Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Attaching to Jenn

Disclaimer for this post:  I started composing this piece on Tuesday evening, but I couldn't post it until Wednesday, so if you find an occasional change in tenses, or jumbled time frames, there is a reason.  Now on to the next installment of our Asian Saga.

Tuesday was Day 2 of Henry's adventure with us, and it was a long, hard day.  First of all, reality set in first thing in the morning when Henry saw that he woke up in an unfamiliar place.  He laid on his side and accepted Kix for about 20 minutes before he was ready to stand up and get out of the crib.  For the next little while, he behaved much as he did when we first go back to the hotel on Monday: no smiling, very reserved.  He was really only interested in Jenn holding him... more on this shortly.

We got to Skype with Grandma Laura and Grandpa Dave in the morning, then we went to the Agency to finalize our adoption, then to the notary to notarize the adoption finalization, then 2 hours and 45 minutes away to Henry's hometown of Zhoukou to apply for his passport.
Only since March of this year have the parents been required to be present to apply for passports.  Prior to March, the orphanage would get the process rolling two weeks before the adoption.  To say that today's trip was inconvenient and one that amounted to busywork would be mostly true.  It was good for us to see from where he came.  After our time at what amounted to a cross between a police station and a DMV, we drove by Henry's orphanage.  While we were not allowed to go inside, we did get some photos of the location where he was abandoned, and most importantly, we got to meet and take photos with one of his nannies.
Put an asterisk at this point in the story, because I need to give bit of background before I go on.  The LORD has answered our prayers for Henry to attach quickly... to Jenn.  Yesterday he was okay with me holding him in the beginning, but as the day wore on, hindsight tells me that he was becoming more and more attached to Jenn, and I was just a stranger in the room.  This was made very clear today, as he threw a fit whenever he was not primarily connected to Jenn.  (The one exception to this was a brief period in the morning, and there was food involved.)
I'm not ging to lie, this has been a tough thing for me.  Intellectually, I knew it would be a possibility, and I saw it happen to some parents within the first five minutes, but no amount of head-knowledge can prepare someone for this from an emotional standpoint.  I know the time will come, but I'm living in the now.  And Henry's clinging has made eating, getting ready for the day, etc., etc., a bit difficult for Jenn.  This isn't anything unusual in adoption processes, but it's happening to us now, so it's a big deal to us.

Back to the nanny.  When Henry saw her, he reached toward her and she took him and hugged him closely.  These kids are not just a job to this nanny, and this made us happy to see.  And then... he reached back for Jenn.  Let that sink in.
The nanny was obviously very emotional, and she hugged Henry one more time, and Jenn and I could tell that he was having a hard time processing what was going on.  After we got back in the car, Henry, who had been very playful prior to the stop, was very, very subdued, kind of like what we saw out of him in the morning.  He rested on Jenn and sucked his fingers for about five minutes, and then he started to open back up again.  We knew he'd struggle with seeing his nanny, but getting that photo will prove one day to be a very important time that Jenn and I did not want to let slip away.

The nanny mentioned to us that Henry was a good eater, and that has been our experience to this point.  There are some fruity textures that he's not crazy about, but most things he shoves into his mouth and worries about how he'll chew it all later.
The long time in the car was challenging.  No car seat, and a boy that only wanted to be held by one.  He fell asleep in Jenn's arms soon after we left, and she passed him off to me, and he slept for 2 hours. That's the good part.  The bad part is that my butt and back in those old Toyota van seats did not respond well.  The trip back was a constant effort in keeping Henry occupied.  We don't want to do that again soon.

Bedtime was more of a struggle this evening, as Henry can just not let Jenn go.  Turns out, after I left to blog last night, Henry got fussy and then gave Jenn trouble going to sleep.  So I'm going to try to put him to bed tomorrow and see how things go.

We found out today that Henry can walk when he's really motivated.  It looks as though he never really needed to walk much, so he hasn't had much practice, and as a result, he doesn't have much muscle tone.  That, combined with the fact that he seems so happy to be held that he rides lazy makes us want to get him home with Lincoln and Lydia and give him some prompting to get up and moving.  Until then, the walking is making slow, steady progress.

Now we're waiting for Henry's passport to go through, and then we're off to Guangzhou on Friday.  That gives us nothing really official to do for the next couple of days.  Hurry up and wait.  I could do without it, but it is what it is.

We Skyped with Grandma Paulette and Lincoln on Tuesday evening, and to be honest, I had a really hard time with that.  I miss the kids at home, and seeing Lincoln made that really hit hard.
On Wednesday we went to a local park with a few of the other families.  Henry slept for the first half of it, as he's been tired in the morning after breakfast. Jenn was free, then to talk with some of the others, both locals, and Westerners. The locals aren't shy about staring at the Westerners with the Asian kids.  The cost and the local food prompted us to get McDonald's for lunch, and we took it back to the park.  Going to the local department store to get some clothes.  Some of the kids, especially one of the boys with a cleft palate, are a different size than we all planned for, and WalMart doesn't have a big selection... and at the end of the day, it's a WalMart in the middle of Zhengzhou.

Please continue to pray.  Pray for Jenn's physical strength as she lugs Henry around, and for both of our emotional and mental strength as we take on the stresses that both come with adoption and that come with being in a foreign culture for a long time.  Pray for Henry, that he'll continue to open up and be comfortable with Jenn and me in all circumstances.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

We are praying for you, and I am so glad that I found your blog!