One Less Orphan

Today Charlotte Mae is legally no longer an orphan!! We went back to the Civil Affairs office to complete the standard paperwork. We met with the notary who asked us some questions to complete the adoption. It was hard to understand his broken English, but three times he questioned us about why we wanted to adopt when we have six “of our own” children. It was a little nerve-wracking as he continued to doubt our motives and was completely baffled by our situation. We’ve gotten used to being asked the question, but not by authorities who have the right to not allow us to leave with her! The only answer we could give him was that we love children and she needed a family to love her. He stamped our documents and sent us on our way, so I guess that was enough to convince him! The deeper answer to that question is that we are Christ-followers and the Bible instructs us to care for the orphan and defend the Fatherless. For our family, we were called to do this through adopting a child. I don’t think that answer would have gone over so well!

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Ready for the day- this is before finding her pink socks and leopard shoes from the suitcase to go with…

 

Our first order of business after the legal adoption was a stop to eat at McDonald’s because what better way to become truly American!

 

 

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“I’m lovin’ it”…or not.

Eating a meal with her is no small task. She is messy. But, the problem is that she doesn’t want to be. She just isn’t coordinated enough to make the food into her mouth and she wants to “help” feed herself. She is extremely concerned about crumbs. If the tiniest, minuscule bit of a crumb drops on her or on the floor she grunts and points at it for you to pick it up. Most of the meal is spent cleaning up after each bite she tries to take. However, she prefers to hold the food and not eat most of it, so she’s more focused on me eating and watching to see I don’t drop any crumbs on her. I hope she’s this neat and tidy at home because my other kids could care less if they make a mess and destroy the house!

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We took a walk through the beautiful gardens outside our hotel, too. It was a peaceful escape from the craziness of the city surrounding us.

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She was very interested in the fish in the water.

We’ve definitely begun to see Charlotte’s personality surface from her state of shock she was in yesterday. She still has times where she completely shuts down and grinds her teeth in fear, but there have been more smiles, laughter and interactions with us today! She has bonded much more closely with me thoughout the day and it’s actually causing her to be more fearful of when Joey or Gaige get close to her or even come into the room. She loves them from a distance and will give them big smiles, but as soon as they try to get close to her or to me when I’m holding her, she starts whimpering and begins to cry. This is a little girl who has absolutely no concept of a family and how two parents work together to care for their children, so it’s understandable. The only women in her life have left her, and I think she fears more that I am going to leave her than Joey or Gaige taking her.

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Daddy gets peek-a-boo smiles!

The most absolutely amazing thing happened today. Charlotte likes to initiate little games to play and things to do to have you imitate and go back and forth (for example, tapping her fingers on the table two times, then we go back and forth- she is quite silly sometimes!). Today she pointed to me and I said, “mama”. Then, she pointed to herself and I told her “Charlotte, “so-WAH” (her Chinese name is pronounced this way and we’ve been using them interchangeably to teach her her new name). She pointed back to me and said, “ma ma” clear as a bell!!! Not just once, not twice, but THREE TIMES she said MAMA! And, she was calling me mama, not just as a random word, but she knows who I am!! I had no idea this was even a possibility to happen this soon. Totally blown away. Joey and Gaige can both vouch for this as they were in the next room and heard her say it. Of course, when we got out the video camera and tried to record her doing it again, she refused, but hey, she’s two.

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Happy with Mama

 

Today has been a day full of “firsts” Tonight was her first bath! She came to us clean and we didn’t want to traumatize her in the first 24 hours by sticking her in the bath, so tonight we thought she was well-attached enough to give it a try. We took it slow getting in and I sat in the big tub while she sat near me in the blow up bathtub we brought with us. She LOVES the bath! She splashed and played with the cups and laughed the whole time! As soon as daddy came into the room to take a pic, though, she sobered up and wouldn’t smile, but I tell you no lies!

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Did I authorize a photo? No.

We went for dinner tonight at an Irish pub- yes, an Irish pub in China. It was a nice break because it was the most authentically correct restaurant we have been to here. We loved this sign on the wall- note the prayer for wives and for husbands toward the bottom.

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Of course, Joey would never even notice another woman…

I also forgot to mention my first encounter with a squatty potty. This is quite a difficult task with a 25 pound toddler in a carrier on your chest, a belt to un-do, a fanny pack (yes, a fanny-pack…no comments, please) and no toilet paper. That’s enough about that!

 

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Ridges for extra grip!