Yesterday (Thursday) and today (Friday) seemed especially tough for Eden. It seemed as though she would go through cycles of grief- an hour of happiness, an hour of being restless, and then an hour of grieving. Nothing seemed to trigger the grief but grief itself. It is very difficult to see Eden grieve so strongly. She cries for the same people and looks longingly out the window, or if we are out of our hotel, cries and can't be comforted by either myself or Zack, though she does favor Zack much more than me at this point. She does allow me to help her, but does not like for me to help.
Only time brings the grieving moment to an end, and we know that only time and consistent care will help the long term grief as well. As it is, we feel as though we are just surviving in a way, until we can go home and begin to help Eden establish her new normal.
Yesterday and today were rainy in Guiyang. We walked around the city and visited a couple of city parks- a park in Guiyang is the equivalent to a large open space with lots of concrete, beautiful landscaping with flowers and trees, but no grassy areas. Many times you will find people doing traditional Chinese dances or some form of Martial Arts, or men playing a game where they use a whip and hit a giant top over and over again to keep it spinning. When the whip hits the top it makes a very loud popping noise, almost like fire crackers exploding! Very interesting the parks in Guiyang. Eden enjoys taking in the scenes at the parks and being able to run around in an open space.
We also made a trip to Wal- Mart yesterday. It was our fourth trip so we knew the route well, but we decided to take an alternate route from where we were in town. Well, that didn't end up going as planned, and it took quite a bit longer than usual to get to Wal-Mart. By the time we got there, Eden was literally pulling down her pants because she needed to go pee-pee. We looked for bathrooms in the park above Wal-Mart (yes, Wal-Mart is under ground...and that is just one way that it is drastically different from USA stores) but had no luck, so we raced down into Wal-Mart and looked for bathrooms near the customer service area at the front of the store- again no luck. We tried asking everyone- police, store workers, but no one could understand! We raced through the store with Eden in her stroller looking everywhere for a restroom. We stopped in the baby/children's area and asked the workers there if they could help us find a restroom. Picture two lone white people, in a store full of Chinese people, basically doing charades for "pee-pee", and anything else we could do to help them understand we needed a bathroom and quick! They were very kind but kept leading us to panties, training potties, but not to a real restroom. We finally gave up and went back to the front of the store, knowing there had to be a restroom there somewhere. I thankfully caught a toilet picture out of the corner of my eye and raced to it. It was a nasty squatty potty, but I had never been so happy to see one!
Eden was a trooper and made it without having an accident! We rewarded her for putting up with our craziness with a ice cream sundae:)
The rest of the afternoon we hung around our hotel and went with one of the other families to KFC and to the park nearby. Eden had some grieving moments while we were out and then once we returned to our hotel, she was very upset. I imagine that she thinks our hotel is her home at this point, and I can't blame her for being upset about that. I truly think the best thing for Eden will be to meet her new family in South Carolina and experience her new home and life there.
Today is the day we are finally able to head to Guangzhou! This morning we had some fun times with Eden but she still went through the cycles I mentioned earlier- she has fun and laughs and smiles with us, then she becomes sullen, then she grieves. It is so hard. I have felt like most of the day today Eden has just been miserable with us. We are just continually trying to show her love, encouragement and meeting her needs, despite the reaction she gives us.
Once we made it to the airport we were hoping she would really like the airport, seeing the airplanes, and finally getting to ride in an airplane, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.
We arrived at the airport at around 3pm, as our flight was to leave at 5:10. Eden wasn't impressed with the airport and the sights there, as I am sure to her it just seemed like more of the same. We did have fun riding up and down the escalators and playing in the small kids area, but grief seemed to overtake Eden every few minutes. To make matters worse, our flight, or at least boarding it, ended up being delayed about two hours. By the time we got in the plane it was 7pm, Eden was crying and lots of Chinese people were staring at us. Then came the announcement from the pilot that our flight wouldn't actually be able to leave until 8pm- so that meant one hour in the plane not going anywhere with a crying child that we couldn't console no matter how hard we tried. This was not an ideal scenario :)
I truly know that it was out of the kindness of their hearts that the Chinese ladies around us tried to help, and it was a crisis type moment, but the worse possible thing for bonding happened- a sweet lady sitting beside us reached for Eden speaking soothing Chinese words to her and of course, Eden accepted. Both Zack and I knew this was not good for our relationship with Eden- it's textbook to not let anyone else comfort, feed, and care for your newly adopted child but the new parents, as bonding occurs through the child realizing that her new parents are meeting her needs. It may appear rude to others, but it is essential.
In this moment, with Eden screaming to the top of her lungs and everyone realizing we were stuck on the plane for an hour without going anywhere, the Chinese lady prevailed. As I type this on my phone, I have calmed down quite a bit, but watching a stranger ( even with wonderful intentions) feed, laugh, entertain, and even put to sleep my daughter on the airplane was very difficult. Perhaps what was even more difficult was watching Eden scream and resist leaving this stranger, and realizing that Eden has not really learned to trust Zack or I quite yet.
When we finally landed the struggle to take Eden from the lady didn't last too long, but of course she cried and screamed, but thankfully did go back to sleep fairly quickly once we were off the plane and we laid her in her stroller.
We ended up arriving at our hotel at around 11 that evening- we were planning on getting here closer to 7pm...It was a long day, but I am thankful we all made it safely and we are all healthy and can hopefully start anew tomorrow morning.
Speaking of "morning" One of my favorite scriptures says this:
So thankful that each morning we have new mercy and can depend on the unfailing love of our Savior, no matter how difficult our days may be sometimes.
Having said all that I said in this post, holding sweet Eden while she slept on the van ride to our hotel reminded me of why we are doing what we are doing and how precious she is to us and our Creator. I also remembered holding another little girl who was dealing with the same grief issues 3 years ago, and wondering if our lives would ever be the same.
Thankfully, they never were. We are so, so much better with Emmie in our life, and I can't wait to experience that same joy for Eden, the joy that comes when God begins to turn beauty into ashes in all hearts involved, and gives us the perseverance to continue on.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. We are so honored and encouraged to know that we are being lifted up to the one that makes all things new.
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