We have had an absolutely AWESOME day today!!!! What better way to start out the day than with our appointment with the U.S. Consulate to finalize Callie Beth's visa and take "the oath" that all the information we had provided was true, to the best of our knowledge. NO MORE PAPERWORK!!!! NO MORE APPOINTMENTS!!!!! AND, when we step off the plane in Chicago on Saturday afternoon, Callie Beth will officially be a CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES!!!!! I have to say that I think our girls were definitely the most PATRIOTICALLY dressed children at the Consulate appointment!!!
After we returned to the hotel, Roger had to go to a meeting about our departure time and procedure tomorrow afternoon. The girls and I stayed in the room and played. As soon as his meeting was over, we headed back to Shamien Island, with our friends, Joey and Tasha Robichaux. We ate lunch at Lucy's--a very AMERICANIZED restaurant on the island. How much more American can you get than chicken, fish and chips, and burgers!!!! AHHHHHHHHH........I had the first glass of ICED TEA there that I've had since June 19!!!!!!
After lunch, we enjoyed walking along the streets on the island, and doing a little shopping along the way. The girls were really good. In fact, they both fell asleep in their strollers, as did Joey and Tasha's little boy, Lee, in his carrier. I had to make a stop to buy squeaky shoes for my friend Eva, for her new granddaughter. I was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to find many in the small size. I also made another stop and ended up buying a couple of more pairs each for the girls. They were just SO cute and SO much cheaper than I could ever find them in the United States!!!!!
After we finished our shopping, Joey and Tasha caught a taxi back to the hotel, but Roger and I decided to stay on the island a while longer and take the girls to a playground that we had discovered after lunch, right behind Lucy's. We knew Molly Kate would love it, but we weren't sure about Callie Beth. As I've said, we know she has a vision problem, and we're just not sure exactly what that problem is, and just how well she can see. I mentioned earlier that she wouldn't play on the playground at the airport at all last week. Well, she played today!!!! I know she slid down the slide no less than a hundred times. She wasn't quite as daring a Molly Kate was, but again, I think that's due to her vision. She ran and climbed and played HARD, though!!!! It was really hot, but the playground was totally shaded, so it was very nice..
We stayed at the playground for at least an hour. We finally bribed the girls back into their strollers with food!!! We walked along the Pearl River's edge, to the end of the island, and then caught a taxi to come back to the hotel. The girls were absolutely FILTHY, so I put them in the tub for a bath. Molly Kate isn't always thrilled about taking a bath with Callie Beth, because Callie Beth is like a TIDAL WAVE in the tub. She had Molly Kate's hair soaked before I knew it. I got Molly Kate out and let Callie Beth stay in the tub for a LONG time. She was having SO much fun!!!! I finally had to get her out, though. We had planned to walk with Joey and Tasha to a bakery not too far from the hotel for a snack for our dinner. None of us were really hungry after the good lunch at Lucy's. I went ahead and put the girls' PJ's on---and wouldn't you know it, Molly Kate wanted a bow in her hair!!!!---and, of course, I put one in her hair and Callie Beth's, too!!!!
We came back to the room and ate our bakery snack, and then went back out, with the girls in the strollers, to a small mall next to our hotel to buy an extra suitcase. I DO have to have something to get all my SQUEAKY SHOES home in!!!! Actually, we needed to be able to reduce the weight in a couple of our suitcases. Hopefully, having this extra one will help. Before we ever left the mall, Molly Kate was crying because she was SO tired. As soon as we got back to the room, I held her and sang to her, and she fell asleep. Callie Beth was SO sweet. Several times she gently rubbed Molly Kate's arm as I was holding her and trying to get her to sleep. Once I had her in bed, it was Callie Beth's turn to be held. I took all of ten minutes to get her to sleep. There was NO SCREAMING AND CRYIING at bedtime tonight!!!!!
You know, I may be 54 years old, and Callie Beth may be my FIFTH child, but I've learned that there is ALWAYS MORE to learn about parenting, even when I think I've seen and experienced it all. Every child is different, and even though all children share many common needs, each and every child has his/her own SPECIAL needs. Today, I reflected on the frustration I have seen in Callie Beth's face and eyes during the past week and a half, due to the language barrier between her and us. But today, I saw some of that frustration slowly begin to melt away, as she was able to not only use the few signs I've taught her in sign language, but to also be able to say the English words in a calm manner that go with the signs. When we get back home, I'm going to have to learn more signing, because I think it's going to be the easiest way to communicate with her, while teaching her the English language. We know that she is really smart----she has shown that non-verbally in many ways. She really is a compassionate child---we've seen that through how she interacts with Molly Kate, as well as the other children around her. We have seen this more and more every day. After seeing the children who were in the Show Hope Center with her, I think I understand why she is so compassionate. I totally understand now why we were met by so many of the nurses and nannies at Show Hope last week when we visited the orphanage, and even though I know they were happy for Callie Beth to be adopted, I can understand their sadness, too, to see her leave. I have no doubt that she was a beacon of joy and happiness there.
Last night, after a pretty exhausting day, I realized I was trying to figure everything out all by myself, rather than turning it over to God. SO, I let it all go, and I immediately knew today was going to be a better day!!! I realized last night that the girls had not had a lot of time to get out and play, and that even though we have been out and about every day, most of our time out, they have had to be in their strollers. Even though I brought a few small toys, they really haven't had a lot to play with. The naps they took in their strollers today were better than any they've had in their beds the past two weeks. The time at the park allowed them to get some of that pent up energy out of their bodies, while having LOTS of fun!!!! AND, I also discovered today when Callie Beth was about to go into a LITTLE meltdown, that when I tickled her, she giggled so hard that when I finally stopped, she wasn't upset anymore. It worked today, and it may NOT work tomorrow, but you'd better believe I'm going to try it, if need be!!!!
Tomorrow is our last day in Guangzhou. We are planning to take the girls to a nearby park in the morning. Hopefully, I will have everything packed shortly after breakfast. We will receive Callie Beth's visa around 3:30, and be departing for Hong Kong shortly afterward. It is going to be a sad time saying goodbye to the other wonderful families in our group who we have been with from Day 1 in Beijing. Even though Roger and I are probably old enough to be the parents of all of them, they have accepted us as if we were their peers. Joey and Tasha are the youngest couple in our group. Roger was laughing tonight about Joey telling him today that they had spent more time with us the past two weeks than they have spent with any of their friends all together in the last four years!!!! We are going to miss them and their sweet adopted son, Lee, like crazy!!!! We are going to miss all the others, too. We've shared SO much during our time together, INCLUDING moments when ALL of our children had meltdowns and screaming fits. Callie Beth just wins the award for being the LOUDEST screamer!!!!
I think I've probably said enough for tonight. I would LOVE to go to bed, but Evan has a job interview today at 1:30 PM, which is 2:30 AM China time, and I promised I would stay awake and pray for him!!!! I think I may have to go and run the steps to wake me up!!!!!
Tomorrow night will probably be my last post on this blog until after we get home. I have enjoyed sharing our journey with you, and I GREATLY appreciate all who have taken the time to read my lengthy narrations!!!! I hope to continue to add to the blog once we are home, so please stay tuned!!!!