Monday, June 21, 2010

Meeting Marisa YiChen!

I know everyone is dying to know how it went today since today was the day we met Marisa.  I don't know if I'll be able to send pictures with this post or not.  Pictures are loading really slowly tonight and it is taking forever or not working for me.  I'm pretty tired so I don't know how long I'll try to upload them.
We got to the Civil Affairs office around 9:30 am this morning.  I saw Marisa sitting in a chair right near the door we entered.  She was wearing the outfit we sent in her care package.  She also had the teddy bear we sent and the board book.  She also had the disposable camera we sent along.  We may try to get the film developed from that camera while we're here yet.  We're anxious to see what's on it.  Well, Marisa wasn't too happy to have us hold her and she pretty much arched her back, screamed and cried when one of us was trying to hold her.  Ron and I took turns holding her for awhile each time so she would start getting used to us.  Of course, there were papers to sign as well.  There were a couple of other families in the room meeting their children for the first time and signing paperwork.  It seemed while we were at the Civil Affairs office Marisa was taking to Ron more than me which I did kind of expect since she hasn't been around men as much.  She doesn't want to betray her other female caretakers that she has formed an attachment to, so she doesn't want to show any type of attachment to me.  We found out that after they knew she was going to be adopted, she was returned to the orphanage and has been there for the past 6 months.  So I'm sure that was another huge change for her -- going from a family she's come to love to going back to the orphanage.  We found out that at the orphanage they also provide some type of education classes for these little ones and she did very well.  She was also a favorite with the orphanage workers and they told us they tended to spoil her.  Oh no!  I'm sure she deserved to be spoiled.
Marisa was upset most of the time we were at the Civil Affairs office.  We were there until after 11:00 am, I think.  She did fall asleep while I was holding her as we were signing paperwork.  So she slept for a while.  I guess she usually takes a nap from 11:30 to 1:30 every day.  I think everything upset her so much she was exhausted with the crying and stuff that she just crashed. 
We're finding that she doesn't want anything that is her's taken from her even for a little bit.  I knew this could be a problem because they will hang on to what is their's afraid that it will be taken from them forever.  We even had trouble taking her shoes off when we were at the hotel.  She cried and cried and was fighting me the whole time.  Even when I put her sandals right beside her, she was still crying and trying to make me see she wanted them on her feet.  She at first wouldn't let us help her with anything like opening a wrapper to some crackers that she had brought with her.  But she has slowly let us do that for her since she sees that we might only have to take it out of her hands for a little bit and then she gets it back.
After the Civil Affairs office appointment, we had to stop at a little photo place to have our family picture taken.  It wasn't a very happy photo for Marisa.  It seems that one of us can hold her and then she'll settle down and be okay but then if we want to put her down she will start crying again.  So we pick up the family picture tomorrow.  It will be interesting to see what that will look like with our unhappy camper.  I forget what we need that picture for -- something in our paperwork.  She also had to have a picture taken alone for her passport.  That didn't make her happy to be by herself.  Ron did sit with her as the photographer tried to get a head shot of her.
We then came back to the hotel.  Marisa and I stayed behind while Veronica (our guide) and Ron went to pick up a couple of bottles (since I found out she drinks her special protein formula from a bottle) and some lunch for us all.  Marisa did okay with me but there were still bouts of crying.  So we spent most of the day and evening in the room with her.  She seemed happy at times and would walk around and watch tv.  She really likes the teddy bear we sent her and doesn't like to part with that.  She ate pretty well both for lunch and dinner.  She didn't have any wetting accidents either.  Somehow I figured out she when had to go to the bathroom by her expression or she'd kind of whine/cry.  I set her on the toilet and she'd do her thing.  I wasn't sure if tonight she'd let us put a pull up on her and change her clothes to pjs.  She did let us, we just tried to do it very quick.  I gave her her special formula tonight before going to bed.  She drank some and then had to go to the bathroom.  She kind of pointed at her tummy but of course didn't know if it hurt or what.  I brought her back out to the bed to try to give her some more formula.  She took a little and then all of her supper and formula came up!  What a mess!  She didn't cry or anything.  We got her cleaned up and everything else and I was still holding her and she fell asleep!  I was so glad she was able to fall asleep.  I'm hoping she'll sleep through the night so we can all get a good night's rest.  I think with her being so upset today for most of the day is why she threw up because she didn't seem to be feeling sick otherwise.
So we stayed in today.  Had lunch from a Chinese place that Ron brought back here.  Tonight we had some McDonald's that our guide went and got for us.  It is so nice to have our guide.  Since not many people here seem to speak any English she has been a great help talking to the hotel personnel if we need something or ordering meals for us.  Any way with staying in our room most of the day we used this opportunity to pick Marisa up and hold her.  She didn't always like this but she is starting to cry less when we do.  She has reached for each of us at one time or another throught the course of the day which has been encouraging.  Even though she will let us hold her, she doesn't lean in close to us or let her body conform to our's.  She tends to be kind of stiff yet.  But we did see her smile and laugh several times today.  She can be quite the little character.  She does like to do funny things because she knows it will make mommy and daddy laugh. And she really likes to have her picture taken.  She likes for us to show her the picture after we take it.  The report from the orphanage said that she tends to be an extrovert in familiar settings and I can see where that can be true. 
Later this afternoon our guide took us to exchange our money for the fees and other expenses we have with the adoption that we'll need to pay tomorrow.  I carried Marisa to the bank - the bank was in walking distance from our hotel.  But a toddler gets pretty heavy even for a short distance.  Our guide seems to think that Marisa needs to walk more.  I wasn't too concerned with her walking when we're walking down the street with crowds of people.  I'd rather hold her then.  So she did have a meltdown in the bank as we were leaving because our guide wanted Marisa to walk and she didn't want to.  She didn't want to hold my hand then but of course she had no choice with that.
So even though the behavior was kind of hard to deal with today, it was expected.  We just have to be patient and keep being there for her so she knows she can trust us.  Once she knows she can trust us, it should start to go a little better.  I know it's hard for people to understand why we need to just spend time alone with her but this is why.  She needs to be able to form that attachment to us and know that we are her parents and we won't leave or let anything bad happen to her.  The less stimuli the better at first.  When she feels overwhelmed, then she cries and has a meltdown.  These will eventually become fewer and fewer as she learns to trust us but it will take some time. 
We continue to need your prayers and hopefully tomorrow will go better than today and every day after that.  I do dread the 15 hour plane ride that we will have on the way home.  But I'm hoping by then she will have learned to trust us enough that it will go better and hopefully she will be easy going and not get too fussy on the long flight.
I'm sorry I can not seem to get photos downloaded tonight.  I don't have the patience to deal with that either because I'm tired and need to get some rest.  So I will try the photos again tomorrow and hopefully it will work for me. 

