Wednesday, March 30, 2011

LOVE

Today was a great day.  It was relaxed and everyone was back on track.  We made a rule that if you couldn't say anything nice or positive then you couldn't say anything at all.  It worked!  We rode the ferry across the Pearl River, did some last-minute shopping, and arranged for Rose to have some goodbyes tomorrow.  We also ate out at what will forever be known at KFP (Kentucky Fried Pigeon) to us, a great Chinese restaurant on the Island. 


Today was the day I will always remember feeling like the mother-daughter bond truly jelled.  I have felt love for Rose from the very beginning, but today it was LOVE.  And it was also affection from her to me.  She snuggles and teases and shows concern for her Mama to the point of trying to feed me at the Chinese restaurant.  What a hoot!  She was also trying to get her Baba to eat his vegetables and we have a hysterical picture of her nearly force feeding him broccoli.  I'll post the pic when I get a chance. TOO FUNNY!   

Rose is very loving and caring.  I marvel at how she has maintained the ability to care so much for others given the fact that she hasn't had the most loving of environments.  I also marvel that she is ours, that God has given us this chance to parent one more child, that He kept patiently telling us that she was meant to be ours.  She is truly a treasure and I have no doubt that God has big plans for her life! 

For anyone thinking of adopting an older child but not moving forward because of the fear of the unknowns I have one bit of advice--let go and let God!  My only regret is that we didn't move forward to adopt Rose one year sooner, when we first saw her photo on the waiting child website.  I am sure we will have bumps in the road but, so far, her transition is going better than I could have ever imagined!

It is amazing what we can convey to each other even with the language barrier.  Our little pocket dictionary comes in handy and for the most part we can get our messages across without it.  She is quickly adding English to her vocabulary with today's phrases being, "Oh no!" and "Cool!" and "I like it!"  She already says, "That's beautiful" and "I'm sorry" and she also knows all her numbers, colors, days of the week, family members, and descriptive words (tall, short, big, small etc.) which she learned in her English classes. 

On our end, we continue to add Chinese words to our vocabulary.  Some of those most helpful are: tomorrow, later, share, sister, brother, be careful!, hot, cold, and wait.  I am sorry to say that the hours upon hours upon HOURS that I spent listening to my Chinese language CD in the car have proven to be very UNhelpful.  Rose is a much better teacher!  My attempts have at least given her more to laugh about!  

If I didn't know her age, I would guess that she is nine or ten.  As is often the case, children who have spent time in institutions are delayed compared to same-age peers.  I have no doubt she will begin closing the gap on the age difference, now that she has a family to love and encourage her.   

Tomorrow will be an emotional day as she says her goodbyes.  Please send prayers to Rose.  We can't wait until she meets all our family and friends and receives more love than she could have ever dreamed of!!! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I've been a terrible blogger!  It is so hard to share one computer with eight people and also use the computer as a DVD player!  We have been spending most of our time out and about, plus I cannot access blogger so I have all kinds of excuses.  But, I did want to update--we are doing fine!

First, a big shout-out to James!  Happy 28th Birthday!!!  We love you!  Your loving spirit, kind heart, great sense of humor, and never-ending patience give joy to us all.  You continue to amaze us with your ability to seize the moment and live life with a free spirit--and if I'm ever in a burning building I want you to be with me, because I am quite certain you can handle any emergency with cool calmness.  LOVE YOU and LOVED spending time with you!

First Swim
The time is now going by quickly as we continue to spend our days exploring Guangzhou.  Everyone is ready to come home, there have been some cranky kids (big and little), but we continue to find fun and interesting activities.  The sun has finally been showing itself and today the kids tried swimming, again, and froze--again.  Rose even tried and I am quite certain she has never been swimming before.  She has probably never been that cold before either!   Our swimming adventures always draw a crowd of shocked onlookers.  To understand, you have to know that the Chinese often dress their children in layers and layers of clothing, even when it is warm out.

4 Goats Statue


We had a great lunch on Sunday with K, my step second-cousin (or something like that!)   She is here teaching English and works at a nearby school.  She gave us ideas of places we should still see before we leave and we look forward to trying to fit it in.  K was a delight and we enjoyed her company very much!

The safari was a BLAST!  For those coming to GZ it is definitely worth the trip.  Our weather was perfect and I only wish we would have had more time to enjoy it.  The animals are so close you feel like you can reach out and touch them and the pandas were awesome!


Rose is doing very well.  We went to the Consulate today for her visa--nothing like a 7am meeting time with six children!  We are almost ready to come back home!  Rose LOVED the safari, trying to teach us the animals names in Chinese!  She is starting to test boundaries now so it makes things more interesting but she is also very caring and is especially concerned about Vu--watching out for him when he crosses the street and helping him with little things.  She loves to watch the Disney movies we bought in Chinese, so if you are wondering why there is less blogging it is either because we are not in the hotel room or we are watching a movie--in Chinese.  Luckily, the subtitles are in English so the other kids watch and get a good dose of reading in as they watch.  In turn, they are also learning some Chinese.  It is fun to see all the kids crowded around the laptop, laying on the bed, mesmerized by Tangled (or Barbie Princess) in Chinese.

