Today we headed to court *with* the twins in tow.....I will admit....I was worried. I wasn't so worried about court although if I really paused and thought about it there was *everything* on the table today so I probably should have been. But, being the mom that I am, I was worried about the fact that we were bringing the twins and how they would handle it.
For one thing, we had to get up early to be ready on time. We tried to have just ourselves up early so that we were entirely ready when the twins got up and they could stay on their normal schedule. Well, that failed miserably because I. heard us up and woke up about an hour early. Then, because I wanted K. to be able to sleep, I closed the door a bit and only left it open a crack so that we would not disturb her. A short time later, I was walking through the hallway and noticed that it looked like a light was on in the twin's room. I quietly peeked inside and found K. kneeling with her head laying on the bed and quietly sobbing. :( Poor baby! So, she not only woke up too early but she also woke up feeling scared and alone. Very bad start to the day.....
We got outside on time where the attorney's son was waiting to pick us up. The twins seemed to be in overall good spirits but I could now tell between gestures and a few English words that K. wanted to know where we were going? Hmmmm, how do you explain going to court to a four year old child even if you didn't have a language barrier? I remembered that they knew and recognized the name of the social worker who had visited us as well as the translator. So, I said that we were going to see them.....(another backfire as you will see....)
We arrived at the orphan court and right away, I. exclaimed as though a lightbulb went off in his head (and pointed to the building and said K's name) ahhh, we are here for K., which meant to me that he thought we were at the doctors for her. Well, that did not sit well with *her* at all!
She went limp in my arms and dropped her head on my shoulder. I tried to explain to her....no, not doctor.....ummmmm, oh gosh! What was the word for doctor!!! By the time we got up to the third floor where court was to be held she was no longer seeming sad but was angry and wanted out of there!
I saw the teenage girl that we know, that is being adopted by another American family. She sat in the hallway with this look of peace and happiness coupled with building excitement while she waited for her new parents to come out of the court room with the happy news. I tried through a few English words and some gesturing to ask her to explain to K. what was happening but K. had closed down by this point. She had tucked her head down into her thick winter's jacket like a turtle pulling his head into his shell. And, she was *not* coming out!!!!
I kissed her and stroked her forehead and she did cuddle into my chest but the only words she would say was that she wanted to go home! (I have actually learned that much of their language to understand...thank goodness!) She didn't want to take off her very warm hat or coat or scarf until we went back "home" to our apartment despite the fact that she was completely sweating.
I walked her out in the hallway while we waited and out popped her head. She talked to me a little bit and pointed that she wanted me to take her upstairs and get out of there! But, again, as soon as we entered the corridor where court was to be held....she was back inside her shell. The attorney, the translator, and the social worker all tried to talk to her and explain but she was not going to hear it...she wanted to leave and no one was going to change that!
So, here we were being called into the courtroom with a heavily bundled and hot little girl that was limp in my arms with an angry twisted face. And, where was I.? Well, he was actually the one I had been worried about before! Lets face it, he is a boy and likes to run and play and get out his energy. However, he sat perched on the attorney's lap with an angel's halo around his head. Good as gold! (Do you remember that I said that they take turns! ;-)
K. tried getting angry eye contact with me again to say "let's GO!!!" and I tried to reassure her again with a kiss to her forehead and stroking her cheek. At this point she gave up and her body which was still stuffed in her snow suit and heavy coat slid from my arms and she proceeded to lay on the floor......face down. It looked like someone had gone playing in the snow and just threw down their winter clothing. But, there was a child in there somewhere.....a frightened and angry little girl that I think maybe did want to disappear out of that moment!
I started to go and pick her up but the attorney gestured to me to just leave her....it was okay....and to please just answer the judge's questions.
"How do your children feel about this adoption?" Well, they are downright ecstatic about it but how was I to convey that? So I said that they were very happy and excited...an answer that the judges seemed to hear all of the time and they seemed largely unimpressed. But, any of you that know my children personally, know that it is the honest truth! They are absolutely as excited (and sometimes more if that is possible!) than we are.
"Can you care for all of the children's medical needs...."
"Do you have a place for them....set up with their beds etc"
"Do you feel that you have bonded with them...and they to you?"
Yes.....yes........yes definitely!......all the while I am eyeing K. still laying face down and completely still, in a crumpled heap on the floor.
Finally we were asked to step out and I could finally scoop her back up into my arms. Still limp, and still upset...she closed her eyes to shut us all out. We sat for a moment and the attorney tried to joke with her and with I. about a common saying here that if you are not acting well that maybe a bug bit you....I. nodded that yes, something did! And they discussed how big it must have been!
The panel of judges asked us to come back in....and they asked a few more questions. One of which was whether or not the children were adequately prepared for what was in store for them. Ah, what a question! I understood why they asked but, I seriously don't know what in the world you can say to a four year old to *really* prepare them for how upside down their world was soon going to be.
I. spoke right up and said confidently that he was going to America!!! And, that he was going to fly in an airplane to home...but that he didn't know exactly where that was. As much as these words seem that they should perhaps be a bit scary...he said them with confidence and an air of nonchalance. No worries...it was all taken care of as far as he was concerned!
They asked him if he could speak English. All of the above was spoken in his native language. He responded that he certainly did and then slowly and carefully said the word "hhh-ooo-sss" (horse) They asked him if his sister could speak English too? He said that she could "a little" but that he spoke much better than she did! The judges finally smiled and everyone else relaxed and chuckled a bit....well, all except K. who stayed still in my arms with closed eyes.
And then.....a lot of reading of rights and standard wording that when all would be translated meant that.....we were approved as the twin's guardians to allow them to come to the U.S. with us to be hosted until the adoption would be finalized....HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!
It was not until we reached our apartment that I got a clue about what might have really been the problem in K.'s mind....she seemed so *relieved* to be back in our apartment and started dancing around and saying, YAY!!!!! She and I. had both done this the very first time we left the apartment and came back. As though both of them thought originally that we were bringing them back and that their time with "mommy and daddy" was over. They seemed so relieved and happy to be back at that time.... just as she seemed today.
I know that this is so hard on them! After all, they had a wonderful new life that had just started late last year when a wonderful foster mom stepped forward to take them out of the orphanage. And, though they were told that we were coming and were very well prepared by their foster mother....it was still a loss for them. There is no way around it. She was wonderful and loving and offered them a life that was unlike anything they had ever known. So, why would this situation be any different? Why would "mommy and daddy" be any different than any other caregiver or foster parent?
We hope that with time and a lot of love, they will know........
PS I was nearly ready to publish this but I just had to add a tiny little bit more. I will briefly say that K. makes it super easy to bond because she loves to play baby and is very easily affectionate......and her behavior is generally easy to deal with. I. has been a bit more challenging but still beyond adorable and still very loveable but I give you a tiny bit of background only to make what I am about to say even more meaningful.
Tonight he was rocking himself to sleep (a common thing for children in orphanages who have had to self soothe because they have no mother to rock and cuddle them as babies) Anyway, he was well on his way to putting himself to sleep and I was laying at the bottom of the bed as I do every night until they fall asleep. All of a sudden, he sat straight up....and crawled to the end of the bed and gave me a kiss and said "I love you"....I could barely get out the words "I love you too" and then he was back to his pillow and heading back to sleep. Ahhh, the moments that are so precious right now.............