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Friday, January 29, 2010

Drawing Near

Amanda had her first experience in a swimming pool! She was excited about the concept from the point of buying swimsuits, and today we “took the plunge!” Her eyes were wide and she clung tightly, but she followed me into the water on her own accord and allowed me to walk her around the pool both on her stomach AND on her back. She even allowed me to put her head onto the water as she looked at the ceiling. We played with balls and kickboards until she had such a shiver from the water temperature that I decided it was better to end on a good note than to push it farther. Before we exited the water I did have Amanda stand alone in the chest-deep water and walk around. Just as long as she was walking TOWARDS me, she was fine! Just as we finished showering, another family with young children came. I offered for us to go back into the pool, which Amanda considered, until she saw them do cannon balls into the water. Then it was time to go! She may trust me, but not enough to submerge her fully!!! I must admit, it felt good not only to hold her close, but also for her to trust me enough to enter the water. I have been told that many Chinese never submerge themselves—in pools, lakes, or otherwise. A co-worker of Dave’s said that his Chinese wife just submerged her face below the water’s surface for the first time last year! Even in the shower she does NOT like having the water on her face. And Amanda trusted me fully. I feel honored.
Later, we went to the airport. Dave had been nervous for days about this trip, and now he was living his fears. After having our checked luggage checked (we had a butterfly magnet in it that Amanda had painted!) we were denied access to the plane at the security checkpoint. They said that we needed their passports. We told them that we had their adoption paperwork (which we used for both flights until this point) and a copy of their passports (that were waiting for us in Guangzhou), AND we had called our guide to tell them in Chinese, but nothing worked. Dave’s fears were becoming reality. We were told that we had to go to a police station to get a temporary travel permit, but there was NO WAY we were going to be able to leave and return in time for the flight! It turns out that we needed to find a police station in the basement, but we needed to leave NOW. Dave was fluctuating between being red in the face to having the blood drain away, leaving him rather pale, and when I heard that they told us to go to a police station, my stomach dropped through the floor. It was then that I heard God’s voice in my heart: “Watch.” In an instant I knew that I had to choose, and since I was the one to hear His voice, my heart quieted. As Dave strode away from the counter not knowing what to do, I couldn’t help but smile, because God was going to have to show Himself BIG to get us out of this mess!
Within 15 seconds, a Chinese man stepped out of the security line and had asked us if we needed help. We gave him the short-answer details, and he instantly told us where we needed to go and what to do. He also said that since he had time before his flight, he would be happy to walk with us. For the next 20 minutes, he acted as our translator and guide. Even at the police station, when it didn’t look like they would grant us our temp. passports, he pleaded on our behalf. $10 later, we had the appropriate paperwork (that each guide in the other provinces should have given to us) and we were back in the security line.
“Richard” that works for Teledyne was our angel for the day! Dave was in tears after we parted ways; God again showed Himself faithful for guiding our paths. I am so thankful that this time I was able to trust Him…I really hope I can remember for the next wave that comes! I am also thankful that HE simply told me to “watch”, otherwise I might have missed His hand. Lord, I stand in AWE of you!
Side note, Richard mentioned that he and his wife have been considering adopting a child. They had one 10 yr old son, and had considered adoption as a way of having another. I hope that God will use us for his journey of adoption!
All my best,

My Heart Broke

Today we had our medical appointment in Guangzhou. We showed up at the hospital a few minutes early; our guide was more than a few minutes late. By this time the girls had heard several children scream in pain from the immunizations that were given, so they were on edge.
We found out that Amanda’s vision is not great and she may need glasses. I say “may” because their testing was inconclusive, and no matter what strength of lens they put in her glasses, she couldn’t do any better than when she was looking at the chart without glasses. Unfortunately, they either said or did something to scare or embarrass her, or just the stress of being in the hospital for so long was wearing on her, and she started to cry—hard. I spoke to the guide and told her that I wanted the testing to stop, that we would have her vision tested in the states. She translated, and the doctors said that they needed to continue to test to find out what her vision was to know what to write down. I riled, and told them it didn’t make any difference what they did to her eyes, it didn’t improve the vision at all, and they were only making her cry so she couldn’t see through the tears. I told them to write ANYTHING down, I didn’t care; I was taking my daughter. I fully expected backlash—but it didn’t come.
The immunizations were awful. Each girl needed 4 plus a TB test. Hope needed to get a Hep B shot, even though she sero-converted. When I questioned our guide, she agreed with me, but shrugged her shoulders. That was one battle she wasn’t willing to fight. Amanda cried horribly, and was red eyed for quite some time. Hope did ok, very little emotion.
Once we were released (two hours after we arrived) we went out to lunch at Lucy’s and then walked down by the water front. We went back to the hotel room and the girls watched some Chinese movie we bought for a few hours. Dave and I were getting stir-crazy, so we thought we would all go walk around and see what was in the area. Amanda had a melt-down! She was shaking and crying uncontrollably. We tried to get Hope to tell her that we weren’t going to the doctor’s again, but she wouldn’t. (she is selective about what she will obey) We got a person at the hotel’s front desk to tell Amanda that we were going to just walk around, but NO doctors, but Amanda wasn’t listening anymore. Customer service got involved, took us back to their office, consoled and tried to explain to Mandy that all was well, but she wouldn’t, couldn’t calm down. Finally we just went out of the hotel carrying a crying girl. First stop: Mc D’s for an ice cream cone. We shopped around for a new pair of pants for Amanda since she doesn’t have a pair that really fits, but the shops were way too expensive there. We bought some candied fruit on a stick for Mandy, walked in circles for a while, and finally found a cheap, back-alley place for dinner. So far, we are all doing well—no intestinal problems! Right about the time we got a table for dinner Amanda settled back to her impish ways. On the walk home, she was in full swing of attention seeking behavior! Even through the worst of her melt-down, she still held on to me, and her grip strengthened as she realized that we really weren’t going back for more shots.
I dread our return trip on Saturday to get their TB shot analyzed.
I am so angry with our politicians. I had contacted them repetitively months before coming about this silly Hague law. These children are treated like livestock—and livestock are not treated well in China! It was MANDATED that they get the flu vaccine, Hep B vaccination when none is needed, and all with questionable timing and viability of the vaccines used. Once we return home we will have blood titers drawn to find out what is good and what needs to be redone. I would love for our politicians to take their child or grandchild and put them through what my kids went through today. Perhaps something would be done for these children who have no voice and no rights at this point. Perhaps.
Enough soap box—we are all tucked in for the day.
Until tomorrow,
All my best,