Second, let me make it perfectly clear that the title of this post has nothing to do with any regrets on our part and has nothing to do with any surprises with the adoption or Cassie. I'm just trying to keep it real. I don't want to be accused of having a so-called "cupcake blog" -- not that I really care what the world out there thinks about my blog -- but I want to be honest. For the uninitiated, a "cupcake blog" is one where only the happy moments are captured and documented, while the challenging or troubling moments are, shall we say, "thrifted". Nothing but sunshine and butterflies. Such a blog paints a pretty picture, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you want to educate while sharing your story, a cupcake blog simply will not do.
Just like the post Sonny wrote on Cassie's finding place -- there are some parts of this story that don't sparkle and smell like cotton-candy. And I'm not talking about Cassie's poopy diapers. So on to the real stuff.
Princess Cassie has a hard time at night. She has since the first night we were blessed to spend with her. I can't read her mind and she can't tell me why, but I can guess. She's scared at night. She wants to go home and be in her own bed with her foster parents. That's what she knows -- that's what I'm sure she's most comfortable with. And I can't blame her one bit. If I were in her tiny little shoes, I'd feel the same way. Sonny and I are fun during the day - we play with her, take her places, give her our undivided attention, let her eat as much as she wants, let her be picky, fussy, mad, eat Cheerios in bed and all the things I'm sure the foster parents didn't allow or have time for. Who wouldn't love this life? But, then comes night-time. These fun new people turn off lights, start talking softer, and the laughing and playtime end. She starts getting more and more tired -- but she fights it -- tries to play more but it doesn't work. It's time to go home. But, now this other home doesn't exist -- it's not an option. But why???? This isn't fair. And no - it's not fair. I know when she wakes up screaming during the night and I gently pick her up only wanting to hold and rock my baby back to sleep -- to comfort her -- to mother her -- to make it all better -- that she doesn't want me. She wants her foster mother. How do I know this? I know because when she sees my face she pushes it away and screams louder while fighting to get out of my arms. If I lay her back in her crib she thrashes around until she hurts herself. So the only option for both us at this point is to suck it up and deal with it. I must remember this has absolutely nothing to do with me. My feelings don't matter. I can't get upset. Or jealous. Or sad. Or cry. I must focus on Cassie's grief. Her loss. The lose of a foster family who I believe must have loved her. The lost of 3 other foster siblings that lived with her who I'm sure she slept with. I try and I try over and over again to get my baby to trust me. To let me comfort her. This is hard. There is no reasoning with a 14-month-old in the middle of the night who wants her foster mother -- not you. We struggle, I try, she resists, I force her to lay in my arms while I rock her. My voice has seemed to be of some comfort. Or maybe it just removes the silences of the night. Maybe the dark doesn't seem so dark if there is noise. Still my arms are not comforting to her. After many tries she finally gives in or maybe she's just too tired to fight me anymore. She then lays in my arms whimpering while I chant "mommy's here" over and over and over again. I still don't allow myself to cry -- if I cry then I can't chant -- she needs me to chant -- I need to chant so I don't cry. And the chanting is all I have that works for both of us. In about 20 minutes she will sleep -- from exhaustion -- not comfort. This happened the first 7 or 8 nights in China. And about 4 nights home the first week. Last week only 3 times. We are making progress. Cassie and I are learning what works for each other. She now knows that I will win and she will have to be rocked. But she still resists -- just not for as long as she used to. For a few brief moments I think she even likes being in my arms. I'm learning that my needs don't matter -- to me or to her. She is my world -- my baby -- my responsibility -- my blessing. Together we will become mother and daughter on her terms. But this is only at night.
During the day I still have an adorable, smiling, giggling little girl who actually needs me. She shows me that she needs me by crying on my shoulder when she falls down and hits her head, or when something scares her, or when she's ready for a nap. I hold onto those moments because I need them to carry me through the long nights when I can't comfort my daughter.
No, it's not all butterflies and rainbows, not at night. And I don't know when it will be. But like sleep -- butterflies and rainbows are so over rated. :)
As for what we expected -- actually we knew this was a possibility and expected it. We are just thankful it's going better so quickly. Again, we are very blessed. And no matter what -- we are a family.
And finally -- see the post below for pictures of the little princess from the last week or so.