China was great! We were amazed at all the wonderful people we met and how gracious they treated us. Sophie was like a celebrity there, and people kept stopping us and asking if they could take pictures of her. Most of the time she was happy to comply, but it got a bit old by the end of the trip when we were just ready to be home!
Monday August 12th was Gotcha Day. The nannies from Lily's orphanage brought her to us dressed to the nines!
It was obvious when we visited her orphanage on the previous Friday that Lily was very loved by her caregivers. We felt really bad on Gotcha Day as one of them ran from the room sobbing as she left Lily with us. The 13th was considered Adoption Day, the day when the adoption is actually official. Sadly, one of the adoptive families we met in China (not from our agency) refused their daughter before their Adoption Day and the little girl was returned to her orphanage.
For the rest of our time in China, we were busy with lots of paperwork, appointments, and basically starting the bonding and attachment process. It was extremely hot while we were in Zhengzhou (like record heat for them, 110 degree heat index), so it really limited the activities we could do with the girls outside. Once in Guangzhou, the heat was a little bit less and we were able to go on more outings, like to the local zoo.
We quickly found out that Lily is a very caring and nurturing little gal. She helped with the babies and kids that had mobility problems at her orphanage, and it was very apparent that she was used to doing a lot of things that 2-year-olds normally don't know how to do. She is still pretty independent, but is getting a lot better at letting us do more things for her. She is also extremely smart, and it doesn't take her long to figure things out for herself. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes not so much!
We finally arrived home a little past midnight on Saturday 8/24 after traveling around 30 hours. While we were extremely happy to be home, Lily was in totally foreign surroundings and was very, very scared. It has taken most of this past week to help her feel more comfortable in her new home. She is still scared of our dogs, but is getting braver on that front and actually fed our pug a Cheerio this morning before running back to her Dad's safe arms! She loves all the kids, especially Keira and Sophie. She is starting to feel comfortable enough here that she will actually play in her room with the girls without one of us being in the room with them.
There have been some sleep issues, but those are getting better. She still won't go to sleep without me being in the room pretending to sleep. That has been kind of frustrating. One night for bedtime, it took an hour and a half before I could duck out of the room. The past few nights have taken very much less time. Naptime has been a bit easier, though she hasn't been sleeping very long for naps, certainly not as much as she needs to!
We had heard that it is pretty tough when you bring your new child home, and believe me, that is the truth. The bonding and attaching process is hard, not only for the child, but for the parents. It really does take time to build all of that up, and it gets frustrating sometimes. It doesn't help when you're all having major jet lag and there is a language barrier, either! Some struggles we know have been because she isn't understanding what we're trying to do and vice versa. We can't use Google Translate to figure out what she's trying to tell us because of her open palate and unclear speech, so we kind of have to guess on a lot of things.
There has also been a whole lot more sibling rivalry than we ever expected on Sophie's part. We figured there would be some, but not to the degree it has been. Things are a little bit better and Lily absolutely loves her "Moshie," as she calls Sophie, but Sophie still has a really hard time sharing her things all the time, or us for that matter. She still regresses sometimes in her behavior and will act little again, so we have to remind her that she is big. That has been something that has been harder to deal with than anticipated, and it makes me sad that Sophie would feel that way. Everyone says that time will help with that.
We started Lily's medical workup this past week. Our pediatrician is ordering a ton of lab work and studies in anticipation of Lily's upcoming appointment at the Riley Hospital International Adoption Clinic on September 11. She will also see a pediatric cardiologist to help figure out the extent of her heart problem. She doesn't have a heart murmur, but we have picked up a definite arrhythmia at times. It will be interesting to see what is going on there. Her heart problem is what caused doctors in China to not repair her palate, so hopefully soon we will have some answers on the cardiac front and can pursue palate repair for her.
Well, I think that's it in a nutshell for now. It has taken me a few hours to actually get this typed out as she woke up shortly after I started typing!