Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Guess Owning a Dog for 14 Years Doesn't Exactly Qualify Me As an Experienced Mom...

Does it? Something tells me I already know the answer to that question. If so, I'm sure within a reasonable amount of time Emily would be sitting/staying on command and be a 10 out of 10 at retrieving tennis balls in the yard.

Not how it all works, huh?

Our little trooper still wants the week-old ant bites on her foot sprayed. She walks around merrily, but when it starts itching, she takes her socks and shoes off and limps toward the bathroom like Frankenstein draggin' a bum leg. Time for a spritz of anti-itch spray. She doesn't over dramatize most things. I say most things.

She's headed out the door with Nanny Carol as I type. That's WHY I'm able to type. NC's taking her for a ride to the bank and dollar store. Of course, she wants her sunglasses that are up the street at my house. Nanny says skip that. Emily thinks otherwise. I'm takin' bets on IF Emily returns with NC with/without the sunglasses. Whose estrogen directed ways will win out in this situation? Stay tuned.

Saturday we went to a local festival for the morning. Boy I've learned you go at 10:00 and leave by 12:30 when it starts warming up. Perfect weather, shade, great company. Miss Emily had some firsts:
-- Rode a pony -- two times. The first time she got on she was hesitant and even whined to get off. I assured her I'd walk with the posse along the short trek. She was quite proud of herself. Later in the morning, she straddled that saddle again and rode like a big girl. Roy Rogers couldn't have been any prouder.
-- Slid repeatedly down an inflatable slide while holding hands with her friend Anna. For 25 cents a thrill, we could've stayed there all day. The huge grins on the girls' faces were priceless. The squeals were just icing on the cake.
-- Ate cotton candy. Yep. She discovered the delectable, pink mystery. Too funny to watch her as she buried her face in the concoction only to have it dissolve in her mouth.
Honestly, life seems to be coming into a 'new normal' for Emily and me. I was talking with Super Mom, Betsy, yesterday. She kindly invited us over to play and chat. She adopted her little girl at age 6ish/6.5 ish so her situation is a lot like mine w/an older child. Our experiences thus far are mostly different -- b/c the girls are different beings, though...but we know that generalities day-to-day and down the road will likely be the same. It's a great source of comfort knowing someone can relate. Her number is on speed dial in my cell phone.
Well, after looking at the veins on my leg while bathing the other day I concluded I'll never need a GPS device in my car. I do believe I have road maps to Dallas, Kansas City, and Seattle etched in little blue and purple designs about my shins and inner thighs. Holler if you set out on a road trip. I probably can find your destination mapped out and hidden behind my knee.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Double Fistin' Comfort Food and What Watermelon Can Do for YOU!

I'm not the one holding a yeast roll in one hand and an okra fritter in the other. It's our little Miss 39 pound wonder. Hopefully soon to be 40 pounds. I'd be happy to loan her some of my el-bee-esses (lbs.).

Nanny Carol, Emily, & I ("mah mah") took a lovely autumn drive down to a somewhat southern town in our state. Lovely. We hooked up with Cookie (good buddy) and headed to eat at a small town restaurant located in a refurbished antebellum home. Yep. We still do that around here. Southern Living recipes at their best on the tables. We ate on the wrap around outside porch-- breeze blowing softly, great company, and good ole down home cookin'...chicken and dumplings, okra fritters (No. I've never heard of them til that day. OMG. Yummy.), sweet potato casserole, yeast rolls, and iced tea with lemon -- of course.

We were all shocked at how much Miss Em enjoyed the food. She didn't groove on the chicken and dumplings, though. Finally pulled out a few pieces of meat but mainly gave up the ghost on that dish.

As she's eating healthy foods -- watermelon, smothered cabbage, green beans -- we make hand gestures and say: "This makes you strong (power fisted arms), soooooo cute (swirling hand in front of face), and smart (index finger to the temple of the ole noggin')." She's really into saying "sooooo cute" b/c every time she puts on an outfit or puts those lovely little barrettes in her hair (Yep. I won -- for now.) I automatically spit out, "Oh. That's sooooo cute." And it is.

She's thrilled with her bicycle from Cille and Steve -- helmet, knee pads, and all! She rides down to Nanny Carol's house with my hand on the handlebars b/c it's downhill. I have to help push it back home. Too exciting for this 7 year old. She's discovering all the newness of life.

We stopped and talked to Mr. Wendall who was waiting for his ride to dialysis. He commented she seemed like a bird that'd been set free from a cage. Observation of wisdom coming from someone who has experienced the same open door in life.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Few New Pics....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Too Big. Peanut. Killy Cat. No Sank You. & Chicken"

Yep. The ole vocabulary is really moving along this week. The whole "killy cat" thing cracks me up. She adores the cat, King Puddin'. He's been a great 'ice breaker' along the way this week. Emily relishes taking my hand, getting all excited to go and seek out the cat. She sometimes wants me to MAKE him get on the bed, but I've tried to explain to her the definition of a cat is you don't MAKE them do ANYthing. They're cats. Cased closed.

We got up and went to church this morning. Hallelujah in more ways than one. I didn't feel like Hulk Hogan had wacked me upside my head and done a smackdown on me as I did earlier this week. I was in such denial/ignorance that I was really even going to experience jet lag to any great degree. But then again, I still think I can eat X number of calories a day and still lose weight. My opinions are not always reputable. The scales are. Ick.

Off to church. Emily picked out a cute little red 'skorts' outfit (skirt over shorts) she wore in China with the same pink orphanage crocs she had on when I met her. They have 2 little Mickey Mouse heads on them -- but Emily has twisted the ears off of each head. Poor Mickey. I love to ask her where MM's ears are. She just grins, contorts her face and makes a twisting gesture with her hands.

Unfortunately she chose a fluorescent orange, shaggy pimp purse to accessorize the already not so matching outfit. The theme song to "Shaft" began ringing in my head and I started mumbling, "He's a bad mutha." Anyone remember that song?

My church is very laid back. Good thing, and miracles DO happen. When exiting the car Emily decided she didn't care to take the purse inside (prayers answered). She opted for the Little Mermaid cell phone instead and understood it had to stay in Ma Ma's purse -- on silent. Kidding. It's only play. She enjoyed singing, clapping her hands, and being in Children's Church. The workers said she did great. Phew.

Off to take a nap. Trying to stay on a schedule and get some normalcy here in the sleep/rest department. Hoping to get pictures updated soon. You'll never believe this, but I don't have a digital camera. I will get one this week. Time to get with the new millennium, huh?

I'm an Andy and Barney kinda girl.
Hugs, Vicki

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Emily Had a Delightful Time Playing with Mr. Wendall and His Prosthetic Leg

You read it right.

