We finally had a day that did not require an early start! Praise God! The events of yesterday were so exhausting, we definitely needed this day of rest. I had finished my blog post at about midnight, so sleeping in until 7:30am gave me at least an extra hour and a half of sleep that I have not been getting normally. It was such a joy to wake up and see John already interacting with Mia in her crib! He got her formula sippy cup ready, but she wouldn’t drink it in her bed, so she got into bed with me and drank her warm cup. I am reminded daily of how blessed we are by her. I feel like I use the same adjectives on a regular basis, but there are just not enough words describe my heart. I am living a dream come true!
After getting ready and gathering laundry up, we headed down to a later breakfast in the hotel. It is nice having the variety of foods, both Chinese and things we are used to. The yogurt is fantastic. It sounds very strange, but I have enjoyed eating vegetables at breakfast, sometimes even salad. I think my body realizes that it is missing some nutrients. Having Shakeology daily has been a huge plus! So many fried foods and things cooked in sauces here. Lots and lots of carbs. I will be amazed if we don’t gain ten pounds by the time we get home. Since we have been in large cities, we have gotten lots of walking in, but honestly we have not been able to exercise as of yet. This part is VERY difficult for me. It was fine for the first week, since I was resting after a full marathon, but now I need to move!
We found out that the Starbucks on the corner of the block does not open until 9:00 AM.
That was very disappointing when we thought we could grab some coffee to go before our big trip yesterday. We made sure to get some today. This was our first Starbucks in Zhengzhou. Then, we took our princess back to the mall. Daddy wanted to get her more “cute Chinese clothes.” We were also looking for some dressier shoes for the Consulate Day. While we were on our way, Mia told us in her own little way that she had to go potty. We just kind of looked at each other and figured we better try to find one. Maybe Burger King? The bathroom was up a flight of stairs. Squatty potty. Ok. We can do this. Apparently this is no big deal to her. I helped her squat and the pee went in the porcelain hole and nothing on her clothes. She is a pro!
Lots of walking at the mall. More ladies excited to see her in every store. Everyone talked about how pretty she is and her big eyes. She would quietly wave hello and goodbye. Some shops had people who spoke broken English, others not so much. Everyone loved to see her, though. Several asked where we were from and if she was our daughter. Lots of smiles. Daddy was more than happy to pick out all the frilly fluffy beautiful dresses for her, and I was leaning more towards everyday things. We each found a dress we liked for her: I picked the peach one and he picked the grey one with pockets. She LOVES pockets. We also FINALLY found a pair of plain white leggings in her size! This will work perfectly with both dresses and her Consulate dress! We also bought her first pair of dress shoes. I wish I could have captured the look on her face when she first put these on! So pretty!
There is something extremely special about spoiling your daughter. The thing is, I hardly bought any clothes for her beforehand because I had no idea what size she would really be in. She has been fitting into mostly 2T clothes and the 3T footie pajamas work, but they are big. She came to us with nothing. The clothes she was wearing, a pair of broken shoes on her feet, and two little candy containers in her pockets. That is it. To be able to take her to a mall and buy her a few new things is just an awesome feeling. I think she is getting the hang of it and I may have a new shopping girlfriend!
We stopped at Walmart on the way back to quickly pick up more of her favorite candies and a few other odds and ends. She loves the Chinese-English picture board books, so I got a couple more. It really helps us work on language and identifying objects. The thing about adopting a child is that you really need to meet them where they are. We have had times where we needed to say “no” to her (like about eating food off of the floor or spitting), but otherwise, these simple things help to build our trust. She is learning that Mama and Baba will meet her needs. Obviously, we will not be showering her with everything she wants for the rest of her life, but in these first few days or maybe weeks, we need to prove that she is safe, loved, and cared for in every way. If that means more mint candies, so be it!
