Day 4 was the day we flew to Guangzhou. We ate breakfast in the hotel with another family who was leaving around the same time as us, and we met our guide, Tom, in the lobby at 8:15 to go to the airport. Let me just say, security at the Chinese airport was more stressful than the US security! We ALL got a pat down, even Corinne. The flight was uneventful, about three hours long.
We arrived in Guangzhou and met our guide (yay!), who took us to our hotel and introduced us to the other two families with our agency. Our guide then showed us the area around our hotel and pointed out restaurants she recommended. We went to one of the restaurants she mentioned and had quite the experience! We discovered quickly that there was no English anywhere in the restaurant, on the menu or English-speaking waiters. On top of that, it was a hot pot type of restaurant, and none of us know how to order! Thankfully, we found fried rice, green beans, and noodles to order, and Stephen was able to order in Chinese. Way to go, Stephen! Poor Corinne fell asleep at the table three times while we were waiting and eating. This time change has really taken a toll on her little body!
Day 5 was Gotcha Day! Oh my, I have never, ever been as nervous as I was that day, not even for my senior recital in college, or my wedding day, or juries in college, or the days my children were born! I was nervous, excited, and just couldn’t believe we were actually going to see Lily in a few moments! We saw her come in first, along with a younger child from her same orphanage. And then, before we knew it, it was time to meet her! We met her and took her over to where we were sitting to get to know each other. We used a little of the CSL we had learned to introduce ourselves and gave her a few gifts we had brought. She began to smile quickly and seemed happy. When it was time to go, though, we began to see the fear she had been hiding; she didn’t want to go out of the building with us at first, but she did eventually come.
These first few days have been challenging, but wonderful. We have had ups and downs. She is clearly grieving, yet excited at the same time. What is going on in her little head? At times she is withdrawn and doesn’t want us near her, but other times she is happy and laughing and playing silly games with us. We have had fun bonding times and a few stressful times. She has bonded more with Corinne and I, and she is slowly warming up to Stephen.
We’re learning more and more about her personality. She is a beautiful girl! And oh, so smart! She knows her language is visual and she is very aware visually of the world around her. She knows her way around this hotel better than I do and sees things before we do. She loves to tease people and play silly games. She loves to surprise and scare people as they come around corners or come out of the bathroom, especially Stephen! She just laughs and laughs and thinks it is so funny. Her laugh is infectious! She is most definitely a leader and is very independent. She is helpful and thoughtful. She’s been very sweet and kind to the babies we have been around. Her smile is beautiful!
As I said, she knows her language is visual. She will look at me when I sign to her, and is beginning to use some ASL in her signing. She is teaching us the CSL signs she knows, which we are happy to learn. Today she used a sign in the right context that we had only used ONCE in passing – sweetheart! She knows us as mother and father and she knows Corinne’s sign name as well. I have a feeling she knows way more CSL than she is letting on; I’m praying for God to send a Chinese deaf person our way, or another deaf child being adopted. She also knows how to write a few Chinese characters. I wish I knew what she was writing!
We are seeing positive progress everyday. She is a sweet girl and we are so blessed to have her with us! Yes, it has been challenging, and we will have hard times, often taking two steps back to every one step forward. But the Lord will see us through and provide the wisdom we need.
Here are some pictures of Gotcha Day!