Monday, March 29, 2010

Jacee -- Grief and Growth


The other night before bed, Jacee and I were having another discussion about how she will be with us forever and we won't be giving her to anyone else, etc. We have these conversations a lot. She loves to know (based on the smile she usually has on her face) that we would be very sad if she ever went away. We reinforce that she and Charis are our family and that they are here to stay. However, on this night, she got a little teary-eyed after I kissed her good-night. I asked her if she was sad, and she nodded yes. I asked her why, and as the tears started falling, she said with a broken voice, "Tesfanesh." That is the name of the big sister she and Charis left behind with their birth mom. She had a decent cry as I held her for a while (until she had enough being held) for her older Ethiopian sister and her first mom. I can't even imagine what that feels like. What loss these girls have endured.

Davi came up a little later, and I told her about Jacee's cry session, she went and tried to console Jacee. Then, as Jacee slept, she wrote this note from a tooth-fairy-like fairy named Jessica Princess (that's the name Jacee always uses when she plays dress-up):

Dear Jacee I hope you feel better. I feel bad for you. you might see tesvanash and your birth mom soon
Love Mgical Jesica princess
here is a qurter

It was complete with stick figures (oh, and a quarter). On the back it said:
I love you Jacee
I love you Jacee
birth mom

Usually the girls are up-and-at-'em first thing in the morning. But the following morning I found them like this in Davi's bed:

Although I feel so sorry for Jacee when she's hurting, I'm also thankful to see her showing more emotion. She's starting to feel free-er to cry and tell us what is wrong. Her stoic demeanor that we've seen when something is wrong is diminishing, and she's communicating more and showing emotion. We've also seen a lot of progress in showing affection toward us (hugs, kisses, "I love you", etc.). We're all feeling more and more like family.

Other Progress

It's fun watching Jacee grow and change. She's having to learn so much educationally and physically, but also culturally. When we first put her in preschool in November, she would roam around the room looking at things and had no concept of waiting one's turn. The other night, it tickled me to see her standing in a single file line at the restaurant to wait for her balloon animal to be made. She is so patient and sweet.

Her cute little accent is all but gone. Every now and again she'll still roll an "r" like with "kangadoo." She lost her language within about six weeks of being home I think. Now if we say a word that she used to use she has no clue what we're talking about. Sad, but I'm thankful God made a child's mind so able to cope and move on.

We've all heard how children who have been in institutional care often have tendencies toward eating too much at a sitting, hoarding food, etc. Jacee has never been like that. In fact, it's like pulling teeth to get the girl to eat. There aren't many things she likes to eat. Spaghetti has always been her favorite, and she loves going to "Olies" (Fazollis). She does try new things, however, and is getting used to new textures and tastes.

Last doctor visit (2.15.10), she was 39.25 inches tall and 31 lbs. She's outgrowing her clothes :)



Gina said...

Your post brought tears. I'm so happy though that all your "babies" are doing so well. What a HUGE blessing they are, as are my babies!

Christina Anderson said...

Gina - she was telling the kids about her 3 sisters Sunday at church. She told them all their names (Davi, Charis & all the African names included) and that her other sister lived with her first mom. Too sweet. I hate I didn't hear her. John said she was so sweet in her telling of it.

Joshua said...

Precious story - loved watching them playing. How lovely the children are. This would be a great memory in their life. Hope that they would happy everyday. Reading the post make me recall my childhood also full of joy and laugh. Welcome to speak out your mind toward my pearl necklace and loose pearls