Friday, April 1, 2016

Imperfect Child

Today marks one month that HengXin offically became a part of our family. This past week has been both beautiful and rough. With HengXin battling constant low-grade fevers and brutal insomnia, she has felt utterly miserable. She has become weary of taking the new medications since the promise of feeling better has proved to be anything but true. If anything, she has felt worse since starting them.

The stress is starting to catch up with me as well. The possible diagnoses they're throwing out are scary and overwhelming. The magnitude of how our lives have and will continue to change is hitting me like a ton of bricks. It was a long morning of doctor's appointments and testing, and it's looking like this might become part of a new norm for us, at least for the forseeable future. I had a good cry this afternoon and felt better.

From the first day we started looking into adoption, it has been a rollercoaster, with both amazing vistas during the highs, and intensely discouraging valleys during the lows. Coming home has been no different. 

As sweet as she is, she manages to push buttons and trigger insecurities I never even knew I had. Almost constantly throughout the day, a silent dialogue is running through my head.

It's from having lived in an orphanage.

It's cultural.

She's never been taught differently.

She's grieving.

Don't take it personally.

This isn't about you.

...But even knowing these things, it's still tiring.

Thankfully my little girl seems to feel a close bond to me and Dennis, and seems content to be within arm's reach of me at almost any time of day. Hugs are beginning to be something she enjoys, and readily embraces us several times each day. For someone, like me, who loves physical affection but also needs her space, the constant physical closeness has been both a blessing and a challenge.

Earlier this week I had to go for a jog to decompress. After a long day of eye-rolling and typical pre-teen attitude, I needed some space and a break... a four mile break. Dennis talked to her about how mom gets tired and needs a rest sometimes. And sometimes mom feels sad and overwhelmed.

I returned home at dusk to an eager little girl awaiting me at the gate. She eagerly hugged me, pointed out the beautiful colors of the sunset, and led me inside to a surprise she had prepared for me. Banana slices- cut in the shape of a heart- with Skittles sprinkled on top, a tall glass of water, and marshmallow Peeps were neatly arranged on a plate. Sitting next to it, the stuffed animal she had bought me in China, with the bracelet we had worked together on in the hospital. Oh.... that girl. How does she do it? One moment I want to rock in a corner, banging my head against the wall, and the next moment my heart is a melted puddle on the floor.

One of her favorite ways to unwind is to sing along to Chinese music videos. The sounds of a prepubescent Chinese boy band are heard throughout the house almost any time of day. I love hearing her sing along, though it's usually the same song over and over and over ...and over again. 

After my tearful mini-meltdown today, I came home from work to find her listening to her song again. She brought me the phone and pointed to the screen, indicating that she wanted me to watch the video. She had found a version of her song on Youtube with the lyrics translated into English. The song was titled, "Imperfect Child."

As I finally understood the words to the song she had sung along to, dozens of times each day, my tears again flowed freely. But this time the tears were different. I couldn't believe this was what I had been hearing all along. She eagerly watched me and then smiled, asking if I liked the song.

Did I like it? Are you kidding me? I gave her a big hug. I love it. Now, please excuse me while I mop up the puddle on the floor that used to be my heart.

When my smile shines like the sun
When my dreams are bright enough
The whole world will applaud me
But only you worry that I will get hurt

While the whole world waits for me to fly higher
Your heart hurts for my tiny wings
You support me
And give me a place to rest

When I need to seem like a perfect child
And fulfill everyone's expectations
Yet it seems you don't mind
The sight of my foolish mistakes

My imperfect dreams 
You think about with me

My imperfect courage
You tell me to be strong

My imperfect tears
You wipe with your smile

My imperfect songs
You sing each one

My imperfect worries
You worry about each one

This imperfect me
You treat like a treasure

The love you give me is not perfect
But is most beautiful

The whole world is rushing me to grow up
But you hold me tightly in your arms
And shelter me from unknown storms

When I work hard to be a perfect child
And fulfill everyone's expectations
You don't tell me all your wishes
Fearing the weight on my shoulders

The love you give me is not perfect
But is most beautiful


Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your messages, as they have been encouraging and heartbreaking and comforting all at the same time as we progress in our own adoption efforts. I know you don't know us, nor we you, but I have said prayers for you as you have shared your challenges here.
I am so sorry if I am out of line. I cannot shake the thought tickling the back of my brain. IF the possible diagnoses include NF/pheochromocytoma, you will find resources, information, and support at the Children's Tumor Foundation. And, go to Primary Children's in SLC for consultation.

Percy W Hawkes said...

Rita, I cried all through reading your post, a beautiful story. What a wonderful mother you are, and what a wonderful daughter Heng Xin is. What a wonderful husband Dennis is. Love, DAD