the emotional toll of the past week has been more extensive than i would have ever imagined. the physical aspect seems to be the minor issue we are facing right now. emery's pain tolerance is either really high, or the oxycodone is working a miracle :) the inside of her mouth looks like a sewing machine went haywire with the zig zag stitch. it's pretty horrible to see. but after day 3, her pain level seems to be controlled really well by the oxy. the emotional regression is much more painful. at times, it's confusing to know how to handle it.

maybe the past 2 months have been like a mirage. other than a few really challenging weeks in the beginning, our time with emery has been so smooth and she found such a groove of peace and trust within her family. but this week of pain and being poked and prodded and held down and arms pinned straight with no-no's, it shook my baby girl back in time.
most of our day, she plays and laughs and snuggles. she ate a LOT today and seems to be unfazed by her mouth. she even finds ways to play with and climb and crawl with her no-no's.

but when it's time for meds (every 4 hours for oxy and tylenol, every 6 for antibiotics, and every 12 for ear drops) she panics. she screams and flails and fights and as if we are torturing her. i'm sure it makes no sense why the people she trusts most are forcing things in her mouth and ears. she looks at me with horror no matter how sweet and calm i sound. she knows whats coming, and she hates it.
at bedtime tonight, i realized just how deep she is hurting. i gave her all of the her meds and drops before we went up for bed. by the time i was trying to put her pjs on, she was so frantic and irate, i knew it was a pivotal night. she wears double no-no's at night (because she can get her hands in her mouth with just one pair) so her arms are like casts. thankfully, the no-no's keep her from clawing her face and head (which she started doing again this week).
her screams reminded me so much of china. but this time, as she flailed and scratched and cried with all her might, her eyes stayed with me. they were begging me not to leave her. her fragile emotional state wanted to push me away. she kicked and screamed and punched me over and over with her crazy arm no-no's. i knew she didn't want to be held, but she also didn't want me to leave. it's such a strange duo that i've never experienced before. but now i recognize it...the pattern of her wanting me to let her feel and deal with pain in her own way, but wanting the security of knowing i'm there for her.

so i held her loosely, and i let her scream and flail. i didn't hold her down, but i held her enough for her to know she was safe. i could put her in her crib and see if she calmed by herself, or go with my gut and stick it out with her. i felt so deeply that she needed me to stay. i tried a few things, but no matter what i did, it made things worse, so we sat. she screamed. i waited.
45 minutes.
and all of the sudden she stopped. she looked up at me like it never happened. she signed bottle and drank for a few moments. she fell asleep instantly on my shoulder. i layed her down in her crib and she snuggled up and went back to sleep.
what was all that about??
regression. she went back to the only thing she knows from her deep past of pain. she knows how to panic. she's slowly learning that i'll be there with her as she heals through it.
it's not easy for either of us.

this adoption thing isn't for the faint at heart. we are parenting broken and fragile warriors. children who have deep rooted pain and fear of abandonment at every stressful turn.

emery and i have so much in common. we want and need help, but we hate asking for it. i would have never survived this week without friends and family jumping in and caring for my kids, bringing meals, visiting us in the hospital, and sending so many messages of love and kindness. so many people i don't even know encouraged me beyond measure this week.

i am truly dreading her next surgery...for fear that we have to step back to where we are right now. what she must endure in the next few months can only be conquered because God has invested more strength in her than i even realize. she was created in a powerful way and all i can do is trust that God will bring us through each of these difficult times in our growth as a family.


  1. Oh girl -- God clearly called you, YOU, to be Emery's mommy. He has prepared you, He has equipped you, He is sustaining you. Keep on loving her right where she is, day after day, just like He loves us.

  2. Yeah, what the raudenbush family said!!

  3. "we are parenting broken and fragile warriors. children who have deep rooted pain and fear of abandonment at every stressful turn." oh, SO true. i keep reminding myself that even three days from now, shu will be a slightly different child--three days more secure in our love, three days more understanding of what it means to be in a family. God is making our kids whole, and he's doing it mostly through US. grace and peace to your heart tonight. :o)

  4. Jerusha took the words right out of my mouth. Totally agree!
    Benn on an internet hiatus but have been thinking and praying for your sweet girl. :)

  5. All of these comments say just what I wanted to say. You are such a sweet mommy, and E is lucky to have you (I already know you feel so lucky to have her!).

  6. Experienced the exact situation a few nights ago with my 7 yr old. She was angry and lashing out, but didn't want me to leave her. I couldn't hold her but I could lay with her and be there while she did her thing. You're right that she needs you there for her. There's a BIG difference between history of kids who've had trauma, such as the ones in orphanages, and kids who've never experienced such terror and panic. We can't bundle all 'fits' together and need to treat them with extra special care and more patience than we think we have - THANK YOU God for providing us with what it takes to parent, and for being the best role model ever!
    Peace and LOVE!

  7. You have given so much of yourself to Emery during this hard time. Your description of staying with her as she cried reminds me of sitting with friends who have lost loved ones. She needs to grieve and needs you by her side as she does so. Again, I am so glad that she had the hardest surgery first. The lip surgery will be less invasive and you will be home sooner. How wonderful that she is signing and that she can say mama. You are such a caring and devoted mother to this precious girl.

  8. Hey Angie, I can say we have had very similar experiences with Emilee in her first months home. We didn't have to go thru surgery though. But the push pull "I'll deal with this myself" attitude is so familiar and something that at 7 pops up again. You are so intuitive and handling it so well.

    I felt prompted to say this about the next surgery. Don't necessarily consider yourself as the one who is doing this painful stuff TO her but as the comforting Mommy who is THERE with her IN the pain and suffering. I think those hours will bond you two so much. It's the mean doctors :-) who are doing the painful thing and you are there as comfort.

    Wish I could help in some way....just ask!

    Sending prayers,


  9. Dear sweet Angie,

    Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. I am filled with hope and gratitude right now and feel so blessed despite the challenges I face!! I feel especially blessed right now to have connected with you. I think you are absolutely amazing and I have also poured over your posts and have been SO INSPIRED!! I hope it's okay with you if I check back often to check on Emery and your family. You will be in my fervent prayers. Much love and many blessings, Sharlie



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