Sunday, November 30, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
I put her to bed about 15 mins ago.
Went to get some water and make my coffee for the morning -- it's on a timer.
I love it.
I came back down the hall to peek inside the 1/2 way shut door to
the girls' room...
and Miss Mary Grace is not even in her bed.
She's sitting on the floor of the bedroom in front of a 3 ft tall Christmas tree - with a baby doll
showing it all the beauty of lights and reflective garland.
The girls placed the wee tree in the playroom, and we all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.
Does Mary understand?
Of course not -
but we've been blessing our meals, praying at night, and talking about Jesus.
When time for bed, Mary used body language and hand gestures (our modes of communication) to ask me if that tree could go in the bedroom.
I heartily agreed.
I placed it on a desk.
She requested that it be placed on the floor.
My pleasure to accommodate!
Well...I just heard the stroller being pushed down the hall from the playroom next door.
Here comes the other stroller.
And now she shut the bedroom door.
She's whispering mightily to her little companions.
Molly and Emily aren't here. They're still at Nanny Carol's house watching a movie - The Decision.
It won a Dove Award for family entertainment so I'm sure it's a good one.
Mary and I left from Nanny Carol's after we ate pizza and salad with the crew. Skipper and Michael are still visiting.
Anyhoo - BIG breakthrough that Mary left when I said, without the 2 big sisters, and doing so to come home and go to bed.
One week ago - you could forget it!
Tonight - pleasantly accomplished.
Thank you, Heavenly Father!!
I'm going to let her have her time of wonderment
On the floor
With baby dolls,
A kiddie Christmas tree,
And whispers of childhood
Being voiced - in a setting
That likely has never occurred
In her entire life.
She has no idea I even know what fanciful followings are taking place a mere 15 feet from where I'm sitting.
I pray that more little girls and boys can participate in the beauty and discovery of childhood -
And that it lasts forever and a day!
She wants to learn!!
Emily is helping her.
Sweet big sister.
She is lovin' her some Molly.
Progress - big time.
No meltdowns since last weekend.
Been keeping it calm and low key...as much as possible considering it's the holidays, we have company in town (brothers), a few folks have been around to eat on Thanksgiving -- Marlene and Donna.
I'd called everyone in advance and sorta gave them the skinny on how Mary needed to stay calm, etc.
They all understood.
But you know...NO one wants s 5 year old going ape berserk in their midst ALL DAY LONG. It's not entertaining.
Especially not with this bunch of old maids.
It's not good for anyone's mental health - Mary's included.
She got to be silly and goofy - some and then I'd start my, Soooooft voices, sooooooft hands"
Skipper and Michael sorta evoke just the qualities of silly and goofy -
Gone to seed!
That's suthern talk.
That's what Miss Mary is calling them.
She gets up in ours ear, brushes our hair away very deliberately, and whispers something in our ears...long and drawn out....in bursts of hot breaths...in Chinese.
When this happens, though, Nanny Carol will just giggle with Mary in wide eyed glee
Su-Kee-Pa (a.k.a. Skipper who keeps moaning that LSU only got lucky yesterday) will look right back at Mary and reply, "You don't say?!"
Emily and Molly will just gasp or laugh at how silly Miss M is.
She also has learned to say,
"Ya Hun-Gwy?" (Hungry)
We've asked her this over and over in order to feed her in betwixt playing with baby dolls or Legos.
She has 2 doll strollers (that were Emily's) and wheeled them down the street to Nanny Carol's house. As she was setting up her nursery in the living room, I was "fixing" lunch for the girls...when I heard Michael's kind but "I'm not kidding voice" say....."Uhm...NO baby strollers in front of the TV set."
Iowa and Nebraska were tied and had gone into overtime.
Strollers had to move.
This was serious business.
But he did give up the last 6 minutes of the Arkansas game - a squeaker- to go with us to the hardware store to get nuts and bolts to re-attach training wheels to Emily's little princess bike that Cille and Steve gave her when she was new to America and our family.
