Red Thread

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break." ~ Ancient Chinese Beli

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Aloha from Hawaii!!

After a long exhausting flight we made it to Hawaii.  We flew via Seoul with a 2 hour layover. The first leg was only 4 hours but seemed like 44!! To be honest if Lexi was not eating she was screaming - and you can only carry so much food with you so you can imagine how noisy it was for those seated near us!

We flew Korean Air which was great. Fantastic service and really child friendly - there was often one attendant attempting to help us with Lexi and another one on the other side chatting or playing with Ella - I guess one could say that Patrick and I must have looked pretty pitiful and in need of help!  We are frequent travelers and not new to long haul trips with small children but this was a whole new experience for us and we appreciated all the help we could get.

The lay over in Seoul was a welcome relief to get out and have a change of scenery. We received a slew of questions from inquiring minds of other travellers. "How much did your daughter cost?",  "What did you pay for her?",  "How can she be 2 years old and not talking? There is obviously something wrong with her - that must be why she was put up for adoption."  Yes, ruthless, insensitive and ignorant but we have been warned that we need to be thick skinned and/or have some good responses in hand - unfortunately I had neither so didn't handle the questions well.  Not to say that everyone has such comments but we do know there are more to come.

Thankfully with the second leg being a night flight the girls did crash and slept for a few hours.

The lights came on and the cabin started to buzz again an hour before landing. Once we arrived we went to a special immigration line and handed in the sealed brown envelope that we were given by the US consulate in China the day we departed. There was another adoptive family there as well and their brown packet was much smaller than ours. Supposedly has something to do with Patrick not being American and all the background checks that must have been done on him!! The immigration officials were all very pleasant and friendly and had us in and out of there within 45 minutes. They in turn would hand deliver our packet to the Homeland Security (USCIS) office who will be processing Lexi's Certificate of citizenship.

We then recieved a warm aloha welcome fromm our taxi driver who chatted with us on thet way to our accommodation - even pointed out where President Obama went to high school and where his grandmother lived. When we pulled up at the Waikiki Banyan Mimi and Papa were there in the open air lobby waiting for us. Ella was unbuckled, out the door and in their arms before I could blink. Lexi knew something was up and cautiously checked out these two people she has heard about for days.

Waipo and Waigong (Grandma and Grandpa in Southern China) could not be more excited to meet their 10th Grandchild - and as the days go by Lexi is getting more and more comfortable with them as well.  As a bit of background on the grandparent names, the English language sees no difference between paternal and maternal relations. “Grandma” is used for both father’s mother and mother’s mother. Father’s father and mother’s father are both called “grandpa”. In contrast, the Chinese language places an importance on the differences between paternal and maternal relationships. The differences mean a lot to Chinese people and determines the real relationships, near or distant, inside or outside, between relatives. Therefore, in Chinese language the words for “grandma” of paternal side and maternal side are strictly distinguished in pronunciation and writing: laolao (northern china) or waipo (southern china), is for grandma on mom’s side, and nainai, dad’s side. Similarly, “grandpa” on mom’s side translates as laoye or waigong, and yeye, dad’s side. So although Waipo and Waigong would be what Lexi would call my parents if she was speaking Mandarin, for the sake of our family, we will stay with what Ella has always called them - Mimi and Papa. :)

After exchanging hugs, we left Ella with Mimi and Papa so P, L and I could head out again for our Infopass appointment at the USCIS office. What a long day - hard to believe that we departed HK on Oct 28 and here we were in Hawaii and it was still Oct 28!!!  Thankfully, Lexi crashed again and remained sound asleep for the next few hours. We were able to hand in her N600K application which is what is needed to become an American Citizen and were then told to await a call for our interview.  Fast forward to phone call the next day and our appointment is on Monday morning - yeah!!!!  This is great news because it means we have a very good chance of getting everything done in time to make our scheduled flight on Thursday as we hoped.

Our time in Hawaii thus far has been great.  By and large spending time with Mimi and Papa tops the list.  It is so special to share this time with them and to have an extra set of hands to help with Ella or to give us some words of encouragement when we need them.  There is a pool and a playground at the complex and that is where we spent most of our fist day here.

