Saturday, October 15, 2005

What a day...

Friday was quite a day for me. The morning was pretty uneventful in terms of what we did. But I think the emotional exhaustion is catching up with me, and I spent a good bit of time crying to God about everything that's been going on. In many ways I feel like this whole thing is an out-of-body experience. The magnitude of everything that is happening to our family isn't at the forefront of my mind. Yesterday, the weight of it all hit me, full force.

Bao is great. She is doing well and seems to be adjusting well. But she doesn't respond (and I don't expect her to) to me in ways that one might expect a nine month old to respond to her mom. She doesn't smile at me unless I work at it. She doesn't hug or give any other signs of affection. All normal for any mom with a new baby. But draining, nonetheless.

Add to this the difficulty that Boo and Bug have had while we've been gone, and I think my general feeling yesterday was my family is wrecked. I was convinced that Boo and Bug, the kids who love me just because I'm mom, would just be mad when we came home, and nothing would be the same. It has been hard for me to be away from them, but I don't think I realized it until yesterday.

As I said before, we talked with the kids last night. Bug is doing really well, and sounds so much older that I had to ask Kelly if it was really him on the phone. Boo was very sad, but I hope that with talking to us, her behavior will change. She did the same kind of acting out when Paul was gone for a week - and she got a lot better when he called and talked to her each day.

And I am doing a lot better too. I have spent a lot of time in prayer and I think I realized that what grieves me the most about my relationship with Bao is what grieves God the most about my relationship with Him. I always have to do the work with her. She doesn't offer affection without me initiating... kinda like I am with God. I thank Him for the good stuff, but I haven't been showing him love just because he's my Father. Hmmm, the things we learn from our children.

And, I have always known that things will be different in our family after we return with Bao. But, I'm pretty sure at this point that I haven't wrecked anything. I just know that I will really, really, REALLY enjoy being with Boo and Bug again when we get home.

All this to say, I don't think anyone can imagine what kind of emotional toll this kind of thing will take until they actually do it. I've settled down considerably since yesterday. And I am trusting God to maintain my attachment with the other two as well as develop attachment with Bao.

And speaking of Bao's development, I should say that in almost every way, she is behind the average nine-month-old. She sits up fairly well. But she can't roll over yet. She can't feed herself any small food yet. She hasn't been stimulated to do these kinds of things. And she hasn't been emotionally or cognitively stimulated the way a parent does for a child. We were told by our agency as part of our training, that we should measure our child's development from the time that we adopted her. In other words, when Bao comes home, she will be like a 2 week-old in many ways. I say that just so that people will know what to expect from her as well as why we may not treat her like a nine-month-old.

But there is still much to say about yesterday, AFTER my little crying jag.

We got all of Bao's official adoption papers from the provincial notary office. She's ours in the eyes of the Chinese government!!! We got the papers around 4 pm and were scheduled to leave for the airport at 6:20.

We had previously asked Li if she would help us get a Bible in Mandarin for Bao. Li said "are you a Christian?" She was so excited. I knew that she was. She shared a bit of her testimony and told me that her husband and her daughter were also believers. So sweet. She was so excited to hear that we are believers.

So, after delivering the papers, Li took me and another mom to her church, which was just around the corner. As we walked, I shared with Li and C about what a basket-case I'd been in the last few hours, and C expressed that she was having a hard time too. I think Li sensed our distress... did the tears give it away? When we got to the church, we went to the sanctuary, and Li suggested we sit for a little time of "quiet." I sat in a pew and grabbed a Bible, which was written in Mandarin, of course. I opened it and I just started crying. Weren't they smuggling these into China just a short time ago? I prayed a bit and we went upstairs.

Upstairs was a small book store. The pastor was the cashier! We each bought a Mandarin Bible, a Mandarin/English Bible, a set of bookmarks with scriptures in Mandarin and English, several English/Mandarin refrigerator magnets, 4 CDs of Christian music, and a kids Mandarin/English Bible. (All for less than 20 US dollars!!!) I kept crying and having to compose myself. What a nut!!! We paid the pastor, and he gave us his name and address!

After leaving the church, Li and I got into a taxi. After reading the translation of the documents we'd received, we realized that a specific location was given for where Bao was found. I asked Li if she could take me there. She agreed.

On the 10 minute ride, Li talked about how poor many of the people were, particularly the people living in the country. But, she told me, many of them believe in Jesus and they are so happy. We talked about the difference between "poor" in the US, and "poor" in China. There is almost no comparison. But Li said that with no TV or other such things, those poor believers will gather for worship every night. Then, she added, "their worship is so pure." She told me about the churches she had visited in the US and added that the worship just was not the same. Her church ministers to several minority groups, and she has been in their worship services many times. "They love Jesus," she said. We talked about how easy it is to become blinded by riches.

Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit. I wonder if the "poor" also receive a special blessing. They understand something that the wealthy struggle to grasp.

We were travelling through the city and suddenly the well-paved road turned into some kind of obstacle course! There were HUGE pot holes in the road. The buildings were dilapidated. It was dirty. Obviously, we were entering a very poor part of the city.

We stopped. Li pointed. There is was. The building where Bao was found. (I posted a picture of it... did you guess correctly?) The translation said she was found "opposite" this building. I understood why. Across from the building was nothing that could be considered any sort of landmark. It was a building, but it seemed deserted. No sign on it. No distinguishing features.

So I took pictures, both digital and video.

I went to get back in the cab and I felt uncomfortable about just leaving. So, for about the eightieth time that day, I started crying. Li just hugged me. She was so sweet.

We came back to the hotel at about 5 pm. I joined up with Paul and Bao, and we finished packing up. We checked out and headed for the airport.

As I said before, we got in pretty late last night. Bao did okay on the flight. Crying and inconsolable while waiting on the runway... for what seemed like a long time. But once the plane got started, she did well. She fell asleep just before we got off the plane. She woke up for a few minutes, but fell back asleep until we got to the hotel. I held her the whole way to the hotel. So sweet.

This morning, we took the children for their physical exams, required by the US Consulate. Bao did fine, though she didn't like some of it. We came back to our the hotel. We worked on finishing up the paperwork that will be required for our consulate visit on Monday. Very boring, but necessary.

Tomorrow we have a free day. I am looking forward to poking around the island. (We are on Shamian Island - a quaint little area separated from the rest of Guangzhou by the Pearl River.) There are lots of shops here and good (western!) food. They really cater to adoptive families around here, since this is where most of them stay while they are doing their paperwork at the consulate. It's a more affluent area, and it is nice just to walk around.

We took a stroll this morning and came across a playground. Many adults were also using the playground equipment. It seemed like they were using it for exercise purposes. One man was running around the track that enclosed the playground. I laughed when I saw one girl dressed up like a ballerina, wearing a pair of gold high heels. I know a few little girls who would love to wear the same thing - while climbing around at the playground!

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading



Anonymous Andrea S said...

Here I sit in the Belmont PT computer lab at 9 am Saturday morning...feeling like a complete grouch...and I remember to read your blog. Almost immediately, I remember how good God is and how I need to stop being ungrateful. You guys are such a blessing to me...I sat here with tears in my eyes reading about all that's been going on the past few days. It's amazing...I can't wait to see the WHOLE family! So glad you've been having safe travels and pray you continue to do so! Love you all :)

Sat Oct 15, 10:21:00 AM  

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