We returned home last Friday night, and still, there is at least one person up at all times in this house. And, if that one person is a child, I feel the need to be awake for the child's safety.
This week Derek began his new position working second-shift, but his third-shift relief does not always show up. So, Derek unexpectedly ends up working a double-shift, coming home at 7:30 a.m.
When he leaves the house at 2:15 p.m. (to do it all again), I put Daniel down for a nap, and I lie down on the couch to sleep. Each day at around 2:15 p.m., my body feels like it's 2:15 a.m., and I can't stay awake. Thankfully, we are off school for the week, and Cherish is a great big-sister-babysitter!!!!!! (Hallelujah for Cherish!!!!!)
When I really cannot lie on the couch any longer--because Daniel is crying to get up, I drag myself off the couch. Thus, the evening begins: supper, clean-up, baths, etc.
Sometimes I feel I just won't make it. And then I remind myself that:
1. It's temporary! Everyone will eventually sleep through the night.
2. Be patient with your children as you want them to be patient with you. They are living on fumes at times, too.
3. If you've spent time with your family, made food, cleaned it up, done the laundry, kept the children safe, clean, and dry, it's.good.enough! Your relatives and friends should understand that the house and lawn are just not priority right now.
And, as I'm trying to give myself a pep talk and praying for help, a blessing comes my way.
Starting two nights ago, I was on the ground playing with Daniel in the middle of the night. We were the only two awake. Daniel leaned toward me, and then brushed his face against mine. He paused for a moment and then got closer. He brushed his face against mine again. Several times. It was SO SWEET!
Since then, he has been putting his hands up for me to pick him up. I lift him up, and he puts his ear to my mouth, and then gently brushed his entire face across my lips. From ear to ear and then back again. He goes even slower when his lips brush across mine.
It feels like time stands still. I look down at him as he is slowly brushing his face across my face, and I wonder at the miracle that has occurred. Three weeks ago, this child didn't even know me. Then, he rejected me. Then, on the airplane ride home, I'd walk him and try to soothe the pain in his ears by blowing hot air into his ears. I could tell he loved it, but I had no idea how it would help bond us together.
Now, he wants me! He comes to me! He pauses all activity to be near me! His eyes close as he soaks in the smoothness of skin to skin facial contact.
And all is right with the world again. And I can move on to the next task--with my heart full of love and my mind full of wonder.
I feel like my children are detoxifying their minds when I sit with them and let them talk. This morning while everyone else was sleeping, Hope and I sat for about forty-five minutes coloring. She chatted away. It was a great opportunity to listen to her and then to speak into her life.
Sometimes it's hard for me to just sit and play Barbies or trains...but it's an important way the children know they are loved.
Derek’s job was abolished yesterday at the end of his first day back to
work after returning home from China. Therefore, Derek and I worked on his
resume today and he applied for a new position within his same company. In the meantime, we are so thankful he has work he can fall back on in the union (all within the same company). We know God’s sovereign hand is over
Derek, his work, and our family.
It seems that each time we adopt, we experience many, many trials.
However, we have found that the trials leave us resting in the lap
of Jesus. When we have no place to turn but
up, it’s a special time of trusting and seeing God work like we do not get to
experience in “everyday life”. The blessings that flow out of this time keep us going back for more.
We get to know the Savior in new and precious ways.
Adoption is not glamorous. It is hard yet beautiful. It is experiencing
Christ in a deeper and different kind of way.
We are trusting the One Who knows all, and we are enjoying the peace He gives! Update: Cherish wrote this note of encouragement to her daddy...
Isaiah 30:21, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
We are trying to keep the children awake in the evening so we don't have yet another midnight party. Each night the children wake up and play between the hours of 12 a.m. - 6 a.m.
I took the littles for a bike ride tonight, and Derek and Cherish went to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). Cherish was so excited to kick off a new year at BSF, but Derek was exhausted! He was at work at 6 a.m. this morning.
Update: It.didn't.work. Oh, well. At least we had a pleasant night!
We've had Daniel about two weeks, and he has come to trust that I am here to help and not to harm him. So, he now lets me love on him. ♥
Here's my mommy update on Daniel:
He smells baby-yummy!
He is so soft and squishy! ♥
He wears size 18-month clothing.
His feet are so small! He wears size 110/2 in Chinese shoes. I don't know his US size yet.
He can talk! He says, "Bu", "Da", and "Gu".
He loves to play "copy".