We are 1 block from the beach and the Waikiki strip.  The beach that we go to is perfect as there is a break wall to stop the waves - we can watch the surfers in the distance while the kids enjoy a bit calmer waters.

We have rented a mini van which we have not really needed other then to go to the grocery store.  We did take one drive along the coast although it was quite cloudy it was still spectacular scenery.

Lexi is doing pretty well.  We have some really good moments especially when we are at the beach and she is playing in the water and sand - she loves it as does big sis.

But to be completely honest, Lexi is exhausting us with what seems to have become her constant loud piercing screeches and her obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to food.  If she is eating she tends to be happy but at the same time she becomes quite aggressive when she eats.  Not wanting anyone near her food and or wanting the food off someone else's plate or from their hands.  Sounds a bit funny but it is getting really challenging and difficult to manage and deal with.

The food issue is an interesting one and her behavior with food resembles that which one might expect from a chid growing up in an orphanage where food is rationed and children very often go hungry. Lexi on the otherhand was fostered and by the looks of her she was well fed. She looks quite heathy and well nourished - she weighs 12 kilos, her skin is smooth and has a glow, her teeth look good and she has a full head of shiny hair. Definately not the look of a malnourished child. Yet she wants food constantly - especially if she sees it or knows where it is. Typically she will protect her plate of food and want was is on everyone else's plate. And I should add that this is demanded in a very aggressive manner.  

Our evenings continue to be really tiring as well because it takes her hours to fall asleep.  And it is not that she isnt tired but she just can not settle down - she continues to swat, scratch, pull and bite - usually accompanied by an incredibly high pitched scream.  Last night she went through a few different stages and at one point she let me hold and rock her while she sobbed and moaned into my chest.  I shed a few tears along with her because I knew she was remembering her Foster Mom and probably feeling so confused and sad again.

I have to say I felt a bit relieved that Lexi took to me and was accepting of our cuddle because she has been a bit anti MaMa since we left Hong Kong.  She adores her BaBa and he is her preferred companion these days but last night she only wanted me and I have to be honest and say it felt good.  Lexi fell asleep for a bit - as did I - only to awake again and then moved on to laughter, then aggression and then back to sobbing again.

We are doing our best to follow her lead but are also trying to gain some of the control as well.  By that I mean not giving into everything but letting her know that we are there.  When she is aggressive with us we tell her that it is wrong and that she is hurting us.  I have to believe she knows this and that is partly why she is doing it. It is almost like a jeckle and hide thing because one moment she can be happy and content and showing us some affection and the next moment she realizes what she is doing and she quickly turns on us.  Hoping in time this changes and we have some more consistency with the attachment.

Tonight after dinner we decided to check out the pre Halloween festivities on Waikiki Blvd - actually hoping that maybe Lexi would fall asleep in the stroller and we could move her into bed when we got home - no such luck though. That's okay because we had a fun evening.

 Ella could not be more excited about Halloween and I am hoping that despite the lack of trick or treating we can have some fun tomorrow.

Lexi enjoyed it for a while but then quickly decided she was done - fair enough - there is only so much new stimulation she can deal with right now.

Tomorrow is a new day and we are hoping to go in search of more rainbows - we have seen many since we have been here - they are beautiful!  Pics to come.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy 2 week Gotcha Day!

It has been exactly 2 weeks since Lexi was first placed in our arms.  In many ways it seems like so much longer.

The roller coaster continues on a daily basis - one minute all is great and we are so thankful for the peace and contentment that Lexi seems to be feeling - and the next minute we are faced with her uncertainty, angst and bewilderment. I guess as I have said before, we just need to accept that this is our new norm.

I think initially we did not expect such a set back when we got home. We were just so excited to be back around what was familiar to us and kept thinking once we were home it would get easier - but then again....none of this is at all familiar to Lexi so of course it would once again be a major adjustment for her. Duh!!

If we are out and about Lexi does much better so we are thankful for the great weather so we can spend time on the playgrounds, at the pool and out for walks.

