There is so much to cover in just the few days that we've been here: China, Wuhan, adoption and, of course, our daughter.
CHINA / WUHAN - Our guide tells us that the Chinese have a saying: "If you want a fashionable address, go to Paris. If you want a nice house, go to the States. If you want to eat well, go to China." There is definitely something in this as the food I've eaten so far has ranged from the "that tastes pretty good" to the "I'm not sharing!"
--- As previously noted, the air is unbelievably bad. We had to stop the older children in our group trying to catch raindrops in their mouths while we were out yesterday. How even a blade of grass can survive here is a miracle.
--- NEVER play "chicken" with a Wuhan driver, because what we consider dangerous driving is a regular commute for them! I may drop a line to Junior Johnson when I get back, as NASCAR would be as natural for these folks as swimming is for Hawaiians.
--- The people we've met have been quite nice and helpful. My wife made eye contact with a little girl at the Carre Four and fell into easy conversation with the mother and grandmother. Nice people.
--- The Yellow Crane Tower is worth a visit - even a day - in Wuhan. Lovely grounds and gardens. Apparently, there's a legend associated with it: a famous poet came to the site and wrote about its beauty (it overlooks the Yangtze River... or would do if one could see more than a few hundred yards). Many years later, another poet came and, similarly moved, began his own ode. People showed him the first author's work. He read it and, realizing that his predecessor had said all that he himself felt, laid down his brush. This famous act of humility and modesty is marked by a monument on the grounds.
ORPHANAGE - We went. It was a kick in the gut. I suppose that, as such places go, it is quite modern and well-equipped, with facilities for physical therapy and care for very sick / disabled children. The children we saw looked well-dressed, well-fed and happy. And yet... There is one little girl, about ten years old, who is considered too sick to be placed for adoption (very serious heart condition that the authorities fear would make air travel a death sentence). She is lovely and bright. And sad. What family wouldn't be blessed with such a daughter? Why does God allow this???
--- My wife was able to get some photos and video of a little boy whose family in America iscwaiting to bring him home. She made them very happy.
--- We were scolded for not having Caroline in pants, jacket and socks despite the fact that all of us were wringing with sweat. We were also admonished to keep her bundled up at night, A/C apparently being considered bad for a child's health. Yes, the people at the orphanage care very, very much about the children.
CAROLINE - I've gone from thinking about gradvschool to thinking about the next thirty minutes! She still cries, but last night was pretty good. She sat on my lap while we ate: she likes french fries. She LOVES fish. Sometimes, she feeds us. A smile is like Christmas. She's so beautiful. When she's upset, carrying her up and down the room helps calm her down. We think that she was definitely the baby in the house as she likes (expects?) to be carried everywhere.
--- We learned that being spoon-fed liquids is a trick of her foster mother's to help with healing the cleft lip repair. Seems to have worked as both my daughter and her foster sister have hardly-noticable repairs.
--- She likes to mimic me, whether it's facial expressions, noises or banging cups together. Guess I'm really going to have to watch my mouth!
--- Getting her down for the night is not easy: if she's not completely out cold, she'll have a meltdown when she realizes that she's in the crib. I collect that not wanting to go to bed is normal for children, so I don't fret.
--- We think it will be only a matter of weeks if not days before she's walking. Then we'll have to be on our toes!
--- Despite her height (and she is nearly as tall as the other adoptees in our group), she's got tiny feet and hands.