Thursday, June 16, 2016

Worn Part 1

I have so much to write.  So many things to share.  I have been hesitant to write the truth about some of the difficulties we have encountered as I don't want to scare people from adopting an older child. I don't want our friends and family to judge Ariya nor our decision to adopt her.  I decided that I will tell our story and be honest about the good as well as the bad.
Shortly after court Thad had to fly home so he could care for our other kids.  When my mom and I went to officially take Ariya out of the orphanage a large part of the staff was all there to see her off.  I could hear her coming down the stairs and I couldn't wait to see her reaction.  You know, where she runs from the worker's hands and into my arms.  Where she exudes love and gratitude and where all the staff see how much she loves her new mom.  WRONG!  Ha!  She came down those stairs, took one look and me and stopped in her tracks, shook her head "no" and turned around to go back upstairs!  The staff didn't quite know what to do or say!  Luckily my mom had brought a small doll that I was able to use as bribery!  We said our goodbyes to the staff and were on our way back to the apartment.  The night went well with her and we had a decent sleep and the next morning we had to leave early for the 4 hr. express train to Kiev.  This is where things started to get hard for me.
We got ourselves settled on the train easily enough but after a short time Ariya started becoming a challenge.  She can swear (in Russian) better than a sailor.  Her favorite choices are translated to "F off" and "bi*ch"  She also has flipping the bird mastered.  Our train ride was about 3 hours of her shouting those words, hitting and kicking, and just general naughtyness.  I was very embarrassed.  That was a feeling I would become very familiar with.  The next couple of days I admit were hard.  Hard for me, hard for her.  I have read all sorts of blogs and books about behavior issues that can accompany adoption.  I was prepared and ready to handle anything.  I was wrong.  I had adopted
an uncaged wild animal.  At least that's what it felt like.  In the apartment she was wild.  She would bang on the walls, jump on the bed, throw things.  She would hit, slap, kick, bite and spit. I couldn't get her to settle at night so I would sit on the edge of the bed so she would stay there and she would kick me and bite so hard we broke the skin.  I truly wanted to run and get away from her.  I wanted to bring her back to the orphanage.  I was scared.
When we left the apartment and went walking she was a little better - at least toward me.  She let me hold her hand so she wouldn't run off and she would walk fairly nicely.  However she continued to spit and passersby or cars, she would kick at people walking by, she would reach out and try to swipe at them, all the while flipping the bird and cursing.  Loudly.
One good thing is that when we went out to eat she would be good.  She sat quietly and ate anything I ordered her.
We fell into a routine of being out as much as we could.  She would ask to walk and so that's what we would do.   She started being a little easier to handle.  Days were decent, nights were a little harder but we started to figure each other out.  Our last day in Kiev was another very bad day.  She had reached her limits and she couldn't keep it in anymore.  She cried and cried.  She refused to walk while out.  She crawled around the ground barking like a dog,  We survived our Embassy visits and Dr. visits but barely.  Close crowded areas don't make for an easy environment to contain her in.  I dreaded taking her home.  I like my routines.  I like respectful children.  I like order and I like my sleep.   When Ariya would see other children in Ukraine she would not be kind.  She would spit at them, try and push them, be a bit of a bully.  I was afraid of how she would treat Sienna and Ember.
One night I was having a particularly bad pity party.  I was filled with regret and exhaustion.  I listened to a song that spoke to how I was feeling.

Click to hear music file

Here are the lyrics:
I’m tired, I’m worn

My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win

Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I’m worn

I know I need

To lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

My prayers are wearing thin

I’m worn
Even before the day begins
I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
So Heaven come and flood my eyes

Yes, all that’s dead inside will be reborn
Though, I’m worn
I’m worn

I would listen and listen to this after Ariya fell asleep, feeling sorry for myself.  What had I done?  What was going to become of my peaceful household?  Later I opened my email from a very wise individual.  In reading what he wrote, while sympathizing with me and reassuring me he also pointed out some things that helped put things in perspective.  Imagine how Ariya was feeling.  She had been taken from place she lived and was familiar and brought to another strange place where she didn't know anyone.  She had to establish herself in the pecking order of a new orphanage.  Learn a new routine.  Not only that but some weird people keep visiting.  She can't understand a word they say.  They want to invade her personal space.  To make matters worse one day these strange talking people take her away once again and she is expected to stay with them and be happy about it.  She can't understand us.  We can not understand her.  She has no way to communicate her wants, her fears, her needs, nothing.  I would act out too.  I would probably bite, scream, hit, etc.  


  1. Wow! Thank you for sharing!
    I can say that I know what you're dealing with... Thank you so much for your love for her, and for your willingness to try to understand and help her! God bless you!
    I don't want to say much on here, but I'd love to email you if you are interested. I I am praying for your family.
    My address is

  2. It will get better Lorene.. in fact I hope it already has a bit. It's early, and just keep those wise words in the forefront of your mind. She is scared and before you all, she was ALL she had in the world. She doesn't know yet that she now has you. She doesn't know yet that she can surrender her defenses and be a child. I hope she can attach to you and start to fit in well. I hope even when it is so hard you continue to love her through it, pray yourselves through it and remember she is part of your plan for better or worse. xoxox

  3. So good to meet you and your family at the RR Family Reunion today. Ariya is such a smart little cookie, with so much determination, life and vibrance about her, along with what appears to be a good deal of trust, which is very encouraging. Her ability to communicate clearly is amazing for a child with special needs, who has only been home two weeks!

    What I will remember best about Ariya was the look of utter joy and freedom on her face as she played on the giant bounce pillow - might a trampoline be in her future at home?? ;-)

    Best wishes to you and your delightful family.

    Susan in Kentucky
    Cousin to 2 from U.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Any updates? Praying for your family