And Ella could not be more pleased that there are some more baby steps on the sisterly attachment.

But when it starts to get dark and bed time nears there is always some grieving that still needs to be done.  It usually starts with an hour (or a few) of loud screaming and crying - followed by a spot where she finds some comfort to be on her own.  As much as we want to pick her up and cuddle her it is not what she wants and we continue to respect that. 

More often then not that spot is at the end of Ella's bed snuggled in with the pillows.

A good friend of mine who is also an adoptive Mom has spent some time with us these last few days and has been able to provide us with some great perspective.   She has observed that Lexi knows what she wants and is not afraid to voice her desires, Lexi comes to me or Patrick when she needs something and she can be satisfied with in reason and Lexi can come in and out of a social situation with some ease (most of the time).  These are all things that we may not have noticed if someone else had not pointed them out as successes.

In all fairness to Lexi, some of the adjustment is also what P, E and I need to work through.  For us this change in our life is huge - it had been the three of us for 6.5 years and now suddenly there is a new little person in our world who is with us 24/7 and we dont really know her yet.  We are getting to know her likes and dislikes but a lot of it is still a guessing game and trial and error.  Lexi does not speak English nor understands it - but she is learning and even without a common language she has figured out how to get her point across - and we are getting used to a lot of loud screeching. :)

Sadly the real only word that Lexi has learned is medicine (said in Swiss German) as this is what she hears every 2 hours.  On that note, the medicine routine is getting a little bit better - at least for us we have figured out how to do it and get it over with quickly.  Thanks for all the tips regarding hiding it in food etc but that does not work as there is just too strong of a taste.  We just kind of wrap her in a towel so her leg and arms are not free and spoon it to the back of her mouth with a medicine spoon some friends gave us in Nanning - thanks Deb, still working!

The other reality in all of this is that Lexi is 26 months old - she is a toddler and has a lot of toddler like behavior.  This too is a change for us and creates it's own set of challenges.  We need to accept that no matter how well her adjustment is into our family we are still faced with many a daily challenge anyway.  For what ever reason we never really thought about that before until it became our reality.  :)

By and large, yesterday was an amazing day.  Lexi woke up very peacefully.  The sun was shining brightly (so much for Typhoon Megi!) and we were able to spend a lot of time outside - at the pool.  Lexi was in her glory because we were out and about and Ella had her friends around.  I think we went close to four hours with everything going well - we were ecstatic to have such a streak and enjoyed every minute of seeing Lexi so content.  We even went out to lunch with friends and all went well!

While Jie Jie Ella practiced surfing in the pool

Mei Mei Lexi watched and played

Ella started back at school today and could not have been be more excited to get on the bus this morning.  She kissed her "Mei Mei" goodbye and off she went very happily.  I have to say that Ella deserves a gold star for these past 2 weeks.  She has demonstrated so much maturity, acceptance and kindness (ok maybe not at all times but....) and she has learned and grown so much.  With Patrick back at work as well today, that leaves me and Lexi on our own - so thankful to have Shirley around to help out!!  We have a few doctors appointments lined up and I need to get packing again for our trip to the US.  No wonder my room looks like a bomb went off - I am still unpacking from China!

As much as we dread the long flight that awaits us - and another adjustment to a new environment, the light at the end of the tunnel is a visit with Mimi and Papa!!!!  And if I have not already mentioned it, our  U.S. point of entry will be Hawaii as we can be in and out in a relatively short amount of time as compared to the rest of the U.S. where it could take up to 5-6 weeks to get her passport.  Not a bad place to have to hang our hat for a week and a half - and with the girls' grandparents with us it will be that much better!!!!

Thanks to all of our HK friends for such a warm homecoming - the gifts, baked goods, visits and phone calls are wonderful!  Lexi is a lucky little girl to already have such a fan club!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Goodbye GZ - Hello HK!!!!

Too tired to say much but just wanted everyone to know that we are home safe and sound in Hong Kong.

