It is required with each adoption that the parents take ten hours on basically all things child psychology related to adoption. Most studies focus on trauma and attachment/bonding. As with most things in life, no reading or studying can ever take the place of an actual personal experience. All four of our girls have come to us with very different initial reactions. One came to us and was smiling within minutes though she would not allow me to hold her; the next two came to us screaming loudly, passed out cold and then awoke and grieved in their own special ways; Chapman was the quietest, most compliant one. She walked out to meet us and never made a peep.
She looked around at the large room and she gazed everywhere but at us. She was in awe of everything around her. I picked her up and, though stiff as a board, she didn't whimper at all. I took all kinds of candy and snacks as a peace offering to her....I offered her a lollipop which she took and never opened but gripped it as if it were going to save her life.
I worried about this little one. She didn't cry. She didn't smile. She was stoic. I even asked the nannies if they had given her some medicine to calm her for traveling. They denied giving her anything. I thought to myself that we were going to have our hands full teaching her to attach.
Two days after meeting her, we traveled to her orphanage for a visit. It was there that I witnessed one of the sweetest yet saddest moments of our time in China with Chapman. It will forever be in my mind the pure joy that spread across Chapman's face the moment she spied her foster mother in the room with us. For all of thirty minutes, Chapman was held by the foster mom and they were cheek-to-cheek almost the entire time. The smiles were contagious. Love was in the air and it was precious. And then it had to end, it was time for us to leave and Chapman was not happy one bit. She cried hard, the biggest tears and loudest screams we had heard since we met her. And I quietly said to myself, "Thank you Jesus! Thank you for this blessing and thank you, thank you that she has known love!"
That day at the orphanage was life changing for Chapman. I believe it was more significant to her than the day she met us. She was in her element at the orphanage and the staff and nannies adored her. She knew it too! She knew how to work the room and she did so with a smile that never left her face. And in one moment, that all came to a stop. After kissing her little head, the foster mom handed me a screaming Chapman and made a break for it.
And that was it.
We walked away and never looked back.
But there are those moments of wonder in my head. I hurt to think of what she has been through. Two years she spent in the care of others.
I look at her in awe daily. She is the sweetest, feistiest little thing! And goodness we have all witnessed the temper - it is honestly hard not to laugh at her when she gets mad! Looking beyond all of that, I see her braveness. This little girl was speaking another language when we met her, she knew only the smells and sounds of an orphanage, she shared everything and owned nothing, nothing was hers and hers alone, not even the clothes on her back.
We are just days away from celebrating six months with this little one. Six months and she now will run to you and say, "Hug! Hug!" What she is really wanting is for you to hold her. She wants you in her eyesight if you are home with her. She will not think of going to anyone who is not a member of our family. She wakes early in the morning and calls for me, I get her and put her in bed with me (Ryan is usually gone by this time) and she cuddles right up, puts her thumb in her mouth and drifts back off to sleep. She feels safe in our home. She is learning to trust. She is happy and has no problem letting us know if she is unhappy. She knows she is loved and adored. She knows she has an audience to encourage her every move.
Yet, even with all of these things and the time that we have had together, there are the moments when she retreats back to our China Chapman, our Chapman who occasionally you can still find gazing in awe at what is around her. Sometimes, she quiets and gently lays her little head on my shoulder for protection. Six months we have had the pleasure of loving this little girl. We all don't remember a life without her. She has wiggled herself right into our hearts and not a day goes by that we don't thank God for leading us to our precious baby girl!