Friday, August 1, 2014

part two

Darn blogger.  Having the hardest time loading photos.  So just text today.

I have tried to post about our day visiting the LWB Healing Homes, Mei Li's home orphanage, and our lunch with her foster family, but the photos won't load I'm having all kinds of difficulty, so I will keep trying.

In the meantime, we finally made it to Guangzhou!!!  After boarding our plane, they closed the doors and we sat at the gate for two and a half hours.  Can you say DELAY???  The kids were great, but poor Mei Li was so excited to fly up in the air to Guangzhou and she must have been wondering what the heck was going on.

When we landed she started yelling at the top of her lungs, "MAMA!!!!  GUANGZHOU!!!!"  "BABA!!!!! GUANGZHOU!!!!!"  The people around us were chuckling and we took such delight in watching her enjoy her first plane ride.

I need to go to sleep because we have a full day tomorrow but I wanted to give a quick update on how Mei Li is doing.

She has made great progress in four days.  We discovered that she was used to drinking Coke at every meal, eating lots of chocolate treats, and even acted surprised when we didn't hand her her own coffee at Starbucks.  After all the caffeine left her system and she realized the horrible reality that Sweeney kids don't drink soda, she turned into a different child.  She was less jumpy and aggressive and seemed calmer overall.

Her foster parents sure loved her.  I would always rather a child without a forever family be indulged over neglected, but she will definitely have some adjusting to do in regards to her diet.

Secondly, she is a little-miss-bossy-pants.  She likes to tell us all what to do and we call her "in octopus mode" when she wants something like a iPad or a television remote.  Her determination to get her hands on these things is unbelievable.  We have come a long way in just a few days helping her "look at Mama/Baba's eyes" and reinforcing that "Mama/Baba is in charge."  She has realized that saying please and thank you get her much more of what she wants.

And that's a start.

She had some behavior yesterday that required us to put her in a "time in" in the chair in our hotel room so that she could get some control over her octopus arms and demanding behavior.  This was a totally foreign concept to her and she did NOT like it one bit.  She got out of the chair about 58 times and I just kept putting her back on it (she is really heavy) until finally she realized that the only way off the chair was Mama's way.  I stayed close by and didn't draw it out too long, but she is starting to get the hang of things.

I don't mean to make it sound all bad.  She is funny and affectionate and seems to have been well prepared for her adoption journey.  She knows we are staying several days in Guangzhou before we go to America where she can finally meet her "Mei Mei" (little sister).  I'm glad we have two weeks left of summer vacation and then dive right into school.  She is SO smart - both of our guides have mentioned that she is way smarter than other six year olds.  She seems to have a photographic memory.  Tonight she told us that she is going to study hard and then go to Beijing University (China's Harvard) so that she can get a good job.

Alrighty then.

Not to sound arrogant at all, but I think a lot about her disrupted adoption last year.  From what I know about the family, they did not have experience parenting a child her age.  Kenyon and I both agree that if we had not already parented a variety of six year olds, we would definitely be in over our heads.  She has a very strong personality, but we see great potential and are enjoying the bright ray of sunshine that she will bring to our family.

As we get to know her more, we know it will only get better.  This morning after she woke up, she immediately hopped into bed between the two of us for an unexpected little snuggle.  She loves to be tickled.  I think the structure of school will be great for her.  I don't know when her grief will hit her, but I know it hasn't fully registered with her yet.  She still thinks this is a big fat vacation (except for the no Coke part) and I'm under no illusions. This will get harder before it gets easier.

That's all I have for tonight.  Oh, except our guide here said the visa situation is all resolved so expects us to have no problems and leave on Thursday.

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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