As excited as we were to leave GZ, it was tearful to say good bye to so many good friends that we made during our 2 week journey. One family in particular who we met in Nanning and who adopted their newest daughter from the same small coastal village of Qinzhou where Lexi is from.  Being originally from the same SWI the girls share the same Chinese family name of Min.  They will always have a special connection and we hope despite our geographic locations (Iowa and Hong Kong) we hope to meet again some day.

Min Sisters and their Big Sisters at Breakfast

The Min Sisters

The winds began to pick up in GZ as you can see from the photos - so we will brace ourselves for Typhoon Megi when we get back to Hong Kong.

Blowing in the wind!

We were able to pick up Lexi's visa in the early afternoon at the US Consulate and then went directly to the train station.  The worst part of the trip was getting into the station because we had so much luggage and there were no porters, no luggage carriers, no elevators and the escalators broke!  But once we navigated through and disposed of our luggage we were fine and good to go.  There were several other families on the train with us.  Ella had one of her many playmates from the trip also on board and Lexi slept the whole way.

Back in HK we said our goodbyes to our traveling companions and jumped in a taxi to Repulse Bay.  Lexi definitely sensed something else was on the horizon.  She remained very calm but her hands were fidgeting again and she stared bug eyed out the window.  Once again we sat and wondered what was going through her mind.  I am sure we will continue to have those same thoughts from time to time but eventually it will all fade as Lexi becomes more comfortable in our family and with her new surroundings.

We are back in HK for 7 days before we depart for the US to get Lexi naturalized and to get her US passport.  Lexi will have a few Doctors appointments this week and will likely have a few visitors from friends who I know can not wait to meet her!!!!

Sweet Homecoming Message for Lexi left by my GF Gloria!!

As I have really enjoyed the Blogging I will continue with it for a bit longer - at least through our upcoming US trip.  Having said that I will not be updating it daily.  Thanks again to everyone near and far who has been there for us through out our journey.  As we have said before, your support means so much to us!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 12 - So many changes in our sweet girl!

One day closer to getting home and we are so excited!!  Tomorrow we get Lexi's visa in the late afternoon and then immediately board the train to Hong Kong with several other families.  The big talk amongst all the families is Typhoon Megi that is approaching HK, expected to make landfall on Saturday.  As you can imagine there is lots of worry about people getting out in time, as the majority have connecting flights to the US.  For us it is not a big deal because we will be safely home by the time it hits but we do feel bad for everyone that has this worry.  After being on such an emotional journey the past few weeks everyone just wants to get safely home.

Lexi had a good day today as it was very low key and we didn't need to venture far from the hotel nor were we on any schedule.  We did a little more shopping, walked through the parks, went to the pool and played in the indoor playroom.

There are still times that we catch ourselves feeling worried about Lexi's situation and all that she continues to struggle with every day.  But when we focus on all the progressive steps that Lexi has taken these past 10 days it is pretty remarkable:

  • no more head banging on the hotel door while screaming and crying to get out
  • no longer has to wear her pink plastic shoes, that she came to us in, 24 hours a day - in fact, no longer wants shoes at all
  • no longer squats and pees anywhere - either does so in the pull up or drags us to the bathroom
  • no longer a fight to brush teeth - actually thinks of it as a game and enjoys it
  • no more sleeping infront of the hotel room door (having said that she does scream and yell for a bit every night and tonight she even took off her pjs and pull-up and threw out all of her bedding from her crib before passing out)
  • no longer grieves in a heavy way - even the soft moan has subsided 
  • no longer refuses food or drink - quite the opposite has now taken place and she eats EVERYTHING in sight no matter whose hands it is in or whose table it is on
  • no longer emotionless through out the day - several smiles and giggles
  • no longer pushes us away all day long - will now take our hand or hold a finger (no hugs or cuddles yet but that has to be coming, right?)
The medicine taking is getting easier as well.  Lexi still puts up a fight and lets us know that she does not like it but we (or I should say Patrick) have gotten it down to a science on how to get it in her.  Not an easy thing to do especially since it is every 3 hours so we are looking forward to her Doctor appointment next week.

