Saturday, November 28, 2009

First Holidays

Faith's first Thanksgiving was very nice.  We started the day by dressing her up in a new dress (thanks Karen C), black tights and black shiny shoes -- Kevin and I both got choked up when she toddled away from us.   She even left her barretts in until we got to church.  She was well behaved in Church, until Fr. Joe mentioned her during the Prayer of the Faithful, and she as if she KNEW, decided to be a nutcase, grabbing my glasses, wiggling around like the squid she is :)   Attending Mass on Thanksgiving has been a long standing tradition, and it felt wonderful to be able to continue it with our newest member.  There was so much to thank God for this year - being home, being safe, being with Faith, His blessings in 2009 were definitely more than a 1/2 hour mass could hold!!!

It really is still amazing beyond words how well she is adjusting to her new life.  She was  like a princess at Kevin's aunt's house - being doted on all day long.  She was entertaining, sweet, a LITTLE crazy as she got tired (no nap), but all in all, a delight.  We are so lucky that even if she misses her nap, she gets a little more rambuticous but doesn't melt down.  Last night, she feel asleep on the way home and actually stayed asleep until the morning.   It was so sweet, to see her nestled between her 2 big brothers for the ride to Fitchburg - it seemed so appropriate that we'd be back there for this Thanksgiving.  It was 2 years ago at Thanksgiving dinner, that Ian let slip that we were adopting!!

Today began our first Christmas season with Faith.  We put up our Christmas tree, she was napping, when we brought the tree down from the attic (yes we do the fake one, I like it up from the day after thanksgiving to the Epiphany!!).  She was so funny pointing at this TREE in the middle of our livingroom.  Even when she was playing, she'd stop now and then, and looking behind the couch, at that TREE thing in the middle of the room -- at this point it had no lights or decorations.  Kevin had to run to Big Lots to replace some lights, so while we waited Faith and I had chocolate chip cookies...No silly not homemade -- slice and bake -- nothing better :))

There is nothing like the face of a child eating their first fresh from the oven, HOT, gooey chocolate chip cookie.  We sat on the floor together, just inches apart, sharing this very special girl moment!!  Her face was priceless - a grin that filled her whole face, and she kept signing 'Yummy', rubbing her belly and smacking her lips together lol!!   She even 'toasted' me with her cookie - it was one of those moments I dreamt about having with my daughter!!  Someday we'll actually MAKE the cookies together, baby steps.   While we waited for the men to return, I brought out THIS HUGE box of board books I found in the basement today (we cleaned the basement - yeah!! I LOVE holiday cleaning!!) -- the teacher in me got excited to sit and look through book after book, beginning that language explosion that I know is just lurking below the surface.  yeah, well not so much --- Faith is definitely a girl with a mind and agenda all her own!!   She lined them all up, covering most of the floor, meticulously and busily placing them end to end.  I love that every day has a new discovery for her, and for us who are watching her!!

Finally the boys returned from the store, and Kevin strung the lights. She climbed on the couch to get a closer look, she leaned against the back, face in her hands, and watched mesmerized!!  We then took a break from decorating to eat Kale soup (she is still not a portagee -- no go on the linguica or kale lol).

After dinner, the ornament hanging began.  We have a tradition of mom unwrapping or opening each ornament, and then together we tell the story of where it came from, and any back story that goes with the ornament.  Our tradition had a little twist this year, a very EAGER helping beaver, who sadly wasn't hearing the stories, and just wanted to get the little pretty shiny thing on the light tree in the middle of her livingroom!!   We still managed to get each story out, but MUCH quicker than previous years (ha ha).  I was hesitant at first to let her handle the ornaments, not so much because they might break, but that once she new they were 'touchable, we might spend the next month wrestling them out of her paws.  The quick learner, realized they were to go on, and that no one was taking them back off.  She was totally bummed when the decorating was over, and when she saw me hanging the candy canes, flew over to help not happy until she had one in each hand -- wait til she finds out those are FOOD too, and REALLY yummy!