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Anonymous said...

Ron and Mary, So happy for you that you finally have your little girl.It will take some time for her to get adjusted to her Mommy and Daddy and to her new surroundings. Soon she will realize that she has someone who loves her very much. Can't wait till we can meet our little grand-daughter. Keeping you in our prayers. Hang in there and take care, we love you, Dad and Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi! Again, I've thought of you a hundred times the last 2 days. I'll look at the clock (realizing you are 12 hrs. ahead of us) & wonder what you're doing. I know that each day will get a little easier as she (and you & Ron) adjust to each other. I wasn't surprised to read that she had been back to the orphanage for the past six months. I'm sure that wasn't easy for her foster family to do, but I'm sure it made the transition to you a little easier. Give her hugs & kisses for us & start teaching her to say "Aunt Brenda & Uncle Chris"! :) Lots of love!! Brenda

Kristi said...

Mary, you are so wise to recognize that less stimuli and less stress is what you guys need right now. Darcy also came to us clinging to her belongings and we let her clutch them as long as she needed. As her trust in you builds up, she'll need those things less and less.
I pray that some "hotel room" time in Hangzhou helps build the bonds and that by the time you get to Guangzhou she is ready for some action!

Elizabeth said...

Wow, what a day for you all! I'm so glad you finally have Marisa in your arms. She sounds amazing and its neat to hear how she is communicating her wants and needs with you already! I hope you are holding up well with this transition time!
How wonderful that Marisa YiChen now has her very own Mommy and Daddy to take good care of her! She's a lucky little girl! Congratulations!!!