Our dear neighbor, Mr. Wendall (a.k.a Lazurus...as in should've been gone but came back to life), has been such a source of encouragement to me during my adoption process. He's about 70ish or so, has a dear wife Jean, and he's been chompin' at the bits to meet the newest addition to the 'hood. Today was the day. In we went and found him sitting up on his recently rented hospital bed...all one and 1/4 legs waiting to greet her.

Amputation was necessary last year due to diabetes complications. When Mr. Wendall was fresh out of the hospital, my dog and I were visiting with him. Mr. Wendall in his honest humor said, "I only got one leg for yer dog to jump up on now, but I still have 2 hands to love him with." Couldn't express it any better myself.

Back to today's visit: Needless to say Emily noticed the incomplete appendage that was now directly within her line of view. Of course she stared. Wouldn't any child? Does Mr. Wendall care. Heck no. Then he pointed out the prosthetic limb in the corner of the room. Ooooooooo. Of great interest. As the conversation moved along and Emily was warming up, she went over and touched his partial leg, tapped her fingers lightly on the "addition" in the corner and was completely happy.

Let me also say this, Emily is not a skeerdy cat when it comes to physical challenges present in others. There were/are children in her orphanage with severe special needs. She's seen wheelchairs and children with differences, and I suspect she even helped with some feeding of them....maybe picking up after them; however, she seems gratified by these types of actions. I don't get the sensation that she feels she MUST do these things. I told my mom, "She likes doing things that are significant." Then again, don't we all?

While we were in China, Emily made friends with a little girl with a bulging spinal chord (hump on her back -- needs surgery), and quite frankly after playing with her for a little while, she pulled the back part of the little girl's dress out to get a look. Then she went right back to playing. No big deal. Shouldn't we ALL be this accepting of differences with others. Hmmmmm. Could be a lesson in the making.

So it was hair washing at 10:45 last night. We ARE getting into more of a schedule, though. But Ooooooohhhhhhhh noooooooooooooo. Can't do the tub (in her opinion) because of the 'skint' knee from Monday. She makes facial gestures and sounds, while fanning her wound, that would lead you to believe if tub water touched it....she'd resemble Mr. Wendall by morning. Fine.

She stood at the sink on a Dora the Explorer stool, and we washed her hair. Last night the shampooed head statements (molding of her hair into funny looking positions) went from looking like a Cupie Doll to Alfalfa on Little Rascals to Last of the Mohicans. (Ah. Daniel Day Lewis was soooooo fabulous in that movie. As he shouts to the beautiful co-star when they are separated, "Stay alive at all costs. Do whatever it takes. I WILL find you." My heart soars...)

She's still sportin' her best orphanage haircut. Can't wait for it to grow out some and put a barrette in it. That might be heck to pay. She likes it combed straight down into her face, and I prefer it swept slightly to the side. I figure if I just let it keep growing out I'll win eventually. It'll have to go somewhere else. I hope.

Last night I finally got to walk my dogs. Nanny Carol was at the house (we live 5 houses apart....awwwww) doing Emily duty for a little while. THANK YOU, MOTHER. Actually, mom felt sorta sorry for me and told me to get out and do something. If you could've seen me, you'd a felt sorry for me, too. She was watching the Walker, Texas Ranger episode where he gets married and of course his plane is highjacked while he sets out on the ole honeymoon. Always a glitch on that show. She is a WTR fan and will watch it repeatedly. Gotta love the simple pleasures in life. (She ain't got cable. I do. HA!) Back to walking the dogs....I just walked up and down the street and prayed simple prayers for the Lord to give me His wisdom in knowing the in's and out's of what to do daily with this new little being in my life: my daughter. I look forward to the time where I can sit down one morning with Him, cup of strong, Community dark roast coffee in my hand, and Bible in my lap and just sit in His presence to absorb and reflect on all that has happened in the last several weeks. I believe/hope I'm on the right path, but boy. I sure am open to suggestions.

One last thing. As Emily was washing her hair she was wondering if I could plug in a little fan. I was making sounds and bodily motions of what happens when water and electricity come together. I made lots of "zzzzzttttt" sounds and writhed my body about with eyes rolling back in my head. I think she got it. I looked like a lightning bug on crack cocaine.

Signing off at the end of a great day - adjustments happening, attachments forming, and life being lived out in the here and now.
Love, Vicki and Emily

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Look Like a Part Time Receptionist at a Women's Prison.

And that's leaning toward complimentary. No lie.

Yes my friends. We are home.

Oh my gosh, as my brother would say, "The wrack monster has been on my back." SLEEPY and mentally drained. It would've been nice had Emily's disrupted sleep schedule been in sync with mine, but not the case. We've gone from her waking up at 3:30 a.m. one night to her going to sleep at 3:30 a.m. this morning. It's all my fault. I know about being outside, getting sunlight, staying away from naps -- all to get back on schedule, BUT...I was too sleepy to do anything about it. Oh well. My Scarlett O'Hara runs deep: Tomorrow is another day.

We had a super duper reception last Thursday night at the airport. Too fun. Nanny Carol (a.k.a. Miss Clairol) and friends were there to greet, give, hug, and supply well wishes and American flags. Home to chat, eat, look around the 'casa'. You ask, "What was Emily's reaction to her room?" Pretty quiet, somewhat amazed, but by this time REALITY has truly sunk in with her -- plus she's crossed back into an earlier time zone, has lost sleep, been confined on those dawg gone tiny seats (I'm sure they're size 6 in lady's clothing!) on the airplane, and....was snatched out of bed at 4:30 that morning/yesterday morning/some morning....whenever. (Ask me about her meltdown 4 hours into first flight when landing in Tokyo. The entire plane felt our agony.) Again, this is a 7 y/o. ALL is new, strange, different...and NONE of her past is now her present. I cannot even imagine it. She did lose a tooth on the plane. Go figure. I tucked it nicely in a snack sized Ziploc bag & secured it in a zippered pouch in my purse. Considering I was lugging around 157 lbs. of baggage, a small child, and my own self...needless to say I cannot find the darn tooth. Guess I lost it somewhere over the Sea of Japan. Oh well. She's got a mouth full on stand-by for losing.

BUT...she's done fine at the house: bathing, brushing teeth, looking at her clothes in the closet, re-arranging her belongings the way she likes them (ex. little coin purse, in a bigger purse, stuffed into a drawer...and she knows EXACTLY where she put everything). She's enthralled with the "meow", and I think he kinda likes her, too. As for the puppy dogs, not so much. That'll take time. I never said a word to her about Skipper not having eyeballs (his bangs sorta cover up his eye sockets). Well, she squinted her eyes really tight and held out her arms in front of her and walked around "feeling" for things. This was her way of telling me, "Hey. That dog doesn't have eyes." Like I didn't know. Smart cookie.

