Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!







Happy New Years everyone. We have had a great day. My sister and niece were in town and we took the kids to the children's museum here and town and The Queen had a great time. Her attention span is wonderful. The kids in our group would run to a room, start to play something in there and after 5-10 minutes they were done and ready to move on. Not the Queen. She would stay and til she thoroughly investigated everything. Then she would move on. She loved the art room and made a bean shaker and a beaded bracelet (her choice). Then we went to play on a bus and she loved being the driver and from there she sat in a dentist chair and like all kids that was for only a second. But then she found the science station where you could mix colored water to make new colors and she spent about 30-40 minutes at that station. And then onto the stage and lights where she found dress up clothes. My sister and niece brought The Queen a hand-me-down princess dress this weekend and fell in love with dress up. So the remainder of our time was in the stage area in a pink gown and she worked fiercely with finding stuff to fill a purse she found in a bin. She took a piece of gold cloth and folded it neatly and placed it into her purse. One of the many skills she learned in her former life. We definitely don't want to lose that valuable skill, I could use that around here, lol.




Prior to our celebration this evening we all went to Moe's to eat but stopped to pick up The Queen some Chow Mai Fun noodles. She chowed down. She couldn't shove those things in fast enough and had me fill her plate again. And she was using chop sticks. I can use chop sticks but not that fast. She is really cute using those things too. After dinner we came to the house and the kids had fun with hats, horns, and some party poppers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It All Comes Down to Poop

Yes I said it, poop. One of the very first things our guide in Changsha taught us was the Chinese word for poop, baba which is also the same word for daddy. Remember my Chinese lesson, it all boils down to the accent. Anyway nothing sets her off like bodily functions. She fits in with the boys just fine. She is just like them, she can pick up on it in a movie or tv show as quick as any boy. Plus she will say one of our names and makes the gassy sound as if she is claiming we did something.
But today was the day of all days!!!! I had to collect a stool sample. We went to the doc yesterday to get a checkup and only had to get 2 shots. She did great, really better than in the clinic in China, a more soothing atmostphere and all the physicians there are females (you know how she feels about males). And I picked this office out, or I should say God picked it out, before we ever brought her home. Anyway I was put in charge of collecting a stool sample. I almost posted today, but never got to it, to ask everyones opinion on just how to do this. You know they say it must go into the cup directly so you get a sterile sample. Come on, we are talking poop, how sterile can this be? My sister came in town today and she told me how to do and said no way to avoid a sterile sample so I just didn't worry about that part.
Now the biggie was getting her to go so I could collect it. This is a child that llikes to pass gas with her mouth, that is make the sounds constantly always adding one of our names to it so as if to say we did it. Anyway the reason I was going to post was the fact that when she said she needed to go, well I just put that cup behind her so I could catch it. Well The Queen sitting on her throne, decided she didn't need to go after all, and you know, she held it all day long. She was going to bed and was going to hold on to it!!! Wonder how long she could have held out. She is going to hate me one day for this post. Finally some brain cells clicked in. No really I was just flying by the seat of my pants. I took off her nail polish for the pictures on Monday and she started pointing to her toe nails and babbling in Chinese. Well I knew what this meant, she wanted some polish on them again. So I told her the best I could. Queen, you baba and mama will put that polish on asap. So I asked one last time, Queen baba? Yes, she shook her head up and down yes!!!!!! It worked, I bribed her, yup I bribed her with nail polish. She sat on her throne and I collected my job and then we did nails. While drying them she said shia shia mama = thank you mama. I told her I loved her and she said I love you back. We went from a stubborn Queen Bee to a loving little princess. She was on cloud nine. Cloud nine doesn't mean smiles, she doesn't frown, she is just too shy to show big smiles when on the spot. But for her to say affectionate things without telling her to say them, well that was huge. Who can believe that we could bond over baBa? Me!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009





















Here are some pics of our Christma morning. Nothing special, just us in our PJ's.

Friday, December 25, 2009

M.I.A.

Yes we have been missing in action these days. Jet lag has been hard on me and the kids. The kids and I slept 12 hours the first 3 nights and DH would make us get up or we could have kept on. What finally got us out of our funk was a friend called and invited us to a playdate at Ch*c-f*l-a and lunch. So the kids were quite up for that. She has 2 little girls from China that they love playing with and by the end of our time someone else had joined in the play. W. was a little scared of the playland area and the noise but after we ate she went back in and Jadyn pulled her up into the play area and Miata had her sliding in no time. From then on Miata and the boys were her sliding buddies and she always came down the slide with a smile. I am glad she took to the girls because they can watch for her on the playground at school.

We did experience our first sign of a racial putdown. I was not expecting it and was quite taken aback by it. I was not expecting it sooooo soon. While playing on the playground at our playdate, 2 bigger boys came in and once when she was going up the stairs to the slide one boy leaned against the net and started making like baby babble, to the tune of like nanny nanny boo boo. And his face was not smiling either, more a mean look. I think he was making fun of her Chinese babbling. When she gets excited about something her Chinese comes out and she goes on and on in Chinese even though she knows we don't know it, so at that point that meant she was having a very good time with her brothers and the friends we met with. Now mom was not handling this too well. W. didn't notice too much or she seemed to ignore the boy, but mom wanted to punch him or tell him off but instead held her tongue because really I was in shock and thankful at that point that she won't be going to public school (and Lord willing we will continue to be able to afford it always). But my friend finally and very kindly said something to him in a matter of fact way.

Christmas has been so special with her this year. On Christmas Eve we met my mom and had lunch then DH and I took the kids to see a movie. W. had a balloon from lunch and half way the movie she let it go accidentally. She looked like she was going to cry but she held it and would glance up at the balloon every so often. But after the movie we ran back and got her another one, how crushing it would be to have your very first helium balloon at age 5 and lose it that way. She was quite happy. We then ran and did a couple of errands and came home and baked 3 kinds of cookies. The girl likes to cook and moreover she has learned that she loves the batter. She even loved that to lick the beaters after mashed potatoes today. She found that she likes peanut butter cookies, sugar, and chocolate chip cookies, but peanut butter are her favorite. Then after she had some noodles and we snacked we ran out to see a cousins lights and let them meet "The Queen". At bedtime we did our Christmas Eve tradition, we lit candles, had hot chocolate, cookies and daddy read the Bible story of Jesus birth in Luke. At first The Queen was nervous when we turned out the lights and lit the candles but once she saw the hot choc and cookies she settled in and followed along. She seemed to like that family time. Then we always come up with some Christmas games to play, this year it was J's turn to come up with the games and he did a great job. And then off to bed. We have been working all week with her sleeping in her own bed. That is just something we have to do, we cannot commit to her sleeping in our bed, that is something we never did with the boys either. We are committed to working with her on this and staying in as long as we need or coming in during the night and laying on the floor to help her. It has gotten better each night. She was asleep in 15 min. on Christmas Eve, we couldn't believe it. Her favorite thing still is for me to stroke her face and look into her eyes. I have read that looking into their eyes is a great bonding tool, many do it while giving their adopted child a baby bottle because that is how a baby bonds with the parent. I have tried this since she loves to gaze into my eyes but she is really not into it, she knows about tending to babies (it is obvious by how she plays with her dolls) and she giggles like this is not right I am too old. But we do gaze at bedtime and she loves it.