He likes to be tickled, and his tickle spot is his neck.
He doesn't know how to "hold on" when he's being carried.
He can walk if he's holding on to something.
He likes almond milk--which is good, because he's coming off his formula.
He likes food!
He does not like bibs.
He prefers hot drinks.
He loves baths!
He sways to music--which is so cute!!
He likes men. He will dive out of my arms to try to get into any man's arms! (That was really interesting walking up and down the airplane aisles! I had to learn how to hold him so that he wouldn't land in random men's laps.)
He has no interest in Legos yet.
He has begun to feel comfortable in his new home. He crawls everywhere wanting to explore.
He just stopped crying when being placed in his crib for his catnaps. He's getting used to his new room and crib.
He really likes it when I nuzzle his ears. He'll keep turning from one ear to another for me to nuzzle each one.
We are safely home, tucked into our beds. Ok, not all of us. Three out of six are tucked into bed.
We began our trip home from Guangzhou on only 2.75 hours of sleep. Derek and I figured we would catch our sleep on the taxi ride to Hong Kong--since the trip would begin before sun-up and the children would sleep during the ride.
The driver came from Hong Kong (a 3-hour trip) to pick us up at our hotel. I noticed instantly that he was glossy-eyed but just figured he was tired. (He probably left his house around 2 a.m.--getting up even earlier.)
As soon as we left, Cherish and I got motion sickness. I "happened" to have children's motion-sickness medicine available, because Cherish gets sick while riding in a car. Andrew then announced he was sick to his stomach. I gave him medicine. Then, Daniel threw up. I gave him medicine. The trip continued.
The driver continually drove with hitting the acceleration and then hitting the brake. Continually! Hard acceleration. Hard brake. Hard acceleration. Hard brake. Every few seconds!!!!! With no cars in front of us! After about 45 minutes, Derek asked the driver if he needed to stop for coffee, etc. The driver said he was "OK." Derek asked him not to keep jerking us, because we were so sick.
So, the driver let off the brake and began swerving in and out of lanes. As the traffic started to build, he was swerving in and out of traffic. Then, he began driving on the edge of the outer lane--just resting the wheels on the bumpy outer edge. After a while, he began driving lane by lane, leaving the vehicle between lanes--with the dotted line riding down the middle of our car.
Derek asked if he was OK. He said, "I OK. I OK." Derek told him we really wanted to live to make it home.
We arrived in Hong Kong and were seriously thankful we were being prayed over. And, we were thankful to get out of the van!
We boarded our international flight and were surprised to find that Daniel had absolutely no intentions of sleeping on the plane. He screamed a lot and refused to be comforted. We were sure that the pressure was killing his ears and his stomach was bloated and hurting. We tried all we could do to comfort him (giving him Advil and Pepto Bismol)....
The other children did GREAT!!! No complaining. Just playing, watching TV, and sleeping. Since our attention had to be on Daniel, they grouped together to play, eat, and sleep. <3
We laid over in Chicago where Daniel became a US citizen =).
While we were waiting to take off for our final flight, Daniel finally gave in to his tiredness. He slept in Derek's arms and didn't even know we had taken off once again.
But, then the pressure got to him, and he screamed and screamed! He refused to eat or drink and was just completely miserable (and his Advil was in the bag that was taken below the plane during the boarding process). Poor guy!
When we landed, we apologized to the people on the plane. They were understanding and gracious after they heard how long he had been traveling.
Sweet family and friends met us at the airport to welcome us home--with hugs, posters, balloons, and cameras ready to roll. Our sweet friend, Kristi, made us food for dinner and breakfast, and her children made us gifts. Our precious neighbors, Cheryle and Mike, mowed our lawn and gave us adoption photo gifts, while Derek's parents had shopped to fill up our refrigerator. WHAT KINDNESSES when we were feeling so beat down, hungry, and tired!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our jet-lag and transition time are in full swing. Daniel is not comfortable at the house, but he's at least taking catnaps (30 min. to an hour) in his crib.
Here's Cherish trying to stay awake by watching a video:
By 4:40 p.m. she was out for the night--well, until midnight.
The children are troopers! They have been holding up so well!!!!
This trip to China has probably been our easiest yet! Thank you for all your prayers!!!
Side note: Daniel still has diarrhea (along with possible ear infections). I can hardly wait to get him to the doctor!
Daniel had a day without diarrhea about two days ago. He was drinking Slippery Elm water that day and had a great day, but he refused to drink the Slippery Elm drink the next day. His diarrhea came back in full force.
