We went out of town this past weekend. I worried all week about whether it was a good idea or not given we had just overcome some eating issues the week before with Lexi and had come out of it feeling like we had made huge progress with her. But we had made commitments and really wanted to take LJ to SC to meet some family members. My uncle was having a 60th birthday party and Geoff's parents, sister and brother in law, and his sister in law and her son were going to be at the SC house. My relatives live within 30 minutes from the house. I should have followed my gut feeling and the advice of our post adoption counselor who said if we went we should expect regression and be prepared for it. I don't think you can ever prepare. You can just know it is most likely coming. Lexi did great on the first night and the second day. I was so happy with my relatives. No one even tried to hold her and just sat back and watched our precious little girl. (Okay... there was one cousin but Lexi put him in his place quickly! LOL!) I was pleased at how she reacted to the strangers and it let me know that she does realize who we are. But on Sunday morning, we woke up to a different child. She was scared, clingy and almost acted sickly. It reminded me of LJ Day 3 in China. We went ahead and left to come home and she got sick in the car not 30 minutes down the road. It was the longest trip home from anywhere since we came home from China.
Once we got her home, she did not level off. She cried and cried and clung to us. We did all we could to help her know everything was okay but she would not be comforted. She did let me rock her to sleep at bedtime which was such a gift. Then around 11:00 pm she woke up crying again. We both rocked her that time. She finally settled back down around midnight.
She woke up this morning and was okay at first but then decided to begin her food issues again. I quickly diffused that and moved on with her. We were doing a little better and I told Geoff not to expect anything to be done at home today but dealing with Lexi. Of course that was fine with him. But Sara asked me if I could keep Brennen for a few hours while she took Christopher Evan to the dr. I agreed and told her to hurry back as I knew Lexi would not be too happy with someone else sharing my time. I was right. She was not herself with him today. She hit him, she would tear up his railroad tracks, take his toys and even when I went to change his diaper she ran over and tried to sit on his diaper. Luckily Sara came and left pretty quickly.
We spent the rest of the night until bedtime with her crying. It just breaks my heart that we caused this. We should have listened to our counselor and our gut. Geoff has even been bothered about it because she has quit calling him Dada again and is clinging to me more so than him. Tonight when I put her down she was so out of sorts she would not even look at me or blow me kisses. That broke my heart. Just last week we were feeling on top of the world. She was showing us how much she loves us. We could feel the results of working hard to bond with her and now this? It's so hard.
I know all kids make strides and then regress and make gains again. I know we will get though this and over come it. I guess I'm talking about it because I think when Lexi reads our blog posts one day, I also want her to know how hard we worked to bond and attach with her. I want her to know how much we love and cherish her. I also want to give others who are adopting a chance to see the reality of what all adoption holds in store. Some people have an easy adjustment and others like us have to try harder. I know tomorrow is another day and we try harder every day than we did the day before. I know we will get past this with her and we'll get back to that happy place we were a week ago. But just like I do in my teaching job, I reflect on how every day goes and think about how I can improve. I do the same with Lexi.
So some lessons I've learned from this past weekend...
* trust your instincts (if you think you are doing wrong, you probably are and if you think you are doing right, you probably are)
* listen to the advice of professionals (my goodness I asked for it... and then didn't follow it!)
* put the child's best interest at heart and not your own (I say this because it was US who wanted her to meet everyone. Lexi could have waited and will not even remember. And duh! Didn't I already learn this right after we came home from China??)
* when you do travel with babies, do your very best to stay on their schedule no matter what and napping in the car is not the same as napping comfortably in your own bed
* give the bonding and attachment plenty of time (as some wise friends of mine have said "Bonding and Attachment is not a destination, it's a lifelong journey")
* Always put the BIG bib on the baby when she is prone to car sickness
* Stop beating yourself up for making mistakes and remember that you ARE good parents ... (Listen to yourself WANDA!)
And I promise... tomorrow I will make a happy post! I just needed to get this off my chest.