Our bags are packed and in a few hours we will leave Zhengzhou and the Henan province behind as we board a plane as a family of 7 to head to southern China. There we will complete the final leg of our journey by completing the paperwork required by the US Consulate in the city of Guangzhou. Medical exams for both Marianna and Joseph await us there as do their Consulate appointments on Wednesday in which they will be granted full US citizenship as soon as our plane touches US soil (one week from today!) We now have the kids’ Chinese passports in hand so we are one step closer to making that a reality. Thanks be to God!
The Crown Plaza here in Zhengzhou has been a little haven for us. The accommodations have been wonderful, the service impeccable. But we are so ready to move on.
Marianna and Joseph are doing great. Both have very different personalities. Both are still learning to trust us. Lots of two steps forward, one step back. But each day they are doing a little better. They both turned 20 months old this week. Both are walking, Marianna a little better than Joseph but he keeps up nonetheless. Neither of them says any recognizable words for us yet but Joseph will say “Gu-gu!” when he is excited or happy. We’ve seen both of them suck their thumbs but Marianna in particular finds her thumb most often.
Adopting a toddler means being flexible with your parenting philosophies and just meeting the kids where they are at, being patient with routines to which they are accustomed. We are a co-sleeping, baby-wearing family which Marianna seems to love but Joseph is still warming to. Meeting them where they are has meant that, for instance, for the first few nights Joseph slept in the crib and Marianna slept with me. Joseph is still keeping me at a bit of a distance but each day he’ll allow me to cuddle him a little more. Last night he allowed me to wear him in my sling and even sleep with him which has been a huge step in progress.
Despite his limb differences, Joseph shows no trouble getting around. His club foot causes him to walk on the side of his foot which makes for some wobbly walking but he somehow manages it…and is FAST. His has a strong preference for his right hand which is missing several fingers but he still manages to grasp items with it. He can feed himself, hold a crayon and grasp a toy with that hand–it’s a remarkable sight!
Marianna (aka Little Empress) is a sweetheart if not a bit of a diva. She is clearly accustomed to having things her way and will let us know in no uncertain terms when she is sad or wants something. She loves to ride in the sling and will stick her thumb in her mouth and settles in as soon I put her there. Right now, she is attached to me at the hip and won’t go to Mike but he’s taken it in stride. By all accounts she appears to suffer no effects right now from her scar but I definitely have some questions for our pediatrician back home.
Both kids are very tiny. Much smaller than my last two babies by far. They are positively swimming in the 24mos/2T sized clothes I brought for them. This is funny to us because they are hardy eaters.
Bringing the older kids along on this trip ended up being one of the best decisions we could have made. While the babies have been somewhat reserved around Mike and I, they positively come alive around the 3 older kids. We have been able to witness what we believe is more of their true natures when they play together. Even little Joseph comes out of his little shell. Especially around Sam.
Brick by brick, the wall they have built up around them is coming down. Each day we are seeing more smiles. Each day, they show that they recognize and trust us a little more. We have a long road still ahead of us but we are seeing much progress already in such a short time.
Both Sam and Sarah have had some tummy issues. Sarah ran a fever most of the day yesterday but seems to be back to her normal self today. To say we are eager to be Stateside again is an understatement. Would appreciate prayers that no one else falls to any further sickness while we are here.