Monday, January 6, 2014

Hannah Joy Long

Our journey to Long started on August 4, 2012.  We were adopting our daughter, Malia, and were given the opportunity to visit the orphanage that she'd been raised in.  We had "met" a few families online that were also going to be adopting from this orphanage a few months behind us.  The adoption community is tight knit and I offered to check up on and photograph a few little ones during my visit. 

The visit to that orphanage was both a blessing and a curse.  Meeting a room full of toddlers that are all waiting for a family will rip your heart out and leave scars that will never truly heal.  We'd done this before when we adopted our daughter, Anara, from Kyrgyzstan.  I didn't want more names and faces to dream about.  It hurts.  But, the opportunity to see where Malia spent her first 2 years of life and get answers to questions that she'd have someday outweighed my selfish fears.  The nannies brought the children that we requested to see into the room briefly so we could take some pictures.  I didn't have much time with them before they were swept back to their rooms.  That was okay, they had mommies coming for them! 

About a month later I heard from the family that was adopting 22 month old Long.  The lengthy email she wrote left me sobbing, shaking, and feeling like I was going to vomit.  They had left her in China.  They spent 24 hours with her and returned her saying that her special needs were far more than they'd been told about, or were prepared to deal with.  She allegedly had only club feet.  However, this family felt that she may have cerebral palsy, hip dysplasia, and other severe cognitive delays...I was crushed.   That poor sweet baby girl!  She'd now been abandoned TWICE in her short life.  Our Malia had acted very much the same way they described the first few days we had her as well.  That is how a child who is experiencing trauma, shock, fear, and loss behaves.  Institutional delay can appear very frightening.  Unfortunately, despite the required pre-adoption education and discussions during the home study process regarding specific special needs that your family is prepared to accept, not all adoptive parents are fully prepared for the reality of an institutionalized child.  You can read all the books in the world about such things but, when it's staring you in the face it's very different.  It IS frightening.

We continued to pray for  Long in the following months, thinking that surely she'd be adopted by another family.  I thought that maybe I could advocate for her if I could figure out which agency had her file.  So I called the agency that had handled her failed adoption, but they didn't have her file.  She was also not on the shared list.  The advocacy groups couldn't locate her file either.  Then we discovered the very ugly truth....when a child's adoption is disrupted in China it is very common for them to be labeled as "unadoptable".  Their file is quietly pulled from the government agency in charge of adoptions.  The child is never given another chance to be adopted again.  It is considered an embarrassment that brings shame to the orphanage and officials.  Long was never going to be given another chance to have a family.  She was going to grow up in that orphanage, never have her feet repaired, and be disabled all her life.  If she wasn't kicked out of the orphanage in her teens, she'd be kept at the social welfare institute with disabled adults...she'd merely exist. 
 People need to know the seriousness of disrupting in China. My goal is not to beat someone up.  It's not to cast judgment.   I didn't know.  I'm sure the family that made the decision to disrupt didn't know.  This decision cannot be made out of a knee jerk reaction and fear for yourself.  This is a child.  Whether or not you feel equipped is not the point.  Can you live with yourself knowing that you may have signed that child's death warrant or sentenced them to a life on the streets as a young teen?  Adoption is not a transaction for goods or services.  What you see in a picture or a file is not always what you will get.

We have prayed much over the last few months about Long and how God would have us help her and others like her. We began asking questions and made some calls.  It was discovered that Long's file was indeed pulled after the failed adoption last September.  The orphanage has also labeled her as autistic, which in China is devastating.  The good news is that the orphanage director was willing to send her file back IF there was a family willing to adopt her.  The only way Long was going to get out of the orphanage is if someone knew she was there...and was willing to go get her.  However, that person would have to be very committed to her regardless of what they might find when they arrive.  If she were to be rejected again, it would be incredibly damaging to her and the orphanage.
 Our family already has five wonderful children.  We adopted Malia a little over a year ago and still have a good amount of debt due to that.  We feel spread thin and overwhelmed a lot of days.  However, God has broken our hearts for orphans.  Our first world problems are so pathetic compared to what children with no hope and no family go through.  After much prayer and many tears we have decided that God intends for us to be Long's family.  We cannot leave her there to simply exist. We need to "step out of the boat" and fully trust in His plan.  We cannot turn our backs and pretend that she doesn't exist.   Do we have the money?  No, not even close.  Do we know what all of her needs will be?  No. Will people think we're crazy.  Probably. Are we scared?  Yup!  And that's okay, because she's worth it!  She deserves so much more in this life than she's been given.  She is a child of God.  She's a priceless treasure.  She's our daughter. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Great Pie Challenge 2013

Greetings Friends and Family!

