Monday, December 29, 2008

What a great day!

First, I want to say congratulations to John and Lisa for their new referral! Their long- awaited referral for their daughter Lucy came today - and it looks like Anna is going to be a big sis after all!

Lucy is just precious! You can see Lisa's blog HERE.

Next, Jia got her first dental exam. When Kenzie went, all she wanted to do was sit in that chair and have the dentist examine her teeth. We made her appointment for today, but had to try to find a way to explain to her that we weren't going to have the dentist look at her teeth right away. We got a calendar later that day, and told her it was hers. I circled the date that Kenzie had had her appointment on, then the date she would be having her dental appointment on. I showed her how many days had to pass before she got her appointment.

That didn't quite work... so I explained how many nights we had to go to sleep before we woke up and went to the dentist. That did the trick. She could recite "Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep .... DENTIST!" We left one "go to sleep" off every day, until by the 3rd day before the appointment, she could figure it out for herself. She did a great job. They tried to do an xray of her full mouth, but she is so short that they couldn't get a good xray. What they saw was that there appeared to be four teeth buds missing for her permanent teeth. For what her age is supposed to be, they should be developed by now. In 6 months when we return, we'll have them do this again to see if they can make some determination of her actual age - if she really is five, or is she younger.

Then (for a treat) I took them to a local park. The weather was very warm today for the time of year. Normally, we'd see temps in the 30's to 20's... but today must have been about 50 degrees. The kids were incredibly excited to be able to play outside. I found out Jia can swing herself once she gets going. But for a kid that seems to be unafraid of a lot of things, she was petrified of some big stepping stones that were on the playground. This is where Kenzie became Super Sister to the rescue! She helped Jia walking across the stones... I wouldn't exactly say Jia overcame the fear, but she was more assured as Kenzie held her hand and helped her go from stone to stone. And the kids were loving the outdoors. I can't wait for spring and nice weather. I want them to get out every nice day we can. Here are pics from the day.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Shhhhh! Santa just left...

Santa just finished her wrapping and eating her carrots and cookies. Oh, and drinking a little milk. And yes, it's 3:30 in the morning. And I bet Santa will have to drive to Grandma's house tomorrow, too, all bleary eyed and dragging her behind...

I can't wait to see how Jia reacts to "Santa". Before bedtime last night, Kenzie came down to check on which stocking was hers.... and Jia came down later and said something in Chinese pointing at the stockings (sounded a little like "Nega wo de?"). I told her that the one on the far end was hers. And she said "OK" and went to bed. I'm not sure she knows what this is all about or who Santa is... but perhaps she's getting caught up in Kenzie's excitement.

Tomorrow will be a priceless memory.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. It is truly a blessed time of the year - and we are so blessed to have our children to share this time with.

Children are God's greatest gift to all of us. Children stand for hope, love, joy, promise.... God knows that we needed this in our lives. For me, life means nothing if it doesn't have a purpose outside of one's own desires. And our children help keep us grounded in what is dear and sweet about life. Children keep things real, down to earth, and in the now.

After being parents, Roy and I look at each other and wonder how we survived together without our girls.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good News

We got a call today from Riley Hospital - they wanted to pass along the good news.

Jia is as healthy a child as they come. All her tests came back normal. Normal... that is an outstanding word when it comes to a child's health.

This is the best Christmas present one can have. That, and a hug and kiss from your kids who thank you (for whatever...) and then tell you they love you.

That - and to just have Jia talk to me in a soft voice when she has her mouth up next to my ear. (AAAUUUUUGGGGHHHH! That hurt!) Of course, she said "I'm sorry, mommy." Sweatheart. Can't be mad about it.

Got some pics of the kids at a Children's Museum - that was a great day! They had a blast. We'll be spending a lot more time there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Visit to Riley

It's late - and we were a loooooong time at Riley Hospital having Jia checked out. We are having some blood work done, and they did an xray of her back to see if she possibly had any curvature of her spine. I never noticed it. Of course, it's hard to see the reasons why the doctor was concerned when you have a whirlwind living in your home and doesn't stand still at any time for anyone to actually notice it. But when Jia was actually standing still for her, I could see why there was some concern... Funny, when it came time to go to get her x-ray, she went willingly with the technician, and the technician told me that she did really well, even held still for her when she asked her to.

