Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Taiwan Lucy... One Month Later

The recent Taiwan-On poll asked what the first month at home with your child was really like. While 50% says it was a dream come true, 31% shared it was the highest of highs and lowest of lows. 24% admitted it was either a nightmare or they couldn't actually remember it.

If you asked me sometime during the first two weeks, I may have answered nightmare as well at times. But now that the month is over, I have to agree with the 31%. While it's very difficult for parents to admit it -- after all the waiting and dreaming of your child, who would actually say it out loud? -- it is a VERY difficult transition. But the good times are like nothing you've ever experienced before -- EVER. The interaction between siblings, the first time an unsolicited kiss is drooled onto your face... Lucy is a dream come true. But, that doesn't mean that our experience doesn't come with some questions, tears, and wine. (not always in that order)

While we were in Taiwan, I truly thought I'd never get through it. Here's an excerpt of something I wrote day 2 when Lucy and Daddy were doing their thing... without me:

How does a dream turn so ugly so fast? It's not like anything out of the ordinary is happening. In fact, some would call it text book. But the fact that our baby girl is grieving, scared and confused and there's nothing we can do about it makes me feel like a horrible mother. The fact that she's turning to her daddy for comfort and not me, is just a slap in the face. I've lied on the floor of her empty room, I've thought and prayed and wished and planned for her for so long. Why can't I be the one to make it all ok?

We had a good day, all things considered. For a girl who's only been with us for a day, she made tremendous strides. She blew kisses, gave kisses, laughed, smiled, and walked holding hands. She fell asleep with me in my arms when she just couldn't fight anymore.

But tonight, it's the cry. Not just that she's crying, but the inconsolable, scared, angry, devastated cry. And the sight of me just makes it worse. My husband leaves the room and her world comes crashing down. I'm allowed to feed her and interact, but only if he's holding her. If I look at her at the wrong time, she lets me know it.

To look back and read that gets me ticked off at myself. What did I expect so soon? But I've spoken with a lot of other moms who've had some very real --serious and dark, at times -- thoughts and I think it's important to put it out there for those heading down the same path. And perhaps important for those who expect life to just go on like it had been. When you bring home a child, life won't (and can't) ever be exactly the same. And sometimes, just being honest with yourself and admitting that is the first step in moving forward.

Two weeks after arriving home, Lucy suddenly began to make a turnaround. In fact, it was two weeks from the day we brought her home, when the little girl, who was unhappy like 85% of the time, suddenly started smiling and playing 3/4 of the day. She is funny and charming and stubborn and loves a random temper tantrum -- and she's the kind of girl who you can't leave for a second. Turn your head, she's standing on the kitchen table -- blink and she's covered in her brother's cereal, eating it off the floor.

Just like when I had Jacob, and then Brady, things are nothing like you'd expect. I've always mapped out my parenting plan beforehand -- I will do things this way, never that way -- but it's not reasonable to really expect things to go the way you plan. In fact, my third child has taught me to let go a little and stop pushing to be all things to all people. But it's a very difficult lesson to practice each day.

We're thrilled Lucy is finally home with us. We're so proud of her and all she's already accomplished and we're blessed to be called her parents. We look forward to month two being even better. Hope you'll follow our journey.


To see our journey to Lucy: the video diary... go to
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Cindy said...

Wow, Jackie - thanks for sharing. I follow quite a few adoption blogs, but rarely do we see a glimpse of "reality" when things are not going well. It helps give me a realistic picture of what to expect when we get to that point. I am happy to hear and see how well Lucy is adjusting, too. She's a beautiful little girl! I guess from reading through attachment and adoption articles, Lucy's initial reaction to you was actually a good one, although it didn't feel that way at the time, because she showed that she is able to develop attachments and bond to those close to her. I am excited to continue following your family blog!


momwithfaithandhope said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. . .there are still dark days, but our girls are dreams come true, no doubt. Beautifully stated from "one bored mom of 2" to "one bored mod of 3"! Hugs, T

Ramona said...

Jackie - beautifully put. I've attempted several times to pen 'the truth' but in the end, it never sounded comfortable. Thank you for describing the undescribable with such grace.

Room for More said...


The fact that you take the time to share all the good AND tough stuff, is a blessing to all of us who are waiting our turn to bring a child home. There are articles and books, but what you share is the here and now, the "live" shot of your family as you grow in so many ways! Thank you for being so transparent with all of us!


Sarah and Dan Sullivan said...

Jackie, good for you for putting that out there!!! I think it is so important for people to know that bad feelings are a very natural part of the process. I find it very refreshing and reassuring. Thank you. Sarah = )

Anonymous said...

HI Jackie! My husband and i "found" your story when we started the adoption process this past summer and we have been so blessed to follow your journey. We now are waiting for our daughter from Taiwan and feel honored to be allowed to have a little glimpse into your family story. Thank you for being so honest and heartfelt!

The family of six said...

Jackie I knew you might go through a rough time in the beginning with Lucy, I'm so glad it's all getting better. I think my hard time was meeting the birth mother. Sarah was too sick and weak to protest when we met. I think she was so grateful to finally have someone with her to be with her constantly through the recovery after being alone in the hospital. But knowing that broke my heart too. It seems everyone has a hard part of their story. It's our labor pains. ((HUGS)) You are amazing.

By the way I got your call and I want to get back to you tomorrow!

Expecting Good Things said...

Thank you for opening your heart. I think that is so brave of you. I think about Breelyn rejecting me at first and find it heartbreaking. Thank you for showing me that its normal and ok to feel that way.
Waiting for Breelyn Chia-Ling

Chris said...

It is gut-wrenching, faith testing, and unbelievable-but oh so sweet-
hope month 2 goes very well for you all

Maci Miller said...

What a good and honest blog. Thanks, Jackie. As a first time, soon-to-be mom I have read up on all things parenting & adoption. I have consulted friends, read the blogs, rented the name it. But in the back of my head, I am trying to remember that none of it can replace the real life experience. It's so good to hear the stories like yours and know that it WILL be great, but it WON'T be right away.