A bunch of single moms who've adopted from China met the next night at Backyard Burger. This was for us to chat and let the girls to play. Very needed -- for me and for Emily. It was a Godsend to sit with them and glean from their experiences, feelings, apprehensions, opinions, advice, etc. Emily was guarded at first with her new buddies, but she opened up, went on into the play area and began calling some shots. Much hand holding and huggin' with all the little girls.

The next morning -- YES, I woke up for this event -- we went to Chinese Cultural School with some Chinese teachers (reinforces Chinese culture, language, history). This is 'put on' one Saturday a month by families here in the area who've adopted kiddos from China. Since most of these girls and boys were adopted at younger ages & have mostly lost their Chinese language, I can say fairly honestly...that when the instructors spoke Chinese and gave commands (teaching the children language skills), Emily was first to do it. LOL! Heck, she'd just left Guangdong Province less than 48 hours earlier. She's a pro at that talking thing. I guess this doesn't warrant putting a bumper sticker on the car that reads, "My child speaks better Mandarin than your child." Tacky.

Side note: Emily spoke Hakka (Mandarin dialect at her orphanage), but I found out later she spoke Mandarin in her kindergarten class away from the orphanage.

Bless Christy's heart. She sorta had to make an uneventful exit from our lives on Sunday to catch a plane to go home (so as not to make it traumatic for Emily). I know it was hard for her to leave Miss Em. They'll always be big buddies. Emily has chatted w/her on the cell phone (interpret: yelling out at high decibels, "AYI. AYI." -- which is a Chinese term for Auntie.) How do I ever thank someone like Christy who gave up over 2 weeks of her life, pay, time way from kitty cat Sam to become consumed in my world of an international adoption? That'll be another story/tribute. Coming soon.

To sum up our arrival: Last night Emily was wearing her tiny pink ballet outfit w/satin tutu (bikini cut w/her Walmart panties sticking out underneath -- not so fashionable). She had a scepter with a silver star and ribbons dangling and was twirling about to some instrumental music on a not so user-friendly CD player. She was sporting a bloody, bandaged knee from falling while running in the park with 2 little girls. OUCH. Anyhoo, there she was....dancing, being creative, loving the attention, and relishing in having an audience of one. I thought: Don't all children deserve this opportunity? Her time has come.

Love to all, Vicki and Emily

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seven Toothbrushes Later, It's Time to Leave.

As I've said before, 5 star hotel but no can drink the water. I've been bathroom faucet challenged at times when I've brushed my teeth here. I have a towel draped over the faucet as a visual reminder NOT to ingest the H20. Obviously people like me with serious hard-headedness issues tend to sprint past these types of self-imposed, "to my advantage" obstacles. I've sounded like a Britney Spears broken record: Ooops. I did it again.

Yep. Stuck my darn toothbrush under the faucet and actually turned it on...then stuck it in my mouth. Usually it's after housekeeping has come in and removed the towel, but how stupid am I? Every time this has happened I usually call out to Christy. I assume this is an internal response verbalizing, "IF I pass out in 10 minutes chucking up, just know it's the water." I'm my own worst enemy. I then start drinking/spitting out bottled water -- numerous times. Guzzle a bit of Scope. Figure the alcohol content will help sterilize. Finally, it's the ole clean wash rag stuffed in my mouth -- swabbing mightily -- that wraps up the process of ignorance. I do a good bit of spitting after that. And of course, THAT toothbrush goes in the trash. I collect a new one that is innocent of it's short term fate. Bound to happen all over again.

All that said and done, it's time to go home. Our guide explained to Emily in Mandarin about the plane flight, buckling of the seat belt, holding mommy's hand, etc. Emily listened intently and every now and then gave a short nod of the head signifying she understood. She helped me pack the suitcases, so I guess she sorta gets it. Then again, how can a 7 y/o Chinese girl totally understand what tomorrow will bring. Heck, I'm not even sure I do. I'm giving it my best go!

We did raise our right hands today at the American Consulate office -- nice secure place located 3 floors about the Cantonese restaurant. Friendly folks. The room was filled with families who have adopted and come to China for this "session". I've seen many of them out and about on Shamian Island, in the hotels, or in the shops. Most of us have chatted somewhere along the way. Each story is so very different. They were from all over the U.S. I did tear up at one point when it was over and I was hugging Sherry's neck -- another adoptive mom with my group. After that, I was back to normal. (That's a relative term.)

One last story from China. Last night Emily chose to wear her new 'stinky' pink shoes w/jeweled butterflies on the toes of each shoe. She had a grand time playing with other girls in our group, and when we headed back home I looked down and saw the butterfly from one shoe was gone. I assured Emily this was fine. (She looks to me to see what my reaction will be in situations like that. I ALWAYS let her know it's no biggie.) Christy even offered to go back and find it, but out of the blue I said, "No. I think one should stay here in China and the other one should come home with us. It seems symbolic of her life." Sounds corny, but it has a ring of reality to it.

"She's a butterfly. Pretty as a crimson sky. Nothin's ever gonna bring her down.
And everywhere she goes. Everybody knows. She's so glad to be alive.
She's a butterfly."

Every adoption stems from a loss. Emily's birthmother "loses" her. Emily loses her Chinese family forever. She has to fly away from her homeland leaving every aspect of what she has ever known for the past 7 years and re-root herself in a foreign country. It's very complicated emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I know she'll be fine. Again, she's bigger on the inside than she is on the out. I'm so proud of her.

Toothbrush throwing and all.

Signing off from the People's Republic of China and headed stateside.
Love, Vicki, Emily, and Christy

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Pledge Allegiance to Starbucks and to the Delightful Breaks for Which It Stands...

Well, the actual naturalization ceremony is this afternoon...but Starbucks was there to save the day ---------------- AGAIN. Yes. Read between those lines.

Sister had a major meltdown, but it was all because she didn't get her way. I don't think I could actually pin point what it was that got her goat, but the darling pink Snoopy toothbrush with Thomas the Train kiddie toothpaste on it went just a flyin'. She hit the floor kickin', whinin', and all those southern verbs that I keep taking the ending "g" off of. She dug in her heels (I almost typed hell for heels and figured THAT was a Freudian slip. Ha.) into the floor and wasn't gonna budge. I told her (with gestures) to go pick up her toothbrush, and she bucked and bronco-ed some more. Not gonna do it. So, I sat down on the floor next the toothbrush while she pitched a good ole hissy fit. She finally got up and went to her bed and started crying. Big time. I just sat by the toothbrush and every now and then interjected that she could come get it. Nope. I finally got up and started packing suitcases. After about 1 hour of this and missing breakfast, she got out of bed, picked up the toothbrush, washed it off and started over on her teeth. After a few motions about the room, she settled down and became very compliant. I had her say, "I'm sorry" (in her tiny, pipsqueakish voice) and pat my hand. She did and totally understod what was going on, what had gone on, and hopefully what WILL go on in the future. Then...she was ready to go. Let's eat.