I'd called Michael and asked him to go with us. When I found out he left a good football game viewing to come with us, I said, "Aw. You should've stayed home and finished that game."
His dry witted response, "You're right,"
Then he spent a long time pushing Mary around in my $3.00 Goodwill-find...a push and pedal toy.
Goodness gracious. She had more fun in that thing - pedaling, steering, and being pushed.
I got my money's worth out of it just in the last 2 hours.
Looks like Emily and Molly will need bikes so they can ride around with Mary.
Mary is being tender, wanting me to stay by her bedside as she drifts to sleep (major breakthrough - she reached for me tonight as I was leaving and wanted me to hold her), is taking directions well, cooperating, putting her head down for naps --even if she doesn't always go to sleep, showing dependency on me...and seems to be developing appreciation for the structure and safe-ness that she is well aware that I'm providing.
I've not had to 'confront her/restrain her' into compliance at all since last Sunday.
So -- we've had 5 great days where she's understanding that I'm not a monster-meanie-mommie-wanna-be...
And guess what?
You can tell that she's enjoying life "this way" as opposed to the other.
She realizes her actions and reactions lay the groundwork for whatever will follow.
I can just tell - she wants the reliability of normalcy.
She relishes being tucked into bed, me rubbing her tiny little arm, and being kissed lovingly on her cute little nose.
I've been gentle, somewhat negotiable - while allowing fun in her new routine of life (this week).
China time together was not real life.
It was precious time.
It was exciting - unique, amazing.
It was difficult - but because of folks lifting us up in prayer - it was almost effortless.
So -- it looks like we're on our way.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
She's doing better.
Daily work...watching over...
She's in the tub for nighty night bath.
My 3 sweet angels...
I'm willing to bet nearly every stitch of outside clothing those 3 girls have on -- were given to us as hand me downs.
Heck - Mary is wearing Emily's 'drawers'.
I'm sure I likely bought those in 2008.
It's so fun to see clothes/undies with sentimental memories - come back to life.
Yes. I'm a borderline hoarder of my daughters' special clothes and toys and books and drawings and crafts and letters and schoolwork and notes they've received and photographs.
Their photographs alone would warrant my own season show on TLC about people who do weird things.
I have 1 million photographs of these girls in daily life activities.
Thank goodness for Walgreens and their discount photo coupons.
But we do love the hand me downs given to us!!
Gosh we have great friends!
She's eating my spaghetti extraordinaire.
I'm thinking all 3 girls are going to wanna start collecting them.
Forrest, Robin, and their clan brought Em and Molly their own little Lego Friends, and Mary got a little doll and $5.00 (from Shiyan...middle daughter). Sooo sweet.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Mary's little storage bin has wheels on it.
She sooo enjoyed pushing it down the street....making noise.
I thought, "Ooooh Michael- Come get the training wheels back on Emily's little bicycle! The Divine Miss M will love riding that thing!"
She had a stellar day today.
She crossed a big hurdle last night.
I could just tell.
You'll never believe it but I'm already working on my 1st Post Placement Report with Social Worker. Gotta have a 1 month document turned in soon.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
That toy was given to me in 2008 - from tennis friend, Kim.
I took it to China when I met Emily.
I couldn't make it fit in my one heavy suitcase this time.
Mary is playing happily punching buttons with one hand and sportin' a chicken tender in the other.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Surprised at the meltdown?
No I'm not.
Like others have said in reference toward me...this ain't my first rodeo!
She played and played with Em, Molly, and Jenna at a really cool park.
Julie was sweet enough to bring chicken, and I had some homemade soup my girls like for me to make.
When I'd go out on the playground to talk to Mary...she very clearly went in another direction.
I just let her play and squeal and take chances on the slides.
When it was time to go - hours later - she did not cooperate.