I hope that this letter finds you all well.  It is that time of year again, PIE TIME!  This month has been insanely busy as I just returned from a 2 week mission trip to China. The jet lag was brutal this time! It was a privilege to serve alongside the Zhanjiang Kids Organization that works in Malia's former orphanage.  Due to this amazing and heartbreaking trip, I have not had the time to get my letter written :/

You all know that the orphans of Kyrgyzstan are very near and dear to our hearts.  We have a daily reminder of those we left behind in Anara.  A small donation will provide an orphan with a day they'll never forget.  Our friends, the Wrights and their team, will provide a special meal, gift, and vitamins, to children in orphanages around Kyrgyzstan.  Sounds insignificant?  Sounds like it's not enough to make much of a difference?  I can tell you from experience, that is wrong!  I spent an evening with orphans in China at a Pizza Hut 2 weeks ago.  Half of the kids we had the pleasure of accompanying have already aged out of the system and can never be adopted.  The evening we spent with them gave them a glimmer of HOPE.  It let them know that someone in the world actually CARES about them.  Those gifts are the ones that they will hang on to for a lifetime.

The Pie Challenge will be wrapping up next week.  If you feel led to donate please visit  The names of the challengers are on the right side along with a donate button.  You can specify who you'd like to hit with a pie.  As always, our family always takes more than one pie in the face ;)  You'll have to wait and see who's getting hit this year! 

Our family has expanded with Malia.  Our hearts continue to be broken for orphans all over the world.  My 2 weeks in China was something I'll never forget.  I have witnessed great hope and crushing pain and desperation.  Zhanjiang Kids Organization has honored me by entrusting me to the Open Arms Sponsorship Program.  This is the program that gave Malia extra care and attention by providing nannies that would interact closely with her.  Babies in orphanages are left in their cribs most of the time.  They are not held and touched and loved.  Their bottles are propped, and they are changed rarely.  Thanks to ZKO, many babies are being nurtured and loved.  If you would like to help them meet their goal for the year so that these programs may continue please visit their website at

Thank you all for your PRAYERS and support! 

                Tim, Hilary, Tyler, Toby, Mia, Anara & Malia Marquis

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Malia's 1st Surgery

We knew it would be a difficult day.  And it was.  But, we felt God's peace and your prayers every second of the day.  I cannot say enough wonderful things about Shriner's.  Every single person that we came into contact with was so helpful, kind, and encouraging.  The receptionists, the nurses, the cafeteria workers, the doctors, everyone was amazing.  They made it okay for me to hand over my baby and go sit in the surgical waiting room. 

When we checked in at 7am the first nurse that we encountered made me think we were going to have some trouble.  You see, Malia is still very wary of Asian women...and I was afraid she was going to flip out.  The nurse was just as sweet as she could be and fortunately, Malia didn't seem to mind her.  She let her check her heart and blood pressure and didn't hide her face in my shoulder.  Then we got her all gowned up.  Boy, are those little bitty hospital gowns cute!  Malia then passed the time playing with an ipad that they have available to the patients.  She was pretty pleased.

After a while a male nurse came to get us to show take us down to pre-op.  This was great, because Malia usually prefers guys.  I was able to ask him who would be with her when she started to wake up and he told me the name of the nurse...then I had to ask him a question and explain myself quickly so that he wouldn't think I was terribly racist.  I figured that given Malia's nervousness about Asian women that I'd better be sure that the first person she saw waking up from surgery did not resemble orphanage staff complete with white coat!  He was so kind and understanding and assured me that the nurses working today were not Asian. 

Malia got to choose the color of her casts.  The nurse thought she might be too young to pick, but when she saw the samples she pointed right at the purple!  We were not allowed to go back into the surgical suite to be with her when they put her under.  However, they gave her a sedative so that she'd be all loopy, goofy, and not remember.  She was sooooo silly.  We couldn't put her down because she couldn't have walked if her life depended on it...not that she agreed with us on that matter!  Daddy put her on his shoulders to distract her. 