The one thing that the doctor was impressed with was her receptive language and the amount of words (even sentences) that Jia was speaking after having been with us for 5 weeks. She has been learning her ABC's from a little toy computer that had been purchased by Roy's cousin Elaine last year in September when we visited his family in the Chicago area. One of the games asks the child to find a letter, with a picture of the letter they are supposed to find on the screen. Jia can find them all after playing with it for a few minutes over about 4 days. And she is beginning to learn some letters by sight and can name them.

It was an interesting (and trying) day for the kids... OH - yeah, Kenzie just had to go, too. I know she thought that Jia was going to get some kind of special treatment or special time with Mama... and she didn't want to be left out. Of course, before we even got to Indianapolis, she was saying, "Are we there yet? I'm bored!" Well, duh - what did mom and dad tell you before we left....????

One other interesting thing - when they poked Jia with the needle to draw blood, the only thing she did was draw her breath in for a fraction of a second. Then she just watched. I'm floored. I think this is probably a result of the orphanage training the kids not to make a big deal of falling down or getting hurt - or perhaps they just don't make a big fuss about the kids falling down when they are young, so they never learn to recognize that when you hurt or have pain, you're supposed to cry out so it alerts others that you need help. You know what that's like. An infant will fall and then look at his/her mother or father to see how s/he is supposed to react to it. If the mom makes a big deal of it, the baby cries. If the mom ignores it, the baby will, too. That's assuming that there's no broken bones or anything that would make any normal person cry out in pain.

One last thing - they found that she had lots of ear wax (the dry, crusty type) on her ear drum. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow to ask him to clean out her ears. That may have a lot to do with Jia's loudness.

Oh well... I can't wait to get the results from today's visit. She seems so healthy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Late night musings - I can't sleep

I guess older child adoption isn't for everyone... but I'm so glad we did this!!!

There are so many people out there who are searching for a way to make their lives mean something - who want to be remembered for something. Unfortunately, we have people who want to do it in an evil way - killing people, or destroying institutions or property, or cheating people out of millions (or billions) of dollars for personal gain. Then you have people who have no hope, who believe their lives mean nothing and that they will never matter to anyone - so they are petty criminals, living only for themselves. Or they don't believe that any of their actions will have consequences that could reach any further than themselves, and in being such, they have no compunction in taking the life of another, just because they think they have been wronged in some manner, or want something that they don't have.

You know, we can't all be a Jonas Salk or Marie Curie or Alexander Fleming... people who through their work were able to influence and change millions of lives for the better. They are the rare ones.

I'll settle for the difference I can make in just three lives, to start with. Roy, Kenzie and Jia. I may never matter to any one else I meet in my life, but I have purpose and meaning because I am important to them. And they are the world to me.

We are but small spiders on webs, each of us. And the strands of our webs, as they branch out and touch whatever they are attached to are influenced by what happens to us, but we also influence the things we are attached to by our walking on our webs. No matter where we are or who we are in contact with, we all influence each other, even in what may at first appear to be small ways, but sometimes, that small influence will become a huge difference to someone. The more I am a mother, the more I know how interconnected we all are.

You know, there are times I just want to cry when people ask if my daughters are blood siblings. If people realized how such a small percentage of DNA separate us all from each other - even separating one race from another - they might not put so much importance on blood relations anymore. If we all go back far enough - we're all related in some way.

Jia is beginning to tone down the yelling - and that is helping a lot. And last night, Kenzie and Jia were playing like best friends together. It was such a blessing to see them laughing and rolling around on the bed playing and just being little girls having a good time with each other. And once we were in bed, Jia said something to me in Chinese... and I just knew it was "Face me mommy." I turned to her and she immediately put her arm around my neck and pulled my face right up to hers, and she pursed her lips for a kiss, then said "I lub you." Then she curled up next to my body and told me (using Chinese and showing me) that her forehead itched... LOL! I began stroking her forehead and hair with my fingers, and she fell right into a deep sleep. What an awesome little girl. She reminds me so much of Kenzie when she was two or three. But still, she's different. And the trust and love she is showing us is so precious.