Christmas Day was great also. We all slept til 10am. She awoke at 4something and we did let her in our bed then so the boys could sleep in. We had breakfast at noon and supper at 6pm. Christmas was smaller this year since we went to China for part of it but everyone loved what they got and were pleased. DH and I got a new little girl for our Christmas. The boys got their usual video games, clothes and sports stuff. The Queen got a kitchen set combo from T*rget and a tea set, a cradle with a doll in it. She loved everything and soon as she got the tea set out it had to come from the box and she immediately started playing. Then she got all her dolls in the cradle and would get one out to the table to eat. I have to brag on this cradle. I searched everywhere for a doll bed and you know those things are crazy expensive and they are not even wood but plastic or chip board. Then at a church party the ladies said don't buy one let us look in our attics and my friend Susan came the next day to church with the perfect doll cradle and it was wood. I had some pink flannel at home and planned to then make a doll blanket for the cradle but I am not really a sewer and wanted to make a mattress or something for the cradle. Then I remembered a lady at church that IS sewer and asked if she could make some kind of mattress for it. She said she would and asked if she could make a bumper pad too. What YES of course!!!! Let me tell you it is absolutely beautiful. She made a bumper pad, pillow, and a blanket trimmed in lace. I had no idea how beautiful it would have turned out, it looks like something you see at an expensive store worth $500!!! And I had no idea when I got that flannel what it would end up for, it has vines with small hot pink flowers on the vine. Just enough to make it looks so sweet for those babydolls. When I can I will upload a pic of it. Being off schedule keeps me from blogging these days. Hopefully when she sleeps better and we are on schedule I can post some pics of last days in China and Xmas.

The Queen is getting very close to her daddy these days too. When he committed one night to sitting with her while I did some sleeping, she learned a little then that he is not so bad. He was able to sing to her and calm her down then the next night I worked with her but she awoke at 5am so he got up with her that time and they spent a lot of quality time together playing, reading books and eating breakfast and that time did it. She now comes to her daddy and drags him somewhere to play with her and she lets him touch/hug or kiss her cheek, feed her, help her with boo boos etc. She pretty much comes to either of us now, but when it is really bad, well then it is still mama. We have learned though that when a female friend puts out their hand for her to go along with them she will go, so we have to watch that til we know she is fully bonded with us. She has done this with several friends /family people. I know they get excited but it hurts us from time to time to see that she will go with a complete stranger to her so easily so that just lets us know that fully commited to us. But we know she is growing closer each day.

Have a great end of 2009 year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FIRST!!!

Well another day of first with Wen Li.  Tonight we decided we needed to spend up our RMB's since we can't convert them at the hotel and have to do it with the guide and what better way to spend $$ but on dessert and coffee/hot chocolate at Starbucks.  And we get the use of their free Wifi.  Usually she is glued to my side whenever we go some place strange but not tonight.  Since I am the one that does the ordering here (I have that gift of communication even if I don't know the language) and while I was in line and they were getting a seat, I told her to go with Baba and she DID IT.  She stayed with the boys the whole time I was in line waiting on the drinks.  She also blew into her straw for the first time (instead of sucking) and blew hot chocolate all over her nice white blouse, we laughed and she laughed.  She fixed my hair in the room for the first time, into 3 pony tails, lol.  She ate spaghetti for the first time tonight and loved it, especially the meatballs (which is good since we like italian and she doesn't like pizza).
And those wonderful gold beads that she loves and has worn since day one, well she was playing with them tonight at dinner and broke them.  But she seems ok, but she tried to hide it til I asked her where they were.  And last night, she put me to sleep instead of me putting her to sleep.  I was so sleepy since I had been up since 4am.  She stroked my cheek over and over and kissed me several times on the forehead just like I do her when she goes to sleep.  The girl is a quick learner!  She is so sweet and is just blending in more and more everyday.  And she is really starting to take to the males in the household more and more.  She seems more comfortable with them each day.  She lets her daddy pick her up and twirl her and helps her touch the ceiling. These are bonding moments and she loves the.
We are ready to be home but dreading our long long trip!!!!!!!!!  I dread re-entry into the time zone.  I am finally on China time and it has taken me over a week to get there.  Now to go back will be hard.  Jet lag makes me woozy for days!  And we have a 4 hour bus trip to Hong Kong where we will have to go through customs twice.  Once on the bus as we enter Hong Kong.  We will have to get off with all our luggage and go through customs then we have to get back on the bus and travel to the airport for customs again.  The issue will be for us is to make sure we get on the correct bus at the first check point since we will have no guide us.  But there will be 4 families so hopefully we can watch out for each other.
And the boys made another families blog.  Meilynn, a chinese daughter with another family picking up their son, made friends with the boys and called them her "boys."  Well they made the blog as "her boys."  We have made many friends and that is the sad part of leaving.  But it will be Christmas when we get home and we get to bring our daughter home so we have lots to look forward to.  See you all soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From Down to Up

Hey!  This is Chris.  My first time sending to the blog.  Natalie is very tired after a day filled with downs and ups.  I say it that way because when Wen Li got up this morning we could tell she was heading to a melt down.  Sure enough, by mid-day, she had an hour long melt down that she just couldn't stop crying.  By the end she probably had forgotten how it started.  Thankfully, the down turned to up before the end of the day.
 
After her outburst, we went to the US Consulate and took our oath.  That means all she has to do is step on the ground at Newark Friday and she is a U.S. citizen.  When we all (many families) finished the oath, the administrator congratulated us all.  We clapped and began hugging and kissing Wen Li.  The amazing thing . . . she let us!!!  It was as if she knew something special happened.  The rest of the day was great.  In fact, this evening I had my first dance with my new daughter.  She finally asked me to pick her up and she wrapped herself around me and let me play with her in my arms.  I made some la la's for music and twirled her around off the ground.  It was great.  She wanted more but the only tune I could come up with was the theme from the Adams Family.  That's right.  Our second dance was to a TV theme song!!!  But it was funny and she laughed a lot.  Later, she put barets (sp.) in the boys hair.  What a way to end a day!
 
We are so ready to go home.  We get her visa tomorrow and leave here for Hong Kong at 5 am.  Our flight should head out around 11:30 Hong Kong time.  It will be a long day/night/day....however you want to look at it that's what it will be.
 
We will be busy tomorrow night getting ready so this might be our last update.  Natalie might get on but I doubt it.  Check anyway.  We miss everyone back home and can't wait to see you all.  Wen Li is shy and doesn't like to be touched by me some days so please understand that you might have to admire at a distance for awhile.  It's hard for me so I understand.
 
That's it.  My first and only entry of the trip.  A pajama clad Alex and I are going to leave Starbucks and head back upstairs for bed.
 
God bless you all!
 