Today he has had several blow-outs. I hope he makes it home in clothes! (I've washed out several pants, so hopefully he will make it home clothed!) I really think he has Giardia. I can hardly wait to get him seen by the doctor back in the States!!
In addition, he and I went to visit the doctor. Daniel has been pulling on his ears and I didn't want to attempt 28 hours of travel with possible ear infections. The doctor looked in Daniel's ears with a flashlight and said he probably has itchy, dry ears. ;) I bought the prescribed moisturizer medicine, and off we went. Three applications later, and he is still pulling his ears—possibly more so.
We are now several hours from leaving for home. It just may be a painful and messy trip. I can't wait to hit home base!
Tonight, we went to a truly authentic Chinese restaurant for dinner, i.e. no pictures to point to. Only Chinese characters for ordering. We told a Chinese lady what we were desiring to eat, and she ordered for us. We had never eaten such Chinese food! Whoa! S.P.I.C.Y.!!!!! Totally different tastes!
I got to do the Heimlich on Hope. Just another day in the Bollinger family.
We went to McDonald's for, ya know, somethin' familiar. So, we had the black sesame seed ice cream for dessert. Another "amazing" experience.
Different is just different. Not bad. Just different.
I like different.
I especially like different when it means no diarrhea and no Heimlich. I'm placing my order for different! ;)
We are almost packed! We'll be home-bound very soon!
Tonight we went to McDonald's--after our Asian dinner. We had dessert. Black sesame seed ice cream on a black sesame seed cone. My brain could not comprehend what my mouth was tasting. My brain was thinking dessert, but my mouth tasted anything but dessert. Gray ice cream (non-sugary) on a dark gray cone. Um, different. =)
A first! Hair cuts in China! Our guide told us about a place that gives hair cuts for $3.00 (US) per cut. So, we headed there with all three guys. Unfortunately, Daniel fell asleep on the walk to the hair cutting salon, so he missed out on the fun. Though the cuts weren't quite $3.00 each, they were still quite reasonable. We all love the cuts!
Daniel did not have a blow-out while Derek was alone with him at the medical center! Yay for Pepto!
Children's Pepto Bismol has allowed us to have some freedom from the hotel room! =) And when you experience three blow-outs from the time a child wakes up until 7:30 a.m., you'd love Pepto Bismol as much as we do! =)
We all LOVE authentic Chinese food. We choose it mostly every meal.
Hope LOVES all food. Except raw red hot chili peppers. She "promised" she'd love them. She begged and begged. We allowed her the opportunity to try. Nope! Milk to the rescue!
Daniel LOVES food. Period. Each morning he enjoys fruit and rice congee as his main staples. But, he'll eat pretty much anything.
I still LOVES(!!!!!!) squatty potties. Especially the automatic squatty potties! It's great not to have to touch ANYTHING! 'nough said.
I walked the streets of Guangzhou by myself today and felt like a big girl. ;) I went to a local store and bought Derek a Coke Zero. Well, at least that's what I thought it was. It was black and the label was black and red. It was written completely in Chinese. Derek liked it. =)
Umbrellas are popular! Especially in the sun. The underside of the umbrellas are black or silver—for shade.
Cherish loves shopping. She found some new sandals for RMB10 (about $1.50). We found a majorly discounted store, and most of the clothes and shoes are between RMB10-19 (about $1.50-$3.00). The clothing and shoes are GORGEOUS, but the catch is that the store has very limited sizes. The sandals came in very handy today, as Cherish's sneakers got soaked in a rain storm. She had something dry to change into.
Andrew LOVES being a big brother to Daniel, and we often see him sneaking kisses.
We take Airborne every day. For how sick we were before coming (for over a month), we have had great health in China. Thank You, Jesus!!!
Cherish beat daddy in Chess this morning!
Water is not drinkable. Thus, you will find boiled water stations in public places. Locals carry around their own containers to fill with boiled water, and drink water hot. Our guides think drinking bottled water is um, well, strange. We offered our guide a water on the train trip because she forgot her cup, and she politely said, "We don't drink that." Later she explained that Chinese people are used to hot drinks. (Side note: meals come with complimentary hot tea like ice water comes with meals in the States.)
There are Walmart stores here. They are nothing like the Walmart stores in the States. But they are pretty great! And, their carts lock onto the escalators, and there are bins on both sides of the escalators, so you can shop on your way up and down the various floors. Be prepared. They will not bag anything for you and they will not give you bags. You must bring your own bags.
