Monday- This morning after breakfast we went back to the medical clinic to have Lily’s TB test read. Negative. Then we went shopping on Shamain Island. This is an area that is surrounded by a dirty smelly canal but it is a tradition to visit this place for adoptive families because of the famous White Swan Hotel located here. This is one of the most used hotels for adoptive families and there are red couches in the lobby that everyone wants to photograph their new babies on. So we took our red couch photos after buying Lily and Hope cute traditional Chinese outfits. The hotel is pretty but we have heard from several people that it is no comparison to the Holiday Inn where we are staying.
Our hotel is by far the nicest Holiday Inn I’ve ever known of and it is located directly in a shopping district. There are hundreds of shops right outside our hotel. So we shopped on “the island” for a few hours. We visited quaint little Chinese shops full of souvenirs. The kids all enjoyed it. We found a Starbucks and ate lunch there and drank frappacinos. Just like in America. It was nice.
Back to the hotel and we ate dinner later at McDonalds. Lily prefers the chicken wings. We all ate cheeseburgers. Adri had fish filet. It’s funny because MdDonalds would be LAST on our list in America but here in China we are GRATEFUL for Ronald!
The streets outside our hotel are full of Chinese shops. Almost all of them have an English name. Like CLasSY, or Pizzazz Boy, or other fun things like Wi Wi! Thankfully there is a Papa John’s that tastes just like American ones. There is a place called Dakasi where I get an Iced Oolong Milk Tea every night. It makes me happy and Hope gets my straw after I’m done and it makes her happy too. In fact, other than her hands, straws are about the only thing she plays with. Oh, and my hair! She likes my hair. Hope only cries when she’s tired or hungry. She’s such an easy going baby. She is starting to cry when we put her in her crib. Which is great because the first few nights she didn’t. She had zero attachment to us. But now I think she really likes us! : ) She looks around the room at us with a look like she knows us. Even though she holds her own bottle I still hold her everytime she eats and I stare right into her eyes..
Lily likes daddy best. She is a bit wild. She is wilder than I thought. I thought she was meek and quiet and calm. She is the opposite. It’s really odd to me how quick she has changed. After 9 years you would think it wouldn’t be this way. Even though I am a bit sad that she is testing us, I can also see how God is blessing us. Maybe He is helping her true self come out now, and it won’t take years. Daniel and I thought we might never have to strongly discipline Lily but already we have had to get stern with her. She is ours now. She loves us and will forever be our daughter so we have to treat her like that. It’s great because she is able to see us disciplining our other kids and she sees how it works. How we still love her when we get on to her. On one hand you can excuse any behavior by remembering she has spent 9 years in an orphanage in China. On the other hand, we want to train her in love and see her grow into a healthy relating child. She really acts great. Just a bit untamed. Like she doesn’t know how to act outside of the orphanage in a family.
She has strongly bonded to Daniel so much that I think she has probably never had a man give her much attention. I think that because Daniel has given her love and affection she has grown a bit possessive of him. If he loves on me or another kid she has to get right in the middle of it and get his attention. Daniel is the best daddy to them both. I know in time she will grow to understand how a mother and daddy relate in a healthy way to their children as she sees that we aren’t going anywhere and we still love her no matter what she does.
Lily is VERY smart. I had concerns that she might have mental challenges. While I am still not sure of how she will do at school (she seems to be on a pre-k level), I am amazed at how independent and capable she is. We have not had many challenges communicating. She knows EXACTLY what we are saying. She is very helpful and loving and happy. I look forward to teaching her English and many things at home. It’s difficult to be here because we are off our schedule living the hotel life. I wonder if she thinks this is home! And in hotels and on vacation our rules are a bit more lax so I think she will respond really well to structure (but not orphanage structure this time….happy family structure!)
She really loves the kids. She plays most with Johnny. They (the twins) wrestle and laugh and speak Chinese to one another. Rob kind of acts like the big brother whose little sister (Lily) gets into his stuff (which she does). Rob is quick to point out when Lily breaks the rules. Lily likewise points out when Johnny breaks the rules! “Mama!!! JohnnyYa!!!!’ And Phoebe hasn’t really had any girl time with her so she really kinda relates differently than we all thought. Instead of having a 9 year old sister Lily is more like a 5 year old sister. As she learns English and we get home I think that will change.
Lily doesn’t know what to think of me yet I think. I don’t let her get away with as much as Daddy so I am not as fun. Daniel is an incredible father to them both. He amazes me and I love him even more today than yesterday. I cannot say enough good things about him.
I try to sleep with Lily most so she can bond with me. Every night someone is sleeping with someone else. Lily definitely knows we are a family who loves each other and has fun. She will see the rules and structure more once we get home. I think since she’s only had women in her life telling her what to do she naturally migrates to Daniel more. She kisses me and smiles at me and hugs me, but yesterday we saw her jump into the arms of another man here adopting and love on him and kiss him. So she clearly hasn’t truly bonded with us in a real and healthy way yet. That will take time. We are just trying to provide her with a safe environment where she can learn to trust us and watch how life works outside of the orphanage with a real family.
Lily is going to require more medical help than we thought, as she has a limp and it looks like one hip is messed up. One leg is longer than the other. Although I wish we could just fast forward to about a year from now and see how she has grown and adapted, I know that God is most interested in seeing how we respond and love her and teach her about family and life. Daniel and I have prayed and had honest conversations and we knew it wouldn’t be easy bringing a 9 year old orphan into our family. At the same time, although the challenges are different that what we expected, they are not near as tough as what we thought. Just different.