Chris (and Alex)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Update 2

Tomorrow we have a group photo taken at 10:30 am and then at 2:30 we go to the consulate for swearing for pictures made and then swearing in on Thursday.
Wen Li is doing so well.  We can't believe the difference a week makes.  Last week at this time she was shell shocked, scared, stiff, and void of smiles.  Now she lets me hold her freely, I kiss on her freely, hug her freely, and tell her I love her all the time.  She repeats it back to me freely when she wants to, she molds to me, she kisses back when she feels like it, she tries out her new language when she feels like it.  And to see her laugh, cracks us up. She giggles and throws her head back or forwards and puts her hand over her mouth when she laughs.  And she loves to tease us, for example, we have lemongrass lotion in this hotel and she likes for me and herself to rub it on our hands after we wash them, she now has had baba do it too.  WE always smell it once it is on because it smells just like lemon.  When baba had it on and she would sniff his she would make a noise like it stinks and then throws that head back and laughs because she knows it is silly.  And tonight, sharing her fries with us.  Huge!!!  I can tell that in her orphanage she never felt hunger pains.  Orphanage kids that have will hoard food or don't know when to stop eating.  That is never an issue for her ever.  And the lotion thing, it seems that someone has done lotion with her before because she has a particular way of rubbing it in.  I squirt a dab on her palm and then she dips her finger in and puts a dab on each side of her 2 hands and then rubs in.  She also has a great attention span.  The kids in our group that are around her age seem to have trouble with this and with boundaries like grabbing other people or their belongings.  Not Wen Li.  She can play with her dolls for an our or more.  and she likes to try out new English words, but many times on her terms.  And she doesn't like to watch tv.  I was given the impression that they do this alot in the orphanage, her bio even said she liked to.  I can tell she does not like tv.  She is never drawn to it, even if we try to put it on a Chinese cartoon, she can take it or leave it and mostly it is just leave it.  I do think she stood in the tub for a bath though because she likes to do this with me.  She has learned though that she can lay on her tummy and just splash and splash.  One thing though is she doesn't like strange noises, but that is expected.  She is not scared of the doorbell though (yes our hotels have all had doorbells) but if the boys burp that gets her or she dies laughing.  When the tub drains out and makes a gurgling noise, she jumps out fast.  About her dolls, she loves to dress and redress them and she would probably like barbies for that reason but I am afraid she might put the small objects like shoes in her mouth, not that she does that but I have found a small small barrett in her mouth once, I am sure she was doing like babies and using it as a way to feel it and learn about it but I wouldn't trust her with small small tiny obects for right now.  And she is dying for me to paint her nails, she studies mine and then points to hers but I don't have it with me and I can't find it here in Guangzhou.  Found it in Changsha but it was $$ there.
Today she gave out hugs and kisses to me so freely I was in shock.  She even said I love you in Chinese and English quite a few times today, shock shock.  She even threw her arms around me and kissed me once today but lots of just kisses today.  I can't believe a week ago how different she was.  And she is getting more and more at ease with her baba around.  She doesn't reach out to him but she doesn't push him away like earlier this past week.  We had dinner with 2 other familes last night and they has adopted before and explained how their kids rejected baba and males for over 6 months and how they handled it.  It was just what Chris and I needed to hear and that helped alot.  So the progress we saw even today was exciting. 
She really is a smart little thing.  She has such a sense of humor and loves to tease.  She cracks us up.  But she is very sensitive to even the slightest little bump like how we run into a table or something, that sends her into major sobbing.  But even that is an improvement from last week.  Last week she was void of the correct emotion for situations.  Like she fell off the bed and kids usually cry, she would laugh.  If she bumped something, she would laugh, just the wrong response.  But not now she cries.  But she also has a whiney cry if the boys touch her so we are having to teach them to back off and not crowd her so.  But I have to say we pray our night time prayers and then she loves to go with us to tuck them in and she alwasy kisses them goodnight, so they love this routine with her.  The boys are doing well, they just want to get their hands on her so much but she is not ready for that, they have to wait on her terms not theirs.  But it gets better each day.  And she just has the best disposition.  And she is still the girly girl.  Loves her bows and barretts and her necklace.  She puts that thing on every morning.  I bought her a new one, actually it came free with some shoes I bought her and now that is her new favorite necklace.  Can't wait to put a dress on her.  I have put her in a chinese dress and she was a cutie.  I even have a jacket to match it.
Will try to update tomorrow evening.  Good thing I love Starbucks!

update

Hey things are going well.  Better and better each day.  Today she has been so loving, giving kisses and hugs freely.  Especially to me without even asking.  Once she even came up and threw her arms around my neck.  At dinner tonight we went to McDonalds next door and she would dip a fry in ketchup and then she would take turns feeding each one of us.  What a change from one week ago.
Today we bought her and Alex a pair of Nike tennis shoes and paid only $18 usd for them, woohoo.
 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Update from Guangzhou

Today is Tuesday for us and we are having to sit in our room this morning while Amy and Linaker go for our interviews this morning.  If there is a question then they will call us.  If all is well then we have sat there for nothing but that is ok.  After that is a free day.  Not sure what we will do but hate to stay in the room all day but it require paying for a taxi, which is cheap when converted into US dollars but sounds expensive when you spend their money.

Yesterday we had our follow up on the TB test which was fine, didn't even have to do a chest x-ray which was even better because she burst into tears again when we entered the clinic even though Amy explained to her what we were doing.  Everyone in the group felt so bad for her they moved her to the front of the line just to get her out.  We then shopped and looked around Shamian Island.  It really could remind you of Charleston with the buildings and palms except that everything is under construction.  Every building is covered in some green cloth and has scaffolding around them.  The scaffolding is made of bamboo.  Anyway Guangzhou will be hosting the Asia games next year so they are sprucing everything up.  They are tearing buildings in half to add new roads and stuff.  After shopping we ate at the best Italian place that is fairly new I heard.  Dolce La Vita and it is the authentic stuff, great pizza.

Wen Li is doing well.  She had some temperament yesterday but was just testing her boundaries and nothing that wasn't handable, is that a word.  She went to sleep the same way again, a great bonding time.  And she woke up in a great mood.  BTW she doesn't like pizza but she likes spaghetti.  She is still glued to my side even here in Starbucks.

Last night she pulled out all her doll clothes and pretended to wash and rinse them and then proceeded to lay them out and dry them on the back of the chair.  I guess I need to get her upstairs to fold those clothes and dress those babies now.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

PS

We just figured out that when we arrive in Wilmington we will have been up 42 hours straight!!!!!  Leave Guangzhou at 5am Friday, to Hong Kong, catch a flight to Newark, layover 5hours, flight to RDU and then drive to Wilmington!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  42 hours y'all!!!!  Hoping we can sleep on that international flight but I only slept 45 mins on the way over?