We skipped the buffet in the hotel & opted for the short walk to McDonald's (Oh Lordy. Forigve. There's that or the 7-11 to choose from. What's a mom gonna do?). We got her a breakfast meal in a bag and then headed up to Starbucks AGAIN for a Carmel Machiatto Latte (sp?). Christy was ordering for us while I was on breakfast patrol with Emily, and Christy asked me, "What size latte do you want?" I replied, "One about the size of Nebraska. Sank You." I needed it.

Afterwards, we went outside and sat by a fountain to get fresh air. A male worker was actually IN the fountain cleaning it. He asked me in his best broken English, "She yours?" I said, "Yes -- all 110 centimeters, but don't light a fire under her. She's liable to blow." LOL!

Better run for now. I'll post again after the swearing in ceremony and as my last entry here from the People's Republic of China. I'm sure I'll wax reflective and write a bunch of sentimental statements. Be prepared.

It's a Communist Country, and You're a Visitor...That's Why!

Christy has been twice tapped on the shoulder to kindly stop her picture taking in some areas -- tonight by official security. The other morning, at the breakfast buffet? (I don't get that one. Maybe they thought us to be Food Nework spies seeking out their recipe for cuttlefish balls. Yum. Yum. Uh, not really.) This evening when it happened/when she got tapped and 'talked to' in Chinese, I jiggled in my shoes a bit and sang, "You've been busted. You've been busted." She asked me, "Why can't I take pictures?" Thus the title of this post.

We've been having tea parties on the bed. Emily delights greatly in making Christy and me sit down to partake of bottled water poured into a teensy teapot...cups, saucers. the whole 9 yards. Oh yeah, instead of scones we get Trident spearmint gum and stale pretzels. No more gum. Please. Speaking her home language Hakka, "How eeh!" That means "enough".

Emily readily clasps her hands to bless our food. I just say the words, "Father. Jesus. Amen." -- and she repeats each one after me. I figure that's good enough for now. I was going to teach her the words to the LSU fight song but figured the word Tiger didn't match up with the Trinity. First things first.

Tonight all the families here with our agency went out for Cantonese food. It was served family style so we could pick and choose. For the first time since meeting her, Emily ate rice. (A family who knew her at the orphanage came to visit me and told me that she's likely not been choosing it because she had it nearly every single meal at the orphanage. I mean, French Toast with butter and syrup or rice? Take your pick. No brainer for her.) The food was spicey, good, and plentiful. The Divine Miss Em ate heartily, and yes...she does like the Chinese hot tea. I was swiggin' Sprite.

When we arrived back at the hotel, there was a young lady playing a Chinese harp in the lobby. The sounds were mesmerizing, and Em went right over to her -- curious about the instrument and the music. The musician spoke with Emily, let her touch the harp, and then said, "I'll play a song for you." Well you KNOW I teared-up. I thought so deeply of how the sounds were obviously in sync with Emily's very heartbeat, touching chords of unity with her Chinese heritage. I prayed the ebb and flow of what she was experiencing that very minute would stay with her forever. It was a Hallmark moment. As we left Emily looked at the young lady and with my prompting said her best, "Sank you."

Oh. And get out of her way because she will continue walking forward to her destination whether you are standing there or not. She goes under folk's arms & through groups of people to get where she's going. I hope her propensity for this type of laser beam mobility doesn't carry over into her driving years. She's got a lot to learn about yielding to the right of way. Ugh. How many more years until a driver's permit? Answer: Not enough. Not "How eeh."

There's a family here with 4 adopted Chinese daughters. Precious bunch. When someone asked them if they're all their kiddos, the daddy replied, "Trust me. We are not running a Chinese babysitting service." When he had breakfast duty for all 4 the other morning, I told him to holler if he needed our help. He said, "Thanks. Keep your ears open for my holler. They start out slowly and then begin taking over." These are the kind of folks you wished lived next door to you.

I'm pathetic. EVERY single night about 10 minutes into her bath this half pint of a girl has to tell me to get her a wash rag. She makes hand gestures in motions about her face, and I go, "Oh yeah. Those come in handy -- don't they?" Christy offered food this evening at the Cantonese restaurant and I replied, "No thank you." She then said, "Not for YOU. For Emily." I sorta grimaced and said...."right!"

This afternoon silly girl got her blanket and crawled up on my bed. Hey. Progress. She eventually made her way up to my big frizzy head, put her head on my pillow, grinned like a Cheshire cat, and rubbed my face. That was a first. She seemed quite content. She never drifted off to sleep so we pulled out Blues Clues and re-visited Blue's birthday party episode for the _____th time. Fill in the blank. You're probably correct.

Tomorrow is our last day in China. It's Tuesday night, 10:25ish right now -- 13 hours earlier for most of ya'll. We go to our last gov't appointment at the American Consulate where Emily and the other children are sworn in as U.S. citizens...and when her plane touches down Thursday evening, 8:45 U.S. time, she'll officially be an American. I understand the ceremony has all the ambiance of a Department of Motor Vehicles office with the extreme emotions of "OMG. It's finally real." I understand folks get weepy. We shall see.

I best be headin' back to the room. There's a strong chance Christy will be visited by the Chinese militia and hauled off to who knows where -- a picture taking asylum or something. In the event that happens, I need to be available to laugh heartily. Then again, she's the only one between us that can convert US dollars to Chinese rmb. On second thought I better be prepared to defend her. Why does the song Kung Fu Fightin' keep going through my head? I better go. I sense she needs me.....

Signing off from the Business Center where all the workers know my name and room number by heart (and my Visa charge card # is being held captive at the front desk).
Workers: "Charge to room?"
Me: "Uh, yes....sank you."

Much love, Vicki, Emily, and Blacklisted Christy

P.S. Emily actually changed the channel when Christy was watching tennis: Federer and Murray. OOOOOoooooooooooo. No can do. I looked at Christy. Looked at Emily. Looked back at Christy. Looked back at Emily and promptly told her, "You're on your own for this one."

Monday, September 8, 2008

If a Picture is Worth a 1000 Words, then YOU are in Luck.

That's Chinese for: I'll not write a bunch and just let you SEE the view from here. It's a good one.

