Thursday, January 10, 2013

The middle

Elli awoke to her daddy's gentle whisper with the precious smile that we had come to love. We attempted an early morning bath and she thought it was heaven on earth as she sat in bubbles and felt the warm water rush over her still falling from the faucet. She stuck her head and face under the running water and rubbed the shampoo into her hair until there was only the white foam covering her head. She laughed and splashed for at least 20 minutes until it was time to get out and get dressed. We slathered lotion all over her tight dry skin and she helped. She thought this was all the most wonderful thing ever. 

She and Josh and Daddy went to breakfast leaving Kate and I (who really would prefer an American breakfast) behind to clean up and get ready. Elli had a glorious time with her favorite men and came home all smiles wanting to know exactly why Kate and I would stay behind. 

Michael's background in Chinese (learned 27 long years ago) has thankfully flooded back and we have been blessed beyond measure to have some, albeit slight, ability to communicate with the Chinese, including our daughter. Elli is as eager to teach her daddy words he doesn't remember as she is to learn the English words to replace her Chinese. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for all those adoptive parents with no ability to speak the language at all. 

We had a few more appointments that morning and then another fantastic lunch with Lydia. She honored our request to give us authentic China while here and has taken us to wonderful sights and eateries and we have trusted her to order our food and each time she has hit the bullseye. I have become a lover of authentic Chinese food and may never be able to eat in an American Chinese restaurant again.     

We then went to their equivalent of Walmart which is at least three stories high to shop for some snacks, some shoes for Elli (a trip to Stride Rite is in order when we get home ) and a bath toy. While there, as God would have it, we ran into our friends Erik and Nicki. Running into them at one of the many stores in Haikou at that day and time is like you running into a long lost friend in the middle of a crowded New York City street. It was remarkable and again, to my shock and almost utter embarrassment I about  jumped up and down like a giddy toddler. We had only ever met via Facebook so meeting in person was such a surprise. Because of our inability to get on Facebook i couldn't grab her phone number or leave her a message. I was slowly beginning to stress out about not being able to reach them. My precious Lord had no desire to let that continue and He made a way that only He could make. 

By 3:00 that afternoon we were on our way to the little Island off and island that is Haikou City. Nicki's apt. Is only blocks from Elli's orphanage. I would love to be able to go into great detail about the rest of our night. Suffice it to say that He refreshed and renewed my spirit and Elli got to see all the volunteers who so sacrificially visit every week to not only play with the children but give the staff a needed respite if only for a few hours. 

We experienced the slower pace of Haikou City and didn't arrive back to our room until almost 10pm. We had shared with our new friends and those back home of our realization that Elli's tears the night before were all about her not wanting to sleep away from her friends and her bed at the orphanage. We were sad to realize that but knew it was natural and all very much a necessary part of her grief. We asked for prayers and knew that many had gone up before we once again had to stare bedtime squarely in the face.

We were concerned that Elli, having just seen all those friends whom she knew only from the orphanage would once again cry herself to sleep. We were prepared to sing and hold and love her through it but first we chose to run a bath . Remembering how much she adored her bath that morning we decided that maybe we would start a new expanded routine. We had a snack and took a bath. She happily brushed her teeth after her slathering on of lotion and to my surprise dove headlong into her bed with a huge smile on her face. I rubbed her back and sang a few songs, prayed and then kissed her goodnight. She was fast asleep before I climbed into bed myself. 

That was an enormous answer to prayer. She has happily gone to bed for two nights in a row. Last night (wednesday) she didn't rush under the covers, instead she sat on my lap as I sang. With my arms wrapped around her tiny little body we swayed to each song then quietly prayed.    She confirmed that I too was headed for bed within her sight and closed her eyes. Once again to head off to dreamland before my body even made it to the mattress. 

Thursday morning we take one last journey to the place she called home from her first day of life. We were told she was 6 days old when she arrived there but it was most likely 6 hours. She was abandoned in a food market, her mother possibly giving birth to her in the bathroom there. She was left to be found by the police most likely because her mother didn't want a girl or was too young to raise this baby and would have had to had her tubes tied to keep her from getting pregnant again. She was most likely not married to her baby's father. 

We are not sure what Thursday will bring for any of us. It will surely be emotional for all of us. How that affects our progress as a family remains to be seen.  


  1. A few words from someone who once lived in Haikou...fear not about the driving...there are actually few accidents as people's vehicles are thier livelyhood so they aren't going to break them. The taxi drivers are going to do everything in thier power to keep thier car running otherwise they will have NO livelyhood. Living there for 1.5+ years, I acually rarely saw accidents. Being a North American and new to Haikou, I too was scared of the traffic until I realised that thier goal is to get from point A to point B as fast as they can and without any injury to the car, they are good at it.
    Enjoy the local food. I miss it. I miss going for lunch on third road at noon near the university and geting a big take out box of food for is the BEST food EVER! They have stands of food premade for the students and you can just point to what you want.
    Go to the market and get some fresh pineapple. The people will cut them up for you if you ask them to with hand signals. Pineapple in Haikou is YUMMY!!!
    Get someone to direct you to a dumpling restaurant. They call it jaodza (sp?). My absolute fav were the lamb and carrot...yum

  2. So so glad bathtime is working at night, so many prayers going up for you all, cant wait till you are all back & she is in her own bed with all of you!