Monday, February 28, 2011

Tuesday, Feb 15- Thursday, Feb. 17: Life in Lanzhou

TuesdayWednesdayThursday- Ok Im sorry but I am writing this days later and now all these days seem to run together so I will bunch them together and tell you what we did the rest of the week in Lanzhou.

We really didn’t have to do anything else adoption paperwork related. I think we have to stay in Lanzhou long enough to get our kids’ passports. And they are so cute. One day we went to the mountain. It was amazing. It’s a giant mountain that surrounds Lanzhou and it’s like it just goes straight up! The mountains surrounding the city hold all the air pollution trapped in the city, causing it to be one of the most polluted cities in the world. It is considered an industrial city. And it’s very drab, except for the artificial flowers planted everywhere! Which faked us out for a day or so! The mountain was enjoyable and we were just about to go to the area where the panda is when Johnny got sick. Vomiting and diarrhea and we were outta there. We had to leave the rest of the group and go straight back to the hotel. I almost lost it. All I could think about was the prescription for traveler’s diarrhea for my children that I left at the pharmacy before we left America because it was over $400! My urgent messages to America for pray paid off. I am so grateful for prayers and God. It seems like He’s all we have here but I’m thankful that’s enough.

The day before we had to go to the hospital with Hope because of a bad diaper rash that she had when she was given to us. There was one spot on her bottom that looked infected. I know that in Ameica our good doctors would put her on an antibiotic so quick. It really concerned me. I was thinking of staph infections, etc. Daniel and I left Adri with all the kids and took Hope to the hospital. It was a very dirty dark place. I thought to myself why don’t they put better lighting in the hospital, but then I realized then you would see how dirty it was. We waited for hours to see three doctors who told me it was excema! UGH! They prescribed us zinc oxide liquid which burned Hope’s bottom so bad she screamed violently. Our doctor bill was around $30.

Then on the way home from the hospital I had another important matter to take care of. I needed a blow dryer! My curling iron, blow dryer, and hot rollers will not work in China. Not even with my $30 Brookstone adapter! So I bought me a blow dryer. Needless to say, my hair has been a “frizzy red mess” since we’ve been here!!! Oh well, we are in CHINA! That’s what we say. And another think we say is WHY ASK WHY IN CHINA! Haha

Everyday we see improvements in both Lily and Hope. They are becoming more and more our family everyday. I think with Hope its her bonding with us and needing us. With Lily it is the opposite. It’s all five of us seeing Lily as one of us, not a stranger here for a time. And every day that happens more and more. It’s actually been so easy it’s kinda strange. We know that God has created our family!

Lily plays with her baby dolls. She has about 5. We laugh and say she plays “orphanage” because she lines them up and feeds them and puts them to bed. We said she only needs about 30 more babies at home to really play! She is gentle and loving. She smiles so much. And she had “a million dollar smile” as daddy says. She is so tiny. Her hair is growing in very cute. I trimmed her bangs but left the rest to grow. Her hair is prettiest away from her face so you can see her pretty face.

We often say we wish we knew what Lily is thinking. 9 years of one way of thinking and in a moment she has the world in front of her. She has adjusted nicely right now. I know there is 9 years though of institutionalization in her that will need to come out and be processed. It’s ok. We will help her. We will love her through it all. And watch her become the person God created her to be…whole. We forget her age. Lily is Lily. I would say she is about on a five year level, except she doesn’t know any English so that puts her further behind. But she is REALLY SMART! The girl has COMMON SENSE. She has life sense. She is a survivor. She is strong willed and stubborn about what she wants. Reminds me of some other Hook kids I know! A perfect fit for our family. I know just how to parent that kind!

Hope is fun and sweet. She giggles and smiles and coos and babbles. She just goes and does what we do. No trouble. We often say if we had only gotten Hope is would be TOO easy. And if we had gotten Lily it would be TOO easy. But getting them together is challenging because we have to split our time with them. Hope demands so much attention because she is a baby. Always needing to be fed or changed or held. So we go out of our way to spread our affection around. I find myself thinking, OK, who do I need to focus on today! Five kids! WOW! It’s sad but true that each child gets less time with mommy and daddy separately. I think that has made me a little sad. I miss that. But at the same time, this is the life we have chosen. To share our love with two others that had none. To spread ourselves a bit thinner for the sake of two that had no family. So it makes me want to be an even better mommy for Phoebe, Rob and Johnny. I never want them to feel jipped. Ever.

Thursday we had a traditional Chinese meal at the restaurant in our hotel. They brought us a free dessert of rice balls. It looks like white balls floating in watered down milk. Ray told us that because today was the last day of the Lantern Festival that out of the 3 million people in the city that day, 90 percent of them would eat this dessert. So almost all of us tried it. It was the consistency of eye balls. When you bit into it you tasted the jet black gooey center of sesame seeds and no telling what else. It didn’t taste bad, but the consistency was impossible to overcome. Adri cheered us on “CHEW CHEW CHEW!!!” while we ate it after she bravely went first! Ray was nice and not offended. We tried! He even bribed Phoebe with a gift to get her to eat it. She had to spit it out. Lily LOVED it of course!

Another memorable meal in Lanzhou was KFC. After Adri, husband and I all agreed we could not identify the popcorn “chicken” as chicken we ate the rolls and decided KFC in China was a no go.

Before I leave Lanzhou I must tell you the most incredible part of the city! We were in Lanzhou during the last few days of the Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival. The decorations are impossible to describe. I can’t imagine how drab the city would look without them. All of our hotels and flights were more expensive due to coming during this time, but it was incredible. Plus Hope’s name can mean early morning festival, so we found it fitting.

The city was FULL of lanterns and lights and blow up rabbits (it’s the year of the Rabbit). It was like Rhema times a hundred! Well organized, bright, colorful, well designed displays of light! I cannot imagine ANY city in the world outdoing what we saw! We are so grateful to have seen what we did!

The last night, Thursday night, around 7:00 the fireworks started. We were in the hotel safe and sound. Ray had warned us. There were MILLIONS of people on the streets, THOUSANDS of whizzing cars, traffic jams galore and people setting off fireworks everywhere you look. We safely viewed from our hotel window. There are two scenarios I can use to try to describe the six hours that occurred this night. First, it sounded like a war zone. Second, it was like Disney fireworks times a hundred!!!! CONTINUALLY FIREWORKS FOR 6 HOURS. Not a firework here and there….continual! Glancing out our window we could count about 10 different HUGE DISNEY SIZED firework displays. Plus, they were going off downtown through the streets. Right below our window on the street HUGE fireworks were set off! They were bouncing off our hotel windows! I AM NOT EXAGGERATING!!!!! They were being launched from the middle of the street while cars whizzed around both sides of them!!!! I AM NOT EXAGGERATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact, I could not exaggerate enough to create a scene more amazing that we saw this night! Awe. Craziness. CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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