I'm sure Rina will have photos already set up in a slide show before I finish this post (and she's in Florida). You can click on the Picassa link way down below in the blog and they are there, too. Still pics...not moving at cha. Ha.

We took Christy to the zoo today. She's a zoo freak and I promised her I'd find one in Guangzhou. For 50rmb/Chinese bucks I got her there. Emily had a grand time in the amusement park at the zoo. I rode every ride with her: Merry-Go-Round, bumper car, and the macro-mini roller coaster. That sucker started out slowly, picked up speed, and zoomed quite abruptly around the curves. I screamed bloody murder. My passenger/buddy was quite content. When I got off that pint sized bullet, I laughingly told other parents around me, "THAT thing is NOT kid friendly!!"

The taxi drivers here love us because we just round off our fare, give them tips, and tell them to keep the change. We're too wacky to even want to figure out what the real payment should be. None of them have returned driving Mercedes Benz taxis, but they smack the stew out of each other to be the ones who get to drive these 2 silly American women around. Oh, tonight we walked across the street to get McDonalds for Miss Em (at least I get her corn not fries and tonight she had water to drink...but we are the Carb Queens here in China! Southbeach Diet -- here we come.) Back to finish the incomplete sentence above -- as we set out walking, Someone whom we all know and love (aka Roller Coaster Diva) decided we should wave down a taxi. Uh, hello. The Golden Arches are only across the 607 lanes of wacky traffic catty-corner to this hotel. We're walking. Heck, I'm not getting in that taxi, riding around the corner, and taking our lives into our own hands again today.

I'll tell ya few things Missy Girl is good at saying:
- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, K, 9 (don't know what the K is about)
- Select a Game, Select a Game, Select a Game (she loves pushing the same button over and over on her Barbie Game that "Ayi" Kim sent her)
- panties (puts on new at night after bath and more the next morning. If cleanliness is next to godliness, this kid's a saint!)
- Bye, bye
- Hello
- Meow
- Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl (on McDonald's kiddie placemat....along with rainbow and heart)

Check out Christy's amazing photographs when you can. It's 10:00 and I know a little smiling girl who should've been in bed 2 hours ago. Well, maybe I'm running on Haiti Standard Time...I bet it's early there. Kidding.

Love to all, Vicki, Emily, and Christy (current reasons that Papa Johns Pizza stock has skyrocketed this past week)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thank You All for Your Prayers!

I blabber on with daily writings about Emily and life in general here in China. I've told people, "I don't think MY life is so interesting that others would r-e-a-l-l-y want to read about it", but I know many of you want to 'get the know' Miss Em and hear about her transition. Thanks tons. Gosh. When we left home, there were about 2600 hits on this blog (visits: and yes...3/4 of them are me and my mother!! LOL!). I see it's over 5000 something or other. Incredible. I know Christy's family and friends can get an idea of what she's a part of, too.

It's amazing to have folks praying on the other side of the world for this little girl. Let me assure you, the Lord hears and we are feeling the effects of intercession. We appreciate you more than words can express.

Ummm - Tell Me Again, What's The Name of the City Where I Was Born?

You got it. I was filling out the mere gazillion pages of legal/U.S. paperwork tonight with my agency's guide, and when I got to the line that asked in what city/state/country I was born....the Lord is my witness: I had to look at my birth certificate. The other mom sitting w/me doing the same stuff couldn't spell her husband's birth city. We had MUSH for brains. We kept going, "Ooops. White out!"

I promise: More pictures...maybe on next post.

Today was another really good day; however (Don't you hate it when you read or hear something positive followed by the word "however"?) -- there was a grieving session for about one and a half hours with intermittent pauses (nice to have periods of quiet in between) and then -- all done. Emily was laughing, wanting to bathe and have fun in the tub, great, great time for the rest of the evening. Emily pulled out a little pink Chinese fan I bought her and started to do a fan dance. She'd seen the older ladies in the park doing this yesterday, and she was puttin' on a show. She'd clap for herself which signaled we were to clap for her. We were laughing, ooooh-ing and aaaaah-ing. Then she hands the fan to me, and off I go w/my best Broadway twisting, turning, & wiggling of the fan about my face and body. She was crackin' up. NEXT: Christy's turn. I'm about to wet my pants laughing now at the very thought of our national doubles tennis champion/company extraordinaire being this silly. She was OMG too funny. Emily and I were sitting on the bed together giggling in the worst way.

Emily's had lots of playmates today and yesterday. We've been to the playrooms at this hotel and another one where she could buddy up w/others. She's been hand holding w/some of the girls and often helps the younger ones with toys. Two little girls have been up to our room to play. A new family has joined up with us and they just adopted a 6 y/o little girl. Cannot wait for them to hook up tomorrow.

Two nights ago it was agreed upon by all in the room that it was time to go to sleep. The lights were dimmed (literally, we have a dimmer switch). Ahhh. Comfy. Christy and I were chatting when out of the darkness we heard a short, assertive rambling of Chinese jabber. I whispered to Christy, "I think we've just been told to be quiet and go to sleep."

Good advice!! Shhhhh....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Super Duper Saturday & NASCAR "Ain't Got Nuthin' On Us"

Oh my gosh. The thrill of turning the corner sitting in the back seat of a taxi -- doing so while a HUGE bus is a mere 6 inches away from my window and closing in fast. And with my new child sitting by my side...oh yeah. Unbuckled of course. NO seat belts. Just makes ya wanna sing, "How Great Thou Art!" Vehicles everywhere, coming in any direction, at any time, inches apart, at all speeds. As one fellow parent told me, "The lines in the street are somewhat more like 'guidelines'" Reminded me of the Pirates Code (Parlay?) in Pirates of the Carribbean...or as Donna and Marlene call it: Carrots of the Pirrabbean. Nuts.

We had a great day today. Let me repeat that: We had a great day today. The beginning of it was sort of a blur -- but if I remember correctly maybe it was a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. By the end of the day, all was a pretty steady 3+ to 4. Well, maybe not a 4. Don't you hate teachers who use rubrics to interpret reality. Sorry. I think, per Christy, that Emily even referred to me as MaMa as she was going to bed. That's a good thing.

We went to Shamian Island, shopped at Jordan's, and bought souvenir kinda stuff to bring home. We went to Lucy's Restaurant on the island to eat. Emily pointed at a Basil/Cheese Pasta that she wanted. I thought, "Right. Like you're gonna actually LIKE something that looks like wet grass and noodles?" The kind waitress talked her into normal spaghetti. No difference. She liked my vegetarian spring rolls better.