Roller Coaster Day! Sat 12/12/09

Hey!! It has been one roller coaster of a day for Wen Li and us too.  Not that that means it was a bad thing because it wasn't, we have made major progress with bonding and attachment issues.
We left our hotel in Changsha at 5:30pm and headed to the airport for an 8pm flight out.  We got stuck in 2 major traffic jams, and you know I have described the traffic here so that was pretty bad.  We almost didn't make it in time.  But once we got there and luggage in, we then found out that our flight was delayed until 9pm.  We left our guide and went through the gates to discover our friend that we celebrated birthdays with and some other families so that was a great time!  We arrived in Guangzhou about 11pm and at our hotel after midnight.  There was one other family in our group with a late flight and it was one that we have grown close to so we were excited to spend some time catching up with them on the ride to the hotel.  Our hotel is GREAT!!! and more Americanized, and good food, and McDonalds right next door, and Starbucks in the shopping area connected to the hotel.  Internet is NOT FREE!! So I am in Starbucks doing my update.  Therefore all of you Skyping us, well that is over for the week.  Sorry but too public a place to do that.
We had to rise early and meet in the lobby for an 8:30 doctors visit for Wen Li, check up and shots prior to leaving China.  So we had to shower and eat before that and had to have all paperwork ready for the appointment so I got to bed late, just getting stuff ready for the day.  Then we are always afraid that our alarm is not going to work and so I didn't sleep either.  I kept waking up every hour checking the time.  (the family we rode with from the airport, she does the same thing, I think that is why we hit it off, we are alike).  I have to tell you why the clock phobia, it is all in military time, so when we see 00:36 it blows your mind.  Makes it hard to set it and not constantly second guess your ability to set an alarm.  Turns out Chris set it but he never turned it on so I was right in not sleeping, ugggg. 
SO we went for that dreaded check up!!!  Every one knows the babies get shots on this trip, even if their record is up to date, they automatically get H1N1, TB test and something else.  But depending on your orphanage if they got the cheap shots you can be in for more.  Some babies got 7 & 8 shots today.  Wen Li only got 4 + the TB.  But our girl is so smart.  We walked into the place and she instantly recognized what place this was.  She got the biggest crocodile tears in her eyes that Chris and I couldn't help but tear up too, it just broke our hearts.  The family that I have mentioned above, the grandparents are with them and they took their granddaughter and the boys for a walk and they didn't have to experience all that.  For the visit you go through 3 stations and then on to the shots.  The stations are simple.  The first was listening to her chest and looking in her throat and ears.  Wen Li lost it at that point.  She shed more tears than we have ever seen, but she never left my lap.  She just wimpered so lowly, she was totally pitiful.  It broke all the other families hearts too.  Next we had her hearing checked. They play a note on an electric piano and and squeak a toy behind her to see if she turns.  Third station is vision.  They have to trace a shape in a book and do a vision chart by holding hands in the correct direction as the chart.  When I saw the other kids doing it I knew right away there was no way she would do it.  She is so totally shy around others outside of our room.  She won't even talk to a Chinese person or our guides.  And true to fashion she just sat there in my lap wimpering.  I had to call our guide over to explain how shy she is and that she won't talk or do anything for strangers.  They were concerned she wasn't talking but I cleared that up since our drama queen holds conversations on the remote control and does the whole flipping the hair and giggling while on it.  So they just skipped that and sent us to shots.  She had to get 4 shots.  As they started the first one she was crying so hard she threw up.  But that did not deter them and she never flinched.  She took it so brave, she cried but was brave.  She probably cried another 10 min. afterwards but her daddy had bought her favorite candy at Walmart for her and put a piece of that in her hand and she finally opened that and the crying was over.  Back on the bus, I told her in Chinese to repeat me and she spoke 6 new English words.  She was very good at it.  But that was it on her new language for the rest of the day.
After the doctors visits we went to the Friendship Store, which is a 7 story department store in Guangzhou with everything.  We stocked up on a few snack items and I bought her a pair of white soft leather Sunday shoes, only about $20usd, 138rmb dollars.  I had to you know, saves me a trip when we get back if we try to take her to church that first Sunday home.  But while buying our snacks she had a total meltdown.  I had to hand her to Chris while I bought the food.  She screamed all the way down from the 4th floor and then wimpered for most of the trip back to the hotel.  But once back, she was an angel the rest of the day.  It really thrust us forward quite a bit, despite the meltdowns and wimpering, she has grown closer today to all of us.  Here are some examples, since she usually won't let the boys and Chris do much for her...
I had to go to a paper party in the afternoon at 3:30 and we knew that wouldn't be easy since I am her safety net.  So we all went to the guides' room and Amy explained to her what I had to do and she left with the boys.  She didn't want to, but she bravely walked away with them and they took her to a play room.  She did just fine!  When I got done I went to the room and they had just returned themselves so it was great timing.  She spent the afternoon pretending to be one of the boys by putting on their shoes or toboggans and she would march in and just laugh.  She is really so much fun.
Later we and our friends went to McDonalds for dinner, yum yum!!!!  Then it was back to the room for baths and early bed since we got off schedule due to flight and early appointment.  Chris and I have a king bed and we are putting her between us.  I had her by myself in Changsha since we didn't have connecting rooms.  Anyway, I usually stroke her forehead and cheek and then when I stop she will reach over and hold my hand or arm.  Well tonight I had stopped and waited for her to hold my hand, instead she reached over, grabbed my hand and forced me to stroke her cheek some more.  I don't mean one or 2 times, she did it over and over for about 20 times, my shoulder ached from having to hold it up in an awkward angle.  But that is how she fell asleep, with me stroking her face softly.  Sometimes when she is playing with her babydoll, I will see her do the same to it.  So sweet she is.
Oh today on the bus, she took her purse with her baby stuffed in it.  I had given her some gum and I saw her take small piece of her gum off and she tried to give it to her baby.  I had to stop that one but normally I don't, I have seen her feed it a grain of rice.  She is just too cute.  And she has learned to love the bathtub.  We have this great big tub and well wet room.  You have a glass wall and class door you enter into and you are standing in the shower and right behind it is the tub, but there is no wall or class seperating the two, so if you are in the tub splashing it just splashes into the shower.  So you can freely play.  Plus there is a window on the other side of the tub that looks into the room.  Anyway, she felt so free in there that she started splashing and singing to the top of her lungs and before I knew it she was on her belly like she was swimming. And this is a girl that is scared of water.  She really showed signs of being comfortable with us today and we are so glad.  I was talking with our guide Amy about her being so shy, even with our guide in Changsha and other Chinese people that speak her language and she explained that Wen Li is probably fearing that one of them will take her from us and take her back to the orphanage.  That that is a typical behavior of a child when they feel that way.  So that was also encouraging to hear.
I don't think I have told you about her fear of the water.  When we visited the pool in Changsha, the boys just jumped in and when she saw that pool and them splashing she took off running the other way.  I had to catch her, so I just held her and we watched and then went up to the room while they stayed.  We also saw many lakes and rivers at the Changsha Park and she would start fretting whenever we would get near or have to cross a bridge so I had to have the guide explain to her that we would never cause her harm in that way.  Well today when we left the clinic, we all had to wait across the street until the group was done.  We had to wait beside a river (canal) and there was no guard rail at all.  She didn't act scared a bit, not even shen we had to walk beside it to the bus.  So that also showed a great deal of trust with us.
We are just amazed at how well she is doing with us and how she is growing to trust us more and more and how she is just coming to life around us.  She has power struggles from time to time like the meltdown in the store, but she comes out of it even closer to us and that is what just amazes us even more.  We just love her to death.  And she is quite the card.  She loves to

Hide-n-seek! Keep it short and sweet.

Short  and sweet and to the point.  Wen Li has had  a great day.  She only tested me once out today and that was because she insist on sitting on the front row of the bus behind the driver to look out and wants to stand up and since driving is crazy in China, I can't because she will hit the bar if slings us.  But it wasn't too rough and she listened.  We had a great time at a Chinese tea room and sightseeing at Chen Museum/home.  We came back to the room to snack/lunch and relax and decided to venture out to Shamian Island on our own for dinner and shopping with friends.  While relaxing we were watching late night with Conan.  I know it wasn't midnight here, lol.  Anyway I tried to get her to lay down by me for a nap or to lets play but she just stood at the end of the bed.  Finally I pulled her into me as I sat on the edge of the bed (and this was all in a 20 min. period) and when I did she came and molded into me and burst into silent crocodile tears.  I have no idea what was going through her little mind, it broke our hearts.  But I know she needed to do that, it is part of that healing process, to grieve and move on.  But I will say, she never once rejected me or my touch or my consoling at all.  She just let me hold her and love on her and kiss on her.  The men could not touch her at this time.  Later I saw her take her doll and change it clothes, pretend to wash them and while she was redressing that baby she leaned over and kissed it on the head like I do.  That was huge y'all.  Anyway, back to the story.  We decided to head over to Shamian early since she was sad.  We found some great deals.  Bought me, Chris, Joshua and Wen Li all mandarin style silk outfits for 200rmb (that would be about 30 usd) and she threw in a toy for each of the kids.  Then at a street vendor I found Wen Li another Chinese baby doll.  We felt she needed something new that she could hold, touch and play with.  We had not bought her anything til that dress.  She held the bag and would peak in but never took it out til dinner time and she had me take it out of the package.  It had a doll baby on the back of the mom doll.  I told her it was mama and Wen Li. Well that was the wrong thing today.  She no longer would play with the mama doll, lol.  Only the baby Wen Li.  But she is very gentle with her dolls, but hey this is a girl that has taken care all week of her party city beads.  Later in the evening, she kept doing the same action over and over til Chris figured out she was trying to play hide-n-seek.  We ended up playing for over an hour.  And she learned to start counting in English to 10.  It is obvious that they played it in the orphanage because she appeared to be counting in Chinese and said ready or not hear I come.  This was the best bonding time with the entire family.  Tonight after our family prayer time, Chris and I hugged each boy, this time she went to them and hugged them each too.  Major break through, all on her own initiation.  She is getting more and more comfortable with us.  It is like watching a flower bloom a little more each day.

