Monday, January 24, 2011

Through Our Eyes

I've been reflecting a lot recently about the journey of our children. It has been 10 months today since we picked Pierson and Maylin up at the Chung Yi Institute in Taipei and in an instant they became part of our family forever. I can still vividly see them standing in the office of the social worker as we walked into the building. They were straight ahead. Both dressed in black anime t-shirts and jean's shorts. Ah Fong (Maylin) was wearing hot pink tennis shoes that said "Pretty Cure" (certain that is a Chinglish typo for Pretty Cute). Yong Sheng (Pierson) was wearing bright teal-blue shoes with a giant Anime character on the velcro buckle. They were both standing with nervous grins with a jittery stance that looked like they didn't know whether to run towards us or away from us. 
I can still hear Adam saying "There they are!" just as Jane (our wonderful Chung Yi social worker) said "not yet, come here first." and she quickly turned us into a room to the right with large glass windows. We had to do the formalities first.  We videoed the discussion and the legal paperwork. We learned more details of their past and some of the horrors of what they had been through. I remember realizing at that moment, as nice as the afternoon at the park the day before had been with the kids, they could very well be terrified to come with us today. My heart was breaking for them yet I knew that in time their fears would be broken down. 
As quickly as the paperwork was complete there they were standing at the door with wide eyes and nervous giggles. They each had a backpack with a few of their personal belongings. A stuffed animal, a small photo album and picture frame, a change of clothes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a wash cloth. A few diaper's and pony tail holders for Ah Fong... that was it. What they were bringing with them from the first four and five years of their lives were stuffed into preschool sized packpacks... nothing more. Can you imagine walking away from your life as you know it, going with total strangers who don't speak your language and only having a backpack of belongings to validate everything you have ever known? I can't. I am not going to say that there haven't been any struggles (because there have) but I will say that the resiliency they have demonstrated is nothing but amazing.

 Pierson. He has penetrating eyes which no longer hide emotions. In the beginning of our journey together his eyes were often distant and distracted. Now his eyes show joys and sorrows, fear and relief as well as just plain orneriness. He is full of personality. He is curious and bold, he is tender and kind. He is our son.

In the beginning Maylin seemed to have an exterior wall made of iron (except while trying to go to sleep she became very cuddly.) She didn't initiate affection and used many things to distract from it. She didn't show a desire to break her defense wall down. She was strong and strong willed. She was cute and she knew it! She played that to her advantage many times. Over time those walls have softened and now she climbs into my lap to snuggle without being coaxed. She spontaneously tells us she loves us. She expresses emotion willingly. She is amazing! She is our daughter.

There are days when I have to remind myself that while it feels like they have been in our lives forever they still have a past. While much of it was good in the foster home some of it wasn't. And certainly it wasn't all good before they were put in foster care. I have to remind myself that their little eyes are peering at us with eyes of anticipation and wonder. They are still learning to trust us. I wonder if they see us through 'blurry glass'? They can see us for who we are but parts of their past are blurring their vision?
90% of the time the walls seem to be broken down. They seem to see us through clear sparkling glass. Their eyes glisten and their grins are contagious. They love each other and are fully  supportive of each other. They celebrate life's blessing with enthusiasm and joy.
Pierson is a comic. Doing things to make others laugh. (Like smashing snowballs on his own face!)
Maylin is spunky and vibrant. She seldom misses a beat.

They are both full of adventure. They seem to be enjoying exploring the world around them. Climbing, jumping, leaping over anything in their way.

(Santa has a new reindeer)
The huge world around them is their's to discover.
 This field is called "The big bottom meadow" at our house. It is a beautiful field that I played in as a child. We played in the creek which wraps around it, rode horses round and round it, collected walnuts from it, and climbed many of its trees. Pierson and Maylin's Great Grandparent's ashes are spread around the cedar trees in the center of the field. There are a lot of memories in this field and it warms my heart to watch my children explore it the same way I did as a kid.
These two love this 'curly' tree. We take many walks there to climb and sit in it's twists and turns which provide a steady place to rest our weary feet. Even though Pierson and Maylin have had many twists and turns in their lives I am constantly amazed at their ability to thrive and their strength to perceiver even when they are far from the life they knew. It makes me smile to see them walk home and slip into the norm of our lives as if they have belonged here from the first day they were born.


Bethanye and Scott said...

This post is my favorite so far. You did a beautiful job writing it and the pictures are perfect portrations of the kids. They are so blessed to have you and Adam as parents and to have a family that loves and supports them.

Kristi said...

I've read and reread this post. And each time it has brought tears to my eyes as I fully consider "that day." Yes, I know how much they love and adore you two, their grandmas, and even their ayi ( ;) ) now, but there was "that day..."
Today though? Oh how nearly a year of you guys pouring your love ~ and more importantly the love of THE Father ~ into them has made a difference in their eyes. I was looking at some pictures of the day we welcomed you home from the airport just the other day and noticed how then they were missing "that spark."
And I find it interesting that we both posted about resilience today...

Larry and Carol said...

What a beautiful post and as always, beautiful pictures. I'm so happy that we finally had a chance to meet them. You and Adam are doing a wonderful job as parents

Lisa said...

What a beautiful post and tribute to your 2 blessings!