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Monday, January 25, 2010

Squeezed Dry

The past 48 hours have been so full of ups and downs I am becoming dizzy.

On Sunday we heard that there was a place nearby to do laundry that was cheaper than the hotel, so we loaded up our dirty clothes and made the trek with the girls in tow. 6 blocks of walking later we found it, but since we didn't want to wait until Wednesday to pick it up, it would have cost us $3 a shirt to have things cleaned. Granted, the hotel charged $2 for a pair of underwear, but it still was too expensive to get things done for the four of us. After the walk back to the hotel, we went back out to a market to find the clothing in sizes to fit all of us. At first Hope refused to agree to anything, so I bought the sizes and colors that I thought would work. Amanda was VERY clear on what she wanted!!! We found/God led us to a vendor's stall that had a younger girl selling shirts who spoke both Chinese and English. She got Hope to agree to one shirt, and when I encouraged her to buy another, the seller had the wits to tell Hope that the second one was free, so Hope readily agreed to another. When we got done haggling on the price, I had to run back and hug her neck and thank her! She got my daughter to be more compliant than I ever could!

After that we bought swimsuits at a local store for the girls and I to use the hotel pool, but Hope totally shut down. she wouldn't try anything on, she wouldn't choose a color, she wouldn't even look at the suits or at us. Amanda was overjoyed with the prospect of going swimming, so she is very excited about being able to use the new suit!

When we get back to the hotel Hope took a 2 hour nap. I figured that she needed it, and thought it would put her in a better mood. The evening went on without a big problem, Hope watched a movie we bought for her until about 11 PM, and slept in her clothes (again). 
Monday morning Dave went to work and the girls and I woke up reasonably late. From the first few moments of being awake, Hope set the tone for the morning. She was having an extreme-moody day, wouldn't hardly look at me, and moped around the room. Amanda was hopping on one foot around the room, so I was eager to get out to breakfast! A friend on mine invited us over to her house to spend the day, which I was excited to do because I never thought I would ever see her again, but also because Helen was born in Hong Kong (thus spoke Cantonese) but had married a Chinese man and now lives in Shanghai ( and spoke Mandarin). She would be my "translator" for both my girls! Unfortunately, Hope did NOT like the idea, and flatly refused to leave the hotel room. Bless her heart, Helen had sent her driver to our hotel, and while he sat downstairs waiting for us, Helen talked to Hope for AN HOUR trying to "convince" her to come out to her place. Thankfully, Hope agreed, probably because Helen said we could do laundry at her place and I needed her help carrying the laundry. When I found that out I grabbed what I could and headed out the door...I should have brought it all, but I did NOT want Hope to change her mind while I was grabbing the last of the laundry!

We spent the whole day with Helen. She conversed with both the girls; I found out more about Hope and her life in China than I had until this point, Hope seemed to enjoy talking to Helen and even Amanda was responsive and fairly respectful. Helen let the girls ride her boys' scooters, which was a first for both of them, but the girls had a blast! they must have scootered in front of the house for almost an hour! I heard about what God is doing in China with the ex-pat community and with the ayis, how her children are doing both in Canada (at Queens University) and in Shanghai, etc, etc. When we finally came home, I had really hoped that we were all in a good mood and the rebellious nature was left behind. I was WRONG!

This time David saw what I had described. Between flatly ignoring us to refusing to do what we requested, she was becoming more insolent by the moment. Amanda was bouncing off the walls, laughing at everything, (do you remember the movie "Gremlins"? I liken her to that...not when they become violent, mind you, but one step before.) but yet noticing Hopes reactions (or lack thereof) and would watch us wide-eyed to see what we would do. It feels like a circus here, and I am a tube of toothpaste that an elephant has stepped on...squeezed out and dry, but needing to do it all over again tomorrow...and the next day...and the next...for over another week in China! I feel like I may have more leverage in the US, but here I am stuck, trampled, clueless.

On a positive note, Amanda is bonding with me more and more. She reaches for my hand unprompted, when faced with a stranger talking to her or an unknown situation, she will hide behind me, and she is trying to please. As tiring as she can be, I know that it is a good thing!

