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3.02.2010

Beneath the tough exterior

She's stunning, isn't she? 

Ian and I continue to be blown away by this pint sized addition to our family.  She appears so "tough"  and confident at first glance. 

I keep having to remind myself that she is not yet three.  In fact, one of the other moms thought she was almost five.  It's because of how tall she is and how much she can do on her own.

There have been times as I've watched her as she brushes her teeth, washes her hair, or try to put on her own clothes and wondered what was going on in that little mind.  Is it all to impress us?  Does she feel like her "big girl" abilities are necessary for us to accept her? 

It would be so easy to just back off and let her do it all by herself.  But every now and then the tough exterior weakens a bit.  She'll stop fighting me as I step in to help her turn her shirt the right way or lift her up to the sink instead of letting her drag the stool over so that she can reach the faucet. 

And then there are the moments that she's tired when she'll start rubbing the back of her left arm over her eyes and whimpering ever so slightly.  So I've been scooping her into my arms and soothing her in my little bits of Mandarin.  And each time she's let me cradle her for just a couple of minutes and then the smile returns and "brave girl" Darcy comes back.

Until last night.  She and Caleb got into a disagreement over whose Kung Fu Panda techo music spinning top was whose (never mind that the second and third ones were laying right beside them) and Darcy slammed the pocket door separating the bedroom and living room.  I gently told her no and opened the door, and then she slammed it again.  So the no was a little firmer the second time.  And then the wall came down.

I held my baby girl for some 30 minutes as she sobbed.  While it may have started because of the scolding, the spell had nothing to do with being told no.  It was more about getting used to her new life.  It was heartbreaking, but it was time.  And while I hate being part of the cause, I'm so relieved that she's starting to trust me enough to let down her guard.  I also have no doubt that there will be more grieving to come.  Who wouldn't be sad, angry, confused, and scared if their world suddenly drastically changed.  I don't know if I could be as brave as she is. 

But  one of my favorite songs by Third Day keeps running through my mind.  It says, "I can't stop the rain, but I can hold you 'til it goes away."  (It's a beautiful song, check it out!)  So I will be there from now until the rest of my life to ride out the storms with my sweet little one.  Because we're family now.  And that is the miracle of this journey...

27 comments:

Suzette said...

She is such a darling! I would love to know what some of those comforting Mandarin phrases are that are helping you as I prepare for our little one. I just can't imagine how hard it must be as they grieve all they have ever know. However, we know this is necessary in order to know the love of a forever family. Praying God gives her joy and peace.

Cindy M said...

I should be in bed, but I just had to check in again to see if there was any word from you. And tears fell as I read and imagined all the emotions you and Darcy (and Ian) are feeling right now. I, too, am so glad she let down her guard. I can see you wrapping your arms around her. As sad as it is to see her like that, isn't it wonderful to know that YOU were made to be her mother?

Love you! And I'm dyin' here, thinking I can't be there when you come home...

TanyaLea said...

Oh Kristi, I loved this post. It's so good to see the 'break-throughs' happening. Grieving is a big part of that, but you are handling it perfectly. I feel so much more prepared for our own travels because of mamas like you. Thanks for keep'in it real and allowing us on this special journey. It means SO much!! Darcy is clearly all the things you described, and I'm guessing even so much more. She is just beautiful, and I am so glad she is part of your family now. You REALLY got me with one of your last lines: " So I will be there from now until the rest of my life to ride out the storms with my sweet little one. Because we're family now. And that is the miracle of this journey..." TOTALLY choked me up. That's exactly how I feel about Khloe, and we aren't even there yet. But I know very soon we will be, and I'll be feeling the same as you.

Blessings and Hugs,
~ Tanya

Gina said...

Hi! I have came to your blog through someone else's link (sorry, don't remember who) and am enjoying so much reading about your experience! We just began the process to adopt a 5yo little girl! So, thank you so much for sharing. Your children are so adorable.

Sharon said...

Praying for you as each day she trusts you a bit more...heartbreaking to see how independent they are at a young age but what a beautiful thing that now she can just be two!!!

Larry and Carol said...

Can't wait to see the pictures of your arrival home. Darcy is going to feel so much love, just like Caleb and Kylie.

Denise said...

Oh, this one broke my heart. These little ones have gone through so much...no wonder they have to let it out. It is good that is happened already. I remember with Maggie that her breakdown happened on our first day home, over something she wanted to wear I think. It was a heartbreaking moment for the both of us, but as I look back on it, I do think that it was the first time beyond the first time meeting us that she truly grieved the changes she had gone through in the span of less than 2 weeks.

Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Your honesty is refreshing and you always make me laugh! Enjoy the rest of your trip~

Our Journey said...

I was so sad for Darcy as I read this, but yet it's just such a hopeful story..she is so blessed to have you all as her family - a family that is so loving, kind & willing to wait through all the "hard stuff".

Anonymous said...

