The last couple of days have been busy and exhausting, but wonderful for getting to know our kids and bonding with them. Tuesday we finalized our adoptions. We spent the morning going over paperwork, getting passport and family photos at the Civil Affairs office, and promising to take care of our newly adopted children. Our guide then took us to a local store that is kind of like a supercharged Walmart (think “Stuff Mart” a la Madame Blueberry) where we bought a few items of clothing for our kids (we didn’t know their exact sizes before we got here) as well as a few toys and coloring books. Eden was so excited, it was better than any Christmas morning I’ve seen in my life. She was so happy to get a set of little dolls she can dress up and brush hair. She was thrilled with her new clothes and new sandals we bought for her, and she was very thankful. She kept saying, “Thank you!” She picked out a really pretty little yellow dress, and she gasped when we said she could get it. It was relatively inexpensive. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking to see the kids’ excitement, especially Eden’s, at the store.
Yesterday, our wonderful guide, Amy, took us to a beautiful park in the middle of ChangSha. It’s very green and lush here, unlike Beijing. The kids acted as if they had died and gone to heaven. There were amusement park rides, and we rode several of them. We fed Koi in the pond and rode a little boat all around the big lake. Our friends who are traveling with us adopted a little girl who is friends with Eden, which probably makes things easier for her in a lot of ways. Those two were talking up a storm, holding hands and running ahead of us. They were thrilled with every single ride we went on, and at the end of our time, they thanked our guide for taking us there. They are sweet girls. I love that they are so happy about their adoptions. I know that there will be lots of different emotions over the next several months, but I’m so happy that they are so happy right now.
Today was a very emotional day as we went to visit Eden’s orphanage and foster family. I was moved to tears several times by everything we saw there. There are many, many children at the orphanage who will never be adopted. It is so, so sad, and it made me just want to pick up as many children as I could carry and take them home with me. There was another girl Eden’s age who is friends with her who was basically asking us to adopt her, too. I really want to go back and get her. She is a beautiful girl who will age out in January 2017, so her chances of being adopted into a family are very, very slim. It just killed me seeing how much she wants a family. She seems really sweet and eager to please, just like Eden. There were several other children who would do well if they could just get a chance to be loved by a family and get out of the institutional setting. I really wish I could fit them all in my suitcase. Eden’s foster family was wonderful, and they really seemed happy for her. They have been fostering kids for 10 years, and have fostered 6 children over those years. Eden has been with them for 4 years. The other child in their foster home is a little boy who will be adopted soon. The foster “grandpa” told us that he will take two more after these two are gone. They have very big hearts. It was so wonderful to see how they have opened their home to orphans. It is a simple home, but has all a child would need, and the foster home setting provides such a great environment for children to thrive outside of the orphanage. I think that is one of the reasons Eden is so sweet and social. She does have some signs of institutionalization, but she also has some signs of having been well taken care of and nurtured more than if she had only been in the orphanage. We are very thankful. Eden didn’t seem very sad to leave the orphanage and the foster parents. She is so happy to have a family. She hardly said goodbye to them. It made me sad for them. I think it may hit her once we are back in the States. what she has lost.
The orphanage director invited us all out to lunch at a beautiful nearby restaurant. The food was delicious, and everything was served on a really cool automatic lazy Susan, The food was delicious.
The kids are now used to our little routine that we have had this week outside of our visits to various places. We go to the pool at the hotel, we walk around outside and find a place to have dinner. Then we get ice cream! Then we come back to the hotel for a bath and bedtime. Eden has this routine down pat. She is so cute. Their personalities are so funny and different. Eden has been shy and quiet, but with her friend, Bethany, she is outgoing and can be pretty loud. She learned to count to 6 in English today, and has learned several words, including “towel,” “shower,” and “sleep.” She loves saying, “Mama!” when she needs my attention, and I love hearing her call me “Mama.” So sweet. She also can say “Daniel” really clearly, and repeats it over and over along with “no” as we are constantly correcting her little brother, and she is now starting to try and help us get him in line. It’s pretty funny, actually.
Daniel is improving, but still testing the limits. He will try something he knows isn’t allowed, and when we go to correct him, he will smile and wave “hello.” I think he just wants to please deep inside. He improves a little bit every day,, and I know he will keep on getting more used to our routine and how he is expected to behave.
I have lots of pictures to share, but our internet isn’t working properly, so I will have to add the photos later. I will try that tomorrow. For now, I just wanted to write a new update.