Funny, I don't understand most of what she is saying in Chinese, but somehow, I can figure out what is going on or what she wants or what she is telling me. Most of the time. (Every so often there's a string of Chinese that is just Jia talking, but not about anything I can associate with something... and all I can do is smile, or nod my head, or shrug my shoulders and say I don't understand.)

And last night was another turning point. Jia and Kenzie were sitting in Roy's lap - and Jia was wanting to be read to.... from books! She hadn't shown any interest in books up to this point. Now I am thrilled! We consider reading to our kids extremely important - and her wanting to be read to and use books is a great turning point in her development. She must be understanding a lot more English to want to be read to. I love when these revelations happen.

Life is good. I'll leave it on that note and go back to bed. I think I can go back to sleep now. Just so excited that we're seeing some positive changes in both our daughters.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What is she saying?

OK folks, here's a Youtube video of Jia saying the Ni Mao Wo. In the mornings, it's accompanied by lots of crying and a little fit thrown in for good measure. Here, she's not quite so adamant - but she pulls out the whiney little girl in her to sound like she's really sad. There's so much manipulation in this child - and I don't think I can blame her - it's probably what she had to do at the orphanage just to get attention. Doesn't work too well around me... which is probably why she's so frustrated. Well - if anyone can tell me what she is saying - I would appreciate it! And if you have appropriate responses for it, please let me know the pinyin saying and what it means so I can tell her something.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jia's loudness...

A very good friend had read my previous post and suggested that Jia might have a hearing problem because of her volume level. That might have crossed my mind, except she can hear me when I talk softly. At least, I think she can.

I attributed her loudness to a combination of behavior she learned in the orphanage and her natural exhuberance. She is a real treat to deal with - and I have many times considered wearing ear plugs to help with the headaches I get at the end of the day. Yes, the loudness can be earsplitting sometimes... but at least it's not 100% of the time.

We have an appointment set up at Riley Hospital and I want them to run a huge battery of tests so we can determine what, if anything, is going on... and perhaps they will have suggestions about things we can be doing to help her. She also says (every single day) something every morning. I have no idea what it means. It is something to the effect of "San ni mao wo", or Song ni mao wo" - I can't tell which it is... she talks in such a baby talk kind of way that I wonder what exactly she is saying sometimes. But I am sure of the "ni mao wo" part of it.

I got a suggestion for the geniuses out there in the world who want to invent the ultimate translator - make it so you can type in the region of the world where someone comes from, and then feed into it the words someone is saying, adjusting for age. Then have it translate what is being said. What an adoptive parent wouldn't pay for that!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Wow... this motherhood thing is hard.

OK, we got off really easy with Kenzie. She was so easy to take care of, to raise - we were spoiled rotten with a kid who was as close to perfect as can be. She was easy going, funny and smart... and able to do things for herself - something I didn't realize that I loved so much about her growing up.

OK, Jia is smart, and funny. She is NOT easy going. Just NOT. And her volume level is set on LOUDEST. (We never asked what words would help her understand that she needs to talk more softly.) But I think a huge part of all this right now is that there is such a huge distance between us because of the language barrier. She keeps saying something to me (daily) and so far no one understands what it is she is saying. Least of all me... since my Chinese is so limited.

It seems that once her jie-jie is home, things get marginally better. But there are still breakdowns in communication - and if I could only understand what she was saying I could help her more. She seems extremely willing to do things and to be thoughtful, especially towards her big sister. Wish I could say the same about Kenzie, but it seems she delights in finding ways right now to make her sister cry and trying to make it look like it's not her fault... hmmmmm.... guess she's got a mean streak in her. "OH mommy! I didn't know I was stepping on her bracelet" (as Kenzie is standing on it - gotta feel that round lumpy thing under her tender foot - as Jia is crying and trying to pull her foot off of it...)

I keep telling myself that it will get better.... it may take a few months of this - but it will get better.