Again - structure, schedule -- wasn't gonna.
I had to explain briefly to the mom who was close by what was likely to play out.
Emily and Molly helped me get Mary in the car and shut the door because the screaming was blood curdling. We still could not drive away for several more minutes.
Mary is strong for being 3 feet Nuthin and weighing not too much.
Julie and Jenna whisked our belongings off the picnic table, threw it all in our trunk, and waited for us until they saw we were "cleared for take off".
Wasn't pretty, but off we went.
Mary immediately wiped out.
I called mom on the cell phone and told her all plans are off for Sunday. They were my plans not hers...and she totally agreed.
Mary and I need to hunker down and do some attachment time together- no distractions.
Even Molly and Emily gladly agreed to go to mom's house and watch the Duggars on the iPad. They were fired up to finally watch some shows from this season.
I bought them some Klondike bars.
Heaven knows they deserved them.
Home Mary and I went.
Time to get out of the car - ok...
But then she started buckin' again.
I had to carry her in the house, but I made sure the garage door was down.
She was screaming and kicking and clawing my hand
Note to self: Trim Mary's fingernails
I let her have her massive crying and bone chilling screaming session.
I even left the room for her to have her time- went back to check - have some more time
AND THEN -
All quiet on the western front.
I got her pink Tuppperware water bottle, leftover Goldfish crackers from picnic with Julie and Jenna, and a tissue.
When I walked in the room,
There she was sitting Goldilocks-like in a chair 'just her size'.
She had one leg crossed over the other and her blue jeans pant leg pulled up to her thigh -
And immediately wanted me to see the scrape on her knee from the park play session.
Ohhhh...I made a sad face.
I was Ms. Frowny!
Ooooooooo'd and ahhhhhhhhh'd
Ran to get a little medicine cream, cotton ball, and Band-aid.
Time to make a BIG deal of her boo boo.
Well - darn the luck
No cream medicine on hand.
We ain't had any skint knees around here in a while.
Soooooo I grabbed.a bottle of Afrin nasal spray and spritzed her knee down really well.
She'll never know the difference....
Until she reads this blog one day when she is older....
Or we tell her this funny story that was NOT fun or funny today.
The bandage was huge and had to be cut in half.
Mary was soaking up the TLC.
THEN she proceeds to roll
Up her sleeve and show me
Her elbow that also got scraped up in her little fall.
Round 2 on Tender Loving Care.
I got her favorite toy out....and she thanked me.
THAT'S a prime opportunity to use time for attachment.
Ya gotta seize it - because the next meltdown is waiting around the bend.
GOT to put in some positive in her memory bank/spirit/mind to help counter balance when the negative returns.
We punched out circles from scrapbook paper with a little tool that makes perfect little
I counted them over and over - 1 circle, 2 circles, let's punch holes, that's soooo pretty...
At her Michelangelo-like ability to create great works of art
Then she ate a piece of toast with strawberry preserves
Brushed her teeth
I tucked her in bed
Prayed for her.
How deep the Father's love for us!!!
My goal right now is to get Mary to SOME park nearly every single day -- for the next 2 weeks -- so she can play.
I'm going to find ALL the parks and/or school playgrounds I can.
I'm on a quest....and even willing to drive to neighboring towns to simply see how many I can find.
The post below this post was written yesterday - but I forgot I wasn't on wifi when I wrote it on the iPad. It was an airport "doing". Had a few minutes on my hands once I reached the U.S. - was the last person to get off the huge plane with many tiny seats and no elbow room.
Why the LAST person?
Mary would not get off the plane from Tokyo to the U.S.
The previous plane we'd been on from Guangzhou to Tokyo.
Rough parts of the ride.
All flight attendants helping me coax and persuade.
Had to go through Customs.
Then I had to go through Immigration for Mary's papers to be processed, but we were whisked away to a special room filled with many immigration officers, folks of suspect who needed additional looking over, and a lady who looked like somebody's precious grandmother.
