Thursday, December 26, 2013
We left Changsha and took a short domestic flight to Guaghzhou where the US Consulate is located. It was a long day of travel for two boys who do not like to sit still. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your brilliant inventions.
This was Elijah's first time on an airplane but he was not scared. In general, he is very brave and curious about everything. He did not appreciate the airline's rules about seatbelts, table tops, and especially having to put away all electronic devices during take-off and landing.
Our guide Richard met us at the airport. This province is where Christopher is from, and Richard was my guide during this last adoption trip. So it was nice to see a familiar face and be back at the same hotel. It is a very " fancy" hotel, according to Nicholas (and I agree) and we feel very pampered.
Today Elijah had his medical exam that is needed to get his US Visa. For children older than 2 years old, this includes a TB blood test. I could tell Elijah was scared as soon as we got to the clinic and he saw nurses and doctors, and heard crying children.
At first he was fine. The doctors started administering a vision test, with images of differing colors which I assume is used to determine color blindness. They kept asking him if he could see the shapes and he kept saying " no." I don't know if he understood or if he really couldn't see them. So the doctors kept asking him over and over again, more and more loudly, and I saw him start to stiffen and finally start crying.
He didn't stop crying for at least an hour. I picked him up and let him cry, but then a nurse came to do his blood test. I wanted to be with him but they would not let me go along. Something about parents being "disruptive."So they pulled him away into another small room, shut the door, and I could hear him screaming on the other side of the door. It was heartbreaking. At one point, they came out to get another nurse to hold him down because he was fighting back so hard. Ugh.
When they brought him out he was mad at me, pushed me away, and continued to cry. I tried to hold him, but the best I could do was kneel next to him. We had to go to one more exam, and Elijah would not move. He would not let me pick him up. Finally, Richard had to pick him up and carry him to the next exam room. Elijah screamed and screamed, and continued to push my hands away.
In the next room, I had to undress him, and help him get on an exam table. He was not having it, and tried to keep his clothes on. But I had to be the bad guy and undress him anyway, and he was inconsolable. So so sad. I bet he wishes he were with his foster mama. It seemed like he was suddenly sad about a whole lot more than just the nurses and doctors.
After the exams he just stood in the hall and cried. He even ran down another hallway, away from me. I caught up to him, and he just leaned against the wall and sobbed. I knelt down and stroked his head. I kissed him a few times, and he tolerated me. I told myself that this is good. I do not want him to hurt, but I know the pain is there. No child is an older orphan because he's had a good life. Even if he had, this is a major change and a disruption to his world as he has known it. This is painful, and the tears need to come. This is good. It's good that he is (kind of) letting me comfort him. Painful but good.
Every night as I am lying in bed trying to fall asleep, and many other times during the days, I think " I do not know what I am doing." This is hard. It is so much more natural to bond with a little baby who has not developed so many defenses and coping mechanisms. So I pray for God to guide me, just to use me to do His work. To be His hands and feet. Less of me, more of Him. These have become my mantras.
When we got back to the hotel, Elijah was still sad but cheered up when we went up and down the escalator 5 times. I let the boys walk in the opposite direction of the stairs and they thought it was so funny that they were staying in place. The other guests on the escalator did not.
We are going to spend the day in the hotel room watching Tv, playing iPad, and doing anything else that comforts Elijah. I think another trip to McDonalds might be in order.