Sunday, February 24, 2013

Esther's good and bad day.

Yesterday was Esther's turn to have a hard time.  We once again didn't have much on the schedule so we were able to take it easy.  We had a good start with Esther learning to dance with her dad.  It was a really sweet moment.

 Later in the morning Esther's friend from her orphanage was getting adopted and she was excited to see her again. She really wanted to be there for the gotcha day moment - meaning when this girl met her family for the first time but we didn't want Esther to draw attention away from the moment with their friendship.  And we didn't want her friend to be too embarrassed to interact with her new parents like Esther was with us because her friend was there.  But I went so I could take photos for her new parents and had to leave Esther behind in the room.  They were meeting in the lobby of the hotel and it really frustrated Esther that I wouldn't let her be there for that but without the ability to communicate except for google translate it's pretty hard to explain my reasoning on that. 

After lunch Esther's friend and her new family stopped by our room for a game of Uno.  They were both happy to see each other but Pearl was starting to feel bummed about her new sister's attention being drawn away.  Mike and Pearl decided to go swimming but Esther opted to go to Mae (her friend)'s room to hang out some more.  I don't know what it is but Esther gets really sassy after she's hung out with Mae.  It may be that Mae is older than her (Mae is 12) and Esther wants to impress her with her independence or just being around friends in general makes her new situation feel even more strange.  Either way, it meant that Esther started getting an attitude with us - running away and taking the elevator without us - laughing when we finally find her.  Or when we ask her to do something or if she'd like something and she shouts, "No!" with a defiant laugh.   And then she starts roping Pearl into the defiance as well.   That's really difficult stuff to parent when you don't speak the same language.  So we called our guide and asked her to translate some things for us about how if the girls aren't acting appropriately they will lose privileges like swimming and phone time for playing games.  Pearl shaped right up but Esther got even more frustrated. 

At dinner she gave me quite a few stink eyes.  It is so hard because we know she is experiencing something more difficult than anything we have ever gone through but we also need to show her that we are her parents and that we are going to take care of her.  She doesn't have to love us but she can't run off on a busy street or shout at us.  The whole thing is compounded by how we are treated in public.  It really bothers her to be such a spectacle.  It bothers me too but I know it will get better once we get home.  When I say spectacle it may be hard for some of you to understand - it means that everywhere we go everyone is stopping in their tracks to give us jaw dropping stares.  Or to do a double take - and then a triple, a quadruple, and on and on looks at us.  It meant that on our way home Esther opted not to hold our hand or to walk too close in the crowds.  I love this image because you can see some people staring at us in the background.
Imagine that there are twenty people doing this exact same thing all at once from every direction - all the time.  From across the street, from car windows, from a foot away.  And not just for a moment - they keep staring for a long time.  And while we have no idea the commentary they are making while they are looking - Esther does.  Man, China - learn some manners.
Once we got home Esther had her first real cry.  She was angry, overwhelmed, terribly sad, and lonely.  I'm sure if I asked her if she would like to go back she would have emphatically shouted yes.  It made our hearts ache for her. 

After a while she let us comfort her and she finally started joining in the movie watching with Pearl.  Pearl was so sweet with Esther's sadness - she would walk over and see if she was still crying - try to comfort her and then look at us and motion us over.  It was sweet.

We know that Esther's behavior is because of the immense pressure she's under.  We know that this is requiring so much of her.  We understand the emotional turmoil she is in.  We know every adopted child mourns the loss of their previous life.  We look for the direction of the Lord in how to navigate this time and support her through it.  So, in the end we all need time to be on our side.  It will get better.


  1. This must be so frustrating, but also so understandable! This would be incredibly difficult...especially for someone who comprehends as much as Esther does. It will just take time and I am anxious for you all to get out of China so you can establish a comfortable routine.

  2. Hey Megan and Mike:

    This is Sister Palfrey and Sister Deb...(she told me to type deb) just catching up with you and hoping all is going a bit better. We caught up on your blog today as Deb's puter is having issues so she is here at my house with me. Congrats to your family and things will probably be a bit frustrating until you can get home and get into your routine with the girls. The boys will be so excited for you to get home. I understand the missing the other kids too... wait for the girls to meet the boys. Think things are hectic there???
    Hugs and hope you all get to head home soon... our best wishes and we MISS you all.

    Sherri and Deb

  3. Just remember those first few blissful days. We have to endure some tough patches before it gets great again! Are you using oils on them?

  4. I have loved reading this blog, and your journey to get your girls! You and your husband are such amazing people & parents!! What an example of love and faith you are to me. Your girls are so beautiful.
    And I completely understand about the being stared at. When I was visiting my sister and her family in Amman, Jordan (they lived there for 3 years) it was a nightmare to go out. It felt like being in a fish bowl. Even being at the park and how the Jordanian children would stare and crowd around my blonde nieces, it would make them cry, then make me want to cry for them. It was so hard to deal with and I was only there for 2 weeks. I'm sorry you have to deal with that on top of everything else! I'm keeping your family in my prayers.