very active boys and soon we will bring home two Chinese twin girls with cleft lip and palate issues. I spend my day trying to be the best parent and wife I can be with God leading the way.
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5 Responses to A hug is a hug, right?

  1. Jessica says:

    Yay! The girls are home! (I’m sure you got home earlier this week, but I havn’t had time to be online much and check.) Your girls will grow to love you. It may be sad not to have “real” hugs from them yet, but that will come. Ugh, I can’t imagine the hours of crying at night…Have you tried soothing music, twilight turtle that projects stars onto the ceiling, etc? Obviously they miss their foster parents and maybe some stupid turtle won’t help, but you never know! :p Could you order some lullabys in chinese? 🙂
    Glad to hear Rian and Luke are being so sweet and caring to their new sisters! I knew they would be. What sweet boys they are. 🙂

  2. Jessica says:

    *oops, I have another friend who has a Rian. I will remember yours is spelled RYan. 🙂

  3. Kathleen says:

    Please know these days right after travelling home will be EXTREMELY stressful as everyone tries to find a NEW NORMAL!!! There is tons of information on attachment parenting and that is what your WHOLE family needs right now. Slow days, someone else doing the chores, and you and your husband resting and focusing on the kids. Many things change went kids come home from China as you know. SLeep schedules change, new people holding and playing with them confuse them as to who is who! I’ll send some more resources later, but from one experienced mom to another, this will be hard, you will be exhaust, you will need extra help with chores not childcare even from the sweetest friend in the world! These babies need to be cared for differently than your bio babies (who are adorable BTW) and after a few weeks or a month or two, then your NEW NORMAL will allow for more people and caregivers into the circle. All the best will come from closing off the pipeline of well wishers for a while and just relax with your familyas it has grown and needs to hanker down, ask for meals, childcare and playdates for your boys, time for a nap or two and LET IT RUN IT’S COURSE. NO MATTER WHAT OTHERS TELL YOU, these babies will not benefit from screaming for hours during the night, they are calling out to you and asking am I safe, still?? Are you there, no matter what I do??? Will you hold me in the dark even if during the day I seem fine??? There is a ton of info on the return to life after travelling to China, it will give you some ideas and support. Here’s one place to start: http://www.nohandsbutours.com/blog/.

    Your life will be amazing as your family adjusts, but it takes time to do that, remember what sleep deprivation does to people both young and old. Try to keep the worrying to a minimum and give your brain a rest, it will all work out and look a little better each day. Hang in there, and get some help and support. If you are a friend or family member of this family, please offer to help with the work and free the parents up to figure out the NEW NORMAL for all their kids. These adorable new girls will be flourishing in time, but right now, supporting the family with extra help it the best thing you can do. Kathleen Mom to four, two bio, two adopted and one grandbaby also adopted!!!

  4. Rhonda Johnson says:

    These days are indeed hard, but you will survive. I remember people not understanding our limiting when we met new people and what they were allowed to do. I said to church friends, “yes, you can make the coffee, no you cannot hold the baby. She has had alot of care givers and she needs to learn I am mom–forever.” Know that we are praying for you. If you need someone to “make to coffee” we are a block away!

  5. Mike Dickinson says:

    All relationships take time. They are journeys, not destinations. Some people don’t realize just how much bonding you do with a baby during the almost ten months of development. Two weeks here is barely a drop in the bucket by comparison, but look how far they’ve come in 2 weeks.

    Sure they might choose Bella. She’s more like a friend. As I’ve told my boys over the years, whenever I have to choose between being their father and being their friend, I’ll always choose being their father. That is a God appointed calling. They can always find a friend, but parents are harder to come by.

    You guys are doing a great job. Right now you are going through the long-suffering that brings patience. That’s something you just can’t hurry. 😉

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