Two months ago, I left my job...the first time I have not worked since I left school 18 years ago. Somehow, I just have felt the need to remain silent and "withdraw". When life comes to a "stop", when the "race" ends, only then do you realize how tired you are. I have popped in from time to time...I am so excited for all of you getting close to bringing your children home! I hope that my posts are not a discouragement, but rather useful information/preparation for issues that may come up. Ultimately, you will all have your own unique story to tell as every child is so different.
It has been one year since I walked off the plane with Payal to join our family forever! I would summarize the changes over the past year as very difficult, but with more days of hope than regret. After nine months of trying to balance family and medicine, I sold my practice and am currently at home. My two older children have "hung in there" and have been nothing short of amazing in what they have tolerated this year. I am currently nursing my latest injury from Payal...a torn cornea. ( if you have read past posts, you know this is not the first time I have had significant injury)
While this has not been the worst year of my life, it certainly has been for my two biological children. It pains me to see that despite their sacrifices, just when we think we have turned the corner, we have some sort of set back. While I read of other families celebrating their family day, ours went by with mention only that; " wow. we have been putting up with THIS for a year". For Payal, this was the worst day of her life...she was handed to me kicking a screaming, literally torn from the arms of her foster mother and handed to me by the orphanage director while she screamed NO! So, what is to celebrate??? Adoption is merely an attempt to make right a "fatal error": the separation of a child from their birthmother, regardless of why that separation occurred.
We have put Payal in daycare. The girls needed some time to decompress. They can practice their piano, read, and do their lessons in peace...none of which can be accomplished with Payal at home. Nothing in her reach is safe. She is a little tornado--unquestionably hyperactive. She behaves wonderfully at daycare, with no behavior problems at all. In fact, she behaves wonderfully for everyone but me...yet, I am the only one she wants when I am present. I think she is an angry, wounded child, and I am the only one she can "safely" express her anger to. At least now, I have the energy and emotional reserves to deal with the abuse. She did seem concerned after she hurt my eye. She asks me everyday if it is better yet. She maybe did learn a simple lesson: if I hurt mommy, I get separated from her...Immediately, after the injury, someone else had to drop her off at daycare, and she was the last child picked up at close. I can count on one hand the times my husband has cursed out loud with no restraint, and this was one of them. My vision was 20/400 (legally blind) in the injured eye yesterday..used to be 20/40. We are hopeful that this will improve as the defect heals.
This brings me to the cost of adoption...Many people ask me "how much did she cost?" While we in the adoption world consider this rude and inappropriate--especially in front of the child, it is just one of the many issues we deal with being the parents of an obviously adopted child. But some are genuinely interested--maybe they were also thinking about adoption, etc. And with these folks I offer a way to get together and give information, my email, Holt's site, etc. BUT, practically speaking, there IS a great cost to adoption, WELL BEYOND the cost of travel and fees. Monetarily, Payal's adoption has cost more than $100,000. We have pretty much stopped the record keeping, but it has exceeded this amount easily when we count our time off work and medical bills for Payal and myself. And then, how do you even put a price on pain and suffering, or the loss of vision that could end my ability to return to work as a surgeon? ...But, how can you put a price on a child?
Well, I guess that sums up the "bad, and the ugly"...so what about the "good"??? Yes, now that I have vented the above, there is "good" to report as well. Payal is healthy and growing well. She knows all her letters and sounds. She can count to ten reliably, and to twenty when she feels like it. She is working on the vowels and their different sounds. She is starting to understand the concept of putting letters together to make words. She loves to sing. She swims independently in the pool with just arm floats. She wears goggles and can hold her breath under water for ten seconds. She is starting to learn strokes. She is a great helper. She can make the coffee from start to finish. She can run the washer and dryer. (often she starts a load before I am ready) Due to this "helping spirit" we have to make sure we hide her step stool when we do not want the help. She wakes up once or twice a night still, but goes right back to sleep. (going to sleep is still a problem unless someone is beside her) SHE IS a RUNNER!!! This child has the gate of an aborigine--perfect. She loves to run barefoot and it is truly the way humans were meant to run. She can run a whole mile with the dog. Due to the heat we have curtailed her running lately, but when it was cooler she was asking to "go running" all the time. She leads the family on the path...and we just keep up. She is an extremely anxious child with two speeds: 0 and 100. Exercise seems to be helpful in relaxing her. She is joyful and happy 90% of the time. She adores her older sisters. She is showing compassion to the dog and even starting more "normal" play with her baby dolls. She has become sensitive to "being nice" to others and understands this is the only acceptable behavior...if the older girls use harsh words with each other she says "girls, BE NICE!"
The bottom line: we are a year in with an anxiously attached two year old with some anxiety and anger issues. I will now end this thread as my goal was to go through this process in a transparent manner--not applying the "sugar coat" . Our story will continue with therapy, surgery, etc. but, I think it no longer has a place on this forum. I am so thrilled to see more children coming "home". The process we went through has now changed so much that I do not have much advice to offer. I am hopeful that the new process will be better than the old after the "bugs" are worked out. We love our little Indian princess and will continue to do everything we can to make her life blessed. We hope that when she is old enough to understand her story she will find peace. We are committed as a family to find her that peace.