Wednesday, March 10, 2010


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.


  1. Great post. Thanks so much for saying that. I often wonder the same thing. Fortunately, my son loves Elmo, but sometimes the strangest things trigger a big melt down. I guess we may never know, we just know that God is with us as we care for them and show them love.

  2. Such a sweet post from the heart of a tender mother. It's so hard not knowing the "before" (or in my case the "now") but there's just an incredible peace that comes from the fact that God DOES know, and our children are more His than ours! What a beautiful thought...

  3. I just discovered this blog and read through it tonight. This post in particular really struck me. I'm wasn't adopted. I grew up in my birth home with a very, very present, stay-at-home mother. I just wanted to encourage the adoptive moms here that while you're working through your feelings about not having BEEN THERE and so not KNOWING what happened to your kids in China and why they react the way they do . . . that isn't entirely the result of not having been part of their lives from the beginning. There are things that happened to me when I was very young or over the course of time that produced trama triggers. The way you describe Evie as just "shutting off" is very familiar. My mom noticed that in me, and I remember doing it where my mind would blank out, and memory would stop, but didn't know why simply because I didn't have the maturity or vocabulary to explain or sometimes to even understand myself. All that said, I am very moved by this, and I can only imagine what moms go through with their kids and knowing they weren't able to be there for all the important things or protect them in every way, but . . . to some degree, that can happen and often does with or without adoption. That's not necessarily a result of Evie's abandonment, but just life, and you and your kids will make it.;)

  4. It can feel difficult at times to be at peace about the unknowns in our childrens' lives. But you are absolutely right - God knew our children long before we did. And He knows every moment of every day of their lives.

    The Tongginator's best friends (twins adopted from China) were terrified of the television for over three years. TERRIFIED. I think it's more common among internationally adopted children than we might realize, probably because so many IA children have at least some sensory issues. It's a common thing for those who struggle with sensory challenges.

  5. I loved finding new postings today...your mom told me that you'd posted some new ones when I saw her at the library this morning. :)

    I am glad Evie has such loving parents who are there for her, moving her forward toward a pretty great future. Your love for her will see her through these unexpected set backs.

    Have fun with the grandparents in Florida and take lots of pictures to post when you get back. :)