This morning I flipped on Sesame Street for the Princess. She started started screaming. It wasn't her usual tantrum, I wish I could tell you what I want scream, but a deep, fearful howl. I've heard this howl before--in China right before she completely shut down.
I immediately thought she was hurt. But she ran to the door in an absolute panic and screamed, "Bye, bye!" When I shook my head she then ran to the stairs and said, "Night, night." I took her back into the family room and she started to shake, her eyes darted back and forth, and she held her hands in tight fists and shook them.
I turned toward the TV. Elmo was singing. I flipped the TV off and Evie relaxed. I turned it back on and she started screaming again. I held her and told her that Elmo wasn't real. That we could turn him on and off. And that he would never, ever hurt her.
She eventually calmed down and we had to leave to pick up the Middle One. On the way, I watched her in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were almost swollen shut. I wondered what her eyes had seen. What had happened to her in the orphanage that made her so scared of Elmo. Was she stuck in a crib with only Elmo as company? Did they play Sesame Street for her while she was in the hospital all alone recovering from open-heart surgery?
I wish she could tell me. I wish I knew her past. I wish I had been there for her.
By the time we got to school, she was happy again. As we walked to the middle one's classroom I noticed a new picture had been added in the Kindergarten hallway. A child had written Psalms 23. I couldn't help but focus on the words: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me."
Maybe I wasn't there, but she is a child of God. I have to trust that he protected her in the orphanage and will continue to. And when her old orphanage demons come out, he will help her heal.