Fitting in

It's only been a few days and I honestly find myself frequently forgetting that we are here because we are adopting Darcy.  There are moments, like the ones captured above, that it just seems like she's been with us always. 

The girls have fallen into a routine of pulling out the dress up clothes every time we walk back in the door to our room.  Sometimes they put on the princess stuff, but usually they go for the matching leotards and pink skirts and then follow each other around the room, imitating "dance moves" and hop scotch jumps rather than relying on language.  I did crack up as Kylie was adamantly telling Darcy something while they enjoyed the fruit portion of their "in room" lunch.  (That also included the family sharing a bag of French Roast Chicken flavor Lays chips and a sleeve of Strawberry creme filled sandwich cookies ~ nutrition at its finest.  Just easier than hitting the street looking for somewhere that has an English menu...)

And then just when I fear that my sweet boy is going to feel left out, she hops up and shows that she shares his TV addiction.  And his love for peanut butter bagels (don't ask why we didn't break those out BEFORE the chips, it was an afterthought).  Then while Kylie brushed her My Little Pony's hair, Caleb and his Mei Mei watched about 30 minutes of Cars together.  She may not understand the language yet, but hearing them both giggling during the funny parts and saying, "Uh-oh!" when Mater and Lightning McQueen almost get mowed over when they go tractor tipping was precious.

Of course I don't want to make it sound "too good to be true."  There are a few Keeping it real things that I'll share because I know that many of you will focus some prayer in those areas for us.  First of all, it is wonderful that Darcy is getting more comfortable with us.  I couldn't be happier about that.  But that also means that in the past 24 hours she has started to "buck" what is generally considered acceptable behavior.  And if you correct her, she shrieks.  LOUDLY!  And folks, right now we don't really need a shrieking child to draw more attention to ourselves.  She also  goes from "just playing" to pretty hard hitting rather quickly.  Not sure yet if it is out of frustration that no one understands what she says, or simply not knowing the difference between playing too rough and playing gently.  (This has visions of RAVs flashing in my mind...)  And her independence, while it has some positive aspects, is also making it difficult to establish for her that Ian and I are here to help her and take care of her and that she doesn't need to do everything for herself at the tender age of two.  (We are seeing some improvement in some areas of that though.  For example, the first night she refused to take her formula because I insisted on holding it for her.  The second night she let me hold it for her, but remained stiff in my arms and kept trying to turn her back to me as I held her.  The next night she relaxed a bit and sat sideways across my lap, and last night she let me lean her back as you would hold a baby and even made eye contact with me for several ten to thirty second intervals).  And this one has less to do with Darcy and more to do with us as the "walking freak show."  For the first few days it was (somewhat) easy to laugh it off.  And we don't mind the second glances that bring smiles to people's faces.  They at least seem somewhat approving of our family.  It's the ones that stop in their tracks (or almost walk into something) as they stare.  I'm not just talking about a quick glance kind of stare.  I'm talking about the stern, sour face expression kind of LONG stare.  Sometimes with folks even getting up from their table in a restaurant to stand at the end our table with disapproving looks kind of stares.  Ian and I can almost handle it.  But it makes all three of our children very uncomfortable.  And no, making eye contact and staring back doesn't make most of them go away.  They just keep standing.  And when they talk to my kids in harsh voices I almost go through the roof.  It confuses and upsets Kylie and Caleb, but at least they don't know what is being said.  Darcy frequently hides her head or turns to me and I feel so powerless as I have NO IDEA what people are saying.  (I don't want to make it sound like everyone looks at us this way, but it happens at least four or five times a day and frankly it is wearying...)  Thanks for praying for thicker skin for all of us.

An additional prayer request ~ Caleb's head cold just won't give it up.  Kylie seems to be recovering well from hers, and Darcy had the sniffles, but also seems to be on the upswing.  My little guy however has been tossing and turning for about an hour (the reason I'm up in the wee hours posting) and is running a fever now.  Not good on a day that we fly.  Our flight is at 7pm local time which will be 6am EST on Wednesday for all you back home.  Would you please petition the heavens along with me that he'll be back to his mischievous self within the next 12 hours?

Oh, and by the way, Savor was successful on her passport mission and we got Darcy's passport yesterday ~ A DAY EARLY!  Praise God for small miracles...

**FYI for any traveling soon with "littles."  My brilliant husband came up with the idea of having gifts for the children to exchange with one another to help in the transition.  So before we left home, we had Kylie and Caleb each pick Darcy a small gift (Ky chose a My Little Pony that matched hers so they could play together and Caleb selected the Sleepover Kai Lan figures set).  And Darcy "got" Caleb the Cars movie and Kylie a four pack of princess dress up shoes.  (I only packed two pairs for the trip).  These long desired gifts have produced a lot of goodwill between new siblings, and provided for lots more in room entertainment!**


Laurie said...

First of all, LOVED the pictures of the kids together- just so sweet! And secondly, I'll pray for you when it comes to the staring. You already know where I stand with that- I copied YOU when it came to taking pictures of those who stared. It would be bold to do that in a restaurant, but it might communicate what staring back doesn't. :) Now I'm just ready for you guys to get home and start living HERE as a family of five. So exciting!

Leslie said...

So glad to read this update. We live for your blog right now. =)

I'm so sorry to hear that people are starting at you. That sounds really difficult, especially trying to protect the kids, and especially with you having no idea what these people are saying to you. We'll pray that this wanes, and that you and Ian are given strength to get through it.

We miss you and think of you every day and can't wait to see you soon!

Dawn said...

Talk to your guide about what you are experiencing in public. Do they behave this way with your guide or just you alone? It might be a good idea to let guide know what you are dealing with and how to handle it.

Di said...

