Sunday, August 02, 2015

Night and Day

It's taken me awhile to get to this post for a few reasons.
1. Sleep. I told my daughter it's like I've been crawling in the desert dying of thirst and sleep is my water.
2. This is our third day home and I just barely unpacked my laptop. That shows how big a priority number 1 is.
3. Avoidance. The last few days have been rough. But we're doing okay. We're hanging in there. We have a lot to be thankful for. But it's been rough. Number 1 has a bit to do with that, too.

We left our guide in Guangzhou and boarded a bullet train to Hong Kong. We were on our own. Will didn't like the trip at all. Our guide gave us a few warnings: Change to Hong Kong money as soon as we can because the taxis there don't take Chinese money, use the taxis, not private drivers, and she told us what it should cost to get us to our hotel. We managed to find our way out of the depot to the street, and we were immediately met by a nicely dressed, older driver of a private car, offering us a ride. But we hadn't changed money yet and had no idea where to do that, it was dark, and we'd had our warnings. Brandon murmured something about changing money and the man offered to take our Chinese money, and to take us right to our hotel at the airport for a reasonable price. We didn't have the energy to turn him down, and nobody else was around anymore. He led us to an old limo and we piled in. Will fell asleep within a few minutes, and 45 minutes later the limo pulled up in front of our hotel. I cried a little and almost hugged the driver. I think that he was sent to us.

Will woke up in a new hotel room. I think he sensed more change.

This is attitude. See that beloved morning bottle? He refused it. He refused food. Ominous.

He loves watching cars. 

This is during boarding. Brandon is in line for us because Will refused to be held. Great beginning to a 13-hour flight, yes?

I couldn't help wondering what was going on his mind. Good-bye, China. 

I took these next pictures knowing that this would probably be the best part of the flight.

He finally fell asleep during take-off with these headphones on plugged into a Sesame Street show. It was pretty sweet. But he hadn't had his bottle or eaten much, It was a short nap.

When we checked in, Delta had no record of Will's seat purchase. But we had the invoice emails. They couldn't get the three of us together, but a nice guy who'd traveled with kids before switched with Brandon so he was at least across the aisle. 

This is the last of peace on the flight. I came out kicked, battered, broken, and completely thrown up on. I used Melatonin and Benadryl for him and he fought it all like a T-Rex. The woman in front of Will's seat was horrid about it, but we got a lot of compassion from other travelers. I got maybe one hour of sleep, Will got about three. We got off the plane and I thought, "Okay, we're done, we made it." And that's when he threw up a whole carton of blueberry yogurt all over me. Just before customs, and then a 45 minute wait in immigration, and then getting our luggage, and then getting our car, and THEN finding a 7-11 where I finally changed clothes. I was done. I cried, exhausted, from Seattle to Ellensburg. I think Will and I are still a little mad at each other. It was traumatic and even right now the thought of going anywhere or taking him anywhere makes me ill. I've never been happier to be home. Ever.
That's the truth.

But now we are home and what a difference it is making. I think Will loves our house. He roams all over the main floor and plays with trucks and cars and dances and we read books. He loves to go outside and walked on grass for the first time, and my parents brought him a swing. He's sleeping in his own crib in his own room, which is HUGE. We still rock him to sleep before putting him down, but that's okay. It's good bonding time. He took right away to Maren and Jacob. He and the dog are having issues. Mostly territory issues. They'll have to get over it. We still have a long way to go. His institutional behaviors have lessened, his meltdowns are fewer, but we'll be avoiding social situations for a while. His habits of manipulation are coming out now, though, and that's a struggle. We can see how he learned to use certain behaviors to get attention in the orphanage. These could take months-years to unlearn, but I also see he's smart, and quick, and picks up on what works and what doesn't fast. So we're learning how to react, how to re-program this amazing little boy who's been left to parent himself for two years. 

He wants to be loved. We have to show him he can be loved unconditionally. 
And, you know, we have to get more sleep.


Cindy Campbell said...

What an incredible journey! Thank you for taking the time to share story and the real life side.

Evelyn McNeill Hornbarger said...

My next nap is for you. I will send it to you via email.