I am sure there are more changes that have been made but those are the big ones that come to mind.  When we look at it all together we see HUGE improvement from the scarred fragile child who we met 10 days ago.  Lexi now shows all her true colors.  She is full of enthusiasm in everything she does.  She is very independent and voices her concern when she does not get her way.  She has a strong set of lungs and an enormous appetite.  And when she is in a good secure place she loves to laugh and giggle.

We are so proud of both of our girls.  Ella has been great and has accepted and understands that Lexi is going through a difficult transition.  She has shown such care and concern about her little sister and all of her struggles.  In time she knows that they will share a sisterly bond like no other.  Lexi continues to show us such courage and resilience. We will never truly know or fully understand what she has felt and experienced these past 2 weeks but we do know that our love for her continues to grow stronger every day - and we think the same is happening for her with us - at least we hope so.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 11 - Oath Taking Ceremony

Today we wrapped up all of the official matters for Lexi's adoption with an Oath Ceremony at the US Consulate.  There were about 40-50 families that were there with us so it was a bit of mayhem and this did not fare well with Lexi.  Even when we gathered in the hotel lobby before we boarded the buses you could see her anxiety rise as she started to fidget with her hands which is what she did constantly the first few days with us. Her eyes were searching the room in a zig zag fashion and you just knew that there were so many thoughts running through her head again.  Where were we off to now?  What next?  Why so many people?  What is happening?  Needless to say the next few hours did not go very well as all of the confusion, angst and fear came tumbling back again.

The ceremony itself was uneventful - we all had to raise our right arm and repeat after the adoption official.  After that each family went up to the counter to sign the final visa application.  Lexi's US Visa should be ready in 48 hours.  We will go to pick up the visa at the Consulate on Thursday afternoon and proceed straight to the train station for our 2 hour train ride to Hong Kong. We are almost home!!!

It took Lexi a few hours to calm down and get into a balanced state again but once she did we enjoyed a bit of time at the playground before a nice Thai dinner. 

 After dinner we strolled by the bronze statues again so Ella could have some fun with her poses.

One of the things that has really been of comfort to us while in GZ are the numbers of families here with us also finalizing their adoption.  We have met the most amazing people - many of whom are back for their 2nd or 3rd adoption ---- and most seem to be for children with special needs.  We have learned so much from each family that we meet - mostly lessons of acceptance, patience and love. We have learned that Lexi is far from the only child having such a difficult time but then again there are many who are making a very smooth transition.  No matter what the situation is today, we all know that we have a life time ahead of us of joys as well as challenges - as does every family.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 10 - A walk around Shamian Island with smiles and giggles

Our day started out really nice with a skype chat to CA but quickly went really rough and ended much the same but there were so many good times in between. We still had some challenges and heart breaks - but so many smiles, a few giggles and even a moment of sisterly hand holding!!

We only had two things to do today adoption related - going back to the health clinic to check on the TB shot....all was fine - and a bit of final paperwork for Lexi's visa.

Other than that we spent some time walking around Shamian Island which is the area in Guangzhou where the White Swan is located and really is a nice place to be.  It does not feel like you are in China at all when you are here.  Lots of English is spoken and it is incredibly clean and green.  Lots of little parks and the people are friendly as most are trying to get your business in their shop.  

Historically speaking, the territory was divided into two concessions and given to France and the United Kingdom by the Qing Dynasty in the 19th Century.  The island is a historical area that serves as a tranquil reminder of the colonial European period, with quiet pedestrian avenues filled with trees and lined by historical buildings in various of stages of upkeep.  The island is the location of several hotels, a youth hostel, restaurants and tourist shops. 

Various bronze statures are scattered around the island which depict what life used to be like on the island, as well as more recent times.

Our hotel room gives a good view out over the area.  You can see all the low colonial style buildings and green directly around the hotel and as you move out a bit you see more of a city like atmosphere.

The hotel faces the Pearl River, which is the third largest river in China and although does not look like much by day it is illuminated at night by the lights on the dinner cruisers.

