This is hard.

I'm sorry I've missed a day or two of posting.  Quite frankly this journey has turned hard and I'm exhausted.

We got up very early yesterday to visit the orphanage.  It is about 4 hours away, so we had to meet our guide downstairs at 7am.  I haven't been eating much because honestly, I simply don't care for the food.  Plus, our hotel doesn't have many baby high chairs, so I am constantly trying to wrangle a wiggling baby while eating.  It's my new weight loss plan.

For bonding reasons, I am supposed to be the only one meeting her needs such as picking her up while she's crying, feeding her, changing her etc.  That is all well and good, but when you don't have your spouse here, it's absolutely exhausting.  I'll do a separate post about the orphanage visit and what we did today (Thursday), which wasn't much, but this post, I want to talk about what is going on with us here.  I definitely need your prayers.

Kylie is a very smart and happy child.  It is clear from the reaction of the orphanage staff to her that she was very well liked and cared for.  I also found out that in mid-November, they sent her to foster care so she would have more direct care after her lip surgery.  She was with a foster family until just a few days before we came to get her.

Because Kylie is so happy and everyone loved her, she will go to anyone at all.  Anyone that is standing up or moving around.  She is in constant motion.  I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not.  She literally does not sit still EVER.  When you are the only one able to care for her, this gets old really quick.

Anyway, we had a super early morning yesterday and a grand total of 8 hours in the van to and from the orphanage.  Much to my dismay and against my wishes and better judgment, the orphanage staff took Kylie, fed her and loved on her.  It was distressing, but very quickly I learned that I had to chill out about it.  The orphanage staff was very hospitable and served us a huge feast most of which none of us would even try.  (I will do a post on that I promise).  Anyway, despite the fact that we were all exhausted yesterday, I put Kylie down at 8pm and she was awake at 1am for a bottle.  She took that very well but when I put her back down, she would cry.  After about an hour of this, I was absolutely exhausted.  I was up from 1 until about 5am after getting very little sleep the night before.

And when I am exhausted to that point, it isn't pretty.  I spent most of the morning crying.  Every time someone was nice, I started to cry.  Finally I decided that even though I was not following all the books on bonding, I was going to have to have some  help.  At 5am, Deanne got up and took Kylie from me (who was sleeping soundly) and let me sleep about an hour.  After breakfast, we didn't have plans so we came back up to the room where Deanne took her again and I got maybe 2 or 2 1/2 hours of nap.

Tonight, I'm exhausted again and dread the night ahead.  We have the morning free tomorrow and we leave at 2pm to head to the airport to go to Guangzhou.  We have one more week in China and I cannot wait to get back home where the people I love are, everywhere you go doesn't smell like cigarette smoke and everyone speaks my language.

I have always said that adoption is not for the faint hearted.  The waits are horrible.  And while I was waiting, I would have given anything to be here getting Kylie.  But the long waits are nothing compared to this.  This journey is so many times sensationalized.  You have Gotcha Day with all it's excitement and then the signing of the papers and all that entails.  You do occasionally see the hard parts with grieving, but the exhaustion is nearly unbearable.

Well, I have a crying baby wanting a bottle.  More to come...


Cheri said...

I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time. Things will get better. Truthfully, you'd have the exhaustion even if you birthed this child. This is just a moment in time, which will all fade once you get home and into a nice routine with your new family. Adoption is so difficult, but somehow we make it through and we realize how blessed we are.

Kate said...


You MUST let your SIL help you. The first time around, I was all about doing it myself and I was exhausted. When we had our second file reviewed the (very experienced!) IA doctor (from CHOP) told us flat out to take any help we could get...in China AND the first few weeks home. There would be time for bonding once we were back on our feet. Giving myself permission to take help made a world of difference the second time around...and after four months home, my daughter is bonding beautifully...no concerns at all! TAKE HELP. You have the rest of your life to bond with Kylie. And you want to be able to give her a happy China story!

It will get better. You just need to sleep. It is a huge transition for everyone!!

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Breathe honey. Look, these books give a perspective. And you are absolutely NOT going to ruin her, ruin some path you are on, for getting some help. Trust me, I am an attachment therapist. I do this for a living! She is going to know you as her secure base, her center, because you will always be the one that is always there. Hang in there. I am rooting for you.

Kelly said...

Sandra- I am here to officially give you permission to accept help! Letting your travel friend hold her while you sleep or even taking turns when you are out to eat will not damage your bonding. If it were me, I would handle all the feeding, changing, bathing comforting. You should be established as the primary caregiver there, but letting someone else hold her at this point is not going to do any long term damage. You need rest so you can be the best mom you can here. I promise, when you get home you will have lots and lots of hold, cuddle and everything else time that you can limit to just you and your man. Sometimes I think China time is all about survival. You are just truly adjusted to the time when you turn around and come home!

Hang in there! I am praying and it is going to be alright!!!


Steve & Kate said...

