Monday, October 29, 2012

The Dance

Changing seasons are another reminder that what we see today will be different tomorrow.                     
Kelly likes to use the analogy of a roller coaster to describe adoption.

I experience it as more like a dance.  You know, those Jane Austen type dances where the characters are spinning about and getting passed from partner to partner and you never quite know who will end up close together and who will get whirled to the opposite end of the room. 

From our first meeting, Claire has come in close, then realize what  was happening and pull away.  Sometimes she would literally push us away.  Other times, she ordered us, "over there" while pointing across the room. 

The dance is different now.  There are no Chinese nannies to run to.  She is dependent on us, and is forced to come close to get her needs met.  Sometimes she comes reluctantly.  Other times, she gets willingly close and then backs off suddenly  for a time. 

The circles keep whirling.  Large ones, small ones, quick ones and some that are so very slow.  Every day it is the same old dance, and every day it is brand new.

This morning was a good example.  The night was difficult. In addition to  several nocturnal  trips to the bathroom, her breathing was noisy and sometimes labored.  When daylight finally came, we were both still exhausted.  She crawled under my covers like usual, but when I put my arm around her, she pushed it away.  I scooted up next to her to warm her chilly back, and she shoved me back.  She wanted to be comforted, but didn't want me to touch her.

Everybody stay back!

It is a confusing dance indeed.

Later, when I tried to give her a hug, she told me I was "poo-poo" and not to touch her.  As we discussed the boundaries for talking to people, she talked about wanting to go back to China.  I think she is starting to experience some of the classic symptoms of culture shock.  She wants to go home.  A little later in the discussion, I asked her if she would like to talk Chinese for awhile.  (I can't say much, but I have been using Rosetta Stone Mandarin for two years.  I figured we could say a few things.)  Her reply startled me a little, "Chinese, I don't know."  

And the fact is, I have never heard her say anything in Chinese.  She refused to answer people who talked with her while in Taiyuan or Guangzhou.  When we went to the Chinese market, she just stared at the people who tried talking to her.  I really don't know how much Chinese she does remember.  If she has retained some of it, she isn't going to let on right now.

Since she was homesick today, I got some dumplings for supper.  She was excited and shouted, "Yes, dumplings!" in the loudest voice I've heard come out of her yet.   But, at supper, she ate one dumpling and then wanted the other (not Chinese) foods we had.  A similar thing happened when we went to the Chinese restaurant.  The food is authentic.  She ate a little.  The next day, I offered her some of the leftovers for lunch, but she refused them. Instead, she wanted leftovers of things I had cooked.

I'm confused by her ever changing behavior.
I think she is too.
So we keep moving close, laughing, singing, connecting--and then pulling back, avoiding eye contact, refusing connection--until some activity causes us to look at each other again and the love wraps around our hearts and lets us know that this dance will get better if we don't give up.

 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (I Corinthians 13:7)

No comments:

Post a Comment