Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pandas, Hot Pot, Shopping and Hannah

Today we went to the Chengdu Panda Research Center. We were able to see many large pandas and 8 baby pandas. They were all so cool! Hannah got a big kick out of them too. We also saw red pandas that looked like red raccoons. The boys were disappointed that we did not see Kung Fu Panda, but we tried! The grounds were beautiful and lush. It was a great adventure and we all had a fun time. Oh, here are 2 panda jokes supplied by our guide extraordinaire, Tina... What are the pandas 2 biggest wishes??? A good nights sleep (to get rid of the circles under their eyes) and a color photo (because they are black and white). Ha ha!!! Actually these type of jokes are right up the boys' alley.

After we saw the pandas we went to lunch for a traditional Chengdu meal - Hot Pot. It is like a very spicy fondue. It was so fun to enjoy this traditional meal. The boys did great and enjoyed a bowl of rice and soy sauce. I survived by sticking to the beef and chicken. Tina ordered a yummy specialty of beef stomach and Chris and I let her enjoy that herself. Yikes, it looked awful. Anyway, it was a fun experience.

After lunch we came home and got Hannah bug down for a nap. She was a very tired little girl. During nap time we proceeded with day 2 of hotel homeschooling. On some level I think it is kind of fun to help them with their work, but the other 97% of me just admires Mrs. Perry and Mrs. Walther more and more each day and is so happy that the boys will be back in their education care in December! This hotel homeschooling has limited my daytime blogging too, so you just have to wait for me to do it at night. Sorry, but my kids education is a top priority! He he he!!!! ;-)

After the princess was done with her beauty rest we headed out to Jin Li street to do some shopping. We were so proud of ourselves for taking this adventure on all by ourselves (sans Tina). We took a taxi from the hotel, and we had a great time checking out all of the cool items for sale. The weather was great and I had Hannah strapped to me in the baby carrier. She was in a wonderful mood and was smiling and laughing often. It really was a fantastic time.

We came home from Jin Li street and headed out to Pizza Hut for some dinner. It was so good! It totally hit the spot. Then we came home and got the kids all showered and bathed. Then at 10 pm our time we had the privilege of Skyping with both of the boys' classes. Thank you Erika for making it happen!!! It was so fun to be able to connect with them. The boys LOVED it!!! They will never forget how cool that was. As I said before, Hannah really likes to Skype and she enjoyed saying hi to the classes too.

Quick update on a few things... Chris grandpa is still in the hospital. He is not conscience and we still don't have a prognosis on him yet. Please keep him in your prayers. Tina is still our guide. We have come to accept that she is going to be our guide for the remainder of our time in Chengdu. She is nice but totally clueless. On days like today when we were touring, it isn't a problem. In fact Chris and I seem to have found the humor in it all and she serves as a point of comic relief for us sometimes. Tomorrow we go to do all of the major paperwork that will make Hannah officially ours. This is where we need a decent guide, so pleas pray for Tina to surprise us with her expertise tomorrow or at least that her phone contact will be readily available. Lastly, our Hailey seemed so sad when we talked to her this morning. Please keep her in your prayers. This is the mid point of our trip, so she has been without us for a long time and she still has a long way to go.

I know you all want to know how Hannah is doing. She is doing better than we expected, but clearly she has times when she is struggling. She has a tough time when she first wakes up from her nap, and she had a particularly hard time today after her nap. I struggle to not overwhelm her, and at the same time to not be too distant. It's hard to know what is best sometimes. Currently after naps I'm giving her plenty of personal space but staying near by until she reaches for me to hold her. She had a few sobbing fits today that were tough to see. It breaks my heart to see her struggle and know that my presence is of little to no comfort. In fact, my presence during these times could actually be bringing her more grief. It's just so sad and it makes me feel totally helpless. I find myself holding her (not too tightly) and gently singing Jesus songs to her. I know she loves music, and I hope it is calming to her. Honestly, it's probably more for me than her. It's my way on calling the Lord closer to both of us as the helplessness comes in like a wave. It's my plea for Him to intervene and give her (and me) peace. The song that came to mind the first time this happened (the day we first got her) and has stuck is a Casting Crowns song that I haven't heard in a long time. It seems so amazingly appropriate so I'll share the lyrics with you. This isn't the whole song, just the part I've been singing to her.

Love Them Like Jesus - Casting Crowns

Just love her like Jesus, carry her to Him.
His yoke is easy, His burden is light.
You don't need the answers to all of life's questions.
Just know that He loves her and stay by her side.
Love her like Jesus.
Love her like Jesus.

The Lord of all creation holds our lives in His hands.
The God of all the nations holds our lives in His hands.
The rock of our salvation holds our lives in His hands.
He cares for them just as He cares for you.

Don't you love how appropriate this is! I love that the Lord brought it to my mind. I hope it eases her heart in some small way.

After a really sad crying fit today in the van she finally got happy when we offered her a snack. In fact she went from sobbing to smiling in a matter of seconds. When her fit ended, I started sobbing. I surprised Chris and myself too, honestly! Sometimes it is just so overwhelming to see her so upset and feel so helpless. Her tears dried up and then mine came like a flood. Once they started, I couldn't stop them. Don't you hate that!!! I know we will have more of this over the next couple of months as she goes through these huge changes. Please pray for her as she grieves the loss of her home, friends and nanny.

I don't want it to sound like she is doing bad. In fact, we are surprised at how well we think she is doing. I just want to share with you the reality of our adjustment. Today she had many wonderful times that give us such joy. She had times where she was singing to herself, playing peacefully with toys, giving her brothers kisses when they asked for them, she called out "Baba" (Chinese for Daddy) to Chris when we were shopping, she played happily and laughed out loud a lot today as Chris and I played games with her. A few times in the taxi this afternoon I noticed her studying my face when I wasn't looking. She even reached up an gently touched my hair. She is making more eye contact with me and she seems to enjoy being in the baby carrier which keeps her very close to me. She cried when we took her out of her bath tonight because she wanted to stay in and play longer. She never tried to hit me and she let me get her dressed and then was happy when I gave her a toy to play with. It's progress and I'll take it.

You can read everything under the sun about the challenges that come from parenting a child that has had a rough start and/or been in institutionalized care, but it only helps so much. Its risky business to give your heart over to a hurting child, but I'm so thankful we have. She is so so worth it! We are blessed beyond measure! She is a promise fulfilled! God planned her for us long ago and we are blessed to be her parents.

I know I say it every time, but your comments, texts and emails are so nice! Please keep them coming! We love that so many of you are enjoying this journey with us. This is not just our story, this is a testimony to God's perfection in his planning, his goodness to us and his faithfulness to the fatherless. To Him be all the glory!!!

Blessings to you all!

Chris, Amy, Travis, Chase, and Hannah


  1. oh amy, i know those tears. there are SO many emotions you feel/will feel. lesson from one who has been there and plans to do it better this time: don't suppress any of them. give each one a voice, just for a minute. even the hard or the "where did that thought come from?!" ones. acknowledge them. but take each one captive. always take them to God for His take on them. and keep only the good. give the hard ones to God, He can carry them all - the sad ones and the junky ones too. :)

  2. Our mama hearts were sure not designed to watch our kids' hearts break without really being able to help. It's truly brutal, but it doesn't last forever, thank you Jesus!

    Praying for sweet Hailey's heart too!