OH....Emily has a bonafide ear infection. Voila. Could be the source of some of her recent agitation. Ya THINK? Gunk was literally dripping from her ear. Went to the doctor and it took about 13ish Q-tips (long stick with cotton on 1 end only) to clean her out. She now has ear drops, and yep. I'm actually having to use the antibiotics I brought with me. Go figure. Phew. Glad I had them. Had to call home to the Walgreens to get full instructions of how much water to add to the powder mix, etc. Felt like a goober, but another mom of 4 here w/me didn't understand the measurements either. So there. Hmpf! Again, Dr. Emily did perfectly in the doctor's office. She ain't skeerd. She's got a healthy helping of bravery that I'm sure has been developed over her short little life time. I told Christy this evening, "She's bigger on the inside than she is on the out."

She went to bed in textbook style. It was great. When I had to wake her up to take her meds (b/c she fell asleep while I was calling Walgreens), she took her first part of the dosage fine. Then she started bucking and....not crying....but maybe whining/yelling out. I thought, "Ugh. This could start a cycle of the crying." It did not. I know why, too. She was merely uncomfortable taking the foul tasting med. She did what anyone's child would do: She showed displeasure for a liquid medicine. She was not in grieving mode. YEAH. Definite step in the right direction. Also, I think she realized that I was doing this for her good. She snapped right out of when I tucked her back under the covers, and all was well.

I'll sign off with my wordy self. We'll try to post pictures tomorrow. We have to go to someone's room and use their laptop for that part. It's 11:20 pm. I'll not bother my good buddies tonight.
Oh, our toilet was stopped up. These folks at this hotel don't like guests to be inconvenienced. I called. They fixed, and they left me a voice mail telling me that "because the toilet was 'corrupt' they were sending me a gift. (I thought. NO...all 3 of us might be sending YOU some gifts IF this toilet doesn't get un-corrupted soon. LOL!) Anyhoo, I came in tonight and lo and behold there was a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit sitting on the desk, a lovely cloth napkin, and a fork. I have no doubt that the fiber in that bowl will definitely add to the "gift giving' from our room. Gross. I know.

One last thing, if anyone can tell me the best way to explain to a 7 year old how come she CAN have the bottled orange juice in our fancy room/hotel-stocked refrigerator but NOT the cute, darling little bottles of Jack Daniels sitting along side it....I welcome your insight. I just pointed at the stuff and made a really, really nasty face and sorta fanned my tongue like possibly it was icky and not good for us. That ought to work for now. Then again, she might've thought that's what I was giving her for her ear infection. Hmmmmm.

Off to la, la land. Love to all.

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's the Best of Times. It's the Worst of Times...as Dicken's wrote

I can relate.

We are doing fine. Just know that; however, I'm not going to paint this scenario of, "Gee. We're holding hands, shopping, and painting our toenails'". Are you thinking, "Whoa, Vicki. What about the perfect little picture of Chinese adoptions?"

ANY adoption is a HUGE event -- just like childbirth, but when a little 7 year old girl with distinctly formed habits and personalities is ripped apart (did I say RIPPED, severed, broken, forced apart) from everything in the world she loves dearly into a world 100% different from what she's known...it has an impact. Emily is grieving again this morning. She did last night for a while, repeated when she woke up, and now after breakfast is doing so again. I cried again today...soft tears while sitting on her bed, wiping my eyes just to reinforce that it all saddens me, too.

I've done the necessary research about international adoptions -- seminars, constant emails to and from others who have BTDT and/or are still waiting but know tons of stuff, too. I will tell you in all honesty that I prepared for this -- but "it ain't no fun". I am not miserable -- just a little more fragile emotionally. It's the least I can be compared to Emily's grief.

We did a sightseeing tour yesterday to a famous mountain here in Guangzhou. We took a golf type cart up the mountain -- up into the clouds and a cable car down it. Beautiful scenery. Amazing. That's why this post is behind in time. My bad. We shopped the day before and I bought Emily some children's books in English and Chinese. Dr. Seuss looks too funny in Chinese, let me just tell ya. Missy Girl has now had McDonalds chicken nuggets shaped like stars (Star Wars theme this month, I reckon). When we were almost finished with our day of shopping, Emily had enough and did the famous Chinese squat right at the road. Interpretation: I've had ENOUGH! I picked her up and carried her across the street, pointed out the hotel, and gave her my best, "Run Forrest. Run!!"

I covet your prayers. Christy and I both are enjoying your comments. Sorry there are glitches to posting. I have NO idea what the problem is. I barely know how to do what I do on this blog. Ha. I will refrain from any blonde comments at this time!!

We love you all. Thanks for following our journey. I know this is "text dense" information (meaning too many words to be enjoyable to read). I'll try to limit my blah, blah, blah's in future postings. Let me find Christy a zoo......

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

From Papa John's Pizza to Roasted Chicken Hearts on a Stick. Mmmmm. Yummmy.

Yep. Little Sister Girl is eating quite nicely. That is what she chose to eat yesterday as all 3 of us went out on a walking adventure. We were unsure of what meat it was, but I thought, "What the heck. She wants to eat it -- go for it!" We later asked our CHI guide what it was (after showing her a photo of Emily eating it, and that's her best guess -- chicken hearts; however, there's a small chance it was chicken kidneys. Poor chickens.)

Emily is discriminating in a good way in what she wants to eat/buy, artistic -- and accurate with drawing , can open the door by unlatching the deadbolt (a task that has challenged Christy and me several times). She is willing to try foods and juices of her own accord. ex. Kiwi juice at Starbucks -- but that was a no go; however, once she realized she did not care for it, she did take another sip. I let her know it was okay to throw it away. It was cold and good so Christy and I sucked it down. When we were shopping yesterday, she was quite clear that she did not want most of what the shop owners were wanting to sell, but she found some goodies: a little jade bracelet. She took off the orphanage bracelet she had on when I met her and handed it to me and kept the jade one. Later that afternoon, she switched back again. I bought her a little red Chinese dress and red slipper shoes to wear to Chinese functions. I bought her a "chop" -- a stone engraved with her name in English and in Chinese characters. Red ink comes with it. (Red is a popular color with Chinese. Represents prosperity/happiness....I think?!) I got her a wooden puzzle of China and a pretty pink fan to put up in her room.

She is writing her numbers, drawing faces w/pretty good details: ears with creases, eyebrows, pupils on eyes...okay. I'm bragging. Shut up, Vicki. We all went out to Papa John's last night for the 4th night in a row. We are really into variety here. Not. We switched from breadsticks to cheesesticks. Whoooooo Hooooo. That's when Emily showed us her artistic abilities. I thought, "Let's take out a pen and draw on the back of this paper place mat while we wait for our meal." (Duh. So intuitive of me, huh?) She's enjoying this task even as I write.