Darcy is stunningly beautiful and does appear to carry herself in a manner that is beyond her years. I love this post. Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I imagine Darcy experiencing her mother's unconditional love. What a beautiful family of 5 you have!
Lisa
(waiting for Lu Zhu)

Anonymous said...

Hi, we live in Sweden and waiting for our boy from Lianjiang in China. I found you on the internet while you have adopted from Lianjiang and we wonder if you have any information about the SWI (standard, the health of the children)?
Best regards Annika, Stockholm, Sweden
annika652@hotmail.com

Melissa said...

Kristi - oh, how hard this must have been for you and for Darcy, as the amazing way you have captured this has brought me to tears. Oh, how all of our children must feel as they grieve...thank you for expressing yourself in such an amazing way. Darcy has the best Momma in the entire world, and I am so happy she was able to be comforted in your arms. Much love to you all! Can't wait until you all transition your journey to home....

Amy Woods said...

She is so beautiful, Kristi!!! I'm so glad its going so well!

C.C. said...

What a precious, grieving heart. And, she is indeed stunning!

The Straight's said...

Keep up the good work mom! It is SO hard to watch them grieve. No one could ever understand just how hard it really is until they have to witness their child in such despair.

She is absolutely beautiful!! Praying her little heart heals soon.

Gavin's Family said...

Thank you so much for letting all of us "peek" inside your new family and all the adventures you guys have been on in the past few weeks.
I so appreciate your willing to share what you and Darcy are both feeling as we are so close to traveling ourselves and the things I need to keep in mind to what Gavin will be feeling.
Blessings to the FIVE of you!

Caroline said...

Wow! Your children are beautiful! I'm following you through AWAA blogs :) We adopted an independent 2 1/2 yr. old with awaa three years ago. She did everything almost perfectly; I felt, "huh, she doesn't even need me..." Soon after we got home she got the car keys, ran to the car, proceeded to the driver's seat and tried to put in the right key...all in seconds...well! I knew we needed to do something about miss independence. I began giving her bottles (she hadn't had one since she was one). On her own she went back to using diapers; a Big surprise to me since she did not have any accidents in China or on the planes. One day after several months of diapers I suggested using the potty again and she said (so Wisely!) "Mommy, I need to be a baby again")...and she did need that. The diaper thing lasted until she was almost 4...but we bonded deeply :) She is way ahead of most of the others in her kindergarten!
Caroline
mother to 5;including Sarah and Chayah from China

Shannon said...

HOW BEAUTIFULLY SAID...

Should be interesting to see what the dynamics look like when we throw miss independent Lottie into the mix on play dates :)!! Can't wait to walk the next part of this journey with you!

Prayers for safe travels!!
Shannon

Glenda said...

That's one of my favorite songs, too!
I know exactly what you mean. Abbey still has a lot of "I'll do it myself" behavior. It looks good on the outside, but in reality, she's saying, I can't trust you to do it for me. She also looks way older than she is. It's hard when most people will think it's wonderful for her to be so independent, but I know it's because she doesn't want to be vulnerable. It is better, but still present. So sad... With your love, you will break through this tough exterior. God will give us the wisdom to parent these wonderful treasures! So excited that you all will be home tomorrow!

Carla said...

You are such a great mommy!! You understand Darcy so well. And she is so cute and brave! I am loving following your sweet family. Prayers going up for the rest of your stay and your travel home.

In Him,
Carla L.

Tricia said...

Sounds like you have a little spitfire on your hands. :) I believe she's finding ways to communicate. Actually, I think I've communicated that way a time or two. Ha!

It breaks my heart to hear that she's grieving. I know it's necessary, but still...

Amy Murphy said...

That was an amazing post! And I love the fact that you are so perceptive to know how to handle your little independant girl! She's bonding! It's so amazing! Thank you for sharing your post with us!

Nancy said...

Oh my heart breaks for her! But how comforting to know that all five of you are together as a family, just as God planned!

Grandma Shultz said...

My brave little Darcy. How I long for the time when you will stop grieving and will learn to totally trust your new family who love you so much. You are beautiful.
Love, LaoLao

Anonymous said...

So happy for you guys!!!!!! Darcy is precious! Just a beautiful family.....God is so good!
We are praying for you guys and for safe travels home :-)
Love in Christ, Kasie

Jennifer Barbee said...

Oh how I feel your pain. While we know grief is a part of the process it certainly doesn't make it any easier to watch your sweet child go through it. Our Mia is a brave little independent soul too and watching her brake through that toughness has been beautiful and painful all at the same time. Darcy is blessed to have a family who understands her pain. You're doing a great job. It will get easier. Praying for you all... You're almost home.

Anonymous said...

Oh sweet little brave girl! I can't imagine the trauma of her world... But am so glad she has such a wonderful family to call her own!
Aunt cici

Lisa said...

Darcy is blessed to have you as a mom. Thank you for sharing you heart and journey at such an intimate level. I can only imagine how many families are blessed because you share your heart so well. Have I mentioned that I'm praying for you?