Tucker was most definitely responding differently to me Friday morning. I had been warned that he would likely resent me, as I was taking the place of a woman he attached to and loved very much. Our social worker said Tuck would probably desire a relationship with Ryan more than with me and that I would have to pursue him consistently. Because our week had started so well with good responses from Tucker to both of us, it really was painful to take a step back. It hurt that he didn't acknowledge me or want to be near me. When things became difficult with Tucker, it only made me long for Noah and Liam more. I wanted to be with the little boys who knew me and I them. I wanted the familiar, the comfortable, and the real love. I wanted easy. Oh how I wanted the easy.
Tucker threw his first real angry/scared/sad tantrum Friday after lunch. It was hard, you guys. So hard to see a baby who doesn't know us...who was ripped from his beloved nanny's arms...who has experienced so much loss...lying on the floor screaming and kicking and writhing around. I picked him up and just held him super tight, took a deep breath, and made a choice. I was not going to feel hurt by this child. I was choosing love, choosing to sympathize with this little boy for the pain he was experiencing. I walked him around much like you do when comforting a small baby with him lying in my arms, swaying side-to-side. Noah had been an especially difficult newborn at times, crying for hours sometimes. The weeks that followed Liam's surgery resulted in hours of consoling a crying baby in pain. As Ryan watched me with Tucker, he said that he thought to himself, "Tuck, this ain't her first rodeo." I loved that. All those experiences with the boys had so prepared me for this moment. If I knew anything, I knew that tired babies ALWAYS fall asleep sometime. I just had to keep praying and focus on keeping myself calm so that he could feel my relaxed energy.
Finally, after he had worn himself out, Tuck fell asleep in my arms. I held onto him for awhile longer and then put him in his crib. This completely startled him and again he was crying and writhing in the crib. He was SO very tired and SO very sad.
Grieving. That is the best word to describe what we witnessed. He didn't want us. We couldn't comfort him when we had hurt him so badly. We were the source of his pain. So, we sat by his crib and stayed with him. Unconditional love never walks away. I started praying, praying that God would cover Tuck with peace and with light. I know you guys might think I am crazy, especially those of you who do not share my faith, but I was honestly praying and commanding that Satan leave our room in Jesus' name. Satan is all things dark and sad and destructive, and I know he was attacking our family.
Suddenly, the crying stopped. Tuck just laid in his crib, and Ryan laid next to him on the bed. I moved out of view in hopes that he would have more peace, as I knew my presence was upsetting to him.
Oh how I wanted easy. I wanted my easy life with Ryan, Noah, and Liam. The life where the biggest issue was Noah not eating his dinner or Liam throwing a toy down the stairs.
But, God called us to hard. He asked us to love a child and to be his parents. He called, and we obeyed. We had prepared for this very situation through training from our agency. We knew this was very normal and expected. We took a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Tuck had finally fallen asleep.
We wrote Tucker a letter on the hotel stationary to mail later that day so that he could one day open the it and read a personal letter from our first days together in China with postage that would bring it from across the world. We also wrote one for Noah and Liam to have now, though it probably won't arrive for a month or so. Ryan had taken Tuck swimming earlier that day, so I already had a good start on the packing. We finished packing as Tucker was waking up, and as quickly as we could, we checked out of our hotel, hopped in the van, and drove to the airport.
Our guide, Michael, gave us Tucker's Chinese passport, which was prepare after our Adoption Day and was ready just before flying out of Chongqing. We received other important documents, grabbed our luggage, checked into what would be our 5th flight since leaving our home on October 9th. Tuck rode in the carrier, but once we made it through security, he wanted nothing to do with me again. He was all about his Baba, so they spent much of our nearly 3 hour wait at the airport walking around, looking at airplanes, and going up and down the escalator.
Our flight to Guangzhou was delayed, which is very common in China, and we finally boarded around maybe 6:45 p.m. We had left the hotel at 3 p.m. It was no picnic, folks, especially waiting in an insane mess of a line to board the plane. Like I said, it is not first come first serve in China. You can stand in line and be patient, but 40 people can come cut you off. It's not because you are American. It is because you are in China. I usually roll with it, but when you have a baby hanging onto you in a carrier, and he doesn't want you, and you are tired and ready to just get on that airplane, it is ROUGH. Thankfully, the Parsons were travelling with us, and we all kept each other's spirits up. God knew what he was doing when he scheduled our travel with them.
Finally, we boarded the plane. By the grace of God, they let us board with the little boys before the rest of the people still waiting. Thank you, Jesus! We made our way to our seats and prayed that Tucker would keep his cool on this flight. He really did pretty well considering that he is 2 years old, has never been on a plane, and still is getting to know us so much. He ate lots of candy (Notice the blue lips from his dum-dum sucker), played with the seat belt, played with this amazing Melissa and Doug water book (thanks, KB, for the recommendation!!), and actually passed back and forth between Ryan and me as we got closer to Guangzhou. Tuck would repeat me and say, "Hello, Guangdong! Hello!" He sounds a bit British when he says, "Hello," as it comes out more like, "Hal-oh!" It really is precious. This was the first time that Tucker would really play with me all day, and I was so grateful for those moments.
We retrieved our baggage around 9:45 and met up with our new guide, Miko. She is so sweet, and we were relieved to see such a friendly face. Obviously this was way past Tuck's bedtime, and although he tried to stay awake by watching the cars pass by (his favorite), he passed out in the carrier in my arms. We checked into the hotel, which woke him up, and then walked up to our new room.
The new room is so nice, and we are grateful for a small suite, allowing us to have a room to sleep in together and a separate room for watching TV or blogging (like now). Yay for lights on after 8 p.m.! Unfortunately, Tuck was EXTREMELY, extremely (did I say extremely?) scared in this new place. I took his shirt off to put on his pajamas, and the saddest thing happened. He laid down on the carpet and just whimpered and cried and shrieked. He didn't want his shirt off. He didn't want his pants off or diaper changed or shoes off. Please, Mama, don't take my shoes off! I just wanted to cry with him. I kept looking in his eyes and saying, "You are ok. You are ok. I'm right here. Your baba is right here." You guys, he was terrified.
So much change. So much loss. So so sad.
This wasn't a fit. There was defeat in his eyes. He froze. Completely froze. He didn't make another sound. Didn't cry another tear. Just froze with fear. Ryan put him in his crib to give him his stuffed puppy he loves. He wouldn't hold it. Frozen. We put the blanket on him. He didn't move. We sang a song that we have been singing to him since we met him (Lord I Need You), but there was no response. Ryan rubbed his hair and comforted him until he drifted off to sleep.
It was a sad day for sure with an especially sad ending. We were really faced with the trauma that this boy is experiencing, and it hurts. We prayed for his heart and for deep, peaceful rest. God answered our prayers, and today we woke up to a little boy playing with Ryan's toes from his crib. It was a brand new day...