We visited this afternoon with hopeful hearts and boys in tow. All were feeling a bit more lighthearted after the day before, and we were looking forward to see what new inroads we could make on the journey to becoming a family.
We walked in and Olesya met us and we were immedaitely taken upstairs to their family group room again. It was obvious fairly quickly that things were not going to be as comfortable as we were the day before. The girls were anxious to play Rummikub again, and 2 or 3 of their friends were present so we laid it all out and tried to bring the boys in on it. Immediately Angela took to the far side of the table and while she would look at us, really didn't speak to us or even say hello when we came in. As we played, someone else came in who the girls knew, and Angela abandoned the game and spent much of the remainder of our visit across the room whispering and giggling with her friends. Out interpreter had to ask her twice to come back over and join us, which she did reluctantly.
The boys...well...they were treated like furniture. They didn't exist for either of the girls. It was not as if there was rivalry or a push for attention over them, they simply were not present as far as the girls were concerned. And in most ways, neither were we other than to be the Provider of the Games.
Towards the end of the visit we went to another room where we all sat down and I tried to engage them in conversation. I asked if they had any questions about life in America, in our family or anything. They looked bored and said "no". We got none of the questions you would expect a child to ask of that age who was leaving everything behind that they knew...no questions about what school was like, about our rules at home, about our friends or whom might be their friends, about what we do for fun or anything. My attempts to offer that sort of information were met with a total lack of interest. Olesya might have wanted to ask something, but once again she was shut down by Angela's reactions.
I then asked Angela point blank "Why did you suddenly change your mind?" and she said her friends talked to her. I then asked the most telling question of all "Why do you want a family?" and she replied "Because then I will have everything I have ever wanted.".
Oh...so...we are her "ticket to the good life" and this has nothing to do with emotional connection, a desire for a family, or anything//which is frankly what we had been feeling despite it not having been said. The turn around was too sudden, the heart not really affected which was has been obvious from the moment we first walked in the door here.
Is racism involved here? I don't know, I think that might be a possibility with the issues in terms of interaction with the boys and our understanding of the society here, but I don't know for sure and won't probably know that. Is Angela too institutionalized at this stage to transition well into family life? Is she too hardened? I don't know, and I don't know if the child I met years ago can be touched somewhere inside. What is Olesya really feeling? She is so led, as one would expect, by her sister's actions.
And what are we to do??
When we came home yesterday evening and had a talk with the boys, Matthew commented on Angela's disrepect and Kenny asked why the still won't look or smile at them. Joshua ended up pretty much uninvolved with them at all, hanging on the fringes and not even making attempts. For Josh, that was telling as well as he normally would be gently trying to make friends.
Again everyone, I apologize that we have to share of such sad and troubling things. Sometimes journeys don't lead where we originally thought they would. Sometimes they are far more difficult than we thought when we first undertook them. What is happening here is heartwrenching...and yet it is life and part of adoption. It is the part that often is not shared openly, that is hidden in shame as if anyone is to blame.
We refuse to feel shamed or embarassed. We are not on a wild goose chase nor are we chasing rainbows. We knew this could be wonderful but were prepared for it to be difficult as well. Just as we adults change over time, so do children...time does not stand still and this adoption took far longer than ever anticipated. The child I see in front of me in the form of Angela today is not the one I met years ago. How can trying to offer love be wrong? How can that ever be a mistake? And why, oh why, would that ever give one reason to be embarassed????
Can her heart be changed? Are we the ones to accomplish that if it can be accomplished at all? We continue to pray for guidance as we deal with the truth that is before us.
In the midst of it all, there is LaJoy Love. We continue to support one another, sahre our feelings, fret and stew together. We are not tied up in knots, although troubled over this situation. The boys are relaxed and although confused about the girls reactions we are explaining to the best of our ability what might be going on with them so they can approach this with compassion and understanding.
Dominick and I have much to ponder and pray about. We are torn by many emotions and trying hard to keep our heads on straight. Waiting for God's leading, trying not to be angry or impatient, and seeing what is in store for us.
We are thankful to have you all commenting and offering encouragement. This is very, very hard and we need all we can get. Thanks for being there with us.