After our walk we spent an hour down at the swimming pool and Lexi absolutely loved it!  We definitely have another fish on our hands.  I have to say the entire time we were there Lexi was a smiling, happy, giggly little girl who seemed to be really enjoying life.  We were so thrilled to have this experience and it gave us a glimpse of what hopefully is still to come.  It was at the pool that Lexi walked up to Ella, took her by the hand and led her to the water to play - Ella could not have been more excited and proud!

We ended the day having dinner with a lovely family that we met in Nanning.  Their newly adopted 3 year old daughter is from the same area of Guangxi as Lexi.  We will always have a special connection as our girls were born and raised the first few years of their lives in the same small coastal village of Qinzhou and came into our lives on the same day.

As I write this Patrick is down in the gym, Elle is watching High School Musical for the 10th time this week and our sweet Lexi is sleeping soundly after a great day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 9 - The Red Couch

Anyone that is a part of the China adoption world likely knows about the infamous "Red Couch" at the White Swan Hotel.  It is tradition that all agency groups have a photo taken of all the adopted children - many in the Chinese traditional dress -  on one of the red couches that face the Pearl River.  Sounds like a great idea - and we had visions of it being a wonderful photo opportunity especially because we have seen other family pics of all the children lined up and smiling but....there were not many of our children who were overly keen on the idea - at least not Lexi -  so it all kind of fell to the way side.  Having said that we did get a few great photos before and after that I will share.

Pre Red Couch

Our Infamous Red Couch Photo  - kind of sort of....

All the GWCA families

Jie Jie and Mei Mei

The photos really capture the beauty of our girls - and make all the challenging moments that we face during the day worth it.  I am not going to share much more detail on the painful times because we have come to realize that for Lexi this is going to be routine for a while.  It is okay.  We can handle it and truly do believe that she will get to that place of comfort in her due time.  Each and every day we do see a new development and feel progress.  Although not easy, for 2 nights now we have been able to get Lexi into her bed at night before she passes out in front of the door from sheer exhaustion.  She clenches both of my hands so ever tightly as she falls off to sleep.  The day is hard but this makes it all worth it because it shows us that she is starting to feel safe with us, even if it is not all the time, it is some of the times and that is a major step for us.

Thanks to everyone for your heartfelt emails and comments to our blog.  Your support means so much to us and we are not afraid to tell you that we need it!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 8 - So good to be in Guangzhou!!

A new day, a new dawn....I think that is becoming a common theme these days!!  Waking up in GZ made a world of difference.  I think it is a combination of having a few extra comforts from home in comparison to what we had in Nanning, being that much closer to home and having so many other adoptive families surrounding us.  Our core group from Nanning is still here and feel like family to us now but at every turn there is another new adoptive family to meet.  It is incredible just how many forever families have come to be in the time that we have.

The White Swan is a huge step up in terms of comfort.  Our room is big and modern, the breakfast buffet is out of this world (the stale white toast bread and runny omelette got old quick at the Majestic), the swimming pool is clean and swimmable and there are lots of places to walk around outside of the hotel - there are so few cars, lots of parks, many people speak English etc.  

The better part of our day was spent getting Lexi's visa pictures taken and having her medical exam.  We were among about 30 other families doing the same thing - there is comfort in numbers and despite a bit of chaos we met some lovely families.

BIG smile for the Visa Photo!!!

Being a non-Hague family Lexi did not have to get her immunizations (versus the hague family children who needed to 5-7 shots today - feel so bad for them).  Lexi had a general exam for weight, height and over all body check, a run through ENT and a TB shot.  Suffice to say not the easiest of times but what else could we expect.

We stopped at Starbucks on the way back to the hotel for a sandwich lunch with another family from our group.  As you can imagine this made BaBa very happy!!

Another sisterly moment!!!

Once back at the hotel Patrick took Ella down to the swimming pool to swim with some new friends Ella made at breakfast.  Lexi and I went up to the room to unpack and I tried to get Lexi down for a nap.  Not the easiest of times as it took a good hour plus just to get her out of the stroller which is her new place of comfort (note to families still to come to GZ - all the shops around the White Swan provide strollers free of charge).  In the end one of the cleaning ladies came in and talked to Lexi to try to calm her down.  It was evident that Lexi had a comfort level with this woman and wanted her close by - she was lovely and sat with us for a good 20 minutes talking to Lexi and stroking her face - a nice gesture but was difficult for her to break away.

