Deb and I have decided that we are now official members of the Chinese weightlifting team. We seem to be competing in the flyweight division. We find it interesting that as the smallest people in this adoption group, we were matched with the heaviest of the children. By the end of each day, we are exhausted and every muscle in our arms, shoulders, and backs is incredibly sore. I’m still trying to figure out how to say “ibuprofen” in Mandarin… but having said that, I look at her and I see God’s hand in this match between her and us in so many ways. She’s beautiful and she’s perfect and we are so blessed to have her as part of our family. This is indeed a match made in heaven.
Evenings are still very hard on Li (and therefore on us). There clearly are some areas there where we hope things will smooth out over time. Other than that, we are all adjusting well. Li is eating, pooping, drinking well. She is much more active and extroverted now — her smile and her laugh just light up a room. (Those cheeks are so big, she has about 4 dimples on each side when she smiles!) She got a waiter in a restaurant in trouble yesterday at lunch because she was smiling and laughing at him so much that he just stopped and was playing with her until one of the older “aunties” working there came over and scolded him to get back to work. She’s cruising the furniture around the room now, too, which brings a whole new set of challenges since it is really hard to kid-proof a hotel room you are trying to live in.
We visited Tang Weng pavilion yesterday morning and spent several hours just wandering the grounds and exploring the pavilion before sitting in on a musical performance with traditional Chinese dance, singing, and music. Li was enthralled, particularly by the dance. The pavilion dates back more than 1,400 year and it is amazing. The grounds are beautiful and Li seemed to particularly like the ponds and plants on the grounds surrounding the pavilion itself.
This morning involved a trip to Porcelain Street (the Jiangxi province is known for its porcelain) and a Chinese book store for a bit of shopping. It was pouring down rain this morning — something we haven’t seen since Monday — so we didn’t get to spend much time outside and it showed in Li’s demeanor this afternoon. She did take a bit of a nap early this afternoon which made for a much more pleasant dinner for all of us. As soon as we were back in the hotel room, she went into scream mode again until she just plain wore herself out, at which point she simply collapsed asleep in my arms.
Tomorrow morning, we leave Nanchang for Guangzhou, which makes me sad. Nanchang is an amazing city and it will always be a special place for all of us as this is where we got Li Zhong. It is a city of extremes: extreme poverty, extreme traffic, extremely bad air, extraordinary beauty, incredible history, incredible food, and the people here have been more open and friendly and curious and supportive that we would have thought possible. The looks on their faces when they find out why we have these girls is such a blend of excitement and joy. We will leave here with an incredible gift and with fond memories of this city and a strong resolve that we will come back to show Li this place that is now such a special place for all of us.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers; please keep them coming. We’ve got lots of travel ahead of us, more appointments with the governments on both sides of this particular equation, and we are all still definitely working through this process.