At long last, we arrived home last Saturday and have happily been settling into a routine as a family. Now that we are home, and things are in fact going well for us, I want to readdress our time in Russia, following Gotcha Day. I know in my previous posts I reported how well Angelina was doing following Gotcha Day. That is not entirely accurate. Gotcha day did go well, in that Angelina didn't seem to notice or mind leaving the baby home and being with us. In the days that followed, however, it became clear to us that she was indeed going through some kind of trauma as a result of leaving the baby home. While she had moments of "happiness" that we clung to (and I blogged about), the majority of our days were spent trying to comfort an inconsolable baby. She wailed almost around the clock, except when she was eating or had cried herself to sleep. She cried over everything that we did; the only thing that was acceptable to her was when we held her, while standing (no sitting or laying down allowed), and rocked her. She would wake up screaming and we couldn't seem to comfort her. It was so, so different from the girl we thought we knew. We became utterly exhausted, worn out, and were frankly bewildered. At one point, after about 6 days of this behavior, while Angelina was having another nuclear meltdown, we just looked at each other and asked "what have we done?" We were at a total loss as to how to handle this child.
Then, as if she sensed our despair, something shifted in Angelina. Her frantic, constant crying subsided and she slowly became the happy, calm girl we always believed her to be; that we had come to know through our time with her. Truly, it was a huge relief. Of course, we will never really know what that behavior was all about. We suspect it was Angelina's way of grieving for the loss of life as she knew it (although if given a choice now, we think she would never want to go back!). Anyway, I thought it was important to share what we went through with all of you, in case any of you go through a similar experience with your child in the days following gotcha day. Those days were very dark and very, very hard. It broke our hearts to see Angelina so, so upset and be unable to comfort her.
I am happy to report that since then, things have only gone up for us as a family. We are developing our daily routines and have been slowly putting ourselves back together again after such a long time overseas.
On a separate note, we want to say a huge "THANK YOU" to all of our friends in the blogosphere. :) The support, helpful advice, encouragement and friendship we received from all of you during our adoption journey really helped this "foreign experience" not be so foreign to us. It made all the difference!
And lastly (for now), please, please, please heed my advice and DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER in Russia! Yours truly broke that golden rule and as a result battled Stalin's revenge during the last part of our trip - ugh!
Have a great day!