‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Just Not Enough Time

View from our table at our favorite cafe, KID.
It's been nearly impossible to blog while here. I had high hopes of posting daily, but Matilda is a 24/7 kind of girl. She is not one to play on her own, read on her own, even watch a movie on her own. And she has great difficulty falling asleep at night, so by the time she actually falls asleep, I am completely spent myself. I hope I remember some of this trip once home. It's been very intense and nonstop, with little to no reflection time. I fall asleep mid-prayers every night. And hit the ground running when she wakes every morning.

Matilda is doing well. Highs and lows, but nothing unexpected. I am trying to keep to a routine, which is hard for this very ADD personality of mine. but I'm doing ok with a daily schedule, and keeping her as busy as possible. We have fed more ducks, walked more streets and built more snowmen than anyone else in Latvia, I'm sure. But it's nice to be outside all the time. It's been snowing for days so its very beautiful. Riga is an exceptionally beautiful city.

The hardest part of this trip has been being away from Nastia. Although she had anticipated taking this as a chance to prove her independence and maturity, it did not turn out that way. She has taken my absence much harder than I ever thought possible. She stopped going to school, stopped answering her phone so no one (including me) could reach her, and pretty much isolated after her brief stint at my cousin's house. I spent yesterday in tears most of the day when I couldn't reach her for hours - after her school had called and told me she had signed herself out after attending a mere 20 minutes. Then her teacher emailed me and expressed her concern, too, after failing to convince her to stay. The stakes are high - she will not graduate if she misses many more days. When I would speak to her on Skype she said she was 'too sad' to handle school. And she would tell me how depressed she was and that she didnt care about anything anymore. And the worst part is she puts on this stalwart, happy facade for everyone who stops by or speaks to her. Everyone thought she was doing fine, while she is telling me she is too depressed to do anything while I'm not there.

My guess is that my being away triggered some very old abandonment issues with her birth mom. We've known these were not resolved at all because she still has terrible nightmares of being abandoned even after 8 years home. And this trip came SO suddenly. One day I'm told I'll be lucky to get here in January, and the next moment I'm being asked if I can get here in 48 hours. I do know this: I will never ever ever go away from my daughter for such a long trip until she is much much older emotionally. I can see it has hurt her heart very much. And mine, too.

Matilda is good. The testing behavior is tough, and the incessant talking back and rude tone she uses with me - but I know she is going through her own deep grief, too. I try to redirect her quickly and gently and then move on to fun activities. If it gets really bad, I tell her it looks like she needs some rest time back at our room for awhile. And then we read books or watch a movie. 

It's hard to establish rules with a child who has lived in many different environments. It's hard to establish your role as parent when your new child detests having help from others. But this was just as it was for Nastia. Been there/done that. It's just not that fun - or easy even if you've been down that road before. I'll be glad to be home so we can really establish a routine and I can more easily encourage her reliance on me. for now it is a 24/7 test of wills and power play.

More when I can. The little blonde tornado of energy is out of the bathroom.

Getting my daily Latvian lesson from M at our favorite cafe.


  1. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Glad to hear your adoption of Matilda is going well -- and so so so sorry to hear that Nastya's so unwell. Is there any chance you can:

    1) fly her to Riga to spend the rest of the month with you and M?


    2) get a doctor's note to Nastia's school, explaining she is sick (depressed) so that she will not have any more unexcused absences and thus be able to graduate on time?

    Praying for all of you guys!!


    1. Thanks VS. Nastia didnt want to fly over (scared) but I am working on your #2!!!

  2. That must be so difficult, my heart goes out to you. Keep the faith.

  3. I would love to hear someday how exactly you deal with the challenging behaviors- you really seem like an old hand at this. Sorry Nastia's taking it so hard.

    1. Hoonew, I'll try to post about that tonight! If she sleeps for me!

  4. VS said what I was going to--to a t!

    I hope, I KNOW, it will all be easier soon.

    So glad you're posting! Once you're home, I'd love to hear more about adoption by a single mama from Latvia.

  5. Is there any way Nastia could be doing her school work at home until you get back? Just so she doesn't get too behind?

  6. Callout to anyone that is also sponsoring one of Keri's girls that has aged out! I am unable to send Ksusha her funds this month - Western Union has "blocked" me (from either my end, or her end, I'm not sure). It has nothing to do with my accounts - all of the bank/card accounts I use are just fine. I'm getting the run around from WU that they have blocked me for "security reasons," and that I can go into a WU office to be interviewed (?!). I was reading up on this, it looks like people who send repeated funds overseas can be flagged for fraud, then the WU folks shake you down in their office and STILL block you. I don't know what to do -- hopefully find another solution (would MoneyGram work there?). If anyone has any suggestions - please post ideas here, or if you are another sponsor, please get my email address from Keri, maybe we can figure something out (it's okay, Keri, I just didn't want to give out my email here in the same breath as "sending money" and all that). THANKS!

  7. Goodness.... You are such a wonderful mom and all of this must have really taken a toll (no wonder you got sick!) It is a shame Nastia didn't just go with you; oh, yes' that's one more reason to love homeschooling. I didn't get a sense, on FB, of how this turned out, but I'm also wondering if the whole idea of graduating is just way too much for her - especially as a person that perhaps even subconsciously she may see as a "replacement" is arriving. I might not have thought of that, but Aidan was graduating from high school just as we adopted Sergei - my first-born, solidly attached, emotionally balanced son - and he said HE couldn't help seeing Sergei as replacing him....


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