I am glad that the kids are friends already and I am sure after a few "teething problems" life will settle quickly. I hope that the next stage of your journey goes smoothly!

Sharon said...

I can relate to your experience with the stares which at times were out right rude. Hudson is from a province that doesn't see many foreigners (very northern China), that combined with his cleft palate brought MANY stares and comments we couldn't understand. His lip was repaired but he had scars and it was obvious he had a birth defect. We spent every morning in the nearby park and we couldn't sit for more than a a few minutes without being surrounded by people talking amongst themselves about us. They would point to their faces, nose, etc and then Hudsons and have long discussions. We found out later that cleft palate is referred to "rabbits foot" in this province ( and maybe others). It is believed that kids were born like that because they were cursed for parents wrong doings...SO SAD!!! Anyway, they would even get inches from Hudsons face looking close at him. It happened everywhere we went. Mark and I could ignore it but like you it was very hard watching the effect it had on the kids and even Hudson. Mine were a lot older than yours so we could have some good conversations about it but they were defensive for Hudson and in our culture it is just plain rude. Once we got to Gaungzhou it wasn't an issue.
I wil be praying that your kids would be blind to it and especially Darcy, that if they are saying things about her birth mark that she would be deaf to it. I remember the lady at the civil affairs office really scolding Hudson when he was hysterical getting his picture taken. We had had him less than 12 hours and he was frantic that I couldn't hold him for the picture. I wanted to slap her!!!
Hopefully when you get to your next stop you will be less of an attraction. Praying for you all!!!

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for giving us specifics to pray for. You are very lifted up. So much so that I am trusting that Caleb is feeling better already. I just don't get the staring thing. I know cultural differences and all but when you make it totally obvious that yo are upset or uncomfortable...I just don't get it. I'm hoping your guide can explain to Darcy for you. We didn't encounter any negative stares. I may have been preoccupied but I never saw them. I can't imagine what it must be like to helplessly watch Darcy get upset. I will be praying that you leave that in Shanghai. GZ is more accustom to adoptions, right? Anyway, lots of prayer! Hang in there. At least they are all jelling well!

Rachelle said...

Yes, we got the stares. With twin boys we felt like a main attraction at the freak show. Many prayers for all your concerns. Safe travels.

Nicole said...

It's one thing to deal with the stares yourself, but it will get to you when it comes to your kids. I hated it when we were there with Emmi, she could understand everything they would say, I could tell it upset her. It was so hard!
It was different with our boys for some reason, maybe we didn't go out much in province?
It will get better in GZ!
Praying for you! Loved the kiddo pics!

Renee said...

I am praying for you all and think about your family daily. I am living through your experience. Thank you for posting and having us be part of this journey.

Tricia said...

Grief! In what culture is it ok to be so rude? Maybe it's time for Ian to stand up and place himself between the people staring and all of you. He could shake his head no. Surely, that would communicate that what these people are doing is not ok. Geez.

Glad to see that the kids are doing so well together. Hearing that Darcy "shrieks" made me laugh out loud. Of course, no one here heard it over all the shrieking... :)

Anonymous said...

We'll be praying that Caleb feels better soon. Also that the stares end soon.
We love and miss you guys! Can't wait to see you.
Aunt Cici

Anonymous said...

Kristi, I know that our adoption story is very different from yours BUT I know just how you feel when people are looking at your family in a negative way! Frank & I are frequently having to explain to the kids why people "look at me crazy when I called you Mommy". One time, a gentleman went as far as to tell Frank he was going to call DSS on him as he had no right to adopt those kids.
With that said, LOVE is stronger than any strangers thoughts!! God will grant you the strength and courage that you need to handle the tough times and, more importantly,the words to ease your little ones minds.
I hope this helps. I will continue to keep you and the family in my prayers. God Bless. Tanya

Shannon said...

Hey guys!! Enjoyed thje pictures and posts of your time in Shanghai! So glad the passport came and there will be no worries for travel later today for you. Know we are praying for Caleb! Push the fluids and I am sure you have motrin or tylenol for fever. Will pray that it does not linger any longer! Will also be praying for darcy to grow more comfortable with the family rules and expectations. And will pray for you both as. You support her independence yet seek to gain her trust and affection. Know you are all loved prayed for and missed!!!

Nancy said...

Thanks for keeping it real! Prayin' in PA!

Glenda said...

I think it is so God that in your minds, Darcy already seems like she's always been apart of your family. My prayer is that God will speak to her and help her to feel like she's always belonged with you all. Praises to Him about the passport. Will be praying for Caleb. I love the pictures! We miss you all!

Anonymous said...

We caused Bike and Car accidents when we were in Hangzhou too! So wonderful that really Darcy is doing so good with you. Will be praying for Caleb. Take Care, Cortney

C.C. said...

I am so sorry! For the locals being thoughtless and for sweet Caleb being sick. You should certainly escape the hard looks once you get to Guangzhou...I pray so, anyway. I'm praying for you guys!

Jenn said...

Keeping you all in my prayers with everything!!

One thing that I needed to be reminded of over and over--as far as the control issue--is that they really DON'T want to be in control. :( So keep being the mama that you are and mama her up!! She will buck and protest, but in the end she'll come to rely on YOU for all her needs and give YOU the control! Also remember that some of it could also be completely normal 2 year old behavior! Not that this changes how you handle it--just also gives some perspective on her. Not that you DON'T know all this anyway! :) Just want to encourage you and let you know what an awesome mama you are!!


Grandma Shultz said...

Rude people are so thoughtless. You'd think that they would be thrilled that three of their children are becoming a part of a loving family. Am praying for Caleb. Darcy seems real with her screaming and hitting. She'll learn from the rest of you what is and is not acceptable. Can't wait to meet her and see all of you.
The pictures are adorable!