On the flip side - I have no time to myself. I have absolutely no time to work on her adoption video, or get information for my mom for health insurance, or fill out forms to take Jia to Riley Hospital - and finding a quiet moment means waking up in the middle of the night and staying up 3-4 hours, only to wake up bleary eyed and tired... no, MORE tired.

We need to try and see if we can get her into a preschool. We have one in mind if we can get a scholarship. It is 3 days a week, 9-11:30 and it would do her good to be with kids she can play with. We went to a craft fair for kids at the place that has the preschool, and Jia had a blast making things - in fact, she really has great concentration and can do a lot of planning on what she wants her craft to look like. And she LOVED it. The church is a really nice place and I was impressed with the people. I hope things can work out. Jia really needs a little time for herself as well.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ears are pierced!

Wow, what an ordeal!

We went to the Piercing Pagoda at the mall yesterday to get Kenzie's ears pierced. Jia's ears are already pierced (one of the teachers at the orphanage did it.) I guess for every girl, at some time in her life, she goes through this rite of passage, from little girl to (in Kenzie's case) a bigger little girl. I didn't get my ears pierced until I was twenty. And then I did it the old-fashoined way - drink a pint of vodka and hold ice to my ears so when my cousin shoved a needle through them I (hopefully) wouldn't feel it. NOTE TO OTHERS: it doesn't work - you feel it anyway. Especially since she had to try it about three times on each ear - I have really thick cartilage in my ears.

Kenzie picked out the earrings she wanted to have her ears pierced with, and another pair she could wear once they had healed. After paying for the earrings, it was time to have her sit in the chair.

She got up there and then began to freak a little. They took alcohol wipes and cleaned her ears off, to which she sat with scrunched up shoulders. Then they took the marking pen to put the dots on her ears - and she again began to scrunch her shoulders and cried out a little. I explained to her that they had to mark where they were going to put her holes so they could give her a good piercing. Otherwise, they'd have to do it again and we only want to do it once.

Then they pulled out the "guns" that they use to pierce the ears with. That's when all hell broke loose. She screamed and then stood up on the edge of the chair and wrapped her arms around my neck in a choke hold and just kept crying and screaming...

It told her that if she wanted pierced ears then she had to have them put in with the equipment she saw. She screamed she didn't like the needle. After trying to calm her down a bit (with no luck) I picked her up out of the chair, put her down on the floor and told her if she didn't want her ears pierced today and wanted to wait until she was older, that was fine with me. I would go ahead and give the earrings to Jia.

She looked at me and said, "But can't you save them for me?"

I told her the earrings were for little girls, not older girls, and that since Jia had her ears pierced already, she could wear them. The earrings wouldn't fit her if she was 13.

It took her a few seconds. but you could see the wheels turning in her head, and by all things sacred she was not going to let her earrings be given to Jia for any reason.

She walked back around me and got up in the chair, this time a little more resolute. I told her that she could hold my hands and squeeze as tight as she wanted to. When the moment came that the earrings went through her ears ( and she felt the pain) she was back to crying again. But they did a great job of getting her ears pierced - they look really good.

I took her for some ice cream, and for a while, she was not too happy with me. But after about a half hour, we were in Claire's looking at other earrings, and she went to their full-length mirror and was smiling at herself, moving her head back and forth to admire her new look. And feeling very grown up about herself.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Walmart, ear piercings, and Thanksgiving

Thanks for all the advice on the Walmart situation. I will go back, get the woman's name and take a picture of her, then send a letter to corporate. There is no excuse for her behavior or words - and no excuse for this if Walmart hasn't trained their personnel better than that.

On the other hand, we will get Kenzie's ears pierced either today or tomorrow. There's a place in the mall we will go to, and we'll let her pick whatever earrings she wants to have put in her ears. Kenzie is not adjusting very well to this new arrangement. She wanted a sister for so long, but no matter how many times we talked with her about the changes that would take place, she didn't realize that it would be like this. Luckily, Jia adores her big sister - and that may work to our advantage, as long as Kenzie doesn't use it to get her to do things that we don't even want Kenzie to do.

