Grief and Crazy and Trying to Get it all Right

As I sat down at the computer this evening I literally stopped and took a deep breath. The kind of deep breath you take before walking into a big meeting or an unwanted doctor’s appointment. I need to talk about a few Lola things. Things that aren’t so fun to talk about. Thus, the deep breath.

Lola has been home for two months. We have made incredible progress. She is speaking enough English to communicate her needs and she is loving the fact that she is now part of a family. She started kindergarten recently, and although she had a rocky start she is now walking into school like a champ. She is starting to receive services for her visual impairment and today she made an A for me out of pretzels. Amazing I tell you.

Those are the good things. Those are the things that show us that Lola is happy and ready to embrace this family thing. There are lots of difficult things right now as well. Many recent experiences have shown us that while Lola is ready to be out of the “cocoon” she is not ready to handle relationships, especially with adults. She has enough to deal with at school. Lola has a regular classroom teacher, a vision specialist, an ESL teacher and a guidance counselor at school. Everyone has been amazing at school, but that’s a lot for one little person. Thankfully, our school is awesome and they have been super supportive. We gave them a list of no-nos and they were all good with that. Again, so thankful for them and their patience.

Because Lola has her plate full of adult relationships at school we are setting some boundaries with adults outside of the school environment. We need to teach Lola that she cannot and should not initiate relationships with adults. Imagine my alarm when she ran to a man at Publix yesterday and lifted her arms toward him asking to be picked up. NOT OKAY. Lola willingly left China with two strangers who said they were parents. She knows we are her mom and dad… but what can that really mean to a child who lived without parents for 5 and a half years. This is why we need your help. We need to establish a strong unbreakable bond with our daughter. We need to help her understand why she doesn’t need to speak to or go with just any adult she meets. Please bear with me and read the following with love and an open heart.

1. If you see Lola, in our home or outside our home, please don’t initiate contact with her. You don’t even need to speak to her. If she says hi, say hi back. But that’s really the limit. Someday, when her attachment is more secure, more interaction can take place.

2. Please don’t try to hug Lola or hold her. She needs to focus on hugging and loving on her family members. We have seen her refuse to hug a family member and greet a stranger with open arms. This is an attachment issue and warning sign. Therefore we are taking action, no hugs unless you are family.

3. Please don’t give Lola anything. Not a toy, not a piece of gum. Right now WE need to provide for her every need.

I fully believe that a lot of work and a lot of awkward conversations right now will prevent major issues down the road. We have a lot of work to do and we really need your help. Please allow Lola the space she needs to heal and learn to be part of her forever family.

THANK YOU in advance.

About the author


Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.


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  • Erica,
    I read and keep up with you blog and Facebook all the time. I just wanted to say what an amazing job you are doing at being a strong selfless mother. I cry, laugh, smile, and worry for you in so many of your posts. You have many followers who are like me and in awe of you! As hard as it is at times know you have lots of support behind you!

  • Well said. Carter did the same thing – although he had been home nine months. Traveling cross country to TN – stopped for gas and a potty break. Bill was talking with a fairly hardcore looking biker dude – Carter ran up a d threw his arms around him – total stranger.

    All the adults were completely freaked out by it.

  • As another adoptive mom…I say “Kudos to you” for doing the difficult and awkward thing with friends and acquaintances for the sake of your daughter and what is best for her. People will look at you like you are growing horns but this is so incredibly important. 🙂 Prayers and blessings on you as you intentionally set boundaries.

  • you gotta do what you gotta do, girl! And hopefully your readers/friends will understand that this is actually going to make your life HARDER (as there’s a lot of relief that can come from letting others help with your kiddos), but it’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make for her attachment – giving up some “conveniences” now to solidify her emotional/spiritual future! Will be praying for you guys and if we make it back that way, will resist the urge to put my arms around that precious gem with her contagious smile!!! miss you guys!

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