cough, couch, wheeze, cough
nasty cold. We thought Seth was done with it, but today, the day
after his last dose of the antibiotics, his cough returned full force.
The fever hasn't come back, and I'm praying it doesn't. Lily has had a
fever for two days, manageable with Tylenol and Benedryl. We took her
to the White Swan medical clinic, and they took her off the unknown
powder the orphange put her on for her head, and they are giving her
shots of antibiotic twice a day for two days, in addition to a massive
amount of medicine to address the symptoms. There's an elixir for her
cough, one for her phlegm, and another that is an anti-virus. I have
to mix tham all together in one of the hotel room wine goblets
(because Lily likes to drink out of it and is more likely to finish
it) in addition to a packet of sugary, strawberry-flavored powder
whose sole purpose is to make the cocktail palatable. I'm really
appreciating Robitussin multi-symptom formula! Too bad I don't have any...
Please pray for the babies' health. Lily has one more shot left this
evening, and hopefully her body will kick whatever it is she has. Seth
is getting another tooth...it's crowning today, so that may be the
reason he is having trouble getting better. Today, on the way to
Lily's medical exam for her visa application, he coughed so much he
puked all over me, the sidewalk, his....gasp...special blanket. Yeah,
it was a highlight. So Rob took him back to the hotel, and I took Lily
to her appointment alone. It was best for us to be there without Seth,
as I'm sure he would have been licking every surface two feet and
lower, and who knows what cooties were lurking, looking for a live host.
Yesterday as we were loading up the bus to drive the 20 minutes from
the China Hotel to the White Swan for the last leg of our stay, a
Chinese woman stood outside my window, two feet away from the bus,
weeping. She was looking at me, at Lily, at Rob, sobbing. Our guide
Jasmine asked her why she was crying, and she didn't say anything, but
motioned to Lily. And then we drove away. Why was she crying? What was
it about Lily that broke her heart? Did she abandon a child of her own
in the past, maybe a cleft-affected child? Did Lily remind her of
something painful like that in her past? Being so close to her
orphanage, less than two hours away, I have found myself this week
looking for a lone woman in the shadows. Somewhere out there is the
woman that gave birth to my daughter. Somewhere is a mother's heart
with a wound in it, and it is because of her loss that I have Lily.
Who was that crying woman? I would give much to have some link to
Lily's past, for Lily's sake. I'll never know the answer to those
questions, but I do know that I'll never forget her face or her tears.
Other than the sickness, Lily is doing very well. As the newness of
this whole experience is starting to wear off, I'm really noticing a
lot of orphanage behavior. The biggest one became evident tonight. In
the White Swan hotel there is a large playroom, FILLED with all kinds
of toys. We visited it for the first time this evening. You should
have seen Seth. He was so excited, high pitched giggling and dancing,
running from one toy to the next. He's still at such a young age where
he doesn't really play with other children, just plays alongside them.
Very normal. However, he plays with the toys. He pounds them together,
tries to figure out what they're supposed to do, pushes the buttons
and knobs for cause and effect type actions, etc. He also climbs on as
much as he can. Lily has absolutely no idea what to do with toys.
None. I really didn't notice it with the toys we brought for her and
Seth. I just noticed that Seth dumped them out of her bag, and she put
them back in. She doesn't like the doll I sent her months ago, which
the orphanage returned to me. She picks up a toy, and she throws it.
That's it. That's the only toy interaction she knows. Tonight I tried
to play with her with the toys, but she just stared at me blankly. She
didn't really notice any of the other children in the room, but her
eyes rarely left Seth. The toys I handed her, she chucked across the
room, and then turned to me with a giggle. She followed Seth a lot,
and imitated his play. She did everything that he did, even made some
of the same sounds that he made. She's started saying mama, mama, mama
mama when she wants something, which is what Seth says.