Oh and some have asked her size.  Well 4T's fit but look like they won't fit much longer.  I thought 5's were too big but turns out the fit fine, if they aren't pants.  The pants I have are 5's and once I adjusted the waist to the last loop on both sides she has been able to wear them, they fit fine in the length but they are still too big in the waist so we tuck the shirt in trying to fill that gap.  But she manages.

Tomorrow we go back to the clinic for the TB reading, but it looks good so we shouldn't have to get a chest x-ray.  But prayer for her because just the sight of it she will break down into tears and that will kill us.

Tonight when she went to sleep she let her Baba rub her hair while she fell asleep and I tried not to stroke her but hold her hand and she was fine with that til it was right time to shut the eyes and then she put my hand to her face but I don't think I stroked her face more than 5 times and she was out.  But while Chris was stroking her, she took my arm and stroked my arm for me.  This child has really come out of her shell with us a little more each day and it is wonderful.  She has the best personality.  And she loves to joke around.

And a quick Chinese lesson.  Be careful if you try to call Chris baba.  The first Ba goes up high and the last one falls down.  If you do it reverse with the first low and the second goes up you are saying "poop" and we wouldn't want to point and him and call him poop to her!  Ma also has 4 different meanings but I don't remember but the emphasis is the same as baba's.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Guangzhou Day 1

Hey!! It has been one roller coaster of a day for Wen Li and us too.  Not that that means it was a bad thing because it wasn't, we have made major progress with bonding and attachment issues.
We left our hotel in Changsha at 5:30pm and headed to the airport for an 8pm flight out.  We got stuck in 2 major traffic jams, and you know I have described the traffic here so that was pretty bad.  We almost didn't make it in time.  But once we got there and luggage in, we then found out that our flight was delayed until 9pm.  We left our guide and went through the gates to discover our friend that we celebrated birthdays with and some other families so that was a great time!  We arrived in Guangzhou about 11pm and at our hotel after midnight.  There was one other family in our group with a late flight and it was one that we have grown close to so we were excited to spend some time catching up with them on the ride to the hotel.  Our hotel is GREAT!!! and more Americanized, and good food, and McDonalds right next door, and Starbucks in the shopping area connected to the hotel.  Internet is NOT FREE!! So I am in Starbucks doing my update.  Therefore all of you Skyping us, well that is over for the week.  Sorry but too public a place to do that.
We had to rise early and meet in the lobby for an 8:30 doctors visit for Wen Li, check up and shots prior to leaving China.  So we had to shower and eat before that and had to have all paperwork ready for the appointment so I got to bed late, just getting stuff ready for the day.  Then we are always afraid that our alarm is not going to work and so I didn't sleep either.  I kept waking up every hour checking the time.  (the family we rode with from the airport, she does the same thing, I think that is why we hit it off, we are alike).  I have to tell you why the clock phobia, it is all in military time, so when we see 00:36 it blows your mind.  Makes it hard to set it and not constantly second guess your ability to set an alarm.  Turns out Chris set it but he never turned it on so I was right in not sleeping, ugggg. 
SO we went for that dreaded check up!!!  Every one knows the babies get shots on this trip, even if their record is up to date, they automatically get H1N1, TB test and something else.  But depending on your orphanage if they got the cheap shots you can be in for more.  Some babies got 7 & 8 shots today.  Wen Li only got 4 + the TB.  But our girl is so smart.  We walked into the place and she instantly recognized what place this was.  She got the biggest crocodile tears in her eyes that Chris and I couldn't help but tear up too, it just broke our hearts.  The family that I have mentioned above, the grandparents are with them and they took their granddaughter and the boys for a walk and they didn't have to experience all that.  For the visit you go through 3 stations and then on to the shots.  The stations are simple.  The first was listening to her chest and looking in her throat and ears.  Wen Li lost it at that point.  She shed more tears than we have ever seen, but she never left my lap.  She just wimpered so lowly, she was totally pitiful.  It broke all the other families hearts too.  Next we had her hearing checked. They play a note on an electric piano and and squeak a toy behind her to see if she turns.  Third station is vision.  They have to trace a shape in a book and do a vision chart by holding hands in the correct direction as the chart.  When I saw the other kids doing it I knew right away there was no way she would do it.  She is so totally shy around others outside of our room.  She won't even talk to a Chinese person or our guides.  And true to fashion she just sat there in my lap wimpering.  I had to call our guide over to explain how shy she is and that she won't talk or do anything for strangers.  They were concerned she wasn't talking but I cleared that up since our drama queen holds conversations on the remote control and does the whole flipping the hair and giggling while on it.  So they just skipped that and sent us to shots.  She had to get 4 shots.  As they started the first one she was crying so hard she threw up.  But that did not deter them and she never flinched.  She took it so brave, she cried but was brave.  She probably cried another 10 min. afterwards but her daddy had bought her favorite candy at Walmart for her and put a piece of that in her hand and she finally opened that and the crying was over.  Back on the bus, I told her in Chinese to repeat me and she spoke 6 new English words.  She was very good at it.  But that was it on her new language for the rest of the day.
After the doctors visits we went to the Friendship Store, which is a 7 story department store in Guangzhou with everything.  We stocked up on a few snack items and I bought her a pair of white soft leather Sunday shoes, only about $20usd, 138rmb dollars.  I had to you know, saves me a trip when we get back if we try to take her to church that first Sunday home.  But while buying our snacks she had a total meltdown.  I had to hand her to Chris while I bought the food.  She screamed all the way down from the 4th floor and then wimpered for most of the trip back to the hotel.  But once back, she was an angel the rest of the day.  It really thrust us forward quite a bit, despite the meltdowns and wimpering, she has grown closer today to all of us.  Here are some examples, since she usually won't let the boys and Chris do much for her...
I had to go to a paper party in the afternoon at 3:30 and we knew that wouldn't be easy since I am her safety net.  So we all went to the guides' room and Amy explained to her what I had to do and she left with the boys.  She didn't want to, but she bravely walked away with them and they took her to a play room.  She did just fine!  When I got done I went to the room and they had just returned themselves so it was great timing.  She spent the afternoon pretending to be one of the boys by putting on their shoes or toboggans and she would march in and just laugh.  She is really so much fun.
Later we and our friends went to McDonalds for dinner, yum yum!!!!  Then it was back to the room for baths and early bed since we got off schedule due to flight and early appointment.  Chris and I have a king bed and we are putting her between us.  I had her by myself in Changsha since we didn't have connecting rooms.  Anyway, I usually stroke her forehead and cheek and then when I stop she will reach over and hold my hand or arm.  Well tonight I had stopped and waited for her to hold my hand, instead she reached over, grabbed my hand and forced me to stroke her cheek some more.  I don't mean one or 2 times, she did it over and over for about 20 times, my shoulder ached from having to hold it up in an awkward angle.  But that is how she fell asleep, with me stroking her face softly.  Sometimes when she is playing with her babydoll, I will see her do the same to it.  So sweet she is.
Oh today on the bus, she took her purse with her baby stuffed in it.  I had given her some gum and I saw her take small piece of her gum off and she tried to give it to her baby.  I had to stop that one but normally I don't, I have seen her feed it a grain of rice.  She is just too cute.  And she has learned to love the bathtub.  We have this great big tub and well wet room.  You have a glass wall and class door you enter into and you are standing in the shower and right behind it is the tub, but there is no wall or class seperating the two, so if you are in the tub splashing it just splashes into the shower.  So you can freely play.  Plus there is a window on the other side of the tub that looks into the room.  Anyway, she felt so free in there that she started splashing and singing to the top of her lungs and before I knew it she was on her belly like she was swimming. And this is a girl that is scared of water.  She really showed signs of being comfortable with us today and we are so glad.  I was talking with our guide Amy about her being so shy, even with our guide in Changsha and other Chinese people that speak her language and she explained that Wen Li is probably fearing that one of them will take her from us and take her back to the orphanage.  That that is a typical behavior of a child when they feel that way.  So that was also encouraging to hear.
I don't think I have told you about her fear of the water.  When we visited the pool in Changsha, the boys just jumped in and when she saw that pool and them splashing she took off running the other way.  I had to catch her, so I just held her and we watched and then went up to the room while they stayed.  We also saw many lakes and rivers at the Changsha Park and she would start fretting whenever we would get near or have to cross a bridge so I had to have the guide explain to her that we would never cause her harm in that way.  Well today when we left the clinic, we all had to wait across the street until the group was done.  We had to wait beside a river (canal) and there was no guard rail at all.  She didn't act scared a bit, not even shen we had to walk beside it to the bus.  So that also showed a great deal of trust with us.
We are just amazed at how well she is doing with us and how she is growing to trust us more and more and how she is just coming to life around us.  She has power struggles from time to time like the meltdown in the store, but she comes out of it even closer to us and that is what just amazes us even more.  We just love her to death.  And she is quite the card.  She loves to tease and loves to laugh, in the privacy of our room.  We are blessed.
NOTE:  we do not have free internet in the room, suppose to in the lobby, but not true.  So I am in Starbucks.  That means post may not be as frequent, may not reply to email due to time constraints and no skyping.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Last Day in Changsha

