Guangzhou {day one}

What is today?  What was yesterday?  When are we coming home?

I love being here.  Honest I do.  There is a feeling of adventure, some of the most delicious food, and the chance for my kids to be in the majority...even if just by looks.

But after a while the days begin to blur one into the next.  Wake up, go down to the hotel buffet and get breakfast, go to some official meeting concerning the adoption, free time, dinner, bath, bed.  Sleep and repeat.

There's a part of me that wishes we could stay forever...that we could learn the language and become familiar with this amazing land that my children come from.  But part of me is longing for routine and the ability to communicate with more people.  To be able to cook in my own kitchen and catch up with the friends we see on a day to day basis at home.

Okay, so that's where I am at this point.  Moving right along...let's review what happened yesterday...whatever day that was.  Saturday I think?

Natalie is a good sleeper, once she falls asleep.  The key to getting her to sleep is making her feel comfortable.  And she seems to have claimed her comfort in her da jie jie (eldest sister).  As long as Natalie has Kylie to snuggle up with, she falls asleep within minutes.  Not sure what I'm going to do when Kylie goes back to school concerning nap time, but home is an easier place to begin those kinds of struggles.  For now, sleeping with big sister is the key.

We enjoyed our first breakfast here in Guangzhou.  This is our third time in this particular hotel here, so it feels a bit like home.  I was happy to see the waffle bar and my kids thought they had hit the jackpot with the selection of donuts.  (Those of you health conscious, don't judge...after having noodles, green beans, and steamed sweet potatoes as part of your breakfast for a week, donuts are pretty exciting).

Then it was off to Natalie's medical exam.  This is the final exam required by our government in order for her Visa to enter the country to be processed.  They are checking for contagious diseases and to make sure that the parents are aware of any medical needs and that we are okay with those.  We've done this exam four times before, and it was pretty much the same except for the fact that the location has changed.

Well, the location has changed and Daddy is holding the child because I am still, for the most part, public enemy #1 in her eyes.

She sailed through the exam without much issue.  Though I did find it interesting that the one nurse was concerned about her mental development because she couldn't answer how old she was.


You're asking a child who has lived in an institution ~ a place where birthdays aren't regularly  celebrated ~ for her entire life how old she is and when she doesn't know you question her mental development?

How about the fact that just the day before she told Hannah (in a long, complex sentence mind you) that we needed to turn off the air conditioning because she noticed that her siblings had the sniffles and air conditioning makes people sick ~ a common belief here.  How about that she sized up her siblings and decided who was da jie jie and da ge ge (eldest sister and eldest brother) all on her own.  What about her ability to recite entire little poems and songs that take about a minute each to go through?  How about the fact that she's able to dress herself, is completely potty trained, and has already started to pick up a little English?

I think her mental state is quite good thankyouverymuch.

(please excuse the Mama bear coming out...)

weight and height check
**Oh, something pretty cool for those who follow LWB.  Do you remember Yong, the little boy that had a facial tumor that they were trying to raise money for?  Guess who was having his adoption medical exam at the same time as us yesterday...  Awesome to see him in the arms of his forever family!**

There was another amazing thing that happened yesterday.  It may have been over receiving a piece of candy, but I got a voluntary kiss AND a "wo ai ni" (I love you) from one little girl who hasn't wanted much to do with me.  Sure she was honked off at me again later and refused to hold my hand, sit next to me or even look in my direction, but we shared a moment!

By the time we got back to the hotel it was time to go have fun in the sun.  I can't tell you how glad I am for the outdoor hotel pool here.  We weren't sure what the little one would think...with four on the summer swim team we were a bit nervous wondering if she would be the first to hate the water.

No worries now.  It was pretty clear that she had never been in a pool, but she loved it, LOVED it!

The big kids were happy to get their wiggles out in the little pool and watch their little sister giggle and giggle and giggle some more.

Ian, my mom, and I alternated taking the big kids between the little pool and the big pool to swim laps.

But mostly we just splashed and laughed and giggled together in the little pool.

The pool wore everyone out so we took a quick nap and then headed out...again...for dinner.  While we had amazing, authentic Chinese food  in Changsha, we decided after a week that it was time for a change of pace and walked to Tekila to get some Mexican.  It wasn't quite La Cocina at home, but it was good.  Natalie surprised us by reaching for several bites of my carnitas.  Guess she truly is a spicy girl...gonna fit in fine with my chip and salsa loving crew.

By the time we finally got back it was time for pajamas.  Then we had five little monkeys jumping on the bed...

saturday, september 7


Anne said...

I just love reading about your journey to Natalie! It sounds like she's fitting in and feeling more comfortable every day. Can't wait to hear more!!

Anne in Colorado

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Love that she is warming up to you and maybe someday you will be able to go back and spend some length of time.

Shannon said...

Fun to hear about your day in Guangzhou... In some ways it seems like yesterday that our first daughters and our families were getting to know each other in that special city. In others it seems we have known you forever! I agree mama bear that Natalie looks like she is doing amazingly well mentally and physically! And thankful for the sweet moments you have had with her. Promising more and more moments as your hearts are knit together. Missing you guys in the day to day here but it won't be long now! Kids haven't missed too much in the way of school. No homework last week. Can't wait for your return! Looking forward to some park playdates on the upcoming beautiful fall days! Love you!

Laurie said...

Yep, sounds like it's time to come home! :) Thank you so much for sharing your days with us. I have LOVED waking up every morning to see how your day went and to look at so many sweet pictures. LOVE that last one!!

Anonymous said...

Our DD sounds EXACTLY like your little Natalie! Knew who everyone was, could sing many, many songs, chatted for minutes on end with the staff who cleaned our room. She couldn't answer how old she was either. If you asked her what her name was, she'd answer, but her age? Nope. Though it wasn't surprising. DD was almost the same age as Natalie at Gotcha.

Heather said...

Love the last picture. :) Glad your sweet girl loves the water as much as your other swimmers. I remember this part of the trip well, we loved our time in China, but at this point you are ready to go home. To begin life in familiar territory. Enjoy your last few days and thank you for letting us follow along.

Traci said...

Of course she is ridiculously intelligent and likes the water... after all she is part of the "M" family! So glad the appointment went well and glad to see her jumping while holding onto you! Praying for you all as you continue to adjust!

Anonymous said...

Dear M family,

I wouldn't be upset about the fact that sweet Nathalie doesn't know how old she is either. Our boy is now home nearly two years and has asked us several times how old he was after his July birthday (he turned five, and it was his second birthday wich was celebrated in his life). Just last week he asked me very seriously how many times he could have his birthday before there weren't any birthdays anymore. To him, his birthday is still somethim of a mistery and I don't blame him for not knowing these sort of things.

Something totally different, I still think youre Caleb keeps looking so much like my boy. I promise to sent you more pictures soon.
I wish you a very, very nice time in China and nothing but smooth sailing when you are home ( I know, I know, it isn't going to be all smooth sailing but I still wish you all the best)!

Send you all my love,

Amy Murphy said...

Congrats on getting an "I love you!" And, so great to hear about Yong! :)

Glenda said...

Another water baby! Watch out QHSC! Can't wait to see you all. So glad that she had a time of affection. They will be coming more and more as time goes on. You'll win her heart in short order.