Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treating in China !!!

Today was my favorite holiday, Halloween. I miss my kids and all our traditions at home today and I'm hoping they all have a very happy day and take lots of pictures!!! Halloween Apples!!!!!!!!!!! The biggest treat for the day was when we went to the US Consulate and got to take the oath on behalf of all the adopted kids to become US citizens! The oath just basically says that all the paper work we've done is all correct to the best of our ability and that we are ready to be American citizens. It was pretty anti-climactic and I expected a little bigger of a deal, especially with all the paperwork I've done to get to this final point, the folder they went through and checked is just huge, but even though it wasn't as big of a deal as I thought, it was still exciting. I am excited that she will be an American citizen with so many freedoms and a good life with so many opportunities. I hope to be able to teach her about her Chinese heritage and to be proud of it, but also to be able to teach her to be very thankful for her American and Canadian heritage. Hopefully she won't be too confused!!!!! What a lucky girl!!!!!!! We also took group pictures in the babies Chinese outfits, poor Eisley has gotten to the point of not wanting her picture taken at all, and turns her head immediately when she sees a camera, I guess she'll have to get used to it, because she's so cute, I'll want to document all her little milestones for years to come!!! Of course no Halloween would be complete without TRICK OR TREATING!!! We went around to all the people in our group's doors and everyone passed out treats! I tried to fashion some sort of jack-o-lantern out of a newspaper and put a black garbage bag on my head for a witches hat Some of the kids dressed up and some didn't, a little family of Chinese kids came and joined us and they seemed to think it was a great idea! Our guide, Kathy, had a great time with it too and went trick or treating with us and was like a little kid! It was so cute! We went down to the lobby and lots of people were laughing and enjoying the kids. At the buffet for dinner there were cool, very unique jack-o-lanterns and cute eye ball cookies and ghost covered carrot cakes, I had creamy pumpkin soup for dinner too, so I guess there was some Halloween celebration!!!!!! Little does Eisley realize the craziness that is Halloween at home, I'm glad we spent her first one in China with a lot of fun people and in a fun place! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tender Mercies

We were able to go to church today here in Communist China. I was so happy to get the information for where church was from my cousin Stephen (yet another tender mercy that just fell into place!) and it was actually really easy to get there! When we asked our guide to help us she asked what church it was, we told her it was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and she said; the Mormon's?????? And then she shook my shoulders and kind of shook me and said over and over "no Mormon's here, no Mormon's" it was kind of funny, because I just kept saying, "it's ok, it's ok, just call this number and they'll explain it to you!" Finally, she called the Branch President and he talked to her and explained everything, then he asked to talk to me and the first thing he said was "you can't bring her with you if she's a Chinese National" and he said it could be really bad for the church if we attempted that. I told him we wouldn't and that we'd come by ourselves and then he was happy to give directions and tell her where to send us. I knew the government had very strict rules concerning religion, but I don't think I realized how secret it actually is until we went to the building where the branch meets. It is on the seventh floor of an apartment building in two suites. The hall was very very dark and until we could hear music coming from a door that was closed, we had no idea where it was. When we heard the hymn "Guide Us Oh Thou Great Jehovah" we all felt so happy and at peace. We walked in and sat down on some lawn chairs that were set up with a makeshift podium at the front and two deacons and two priests sitting at a small table for the sacrament. I know the talks were important, I heard what they were about, being disciples of Christ, Faith and Staking your life on the principles of the Gospel, but honestly, I was just so happy to know that the church is the same wherever you go. The Spirit was strong in that little high rise meeting house, a sweet family of 7 sang a beautiful primary song that made me cry. It made me feel at home, it made me feel at peace and most of all it helped me to realize once again that Heavenly Father has guided me through every single process of this journey. In one of the blessings Jon gave me before coming on this trip, he said I needed to find the song that would speak peace to me, that I could listen to and it would bring me comfort and would help me when things were overwhelming and hard. I have been very stressed about so many things these last few months, I have prayed harder than I have in a very long time about more than just this adoption, I have struggled to let go of things, to make sense of some things and to go on even when things were really tough and unknown for me. I thought I knew what song it was, but about a month before this trip I found another one that has been a great comfort to me and i will never ever hear it again without it reminding me that the Lord is always with us, even when we're afraid, unsure, sad or overwhelmed. The closing hymn just "happened" to be this song today at church. It was another "tender mercy" from Heavenly Father to me. I know His guiding hand is over us, I know He has a plan for me and for all of His children wherever they may be, whether it's in small town Utah, or Communist China, He knows it all and He is aware of our every need. I felt Him with me today, even for things as little as a special song being sung, or us being able to get three taxis without speaking a word of Chinese, without any problems at all, or clean laundry being washed and folded and smelling good in neat little bags waiting for us when we got back to the hotel, or us eating lots of strange food and not getting sick at all, or my children and husband happy and healthy at home, or a group of travel companions who are good people who help me to want to be a better person, amazing family members with me here in China and supporting me at home, and a sweet baby girl who already recognizes me as her mom, who was well taken care of in her previous home, who is tiny but healthy and happy. My life is full of tender mercies and I am so grateful.

Medical Exam and Shopping!

Today Eisley had her medical exam that will allow her to come into the United States. When we arrived, it brought back very unhappy, unpleasant memories of my childhood of cold, antiseptic offices with lots of people in masks and white coats. Lots of crying children, alcohol scented rooms and yucky little exam cubicles, I really couldn't get out of there fast enough! The Dr or practitioner or whatever he was looked her over and checked her ears, throat, nose, heart etc. It was a quick but relatively painless exam but she hated it! I am sure she has been through numerous medical check ups and wasn't at all happy about having more of them! He said she seemed a little undernourished and was definitely small, only about 16 lbs. But other than that and her obvious cleft lip and palate, she seems very healthy! YAY!
We did a little shopping on Shamian Island at a place called Jordan's. The guy who runs it was so so cute, and obviously deals with lots of Americans and adopting families, he was very helpful in getting us a taxi, and wrapping all our stuff in the huge big suitcase we bought for all the things we want to bring back. We ate at a little American diner called Lucy's, which even had American Apple Pie, it tasted really good!
Right there on this Island is a beautiful garden called the Friendship Garden. it has lots of bronze statues and beautiful trees and flowers everywhere. It even has a little exercise park with a track and parallel bars and lots of outside exercise equipment. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking around. There also was a big Catholic church in the gardens, which was odd because we haven't seen any churches at al. The area was actually kind of settled by the British, so the buildings and the church all look like a street in England, it was really nice.
Tonight they are having a Halloween party in our hotel and they have it all decorated downstairs in the lobby. When you first walk in the doors, there is a big huge table where there is usually a nice flower centerpiece, well tonight they had a large jar filled with live eels, another jar filled with big black beetles (hundreds of them) and two big bowls full of big black frogs. I thought it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! It made me miss my Halloween stuff and my party I would normally be having tonight! We will do a little trick or treating in the hotel with our group though, and she will be dressed up, after all, she is my daughter, and I will teach her the importance of having a blast on Halloween!!!!
It's been a great day for Eisley. She is really coming out of her shell, and acting like a teeny tiny perfectly normal 18 month old, she has a little attitude, she is stubborn, she knows what she wants and will fuss until she gets it! She likes to walk, not be in a stroller, and she likes to be held the second she wants it, and throws a fit if everything is not on her terms. She likes to sing, but doesn't talk, and mostly hums little tunes, it is so cute! She sticks her tongue out and points to you if she's happy or recognizes you. It's amazing how in such a short time she has me and her aunties literally wrapped around her little finger, she's a little monkey, and a very very sweet one!!!!!