Sunday, October 10, 2010
Sad Times at Himalaya High
I was reading through my notes from all the ‘adoption homework’ I did prior to making this decision. The good news was this (from the book Toddler Adoption):
What Toddlers Made the Easiest Transition?
1. The fewest placements prior to adoptions with the exception of institutionalized children who had experienced extreme neglect.
2. Toddlers who have had a secure attachment to a caregiver
3. Toddlers who were prepared and gradually transitioned
4. Toddlers with the least amount of trauma prior to placement
As far as I know, Pukar is 4/4. The only part of his life we don’t know about is the first month when he was, hopefully, with his birth mom. Since he has been with his current caregiver, Shanti, for almost the entire part of the rest of his little life, I know for sure he has not experienced any neglect and is EXTREMELY attached to her. We have been gradually transitioning him, and he has been aware of what is going on, as well as wanting to be a part of it. And hopefully, besides the trauma of losing his birth mom, that’s it for trauma.
The sad news is, losing Shanti is going to be a trauma, and it’s going to involve grief. And that’s pretty tough stuff. We had a lot of tears tonight when nighttime rolled around and he realized we weren’t going back to ‘auntie’ as he calls her. He grabbed her photo (as I have one of the two of them that we carry around) and howled and sobbed for at least an hour. This means that we had a hard time eating dinner, and went to bed without a lot in our stomach. I ordered food to be brought to the room, but he wasn’t having it except for about 10 bites. Darn.
He fell asleep rocking in my arms as I sang to him the “papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring’ song”, with entirely made-up lyrics since I have no idea what the real ones are, just know the way the tune goes. Since I have no internet up here at Nagarkot, I am writing this in ‘word’ and will post when I find some wifi tomorrow. Right now he’s fast asleep next to me, looking like a little angel, which normally he is. But wow, those tears are somethin’. I had to hold it together and not get sad with him. I can totally feel how much it hurts to miss the one person your whole world revolves around, and I want to be there to make space for that grief when it rolls around again at an age where he begins to comprehend what happened to him. I didn’t try to distract his sadness (well maybe just a little with food), but mostly just held him and rocked him and let him cry, knowing that I was right there and not going anywhere. It was damn hard on many levels. He finally relaxed and let go. I am hoping he doesn’t wake in the night and start all over again, if only for the sake of the other guests.
So we are in Nagarkot and I am already breathing better. I can literally feel the oxygen in my lungs. It’s honestly amazing. It’s green up here and quiet. There are a million guesthouses, but the owner of my place in Bhaktapur booked me at his friend’s place and they gave me a fantastically perched room for a super cheap price. We are on the tippy top of a hill with a 365-degree view. There is nothing to see today, (other than gorgeous green terraced hillsides) but I am hoping for some Himalaya action in the morning. I will be able to see those beautiful mountains all around me if it’s clear, and I am ever so hopeful.
The road to Nagarkot was a good road. I said to my driver, ‘is it a nice road to Nagarkot?” To which he replied, ‘Yes, it is nice road…but nice road is also bumpy road.” We both laughed. It is what “we” (in the USA) would call a single lane mostly paved path up the side of a hill, (much like a forest service road only worse) which serves as a main highway for all the traffic going to and from Nagarkot including buses. Seriously, it is so narrow and so bumpy, but thankfully paved (I have been on so many unpaved roads in Kathmandu it is mind boggling, literally), relatively uncrowded, and very picturesque. (The dictionary tells me uncrowded is not a word, but I swear it is, and besides it’s how I want to describe it!) The picturesque part is those beautiful green terraces of rice mostly, and probably wheat. I remembered today why I fell in love with Nepal all those years ago. It is so simple here. So simple and so very rustic and close to the earth. These people live in little huts, farm by hand, carry things on their backs, and live so peacefully. It is completely out of another time. So totally far, far away from anything aside from perhaps the Amish in the US, and even they are probably way advanced to what is going on here. It is absolutely beautiful to my eyes and heart. The tolerance, the patience, the slowly slowly. I think there’s a happy medium, as I wouldn’t wish to live this life, as I know it is very hard, and at the same time I feel like many of us have lost touch with what is real, and what is truly important. I have no choice here but to slow down, and accept and tolerate. I take cues from those around me. When the traffic is so insane that we are sitting in a huge mess that looks and feels like gridlock (happens everywhere I go), I watch my driver smile and laugh, and carefully and slowly work it out, as do the drivers around him. I have yet to see anyone get mad at this insanity. They just go with the flow, and cultivate peace somehow amidst adversity.
I remember living in India years ago, and after some months I realized there was a rhythm to the chaos. I began to love the rhythmic chaos, and learned to be at one with it. When I returned to the States nine months later, with all it’s bright lights, orderly lines, regulated traffic where people stay in lanes and stop at lights (ridiculous), and where anything can happen in an instant and when it doesn’t there’s irritation, I found myself missing the chaos. I remember thinking, “this is no way to live, this is utterly boring and without “a pulse”, lifeless.” I could do without the pollution and traffic here, but feel I have some things to relearn. Nepal is not India, but it is far closer to India than the US. There are many lessons along the way, and for some reason I like to learn through immersion and experience, so here I am once again. The beauty this time around is that I will have all of this to share with my son as he grows up. I will have a true ‘feeling’ for how his life would have been here, and I can share with him all these stories, this blog, and some wonderful photos. Namaste, Shanti, Aum.