Friday, May 10, 2013

Let the Healing Begin - Orphanage Visit

This is Randall, your favorite guest blogger, back for another attempt at blogging my thoughts.

Today was another mixed day of highs and lows.  We took our Eliana back to her orphanage today for one last visit.  Eliana was, in a word, heartbroken.  To be held one last time by her beloved Nanny and say a final “goodbye” to her friends was just too much for her little heart to handle.  After the tears were too unbearable, we were advised to cut our trip short.  Candice and I agreed.  Our time at the orphanage lasted only 45 minutes, while we had planned for around two hours. 

Now for some background, this trip to the orphanage was optional.  We elected to take this trip at our own expense for two reasons:

      1.  We were without our daughter for almost two years.  Her entire life was spent in this orphanage building, and we were a mere four-hour car ride away.  No matter the expense of a private car ride out there, we needed to see it for ourselves.
         2.  We were advised from many who’ve walked this path before us that this is a tremendous healing experience for an adoptive child.  We wanted Eliana to come, experience the orphanage one more time, and then walk out in our arms.  It was so poetic in our minds.

On the ride home, Candice and I were stunned at how rapidly this all started and ended.  We’d only just arrived, and now the best thing we could do for our daughter was to leave.  We couldn’t help but ask, “Did we do the right thing, here?”  Of course, we wanted to see this place, but did we have to bring Eliana back?  Was re-opening that wound really the best course of action?

I came to the realization that Candice and I never really knew the depth of Eliana’s attachment to her caregiver and how deep the pain of her loss really was.  Our “Gotcha Day” was a few minutes of pain, and a long period of silence, which we now know was simply a defense mechanism from Eliana.  This defense mechanism lasted almost three whole days.  We didn’t even know what kind of personality Eliana had under all that defense. 

Well, today, we saw the real pain of her separation.  Thankfully, while Candice and I were pondering the rightness or wrongness of our decision to bring her there, we were blessed to see her personality shine through like never before.  It would be too “Psych 101” to start speculating about “closure” and “cathartic release,” but I do think some good came of this trip.  I can tell you that we enjoyed some deep belly laughs.  We enjoyed some close time with both Mommy AND Daddy, which was a pleasant surprise for me. 

All-in-all, when I think back on this day, it won’t be the heartbreak I remember most.  Today was the day my daughter responded when I tickled her.  She responded with the deepest, most sincere belly laugh you can imagine.  This day hurt.  It hurt Eliana.  It hurt Candice. But the pain won’t last forever.  Thank God that the healing has started!

Psalm 30:5 – “…Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

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