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.


Allen and Dawn said...

I'm so glad you are home and able to get on with life now. I was so sad to hear that Jennifer's is closed. That was one of my favorite shops as well. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures. It was fun to follow your journey!

Dakota3 said...

Thank you for your update about your trip and Jia's adoption! Happy belated birthday to Kenzie. You have two lovely daughters! I wish your family the very best.


Lisa said...

Welcome home!!!!! Can't wait to see your pictures and meet Jia.

Gail said...

Welcome Home!
I sent you an email.

Jeni said...

We had the exact same impression of Catherine on our trip last year -- we were one of her first solo groups in 2004 (just after you guys returned) and then had her with us again in 2007. She was delightful both times, but we really saw her confidence and humor shine through on the second trip. Wish we had a way to stay in touch!

Super Mommy said...

Welcome back!! Glad you all had a safe trip.

Interesting to hear how much Shaiman Island has changed - it used to be so alive and vibrant.

My girls sould like yours - Jade (who is also my oldest) wants me to intervene for her and is quite sensitive. Jasmine on the other hand will not take anything from anybody! They compliment each other well - I am sure you will find that too.

Poor Kenzie - it can be hard when a sibling is introduced to the family - it is an adjustment for everyone. Hopefully things will settle in nicely.

Can't wait to see your pictures!!