Dr. Moran came in and went over the procedure with us and answered any questions that we had.  He marked her with a purple pen so that there'd be no question as to which limbs they'd be operating on.  This doctor has a wonderful bedside manner.  He was great with Tim and I as well as Malia.  It made it easier to hand her over knowing that the best of the best was working on her.  In fact, I had to tell Tyler this the night before.  He was pretty worried about his baby sister.  The great big crocodile tears broke my heart. He asked me, "What if the doctor messes up? Or doesn't do a good job?"  It was really nice to be able to say with confidence that Dr. Moran was a VERY, VERY good doctor and if he wasn't, I wouldn't let him touch Malia. 

When we were finished talking to the doctor and had signed all of the paperwork it was time to say goodbye. We hugged and kissed our baby and told her we loved her and handed her off to her nurse.   Did I mention how much I loved the nurses?  This woman took her and started pointing out the animal painting all over the walls she turned her around while we walked out the door.  Malia didn't even notice we were gone as we peeked at her disappearing down the corridor.  The same nurse told me she held her until she was completely asleep and that she never shed a tear.  It was hard to walk out of the room and down to the waiting room.  But, I did it.  And I held it together.  The only way I did was by God's grace.

Tim handled the wait the way engineers do.  He sat there and read a very boring book on management with highlighter in hand!  I on the other hand, was too keyed up to concentrate and stalked facebook.  Surgery lasted about 3 hrs, and Dr. Moran came to tell us how she did.  He was very pleased with how it all went.  He repaired half of the band on her leg as planned.  He removed the nubbin from her right hand and he also deepened the space between her thumb and index finger to give her a better thumb grip.  He was able to separated her middle finger from her ring finger on her left hand.  The best part of all of this was that he was able to take extra skin from her leg band and use it for grafting on her hands rather than taking extra grafts from her groin as originally planned.  One less ouchie. 

About 20 minutes later the nurse came to get us and took us to recovery.  She was just starting to open her eyes.  THIS was the hard part.  She saw us and started to cry.  Pathetic little wimpering cries.  They got all of her cords and tubes situated and handed her to me in the rocking chair.  Then the real crying began.  Her little voice was all scratchy and dry from having been intubated.  And the crying was a word...OW!  Hearing this from a child with a high tolerance for pain nearly did us in.  Both of us joined in with the crying.  She was so brave but, so little and helpless!  The nurses acted quickly, though.  Malia was given morphine in her I.V. immediately and she began to relax a bit again.  We gave her some sips of water and that helped a little.  She cried and refused the orange popsicle. 

After a while we were allowed to carry her back to her room.  I climbed into the bed and held her in my arms.  It was lunchtime and we were all starving.  The nurses got us all settled and told us that we were welcome to put Malia in the wagon and take her down to the lunch room to get our food and bring it back up.  They got the wagon all padded up and situated Malia with a pillow and her pink kitty blankie and we headed down the hall.  The nurses were wise.  Malia did not care for her room.  She was much more relaxed and at ease walking the halls in her wagon.  She ate half a cup of homemade chicken noodle soup for us.  By the time we'd finished she was upset again and we put her back in her "chariot" to go for a ride.  This is how we passed the rest of the afternoon, roaming the halls. 

Before we left, Dr. Moran came back to check on us.  He also shocked us by saying that we could let Malia WALK on her cast!  He wasn't concerned about the tension on her leg, and that she couldn't hurt herself.  Our drive home was peaceful and she slept the whole way.  When we walked in the house, the big kids swarmed around her to give kisses and hugs.  They were relieved that she was home and alright.  However, they didn't get the SMILE out of her...that was for Grammy :)  It was so good to see her smile after such a rough day!  And Grammy was a welcome sight to mommy after such a difficult day as well.  She had cleaned up everything and done ALL of the laundry, AND had dinner in the oven!  Then our friends, the Timperlys, from church showed up with a homemade lasagna for us to pop in the oven later in the week.  We are so blessed to have such awesome friends and family.

The first couple days, we gave Malia her pain medication every 4 hours.  We set alarms during the night so that we could stay ahead of the pain. I also slept on an extra twin mattress on the floor next to her bed for  couple of nights.  She was a handful during the day...she was crabby, antsy, and extremely frustrated with the casts on her arms and leg.  She kept telling us, "Off!" as she pointed at the casts.  She wanted her pop beads opened to play with and then she cried when she realized that she couldn't put them together with her hands wrapped.  She perked up a bit when I made her some necklaces to put on. 