Today is our last day in Changsha.  Our guide encouraged us to go down to the river front and walk around, but we opted not to, instead we ventured out from the hotel to see the local flavor.  First we went back to the Whacko store to get some pictures.  One worker in there was real sweet, she tried to talk to Wen Li but she won't talk to any of the locals, but she may not understand their dialect.  The lady new a few words in English and tried to ask where she was from and if all 3 kids were ours.  She was surprised and smiled.  We took some pictures of the vegetables in their, nothing weird there, just traditional.
Next door was an authentic tea shop.  These shops are very tiny.  It had tea on shelves along the wall, now this was upscale compared to everything else, and there was a very low table made out of a tree ring and the seats were stumps. They were having a traditional serving of tea on it.
Then we walked on down the street and around the corner and boy was that more of the locals type shops.  Stores spilling out onto the side walk and the stores themselves smaller than my bedroom.  There were restaurants, plumbing shop, flower shop, launderer, fresh fruits, fried foods etc down that street and laundry hanging out the second floor windows everywhere.
At 3:50 the bell boy will come collect our luggage and then we will check out and try to find KFC or McDonalds to eat at, but that requires walking, unless I can convince someone to try a taxi again.  We did that yesterday with Mamie.  I know the concierge could help us do that, it is just I am not this good at the money thing here.  And Chris just told me it is 2-3 blocks, we'll see, I hope because I hate crossing the street here with 3 kids.
And tonight she has her first plane trip!!!
I got pictures this morning of the breakfast buffet for everyone to see the boiled pigs blood and the traditional chiese food served for breakfast everyday.  It was spread out around the balcony today.  There is a business convention and it was so crowded yesterday the moved out in the hall around the balcony.  I did get a picture of our omelet maker.  He has been great.  One guy got scared off because we were white.  All I have to do is point to what I want in it, but he wouldn't even look up and ran and got this guy so he has done it all week.  He even knows if I want it scrambled or omelet style.  And he has learned I don't like mine cooked to death.  All I had to do was put the plate up when I wanted off the heat and from then on out I never had to indicate again.  We really kinda liked our restaurant staff, they were sweet and boy they wait on you hand and foot.  If you take your coat off, they come running with a cover to put over it and over your hair.  The chinese are big on putting cloth over the back of seats so your hair doesn't get oils, I guess on the chairs.
I forgot to mention at the park yesterday we ran into another ChangNing family. They were from the Netherlands I think but the dad asked me where.  But our guides pushed us on so fast we couldn't talk, I hated that.  I learned their child was from Changning too, after our guide told us on the way out.  I would love to see Wen Li's reaction to seeing the other child and maybe even a picture with the child.  Just one last visit with a sibling.
Oh I forgot to mention the smog, everywhere.  It was in Beijing too, but not noticable from the hotel, only when we ventured out did we see it.  But here, bad, everywhere.  And they left off fireworks and firecrackers just any ole time.  I guess since they invented them, it is common thing.  The first time it happened we ran to the window and there was so much smoke around a building I thought they were demolishing it. 
Little girl loves a camera now.  She loves to run over and see what the photo looked like once we have taken it.  She has a small camera but it doesn't have a screen to see so she doesn't ge tthe full effect. 
We bought her so noodles at Walmart, much like Ramen noodles but I had to have Mamie help us buy them since I don't read Chinese and I didn't want to buy her anything too spicey.  We fixed it for her lunch and she ate it up.  That is good to know.
And I had heard that girls adopted from Hunan were called "spicy girls" and I found out that is not an adoption tradition, but a Hunan thing.  The say La Maidza (phonetic since I don't know how it is spelled just how it sounds.  And La means -Spicy and Maidza means girl. (this is more for my remembrance.)
One more week and we are home as a family of 5.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wal-Mart Changsha Style

