Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Few Steps Back

For the first two full weeks things have gone much better than we ever expected. Neti and Meke's integration into the family felt complete. Still does. However, we've hit a bump in the road as of late.

We first noticed a change in Neti just a few days ago. During the day you wouldn't notice a difference. She still picks up new English words every day. She makes jokes ("Daddy little, Neti BIIIIIGGGG!" - giggle). She tickles her sisters, sings along with Bob and Larry, squeals in amusement at anything new, and regularly flashes a toothless smile while throwing her head back with yet another infectious giggle.

Bedtime introduces a different world. No longer does Neti find rest quickly. Instead, she spends the better part of an hour (or more) laying on her side, eyes glassy, sleep elusive. She's lost in a world only an orphan of her age could understand.

It seems grief has caught up to our little girl after being held at bay by scores of distractions thrown at her by the new world she's found herself in.

What's she grieving? Can't say for sure. The old country with the busy streets? The food? Her friends at the orphanage? The smell? Her bed? Her teachers? Her language? Culture? She's lost all these things in a very short time period.

What about the death of Mom and Dad? When a child of 6 assumes the role of Mom, does she bypass the grief process because of the added weight of responsibility? Who know's what Neti's grieving? And who knows how long she's held it in?

Meke hasn't slept as well either. She tosses and turns. She wakes up crying and sweaty. Last night she fell out of bed. Then she woke up at 5:30 and didn't want to go back to sleep.

But when the sun comes up things renew. Happy Neti and Bouncy Meke attack the day with the intensity of a child on Christmas morning. The video clips of giggling girls that many of you have watched over and over repeat themselves in realtime on a daily basis. During the day you wouldn't know that something heavy is rolling around inside those little heads.

I know this is a normal part of the process. With things going so well I though we had somehow leapfrogged the inevitable. Now here we are, dealing with the grief of two little girls.

Don't interpret this entry as a complaint, disappointment, or a play for sympathy. It's just to keep you informed. This is what we expected. This is what we signed up to do.

We ask for your prayers for our grieving girls.


At 12:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing. i know that when i go to sleep at night a lot of things pop into my head. i can only imagine what your girls must be processing. hang in there. it sounds like you are...jcn

At 1:03 AM , Blogger Dkurtz said...

Hi there,

I have been following your story because I can relate to it. We are leaving at the end of August to go and pick up our 2 little girls from Ethiopia. We are full of excitement and enthusiasm, but I know there will be a time for grieving. Thanks for sharing your story. Our girls are 4 and 2 years old.


At 3:55 AM , Blogger The Raymers. said...

We just sent in our application to the agency which means it could easily be a year before we pick up our children but every night I see them in my head and I pray for them. As much as I believe in prayer, reading your post just strengthens my desire to hold them - to let them know that Dad is here when they need to cry and Dad is here when they need a laugh. Thanks for the inspiration.

At 5:20 AM , Blogger Dave said...

It's good the girls have you and Rhonda, who understand what is going on with them and can love them so well. We are praying away.

At 5:21 PM , Blogger Michelle said...

I have totally fallen in love with Neti & Meke just in the short time I've known them (four days)...what special girls they are! I will definitely be lifting them up in prayer as well as the entire Waal family as you travel through this phase. Love you all!

At 11:03 PM , Blogger Lori's Light Extemporanea said...

Praying for all of is fortunate for you all that you understand this process and that you can support the girls through it.

At 1:32 PM , Blogger Andrea said...

Maybe this is actually a few steps forward. This process is so healthy and probably so needed. I wonder if they are beginning to finally feel comforted and supported after so much trauma in their little lives. I think your families unconditional love and care for them is allowing them to actually start working through some things that they may have not allowed themselves to do yet. When we feel supported we feel we can let things out.....I think it is such a great sign; however I can't imagine how hard it must be. We are praying for you and them and how amazing things will be in the other side of this healing process!

At 2:28 PM , Anonymous Amblin said...

Completely echoing and agreeing with what Andrea said. I couldn't say it better so I'm just adding an "amen".

Praying for your children and for you!


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