Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Can't Do This, or What in the World Was I Thinking!

Okay.  We have been home almost 6 weeks.  I know the drill, and I'm right on schedule with feeling overwhelmed and depressed and wondering if I have ruined our lives.  It is all part of the process.  Wish I could skip over this stage, but I expect the only option is to keep pushing forward without giving much attention to the feelings.

Claire told me yesterday that she wants to go back to China.  I get that.  Even though we loved being in China, we were so ready to go home after a couple of weeks.  You just get so tired of everything being different.  You want to walk in your kitchen and get a glass of water without having to think about it.  You want communication to be simple.  You just want to return to normal. 

So she is sad.  She misses her friends.  She grieves for the mamas she had in China.  I have to remember that her anger at me isn't really about me at all.  She wants to grow up like any kid, and be able to stay with the mama who gave birth to you and loves you.  I wish she could have that, too.  Somehow we will have to make the best of what we have. 

She just wants to be where everything is familiar. I understand.  I so want my life to return to normal, too.  I'm tired of sleeping on an air mattress and being waked up multiple times a night.  I want to read a book.  I want to go to the bathroom alone.  I don't want to go to the bathroom a dozen times a day with Claire, feeling frustrated each time because she can't seem to figure out the sequence for going, wiping, flushing and washing hands.  She still finds it fascinating to crumple the used toilet paper into a tiny ball before dropping it into the toilet, no matter how many times I tell her not to play with the dirty paper.  She still stands up and starts walking off the toilet before she has finished.  

I can't imagine what she thinks I'm collecting these samples for!  I'd be a little leery of someone who scoops poop into bottles with tiny spoons, too!

I never realized that going potty was such a complex procedure.  It now consumes a large part of each and every day.

I'm tired of having a child in front of my feet whenever I take a step.  Somehow Claire manages to push between whatever I'm doing and me.  If I'm brushing teeth, she is dead center in front of the sink and gets angry when I try to move her.  If I am doing dishes, she is between me and the sink, or cupboard, or dishwasher.  Our poodle wasn't even this annoying!
I can't say that I miss this big creature, but he could at least entertain himself for a while with a toy.

Repeating the same sequences over and over drives me mad.  Yes, Claire, I will sleep right here next to you after I go take a shower.  Yes.  I will brush my teeth first.  We have said it at least 50 times every night for 6 weeks. When will it sink in?

I wish there was a quicker way to make her feel safe at night.  Perseverance, mommy.   Eventually she WILL understand that you aren't going to disappear.


I wish we could eat a meal without a trial.  It would be nice to eat what I want without having to worry about whether Claire will eat it, and whether she has the exact same thing as I do.  And, just once, I'd love to finish my meal without having to follow her to the bathroom and wipe her bottom.  It really spoils my enjoyment of dinner. 

Part of the depression comes from spending too many exhausting hours with doctors.  Our pulmonology visit felt like a daylong nightmare.  They wanted Claire to hold her breath, to blow, to inhale and exhale.  She can't do some things and she refused to do others.  The only time she was able to hold her breath was when the doctor was trying to get her to take a couple of deep ones so she could listen to her lungs. 

It is so hard. I know Claire is scared. She doesn't understand a lot of what is going on. The parts she does understand usually hurt.  They couldn't get a vein again.  My little girl is getting tired of being a pincushion.  When Claire sits silently watching the needle while the nurse leaves the room crying, you know things aren't going so well.

My back hurts.  I injured it doing disaster relief in Vermont a year ago.  It was getting better but I hurt it again.  Having to lift Claire onto the exam tables and carry her when she refuses to walk into a room for testing has caused a lot of pain.  Bending at odd angles while dressed in a lovely lead outfit to hold her in unusual positions so doctors could view her trachea didn't help either.  Wonder if we get a discount on that series of x-rays since I did so much of the work?

I don't think the mutual pain all these doctors visits are bringing is helping us enjoy each other much.  I'd like to go to the park and play on swings, not go have more x-rays, tooth fillings, blood work, and hours in waiting rooms.

Sharing a warm cup of tomato soup after our long day at the doctor helped lift our spirits.

Tomato face smiles are the best!  Teddy bear just arrived and couldn't have tomato soup yet.  She was a gift from the x-ray folks who admired Claire's bravery.

We are both tired of the hard work of communicating.  We are both tired of doctors. I sometimes feel like things will always be like this.  What if she stays at the "developmental level of a  two year old" forever? The doctors at the adoption clinic in Burmingham pointed out the evidence of oxygen deprivation and explained the possibility of irreversible brain damage. What if they are right?  What if she never learns to read, or write?  Or worse, what if going potty by herself doesn't happen?  What if she never figures out how to put her clothes on by herself? What if she doesn't learn how to play with a toy and I have to spend the rest of my life trying to show her what it means to play?  What if she never learns how to walk down a stretch of sloping ground?  Will I be holding her hand and coaxing her to take another step when she is 20?


Exhaustion and runaway thoughts are never a good combination.
Jesus, I need YOU.  I can't do this.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12: 9-10)

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:  3-4)


Yes, that is the promise I need today.  The brain damage, the hospitals, the doctors, the medicine, the potty training, the sleepless nights are not the whole story.  The future is in God's hands. He is good.  He is powerful.  The future He plans is the one I want. It is best. 

So for today, I will choose to live in hope and enjoy the moments when Claire is stringing beads for matching bracelts, or dancing to the tune her puzzle plays, or baking cookies with me. 

Pumpkin Cookies by Claire.

I can't do this. 
But I do remember what I was thinking. 
I was thinking about God and His amazing love.  I wanted to be like Him.  Just like Claire imitates the way her daddy stands with one hand on his hip, or crosses his feet when he puts them on the coffee table, I want to love like my heavenly Father.   And, because I'm doing the thing He asked, and loving a child He loves, HE will provide strength and wisdom to get us through the hard parts.


  1. You are so right! He will give you strength! I love this!

  2. Praying praying praying!!!!!! I love your honesty but most of all I love your HEART! It emulates that exactly of the FATHER! I know He must struggle with us day after day as we never seem to learn...we never seem to get it but HE keeps LOVING us and helping us! THANK YOU ROBINSON FAMILY!!!!

  3. Rebecca, thank you do much for sharing what many of us go through when we get home after an adoption. This piece should be a must read for everyone who adopts, particularly those adopting an older child. Adoption is not for the faint of heart...but He equips us....we know that and even when we think we can't do it anymore....we can because of Him. Thank you for being a shining example of how a Christian should's not about's about them. You get it!!!! Much love and prayers coming your way.