Another great adventure in Changsha, Hunan.  We first visited the largest park in Changsha and it is probably bigger than Central Park.  There are groups of people throughout the park playing card games, dancing, singing, or doing Tai Chi or Kung Fu although we didn't see Kung Fu today.  As you stroll down the paths you come upon different asian style gazebos and that is where you find the different things going on.  And all around it is the very picturesque oriental landscapes, just like in the paintings.  We strolled across a beautiful large bridge and a several smaller ones.  The first one we came to was a small lower bridge that had no sides on it and Wen Li is definitely scared of water.  But if I picked her up she was fine, but she would not do it for anyone else.  Inside the park we found an amusement park complete with a roller coaster.  There was also a Putt Putt game, a koi pond that people could feed and art students were all around.  It was so very beautiful but it must be even more so when it is warm and greener.  I have determined that it must be around 40 during the day because we still see our breath most day and gets colder at night.
After the park we went to the Hunan Embroidery Museum.  Hunan is famous for their embroidery.  They invented the art of double sided embroidery.  When a piece is finished it will have a picture on both sides.  It can be the same thing on both sides or it can be a different picture from front to back.  The museum's gift shop was expensive so I asked if Mamie knew of a local place that was cheaper and she did.  So after lunch and our trip to Walmart we went to the embroidery store down a local alley from the Wal-Mart.  The alley had open stores, kind of like garage door openings in many of them and some had doors but all were no larger than a garage and most of the stuff flowed out into the alley and it was fruit, vegetables, cooked foods, dried foods and other wares.  Around the corner was the embroidery place.  I did buy a beautiful piece.  I splurged a little more than I wanted because, even though the prices were lower than the museum, there was less of a selection in the smaller items.  Really no small items but some double sided work and they are placed in frames that look like a magnifying glass on a stand.  They are beautiful but that requires placing them on a table top or shelf and I don't have that kind of space plus the smaller more affordable ones really don't do that kind of work justice, it really just is a piece to say you have that style from Hunan.  I hated to spend the yuan to do it, but I knew I would regret it the moment I left Hunan since I had done my research and that was the one item I really wanted for her once we had her home.  And there was only once style that I kept coming back to once at the store and it was a scroll style piece.  I know you will relate once I describe it.  The Chinese landscape paintings that are long and have Chinese characters on the side and are on silk and can be rolled up, that is the exact style I bought but only it is not a painting, it is embroidery, Hunan style.  Otherwise I was goin to buy a set of koi fish in a radial design on dark silk, however it was framed and I would not be able to transport the framing and hated to buy it and not get to keep the frame.  And ultimately I was drawn to the landscape, it is what I think of when I think of Chinese art.  So that is my big splurg and once my camera is charged I will photograph it and download it, maybe midnight for me when I do it because internet is slower today.
Also I must tell you our other experience.  Chinese laundry.  We were desperate for clean clothes.  Yes I know you say why don't you just wear it dirty, you can wear it that way for quite a few times, it won't hurt you.  Y'all I just couldn't.  It smelled funny and the places we have walked and the bottoms of our pants touching it, well that was it, had to be cleaned.  Like today in the park, lots of slick  mud in between the stones on teh paths, you had to be careful not to slide down on hill areas.  But the biggest concern is when you see a baby squat and potty right in the middle of the sidewalk.  Yes right in the park today.  Baby pants are all made with slits in the back which makes it easy to potty train over a squatty potty but the Chinese take it further and the babies can squat anywhere to do their business.  Plus the other smells, people smoke freely anywhere!!!!!!!  And all over Beijing, every place we went had an odor like incense were burning, however some places smelled like that illegal incense that people smoke.  It had to be done, I didn't want to pack my suitcases for the flight to Guangzhou tomorrow wtih smelly clothes.  So Mamie had a laundry guy from town come pick up my laundry, much cheaper than the hotel, and it came back all washed, folded, and each item placed in individual clear bags, all done for 300yuan.  It is gorgeous and can really spoil you.
Tomorrow we are totally on our own.  We can take a taxi but really hate to do it since you don't know if you are getting swindled or fake money in return.
We have to check out at 4pm and leave our luggage with the concierge.  Find dinner locally and then meet Mamie at 5:30 for our trip to the airport.  Fun fun since once she leaves us, no one speaks English there.  I tried Monday to ask a white man who spoke English if he could direct us to baggage claim, I even tapped his arm, ugg he walked away.  The Chinese are more friendly than he was, well all but the sellers and beggars, they are too pushy.
Oh we ate at McDonalds today near Wal-mart.  That was the best American food yet, it tasted most like home.  And Wen Li like it, she ate all her chicken nuggets and most of her fries.  She learned to dip them in ketchup and like that too.   So she will make it in America just fine.  I forgot to mention at Walmart we bought her some Ramen type noodles that are in a cardboard bowl.  I had to have the guide help us because I don't know what they are since they are in Chinese.  I didn't want to buy her anything too spicey.   The were cheap, 2.50 yuan where as our hotel room has them for sale for 10.00 yuan, same thing.  WE did buy oreos at Walmart for us and bought some candy for Wen Li.  Her orphanage helpers kept handing her candy to bribe her on gotcha day and it looked like little ears of corn.  Well it is hard candy that is shaped like corn and is corn flavored.  We found it at Walmart and bought her some.  We enjoyed our walk around Walmart, but not the smells.  You know how we have live lobster in a tank, they have many different kinds of fish to pick out and buy.  One even jumped out of the tank and was on the floor, someone stopped to pick it up and place it back, too funny.  There were dried out minnows, seaweed and various other stuff that I detest to eat.  But made for great footage.  They also offered samples and I was going to get one til I found out it had dried minnow in it, and that was it, nope!  But all we wanted in there were more nabs, nope, none to be found.  When we finally checked out it was 39.00 yuan.  Not bad.  But I have to say, that most of the quality looked like a Roses*store.  But there is one appliance I would love to have.  We have a hot pot coffee pot in our hotel room.  It looks like a coffee pot on a base that has a point sticking up from it to fit the pot directly on.  You press on a lever at the handle and it heats up the water in 1 minute, no kidding 1 minute.  And I saw it at Walmart.  Wish I could get that at home, it is quicker than the microwave.
Chat later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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Awake again!

Awake again so time to update.  But I have slept better this time around.  I fell asleep about 6pm and slept for about an hour.  The boys had gone downstairs to play billiards and I stayed in the room in case our laundry came.  I laid on the bed for her to play next to me and I fell asleep.  I woke up once and realized she was staying right there by me and I dozed again.  The boys called around 7 and I told them to come watch her since I was sleeping.  And I kept sleeping.  So they ate nabs in the room for supper, I was still full from our birthday lunch so I didn't even eat.  It turns out we are being charged 50rmb for that little venture to the billiards room.  No more venturing out, lol.  They charge for everything at this hotel, soap, shampoo, etc But I read that it was a law passed by the Changsha government that you must charge for daily items, ugggg.  Anyway,  while I was washing my face and getting ready for bed, she really came to life around the boys.  They had her laughing and interacting with all 3 of them.  At one point they taught her to jump on the bed (not my idea of something to teach since she can't do it at home, lol) but it was a great bonding time for Chris.  She would jump off the bed into his arms, he'd catch her and then she would do it again.  And she just laughed and laughed.  I loved it.
I washed out our unmentionables yesterday in the sink and she jumped right in to help.  At one point she picked up a sock and started jabbering and trying to show me what to do.  Apparently I was not doing it up to her standards, but she was sweet and just watched me at times.  WE finished that together.
We all decided to turn in around 9pm even after my napping.  So we prayed together as a family.  She is very uncomfortable with us praying anytime, dinner, night time etc.  She will giggle everytime we hold hands at the dinner table or she giggles when we close our eyes.  So pray for God to open her spritual eyes and open her heart.  Because she has a lifetime of this with us.  Anyway the boys went to their room and the girls were asleep in 5 minutes.  Then about 15 min. later, Chris called, the hotel saw that it was his birthday and they were delivering a cake up to his room.  We are hoping that it was free, lol.  How neat is that to have your birthday in China and get 2 birthday cakes.  Love it.  We took pictures since it said happy birthday in Chinese on top.  The cake was a bit different from the one at lunch.  They both had white cake and white cool whip type icing but it was thick layers of icing.  The cake at lunch had fruit on top like pineapple and peach and it had chocolate looking pieces rubbed around the sides.  In between the layers it had like a strawberry jelly.  My piece was special, in the middle of the radial design was a red fruit and I got it on my plate. It was a tomato, ha ha ha.  I just chuckled at that but it made for a pretty red centerpiece.  The second cake looked the same that it was white cake and same icing.  It had the chinese letter in red gel and fruit at the top.  The fruit was 2 red cherries and 1 green cherry that had been soaked in something sweet and there was star fruit and pineapple.  In between the layers was more white icing but hidden in the icing was fruit, pineapple, peaches and cherry.  Alex was not crazy about that.  But Wen Li and I loved it, it is not really all that sweet.  Probably why the chinese have no fat on them.  I have only seen one fat asian and that was at the international church.  So it was worth being awakened.  Then what was left we rolled out into the hall because we just have no way of saving it for another time.  Very good and nice of them to do.
We are heading out to the park today where we can may be see them doing their morning exercise of Tai Chi and Kung Fu, and walk around it.  Then we are heading to the embroidery museum.  I can't wait for that, been looking forward to that.  It is something that originated in Hunan Province. They embroider a picture on the front and on the back another picture is formed.  Not like mine where the back is a knotted mess.  So I hope to buy her a piece for her room or save for later.
I can't begin to tell you how sweet she is.  She is extremely shy, just like the orphanage and people that have visited her said.  Even with us.  But she clings to me in public for her safety.  But she doesn't really talk to our guide.  She takes up on me in the elevator and when it got too crowded she bit her bottom lip, just like the orphanage said she does.  She gets even more quieter in public but is starting to like riding.  She sits in my lap and presses her nose against the window to watch all that traffic.  At the lunch yesterday, she was total opposite from my friends little 4 yr old.  Her daughter is more of a spitfire.  She would wonder around the room and go over to the guide and chat, watched the tv in the room etc.  Wen Li sat next to me, quiet, watched everything and ate a good lunch.  But I think she liked that new experience.  She seemed to be taking everything in.  She didn't seem to like C*ke though.  Oh I forgot to mentioned we were served chrysanthemum (sp?) tea.   It tasted like hot water with flowers in it.  Very pretty.  Unusual but nice touch.  Even Chris tried it. 
Will see if I can upload pics of the evening later when I have the camera.
 