When leaving from Papa John's (on 2nd floor of big mall), it was pouring down rain. We were only about a block from the hotel so we sat on the steps inside the mall to wait. Uh, NO. Police came over and politely spoke something in Mandarin. I took it to mean, "Get up stupid American woman. That's against fire codes to block the exits/entrances in any manner. And you have a big butt." I smiled and we all got up and headed off to ride/walk the escalators up and down for about 8 times each way. Then off to the glass elevator for a few trips. Finally, we all agreed it'd be a great adventure to run 'home' in the rain. Off we went. Emily loved it. When we had to stop to cross the street ("Our Father, who art in Heaven...please don't let us get squashed like bugs...."). A kind, young Chinese girl about 19 y/o came over and held an umbrella over us while we waited. She was looking out for our little jogger. I patted her hand and thanked her for her kindness. Then SWOOSH....time to run again. It was a delightful time.

Back to the room to bathe. Emily will need some tub toys upon our return. She likes things that water goes in so she can pour. I'm letting her play with the cap to my shaving gel. (I couldn't pack EVERYthing!) She actually stands up in the tub and bends all the way over to the water to wash her hair. Bless her heart. I told her she can sit down, lay back, enjoy. She's getting the hang of it all. She went to sleep easily with no crying and woke up this morning without a tear. Progress.

Oh one more thing: She had to have a medical exam yesterday. She was NOT afraid at any level of it all. She was quite curious and cooperative. I tell ya, I told Christy I think she's going to be a pediatrician and help children in need -- maybe even here in China. Who knows. I better run. She's chatting up the girls working behind the desk. Wants to see what they're up to.

So, off we go to the rest of our Thursday. Thanks again for checking in with comments. We love reading them. Hugs from a city with 12 million people -- 11 million of whom we met on the streets yesterday.
Love, Vicki, Emily, and Christy (who amazes everyone in our group with her perceptive abilities of money exchanging and photography)
12.34 -- Emily typed these numbers....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Pictures Today Down On "Pics From China" Below a Few Posts

But of course, Rina will come in and set them right up on the blog. What a love.

We're doing well. Miss Emily whimpered this morning as she woke up and was fine after about a minute or two of serious crying. We went to breakfast, but after that she began her grieving process again. Even vomited up breakfast. I assured her that was fine, cleaned it all up, and sat on the floor with her while she writhed and wept bitterly. Finally I said, "What the heck. I'm gonna let it all out too!" SO...no more strong mommy. I sat on the floor and for about 5 minutes cried like a baby, wiped my face with tissue -- the whole 9 yards. I wanted her to visibly see that I hurt at her hurt. It didn't actually calm her down any, but she knew I was sharing in her grief. Finally -- after about hour -- she stopped.

We began punching out papers with some decorative little things for scrapbooks. She did really well getting the papers in just right. Heck, I'm challenged by that task sometimes.

I won't write much. Missy Girl is behind me and wanting to hit the road. So...we shall. Thanks again for checking in. I'm reading all the comments and taking it all in. Great to hear from ya'll.

Big hugs. Off to exchange some American dollars for RMB. Go Christy!! She's the "thinker".
Love, Vicki, Emily, and Christy

Rina's On the Job As I Type 9763 Miles Away!!

Love ya, girl. Thanks for setting the pics up on this blog page. You're too amazing.

This is a Shout Out to My Mustard Seed Buddies.

"Ni Hao" from China to the Girl's Group Home: Auntie Megan, Auntie Savannah, Aunti Sarah, Auntie Jane, Auntie Michelle, Auntie Kristy, & Auntie Marcie.

"Ni Hao" from Guangzhou to the Daytimers: Auntie Logan, Auntie Heather, Auntie Rebecca, & Auntie Angie

Ya'll...we're going to have to learn so much about China, Emily's homeland. She will love having each of you teach her about life, about being kind and loving, and how Girl's Rule!! I will tell her about you while we are here. I'm positive she will enjoy getting to know each of you.

Know that I love you all and have you in my heart as I'm here on the other side of the world.

Look at Link Below for Pictures....Do That First. Then You Can Read. Ha.

What a difference a day makes -- and tons of prayers from friends and family. Miss Emily slept through the night. Once she moaned in her sleep briefly. She's a champ at sleeping in 76 and a half different positions: legs in, legs out, Chinese split. You name it. She can do it. When she woke up this morning, it again was no surprise to me that her first reaction was crying. This lasted a sum total of about 55 seconds. From then on, she was good to go.

I had her pick out her outfit for the day which was a little white top w/an elephant on it and frilly pink skirt. I actually was somewhat slow finding the skirt that matched the top (b/c a lot of the clothes are light pink-ish & white). Well, Sister Girl had no problem remembering the clothes matching process I performed yesterday and promptly found the matching skirt. She kindly let me know that brushing teeth was not a good idea at that time, and I just smiled and agreed. Yes. She later brushed nicely after eating.

While Christy and I got ready, she was captivated by the talking Barbie learning game. In no time she was saying, "Hello Barbie Girl" and "Bye, bye now" and matching triangles and other shapes. The "bye bye now" was making her sound like a flight attendant saluting folks leaving an airplane. We took her to the breakfast buffet where she promptly picked out a chocolate covered donut. (geesh...) She ate a little of that, drank some soy milk, did not like apple juice, had a few spoonfuls of cereal, and downed a banana.

We had to go to a gov't appointment -- back at the same exact room where we were yesterday. Christy quickly perceived this might mean more tears. She was fine. We went to a 2 story Carrefour (like Walmart) where you actually take your buggy up a stairless escalator. I was hanging on to Emily b/c that moving platform was steep -- up and down. I let her choose what she wanted to put in the basket -- within reason. When she got silly and wanted to start putting EVERYthing in, she was laughing (punch drunk), and I actually told her "no" from then on. We had our haul -- but we had bottles of water, juices that she picked out, little cartons of milk w/straws, more juices, crackers, YES cookies, and the cutest pair of shoes she picked out.

She reaches for my hand when time to go somewhere or leave. She had a large time in the bathtub tonight playing with the little shower head, shampoo, and splashing around. She chose what she wanted to sleep in (a little teal cotton dress w/pink sweat jacket). She loves watching Blues Clues and Sesame Street on the dvd player we brought -- but left alone w/the tv remote for more than 2 minutes, she goes straight to Chinese soap operas. Have mercy.

