|Us with our guide, Aron (who actually is from Gracie's hometown) at the Yuntai Gardens,|
I can't believe we have been in Guangzhou for five days already, or that we are leaving tomorrow! On the one hand, I feel like we have been in China forever, and the "real world" feels far away. On the other hand, it it feels like we just got here, and there is so much left to explore. But our clothes are dirty (and it's hard to get handwashed stuff to dry here in this humid climate), we've eaten all the goldfish, and we only have a few pull-ups left, so are time here must be almost over!
During these few days, I feel like we have seen more of Grace's spunky personality, and also a lot more testing. She's much more independent -- last Tuesday, she cried when I went into the bathroom and she couldn't see me; today she played happily by herself in living area of our "mini-suite" while I packed in the other room. She wants to walk more places (although she still enjoys riding in the carrier) and is very adament about feeding herself, choosing which shoes to wear, etc. I'm beginning to see where the "active and obstinate" in her personality description came from :).
We got off to a rough start in Guangzhou last Friday -- she did great on the 3.5 hour flight from Hohhot, but she didn't sleep at all, which led to an overtired girl having a killer meltdown at bedtime Friday. She woke up smiling on Saturday, but the temper/anxiety/frustration/whatever we saw that night has flared multiple times through the week. It's great to see her asserting her little self, her wants and needs and opinions so clearly, but it's also tiring and frustrating when she needs to control each little thing and when we have to hold her down to get her dressed (she's developed a strange aversion to the process of getting her clothes on, but once we wrestle her into them, she's happy to wear them and happy to get out and go). I'm looking forward to getting home and settled into a routine, where I can be more consistent with schedule, setting limits, etc, so that she can be more relaxed and continue to work on developing her communication
Don't get me wrong, overall she's delightful. She loves to give hugs and kissed, likes looking at books, loves to draw with crayons or pens, and continues to impress us with her eager observation of her environment and ready imitation of signs, expressions, etc. She copies almost anything,including sequences of two or three signs, and has spontaneously and indepently used "cookie," "cracker," "water," and "fish," among others. she has a wicked sense of humor and loves to tease. She has an amazing little spirit, and I am so blessed to be her momma.
One of the best things about being in Guangzhou is being surrounded by other adoptive families. There is one other family with BAAS here, a lovely Air Force family from Omaha bringing home their 5th child, third from China, an adorable three-year-old boy who is as small as Gracie and sings in Chinese the whole time we are in the van or waiting in lines for official appointments. I also got to meet several people I "know" from the yahoo groups and have spent a couple of wonderful evenings with my on-line friend Christy (who we first connected with in Beijing) and her daughter Mia and new son Noah Wei, who are both precious. We've seen several other adopted Deaf kids, too. In addition to the other families who are on our same schedule, there are also groups of families who arrived here over the weekend to meet their children who are from this province yesterday. We were coming back from shopping and passed a large group of Lifeline families piling onto their bus to go to the civil affairs office to meet their children - so exciting!
|Eating lunch at Lucy's on Shamian Island. She liked the French Fries, but was not impressed by the grilled cheese sandwich or the milk shake.|
Its been really fun to finally see all the places that I have been reading about for so many years on some many people's blogs and list postings. There's so much to share about what we have done and seen here -- the medical exam, Shaiman Island, the Yuntai Garden, the shopping district, etc -- but Gracie was coughing and restless last night, so I didn't sleep well either and I need to get to bed. Photos and details on all those activities, as well as several other posts (the food, the "interesting" translations you see in public places, the hidden advantages of adopting a Deaf child, etc) will have to wait. Thanks to Joy's master packing abilities, are stuff is in good shape and we are looking forward to a relaxed day tomorrow and maybe one trip to Shaiman Island before we head about 2:30 to pick up Gracie's visa and take the train to Hong Kong
|Gracie feeding the koi in the pond in the garden of our hotel. I think they look like something from a bad sci-fi movie, but she likes them!|