March 7, Wednesday: {grief}

If the posts recently have been hard to read, you may want to skip this one.
I put it out there for those who might be in our shoes next.
Our girl is grieving so hard.
I mean very hard.

So much harder than Tess or Jude ever did.
Harder than the other babies in our group.
So much harder than I imagined possible.

I will make the leap, and say that this child was surely loved and cherished so much or else she couldn’t possibly be this devastatingly heartbroken.

I was prepared for all sorts of reactions to grief.
vomit
peeing
biting
pinching
running

But I heard someone say one of the most important things to remember in international adoption is to expect the unexpected.

I know full well that the grief is a wonderful sign that the process is underway. But didn’t expect the depth of her sadness. Maybe I did expect it. But until you witness the depth of it, I think perhaps it is impossible to comprehend. How amazingly deep her sadness goes. Our Mazie has lost everything in her world in an instant.

—She is almost always silent. Unless she is weeping. It isn’t a scream. It’s more like weeping that comes from deep within her.

—Any attempt to change any part of her clothing, (remove a shirt, take off a shoe, put on a jacket. close a button…) throws her instantly back to her grief. So we let her remain in what she is wearing until it’s just so dirty I can’t take it. She spent a good 2 hours of today with only one arm in her jacket, the other end dangling, as I could get her to take it off. If it weren’t for the sweat rolling off her, I would have let her wear it to bed.

—Leaving the hotel room throws her spinning back to grief. So does knock on doors, entering elevators, and entering/leaving buildings.

—She will not nap. Except for cat naps minutes at a time when I carry her.

—Entering into or out of most all buildings can trigger her.

—She is hoarding all she can in her tiny fists.

—Diaper changes lead to instant screaming.

—Riding in cars seem to scare her. But we have appointments to keep.

—The scratching continues anywhere she can reach. We are re-directing with toys and finds the advantage of the aforementioned hoarding. It’s hard to scratch when your hands are full of stuff.

—She will not let herself lay down. So she falls asleep each time sitting up. Then I lay her down.

—She has only had about 2-3 ounces of water since we got her. No formula at all even though we were told she takes two full bottles a day.

I was unprepared for the depth of her grief. Maybe you just can’t prepare to witness and be a part of something like that.

She is heart broken. Her grief at times seems palpable. It is a blessing that she is attaching to me. But with this attachment comes the realization that I can not make it better. She often looks directly in my eyes, longingly, and seems to know it all. She seems to fully comprehend the permanence of her situation. And then her big silent tears come, and then the weeping. all in that order. She looks so longingly into my eyes as if to ask me to help her. And of course I can’t. At least in the way that she longs for. So sometimes I cry along with her.

The good news…

—She is attaching very very well. To me. But won’t have anything to do with Papa. I am sad for him as this rejection would be hard on any father. He loves her so very much. It’s hard for him. I’ve seen first hand what good attachment looks like and what poor attachment looks like. And sweet Mazie’s attachment so far has been so much more than we could have hoped for. A huge blessing that makes the grief more bearable.

—Her appetite is healthy. She’s picky as all get out, but when we find the right foods, she gets her fill. She especially likes congee, steamed bun, tangerines, noodles, bananas, and yogurt.

—I don’t think she has/had scabies. Rather eczema and she allows me apply liberal coats of Aquaphore and lotion several times a day, as long as I don’t attempt to unbutton, unsnap, or remove any article of clothing. Coupled with the constant sweat from being “bundled” the Chinese way, she and her clothing are filthy.

—She has slept well each night. Which isn’t that surprising seeing as how much work the grief is all day long. Co-sleeping is working well for us both.

We head to the orphanage next. It is not something I’m looking forward to. But I do think it will be a blessing in the end.



Comments

  1. Tough stuff. I have every confidence that this phase will be short lived… and she’ll have a brilliant smile on her face in no time. Hang in there, Nancy. You’re doing a great job!

  2. Praying for you and your very sweet little one.:)

  3. This touched my heart so much. Nine months ago, we were there. Our son came home from South Korea just devastated by all he had lost. His eyes were hollow, he was in shock, total shock about what had happened to him. He would fall asleep sitting up, too, and he was so angry. It was hard, so hard to see him hurting so much. Today as he sat in my lap and looked at a book, my heart filled up with joy when he turned his head to look at me, smiled and said, “Mama!” in such a confident way. He is a different child now, but it is still so hard to look at pictures and to know how much he went through. I had read about it before, but to experience it…well, like you said, you can’t really prepare for a grief like that. Thank you for sharing your story! This blog has been such a blessing to me!

  4. Oh, sweet girl. It’s so hard. Just keep hp with the patience and love and she’ll come around.

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