Stores and restaurants charge for bags and even containers to take leftovers home.
Chinese restaurants usually do not serve napkins. Bring your own.
Restrooms usually do not have toilet paper. Bring your own.
Do not flush the toilet paper. Put it in the little waste can next to the squatty potty.
It is not the norm for Chinese infants to wear diapers. So, when Andrew just can't hold it, he looks like every other baby and child. He looks "authentic" and he doesn't even get noticed. Think of the savings on diapers, diaper rash cream…! ;) No wonder you won't find diaper-changing-stations in restaurants or stores!
A baby should never cry. If a baby cries, Chinese men and women will try to take the baby out of your arms to comfort him. It's their way of helping. It's their way of loving on the baby and you. <3
We've been to three capital cities, and it is always the same: men dress masculinely, and women dress femininely--to the point that little girls wear "Sunday dress-up clothes" and "Easter" type outfits to parks and zoos!
Men are clean cut and shaven, while the women mainly like their hair long.
Daniel likes to have his teeth brushed. He brushed his own teeth tonight.
Daniel weighs 7.5 kg. That's very helpful information when buying diapers!
Children do not have car-seats. People do not wear seat belts. Babies ride on motorcycles!
Shower caps are required in pools. Ladies and girls sport shower caps that match their swimsuits. (They are sold as a set here.)
Derek and I like to end our evening with Jasmine green tea while the children sleep.
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Sorry for the absence of posts. With playing and taking care of the children, shopping for the baby, boiling baby clothes, doing laundry by hand, packing, traveling to Guangzhou, unpacking…I've been a bit too busy to sit and post.
Our last day in Zhengzhou, Derek took the children swimming twice, while I kept Daniel with me. The first time they went swimming, Hope did not want to swim. Derek had a camera and took pictures. The second time they went swimming, Hope joined them, but it was an evening swim while I packed, and Derek forgot the camera. Thus, the absence of Hope in the pictures.
We are now in Guangzhou, China, to work on getting a visa for Daniel to enter the States. His passport was not finished in time (due to a 3-day holiday), so we flew to Guangzhou with him on our adoption paperwork. We are awaiting the passport to arrive in the mail.
I am still the diarrhea-cleaner-upper with a diaper rash that is slowly getting better. Since Daniel's rash/sores have hurt him so much in the past, he still screams from nervousness as I clean him up (even though the rash is about 80% better). Therefore, Derek gets to snuggle little guy as I finish the clean-up after a blow-out, and Derek is the "chosen one". =) It's all part of "transition time".
We keep trying to figure out why he has diarrhea, but we have not yet found the source. He has several allergies, but we were told he breaks out in a rash from eating such foods. However, we are also wondering if diarrhea could be a side-effect to food allergies as well. It's hard to know the ingredients of foods we don't prepare.
Derek and Cherish just left to take Daniel for his visa photo and medical exam, and I am back at the room with the other two. Since our flight got in late and we had an hour drive to the hotel, Andrew got a late night nap in the van and was up super late last night. We've split up for the morning so I can put Andrew down for a nap.
I gave Daniel Children's Pepto Bismol this morning to keep Derek from having to clean-up a mess while he is out with Daniel. (The medical exam is mostly to check to see if he is free from communicable diseases so he can fly into the States.) Since Daniel will be experiencing stress this morning, we wanted him to have the parent he's most comfortable with. Hopefully, Derek will be free from a blow-out!
And, just in case the diarrhea is from Giardia, I am boiling all Daniel's clothes as they are soiled. It's keeping me busy! =)
(I wash Daniel's clothes out with soap, and then I close the drain in the sink or tub, and I repeatedly pour boiling water--that I've brought to a boil in the tea pot--over the clothing. Then, after the clothes are finished, I sanitize the tub or sink.)
This afternoon we will do some visa paperwork--getting ready for Daniel's visa appointment with the U.S. Consulate on Wednesday morning.
During our entire time in Beijing and Zhengzhou, we never came across another American family or ANY other family who was/is adopting. This morning, in Guangzhou, we met one other family who is here to adopt. We are joining up with them.
The difference looks like this: in two weeks there will be 14 families here adopting from CCAI alone! AND, there will be other families here from other agencies adopting as well. This is a completely unusual situation for China adoptions!
That's all for now. I have laundry to do. God bless you all!