Tomorrow we are off to the Christmas store in Abington, we are so excited to see her reactions to everything about the holidays.  In the next few weeks, we'll be taking her to LaSallette, to see the lights, and to continue our exposure to Christianity, and all the wonders that knowing and loving God holds for her.  We know that at 3, most children are unaware of Christmas is more than presents, lights and decorations, and sugary treats.  Heck, there are adults out there who still don't realize its more than those things - we know that all we can do is continue to cover all that this journey is in prayer!!  Knowing that every day, every year will hold more firsts, and we can't expect all things to be revealed and clear overnight.   Its the same as watching her line up books instead of read them, each day is filled with firsts, discoveries, and LOTS of surprises!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Things I'd love to know...

I'd love to know how Faith feels about her new family and life.  I would love to get into that beautiful little head and know what she is thinking and feeling.  On the outside, she seems pretty darn good!  It is just amazing, I know I say that in every blog, but truly it is!!   She has warmed up to every new visitor she has had, I believe going to each one who has extended their arms to her.  She's even cuddled a few of them, almost instinctively knowing that these strangers are now family. 

One of the first days back was very warm, so Kevin and I took her for a walk in her cool new stroller - it is a Jeep (like Kevin's car), and has a steering wheel - she was so funny driving all over her new town.  As the sun shone brightly, REALLY brightly compared to the muted smog filled world she came from, I couldn't help but wonder, what does she think of this big yellow orb thing that is making her squint, or warming her face.  I wondered what she thought of these tiny buildings, aka single family homes, something I am fairly sure she'd never seen before, and what about stripes of no houses or buildings at all - just trees as far as the eye can see.  Air you can breath, sun you can see, and crisp cool air - what was running through her mind at such things.

I was so worried about her being nearly 4 years old, and all the firsts we would miss.  A friend who had also adopted an older child, reminded me that there was still many firsts to come, that everything would be a first to us - first time sleeping in her own bed (check), first american holiday (we'll check than one off tomorrow), first time driving in a car with a seat belt ( check), first time peeing into a cup at the doctor's office (happily that was an easier check than expect).   We've loved watching her experience pizza (she eats it upside down, which avoids burning the roof of you mouth off, so we have decided that all those people who told us the girls from Wuhan were cleaver were right on!!).   Monday, she had her first trip to  Walmart  , although they have them in China, we doubt that she was ever brought there.  I did anticipate lots of grabbing and wanting , but she did great - no whining for things, she did reach out for everything we took off the shelves, but quicker caught on that it went in the cart, and would take them from us, and put them in the cart for us!!  She is a big helper - yes, she continues to help with the dishes, absolutely LIGHTS UP when we open the dishwasher!! 

Today, as I got her out of bed, and she cuddled right up into my arms, my ponder of the day was -- how many mornings was she cuddled awake.   How often was there someone there as soon as her eyes opened, and she made the first squeak of the morning.  I know there was no one there signing "Good Morning" and scooping her into there arms for morning squeezes, kisses, and tickles.  She just collapses against us, and spends the next hour trying to get back into our arms or on our laps for more cuddles, kisses and tickles.  How often did someone spend 10 to 15 minutes massaging or itching her back, just letting her lay against them feeling their breathing with hers, the warmth of a mother's love, and the strength of a dad's arms around you.  How often was she bathed with bubbles and toys, and played with until the water was cold, and then wrapped tight in a princess towel and cuddled dry.  And yet, when I hold her, when she lays her head lovingly against my chest, what I think is THANK YOU JESUS for this little girl, thank you for bringing her to ME, thank you for all the joy she brings me!!! 

So much to be thankful for , so much!!   Happy Thanksgiving my dear friends, family and supporters - may you be Blessed beyond Measure today and every day!! 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To Church we went!

Took the squid to Church probably for the first time in her 3 1/2 year life!  Yeah, Faith was a squid, she kept Ian and I very occupied but still got to hear the readings and the gospel - Christ the King - that was cool.

She's apparently famous there - we were waiting in line for the potty and a guy said "Oh is she the one who just got home from China, congratulations!".

Wonderful Day

It is hard to believe its only been a week since we arrived back home.  Its even harder to believe that its been only 2 weeks or so since we recieved Faith FengHua into our family.  As I drove to Adoration this afternoon, I was just struck with awe at how well she is doing adjusting to her new life.  Children's resilency is mindboggling sometimes.  The Grace that God has lavished on her, is so evident in her happy disposition, and overall acceptance of the new life she has been given.   She has met so many new people in the last few days - and we've been so impressed by how friendly - sincerely giving everyone a chance, no rejecting behavior we initially saw in Wuhan.  different from the little girl who spurned everyone but Kevin (and our adorable Chinese guide in Wuhan).