By the second day after surgery, Grandpa came to town.  Grammy and I left for the afternoon to find some cast friendly clothing for Malia.  When we came back, Malia was walking all over the place.  Mommy was paranoid about letting her do so...I would've waited a while.  But, daddy's brain works differently than mine.  His take on it was, "The doctor that works at a CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, said that she would not hurt herself."  So, he and Grandpa kept an eye on her and let her start walking slowly.  It turned out to be a very good decision.  She was so much happier being able to move! 

We are now 5 days post surgery and Malia is nearly back to normal.  She isn't even needing the pain meds that often! In fact she didn't need anything until 6pm today!  She is sleeping fairly well.  She is walking, climbing, and running.  Her appetite is huge. You'd be amazed at what she can do with her ring finger and pink sticking out of her cast!  The biggest challenge we are facing right now is keeping her off of the stairs.  Nothing stops her.  She is one tough cookie.  We are so thankful that God orchestrated Malia's adoption and her medical treatment.  She is a miracle and an incredible gift.  Thank you so much for all of the prayers, concern, and support.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hope and Fear

Tonight I am awake thinking of what the future will hold for my baby. All week long I have prayed for everyone to remain healthy.  I have been that crazy woman that will not leave the house because I refuse to risk getting Malia sick.  If she gets so much as a cold they will cancel and reschedule her surgery. On Tuesday the 19th her life will be forever changed, the question is, how?  The doctors at Shriner's decided that the best course of action for her was to attempt to save her little foot.  Dr. Moran will attempt to do so with a "W-plasty" around her ankle band.  This will have to be done in 2 surgeries about 6 months apart.  The incision will be made in a zig zag W-like fashion removing the banding tissue, then he will pull the tissues and rejoin them.  As her body grows the scar will straighten out allowing her leg to "stretch". Malia's banding is very wide and complex. IF they can maintain blood flow to her foot they will then attempt to address her rocker bottomed foot.  They may be able to break the upside down talus bone free and cast her in a way similar to the way they cast children with clubfeet. We will not know if the tendons and such around her ankle will be functional until that band has been released. We will just have to wait and see.  During this same surgery they will also begin to separate Malia's conjoined fingers.  They will remove the nubbin from one hand and use it as skin grafting for the other.  The remainder of skin they will need to take from her groin area.

We are scared.  We have done a good job of pushing it from our minds for the last 6 months.  But, it is now real.  Malia understands English exceptionally well for only being here for 6 months.  Her verbal skills aren't as advanced but, she gains everyday.  She is not going to understand this surgery.  She fixates on the tiniest of scrapes and scabs and fusses about her "owies".   These are things she would've never done 6 months ago.  She now cries when she gets hurt...or when she doesn't get hurt and sees a chance for sympathy :)  All of this is a huge step forward for her.  But, it grieves our hearts to think of how she will react to the pain and scars of this surgery.  This very necessary surgery.  We were fortunate enough to have the doctors tell us to wait 6 months and allow her to bond with us before making this step.  But, she is 2...she will not understand.  All she's going to know is that she is frightened, has casts on 3 our of 4 extremities, and she hurts and has some wicked scars.  She will not be allowed to walk on her leg for at least 4 weeks.  This is a child that doesn't sit still for more than 30 seconds at a stretch!  She is the most BUSY child we have ever had. 

Now, we have lots of hope that all will go well with this surgery.  Her doctor is one of the best and is confident that they will be able to maintain the blood supply to her foot.  However, the thought that they may need to amputate at some point is always at the back of our minds...and if that needs to happen, it will be difficult.  If they would need to amputate right now, they'd have to cut the tibia/fibia bones in her leg.  Those bones will continue to grow (penciling) as she does, and they will grow to point and through the end of her leg.  This will make multiple surgeries to clip the bone point necessary...unpleasant for Malia to say the least.  If they successfully repair the banding and find that her foot cannot be corrected enough to give her good function, they will be able to amputate in a much better location.  They discussed both Syme's and Boyd's amputations, both of which will eliminate the penciling that would cause additional surgeries. I'm terrified that if amputation becomes a necessity at this point how we would explain that to such a little girl!  I know that she will not let anything stop her.  She is tough, stubborn, strong, and determined. But, HOW can we make her see that mommy and daddy would never let anyone hurt her?!

