Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Consulate Day - July 5, 2016

As of yesterday, we’ve had Marli for a week. It’s amazing what a week can do. She has been smiling, playing, running, talking, eating, squealing, giggling, fake-laughing, mimicking… Today she took off her shoes in the van and didn’t put them on in the room until much later. 
She still has moments that she calls for “Mama” and I get it. How could she not? When you’re scared or mad and you’re a kid, you call for your mom. Heck, even us adults need our mamas. She’s going through one of the most difficult moments of her life (not the most, but right up there) and she wants her Mama. But! In such a short time, she is already giving me that role. She’s been calling me “Mammy” for a few months. I guess maybe her foster sister taught her that and every time we’d video-chat, she’d shout “Mammy” as soon as she saw me. From day one together, she referred to me as “Mammy”. So she’d say: “Mammy… (blah blah blah…) Mama yuen.” Which I’ve understood that she’s telling me she wants to go to her Mama. If she wants something to eat, she’ll tel me: “Mammy, blah blah blah…” and point at whatever. However… today there was a moment that she went to talk to me and she said “Mama” instead of “Mammy”. She immediately caught herself then said “Mammy”. Seems to me like she’s inadvertently giving me the role of Mother. 

Here are a few things we know about this little Ladybug:

She’s teeny tiny. 
She’s smart. Very smart.
She’s stubborn/ Strong-willed

I knew she was small. But when we video-chatted and saw videos and photos, she seemed bigger. When we looked at her for the first time in person, we were kind of take aback and her tininess. But we’re getting used to her and now she doesn’t seem as small anymore. 
Girlfriend got mad skills. She knows Mandarin, Cantonese and her local dialect. She’s repeating English words and knows a few of them already. For example, a few days ago, I was saying something about shoes. She reached down and touched her shoes. She tells me when she wants to eat, drink, go to the bathroom in her own way, but we’re understanding each other. She uses sentences appropriately in her languages. She’ll start talking to me by addressing me “Mammy… “ 
She’s stubborn/strong willed – she will not eat or drink something if she doesn’t want to. She’ll definitely be feisty and give a little feisty ‘tude to let you know she means business. She is opinionated. Today I showed her what I was going to put on her later, she immediately said “no” and shoved it away. I wanted to try it on her to see how it fits and she wanted no part of it. She was just fine with her undershirt and tights though. But if you push a bit and let her know you really are going to do something then she’ll comply almost like saying: “I’ll just pick my battles.” ☺ 
Marli is really funny. She’ll do something to see if she can make you laugh. Also, if we start laughing, she’ll put her hand on her mouth and laugh the fakest laugh. It’s hilarious. And, she’s sweet. Or, she’s learning to be. She pinches Mila with a smile on her face. So we’re teaching her that it’s not cool and also to be empathetic. So we do lots of caressing on the ouchies and Daddy grabs her hands and rubs them on his face. I know it’s a cultural thing. The Chinese are not very affectionate. So she’s not used to all the cutesy stuff. We’re very intentional with that. We exaggerate our greetings and our farewells, our good nights. She’s a sponge. She’s picking lots up. 

Today was our Consulate Appointment. It’s the culmination of 2 years of hard work and paper-chasing.  We woke-up super early after a late night. Marli and Mila had a hard time getting up. After shower and breakfast, we rushed downstairs to our waiting driver at 7:30. We met Lee, our guide at the medical building. Another two families were there, including our friends Mandy and Jason with their beautiful babies. They were dressed up so nice. It’s really nice seeing familiar faces. The other family had a little girl and a boy about Mila’s age and they were adopting a little boy. He was wearing a superhero shirt. That he is indeed! They older boy and Mila hit it off and they were talking the whole time. We walked over to the Consulate building where there were already so many people waiting. Adopting families go to a separate floor. The building was really beautiful. Other families showed up and we began. We took numbers and also gathered as a group to take the oath on behalf of our children. It was simple or at least it was done as simple as possible for the sake of saving time. Then we were called each family separately and were asked a couple of questions including if we know the contents of the medical report and if we agree with it. After the three families from our agency were done, we all headed back to the medical building. Our driver came, and we were on our way back to the hotel. We relaxed a bit and I even took a little nap. Not really, more like shut my eyes for a bit. Then we decided to go walk the malls and have something to eat. We went to this really cool underground mall. REALLY COOL. There are art installations everywhere you look. We took a tons of pictures. We finally sat and ate lunch at Lazy Beer. It’s sort of like a pub. It was totally empty and wouldn’t be our first choice, but nothing else was appealing to us. Afterwards, we walked back, stopped at Starbucks inside Sheraton and ordered a latte for me and a muffin for Mila which she (kind of ) shared with her sister. We have to work on sharing around here.
I took my coffee to the hotel so I can drink in peace. Hahah! Little Miss Thing demanded I give her some (lots) of my coffee. I didn’t mind her getting some foam, but she really wanted to chug my very warm, almost hot coffee. She’s used to drinking hot tea, so she knows just what to do with hot drinks. After some playing around, baths and dinner, I put her in the carrier and she fell asleep. Good night.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Shamian Island July 3, 2016

Today's plan: Shamian Island.