I am typing this post on the plane and I believe it’s about 6:45 pm China time and 5:45 am Alabama time. I have been so confused since we left about time, and my lack of sleep certainly hasn’t helped. I guess I need to try and flip my clock back to Alabama and begin the readjustment process. At this point we have been traveling just under 30 hours and by the time we get to our house, the total travel time will be somewhere around 37-38 hours.
For those of you who read the statuses we posted on FB while in Korea, you know we had a horrible flight from Hong Kong to Seoul. EB cried the entire 3 hour flight less about 30 minutes or so. And she didn’t just cry, she wailed and had an ugly meltdown. Her face was so red and her eyes, even up to her eyebrows were completely swollen and purple. Yep, we were those people you hate on a plane. I felt sorry for her, us and the poor passengers having to endure her screaming. How I didn’t break down and cry myself is beyond me. The sweet flight attendants tried their best to help. They fanned her which seemed to pacify her a bit. But the “soothing” tongue clicking sounds they kept making at her just about sent me over the edge. They also brought us a bassinet, which was basically a basket. It hooked onto the wall in front of us and is a great idea in theory. The 30 minutes of quiet we got was while she slept in it, but she was just about too big and couldn’t stretch out liked she wanted.
We totally didn’t expect an episode of that proportion to occur because she hasn’t done anything close to that since we got her. She did great on the flight from Nanjing to Guangzhou and she has slept almost every day in the Ergo and/or on the bus. My conclusion is that she was so exhausted (no nap before we left the hotel) she just couldn’t get comfortable and let herself sleep. I know the feeling because that’s how I felt flying from Atlanta to Seoul two weeks ago.
Y’all must have been praying for us because this flight has been 1,000 times better. She has cried very little and slept most of the flight thanks to our good friend Mr. Benadryl. We did a trial run back in Guangzhou to make sure it wouldn’t have the opposite effect on her. She has slept a good bit with me holding her so thankfully I’ve been able to nap some too. (She also slept briefly during our layover in Seoul).
We will land in Atlanta in about 3.5 hours, have close to a 4 hour layover (I think) and then we will finally be in Dothan at 4 pm. I know Jeremy has already invited family and friends to come out to the airport and welcome us home. I also hope y’all read his final note concerning some Do’s and Dont’s. I am going to reiterate some of those points and add a couple of more of my own.
Please note, we aren’t trying to be mean or cruel in giving you all these rules. They come from the countless books, articles, blog posts, and videos we have read and watched by adoption professionals parents of other adopted children. I touched on this subject briefly while the Sanders were in China, and Alison has too on her blog if y’all would like to refer back to those posts.
So here are a few things to remember at the airport and for several weeks after we get home:
1. Please do not hug, kiss or try to hold EB. You can pat her on the leg or back if she seems open and receptive. Basically, we ask that you not show a lot of affection toward her in general right now.
2. Please do not give her any food.
3. If you have a gift for her, we ask that you allow us to give it to her.
4. This doesn’t pertain to EB, but we would like to ask that you allow our family to stand up front so they can be the first ones to see her.
5. Also, for those of you who were at the airport when Shu Shu came home, please know EB’s reaction will most likely be totally different. I’m not sure what to expect from her honestly. Even though she seems to be progressing well in her attachment and bonding toward us, it took her almost a week to smile and interact with mama. It took about the same amount of time for her to warm up to the other families in our travel group as well. So when presented with a large crowd of strangers, she may not smile or laugh at all. Plus, she still isn’t caught up on sleep so she might be ill and fussy. I guess we’ll all know in a few hours!
The reasoning behind rules 1-3 is that Jeremy and I need to be the only ones meeting her needs and wants in order to build her trust and establish attachment and bonding. A recent webinar by Lifeline stated that during the first year of a life a child has ~100,000 needs. For children in an orphanage, you can only imagine how many of those went unmet. And when needs aren’t met, trust is broken and caregiver bonds aren’t formed.
(Sidebar, this isn’t a rule, but since we have been traveling for 30+ hours, I think it’s a given we are going to look rough and not smell real good. So no judging. 🙂 )
I’m sure a lot of this probably sounds crazy, but we ask that you trust us and the adoption professionals. We want to do everything we can to make her transition home and continued attachment as smooth as possible. I also want to state that parenting adopted children is often times the exact opposite of parenting biological children. I had the opportunity to accompany Alison and Shu Shu to the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham a few weeks ago. They work with numerous families who have adopted internationally. We were told they can tell a distinct difference in the children whose parents followed these rules and those who didn’t.
I understand how hard it’s going be for you all , but we ask that you respect our wishes. I feel your pain because I want to get my hands on Shu Shu so bad I can’t stand it! Even though you all feel that EB is part of the family and/or a new close family friend, she doesn’t. Keep in mind that to her, you’re just some more strange white people that don’t speak her language! 🙂
We ask that you continue to pray for her complete bonding and attachment to us. And we promise that as soon as we think she is, y’all can join us and love on her as much as you want!
I apologize this got so lengthy. I’ve obviously had a lot of free time to type. 🙂
Thank you again for your prayers and understanding. See you all soon!!