On Thursday we spent the morning at downtown at a festival where local artists showcased their embroidery, sculptures, and porcelain. We were led around by two of the students at the local university. These girls are going to school so that they can become embroiderers.
As we walked through the festival, I had wondered which was really on display, the art, or Reagan, Marla, and me? Again we were stopped quite frequently so everyone could have a look at the beautiful face buried in the baby carrier. We needed our guide Susan to translate so we could talk with them. One of the older women gave me a “thumbs up” after seeing Reagan. I am told that is like “Thank You” She was very sweet.
We saw some really outstanding things as we walked past all the different booths and even got to see how some of the things were made. At the end of our visit, both Marla and I bought a piece of embroidery. It is what the Hunan province is known for, so I wanted a small piece to take home and put away for Reagan.
This morning we had to go to the government office so I could proof read all the paperwork before they issued us the final adoption certificate and issue us Reagan’s visa. I was not expecting to get so emotional but as I stared down at the page and read what was written, I was envisioning our trip to Chenzhou…..her city, her finding place, and her birthmother who had to leave her. I have spent a majority of this week wavering between happy and sad. Happy that we have been matched with such a special little girl……….. but so very sad for the circumstances that brought her to us.
After we left the office, we went to Martyrs Park. It is a GIGANTIC PARK and in some ways, it kind of reminds me of Central Park in New York City. People gathered to sing, dance, and play cards. There were lots of young children there on a school trip. They were so adorable and caught our attention as soon as we walked through the gates.
Marla and I went a little hog wild with the cameras today, it was hard to stop because everywhere we looked there was something so interesting. The people really intrigue me…… it is such a different way of life here in China. The first day as we drove down a city street, I saw a man squatting on the sidewalk holding a mug and brushing his teeth. I would bet that is part of his daily routine and is probably a common occurrence. I really can’t help myself and when I see something like this, I want to photograph it. I am not sure when I will ever make it back to China again, and I want to remember every detail and capture every moment that I possibly can so that Reagan might feel as though she has a little bit of her history…….her past and what life might have been like for her in China.
I have taken pretty many photos the last few days and just quickly skimmed through to pick out my favorites. i Have not had a lot of time to sit and edit them in the way I would normally, but wanted to share them so you can see what we are experiencing.
It was a very cool day and extremely overcast. It really has been hazy ever since we have arrived. The sun peaks out every once in a while and then it disappears. Even though the weather has not been the best, it was great to be outdoors today. I think all three of us are going a little stir crazy in the hotel. We have had very busy mornings, but nothing to do in the afternoon or evenings.
After the park we went to “the friendship store” which is a big department store in Changsha. We spied a cute little restaurant and asked our guide if we could eat there. She had to get back to the Civil Affairs Office to finish our paperwork, but she was able to translate the menu and place our order for us before she left. Reagan, Marla, and I enjoyed a nice lunch and then we walked back to the hotel.
Once we got back, Reagan took her afternoon nap and Marla and I worked on downloading our photos.
Susan arrived back at the hotel close to 5pm to give me all of Reagan’s paperwork and certificates we need to take to Guangzhou to finish the adoption process. After we finished the paperwork we went out on the town for dinner. We had a wonderful meal and then decided to walk up the street to the little store and buy some wine to bring back to our room. As we walked up the street, Reagan was peering out of her little carrier in a way I had never seen before. Usually she snuggles up to me and will occasionally glance around, but not tonight. She was holding her head up high and looking around in all directions. Suddenly I realized that this was her first time being outside on the city streets at night. She had never experienced the bright lights and the loud sounds. Lots of firsts going on for this little girl this week……..and this mama too!
Unfortunately, we have not had a lot of opportunities to take pictures of Reagan out and about. When we are on the town, I keep her in the carrier. It is the easiest way for me to hold her and she really seems to like it.
When we get back to the room, she wants to be held and I am doing my best to do just that. Right now I think that is what she needs. She needs to feel secure and I am sure she is testing the waters to see how I am going to respond to her.
I was able to get just a few of her yesterday as she was eating her puffs on the bed. Another thing that she has decided she likes to eat!
I am really enjoying China, but the first few days have not been very easy. After 5 days with Reagan, I can clearly look back and see that Reagan really had no clue what was going on Monday when she was handed to me. Tuesday, she was downright MAD. She pulled away from me every time I held her and did an awful lot of crying that day. It broke my heart to watch her, but at the same time I was feeling so sad and sorry for myself. I wanted her to look up at me and instead she turned away or cried when I talked to her or when she saw my face. When I finally got her to bed that night, I sat here and cried to Marla and prayed that Wednesday would be a better day…….and it was.
Things are progressing gradually. We are taking little baby steps. Each day she gets a little more trusting of me. Today, she looked up at me and did not wince or pull away. She even let me kiss her face. Tonight when I fed her a bedtime bottle, she reached up and touched my face and looked me straight in the eye. She is slowly but surely coming out of her shell and getting used to her mama. I need to give her time to adjust. I know she is suffering the loss of the life that she knew and has now left behind. She does not understand that in the end this will all be for the better. It is so very difficult to watch her work through this. I have known for almost 5 years that this often happens when children are adopted after they have spent the majority of their lives in an orphanage. I thought I was prepared for it, but I was not..... I don't think anything could have prepared me.
I must go to bed, but hope to update more tomorrow.