I'm so thankful that God led us to adopt her. I've had several people
here, Americans and Chinese, ask me why we were adopting a baby when
we already had a baby? It's not a rational answer that I can give, so
I just say that God led us to this baby and we knew that she was ours,
which of course is true. However, I can so see God's hand working in
our family beyond that general answer. Who better to teach a toddler
how to play than another toddler? Lily has never gotten the chance to
relish babyhood, but she watches Seth, and she lets me cuddle her and
baby her, just like I do Seth. She also watches Seth try to do things
on his own, like eat with a spoon or drink out of a big cup, and she
wants to try it all by herself, too. I have spent many frantic minutes
these past days wondering if I've gotten myself in over my head with
two toddlers, but tonight I feel so thankful that God led us to adopt
another toddler and to adopt her out of birth order. Lily and Seth are
a perfect match.
Tonight we ate at a typical Cantonese restaurant. Our guide usually
does a great job of ordering for us, and we enjoyed wonderful dishes
tonight: chicken with lemon sauce (better than Turkish delight),
sauteed pork with fresh tarragon and cilantro, eggplant with some
wonderful spicy sauce, a saucy beef dish, fresh broccoli in a sesame
butter sauce, sweet and sour pork with fresh pineapple (an American
staple at the Chinese table). However, none of those dishes really
represented the unique Cantonese flair. Customers are greeted at the
entrance to the restaurant with what looks like a cross between a fish
store and a bait shop. Do you see all those nice fishies swimming in
their tanks? Which one would you like the chef to fry up for you? Not
in the mood for fish tonight? No worries, you can choose a big scoop
of squirmy sand worms. See how fast they wiggle? Good meat. Don't stop
there. Grab a slotted spoon and dish yourself up a heap of water
beetles. They'll cook them up just right, hot and crunchy. Have your
pick: snake, mud eel, octopus...all alive now, but not for long, for
they'll soon end up on someone's platter--maybe yours.
Not mine. Uh, some things God did not create for our consumption. I'm
having to choke back the gag reflex as I write this. I actually saw a
man come into the restaurant and pick out the sand worms. These suckers
are half an inch round and about a foot long. What are they thinking?
Truly, I would die of starvation first.
Tomorrow our guide goes in to the US consulate for our big appointment
where they will approve Lily to come into the United States as a US
citizen. It is the last important adoption meeting of the trip. Rob
and I have to stay in our room from 10 to noon, in case Jasmine needs
more information, but we don't actually go to the consulate
appointment, she does. Tomorrow evening we will take a little cruise
on the Pearl River. Rob's expecting it to be a boring, but I'm hoping
for a lovely experience and some neat pictures. Our hotel room looks
out across the Pearl River (which surrounds Shamian Island where the
White Swan rests), and that is lovely too. (As long as you don't look
too closely at the water and imagine what kids of germs and other
creepy crawlies might be residing in the murkey ripples...)
Then on Thursday, we ourselves go to the US consulate to take an oath,
promising never to abuse or abandon Lily (We don't have to make any
such oath about Seth, however! HaHa!) and then we'll be given Lily's
visa. Then that is it! We leave the next morning (if it can actually
be called morning) at 5:30 for the airport. It will be a long day of
travel, but we're more than happy to endure it, as long as it leads us
I'll upload some of today's pictures tomorrow...nothing too exciting.
I did much shopping today. The Chinese way is to barter and bargain.
It is expected. I browsed the shops a little bit yesterday, checking
out prices and shop owners. I've learned that if I take Seth in the
store with me, I get a much better discount. (Have I mentioned how
much the Chinese love him? People stop me on the street, in the shops,
in the restaurants. They touch him, they do back flips to make him
smile. Tonight a waitress planted a kiss on his cheek, and I had to
scrub lipstick off his smiley face. One of the orphanage workers told
me that Seth should be a movie star. Rob had a flock of Chinese
showgirls practically following him down the street to see Seth. Can't
you just see it? I accused him of using Seth as a chick-magnet. He
didn't deny it. Grin.) Anyway, I found a store with a large selection
(and they all sell basically the same stuff) and told the worker that
if she gave me a great price I would do nearly all my shopping from
her store. She agreed, and I bargained and shopped and got some really
great gifts and great deals. Since I had already priced many of the
things I was looking for, I knew that she was giving them to me at her
lowest price. Some items I overheard her tell other customers a price
that was twice as much as she was charging me.
Well, I'm sure I've just about put most of you to sleep with my
droning on and on.
Three more sleeps, and we'll be on our way home. Four more sleeps and
our boys will be in our arms. I miss them so much.