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Friday, February 25, 2011

When we were there

I am sad to admit that when Honey and I were in Europe, we did not enjoy our experience like we should have. :( Neither of us had ever been anywhere.....I mean other than Canada and Mexico (the part of Mexico you go on vacation) and other places on a cruise. But those places aren't really different. Those other countries, or the parts that Americans normally go to, are so "Americanized" that we don't feel the culture. I didn't truly grasp the concept of culture shock until we were in another country.....thousands of miles from home.

First of all, we were exhausted. We had decent flights and our layovers weren't too long, but neither of us had slept well in almost a week. Nerves do that to ya. :) On the way to our apartment, our facilitator told us what she had learned from Vlado's most recent medical. He had regressed and was more delayed than before. She also told us that he had started hitting himself when he would get frustrated. With our tired state and our nerves....this freaked us out! We spent the night worrying about what we had gotten ourselves into.

Our facilitator took us around the city a bit after we got there to help us get some food. We were both craving something familiar...anything familiar. We ended up coming back to the apartment with some eggs, bread, water...and a few specialty items that J said we needed to try. :) For dinner, Honey ended up having a hard boiled egg sandwich. He had wanted a fried egg sandwich, but somehow, I missed the drawer that held all the pots and pans so I used a coffee pot (metal) to boil up some eggs. This was just the beginning of our food woes during the trip.

I have to say that now that I've been home for a while, I realize that I was a baby while there. I was just so emotionally overwhelmed with everything that I didn't take time to enjoy our son's culture and country. We saw many things (forts, zoos, churches) and I enjoyed them....but I didn't soak it in. I am ashamed to admit this! There is another family there now and when I read about their experience....I am jealous. I wish I would have let myself experience it like they are. They will come home with so many wonderful memories. And the worst part is that I know that it is my own fault.

So, to future adoptive parents.....I beg you.....when you are in your child's country, enjoy it! I know that is easier said than done, but unless you plan to adopt again, chances are you will never see your child's country again. When you get home, there will be things that you wished you had done or seen or eaten. LOL! We brought home some food stuff that I have rationed. I bought some chips (ketchup flavored ones were my favorite) and we just ate the last of them last week. I also bought a bag and season thing for chicken and it was amazing! Oh, how I wish I would have bought more of those! The last thing that we have here are soup packets....kind of like really big oodles of noodles soups. I haven't made any yet, but the girls Honey works with that are from that area said they are delicious!

If/when we go again....I am going to be prepared. I am going to make myself realize this is a special occurance and home will come quick enough. I will let myself enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes and experiences. And I will be happy to have the opportunity!

1 comment:

  1. Melissa--a fair warning to other adoptive parents indeed. But don't be too hard on yourself. Remember--this was not only your first trip out of country--but also your first time as parents. That alone can do stuff to you that will throw you off balance. Add to it, strange food, smells, language, sights, bed and nothing is like HOME. AND further add to it--you've just been handed a little "life" that now depends on you--AND he's got some physical and emotional issues for you to understand, adjust to and support. AND most importantly--you have a little guy--that you've been wishing and hoping for all your lives--and he's now in your arms and you're lovin' it and scared to death all at the same time. I'd say that's enough to make any one be a bit distracted. I wouldn't call it a "baby" at all. I'd say you were a bit overwelmed and needing some sense of normalcy to hold onto--it's normal. Truly it is. Afterall, if you were giving birth in foreign country with doctors that don't speak the language and only an interpetor to lead you through the process..would you try to soak up the countries culture? Ahhh...not so much. :) You're there--you soak up as much as you can--but the emotions running on overdrive and the things running through your head are a huge distraction. I don't know--but I'd suspect that family that you referred to that is there now--already has children-bio. They are experienced parents. You were not. Do not overlook that one HUGE FACT--it's a big one. The fears, stresses and unknowns that run through the head of a couple that has no children-that is about to become a parent to an older child at that--one that's needs are much more and complicated than that of an infant that eats, sleeps and has bowel movements. :) Yeah...I know what you were feeling. Like you, we too were first parents--and to an older child, and in a foreign country, and we tried VERY hard to enjoy and soak up the culture. No matter how hard we tried--the thing that over rode all that effort was the overwelming since of LOVE and disbelief that this precious child was now OUR child--we were now a family of 3--and that was top of mind. Along with her feelings, needs and oh yeah, let's not forget the fact that we had to navigate successfully the paperwork and proceses both your child's country requires and our country requires to be sure you can bring HIM/HER home--stress and thoughts of failure was a possiblity at all times.

    So...my dear Melissa. I know the next trip to adopt will be different. But this trip was unique to any other--and it is all yours--all the memories you made--including the fog you felt like you were in at times. And the longing for the comfort smells, food, language and surroundings of home. It's all part of the whole experience you had. And I know you cherish it all--just as it is. :) No regrets my friend. You could not possibly have done it any different. If you recall==there was more than one very scarey moment in those weeks you were there--the kind of scares that parents feel when their child is born with complications--it's touch and go==and you are not thinking about a whole lot--other than you, you child, and your family--and getting them home where you could be safe. :)

    Love and God Bless--So happy your sweety is doing sooooo well--it's a miracle-you're all so blessed. Us too. :)

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