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was a very happy one! We had ours at my mother's, and my poor mother was run ragged by Jia. Before we left the house, I told Jia we were going to visit Meemaw. Jia shook her head yes and got very animated. Then, after a little while, we still weren't ready to go, she got her coat and began chattering away in Chinese and the only thing I caught was "Meemaw". She wanted to go, and NOW. We finally got there and when we pulled up and got the kids out of their car seats, Jia saw her Meemaw and she said "I lub eyou!" the very first thing. Wow... what a sweet child! She really loves her Wai Po and is thrilled to spend time with her and wants her attention.

Of course, we have to work on Jia's voice level. Everything she says is at top volume. By the end of the day, we all have headaches and need some tylenol. Thank goodness she goes to sleep!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walmart and Jia

I took the kids to Walmart to do some shopping. We needed groceries and especially the Chinese noodles - so I went to town buying things for the pantry.

As we walked through, Jia would point at things at the shelves as if to say "I want that, and I want this, and I want that over there, and some of that..." If I stopped for anything, she would begin to grab as many cans/bags/pieces of the item as she could carry to put it in the cart. I know she feels more like a family - and I'm sure she's never experienced the joy of being able to put as much food into a shopping cart as it can carry and to know that there will always be something to eat.

This was a great experience for both of us, and I find that she's beginning to cling a little more to me today.

I also wanted to pierce Kenzie's ears today... but that didn't work out. I'll have to go out to the mall again tomorrow. We went to Walmart and asked there if they pierced ears, but the old biddy looked at me and then the kids, and asked me if I was their mother. I told her of course, that the children were adopted from China. She asked "Where are their papers?" As if they were dogs I just picked up from the pound. I guess I should have expected it - but wow... that was a real shock. Walmart lost a lot of respect from me for not training their people better in how to ask for documentation. I understand the concern, but the attitude and phrasing that she used was truly objectionable, especially when my oldest was standing there listening to the entire conversation. Worse, I am willing to bet that she doesn't ask for any documentation from bio parents - or parents who have adopted children who are of the same race.

I think I will talk with the manager about this... he or she should be informed about their employees' lack of finesse.

OK, got a cranky baby - gotta get her to bed.

Baba is the man!

We have found out that when it comes to bedtime, Jia only wants to sleep next to Baba. If he isn't next to her, she cries so pitifully and won't stop until he is beside her. And all the time she is crying she says "Wo ai babaaaa! Wo yao babaaaaa!" [I love daddy. I want daddy.]

Guess Roy has his role for the evenings mapped out for him.

Too cute.

Later today, while Kenzie is at school, I will take Jia with me shopping for groceries. I wonder how she'll do in the store....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Curious about language...

I wonder - if those of you who have adopted an older child from another country - when did it finally sink in with your child that no one understood what they were saying?

Jia just chatters on and on and on... and I don't know if she's chewing me out or just discussing the affairs of the day. She's upstairs right now with her baba and jie jie and is talking into a voice changer I introduced her to... and having the greatest time!

There are those moments where she just chatters away in her little child lispy Mandarin. She never seems to comprehend that we are not understanding a word she says... and I wondered... does it ever sink in and when?

So far, I've been lucky to understand what she wants just by paying attention to her actions or catching a familiar word or two... but when it comes to her "conversation" - which obviously tends to be one-sided - there's yet to be a give and take. I just wondered when she'll get it... and what do I do when it happens? How do I handle the pain of her isolation? I have Chinese friends I can call for help when she needs desperately to be understood, but they aren't available 24 hours a day. Her passive learning of the English language has been pretty good so far.

But then - in the middle of the night when she says she has to go to the bathroom (in Chinese) and when we get back into bed and snuggle, she says as best as she can, "I lub eyou-eh!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

We're home..

Well, once we got to Guangzhou, I fell off the face of the earth... sort of.

I have to say, I didn't like the White Swan the first time we went, and I like it a whole lot less this last time. It may be beautiful on the inside, but the rooms are literally in a state of decay. In the bathroom we had, the wood was rotting at the bottom of the door jamb, big chunks of wood was torn off of the jamb... and the sink broke (the thing that allows you to either hold water in the sink or drain it out just came undone... it was a struggle to get the stopper out and then I had to keep Jia from putting it back in.)

