Today we were up at the crack of dawn, I guess literally because we heard roosters crowing outside of our window. E was up early, too, playing catch with Baba with the very same light-up balls we brought here when we met her, that she wouldn't even look at, never mind pick up.
We hit the yummy breakfast buffet and watched E slurp more noodles again. Last time, we brought her plates and plates and plates of food that she'd just look at. For you thal people out there, we brought her Exjade with us, and for whatever reason, it seems to go down better in the drinkable yogurt here than at home.
We headed out in the humidity (I can't tell you how frizzy my hair is! Well, I don't have to, you can see it in the pics!) and walked to Shamian. I've read that lots of families find the island boring now, but we love it. We love the walk to get there through the bustle of the pet and spice markets, and we love the quiet and beauty once we get to the island. We didn't see one other Caucasian family there today, but it was teeming with Asian families. We went back to our favorite shops and scoped out the shoes we'll buy for the girls and some artwork we'll bring back. We chatted up some of the shop owners whom we met and who were so kind to us last time.
Again, I can't really put into words the feelings we had walking Shamian and the city with E, chatting, laughing, pointing, and generally having a blast. We walked by a spot where we remembered chatting with the Lillie family, where little Emma was trying to play with our E, and E just wouldn't budge. We went to the little playground where we tried unsuccessfully to let E play last year. She had no interest then. This time, we had to bribe her to get back in the stroller. We went to the famous children's statues where we never got a picture last year because E was grieving so badly. We got that picture and a zillion others today.
We all took a little snooze this afternoon, then we headed to a shopping mall where we found some awesome Chinese style bakeries, candy stores, and a supermarket. We love wandering the places where non-tourists shop and go about their daily lives. We got some provisions and headed back. After a few snacks in the Lounge, (cheese and olives for E again!), we went to Tao Tao Ju for noodles and bbq pork buns. Watching E eat the same noodles she did last year, but this time with a smile, was great.
I know that adoption is never, ever supposed to be about the parents. Only the child. And obviously, in many ways, this day was about P and me. E doesn't really remember being here (we've asked) so she doesn't know how amazing it is to see this transformation. But, for us, this has been so healing. It's given us strength, knowing that it's hard--harder than anything either of us has experienced--but that it gets better. It really does. It's given us confidence in our ability to parent and love a child through something more traumatic than many of us will ever experience. Sure, E did this, but she did it with our help, our love, our guidance, and our promise to her that we will love her for ever and ever, no matter what. I can't believe what a difference love makes.
So now, it's time to turn that strength, that love, that empowerment towards R. I said to P today, let's shake off the jet lag, let's stand strong, and dig deep. He asked me to stay focused, to promise to act as a team, and to try to keep my emotions in check when things get hard.
Tomorrow we leave to meet our second daughter at 2pm. We've got documents to copy, goodies to pack, gift bags to put together, and--of course--those balloons to blow up before then. You know it wouldn't be a T and P Gotcha Day without those balloons lolling around on the floor...
|Near some of our favorite island shops.|
|Not sure who that guy is.|
|E loving the playground!|
|We couldn't get this photo last year...|
|...We got about 10 this year!|
|Some snacks we picked up at the supermarket.|
|Awesome authentic Chinese bakery.|
|Our last dinner as a trio. Tomorrow, quartet.|