A glimpse at normalcy
We have been home with Jian 4 weeks today, and just in the past few days I have seen a glimpse of our “new normal.” It began when Jian allowed our little next door neighbor to play with her in the swimming pool while I spoke to the girl’s mom. It wasn’t for very long, and afterwards, Jian came up to me and said she wanted to go home, which she has never done in the pool. But it was huge progress.
For the past several years, Daniel and I have had a group of several couples at church that have become our really close friends. Each couple has started to have children. It would not be unusual for us to see them many times per week and have a couple of meals per week together. We have not really been able to spend any time with them for the past two months. They told us that they were grilling out Friday night in case we wanted to come. I said, “Yes! We would love to come!” I have been craving some normal interaction with my friends, but Jian has just not been ready for it. This time, she did great! There were 6 other adults and 2 young children there. She played with and bossed around the younger children and interacted and joked with the adults.
We allowed her a lot of down time the next day. I have learned that even if she does well in a situation, we have to watch her like a hawk for any signs of being overwhelmed afterwards. We had already planned to go to Daniel’s grandfather’s house the following night for his 84th birthday. There she met some aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time. There was a situation where sparklers were lit inside the house, which caused the fire alarm to go off. Due to growing up in the orphanage and not being exposed to most things other children are exposed to, Jian’s becomes overstimulated easily. She had a horrified look on her face and put her hands over her ears and held her nose from the smell of the smoke. Thankfully she did not have a set back from this, and by the end of the night she was thriving while interacting with the children there. She wanted me to take her through the house and explain everything (these are grandad’s closets, this is where he takes a shower.) She commented afterwards that she was very sad that Grandad lives all alone.
She is such a smart, observant, sensitive, thoughtful little soul. I told her that I was happy that she is making new friends. She responded by taking my phone and watching videos of her friends from the orphanage. I know she misses them and probably feels guilty for making new friends. I know we have many hurdles to jump. After all, we only officially met her 6 weeks ago. But I am just relieved at these positive signs that things are headed in the right direction.