Thursday, September 15, 2016

One Week Home

Many have asked how our newest little is doing and how we are all adjusting to our "new normal?"  What I can tell you is that my thoughts today went to how fast this one week home has flown by!  We were in China for two weeks and yet they seemed like forever....home one week today and I feel like we just arrived yesterday!
Backing up a bit....our flight home could not have been better.  We took a train to Hong Kong on Wednesday, slept one night in a hotel by the HK airport, and then departed the following morning for the USA.  The girls settled in well, ate well, and slept well.  We made it to Seattle and I immediately sought out some American-ish food....I say American-ish food because our friend, Veronica, asked me this summer just what was American food!  And that got me thinking....
We boarded our last flight to Atlanta after a brief layover and we were homeward bound.  Again, the girls did great and at touchdown we had a brand new American citizen.  Maryn got off of the plane and immediately asked, "So, where is our hotel?"  I was so happy to tell her that our hotel was at HOME.
We arrived on our street just before midnight and our driveway was packed with well-wishers who stayed up entirely too late to welcome us home.  Tears were shed as we made our way out of the car and introduced them all to Miss Chapman!  Our village certainly outdid themselves by giving so much of their time, cooking skills, carpooling coordinating, etc.!  They are all so amazing and we are indebted to them for life!
Around 2:00am, we made our way to begin to think about bedtime.  Ryan and I were exhausted yet it was at this time that I realized our girls, as sweet as they were on the flights, were not tired because they had rested the whole way home!  EEK!  On and off we slept for a few hours and then it was just time to get up for the day.  This pattern continued for a few nights but, I am so happy to report, we are all adjusted to the time now and sleeping peacefully at night.  HUGE praise!
We have agreed to make a conscience effort to keep Miss Chapman close to home for these first few weeks so as to not overwhelm her and to give her a chance to really know where home is.  Of course there have been a few instances that have interfered with this effort but for the most part, we have been successful in making this happen.
Chapman went to the pediatrician's office on Monday and had to suffer through the finger pricking process - she was less than happy about this process.  She got a great report!
Chapman has learned about ten words this week....we taught her "please" today.  Her delicate little voice is the sound of pure sweetness.  She smiles at just about anything and she charms everyone in her path.  All of her sweetness makes it hard to imagine that she has a bit of spunk sprinkled on top for an added flavor of personality.  When she gets mad, she is mad....and LOUD.  Thankfully, this is not her behavior 99% of the time so, for that, we are thankful!
We have been trying to get her to eat a variety of foods.  She is the most finicky little thing and she inspects every bite before it is allowed in her mouth.  We have been able to add a few new veggies and a few new fruits to her diet but she is still refusing most anything to drink.  Milk is a huge no-no! Chocolate milk is out too!  We have tried several things but, for now, she is living on 75% water mixed with 25% apple juice.  It is the drink of choice and we are sticking with it!
She loves to play.  She loves to go and take out anything that has contents - drawers are being rearranged, cabinets now have new items located in them, toys are strewn about our home - she is what I like to call the "wrecking ball!"  She is hilarious and will have your room turned upside down in a matter of seconds and it will all be done with a very satisfied little irresistible grin on her face.
She is timid around water.
She is getting used to our dog, Finley.  She likes him so much from a distance.
Napping is not something she wants to admit she may need occasionally.  She is in a state of denial and so we will be working on this in the weeks to come!  She does sleep all night and wakes up in the best of moods.
The children all adore her.  The bigs have done a great job loving on her but making sure to love on Maryn too!  Maryn loves being the big sister most of the time but will always be our baby in so many ways.
Integrating another little one in our home has proven to be good!  We were already juggling the schedules of five so number six is along for the ride!  She seems to like her carseat and when she gets bored, she pops her thumb into her mouth and goes to sleep.
We are still early in the game, still on Cloud 9, so though it all is falling into place today, it could change at any moment.  We are definitely still learning her and she is taking it all in.  My theory is that it takes a year.....a year to feel totally normal again, a year to really feel like you know your child and the reactions they are going to have to given situations.  She has a lot to endure in the days to come with doctor visits and a likely surgery so we will buckle up for the ride.  For now, I am thankful that we have our girl home safe and sound and our family is all under one roof!  My favorite part of this first week home has been kissing my babies goodnight every night.  There is nothing sweeter!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Our trip to the orphanage was a long, long day but oh so worth every moment we spent there.  Truthfully, seeing Chapman's face and whole demeanor totally change when she saw her foster mother was worth the entire trip.  
 Chapman had no response to the orphanage workers who brought her to the civil affairs office on Gotcha Day nor did she react when she saw the same two people the following day to finish up paperwork.  I needed her to have a response.  I needed to see that she had a connection or a bond with her caregivers.
 Her face lit up the room!  And Chapman kept her cheek right up against her foster mother's cheek while we were with her.  I asked if they were telling her to give her a kiss and they said yes, a cheek to cheek kiss.
 Chapman caused quite a fuss around the orphanage office.  She was quite the star of the show!  
 Chapman was all smiles and when I asked if she was always this sweet, they all responded, "YES!"
 After visiting with Chapman's foster mother, we were asked to tour the upstairs part of the orphanage.  Maryn quickly took her shoes off to play for a bit on their indoor playground.
 The walls were very bright and happy....
 and the bath room looked a bit interesting.
 The children all seemed happy and were thrilled to see us as we walked through.
 The drive to the orphanage took a total of four hours one way.  So we were in the van for eight hours in one day :/
 As a last resort kind of thing, I purchased make-up for Miss Maryn to keep herself occupied with during our trip.  It was a huge hit!  I had to laugh when she walked into the hotel lobby, 10pm, and the staff looked at her as if she had three heads!  Hilarious.

Shamian Island

For MK and Maddox's adoption, we stayed on Shamian Island with other adoptive families.  Now families stay off of the island closer to the US Consulate and the Medical Affairs building.  
 But one can't adopt from China and not go to the island for the day.  The island is a taste of home.  Absolutely beautiful!  It is quaint, the pollution seems so much less, it is green, you can walk freely as the traffic is not the same....
One of our favorite sites to see are the models who are being photographed for bridal magazines I assume....our first trip we thought they were all brides/grooms prepping for their big day!  Ha. Now we know, they are just models and probably don't even know one another.
 Parks....and the locals hanging out....
 and mini ping pong games....
 and Lucy's.....we didn't eat there this time but I am sure it won't disappoint those who are craving western food.
 The island provides a great opportunity to get a few photos too!
 This smile is one of my seven favorite smiles!
 Maryn was all about purchasing a fan while in China.  She fell asleep as we toured the island but when she awoke, she was all smiles and asking for her fan.  We quickly made our way to a store and she immediately chose this fan and made her buy!
 A girl and her thumb.
 Maryn wasn't too much about being photographed....she was more into being silly and playing with her fan!
 And this sweet girl.
She enjoyed her freedom to walk a bit on this day and we watched her in awe with every step!