Friday, January 18, 2013

Melissa's Orphanage and a Major Breakthrough!!

This morning I was thinking about Mia and wondering what we could do to help her adjust to her new family. I felt that if she did not make progress and we headed home she would get lost in our little crowd and bonding would be more difficult because she could continue to hide amongst the other children. I wondered if we should continue allowing her to go at her own pace or should we be more firm and insist that she hold our hands, sit next to us, answer us, etc. But the flip side is- she is making progress, she seems to be happy, everything is slowly moving in the right direction. I figured at this point we would continue to take her cues and respond accordingly.

Mia has a gentle spirit, a sweetness but a stubborn side too. She is resourceful and resilient. 10 years in tough living conditions has made her a survivor.

Today we finalized Melissa's adoption. They asked us how many children we had and we hesitated! We forgot! We went back and forth on the number! Thank goodness everyone laughed! As we are in process adding to the family and with every two days we have another child- we got confused!!

In the early afternoon we took a walk to the park just to get some exercise and fresh air!

The children love playing at the park!
YES, even Mark!

Mia and Melissa can already swing!! 
So often the children have no idea how to pump on the swing.

 Then they took a train ride- simple pleasures and new experiences!!

 I love his spirit! He is just a fun guy!

Later in the afternoon we visited Melissa's orphanage- Nanning SWI. We did not go inside but saw the outside and talked to the nanny that cared for her. We visited at length with the director and walked the grounds. Melissa was actually in a large foster care facility not connected to the orphanage.

The white building behind the entry way is where Melissa stayed for awhile.

Many of the children are in foster care. 
This is the baby building and where the children who have cp live.

 This is where the children diagnosed with CP or other neurological diagnosis get therapy- OT, PT and acupuncture.

They also brought us the photo album that we had sent Melissa! We were thrilled to get it! Right away we showed it to Mia- she LOVED seeing it!! It would have helped her so much if only she had gotten it before meeting us. At least we have it now and they can continue to look through it while we are in China!

It was so wonderful visiting with Melissa's Nanny- our girl was well cared for and loved! She had better living conditions and more opportunities than Mia. Melissa has fewer orphanage behaviors- she walks lightly on her feet, she has better table manors and chews quietly. All things that Mia will learn in time.

We also found out some incredibly awesome news-  our two youngest girls already know each other! Isn't that cool!! They went to camp together last summer!! Melissa recognized Madeline right away in her photo album!! Hopefully this will help Madeline on gotcha day and throughout her adjustment!

We also went to Melissa's finding spot - in front of a hotel. The traffic was terrible so we just took pics from the car.

Now... onto the breakthrough! Throughout the whole afternoon the three girls had a blast together! We heard Mia's voice a lot- she chattered away, mimicked English words, laughed and played!
Then Sarah started to remember her Chinese and they were all talking together! All the girls were nonstop smiles and giggles! It was wonderful to see and hear!!

It made me feel like we should stay the course with Mia and not push her. The progress in just one day has been amazing! She also lets Mark lift her up and toss her on the bed. So we at least know in time she will be comfortable enough to hold hands and someday give a hug!

My guess is that in the future we will have to add in more guidelines for her to follow.

She has been covering her face a lot for pics and we have asked our guide to talk to her about it. Once home these pics are going to mean the world to her- she will not want every one of them to be of her covering her face. After they spoke to her she is getting a little better about it.

Mia loves shrimp!! She at over 1 lbs of shrimp at dinner! 


 The next morning we left for GZ - we are here now and getting settled! 
The Garden Hotel is wonderful!
We had an afternoon Starbucks and we are happy campers!!

 Madeline's Gotcha day is on Monday Jan. 21st!


Sherri said...

All I can say is wow! They look like they are so loving their new family. And I am loving your updates. So how many children do you have? (insert smile):

Rebecca said...

So glad things are going smoothly... My gut would be to keep encouraging her to bond without pushing her past what seems natural or comfortable for her. It may just take a bit longer for her. Keep in mind that its just been a few short days and you have the rest of your life to get to know each other and set boundaries. It's got to be so hard on these precious ones. I still get choked up for my girls and what they had to do... Leaving behind their places of familiarity to come with us and be happy about it. It is a sacrifice on their part and one that I can't imagine going through... I know you know all of this...
Say hi to Miko and Rebecca for us!!!
Prayers for you all...

Ann said...

I think you are wise in letting Mia go at her own pace with bonding. We adopted our girls from China at ages 10 and 8. They now talk about how terrifying it was to meet us. Our older dd had only seen one caucasian person in her whole life and our younger dd had NEVER seen a caucasian person. She thought I was a witch because of my blond hair!!! On top of that, their foster parents did not express physical affection (common culturally), so the idea of hugging and holding hands was new and scary. Glad to see your updates! Missing China!

Angie said...

Awesome update, Jean, and things appear to be going smoothly and working out well for all. Praying for you!

Erin Schmidt said...

Yeah for break throughs! I'm sure that does your Mommy heart good :) We will continue to life you all up in prayer, and trust that the next few days in one place will help the bonding process. Looking forward to seeing Madeline in your arms, and will pray for her heart to be open to you.

Sarah said...

Oh, your girls are just beautiful...yay for breakthroughs!!!

Julie said...

Wow - the girls are so beautiful and doing so well. I think you are doing definitely have experience with all this! Praying for a sweet stay together. Excited for gotcha day number 3. We will be staying in The Garden in another 2 months - happy to hear you love it!

Eileen said...

What beautiful girls! It sounds like you're all doing great. To see so much progress in Mia in such a short time, speaks volumes about the future.

Good luck with the rest of your journey!

julie said...

Reading your updates is so making me want to adopt again!!! I'm so glad things are going better with Mia. Melissa looks like one happy little girl....I love the pic of her on Baba's back! THe GArden Hotel is amazing, we loved it.

Vicky said...

I can so relate to what you have shared regarding Mia. Kendall had to be taught most everything! Rules were hard for her in China, they are better since coming to the US. The difference is amazing!

I just love seeing all the girls together and what a blessing to have big brother Mark there too! What a good sport to ride the train with them!

Loved The Garden, and Starbucks. The Mexican place down from Starbucks was good too!

Sara said...

Wow!! Amazing!! Everything about your trip :) thanks for posting updates.

***I see JANE.... your guide, she was our guide too!!!! Awwww, I miss her. We have so many wonderful memories.

Glad you got Starbucks in GZ :) we went there daily.

You sure do have a wonderful family.

Annie said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! Oh Jean, they are just AWESOME and what a blessing that 2 of them already know each other! How cool! I will keep you all in my prayers as you add sweet #3!!!

Laura L. said...

Congratulations on another beautiful addition to the family! Wishing blessings, health and for everything to work seamlessly. Love and hugs.

Karin said... awe of God at work! So cool!! That is so amazing that Melissa already knows her little sister! Can't wait for her gotcha day! So fun enjoying this through your blog!