Tonight we decided to try to get McDonald's delivered to our hotel room because we were tired after a busy day and we're tired of Island food.  Yes, McDonald's delivers here!  It was an adventure I tell ya!  McDonald's did eventually arrive, but not the way we had envisioned.  It was not very easy to explain our order over the phone and the call goes to Shanghai, the central take-out number.  They could not understand the name of the hotel where we were staying, no matter how many times we tried to say it or spell it.  We were trying to get Rose to read it and madly trying to find the dictionary to give them the Chinese name for "white" and "swan," but I think it only confused the listener more.  It go to the point that Lizzy and Paul were handing the phone back and forth trying to talk to the person while I was in the background peeing my pants in hysterics!  The kids had their hearts on some American food, so eventually, Hubby and I took the hotel shuttle down to the walking street McDonald's, then booked back, and an hour later the kids did have their McDonald's--delivered!  We told them we take tips but haven't seen any yet!

Only two more days then home sweet home!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

OSU!
 I am finding it difficult to blog while in China for several reasons—our days are filled with appointments, siteseeing, and children!  Six, in fact!  I know there are six because everywhere we go I count them over and over again, making sure we haven’t lost one.  So far, so good! 

Starbucks!
Today James left after spending a two nights in Hong Kong.  He loved adventuring out to new horizons and HK sounds like an exciting and interesting city.  It was great having family time with him and he will definitely be missed!
Rose with James
In the meantime, Rose received four immunizations and a TB test all in the same day.  For those who know me, you know I winced with every shot—I am a true PNW hippy-chic who doesn’t believe it’s good for the body to receive too many shots at once.  I NEVER give my kids more than one shot at a time.  Anyhoo, Rose took it all in stride, and seems no worse for the wear.  We did have ice cream later, just to make sure she won’t hate us forever!





Rose continues to do amazingly well.  She is definitely a kick in the pants and full of energy.  She is hysterically funny, often sending me into near pee-your-pants mode.  We have nightly dance parties, funny face contests, and park sporting events, such a playing hot potato with the whole family at the park.  Lizzy had the quote of the day saying, “It’s a good thing Rose wasn’t adopted into a normal family!”  This girl has zest and a love for craziness!

Live pet market

We seem to attract a crowd everywhere we go with people trying to figure out our family.  If we stand in one place for a bit there will be people all around us taking pictures with their cell phones and cameras.  I guess this is what it feels like to be famous.  Maybe I should dress a little nicer.





The best event of the day was when we went to the market and found the claw game.  Paul is an expert and tried his hand, but with no luck.  Soon, we had all the kids trying (it was cheap!) and many Chinese watching.  First Patrick, then Rose, finally found success with the whole crowd cheering them on.  It was definitely a feeling of “won”ness!    I wish I had a picture of Rose winning her little Hello Kitty.  Priceless!  I have a feeling we will have more of the claw game in the very near future!



First Starbucks
Thank you for all your prayers and support.  We appreciate hearing from all of you and are excited to come back home!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quote of the day comes from Patrick, "Rose is really bonding to me, and I feel attached to her too!"


I laughed simply because it isn't everyday you hear a 9-year-old use the words "bonding" and "attached."  Is it obvious Patrick is from a family that uses adoption lingo??


And yes, Rose is attaching to our family.  It is an amazing thing to watch a child unfold into a family.  She enjoys each and every family member, which is actually quite a surprise to me.  I expected her to have her favorites, and she does, but she also enjoys interacting with all of us, both as a group and individually.  I expected her to have more grief, to enter our family with more trepidation.


Instead, I see her quickly relax more each day.  The day we were at the Civil Affairs office, we saw a girl tentatively step off the elevator, look over at our family, and give a nervous smile.  Then, she was led behind a curtain, but shortly brought back out with the same forced smile.  Our family was led to her and she said so quietly I could hardly hear, "Hello Mother.  Hello Father."  I was in tears, trying so hard to squelch them because I didn't want to scare her.  She knew every one of us by name and had obviously looked at her photo album quite often.  She was nervous and shy.


Today, three days later, she is already a different girl.  She openly laughs and smiles.  She helps herself to the snacks and loves picking up the camera to take pictures.  She has learned to play the DS with the help of her brothers, and become quite the style queen with the help of her sisters.  It is a wonder to see how she is learning what a family is.


From an attachment standpoint, it would be easy to worry that she is attaching too easily, too quickly,with no grief--and to worry about what her previous life was like, to be able to give it up so quickly, so easily.


