Some of this will be repetition from comments in earlier posts but I thought I'd just jot down some of the things that have happened or that we've noticed. I don't promise that the notes that follow will be in any particular order or even be related to each other!
As I write my blog this time—compared with when I was posting during our trip to adopt Melody—I'm conscious that either of these girls might be reading my words now or in the near future, which I guess makes me a little more circumspect about what I say.
We're doing very well overall. I think I'd say things are going more smoothly than feared. Jillian clearly is a sharp kid. Because of her small size and awkward motions, however, there's a tendency to underestimate her. Sometimes I'll find myself thinking, "Wow! Look at what she just did" and then realize that it's something I would take for granted if Melody did it.
Jillian is picking up English—mainly in the form of recognizing what we say—pretty quickly. She is not speaking English much (not that we expected her to) but some of this may be due to her speech impediment. It seems clear to us that she is going to need quite a bit of speech therapy in order to form certain sounds.
She's not a quiet child, but I bet that she'll tone down as she gets to where she can communicate more clearly with us.
She's also not very cuddly. Melody noted that perhaps the nannies at the orphanage didn't have time to cuddle with her. She's all bones and angles and never sits still for more than a few moments. This makes it hard to "feel" like you're bonding with her, but there are many other signs that bonding is going well. She is very close to mama and when she sees me in the distance she calls (i.e., screams) for baba. She has been giving me a hard time by refusing to hold my hand but it seems like this is equal parts teasing me and just feeling close to Jeannette.
When Jillian runs, she reminds me of an ostrich running. And she's very fast. If she gets a 10 yard lead on you, you really have to hustle to catch up.
We owe a debt of gratitude to her foster family. We expected to get a little girl with poor hygiene but she not only knows how brush her teeth; she's the one who suggests brushing. We assumed we were in for some major dental bills, but Jeannette doesn't see any sign of tooth decay. She also is able to undress and dress herself for the most part, tries to put things where they belong, eats great, and—as much as can be expected—follows directions.
The weather has been very nice. Today is probably the warmest of our visit and so it's a bit humid. Rain is predicted for the next few days and then it should dry out again.
It's crazy some of the things we do here without a second thought . . . crossing streets in the middle of traffic. Literally. You look left and see a clearing so you walk to the middle of the street and stand on the yellow line until traffic from the right opens up so you can go the rest of the way. And there's probably a Chinese mom standing next to you with a stroller.
Melody is a little appalled by all the smoking. She swears no one in the States smokes, or at least very few. I'm just glad all the smoking is outdoors.
Our dining experiments have not been super successful so far. We've tried to be a little adventuresome but haven't hit any homeruns with our meals. Tonight, we're supposed to be taken to a dumpling house, so I'm optimistic about how that will turn out.
There are no birds here. It's so strange. In most big cities in America, you find tons of pigeons, crows or seagulls. I don't think I've seen a single bird here.
Guangzhou has 13 million residents. Thirteen million. That is the same as all of Illinois, the fifth most populous state in the USA. And our guide says there are more people in the city than that because some are not officially "registered."
Jeannette has been battling a sore throat throughout our entire trip. Her mom also had a couple of bad days. So far, I've had only a hint of a sore throat, but I bet it's coming. Jillian seems to have a bit of bronchitis and has coughed quite a bit at night. We'll see if the Robitussen helps tonight. Melody got bit by some sort of little bug, perhaps some ants, as she and I ate some ice cream yesterday and so she has some very painful welts on her legs.
Until today, I could see my blog but couldn't see any photos or videos on it, nor could I create or edit posts directly there. For some reason, now I can't see anything on blogspot at all.
I could keep going but I'll call it a night for now. Thanks for following our journey here!