Today (well now this with be Saturday, which was a day ago, but I literally FELL asleep typing this last night - oh Jet Lag when will we part ways!!)  anyway, it was so much fun, I wanted to share ...
Faith slept in til almost 8 a.m. !!  There is hope yet we'll break her into our sleeping in habits yet (side note: its Sunday 7:30 and princess is STILL asleep and fyi in HER OWN bed!! yeah)!!  She had her usual breakfast of drinkable yogurt, bread, and fruit.  She was very cuddly with Momma this morning, which just warms my heart so much!  As you can well imagine, its amazing after our rocky start.  I am so grateful in the loving wise guidance of the Holy Spirit, providing us insights on building attachments that we'd never have known without Him.   Everyday she and I grow closer and closer, she seems to trust me to provide for her, but moreso to be a source of comfort and love.  I often wonder did she ever have this much attention, physical contact or language before?

After breakfast, I gave her a bath, we've moved into her bathing alone, but with lots of massages, tickles, and Mommy fun interaction - just warmer for me from the sidelines especially for my old body :)   At one point she laid on her belly, propped up her head on her right hand, and just lied there while I rubbed and massaged her back and legs, she is such the queen (as rightly she should be!).  Guess I am catching on to why she is starting to like me - I'd be pretty fond of someone who massaged me several times a day!   We moved to wearing underwear under her pull up, since they are always dry, it is time to give up that safety net - not at night for a while, nothing worse than being awaken in the middle of the night to change a wet kid, wet bed , and wet pjs :)  After our post bath tea party and dress up session (see pic of picassa), it was time to clean the house.

I thought she'd stay behind in her room to play, but nope, she not only wanted to shadow me, she seems to have a real interest in helping me clean -- maybe she figured we'd head back to the playing quicker if she helped :)   She vacuumed, so cute!!  After we finished the actually vacuuming of the room, I turned off the vacuum, thinking I'll outsmart the deaf kid, she'll never know the difference.  Think again Mom!! See she still has other senses, sharpened by the loss of the one -- so first she noticed the LIGHT on the sweeper was OFF, and next it was no longer vibrating her arm, she quickly went to work figuring out how to get it back on - -I believe it took less than 5 minutes!!   However, after figuring out how to turn it on she choose to just stand in the hall holding on the vacuum, but not moving it back and forth , just standing there.  I think proud of herself for figuring out how to turn it out she wanted to bask in her victory, but I guess had done enough cleaning!!

WE also put away the dishes, she was so funny handing me one dish at a time, and just beaming!!   It was nice to have someone down low to pick up the dishes, no bending required, perfect for the sore back (my body is so much older than the rest of me!)   Gaining in age from all the lifting and carrying of our darling cherub who has happily started to put a little meat on her own scrawny boned frame!!  She'll be up past that 15 percentile in no time!! 

Our lives are settling into the new normal, just remarkably faster than I ever expected.  Kevin has returned to work, and activities such as cub scouts with Adam.  I was able to return to my Thursday night  and Saturday afternoon Adoration times -- these are the things I missed the most!   That quiet contemplated time with the Lord, so crucial to continually growing my relationship with Jesus , sure I can pray at home, and KNOW He is always with me, but actually coming into the real presence, of shutting off the world, and giving God an hour or so undivided attention strengthens me for the rest of hours and days ahead!!   Kevin questioned the smoothness of the adjustment, sort of cautious to marvel in how easy it appears to have been or be.  My answer, besides the realization that we have many challenges ahead - I mean some day she WILL be a teenage girl!!  My response though today was to remind us both that this journey has been COVERED in prayer - and the prayers of God's people will not be ignored, there is power in prayer, and where 2 or more are gathered in His Name He will hear and answer... Thank you all our prayer warriors, every joy we share, we SHARE with each of you!! Every smile we are blessed to enjoy, we enjoy with you!   God bless, have an amazing Sunday -- as we venture to Church for the first time , please know you are ALL in our prayers!