Patch, whose 13-year-old heart is so amazing, knew just what to do. He got down on her level and just let her be. They looked out the window together. He pointed out the cars as they passed. He gradually played next to her. The wonderful magic of stacking cups became obvious. You adoption mamas know what I'm talking about. These stacking cups seem so innocuous, but they have magical powers. He'd stack them up. Maybe she'd help. Or maybe not. But after he showed her how to do it, she'd surely knock them down.
Over a couple days, her first smiles slowly came in that very window. Then a giggle. Then more. And he was playing with her and eventually and more importantly she with was playing with him. And we got to see the first glimpses of her sweet soul.
Is this where we talk about bringing other children on the adoption trip? I know there's a bit of controversy on this topic in the adoption world. I get both sides. But given the right child, enough hands, and sufficient funds, I'd recommend taking your other children.
For us, "the right child" meant one that was flexible, responsible, a hard worker, compassionate, could easily follow directions, would eat most anything, daring, independent and surely several more character traits I'm leaving out. Not all our kiddos fit the bill. And we definitely didn't have enough money or support to bring all of them.
Bringing our young teens, on both trips has been the very right answer for us. Our younger children might have gotten jealous, scared, or frankly, in the way of the enormous amount of time and effort that it takes to adjust to a new son or daughter. But these two, Livy who was 12 years old on the first trip to VietNam, and this time to China with Patch who was 13, and again Livy who was 15 were such amazing blessings to us! They definitely had a say if they wanted to come. It was explained to them very clearly that this trip was not a vacation. They would have to work through out the trip and be very flexible. They'd be helping haul luggage and doing whatever was asked to be done. Both food and sleep could be unpredictable and in unfamiliar settings. And indeed, you'll notice our oldest teen opted out of the trip for some well-thought-out reasons
Up next... to the orphanage we go. Wow. I mean, just wow. It was a day like no other.