Saturday, August 6, 2011

Where It Began -- Pt 2

so here we were, out in the middle of the province .... with a child who didn't like us. period.  full stop.  i reckon that this was just about every first time adoptive parents worst nightmare.  oh man!  would we ever be able to bond with this child!?!?!?

we spent a restless night in the guest house. scott slept in the second of the two bedrooms and Lea and i shared a king size bed in the other... but she was as far away from me as she could be.  well, the screaming had stopped .... so that was a good thing at least.

but she wouldn't eat. and while she didn't resist my touch, she certainly wasn't bounding into my arms by any stretch of the imagination.  we were grateful for the orphanage leaderships insight the next day ... that the best thing was probably just to get us back to Manila where we could be away from what was her stomping grounds and start building our own relationship with her.  so we gave her the last little while to run around and play with her friends .... watching and talking to the carers.  but i'll never forget the look she shot at me as she was having her hair done.  i am one who thinks that most kids are quite cluey, and i truly think she knew even then that her world was turning upside down and inside out ... that all those things that were security for her were being ripped and stripped away ... and it was our fault.

both Mama Fe, and another social worker for the home road with us in the van back down to Manila.  lea was, of course, attached to them at the hip and refusing to engage with us.  quick goodbyes at the ICAB offices and then off to our hotel.  lea was summarily popped in my arms.  we waved the van off and then walked into the hotel as a family of three.
we had several days in manila that were punctuated by break through's and set backs.  we had a second trundle bed set up in our bedroom for her to sleep in.  i remember the first night when we were trying to establish a routine, she dove under the sheets and just put her face down in the pillow and said nothing.  my heart was aching.  but we let her be, prayed with her and let her sleep ... sensing that she needed a little cocoon of space that was her's to own and find security in.  the next morning, very early (ugh!), i rolled over to see her peaking at me from under her covers.  i smiled at her and patted the bed and called her over with a silent hand movement -- hoping and praying she would respond.  she shot out of bed in a flash, dove under the sheets and became an instant leech as she wrapped herself around my neck and buried her head into my chest.  i smiled and cried silently.  we stayed like that for quite a while and this became (and often still is!) a ritual for us.

that was it.  done.  she had decided to accept me and move towards trusting me.  relief.

i wish i could say it was clear sailing from there.  we had our moments .... water was a terrifying thing.  the screams returned when i would try to bath her in a real bath (remember:  filipino's out in the province often have and prefer bucket baths).  woops!  that phobia would take a while to overcome.  she would not go to scott (i will post on this separately).  so we would take the good with the bad.  and there was still this look of loss in her eyes that haunted us.  but we also knew that it would just take time, and love and patience.

we found glimpses of our highly exuberant and engaging daughter in that first week too. i remember going down for our first breakfast together.  butter.  who would've thot?  i went to butter a piece of toast for her, using some of the pre-packaged patty's that they had.  she looked at the bread.  licked the butter.  put the toast down and picked up the patty with the butter left on it, gave us a cheeky smile and then proceeded to lick the butter off and laugh.

ice cream.  chocolates.  lollies.  i am not beyond bribing.  should've done it more and earlier on.  while i want my kids to be healthy eaters ... if giving them treats gets them to see me as their source of all things good and wonderful .... <g>  well .... i was in a position of "beggars can't be choosers" .... so i took every opportunity possible.  filipino style orea cookies and hugs were a constant exchange in those early days!

and it was on our next to last day .... having afternoon tea in the pancake house on level 4 of the Galleria that my ice cream bribe paid off .... BIG TIME.  she was having ice cream ... and enjoying her world in a way that only children can.

laughter, silliness .... and my first kiss.

1 comment:

  1. Awwwwwww!! What a great post and gorgeous photos! Part 3 ,4 and 5 please...