We are very blessed that Shriner's in Minneapolis is seeing to Malia's care.  They have the best of the best for orthopedic and prosthetics working for them.  Malia could not be in better hands.  THIS is why God has placed us in Minnesota.   HE knew 3+ years ago that this is where we would need to be to give Malia the best care possible.  I am so thankful.  The surgeon is amazing.  If the worst happens and she needs an amputation Shriner's will cover her prosthetics until she's 21.  And we have the support of some amazing family and new friends.  Grammy is coming to help us on Monday.  Malia will be in pain, and unable to do anything for the next few weeks.  She will not be able to move, or use her hands.  Little Miss Independent is not going to be happy about any of this.  Grammy will be her for a while to help ride herd over the big kids while I'm taking care of Malia.  I have an ergo carrier and a stroller to try to keep Malia from injuring herself...but, is going to be difficult.

As we approach Tuesday, we would appreciate your prayers.    We need her to be healthy.  We need strength and peace.  We need Malia to understand, to not be fearful, and to have good pain management.  We also need her to be content with being STILL.  This is a child that has no time for TV, or being read to, or doing a quiet activity....She is always on the go.  God has big plans for this very little girl.  Thank you for your prayers, they mean the world to us!

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tim's Pie

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It has been 4 months since Malia was placed in our arms.  I was remiss in documenting our trip to China. We have had ups and downs just as we expected.  But, some families aren't fully prepared for what they may experience in those first few days, weeks and months.  And while we certainly don't have it all figured out, and we are still battling things that are adoption related, we knew it was coming. 
 The reaction that these traumatized children have will vary greatly.  Some will eagerly welcome their new family, others will scream in terror, while others will just shut down.  All the reading and adoption training classes in the world may not be enough preparation when you hold a child in your arms that seems to reject you.  A child that doesn't fit the description you've been given, A child that seems to be far more challenging than you were prepared for.  When this child looks panic stricken it will crush your soul.  You know that the life waiting for them is better, but a child cannot fathom the changes that await them.  And you are going to grieve and suffer right along with them.
The day we picked Malia up at the Civil Affairs Office in Guangzhou she was very much in a state of shock. She did not cry, she just stared. She very apprehensively allowed the director to place her in my arms but, she was not at ease at all.  We were only there a very short amount of time before we were ushered out and to a grocery store to purchase baby supplies. Still no tears.  No reaction whatsoever. 
She was carsick, and had a low fever, and was puking everytime we got in a car the first few days. It didn't take long to realize that many of the upset stomach tummy issues were likely due to nerves. Think about it.  She'd probably never been in a car until she made the 6 hour drive from Zhanjiang to the Civil Affairs Office with the director, not her nanny that she knew well.  Upon arrival she was handed to strangers and the only person she knew left her.  She was traumatized and terrified. She didn't cry at all that first day other than when she woke up that night for a midnight feeding. She stopped immediately when I picked her up.
 During those first few days she would throw up, and then refuse to spit it out of her mouth. Her eyes would very often pool with tears that she wouldn't allow to fall. We could set her down in the middle of a room and she would stand there frozen like a statue. She would not move a muscle other than her eyes. For all we knew she couldn't walk. We would lay her down to change her pants and she would remain totally still and limp.  She did not even attempt to sit up, roll over, or get up. When they took us back to Civil Affairs the day after the next day she really panicked. I'm sure all that was going through her little head was, "Last time someone put me in a car, and went to this place, they left me! Don't leave me again!". This was the first time she really cried and it was heartbreaking.  Not sad tears, tears of sheer terror.
As difficult as it was to wittness this child's pain, we knew what was happpening.  All of this didn't really alarm us. However, we had done this before!   Granted it was not exactly the same scenario but, there were many similarities.  We had expected it but, many do not.  It took a good 5 days or more for Malia to start to warm up to us. She didn't truly come out of her shell completely until we'd been home for a couple of weeks. Having been in the Open Arms program was obviously very beneficial to Malia. However, she still has delays. It is to be expected in even the best circumstances.
We knew from experience that some things may have come up that weren't mentioned on a medical. We learned with our first adoption to take everything that was told to us with a grain of licking block for a horse size. Different countries way of practicing medicine does not equal the U.S. version of practicing medicine.  Tests that we may run when we suspect a condition may never be run due to a lack of money or access.  Children with major heart defects die because there is no money for life saving surgery. CT Scans, MRI's, and ultrasounds are a luxury.  Do those in power lie sometimes to gain profit or out of true compassion just to get the children a family?  Yes, I'm sure they do.  Some diagnosis may be assumed when what is really the cause is institutionalization.  The effects of which can be devastating.  Even children in the best orphanges are going to have emotional scars from their early lives.  When we adopted our first daughter (Kyrgyzstan) the medical listed all kinds of scary russian medical diagnosises that meant nothing. Yet, they neglected to mention that she was missing portions of her toes on BOTH feet! They only mentioned ONE of them in the medical...we didn't care, but it was ridiculous that they failed to include that information.
We were told that Malia was used to eating some solids such as congee with small pieces of vegetables mixed in. Now, that may very well have been true in some capacity. Perhaps they watered it down and put it in her bottle like the formula and rice cereal. However, when we tried to feed it to her at the breakfast buffet at the Garden she had no clue what to do with it. She'd pouch it in her cheeks and hold it there. She'd make no attempt to chew or swallow it. I'd finally have to swab her mouth with my finger to keep her from choking on it because she refused to spit it out. The 2 weeks in Guangzhou she learned to eat Gerber Fruit Puffs, small pieces of noodle, the fruit pouches of baby food that you can just drink, and small bites of muffin. Now, she eats EVERYTHING! She still needs to have things cut up small but, she's come a long way.

