time is a funny thing. it feels like it was an eternity since we left home. and then i remember a sermon of rodney fitzsimmons. he described it like this -- if a bird flew from earth to pluto carrying a single grain of sand and it did this repeatedly until every grain had been flown from here to there, that would be the beginning of eternity. so putting into that perspective, we have been gone for exactly two weeks. it just seems like a couple of lifetimes :)
i pray i don't sound whiney because the good Lord knows i have not.one.single.thing to complain about --- i wish i could teleport our bodies and luggage to
* today we took the oath at the U.S. Consulate. i got all choked up doing it. it was a culmination of a year's worth of effort and knowing that the paperwork is finally over. all except for delivering the large sealed brown envelope to
* abigail has never been on a bike. church, swimming, and now we get to be the ones to introduce her to bicycles. yeah!
* i have yet to receive an 'i love you' or hug or any affection. greg has and i am happy for him because he certainly waited his fair share to get it from sarah. he was due to be liked first :) when abigail decides to, i will just stand there, mouth open. it will feel like a major victory, i anticipate. she is holding back with me, but that's okay. for now. she is going to be stuck with only me for 9 days until greg gets home, so maybe she will break down. or then again, maybe she won't. you guys will be the first to know when it happens....
* greg and i have both noticed that she acts very differently when we are with our guide. it is hard to describe but she absolutely changes. she isn't playful anymore. she likes to know what connie is doing. and then soon as we are back at the hotel, she is back to her old self. still have yet to figure that one out. any ideas from those who have BTDT?
* one suggestion i will throw out there for those traveling soon -- have a few things that are done between you and your child -- little rituals that will give them a sense of security and familiarity. for abigail and me, it has been two things. every night, she and sarah and i clean our faces with toner. she knows once they are in bed, i will bring them a cotton pad and then wait for them to clean their face. i know it seems like a small thing, but it is consistent and i think she likes knowing when something will happen. the other thing is a fun thing -- we have had two rooms at both hotels because of having five people (it isn't like in the US at the embassy where 7 of us pile into one room....china thinks three per room is even too many) and so the kids go back and forth between the rooms often. it has been a blessing because greg and i can trade off and it gives each of us a little break. okay, so every time i open the door to our room to let them in, she knows something crazy will happen. at first it was jumping out to scare her. the sick side of me loves jumping out and scaring people (sandy, i know what you are thinking :). then that got too predictable so i upped the ante and got more creative. but sure as rain, she is always in anticipation of what lies behind the door. to make a long point longer, create a few rituals for you and them. it helps both of you.
* i have tried to be consistent in disciplining her, sarah and thomas the same. i use the word discipline here lightly as how hard is it to act right when all you are doing is swimming and eating? you get my drift. i don't let her get away with something if sarah or thomas wouldn't. and she is testing it. she is absolutely watching to see if she can get away with more than them.
* a friend told me where to buy a Bible that was in both chinese and english. i presented it to her yesterday and last night while i was getting ready for bed, i heard her speaking cantonese. i haven't heard her talk much chinese actually. i came out and she was in bed reading her Bible aloud. it was one of the sweetest moments ever. i trust the Lord is already beginning His perfect work in her.
* tomorrow is the infamous photo shoot where all the new children from your adoption group have their picture taken on the red velvet couch on the second floor of the white swan hotel. absolute tradition for china adoption. we don't have any little babies in the group so the screaming and freaking just may be at a minimum. i bought her a traditional chinese dress and she had no idea what it was. how sad is that?
signing off. almost midnight here. tomorrow late it is hong kong or bust. only a couple more sleeps until home. i am praying that i can enjoy the remainder of this roller coaster ride and rely on His strength, not mine, to carry us back to the good ol' US of A.
love you. xoxoxox from room 2039.