We're visiting my in-laws. Lotus gets weird when she stays away from home. She handles it.
We had a looooooooooong drive to my in-laws. When we got here Lotus was manic. She ran around and we expected this.
We didn't expect her to play cute.
When we met Lotus, at that hotel in China, she was adorable. She giggled, she smiled. We had expected a child totally shut down and we were thrilled that she seemed so happy. It took us three days to realize that she wasn't happy with us-she had gone into survival mode. She had learned in her 54 weeks at the orphanage that the best way to survive is play cute with new people. It probably got her more food, more attention. When I am honest with myself I realize that this survival instinct was probably good.
Two days after we met her we visited the SWI (orphanage) so she could say goodbye. Her second favorite nanny pressed her into my arms and introduced me formally to Lotus and called me Mama. The wonderful woman called D Baba (Daddy) Then she hugged and kissed Lotus again and turned away quickly so Lotus wouldn't see that she was crying.
Notice I say her second-favorite nanny. Her favorite one, the one that was in many pictures with her and you could see the love there, she couldn't come. They knew we would be coming and she just could not say goodbye again. When I pray I always think of her and ask Gd to somehow let her know we are thinking of her and thanking her every single day.
When our little family left the SWI Lotus looked at me and said Mama. She looked at D and said Baba. We went back to the hotel and my heart was so filled. We walked into our room and something clicked with Lotus and she started to cry. She started to scream and she didn't stop for forty-five minutes. The only reason she did stop, I believe, is that her body just gave out and she fell asleep. We all fell asleep.
When we woke up we met Lotus. The real one. She cried some more and I held her and sang to her. D held her and danced with her. We played marathon games of peekaboo. During one of those, she smiled. A real smile. A smile so different from the first one we saw that I realized the first one was her smile for the cameras. This was Lotus. This was her smile.
I adore that smile.
I noticed she played cute when she met new people. Careful of attachment we wouldn't let anyone else but us feed her or change her, but she soon found her way with the family.
It's been over two years since we brought her home. I hadn't seen her playing cute in a while but today it brought it all back to me. Tonight when we did our going-to-bed songs I added a few old ones. After I sang her goodnight song she put her hand on my chin and smiled--her real smile. I hugged her and rocked her to sleep.
I don't now how secure she'll feel in the morning. I explained the playing cute with my in-laws and they tried to understand. I hope I didn't hurt their feelings because her poor grandpa said "but she likes us." She does like them, she loves them (more him) very much and I said this. But she was feeling uncertain and I want to make sure she feels certain and comfortable. I think my Mother-in-law got it a little more, but who knows.
Adoption is not unicorn rainbow farts. There is hard stuff. Emotional stuff.
If we can get a real smile by the end of the day, we're pretty damn lucky.