Apparently I've upset at least one of you out there with my previous honest words about our difficult first days home. I received an email this morning from a bloggy friend expressing her concern. I think my response is worth sharing here:
Thanks for writing and for being concerned about us. I'm sorry to have given off a very negative vibe in my blog, and knew that I ran the risk of being misunderstood...I just wanted to be honest about how we were feeling. It was a bit painful to us to have seen adoption and its process glamorized by others, and to have waited with such expectation, only to get to China and face such an unpleasant and challenging situation with our son. It was crushing, really. Add to that the trauma of our return trip home and the challenge of reconnecting with the three children we had left for two weeks, and Jiushu's screaming his head off all day long was absolutely more than I could bear. My frustration and anger were not directed at him, but at well-meaning people who still didn't do a very good job of helping this boy learn and grow. It's also terribly frightening to bring home a child with so many medical and developmental unknowns, and to have him continue to be so very, very angry despite our every effort to comfort and care for him, especially when I hear of other children appearing to adjust perfectly to their new families before even leaving China.
I liken this to a mom giving birth to a baby with a serious, and possibly unexpected, birth defect (this has happened to several of my close friends), or experiencing a very traumatic labor and delivery. The baby is innocent, but the feelings of fear and sorrow in the mother are legitimate, and mom will need time and permission to grieve the loss of her imagined scenario even as she continues to care for her new child. That's where I was when I wrote that post. [This part was not in my original response, but certainly marriage, with its equal parts hard work + romance--or maybe it's 80/20 in favor of hard work, is also a fitting analogy.]
Jiushu is making great progress and is feeling more safe and secure and content each day. We are performing acts of love and service to him all day long, and understand that the feelings of love and affection may take a bit longer to develop. I'm incredibly grateful for the people who have acknowledged that this was the case for them as well. Every adoption is different. Some of them start off great. Ours did not, but we know there is hope and joy and love to come for us all. I hope this helps you understand a little better where I was coming from.