Prior to going to Uganda, our agency gave us a piece of advice. I think it was on a conference call with a larger group. They advised us to focus on the positive. To journal about the good things. To write home about the good things.
I have read a very large number of blogs over the years about adoption. The greatest conflict that I have in my mind about blogging is that I want to respect our kids' privacy. But at the very same time I have come to the realization that the large majority of blogs out there provide a severely, dramatically, and extensively edited picture. I still want to respect our kids' privacy. But I hope to find a balance between that and sugar coating it. I want to be real in an appropriate way.
So here is what is real: That first week that we had the kids was hard. It was really, really, really hard. We were still very sick. We felt isolated in that we were at a guest house where we were the only muzungus. No one else shared our culture. No one else understood the strain of adoption. Don't get me wrong, they were nice, but it's different, we were different. The kids wanted our attention 24/7. I mean literally 24/7 unless they were sleeping. Once we finally had the kids in bed, we would practically stare off into space while sitting on the couch. That or we would scramble to get things done in order to prepare for the next day. I remember talking with my parents via email and they asked if the kids ever played on their own without demanding our attention. I think in the first few days to maybe even a week, we had 30 minutes where they played on their own. We took shifts trading off being with the kids while the other person just crashed. I remember laying down and just crying and crying and crying. I was so very overwhelmed. I was so very exhausted to an extreme I had never known before. I felt alone. You see while Josh and I were on the same page and working together as a team, we barely saw each other. We were almost always within 50 feet of each other, but not interacting directly. It was like a marathon relay race.
Yes, we asked for all this. Yes, we knew what we were signing on for. Yes, we were (and are) happy. But I can't even begin to explain the extremes that we felt that first week.