Sandra, definitely get help. Your situation sounds like mine with my first son. I was bending over backwards to meet all his needs (half the time with him, I wasn't sure if they were needs or demands) and was completely exhausted. You can bond when you're at home and your husband is there to help. Every transition is different and it sounds like you have a more challenging situation than most, so you may have to let some things go for the next week. Our first adoption was 50x harder than our other two, mostly because I had really high expectations of myself and what I was supposed to do/not supposed to do. It may kick me in the long run, but it's only a week. These kids are resilient, especially when they've been cared for so well at their cwi. I'm praying for you. I know the exhaustion can be absolutely unbearable. Kate

Wife of the Prez said...

You do what you gotta do.

Repeat this if necessary.

On our recent trip, DD screamed bloody murder if DH tried to hold her so having your spouse is no guarantee.

However, I broke my own rules too and allowed our 13 and 12YO sons to hold DD so I could have a break. As it turns out, this was not a bad move.

If your SIL lived with you, I'd say bad idea but it doesn't sound like she does from your blog, so don't sweat it. Yeah it is best if someone else doens't hold DD but in China, you are surviving. Once you are home, you can implement a more strict holding policy.

Big hugs and every day you are one day closer to home!

Tera said...

Praying for you!!

Margy said...

It was extremely hard for me and I had my husband with me. I can only imagine what you must be feeling. I am praying for you and for Kylie. Please don't feel bad about not following the rules. You gotta do what's best for you and her and that means you gotta rest.

Christy said...

Praying for you! I say don't worry too much about getting help until you are back in the states. Then once you are back in your routine, it will be easier to do what you need to do with her. (Of course, having never done International adoption, that could totally be the wrong thing to say.) I finally realized that sometimes you just have to do what gets you through and trust God to take care of the rest!

theonewhere said...

I am sorry. :(

I totally get it...all. By the time Olivia had screamed almost the entire way on the flight home(not an exaggeration) and the fight attendant offered to take her for an hour to first class and feed her strawberries and ice cream all my adoption sense left me as I passed her over and said THANK YOU. lol. It was fine, and I think Olivia and I were both thankful for the break. She's been home almost 8 months and is attaching beautifully!

Anyways....all that to say...this part is tough....but this too shall pass. It gets 1,000 times easier when you are home! Promise!

Brook :)

Amy said...

Hang in there! I know exactly how you feel as we were at our wits end with 3 children in China! Enjoying the updates and praying for you! You will be so happy once you get to Guangzhou and the nice Garden hotel!

Erika said...

Although each child is different, I can assure you that I understand exactly what you are saying and feeling. I am sure that you are making wonderful decisions.
Take care of yourself and get all the rest you can so that you have plenty of enery for your sweet child. She's precious, as are you, and sleep will help so very much! We're thinking of you and praying for you!!

meg said...

Howdy from Florida... You can do it... Let others help you. When you get home, you can stick to the attachment routine!!
I traveled without my spouse too. My kids helped me plus another couple in the travel group..
Praying for you...

Joy said...

I just realized tonight that I hadn't checked your blog in a while and wondered if you were in China-and you are. Your Kylie is so precious. My Taylor is also from Jiangsu province so we were in Nanjing and Nancy was our guide. We stayed at the Mandarian Garden. Make sure you get over to Aqua City if you haven't yet. They have a really cool light/water show with their fountains every day that my kids loved.
I know you went through all the adoption training and they keep saying so much about not letting anyone hold your child, feed them, etc., but it will not damage your relationship if you let your (I didn't read enough to know if she is a friend or relative) travel mate help out with Kylie. This whole China part is so surreal and different than real life. The real attachment work can start when you get home and things are how they are going to be. My mom traveled with us and we let her watch Taylor several times when we needed a nap or needed a small break. She still bonded with us and has a great relationship with my mom. You cannot function well as her mom without sleep. If your friend can help out you need to let her. It will get better. It is only for a short time longer. Get the rest you need and focus on documenting Kylie's homeland for her. Soak up everything so you can relay it to her someday.
It gets better in Guangzhou.

Stacia said...

I'm continuing to pray for you and for Kylie. I hope you are both able to get the rest you need and bonding is going well. One day at a time. {{hugs}}

Lori @ Five of My Own said...

I know what you mean, Im exhausted too. My family leaves tomorrow...hope I can find the strength you have!

Hopefully will see you around the Garden I think you are here:)

Lori @ Five of My Own said...

by the way sounds like Kylie and Mia are cut from the same cloth!

Michele said...

Sandra, Take what help you can now to survive. All that information about bonding is really about the months to come at home. Right now, you are not in element and as you have said you are exhausted and stressed beyond understanding (unless you're been there and done it - and I've been there and done that). Be nice to yourself and get some sleep.

Vicky said...

Sandra, somehow I missed this update! Bless your heart! You and your baby will bond...get as much rest as you can! My heart just ached for you as I read of your journey! Praying for renew strength and peace!