Sunday, July 08, 2007

A post from the heart

I normally post about things that are happy and light hearted. I have posted about a few trying times that we have had with Ana Claire, and now I am posting about something that has been weighing heavily on my heart. I hope that another adoptive parent or someone that may be reading this may have some insight or have dealt with something like this can offer me some words of advice. Please feel free to comment me or you can email me privately by viewing my profile and click email.
Ana Claire has been home with us now for two years. During this time we have dealt with attachment and security issues. I quit my job to stay home with her and I know that was the best decision that I have ever made. She has attached very well, but still struggles with feeling secure. From day one she has never wanted to be left alone in a room. She always has to know exactly where I am.
As she has gotten older she is more aware of Asian people. She is very frightened by them. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. At first we thought maybe she had some sort of memory of us taking her from them and since she has now bonded to us and loves us that maybe she thought they would try to take her back. Two examples that stand out in my mind are one time I took her to get our nails done and she wanted no part of them touching her. The other time was when I was getting a massage in the mall by an Asian man out in the open she starts screaming and crying don’t let him hurt my Mommy.
My mom had to carry her to the carousal to occupy her.
Tom traveled to China in March and was gone for three weeks. During this time she seemed to worry about this more and more. Everyday she would ask me when her daddy was coming home and if the mean Chinese men were going to keep her daddy. This was very upsetting to me seeing that we have tried to embrace her culture and want her to be very proud of who she is and where she is from. We have tried to explain to her that the people in China took very good care of her and loved her until we could come and get her. Now she is only three, but some of the conversations that I have had with her lately you would think she was much older. She has asked me questions that I thought I wouldn’t have to answer until she was older. Anyway, I apologize for rambling, back to my story.
We eat Chinese frequently. The past two times that we have eaten at different places there has been a Chinese woman come up to us telling us how pretty she is, talking to her and trying to play with her. She has this look of fear on her face that is so upsetting to me. The final straw for her both times is when the woman touched her…..both occasions she started trembling and cried uncontrollably. She was ready to leave each time. We try to reassure her no one wants to hurt her or take her away. Last night she was in my lap stuck like glue and kept an eye on the lady the rest of the time we were there. She was scared to death. She tells us over and over they are mean and she doesn’t like them. I don't want her to feel this way.
Last night while we were eating with friends, their daughter takes Ana Claire to the restroom, I call the very sweet woman to the side and try to explain to her that Ana Claire is very afraid of Asian people and to please not to take it personally. I will tell you that the information that she shared with me of what she thought Ana Claire’s problem was very upsetting. I can tell you that her words confirmed some of my fears. She made a point to stay away from our table. This allowed Ana Claire to relax. As we left the sweet woman told me to please bring my baby back. I think it actually made her sad that she scared Ana Claire.
If anyone that may read this has ever dealt with something like this please contact me. I want to help her overcome her fear, but I am not sure how. I just know that this is breaking my heart to see she is so frightened over something like this.


Jeff and Sonya Hodge said...


I am so sorry that AC is having this issue....I hope someone out there can help you, help her.
You know Katie Lin and Ana Claire are night and day in this area...I wish I knew what to tell you.
I will keep you and AC in my prayers.


Tammy said...

Not sure what I can do to help, but wanted to offer up my sympathy to AC. Payton has no issues with this, she is pretty neutral with all people. I hope someone out here in blogland can help you!


Anonymous said...

We will praying for AnaClaire and you all as you try to find what scares her and help her through it. Such a young sweetie to express so much. Glad she is letting you know and you can help her through it.


mommy24treasures said...

oh lisa, no words of wisdom here, but had to say hugs and I am sorry for your pain as you try to help AC and I am sorry for AC's fears... I will try to help you find some answers and email you if I find anything that might be of help.

Lisa said...

Thank you for all the comments and private emails. I deeply appreciate your kind words. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Ms. Dragonfly said...

Hi Lisa,
first off thanks for stopping by my place and leaving your sweet thoughts. Your blog is very pretty I really like the green design.
Now about your Ana Claire.
I am not one to usually give advise but I would suggest that you take the mystery out of your daughter's fears. It would be my guess she has some scary memories of something. Would you consider taking her to talk to someone? A specialist for children maybe?
I'm sending my warmest thoughts for you and your family that all will be eventually healed and she continues to thrive in the love of her family.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lisa,
Is it possible to ask our moderator from YuanLing Yahoo group to talk to Dir. Zhao and request info about AC's foster parents? Maybe this info will shed light.
AC has such a loving and caring family that she will outgrow her fears in time.

Jewels of My Heart said...

