Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Zeke Update

Yesterday was "the day."  We met Zeke at a government office.  A staff member from the orphanage in his city arrived with him and his foster grandma in tow.  We were suprised to see his grandmother; we had requested to meet them but we had no idea of if that would actually happen.  The long story made short is that he loves his foster family and they obviously love him.  He had been living with the grandma, her son and his wife.  Not only did we meet them, but the orphanage worker presented us with a photo book of pictures from when Zeke was a baby plus pictures of him with his foster family.  His foster grandmother snuck out at some point and left us with a very upset and mad little boy.  At some point, before we left the office, he fell asleep so the fussing stopped.

Once we got back to the hotel, the emotions took over again and he was not so much mad but mostly sad.  He wanted us to put his coat and shoes on so he could leave.  Once I put those things on, he wanted me to put my shoes on so I could take him.  He peed a bit on his pants so I took them off which was met with resistance and would not let me put other pants on him.   He spent most of the night doing what he could to avoid us, even when sleeping which had to be a feat in and of itself.  The hotel room has two beds that are slightly larger than a twin.  Not really roomy enough for two adults but a child and an adult could share.  He spent most of the night as close to the edge as he could, trying to avoid contact with his back to the adult.  He allowed some comforting but only in small bits of time and would move your hands when he had enough.  He saw the book of photos that had pictures of his foster family and wanted that.  He then spent the rest of the night touching the photos and fell asleep that way.

How Zeke started at bedtime...no pants, heavy sweatshirt and jacket, and his photos...poor little guy

Today we headed back to the government office to pay some fees and finalize some paperwork.  We were expecting that only the orphanage staff would be there.  Instead, we walked in to find his foster grandma and the orphanage staff.  She immediately exited which of course brought wails.  She stayed away for about 10 minutes but decided to come back in because he was so upset.  He screamed most of our time there. (45 minutes, 10 minutes, who knows?  Screaming kid makes it feel like an eternity.)  The orphanage staff also brought two gifts for us: a large batik mural of the waterfall in the province (which we will visit tomorrow) and a doll that represents one of the ethnic minorities in the province.  The orphanage staff, even though they did not directly care for Zeke, seemed to be very concerned about him and left a good impression with me.  Eventually the orphanage staff and the grandmother left and he did calm down.  We ended up heading to Walmart to buy some groceries (some milk for Zeke, some soda, noodles, etc.)   He did calm down and has started to warm up a bit.  My husband is more than amazing and always manages to pull out the silly daddy tricks.  He's still wearing his shirt from yesterday, the one he arrived in.  I showed him his new clothes today but he was not thrilled about them.  He started to fuss when I tried to take his shirt off so we just left it.  We'll count the fact that he is in new pants (pee free ones) as a victory for today.

Thankfully we were also able to find a converter for our laptop cord.  Other adoptive families had told me not to worry about a converter as the plugs would work or the hotel had adapters.  However, the hotel plug would not accept 3 pronged American cords only 2 pronged American cords.  For me, this was compounding my homesick feeling.  For 4 days, we have been flying or hanging out in a hotel room.  (With the exception of our two meetings.)  With nothing really on our agenda, last night, after the raw emotions of pulling a child away from his family, my homesickness kind of bottomed out.   So many things were working together to make me feel that way.  Guiyang is a more rural province without many people who speak English.  Our hotel has no staff who speak English so even getting a meal can be challenging.  No Internet connection was making me feel very isolated plus trip has been hard on my mommy heart that really just wants to have all of us together at home.  I am so relieved to know we'll have contact with the rest of the world plus that I will be able to give my kids a call several times this week (via Skype).  It is also so smoggy that the sky looks grey all the time.

Things we have learned so far:
He is very smart.  He often has a thinking expression on his face.  He is very adept with his hands.  He has been pushed to do lots of things for himself.  He is supposedly completely potty trained (at 27 months), wants to feed himself, and walks well.  Needless to say, he is not impressed with my diapers or my sippy cup.  He loves fruit; that's pretty much all he has eaten since being with us as he refuses most things.  (Well fruit and sweets.)  He appears to be spoiled.  And naughty.  He has spit at us, kicked us, and hit us and each time, giggled.  (Not so much out of meanness just because he thinks it's a bit funny.)  When we saw his foster grandmother interact with him, it was pretty apparent that things like that were laughed at in his foster home.  He is also inquisitive and wants to get into pretty much everything.  He has the funniest shaped head (said in love, of course) and the sweetest rosebud lips.  Gotta love Oreos!


Kathy C. said...

I can relate to the crying. When all the Haitian kids flew into the airport all the kids were interacting with their new parents, getting presents etc except mine who would scream and cry anytime I get near them. I know now it was all a control game with Kayla (and I was pretty sure at the time but gave her the benefit of the doubt)and Kaleb copies her. But no matter the reason, it was hard to try to comfort children who obviously wanted nothing to do with me. And I'd visited them 5 times previously. Once away from the airport, they were fine. A few meltdowns when all the big kids left for school each day, but that was all.

Judy Siedhoff said...

You are such great parents. He is a beautiful gift to your family. Hang in there. Love conquers All.

Becky said...

Emotional exhaustion for all. Oreos sometimes make things better, at least for a few minutes :) So glad this foster family gave you/him the photo book. Maybe it will help his transition? Hang in there!

Tammy said...

Been there, done that with trying to comfort a grieving and traumatized child who won't let you get near him. My heart goes out for him and you guys. No matter how many times one goes through this, it never gets any easier. Sending prayers out to you guys that he starts opening his heart to let you guys in. It sounds like he was very much loved, which can only help in the long run. Doesn't make right now any easier though.

Good luck!