On the way back to the hotel, I carried her in the Tula carrier and took some pictures of Zhengzhou city. The traffic is very busy and pedestrians have zero right of way. You REALLY need to be careful. The lines on the roads are merely suggestions, or so it seems. Cars zig-zag around each other all the time. If that wasn’t bad enough, motorized scooters are EVERYWHERE and they also do not stop for anyone else. Yesterday, we witnessed a couple kids peeing on the sidewalk! They just take down their pants and squat right there. One of them had a grandmother nearby keeping an eye on him. It is just CRAZY! We also saw a toddler with split pants at the mall and no diaper. Just little cheeks peeking out when he walked!
When we got back to the hotel, Mia was very tired and we snuggled on the bed and watched a little bit of “Tangled.” Sometimes it takes her a few minutes to calm down, but when she is sleepy, it only takes a minute to fall into a deep sleep. I thought I would join her, but ended up working during her nap. I am trying to keep up with some things from here, but it has been difficult. I am so grateful for my awesome team who is keeping things going in my absence.
After nap, there was a meeting on our floor about tomorrow’s plans and some other things. I thought we would get our laundry done outside the hotel for fairly cheap, but I quickly learned otherwise. This was one thing we were planning to do to make our time less stressful. However, it was going to be MUCH higher than we were told by other families, so that changed our plans. We decided to send out jeans and sweatshirts and that’s it. I dumped the rest of the laundry in our big tub and busted out the laundry soap. Washing clothes in our room was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I was definitely willing to pay to have this done for us, but not at a few dollars per item. John was less than thrilled with this situation, to say the least. I think we were disappointed because we had asked other families prior to our trip and they made it seem like the outside laundry service was much cheaper than it really is. So, we spent quite a bit of time washing, rinsing, and wringing out all of our clothes today. Finding enough places to dry them has been a challenge. We are really hoping they will dry by the time we have to leave on Saturday to head to Guangzhou.
Tonight, we had the pleasure of joining the other families in our group to go to the dim sum restaurant. It was a little bit of a walk, so it was nice to talk to everyone and see how all the kiddos are adjusting. Our week has been broken up depending on which orphanage and passport visits are which days, and other times families are resting in their own rooms. I think our group has really had a great bond with one another. We all get along really well and help each other with different things that come up. God has blessed us for sure! Our food was really good, but again, ordering is always interesting. I definitely asked for water in Chinese and I was brought out tea. Mia only drinks hot water and formula (although in a pinch, room temp water is ok), so she didn’t drink the tea. I thought I was ordering her yogurt and mango, but when it came out, it was more like a custard, so I’m pretty sure I gave her dessert for dinner. #MomFail. She did eat fried rice and some soup. John had sweet and sour pork (my favorite), and I had some dumplings and dim sum specialty something. Honestly, we order from picture menus and I take a guess! Usually I really like about 80% of what we are given, so that’s a win.
We were the first family to leave the restaurant, but when she gets full and bored, Mia tends to start playing with the food, water, etc and making a mess. It was time to go back and video chat with our family. It was SO great to see Owen and Camden and Patty tonight! Our Owen completed his belt test yesterday and we missed it. He is now a purple belt in karate and we are so proud! I hate that I missed this special day, so seeing his face made me feel a little better. I am so glad that Patty and the other moms took pictures of my big boy. Video chatting is getting very hard. I miss our boys so very much and seeing their sweet faces makes it worse. I just want to be there to hug and kiss them! Thank you to everyone who has helped to send us pictures of what we are missing. A little bit later we were also able to video chat our siblings and nephews again. Mia was getting tired, so she sang her Chinese “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for them again. She loves saying “hello” and finally learned how to blow kisses today!
Today has been a good day. Much needed to stay around the hotel and not go anywhere far. Tomorrow we will have another adventure and learn more about Chinese culture. We will be going to the birthplace of martial arts! I am very excited to see this, especially so we can share what we learn with our karate kids! Thank you all for your continued prayers. We are so happy and so blessed. God is good!