But, worrying doesn't change anything.  Even if she has never really had love, has never known the love of a family, she will learn.

In fact, she already is.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The First Day

Hey Blog Friends!  It has been difficult to blog, especially since I can't access my blog while in China (thank you to Trisha for posting what is here!), but also because life is very full with seven children--even here in China!

I have plans on sharing more about our first day.  Rose is adapting incredibly well!  Lizzy wrote the following post and her words sum up life with Rose better than mine can.

From:  Lizzy



Words can only express so much.

Today is our second full day with Rose. I wish that I could videotape and photograph every moment with her to show how she is adapting to our family.



Our first moment, as I mentioned before, I struggled not to cry. As we were waiting I felt almost sick, couldn't sit down, and my heart was racing at an abnormal speed. And the moment she stepped off the elevator, my eyes brimmed with tears. Her dark eyes searching around the room, hands tightly clutching her possessions, black hair long with a gentle wave, recognizing our family almost immediately.

A crazy introduction- here's your big brother, little brother, little brother, little brother, big sister, big sister, mother, father. Repeat after me, their names are... Over and over. Rose's eyes connecting with each of us individually, overwhelmed. A quick family picture, a nervous smile.


By the first night, a gentle giggle. Confusion at bath time. Whispered attempts at English: thank you, beautiful, hello. Nervous about making messes. At bed time, claiming an edge with Kim and I next to her.

The next morning she woke with a smile, messy hair, and "Good morning". We all dressed, fixed hair, bonded. Small moments of coloring, shared moments of laughter, and hugs. Progression to I love you- spoken in both Cantonese and English. Her beautiful voice ringing with more confidence. A trip to the park, followed by joyous exclamations, skipping, air kisses.

Today, Rose is an entirely different girl. A cheery wake up with a bright "Good morning!!" Her warm hands affectionately touch everyone's cheeks. Constant exclamations of beautiful. Proudly displaying her English vocabulary: Tree, flower, nose, water, garden- the list goes on. Kisses on the cheek, loud laughs and squeals, jumping on the bed, huge hugs, loud "I love you"s. Her smile filled with confidence and genuine happiness.

Tonight she bravely experienced American culture: Pizza.

Two pieces and a bread stick later, her smile big,  she tossed her head back and  happily rubbed her tummy to tell us she was full.



Currently she's off playing with her brothers.

We are blessed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More Pictures!

Here are some more pictures from yesterday...



 

The One We've Been Waiting For!

Here's an update from Ann...


Today was like a dream come true. I keep looking at Rose and imagine her spending the rest of her life with us--it is indescribable how incredible that feels. It is always an amazing thing to know a child through pictures and then get to see them in real life, where every little facial features shows. It is the difference 3d makes! She is even more beautiful in real life!

Rose came right to us, smiling but nervous. She has done amazingly well, going out to dinner and interacting with the family.

Rose is so incredibly sweet! I can't wait for the day I can hug her and hold her and have her feel comfortable with it--she allows hugs now but I don't want to scare her. She is definitely bonding with her two sisters. They are all laying in bed together as I type this.

Rose had her first bath tonight. I am fairly certain she has never had a bath in a western tub before. She was modest and yet needed help so she kept wrapped in the shower curtain while I helped her wash her hair. Once she realized it was okay to sit down in the water she let out a sigh of wonder and enjoyed the warmth of the deep water. She is now wearing the pink ballerina pajamas that I bought for her--the first piece of clothing I bought after we were matched.

The phrase that comes to mind is, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life." We are truly blessed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

From Vietnam to Guangzhou

We are all together now in Guangzhou--minus Will and C, it makes me sad they cannot be here with us!  We miss you guys and are thinking of you! 

Our plane ride from Vietnam was uneventful and seemed so short at "only" three hours!

While waiting for the Beijing crew to join us, the boys and I did some sightseeing and found a market that sold every type of grain you can imagine, and also things like dried seahorses, dried bees, and bats on a stick.  We passed on those. 



We also found Starbucks!





Tonight, we enjoyed an interesting dinner at a Thai restaurant that served over 100 different dishes including pigs feet and shark fin soup.  We passed on those too with french fries being the most popular dish!




It is quiet here, with the streets having a park-like atmosphere. 




Our rooms are working out well, although they are not adjoining, and each room has a king-sized bed.  The blow-up mattresses that we ordered ahead of time were delivered and are now blown up and in full use!  (You just KNOW we weren't going to buy THREE rooms if we didn't have to!)

We had our pre-placement meeting today, getting instructions about the big day tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  Can't believe the day has finally arrived!  We are told Rose is nervous, but also excited.  We were also told that our guide asked her, in English, what her new last name was and she said our last name!   

We leave here at 2pm tomorrow and will meet Rose about 3:00.  EXCITING!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beijing

Pics of the crew in Beijing.