My heart breaks for you as I can only imagine how hard it is for her and for you. My son was born in Russia and came home to us when he was 4 and a half. He used to have terrible night terrors and didn't want to have anything to do with anything Russian, the language etc. He is 9 now and praise the Lord seems to be completely healed of what he endured the beginning of his life. One thing that helped us so much was a holding therepy. It might be worth a try, the book is called "Holding Time" also, we had a little family ceremony and my husband explained as we looked at photos of the orphanage that he would never go back. He would always be with us. Then he told Nicholas that just like when the trashman comes and takes away the trash and we never see it again, he would never see the orphanage again. He then had him go through his photoalbum and told him he could throw away any picture he wanted and the trash man would come and take the pictures away and he would never see them again. Nicholas threw away all the photos of Russia. (We had coppies that he didn't know about at the time) and he wadded them up and threw them in a trash bag and then Daddy carried him out to the trash can and he threw them away. Daddy said, they are all gone... no more... you are here with us now. It seemed to give him some closure and healing.
Hannah still doesn't let hardly anyone but us hold her. She is starting to not act a scared of any one Asian but Asian men still scare her.
I hope your little AC finds peace in her heart very soon. Sorry I took so much space up and hope this gives you some ideas that might help her.
Will pray for you all.

Journey to Lilly! said...

awwww, Lisa, I haven't any experience to help you. But please know that your in my prayers. I pray God gives you the wisdon & understanding you need to help sweet Ana Claire.

The Ferrill's said...

May the peace of Christ rule in Ana Claire's heart, as she was called to peace (Colossians 3:15)
Claim that verse over your precious daughter! It may take some time, but already AC has a head-start on healing because her perceptive and wise mommy isn't taking this lightly! I pray that God will put someone in your path who can guide you to what's best for AC right now. I know she shines so much love and joy in all your pictures; I'm sorry that there are times she is so afraid! There is just no telling what is going on in their little minds and what ways they will react!
I will be praying for you both...

Hopingforsix said...

Hi Lisa
My first time here. I love your blog and the pictures in the previous post. I wish I could say something to help. We have only had night terrors but nothing like that out in the open. We will keep you in our prayers! Just want to give you and Ana Claire a hug. I'll be thinking of you. If anything comes up, I'll be in touch.

DeEtte said...

Hey Lisa,
no real advice..just wanted you to know I was keeping you and AC in my prayers.

Sophie's Mom said...

I would be in touch with an attachment therapist. I would suggest an attachment therapist, because they would better understand the issues that come with adoption. A 'regular' therapist may not really understand what our girls have been through w/orphanage life, and abandonment.

It sure sounds like she has some memories that are unpleasant for her. It's so hard to know what they remember, maybe it's more of a feeling than a vivid memory.

My Sophia had attachment issues, we didn't figure out until she'd been home a year. I 2nd the holding therapy, it worked WONDERS for Sophia. Still does. Please do your homework before attempting this, though. You must do it start to finish, email me privately if you have any questions.

My first thought was to straight out ask her what the 'bad man' did, or 'bad woman' (or however she describes them). But, if she could or would tell you, I wouldn't know what to do next! How does she feel about pictures of Asian people, or dolls?

Sounds like you're doing all the right things to hold her close to you when she's afraid, and make her feel safe and loved.

Please update us on her progress? I will pray for her healing.

redmaryjanes said...

Oh, I am so sad to hear this. I recommend also going to a therapist who specialized in attachment and orphan issues. It sounds to me like she had a bad experience in China that is haunting her. Poor baby. She is so lucky to have you as a Mom. I know that you will keep searching until you find the right solution. My prayers are with you and your child.

drew and lori said...

Lisa- I will email you privately. Oh my heart is breaking for you. You are in our prayers.

Nesting For Natalie said...

In the scenarios you are desribing, all of these people sound like asians who also happen to be virtual strangers to your daughter.

At one time we came and looked different than anyone our children had ever seen, and they never went back to all they had known.

Perhaps, as she is so young, she doesn't even know what exactly scares her about Asians. She may not have any memory of what happened, but has been left with some extreme fear.

Perhaps nurturing a relationship with an Asian family in a play group, or at church? Maybe also pointing out how beatiful Asian women whenever you see them, or how much you love to go to the restaurant where that really sweet Chinese waitress works. Maybe a Chinese language, music, sport, or swimming instructor in her life.

You sound like such a great mom, who is tender and perceptive to your daughter's needs. I feel sure you will find the things to help heal your daughter's heart in this area.

PS, you are so not alone in this, I bet. Thank you for sharing your journey with this part of your daughter's journey.


Denna said...

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I don't. You are not alone in this. Brooke is the same way. She is scared to death of Chinese people. They will try to be so nice to Brooke and she will scream and cling to me. She wants no part. It makes me feel so bad. Brooke does not want to be in a room by herself either. I lost your blog address when we did a system restore. I have a lot of catching up to do.

my3 kids said...

Hi Lisa,

Our daughter Emma is 2.5 and we will celebrate her 2nd Gotcha day the end of this month. She has always been nervous of Asian people and just recently started being verbal about it. I too am at a loss as too why this reaction. Emma and your daughter sound alot alike. I feel Emma experiences alot of anxiety with being seperated from me..she just recently started playing out of my sight but not for long and she comes looking for mommy. I feel sad for my girl but not sure what to do either.

Thanks for sharing:)