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Day 3 Changsha

Today has been another wonderful day.  She has been more quiet with us up and until now.  She was quite solemn at breakfast but did eat a boiled egg, watermelon and a sweet roll.  Then we met Mamie for an outing to the Hunan Artifacts musuem.  Very interesting.  In 1971 a business was planning to build a warehouse when they discovered tombs.  So from 1971-197? they excavated 3 tombs.  A prime minister of Changsha and his wife and son.  The tombs were over 2000 years old and perfectly in tact.  There was the womans body, fruit totally in tact etc because it was preserved with charcoal.  The fruit was said to look like fresh fruit,but was actually rotten inside but now that they have been exposed to the air the look old and dried out.  The wife was still preserved and they have her body on display for all to see, and we did.
After the museum we went to a local restaurant for a birthday lunch with my friend Heidi that was also adopting from Hunan.  The lunch was wonderful.  We had a private room on the 4th floor which the boys insisted on climbing the stairs to.  We had a big variety and none of it was too exotic for me.  They had a dish for the girls that looked like flan but was not sweet, it was steamed egg and the girls did love it.  We had dumplings both pork and a sweet one, Wen Li loved it.  WE had spicy Hunan pork with chili peppers, rice both kinds, chicken dish, spare ribs, a soup???,  asparagus, stinky tofu with pepper soy sauce, string potato strips Chinese style which means they were almost raw and crunchy, and so many more I can't name them but would like to remember.  We had a great hunan style meal in her home province and a birthday celebration.  They also brought in a cake for the birthday people and it only cost about 530rmb which we divided between us.  It was a beautiful authentic style place.  It was at a 200 year old temple at they continuously burning candles and incense, quite interesting since it was authentic and not put on for show.  People were coming and going and doing there... whatever. Actually you entered it all through a large walled gate.  You entered a courtyard and the temple was at the back, the restaurant was to the left and had 4 story with balcony.  We asked what was on the other levels and our guide told us that floor 2 & 3 were where the locals ate and it was not quite as elegant.  We had our own private dining room upstairs.  As we left that area, it was quite unique, the local flavor and architecture.  We also photographed a scenic walk along the river and various buildings.  But we really need to photograph the traffic when it is 10 cars wide on  4 lane roads.  You cannot imagine it without seeeing it.
But the best part of the day was back in the room.  Wen Li picked up the remote and pretended it was a telephone and she had a big ole conversation with someone.  It showed her personality and she would flip her hair back and giggle and pretend to hit the call waiting.  It went on and on so I pulled out the video recorder and got a bunch of  it on film.  I just want someone to now tell me what she was talking about now.
And we have gotten adventurous.  We have sent our laundry out to be cleaned and folded.  Just hoping it doesn't cost me an arm and a leg, that really cuts into our money if it does,but I just didn't think I could hand wash jeans and them not turn out too stiff.  So we broke down and got our laundry done.  It may  be that I fall in love with this and will want to move here just for the convenience of having my laundry cleaned and folded.  I have heard that some of them will also take each piece of laundry and place each one in its own bag, but we didn't use the hotel laundry service, we used a local guy that our guide hooked us up with.  They are cheaper, lots cheaper.
Gonna send pics through shutterfly for all to see our day.
And on top of it, Chris and I are coming down with colds~~~

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New DAy

Wednesday morning and she is doing well.  She woke up a little confused but didn't look next to tears this morning, just confused.  She ate a good breakfast:  boiled egg, cinnamon bun (chinese style), watermelon and orange juice.  She made friends with a lady at the other table.  The lady was sweet to her and she kept looking back at the woman and tried to walk over to her one time, but she wouldn't talk back to her.  She seemed happy.  For our guide she hasn't wanted to talk with her but I think it is the whole thing that has overwhelmed her and just left her quiet totally until today.  Now she just seems settled.  When we got back to the room after breakfast she looked for the boys and said go-ga for brothers.  Then after they came over she picked up the remote and pretended ot talk into it like a phone.  She catches on fast.
For breakfast, we ate better today.  The breakfast bar is an extensive selection of local Chinese cuisine which leaves us little to eat.  But they do have an egg bar where you can get them anyway you want.  If you want an omelette, well those things are harder to identify, but I get ham, onion and some kind of dry cheese.  But today they hash browns like the fast food places and baked tomotoes, and I got toast.  The boys found french toast and got excited til they bit into it and found it had peanut butter in it.  They say the bacon here is delicious, but looks chewy to me an doesn't quite look like ours so.. I skip it.  The have a few fruit selections but most of them have the skin on them and I steer clear of that unless I could peel it, no good knife though.  And a selection of pastries but not American style, the kind like you see on Chinese buffets, not very sweet but just sweet enough.  I like them.  Wen Li ate a boiled egg and I think that filled her up, but she ate a good amount of watermelon, which is unusually good in China and she ate a roll.  She had fried rice of some kind but she didn't touch it this morning, shock shock.
We are going to an artifacts museum today and a meal at a Hunan restaurant for Chris's birthday, which he isn't aware that it is his birthday celebration.  Really can't wait to get to Guangzhou.  Meet up with the group, more western friendly places etc.  But we are enjoying taking in the culture here.  At least it is not raining right now, hope it stays that way.
Have a great day/night.

About Me

I am a pastor's wife and the mother of 3 active children. Two boys and a daughter from China. We live on the East Coast and enjoy the beach.