Going to visit the orphanage was very hard on Malia. We only had 4 days with her before we went back to visit. She was very nervous when we arrived at the orphanage and began to fuss. She calmed down a bit because I had her strapped to my chest in the carrier. We had hoped that doing so would keep the nannies from taking her away from us to hold her. We were wrong. They ALL wanted to hold her, including the director of the babies. There was no graceful way decline it. We took her out of the carrier and I held her on my lap. While I was taking pictures of a few little ones who's families were almost ready to travel, the nannies swooped in and took her. She was upset and cried and they brought her back to me. But, this happened a few different times. When it was time to leave and we got in the van to drive away she became hysterical. She screamed, and kicked, and fought, and reached for the window. It was awful for all of us. She was so torn. She obviously wanted to be with me, but she wanted to stay at her "home" too. If we had it to do over again, Tim would've gone to visit the orphanage and I would've stayed behind with Malia at the hotel. It was priceless to visit her first home and meet the ladies that had cared for her but, it was traumatic for an already frightened and confused little girl.   We had to almost start over at square one with her from that experience. 
The orphanages in China are not going to be viewed as perfect by any of us as American parents. It is not a home. It is not a family. Kids often lack even basic needs.  Caregivers are going to be severely outnumbered by their charges.  Conditions are often desperate.  No heating, no airconditioning, contaminated water, crumbling walls.  Sometimes children are tethered or tied down in their beds (for the record we didn't see any abuses at Zhanjiang).  Are the children going to be delayed, have parasites, scabies, trouble bonding and issues that you never expected to come up? Yep. And so would any of our biological children if they lived in an orphanage and were uprooted and traumatized in such a way. There are no guarantees in adoption or in having biological children. We have special needs in our biological children.  The ONLY thing you can be guaranteed of with a biological child is that they will not have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Drug Exposure!

We are battling sleep issues with Malia even after 4 months of being with our family.  She is absolutely terrified to be put to sleep alone.  Having siblings in the room with her is of no consolation.  She comes unglued.  She will beat on the door and scream like a wild animal.  At first I thought it was just manipulation and a temper tantruming 2 year old...then I payed closer attention, and it made me feel like a horrible mom. When I go in and put her back in her bed she will not look at me, she screams and looks right through me...the only thing I can compare it to is when my older children used to have night terrors and they'd look straight at me and scream for mom, and not have a clue that they were in my arms.  She arches her back, stiffens her arms, kicks, and grits her teeth. When she finally stops screaming, she will shut down.  She looks like she did those first few days in China, her eyes look petrified and she looks like she's going to crumble.  This means we HAVE to lay down in her bed, sometimes for 2 hours, while she falls asleep.  Every bedtime.  Every naptime.  And if she wakes up in the night, it means that mom sleeps in her room for the remainder of the night.  It's exhausting.  And there's no easy fix, just time. 
Adoption is wonderful.  We have been blessed beyond measure with 2 beautiful daughters. Both are happy, healthy, and loved.  But, their losses were great. Their futures cannot erase their pasts.  Parenting an adopted child will be different in some ways. Their losses will resurface again and again as they grow up.  There will be many tears and many long and sometimes painful talks. In many ways, "Adoption ain't pretty". It is pain, it is loss, it is heartbreak, it is many many tears. Our children lose a lot in order to gain a life of love and a family.