The bonus of our day was seeing our friends from Hong Kong.  They came up for the weekend to do some shopping and came to the hotel for a visit and for dinner.  Ella was so excited to see her girl friends and to introduce them to her new sister!!!  Being with good friends brought some normalcy back to our lives - if only for a few hours - it felt so nice to be with people that know us so well.  Lexi was a charmer at dinner she actually had a few really good hours of up time.  Thanks Seona, Leo, Isobel and Elise - you really made our day!!

Back at the hotel our evening ritual began as it always does with the situation at the door but after an hour or so we got Lexi into her bed and she cried for a few hours while I sat and held her hand.  Eventually she lied down and let me rub her belly - she loved it and before too much longer she was off to sleep.  Yeah, brownie points for MaMa!!!

Off to take advantage of an early night.  Can not wait to cuddle up myself!

Day 7 - Several Steps Back - Good Bye Nanning

Yesterday was the hardest day yet so hence the reason it took so long to post.  We started the day off well at breakfast and even had some great sisterly moments which made Ella soooo happy.

This was the day we said good bye to Nanning - which is not a bad thing - it was time to move on to a bit more comfort and less craziness - and although we feel a connection to Nanning because this is where we became a family of 4 - it was really time to move on.  We had to get organized, pack and get Lexi's PRC passport.  Patrick took Lexi back to People's Park for a walk in the stroller we rented so she was able to get in a bit of a nap and I could pack while Ella did a bit of school work.   Patrick and Lexi had a nice time at the park, however, once they came back to the hotel and Lexi saw me, she wanted nothing to do with me.  It was obvious that she was upset, angry as well as confused.  

We met our group in the lobby of the hotel and then took a bus ride out to the airport.  About an hour bus ride but seemed like even longer.  Lexi kicked, screamed and protested the entire way.  She just did not want to be there - she wanted out but there was no where to go.

Check in at the airport went smoothly.

And then the anxiety set in and all she wanted was her Baba / Papi / Daddy.  Lexi clung to P and would not let go.  

When P needed to put her down for security, to go to the washroom etc. the tears, screams and protest started again.  Pushing, scratching, biting - it was more then heartbreaking - I simply could not deal anymore and the tears were flowing.  There was nothing I could do to console her.  

The airport was so crowded and it was standing room only except for the corner area that our group found to rest before boarding.

Lexi did okay on the airplane - it was a short flight thank goodness and she just sat there staring off into space.  I could not help but wonder what in the world she was thinking.  

Once we got off the plane it all came crashing down again - even worse.  We had to get a few different Chinese people to try to talk to Lexi and help to explain what was happening.  We could not even pick her up.  For such a small little girl she is so strong and really has a set of lungs on her like I have never experienced (coming from a Mom with a very loud and spirited 6 year old, this says a lot).

Thankfully we are traveling with the most amazing group of families and we had sooooo much support from all of them.  Ella has lots of comfort with all of them since we have been together for a week now so she was fine being off with them while P and I were trying to peel Lexi off of people's legs and/or the airport gates.

There were several times through out the day that Patrick and I seriously wondered if we were doing the right thing.  Do not get me wrong, we adore Lexi and are so in love with her.  But there are moments when we are not thinking straight or when we are too emotionally attached and we question whether or not it is right to take a child from the only home they ever knew and bring them to an entirely new world - so different then anything they ever knew before.

Words can not really do justice to what we have experienced today.  Lexi is not only grieving the loss of her Foster Mom but she is absolutely scared to bits.  We are the first Caucasian family that she has ever seen.  She has never heard English or Swiss German before.  She has never endured so much activity in such a short span of days.  The list is endless.  And at our weakest moments, we have questioned whether or not it is fair to even put her through this agony.  But deep down we know it is okay - it will be okay - and we know that we can provide Lexi with something that she needs...a forever family.