They fingerprinted Mary.
We sat down and waited some more.
We were considered a "soft case" - cuz we were only there as an international adoption. I didn't have anything major to prove that wasn't already taken care of in the brown sealed envelope that came from the US Consulate in Guangzhou.
Got called back and got cleared.
Mary officially became an American.
I sure hope the grandma was a soft case.
I feel sure she was from a non-English speaking country. She looked concerned.
Left that room.
Had to go retrieve luggage and get in one of 5 lines that were incredibly long - I was in the slow line!
We had to take our luggage personally back through another Customs area and recheck it with our airline. (I don't ever remember doing that step but EVERY single person had to do it IF they were coming into the US and staying for any length of time.)
THEN back through a security checkpoint.
By that time...I'd learned to ask airlines if I could pre-board cuz I had a child. They let me every time.
On the last leg -- I even got a ride on an airport cart with Mary in tow.
How's she doing?
Pretty well - considering she seems normal to others but is 100% in adjustment mode with mixtures of grief, giddiness, and non-compliance.
I experienced this in Kunming and Guangzhou...mainly at night or in the mornings IF she HAD to be somewhere on a schedule that did not meet with her planned agenda.
Otherwise...she was in better sorts.
What is it about schedules, routines, me telling her what to do, etc. - What do they have in common?
They are components of PARENTING...and in the poorest of English language & expression.........
SHE AIN'T HAD ANY OF THAT!
IN 5 YEARS!!
She was hyped up last night once we got home.
I just let her have fun with Emily and Molly and family - over stimulation, excitement, jet lag all built into one. She never seemed very sleepy until late late late.
I was so tired, and she should've been even more so.
Today she had a major screaming-her-lungs-out-melt down.
It was time to do something - and she made it clear I was not going to tell her what to do -
At all -
In any form or fashion -
She would have liked for Molly or Emily to have rescued her; however, she met a United Front of Love with the 3 of us...which made her furious.
How confusing this all is to someone who has never been in a real family - one with love, forgiveness, structure, safety.
All because we care.
But she began her real journey of learning today.
Our time in China was no resemblance of what she was headed into.
Today she witnessed 2 other daughters -- her sisters -- in the family who know and understand that boundaries are necessary. Mary couldn't understand this yet...but in time she will. It will begin to make sense to her heart and her mind.
It was the same way with Emily.
Younger children cannot possibly conceive what they are personally experiencing - when ripped apart from their previous world.
It's to be expected.
Folks in the 'outside world' don't always easily grasp the complexities of adoption -- especially when 2 cultures collide.
It's just part of the process.
Not easy - but necessary.
Like when Emily first came home from China, people said, "Ohhhh. What was Emily's reaction to the cute clothes in her closet?"
I said, "Nuthin'!! She shut the door to her bedroom and slept in the dark all alone."
She's been transformed.
Yes. Molly can translate for me.
Nice to have her on board doing so.
She has her calm and tender ways with Mary.
Emily is a nurturer - and even says, "Let's go ask mama..." Or "Tell mama thank you."
Those girls are wise.
Sooooo....we pray for peace in Mary's little heart -- the Fruit of the Spirit -- to be developed quickly and easily -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, meekness, self-control.
That strong attachments are formed between us.
You can agree with us in Jesus' name.
Thanks for following along.
More to come!!!
Friday, November 21, 2014
I'd give Mary a solid A for travel.
She has grieved some - on the plane in quiet whimpers and restlessness.
I can relate.
Here are a few pics:
Riding from one terminal to another on a tram
Raining in Tokyo
Posted by Vicki at 11/21/2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
...and most folks - if not all folks - are thinking, "Yep...and it better be your LAST one,too."
I assume so.
I'm not 100% sure how I ended up here this time.
But I did.
And it'll all be worth it.
