A couple days have passed and Ariya seems to have settled in to her new temporary home. The staff there seems nice and she seems to like them. Truth be told she prefers them to us! Yesterday when we visited it wasn't a particularly good visit - at least for myself. When they brought her out to see us, she put up a decent protest. She did not want to be with us so they had to lead her outside and basically tell her to stay there with us. We did get her to then play on some playground equipment for a bit. She has shown a preference for Thad for sure, which I understand but it has made it a little hard for me. At one point I was sort of chasing her back and forth around a playset and she and I were laughing and enjoying ourselves. I thought we were making good progress when she suddenly spit at me. Ha! Apparently she wasn't as pleased about our progress as me. Here is where this blog gets real honest. Ariya has built some walls and some coping behaviors. Survival of the fittest. I have been spit on, slapped and flipped the middle finger more than once. I have read enough books and blogs on adopting an older child and I was prepared. At least I thought I was. I admit that it hurt even though I know it is sort of normal for where she is at. My head knows these are defensive behaviors. My heart still expected a little girl who would be overjoyed to have me as her mother and would greet me with hugs and acceptance. Not yet. So during our first visit at her new location we were outside playing and a group of other children came outside around where we were. We had brought some inflatable beach balls so we blew them up and tossed them around. Ariya got pretty overexcited and a bit naughty. She is a born leader and boss for sure. While she was wound up a staff person came and took her away to visit the dr. She was protesting and didn't want to leave. That was the end of our visit - her being dragged away. It was a bummer.
However, today (Tuesday) we visited her again. This time she came to us willingly and let Thad hug her. We went outside once again to play. We had a good visit. She loves to teeter totter and to swing. At one point Thad picked her up and we took a bit of a walk while he held her. This was a big deal. Even better is that she - on her own - leaned in and gave him a kiss. She then leaned over to me and gave me a kiss as well. Definite progress! For now though we are her minions and she is our leader. She tells us what to do and where to go. Underneath that tough exterior there is a tenderhearted loving girl. She had a wet one wipe that I had given her and she gently wiped another child's face and hands clean. If she doesn't like something she will protest but she also will give in. She is wanting to establish herself on the pecking order. She has had to do that her whole life. After an hour with us she decided she was finished being with us and she went to the first worker she saw and asked to go inside. She calls all the workers "mama".
We have a court date of June 1. We also know that the court will waive the 10 day waiting period after court. That was amazing! It rarely happens. It is just another reaffirming sign to us that God is clearing the path. We have decided to return home for the next week prior to court. Our original plan did not have us staying here that long so we need to go home and see our kids, rearrange child care, get things squared away for Thad at work, and such. We will come back in time for court and finish the process.
Here are some pictures of the passed couple of days!