What the heck are you people in the US (and elsewhere?) doing?!?! Praying, saying the Rosary, wishing on a star, performing an exorcism?
Being a superstitious Italian lady, for fear of jinxing us, I am not going to make any statements about E getting better or turning points or any of that. Being an educated adoptive parent, I'm not going to assume that the grieving and pain has stopped. But something is different. Something is happening that has allowed us to stop holding our breath.
Re-entry is always bumpy for E. When she wakes up, she's scared and confused. But, who wouldn't be, given her situation? Today was no different. The grumpies lasted through breakfast, until we took the little princess out in her chariot. Girlfriend LOVES the stroller and being OUT. She also loves the five-story mall that our hotel is attached to. We pushed her around for a few hours, played with her, took her into stores, and she just takes it all in. She is extremely patient, and doesn't demand that we buy her things. She'll play with a toy, and when we tell her "all done" she's OK with moving on. We bought her a little push toy that she got a kick out of, and we let her ride one of the mall rides. We saw lots of smiles and giggles.
After the mall, it was time to embark on the massive re-packing project we had in order to leave Nanning. It was hard saying goodbye to the place where we first met our dear daughter, but we felt ready to move on. I think that because we met E in our hotel room, she associated the "ding" of the elevator and the actual room with being "kidnapped" by us. It was time to say goodbye.
Next was our adventure for E's passport and on to the airport. Our guide, Cindy, waited and waited and came to tell us that the passport was not going to be ready and would have to be sent to Guangzhou. A few minutes later we were sitting in traffic and Cindy got a phonecall saying the passport was ready! Like out of a movie, she jumped out the car into traffic and ran to get the passport! She came back with it in a flash and we were off for a crazy ride to the airport. If you haven't been to China then you have no idea how insane the driving is. There's no way to explain it, and we thougth about taking a video but the jerking motion and constant near-miss crashes would certainly make you barf on your laptop. We made the flight by the skin of our teeth, exacerbated by the fact that the gate was changed and we were in the wrong line and nearly went to Shanghai. Would have loved to see Shanghai, but the little detour would not have fit into our schedule on this trip!
E's first flight was largely uneventful. There were two other families with their adopted children on the flight, and at first I was so silly as to think that E was going to be the only one not to cry. No such luck. The others wailed the first half of the trip, E wailed the second. But, all in all, she did extremely well.
We met our guide, Helen, who IS THE BEST GUIDE IN ALL OF CHINA!!!! No kidding, she is awesome. She is such a natural at this. She was able to tell us that E calls for me (Mama) and that one of the phrases that she has been using a lot (sounds like "Aii-yanhh!!") means "Let's go" or "Hurry up already" or "What the heck are you slowpokes doing let's get going here!!!" This information meshes pretty well with our impression that E is a diva.
We checked in at the Holiday Inn Shifu (not like the Holiday Inn in the US at all) and decided to brave the drizzle and head out to the pedestrian walking street for dinner. It was bustling with people and all lit up beautifully. E wasn't fazed at all by the sounds or tight crowds. We headed to Papa John's for some pizza, which we found out E loves! Not so much for the pepperoni, though. It was great because E really started to warm up to P over our pizza dinner! Not surprising P would bond with his daughter over pizza...
Even though it was really late, we decided to stick with the routine and give E her bath. Little did we know that she was up for an all-night suds-fest, but it was so fun to see her happy and playful. We rounded it all out with a little toothbrushing, and nighty-night.
E is ONE. BRAVE. GIRL. The bravest I know. She's strong-willed, funny, gentle, patient, and simply adorable.
Thank you again to everyone for all of your well-wishes. Whatever you are doing...it seems to be working for now. We know that there is a long, long road ahead of us, and we are ready to take each and every step together, the 3 of us against the world. Our love to everyone, T + P + E