One of my devotionals along this journey - back at the beginning when decisions were being made - was the story of the Apostle Paul and how God spoke to Him and told him to go to Rome.
Not much else was said by the Father.
Just that Paul needed to go to Rome.
But from that point on, Dear Paul was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, nearly killed, and a host of other actions came against him.
God didn't mention those things.
Paul just knew he had an assignment, and he pursued the end result.
There was very little - if any - other direction given to Paul.
He was kinda like the Energizer Bunny of his time. He kept going.
I would never compare my current state of affairs to Paul's.
My life is lived out each day in peace and comfort.
But - we all have something in common...you, Paul, me.
We have appointments to keep.
Many of them divine.
Paul had little outward evidence to confirm that he should continue forward to Rome, but he had the one necessary component.
God spoke to him, and no matter how conflicting reality seemed, he continued on his assigned path.
The truth of God's Word always supercedes the circumstances of reality.
When Jesus looked at Peter and said, "Follow Me." -- He didn't elaborate on how Peter's life would impact the early church.
Jesus didn't tell him how he'd change from a cocky coward to a courageous servant of others who would "turn the world upside down".
He doesn't tell Peter the 10,000 things that will happen because he makes the choice to follow Him. and He doesn't necessarily say,..."and by the way, Peter, your future hangs in the balance",
Two simple words from the Savior.
That's all that was necessary for that moment.
Going through with this adoption of Long Yuan Ping has been a lot like climbing a tree, going out on a limb, sawing the limb away from the tree - and absolutely expecting the limb to stay put and the tree to fall.
I heard the story over and over and over during the last year of the shepherd who leaves his flock to find the one lost sheep. I wrote down the dates in my journal because it was so odd to hear this being taught all over the place.
I took note.
I read a teaching from the 1800's by Charles Spurgeon - about this very parable from the book of Luke.
Near the end Spurgeon writes of how the Lord tenderly seeks us out and then he makes these comments:
"Jesus says, 'Mary' - and the response is 'Master'.
The man in the parable sought out a distinct individual
and rested not til he found it.
So does the Lord Jesus in the movements of His love."
I felt as though Mary was that lost little lamb who needed to be found.
I didn't feel like the Lord was forcing me or requiring me to go forth with this adoption.
In gentleness and goodness, it seemed as though He was leading me down this path -- asking me IF I'd do it
I'd already chosen that name - Mary.
But when I read Spurgeon's teaching this past summer, I felt as though the Lord was speaking directly to me.
The middle name Grace was heavily impressed in my heart, but I was fine to only give Mary part of her Chinese name for a middle name - Yuan - and have her name be Mary Yuan (last name). The girls and I had talked about incorporating Grace into her name.
Not long after this was Mary's birthday - July 21st.
I went into Emily and Molly's room to have devotional time - and to pray for Mary on her special day.
We opened the devotional book to July 21 and the title and Bible reference for that day was:
Be Strong in Grace - 2 Timothy 2:1
Her name was settled.
Mary Grace Yuan/ Long Yuan Ping -- Her story is as miraculous as Guo Yang's or Mei Xia Ying's (Molly and Emily).
Each girl has traveled an amazing - yet difficult - road that has brought them to these points in time, and they are forever settled in a family and with friends who love them dearly.
But more than that - May they live each day of their lives knowing that The Great Shepherd...in His tender love...sought them out to bring them into His home.
I am blessed to be a part of it all.
Sound asleep - Her last night in China.
It's 11:30 p.m. and I'm long past being in bed where I should be - but...
there are fireworks going off in this humongous city of a gazillion people.
It must be somebody's birthday or wedding celebration.
The Chinese invented fireworks, and these things sound like mini-bombs going off.
For the past 2 hours.
Outside this skyscraper vicinity window of mine.
By the way...the letter P below these lines?
I can't get it erased. It's stuck there?!?
So much for that!!
When she looks straight on or down like this...her left eye (farther away from the bow) lines up pretty normally.