And on Shamian Island, there are many, many shops that are now closed. My favorite, Jennifer's, is no longer in business. It was so sad... a lot of the shops I wanted to see were no longer there. The Vietnamese restaurant is now a shop with all kinds of stuff... All the prices on Shamian Island were extremely high, I thought.

I have one word of warning - for families preparing to go to China and adopt - do NOT go to a place called Jessica's Place on the island. They will cheat you. Just take my word for it. They are crooks and are not to be trusted.

I can tell you that Jia hasn't seemed to look back once since we left Harbin. She had the one bout of grieving and then after that, she seemed to have accepted what has happened. She is currently exploring every toy in the house while Kenzie is sleeping off the jet lag.

I honestly think the transition has been hardest on Kenzie. She hasn't had her mama to herself and she was really feeling it on the plane ride home. When we got close to Detroit, she began crying that she wanted to have her mama sit with her... and we all had had so little sleep - I began to cry too. I feel so bad that most of the attention has been on Jia. Jia wanted to sleep between me and Kenzie, Kenzie wanted me to sleep by her and turn my face to her, Jia wanted me to face her. I expected that.

We had some interesting insights into Jia. On the plane ride back, Jia was coloring in her coloring book. Kenzie wanted to color, too. So, Jia understood (somehow - maybe it was Kenzie's whining voice and her trying to color on the page.) Whatever it was, Jia gave Kenzie the coloring book she was coloring in, and then got out another book from her backpack and began coloring in that. That was a surprise.

We watch her play, and it's like watching a two year old. She has a lot of catching up to do to get her where she should be. At this point, I can't tell if she is just so overwhelmed by all the toys or has a problem with her attention span, but she is all over the place with toys. She will make noise with two or three at the same time. I'm hoping with all my heart that she will get so she knows what each toy does and can play with just one at a time. Everything is so new, so she will take a lot of time to adjust to this playground we call home.

I have noticed that the only real similarity between Kenzie and Jia are the facts that they are both happy children with their own unique sense of humor. However, where Kenzie is delicate and thin, Jia is robust and solid. Where Kenzie's voice is soft, Jia's is loud and boisterous.

I remember at the consulate in Guangzhou, they had a "ceremony" in honor of National Adoption Month (November). While waiting, there were toys to play with. Both Kenzie and Jia were at separate tables playing with the same kind of toy. At Kenzie's table, there were two other children trying to play with it at the same time. Kenzie never looked at them, but instead looked at me as if I was supposed to intervene. I could see the tears welling up in her eyes as the other two kids just began to pull back and forth on the toy against each other and Kenzie couldn't get control. Kenzie cried, and Roy went to pick her up to hold her and comfort her.

Jia was accosted by an older boy who wanted hers. She not only held on tight, she stared him down with a look that must have conveyed to the practiced orphanage kid "Don't mess with me, Buddy!" Of course, she did it with a smile on her face... but the kid backed off. Big difference with the kids.

The unfortunate thing was that this was her birthday, and all kids think that the world should revolve around them on that date. Kenzie was no different.

After the consluate, when on our way back to the hotel, our FTIA guide, Catherine, arranged for the White Swan to provide us with a birthday cake for Kenzie 's birthday - sent by room service. It was a wonderful surprise for her. Catherine was very sweet to arrange that for us. In fact, Catherine was wonderful throughout the whole trip. The first time we adopted, she seemed shy and reserved, yet a sweet young woman. This trip, she was very self-assured, as if she had come out of a cocoon and blossomed. And we still love her. She is in our hearts forever. Both Jia and Kenzie adored her, and I'm glad they love her.

I have tons of pics to share. I'll post once I have them on my computer and can upload them to the blog. I may not take time to post them in order, but one post will be entirely pics. Some of them are just priceless.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today - we go to Guangzhou

this morning, we will meet with Susan, who is the director of Adoption Services at the Civil Affairs Bureau. She will be bringing Jia's passport and a photo album of her during the procedures at the Civil Affairs Bureau. We don't have her birth certificate, and that worries me. I hope we also get that - we'll need it if we are to register her in Indiana.