Tonight is almost done--Amanda is sleeping next to me and Hope is in the bathroom ( and has been for the past 45 minutes...for someone who doesn't want to shower, she certainly seems to stay a long time!). Maybe tomorrow will be better. I have to hold on to that hope for my Hope.

Please pray for us.

All my best,



  1. Amy-

    I wish I had some advice for you but I just wanted to let you know that our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family.

    We had a difficult adjustment with one of our adoptions and you are right things just looked so much brighter once we got home. It all seemed so overwhelming when we were tired and missing the comforts of home. But I felt so much more ready to tackle things once I was home, had my family surrounding me, had the comforts of my own bed, could have a glass of water from the tap whenver I wanted, could cook in my kitchen, and could throw clothes in our washer and dryer. Sounds silly but my attitude greatly improved then. Hang in there... you'll be home soon. :)

    Thanks for keeping up the blog. I keep checking it, anxiously waiting to hear the next update. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to be in the shoes of a child when their world is completely turned upside down. Just know that there are so many people praying for your girls. And there is definitely power in prayer. I will continue praying for all of you!

    We will see you all in Guangzhou very soon. I can't wait to see you.


  2. Hi Amy,

    I'm a member of Loving China's Children, and I've been following your blog faithfully. Thank you so much for the update. It helps us know how to pray. I haven't adopted yet, so I can't offer any advice. But from what I've heard from others, this is normal and will subside in time. Your faithfulness is inspiring to all of us, and is so crucial in these first days/weeks.

    I do know that God LOVES you and will be your comforter. And He LOVES your new daughters. He knows what Hope is going through and, through you, He will comfort her.

    My parents divorced when I was 2, and my Mom remarried. When I met my birth father I was in my 20's with my first child. I will say that I had such strong, conflicting emotions. I was so happy to finally get to know him, but I was hurt and angry inside, too. It took a lot of patience and love on his part, but we are very close now. I know the situation is very different from Hope's, but I'm sure she also has mixed feelings. Hormones don't help, either. She's most likely happy and relieved to have a family, but angry and hurt that having a family means leaving behind her "comfort zone", her friends, her language, etc. Time does heal most wounds. I am praying for you and your family!

    Cast your cares on the LORD
    and He will sustain you;
    He will never let the righteous fall.
    Psalm 55:2


  3. Praying very hard for all of you. Just glad to see another post to know how it all is going.
    Blessings Abound,

  4. Hi Amy:

    Oh Wow do you guys need to get home! It will be easier here, as you have more control of the situation.

    I wouldn't worry about sleeping in her cloths, that's quite normal for them. Both Lily and Winnie slept in their clothes in Taiwan. Lily thought PJs were the funniest thing ever! When Winnie came to live with us this summer and I told her she would need pajamas for winter, she too thought this was funny. Now she loves them!

    The only advice I have for you is that you can't take away Hope's grief. All you can do is sit with her through it. I don't think you even need to hug her, that might be too much for her. Maybe just sit with her and let her cry, cry with her. I don't really know, but just trying to remember all the suggestions given to me before I left by my social worker. How about singing? Maybe when both of you are overcome with grief and overwhelming feelings of loss, maybe singing praises to God will lift you both up? Or possibly make the situation worse? Lily knew Jesus loves me in Chinese, maybe she does too?

    Praying for you here in Zeeland! Let God pick you up, guide you, comfort all of you!


  5. Hi Amy ~

    I've been following your blog and thinking and praying for you all often:) Hang in there sweet girl ~ God has brought you to these two amazing girls and He will guide you and get you through each day:) I have a picture in my kitchen and it reads "don't worry about tomorrow because God is already there".

    We are keeping you in our prayers and resting in the fact that God is holding you and your entire family in his loving arms:)


  6. From a mom of a teen adopted from China at age 13 1/2 years- HANG in there!! She is hurting and putting up a front under that nasty front is a hurting little girl. Picture her at 3 if it helps and just let a TON of things slide for now. It was almost funny to watch our girl as we entered the US, she got closer and closer to me- you are her steady, unending MOM, it WILL come.
    Prayers for you for sure- they don't look so cute that big and behaving so poorly:(
    Pass her testing-- stick to her through it all, she'll be soooo worth it.