Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Beginning - 1st U.S. Haircut

Well...the time finally came.
Another monumental milestone.


I know parents get all sentimental when their baby/child has his/her first haircut....


The significance of it all is this: Emily's head had been shaved while living at the SWI (Social Welfare Institue) in China. I almost cannot type that without choking up. Nevermind. I AM choked up.

Ugh. Shaved.
This was likely necessary because of upkeep, sanitation (to prevent lice infestations, etc.), and the day to day care of all the children. Just these concepts alone tend to set international adoption & adoptees apart from the regular run of the mill kiddo's experiences here in the U.S. Then again, maybe I'm making it too much of an issue in my mind.

I was given a picture of Emily when she was younger - way before we ever met, and her precious hair is about 1/4" long -- all over her head. She's looking down, and her little eyelids are about half shut. She looks very contemplative. Pensive. Angelic. I took this photo & had it enlarged, framed it, and have it sitting on display in a hutch located in the dining area (a.k.a. pet quarters, homework station, and food eatin' spot). It's definitely in a prominent place.

So...for all these many months she's been home with me I've harbored the thought, "I ain't gonna cut it til she's ready." It's needed a trim for quite a while, but I was always keenly aware that those 'ends' were on that sweet little head when I first laid eyes on her -- in SWI pictures from China, to my referral picture, to my destined glimpse of her -- in China -- with my own two eyes.

That's the hair we washed in the luxurious tub at the "way out of my price range" hotel in Guangdong, PRC hours after I'd met her.

That's the hair I watched her carefully style while staring at herself in our home bathroom mirror -- seemingly proud of the fact that she had her own brush, comb, bows, and headband. Mercy me. She'd even spritz water on it just for good measure.

That's the hair we celebrated as it grew long enough to put into tiny little ponytails. Way back when (Fall, 2008) I referred to them as the size of bundles of toothpicks. Those were the early days of getting to know each other.

Those are some of the fondest days I've ever known in my life.
And yes. I'm crying.

A few Sundays ago, out of the blue, she came to me and said it was time, and she'd like me to trim it right then and there. I accommodated her request without making a big sentimental mess of it all. No small feat!

The China hair? It's gathered as a small ponytail in a Ziploc bag in a drawer where I store all my Chinese treasures. At whatever point in the future I can back a U-Haul in and move all the junk in front of that drawer, I'll sit down with the plastic bag and contents, have a good cry, and 'check off' another one of the many first events in little Emily's life.

Middle Part of the Process

The End Result

Monday, March 21, 2011

She'd Been Praying for Snow...

and by golly, she got some!

Making Dumplings at Cultural School

While I Was Scrappin'....

Good ole Uncle Michael taught the Divine Miss Em how to ride a bicycle.
I'm pathetic. I'd taken the training wheels off sometime last year, but I never invested the time in teaching Em h-o-w to ride.
Maybe it was because I, myself, did not have a bike to ride beside her and show her the maneuvers.
Maybe it was because I'd had surgery and couldn't run alongside to cheer her on.
Maybe it was because I didn't want to witness another act of "growing up".
I need to get real. Just because she rides a two-wheeler doesn't mean she's getting married tomorrow. Geesh.
Michael taught Emily all this while I was at a weekend scrap booking event. I came home late Saturday night and all Emily said was, "Tommorow's going to be a GREAT day!!" She was going to surprise me after church and show me her new talent.
Well, darn the luck. It was raining on Sunday; however, after church...and after keeping her spectacular secret...she, Michael, and Nanny Carol convinced me to let Emily 'go out into the rain'. Mom said, "Trust me on this one." I said, "Sure."
Then, I was called outside to see my little darling riding freely on her bicycle -- up and down the street. She was like a butterfly. So proud. So full of smiles. So thrilled at my surprise.
It was a sweet moment - another joy in life of this special little girl.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Quick Photo from Cultural School

Note: Emily is NOT severely under-dressed. Lily, the doll on the right, had just returned from a piano recital.

Ballet Class

I'm reading a book that talks about having your children in an activity...you know...an activity that develops your child's talents/gifts. The author emphasizes how we, as parents, should really pray about these activities and recognize where the Lord is leading us -- so we can lead our children in the correct area.

Emily is wispy-like and co-ordinated -- but I know it's challenging for her to grasp the instructional terms she's supposed to perform.

I relish in the fact that her ballet classes are Christian based, word oriented, and they teach the girls and boys how to glorify the Lord with their bodies. The music coincides with this line of thinking.

Emily does love ballet, but a time or two she's cried when it's been time to get ready and go. She's had a long day at school as an ELL student (English Language Learner), just completed her homework, and has to get undressed/dressed in her ballet attire.
I can relate. I sorta wanna go home and flake out myself.

She only attends class one hour/one afternoon a week. She was supposed to be in a class that met two afternoons a week. I just felt that was too much for her right now.

We've been holding conversations about her having one 'discipline' in her life - something challenging that helps her develop her God given talents. Be it dance or music, she is understanding that there will be effort involved. She was really leaning toward violin lessons instead of ballet (for next year), but as I explained to her that she'd have to practice at home, learn to read notes, etc. -- she sorta changed her tune (pun intended). I wasn't discouraging the notion but just being realistic.

No pressure to be a phenomenal ballerina. No practicing at home. Just good ole bike riding and running around squealing like a "happy kid" (as Ayi Cookie says).
Ballet lessons in an environment where the Lord is glorified are turning out to be a good thing in her life.
I'll keep my heart open to hear from heaven in the event a detour is needed or that road needs to be closed.
That's what I'm learning from this author, Ted Tripp. He's a keeper.