Lynn will be bringing the notary paperwork also. We meet in 2 hours in the hotel lobby.

Later this afternoon, we fly to Guangzhou. I hope Jia won't break down in tears again when Lynn says goodbye... but I have a feeling she's going to cry... and who could blame her. This is all she's ever known, and the people she loved all her short little life are no longer going to be there for her.

On the up side, Jia is perfectly capable of putting on her shoes and socks. Instead, she wanted me to do it. Afterwards, I got a huge hug. Bless her.

Our first bout of greiving

Today, we went to the Aquarium to see the fish and then to a really nice restaurant. Roy and Deb decided to walk down China Street (a big shopping area) and then take a taxi home. Jia had fallen asleep in the van, and it was snowing (small, wet snow) so I decided it would be best to just have the kids go back to the hotel.

Once back, we woke Jia and Lynn went upstairs with us. I asked her to explain to Jia what was going to happen tomorrow so she would have time to digest it. Lynn told her we would fly to Guangzhou and then on to America to her home with her baba, mama, and jie jie. She asked if she understood and she nodded yes.

At some point, Jia was looking at me with tears in her eyes. Lynn asked her what was wrong, and she said she wanted a tea drink I had taken from her... found out it wasn't just strong tea but rather a tea drink - not heavy on the caffeine. So I got her a small bottle we had left over and poured some into it and then had Lynn tell her we would save the rest of the drink for her for later.

Lynn watched our adoption video of Kenzie, and then got a call from the notary so she had to leave. She said goodbye to Jia and told her she'd see her tomorrow. When I turned around and went to sit down on the bed, I noticed Jia had huge tears in her eyes. She looked at me like she had lost her way, lost her everything, and was scared. She began to cry quietly... literally choking back her sobs and trying not to cry out loud. I opened my arms to her and said "Dou Mama zhi lai." (Come to mama.) At first she shook her head no... then came to me and put her back to me and raised her arms for me to pick her up.

I put her on my lap, and began to stroke her hair and cheek as she cried and tried to keep from crying loudly. I told her "Wo zhi de. Wo ai ni." She would turn to look at me as if to say, "How could you do this to me? What will happen to me now?" I ached for her so much... feeling her little body shake with each sob and hearing her whimper and then choke down each sob while wiping away her tears with a tissue. I cried, too, and she watched as Kenzie took a tissue and wiped away my tears - and then I would take a tissue and wipe Jia's tears for her. hb` Her heart was breaking... I wanted so much to reassure her that all would be okay.

She allowed me to hold her and rock her, and then to hold her like a baby for awhile. Then she wanted to get down. I asked if she wanted tv, she shook her head no. Then I asked if she wanted to watch the computer, and she shook her head yes. I showed her more video of Kenzie - videos with music. Her attitude changed a little.

Then she had to go pee (niao), and when we got back, we got out some snacks. She began to be her old self again. She began to ask questions about baba - and I figured she was asking where he was. But she was laughing as we teased and played with each other. She got past it... and it was as if she began to accept it a little. I have a feeling that she will have another little bout with the tears when we say goodbye to Lynn.

Lynn has been a wonderful, sweet young woman. I don't know what we would have done without her help with both Kenzie and Jia. I know Jia won't be the only one to miss her.

Here are some pics from today - before she was told what her fate was to be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Last night we had our first lesson in how to behave. Jia was in Deb's room, just basically tearing everything up. Roy kept telling her no in Chinese, but she was ignoring everything he said and every effort to pull her away from the destruction she was causing.

That's when he walked her into our room (crying and throwing a fit) and closed the connecting door to Deb's room. He made it clear she wasn't going to go back in and that he wasn't happy with her behavior. She cried and jumped up and down and was saying something. I went over and put my arms around her, then picked her up and held her as she cried. We waited for about a minute, then Roy gestured and asked if she wanted to go back into Deb's room (Deb's room had cartoons and Kenzie - and Jia didn't want to be away from either). Jia nodded her head. Then Roy and I demonstrated what we did not want her to do. She nodded again, saying "Wo bu dong le" (I think that was what she was saying).

We opened the door and let her in and the difference was night and day.

