We have had two great nights of sleep in a row – or I should say that Joya has because I am still waking up at 4:30 in the morning with nothing to do but stare at the walls or get on my iPad and read what you all have to say to me. She has been sleeping in her crib without a fuss, but I suppose it helps that she has fallen asleep on her Baba’s chest at dinner each night and not even made it into her jammies because Baba just laid her in her crib for the night.
Today was a really good day overall. I will admit that I’m feeling a bit down in the dumps about a combination of things. Joya had moments when she let me hold her or comfort her today, and overall, she is making bits of progress every day. But the afternoon was filled with wailing and grieving. We figured out that her red photo book that was such a comfort to her on her first full day with us, has become a trigger to her for remembering why she is with us and brings long periods of sobbing and crying for her Mama. We have changed how we refer to me as “Mommy” so that she doesn’t feel we are replacing her sweet Mama who did such a good job loving her.
The other thing bringing me down is the state of my boys’ behavior at home. I was hoping that they would rise to the occasion and really shine while we are gone, but that does not seem to be the case and each time we have talked to them on the computer, there is chaos, arguing, and stories of disobedience – tonight I just walked away from our conversation with them because I couldn’t do anything about what is happening at home. We all just have to suck it up and plan on recalibrating when we are home next week. I know this trip is hard on them as well, but I am just ready to have all my chicks in one nest.
This morning we had breakfast here at the hotel buffet with our new Nashville friends Jill and Scott and their new daughter Hannah. My impression is that Hannah is having an even rougher time than Joya and Jill is the one carrying the weight of the slow transition. We have been sharing our struggles over the last few days and gaining comfort from each other’s encouragement. The first time my feelings were hurt over Joya’s rejection of me was not a time when she drew close to Kenyon, but when Jill walked in our room and Joya went running to her and cried to be picked up. That was hard. She prefers a woman who is a complete stranger over me.
Jill was telling us this morning how she has rarely seen her husband cry over the course of their 16 years of marriage, and how he has been a complete rock through this tough time even when she has broken down and spilled her emotions through tears. However, this morning she heard him sobbing in the shower, and how it was such a relief to see him react emotionally to the tough task of helping Hannah accept their love.
The sweetest thing occurred when Scott added that he just couldn’t hold the tears back anymore because this interesting mix of emotions is like nothing he has ever experienced – he and Kenyon started tearing up together right there at the breakfast table. The best they could do was nod in agreement with each other while Jill and I felt our mouths hit the floor watching that unfold. It was a very sweet moment.
I sure do love my man.
Tracy picked us up at 9 and we took a taxi to a very beautiful and famous Buddhist temple. The weather was beautiful, and although we are wearing coats in the pictures, it really isn’t cold here. We spent the morning touring the temple where there are several enormous halls with Buddhist gods sculpted and put on display. The grounds of the complex were immaculate. It is in the middle of the city, yet it is quiet and peaceful and smells of incense. There are huge fish and turtles in the ponds and we all enjoyed watching them. Joya only wanted Kenyon for the majority of the time, but his back started to really hurt him, so I bribed her with snacks and got her to sit on my hip in my sling for about 30 minutes.
We left the temple and went to a local (hole in the wall) dumpling restaurant. Now, the way to eat Chinese food in China is to have a Chinese person order for you. Our lunch was DELICIOUS!!! We had two different types of dumplings and two vegetable dishes and Joya had congee. Tracy showed us how to use all the sauces and tutored Kenyon on his chopstick skills. It was definitely our favorite meal yet. Kenyon said it topped the Pizza Hut meal we had the night before :-)
Each Chinese province is famous for one thing in particular, and Fujian is known for tea. Tracy took us to a traditional tea room to enjoy a tea ceremony where we could taste different types of teas. Rich with tradition and ritual, the ceremony was wonderful. We learned how to hold the small teacup and how to sip each kind of tea uniquely. Our little parrot was so well behaved throughout the entire demonstration and when she got a sip of tea, she would make the noise that she heard us make while drinking it. She also said an unsolicited Mandarin “Thank you” to our tea hostess, which impressed us all.
After our tea tasting and purchasing, we went back to the hotel with good intentions for naptime, but it really turned into a couple hours of crying before she went to sleep.
After her nap on Baba’s chest, we went for a walk in the park with Jill and Scott and then out to dinner where Joya ate and ate and ate and then turned toward Baba and decidedly checked out into a near slumber.
I know you are all going to encourage me to hang in there and that you are praying for her to love me. Don’t worry, I know she will. I know this time is necessary to detach from her past and attach to her future, and I am prepared for that. I still adore her just like I adore my boys even though they are being knuckleheads at home right now. The messiness of it all is just an uncomfortable place to be.
Tracy told us that Joya’s foster sister has called her twice since Sunday’s hand off meeting to check whether Joya is doing okay. That level of concern and care just continues to impress us and clarifies what a treasure she was and still is to them. I can’t even imagine their pain tonight.
Here are some of our best photos from our day in no particular order because blogging on the iPad sucks.