Oh yes, when we were getting ready to eat dinner, I bowed my head and clasped my hands and she did the same while I blessed the food. She's a little mimic-er: repeating English words easily. I was sitting beside her and she said, "One, two, three, four, five". Gulp. When I said, "I love you." She said, "I love you." I blew her a kiss as I left the room to come post this and she blew one back. (She only said "bye, bye"...not the Barbie Girl "bye, bye now". Thank heavens!)

People did stare at us on the street. One older man stood and stared her down. Chinese people have told me she looks sleepy. That's her little eye condition. She does lean her head back some to see better but doesn't do this too much. Anyhoo, we'll get all checked out for doctors' appointments at some point after we return home.

Forgive the long post. I know pictures are what I ALWAYS want to see first on other folks' blogs. Hope you like them. Thanks for the prayers and great words of encouragement left as comments here. Soo, so sweet. We're doing great. Much love, Vicki, Emily, and Christy (functioning as my brains on two feet-- she's good!!!)

Pics from China


Not as fancy as normal, but please click on this link for pictures of Emily and Vicki.

Monday, September 1, 2008

We've Got Her Safe and Sound...

Yes. She is sleeping as I type. Such a sweetheart. I am in the Business Center at the hotel; therefore, Christy has the camera do hicky things to post pictures. Ugh. I promise. Tomorrow.

We were wide awake at 5:30 this morning -- might as well rise and shine. Ate breakfast, rested, met w/our CHI guide and then went with 2 other families to about 6 banks to find a good exchange rate. IF they'd do business w/us, then fine. We finally found one. (One of the families had an expedited referral -- quicker one -- because the wife/mom is 100% Chinese. She took us around w/her, translated for us, is a CPA so knew the money matters, and generally was coveted to have around.) I was particularly fond of the military guy at the bank w/a loaded sub-machine gun who was standing behind us. We went back to our rooms to leave at 2:30 to go meet the children. It should've only taken 30 minutes to get to the gov't office, BUT cars, bikes, pedestrians ABOUND here in severe close proximity at high levels of speed. SO...took us longer. No blood was shed.

When we arrived, you-know-who-was first. You got it. I saw little Emily in a white and blue sailor dress and pink Crocs and told Christy..."There she is. Take her picture." I could tell she was somewhat nervous, but she had her familiar orphanage director and 2 nannies with her. Although I was completing gov't paperwork on the spot with her beside me, I gave her a little white/pink poodle purse with gobs of fun items: strawberry chapstick, boxed raisins, and fun little girl items. The nannies, in good ole Chinese forceful fashion, were encouraging her that I was her mother. She was sweet, polite, but cautious...even seemed a bit fidgety. I totally expected that.

I questioned the director about information, obtained info about her daily life, and then...it was eventually time for the orphanage staff to leave. Ruh Roh. Emily immediately began to cry forcefully and cling mightily to the nanny's hands. I could only imagine what it was like for her to know she was leaving every stable person, routine, way of life that she knew.

All my adoptive parent/soon-to-be parent friends will know exactly what I'm talking about here: This child was grieving. I have done my homework over the last 3 years and was not taken back by this in the least. I hurt for her. I did not cry...which will surprise all of you. My travel buddy taking pictures and video wept bitter tears the entire time. It would have moved ANYone's heart of stone, but I stayed strong so it wouldn't make things worse. (My CHI guide, Elsie, said she's seen children cry for 4 straight hours non-stop.) Emily continued wailing and weeping as we left the gov't office -- but she was compliant in that she never kicked, hit, etc. This continued as we walked the streets to the bus (Don't you know in this city of 12 million people some Asian folks were 'checking me out'. I put my sunglasses on quickly. Ha.) Her grief continued all the way to the hotel where she drifted off to sleep right as we pulled up at the hotel. I was able to carry her inside with her head on my shoulder, but she woke up as soon as we entered the hotel room. She began weeping again.

Emily's cries were primal, from deep, deep within her soul. She'd throw her head back as if to scream to the heavens for someone to save her from this change. For such a petite little girl, she gave it her best shot. The other mom on the bus (not the CPA one) is a Social Worker. She looked at me and said, "This is bad now but good for her in the long run. It's a good sign." I knew this and assured her I was fine. I knew that it represented how she had loved others and attached to them emotionally, mentally, physically -- the caregivers at the orphanage. This is good thing. A child who has loved can love again. This capability has been reinforced within her brain/psyche...and it serves as the foundation for our relationship as mother and daughter and for her as a member of a family and unit of friends.

Yes. She did stop. How and why? I put her up on my bed and covered her with a blanket. I opened her suitcase and starting taking out all her outfits that you folks have given me. One outfit at a time she calmed down. I've got a few shopper-holic friends who will obviously have a new card carrying member in their elite group. You know who you are! So, I proceeded to empty all the outfits, ooooohhh and aaaaaahhhh over them, and then she was content. She enjoyed looking at other toys and goodies that have been sent to her from you, my good buddies. If she didn't want to open something, she politely but pointedly shook her head and hands "no". I said, "Well...alrighty then." When we handed each other items I'd say, "Thank you." She quickly caught on and started saying thank you. Her first English word was "meow". She likes Puddin's picture. She wanted me to look through the photo album with her -- the one I sent to her in the orphanage. She asked about Nanny Carol when she saw her picture -- said something similar to "Nana", and then when she came to the picture with Christy and me, she showed it to Christy and pointed to her. She's very perceptive, has great fine motor skills, seems to have a cute sense of humor, and is making great connections with "what things are". She speaks softly...but cranks up when acting silly -- and she did act silly throwing clothes up in the air and watching me roll my eyes and say, "Silly girl!"

We got out and about the hotel this evening, but when we returned to the room, the shorter nighttime episode of grief began again. It was bedtime and she crawled in her little bed and began to cry. I could only sit on the floor by her bed and pray. It is almost too imaginable to conceive how a child this age must feel...but I remained calm and then cried a bit as she was in the bed digging her feet into the mattress, head back, and sobbing with such sadness. She finally went to sleep. She's sleeping in the same dress from the orphanage, has had no food (except a few M&M's), and would not accept water at any point during the day. Again, not shocked by this behavior at all. Thanks to all the adoptive moms who've gone before me and to those moms who are still waiting who helped educate me. Lessons learned!!

All that said: Trust me. I'm calm, not the least bit nervous or concerned, and am looking forward to tomorrow as we move through her grieving process and head toward the light. Please pray that Emily is comforted as only the Lord can comfort her -- that she gains the assurance and trust that each day of her life will get better and better.

Love to all, Vicki, Emily, and Christy
Oh Yeah: BIG P.S. -- A caretaker of Emily's sent ME a little bunny rabbit that says "Jesus Loves Me" on it. It was in with Emily's items. When I push a button, it plays the song. There's a story there...but I'll save that for another time. Miracles....