She was very (and very understandably) shy at first, and cried when the orphanage Assistant Director left, but it's crystal clear that she has gotten lots of loving care and within a few minutes accepted our comfort and started to calm down. Over the next hour she started to make eye contact a little and study our faces in the mirror or when we weren't looking at her directly and would readily accept yogurt poofs when proffered. And after a few hours she even let us strip off her 3 layers of pants, 2 sweaters, and tres chic zebra print jacket and take a relaxing bath! Honestly, it was an amazing start to our bonding journey.
And today was a comparatively quiet day in the hotel (as quiet as life with 4 kids will ever be). WanYing miraculously slept all night with just a couple of fussy moments (thank you, Lord!). After breakfast we went swimming, which WanYing tolerated and the other 3 kids thoroughly enjoyed save the bathing caps we were all required to wear - too funny! We had a ramen lunch in the room, the girls had a monster 2-hour nap while the boys hunted and gathered at Wal-Mart, and we feasted on Papa John's Pizza in the evening (and the boys agreed that although it didn't taste exactly like home, it was a welcome change from our adventurous fare of the past days).
Today we discovered that WanYing:
- loves watermelon
- enjoys tickles and balloons
- has already started mimicking our words - today she repeated, "book," "cat," and "tickle, tickle, tickle"
- does not like to get changed
- doesn't like Chinese soy milk
- likes to eat pretty much everything else she can get her paws on
It was interesting, very interesting. I wouldn't say I didn't like it... but I didn't like it. Hey, not everybody's open to new flavors. Mostly it was just too spicy. It was so spicy it burned my mouth off. The first course was a chicken I considered really spicy. Mom and Dad, on the other hand, didn't. It's just them, they're weird like that. WanYing liked it as well. She's just weird, too.
The second course was a duck, head and all. I mean, it was cut up. That's good, so we didn't have to see the head get cut off like in, "A Christmas Story." The duck, I couldn't describe the flavor, I just didn't like it. WanYing and Sasha liked the duck [Sasha liked to eat the drumsticks, WanYing liked to gnaw on the bones]. They're weird like that.
The third course we had this um... we had the meat of a "large bird," or so the waitress said. I think it was ostrich. Mom, on the other hand, thinks it was pterodactyl. There again, she's really, really weird like that. [In retrospect, Mom thinks it was probably goose.] The "large bird meat" as we will call it, it just tasted weird and unusual. It was prepared on toothpicks [skewers].
Oh, and we ended with noodles. Tasted a lot like they were covered in butter. They were, as always, interesting, with the taste of covered in butter.
The best part was the ball pit in the middle of a restaurant. That's China for you. We found a way under the ball pit itself. [Mommy let them play because their Hep series is up-to-date - as children of the 80's we know all about the dangers of ball pits :) ]
We celebrated our meal with ice cream. To get to the ice cream, we thought it was on the other side of our 10-lane street, so we crossed at the crosswalk. Very different from crossing in the USA. In the USA it's not every day where you see people cross in front of you in the crosswalk at 40 miles per hour. In China, people see it every hour. It turned out we didn't need to go there, so we went back across the 10-lane street and then went across a 2-lane street and, what do you know, there was the ice cream. The ice cream cost 13 RMB for 6 individual ice cream products. And that meant it was $2 for all that ice cream!
And before we forget, here are a couple of additional highlights and items of interest form the past few days:
- We are staying in the "Galactic Peace Hotel" - how cool is that name?!? I feel like Senator Amidala whenever I gaze upon an embroidered towel or complementary bottled water that bears the hotel's name. Or maybe it's a hotel name from Cloud City. Either way, I like it.
- We just realized that March 14th, WanYing's Gotcha Day, is also Pi Day (3/14... 3.14... get it?). Excellent, we will be sure to celebrate with pie every year.
- Thanks to all who continue to comment on our Facebook pages and blog. We can't reply most of the time because both sites are blocked in China (we post via email) but we see all of your replies by email and love reading your encouragement!
- And in very big news, we got word yesterday that one of our grant applications was approved! This is amazing because we really didn't expect to qualify for anything, but fortunately JSC Foundation, a Christian organization that assists with adoption expenses, thought that we were good candidates. Thanks to their generosity, kind letters from our pastors and friends, and a whole lotta grace, WanYing's adoption just got a whole lot more affordable!!! WAHOO!
It looks like tomorrow we'll be able to visit WanYing's SWI (Social Welfare Institute) and maybe even visit with her former foster family. This is such a blessing, because we weren't sure if either visit would work out, let alone both, and we are so excited to be able to piece together as much as we can of WanYing's early life. But, the drive is long and we have no idea what to expect in terms of WanYing's reaction to either the SWI or her former foster family.
So, these are our prayers:
- That we will be able to show gratitude for these folks who gave our daughter so much love and care for her first 2 years
- That they will be blessed by the knowledge that WanYing will be well-loved and well-cared-for as our daughter
- That we'll be able to collect photos and video of so many people and places that were pivotal in WanYing's early life to provide a history for her as she grows
- (and this is the one we're most worried about) That these trips will be a step forward, not a step backwards in our bonding process with WanYing. That we will be able to communicate to her, even as we visit places she has known, that we are the next chapter in her story.