Then we got ready to go to eat. Once we were at the elevators, she began acting up again - really bad this time. We told her no and made gestures to try to get our point across, but she was once again ignoring us. Roy picked her up and we took her back to the room and I went with him, Again crying, she said the same thing again, which I am interpreting as "I won't be bad." When we left the room again, she was different... better behaved, holding my hand and not screaming or jumping or pushing every button in sight on the elevator.

At the restaurant, she was well behaved, with only a couple of testing phases. But overall, she was being good. She was giving me hugs and a kiss, and when one of the waitresses was trying to get her to come over to her, Jia shook her head no. Last night was progress.

At the end of the evening, just before we went to bed, I showed her four of the Youtube videos I had on. One being the adoption video of Kenzie. She sat still on my lap and was mesmerized by it all... and she recognized her jie jie as a baby, plus baba and mama. At the end she thanked me for letting her see it. It was very touching.

We had noticed that she didn't act up around the orphanage people - in fact, she was quite subdued. But we have to stop the wildness now or she'll not understand by the time we get back home why we are punishing her. Today is more sightseeing and we will have to work on her behavior consistently. But she really has it in her to behave and you can tell she wants to be part of the family.

I was proud of Roy, because he's never been the disciplinarian with Kenzie. But this time, he came through like the Baba I knew he could be. He wasn't mean, just firm. And I know she'll feel more secure if we set limits and don't allow her to run wild with her behavior.

And we are so proud of her - she understands very well what we are doing and that we love her. We both think she's an amazing child.

Everyone is right - I'll have my hands full and then some - esepcially when Roy goes back to work.

More about Jia

Well,, it's day three and we've been to Tiger Park and an Orthodox Russian church (now just a museum type area). We had the girls feed pigeons in the square, which was a treat. The tigers were unbelievalbly huge... some of their heads were up as high as the windows of the van.

We are finding that Jia is generous. She will share her stuff. We had bought her some blocks. She gave Kenzie some to play with. When Kenzie came to take one more, Jia didn't want her to take any more and jumped up and down and cried. I told Kenzie that she had enough blocks to play with and shouldn't have taken any more. In fact, Jia had given her most of the blocks. Jia settled down and I played with her a little with the blocks. But once she was done, she took the rest of the blocks and gave them to Kenzie to play with. However, we are finding out that she does not like to be told no... and she is stubborn - very stubborn. We are thinking that she is actually younger than her given age... that or her emotional development is on par with a young 4 year old, not a child almost five. I sometimes can't tell if the things we are seeing is a result of the children being raised or treated different in China, or if it's a product of orphanage living, or if it is a developmental issue due to her age given being incorrect. However, we are sure that we'll not start her in Kindergarten next year in the fall. I think an extra year out of school would be good for her, and so does Roy.

Jia is very vocal. She chatters constantly. Most of it we can't understand at all... and she is pretty loud when she talks. I have a feeling that in the orphanage, the loudest got the attention. And Jia is LOUD! But when she's tired, she quiets down a bit.

She loves to brush her teeth, to wash her hands, she's learned to wipe herself when she goes to the bathroom, she loves to sing, and is the biggest tease. I know I've said that last one, but it's worth repeating. There's a lot of testing behavior... doing things she knows she's not supposed to, but looking at me for a reaction when she does. If it's not harmful, I have been ignoring it. But when she's tried things that she shouldn't, I gather her in my arms and hold her for a few moments and then allow her to go back to playing.

She picks up on how to do things fast. She didn't know how to button buttons together. I showed her one time and she can do it now. First time we went to a restaurant, she was banging every utensil, plate,and chopstick she could find. I would take them away and put them far from her so she couldn't do that - returning only what she needed when it was time to eat. The next time we went to a restaurant, she began to bang and I said, "Give to Mama." She smiled and gave me everything but her plate. The next time, she just started to give me her utensils and extra stuff.

Our guide, Lynn, asked her if she loved her mama, baba, and jie jie. She said yes. Then Lynn asked which one she liked the best... she said she loved her jie jie best. That's good. Not so sure that the feeling is completely reciprocated at this point... but it will be as time goes on.