If she looks at an angle...the colored portion of her left eye tends to disappear into the orbital area, and solid white is what others might see.
She did not pass the eye exam at the required medical appt. (neither did Molly when she was here) - and my guide conveyed to me that the doctor said Long Yuan Ping would need surgery to fix that left eye.
I dunno what will be done by the experts at home.
Mary has a mild case - mild in my opinion - of nystagmus. That's a fluttering motion back and forth of her pupils. I know children whose pupils move back and forth quite dramatically. Mary's seems to be less severe. I was under the impression that she does not have complete irises.
She has good functional vision, and honestly...her condition is far better than I had anticipated.
She squints outside in the sun, but I thought she would have to sit inches from a tv screen or tech
monitor (iPad, computer). Not the case. A bit closer but nothing out of the extra ordinary.
We'll get her all checked out soon.
Travel Group - ALL Keepers!!!
The couple on the far left -- Jennifer and John with daugter "Sue Lee".
Sue Lee (not how it's spelled...but how it's pronounced)
Melissa and Steve - 1st time parents to 10 y/o Thomas
Eli and Mary
Wathcing the koi
Steve and Mary -- He's a math teacher.
I kept teasing him to convert all these meters to feet/yards & inches...and do it quickly!!
Well...It's 1:30 in the afternoon and we leave tomorrow morning.
Soon gonna be time to fly home.
Hmmmmm...where'd I put that children's Benadryl?
Honestly I don't have any.
Someone in our travel group has some melatonin, and she's a nurse. I might check in with her for moochin' some.
I did NOT think about that before I left home.
One of our travel familiies is leaving this afternoon - headed for Hong Kong and a quick stint at Ocean Park (not Disney) before getting back to Austin, TX.
I have no desire to take any side trips.
H-O-M-E sounds great to me.
But boy...this has been a fabulous trip.
Melinda - Your prayers were answered.
I had my Lana's!!
So nice to be with folks who just make you a part of the family - make you laugh, understand what you are feeling...encourage you to buy more junk you don't you don't need and sit with you for a treat at Starbucks.
That's a good buddy!!
I have several of them on this trip.
Yesterday - one little Kunming Cutie did not --- let me rephrase that -- would not get up and get dressed for our US Consulate appointment.
The clock was ticking.
The US State Department officials were wanting to see me at 8:30,
seems someone near and dear was no having no part of the schedule.
I propped open the door to the hotel room, ran to Jennifer's room, knocked loudly saying,
"Help. I need help. Mary won't get up and get dressed. We have to leave for the consulate appt."
Jennifer answered the door with a towel around her.
She was in the shower. Her appt. was at 10:00.
Her fun and silly husband, John -- father to 7 -- ran down to my room, got Mary laughing, got her dressed, and we were out the door.
Last night Little Missy and I had a Come to Jesus Meeting.
That shaking of the head "NO!" that she was practicing off and on all day needed to be trimmed back just a tad....
Got to follow some rules - safety, security, sanity.
She cried but let me console her and soon was back to her giggly self.
Ah. She'll respond well to parenting - love, nurturing, boundaries, family.
She wants me to carry her everywhere.
I do - quite a bit.
She appears to be fiercely independent - probably HAD to be all her life.
Now it's time to be a little girl.
We all went to The Noodle King last night.
Very authentic Chinese food. I had stir fried noodles and veggies.
Mary fell asleep, but I got a 'take away' box of leftovers, and she later scarfed it down.
The best food so far. Our entire group of 13 thoroughly enjoyed it.
Our hotel lobby.
Pretty ornate huh?
There's a Toyota Camry in the lobby right now. Some reveling of a new line/newer version of this car.
Media. Hoopla. Spotlights.
Still going strong with the hotel's shower gel in those cute little plastic containers.
I just heard a little rumble and saw bubbles come up to the surface.
I do believe she tooted in the tub.