Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


...she's asleep and I'm not!  It's certainly been a long time since I've written.  Oh, only four weeks?  Well, we've lived enough life in those weeks that it feels like four months!  It is so hard for me to believe that Hayden Jingshu has only been with us for seven weeks.  I feel like I've known her for a very long time.  Every day is SO full.  In fact, nearly every day I think about blogging but by the time we get through the day and everyone is asleep, I am so tired that there is no way I could write anything you'd want to read.

So, what has happened in the last four weeks?  Where do I start?  Jingshu seems to love her new family.  All of us, not just some of us.  It only took about a week after we got home for her to decide that I'm not so bad, after all.  It might have helped that Darrell got sick and was in bed with a fever for four days!  He wasn't available and the other kids quickly resumed their normal social lives.  That means she was stuck with me.  That was a pretty rough week, but I'm thankful for the outcome. It took another couple of weeks for her to learn how groovy Logan is.  And that was VERY hard on him.  One day in the second week after we got home he decided he was DONE with her.  Or at least he wished he could be.  I told him that I understood how he felt and that he had a choice to emotionally "walk away" from her or keep trying.  He was ready to walk away.  I also told him that if he truly didn't care for her, it wouldn't matter to him how she felt.  The part I knew was that this love we have for her is not of our own making.  It is love from the Father.  So, even when he tried to "walk away," he couldn't.  Thankfully!  She now enjoys going to the pool with him, playing Legos with him, and giving him lots of hugs and kisses. 

She is learning English at a rate that is flat out scary!  She understands probably 80% of everything we say and speaks to us in English most of the time.  When she is very excited or angry she speaks in Mandarin.  I'm going to miss hearing that!  (Well, not the mad part, but the Mandarin.)  She says something new every single day! A few days ago, she needed to get past Parker and said, "Watch out, Parker!"  When she opens the pantry or refrigerator she says, "Let's see..."  Last night she came out with, "Close your eyes!"  One of my favorites is "...SO much!"  as in, "Thank you SO much," or "I love you SO much!"  I still watch her search for words, though.  Tonight we were video chatting with Parker on the computer and she said everything she could think of and kept searching for more words.  (BTW, the whole Parker-moving-to-college story is a blog post of its own, coming very soon.)

Because we knew she was not familiar with any church, much less a mega-church where she is a "celebrity," Darrell thought of several ways to slowly introduce her to the building and the experience.  It started with lunch with the Barnards in the FSM space, followed later in the week by a play date on the playgrounds.  Then, so that the music and the volume of the music wouldn't be a shock, Darrell took her to rehearsal.  Finally, we felt she might be ready.  The first Sunday that we went to church with her Darrell was the service pastor in the Worship Center, so he talked a little bit about our trip and showed a couple of pictures of Hayden Jingshu and our family in China.  Jingshu was so excited to see HER DADDY up on stage!  And then to see HERSELF up on the B I G screens was very thrilling!  The next week Darrell led worship in the Chapel.  She was amazed when she heard him play piano and sing; and then, he told the Chapel crowd about our trip and showed pictures of her and our family.  The third week, the sermon was all about adoption (with Brandon bringing the message only one week after returning home from his own 8000 Miles to Love journey)  and Darrell followed that by singing Steven Curtis Chapman's When Love Takes You In with pictures from both the Barnards' and Adcocks' trips to China.  I'm pretty sure Hayden Jingshu thinks church is all about her!  We'll see how it goes next week when there is no mention or pictures of her!

We've also started school.  Homeschool took on a new look at our house this year.  Even before we knew Hayden Jingshu was coming home, Darrell and I decided that McKenna and Logan would go to a school that meets once a week and I would teach at the same school.  We never felt led to change the plan, even when we figured out that this school would start less than two weeks after we arrived home from China.  A few days before school started, we asked a translator to explain to Jingshu that Mommy, McKenna and Logan would be going to school and that she could go, too, and that Daddy would go and stay with her for the whole day.  Or, she and Daddy could just stay home.  She wanted to go.  So, all five of us went to school the first day.  Three of us went into our classes.  One decided it was a bit too overwhelming. And the fifth was so wise to stay in the building with her, in a quiet corner where she could observe the kids coming and going and get used to the sights and sounds, until after lunch that day.  The next week they just stayed home together and I arranged for her teacher and her son to come to our house for a play date, bringing helium balloons to insure the instant bond!  We also had a play date with two other children from the class.  By the third Monday, she was ready to go.  Darrell went with her and stayed for a while, but was able to leave mid-morning because she was so content to be there.  She told us she had a fun day and looked forward to going back.  And I think she meant it until... (to be continued)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Daddy, is it OK to drink the water HERE?. . . CRAP!"

Logan's words, not mine.  And, unfortunately, a bit too accurate.

In China, even the locals don't drink the water unless it has been boiled (think hot tea) or bottled.  So, water is not brought to the table at restaurants.  That's helpful!

Apparently the locals do drink the water in Hong Kong because at our first meal there, six tall beautiful glasses of water were waiting on the table when we returned with our buffet plates.  Logan was the first one back.  When Darrell returned to the table, Logan asked the above referenced question...after drinking half the glass of water.  He said he was really thirsty and forgot, since it was just sitting there.

If you ever wonder if it might be okay to drink the water in any other country, just ask Logan.  He would love to help you avoid what happened to him.

Sunday morning, we woke the kids up with the news that we were going to the "Happiest Place on Earth" and they needed to get up and get ready right away.  Everyone was so excited!  For the first 30 minutes.  That's when Logan came to our room to tell us he had spent much of that time in the bathroom and he wasn't feeling so well.  Right away, we knew the culprit.  We offered to skip Disneyland, but even he still wanted to go.

Bless his heart.  And his intestines.  He was such a trooper all day long, starting with the long train ride with a few station changes.  I was amazed by how little he complained and how much he did with us, in spite of how horrible he was feeling.

That all changed when we were sitting in the amazing Lion King show.  He looked at me and said he had never felt worse in his entire life.  We tried to decide what was best/worse:  sitting here inside with air conditioning or being able to move around outside in the heat.  He stayed for the whole thing, but barely made it out of the building before losing his lunch.  At that point, we realized that we needed to get him back to the hotel as soon as possible, not including the station changes and crowded trains. Logan, Jingshu and I took a taxi back, while Darrell, Parker and McKenna stayed to see the fireworks.  Poor Logan was not so sick that he couldn't worry that I didn't have enough Hong Kong cash to pay the taxi driver as he watched (and listened to) the meter.  Every once in a while he'd look back at me.  I knew I had plenty and tried to reassure him.

After a warm bath and a good nights sleep, we were all thankful that by the time we left the hotel at 1 pm, he was feeling better.  God is so good!  We had asked some friends to specifically pray that he'd be better before we had to leave.

Moral of this story from my perspective:  Coca~Cola is your  friend, anywhere, but especially when in a foreign land!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Final Days in China

I regret that it has taken so long to write again.  I know there are those tiny, yet important to me, details that I have already forgotten.  So much life happens in every single day right now.  So, I'll go back and try to catch up.

Thursday, July 15th, we went to the American Consulate in Guangzhou with many other families we'd been with for the last couple of weeks.  While there, an officer called our family to his station to approve, one last time, all the information that our Chinese daughter needs to become an American citizen.  Then, we all stood together and raised our right hand to affirm...Okay, here is one of those details that I forgot.  I have NO idea what we swore to.  That ALWAYS happens to me.  When something big like that is happening and I think, "Oh, remember every word of this.  You're going to want to remember!" I PROMPTLY forget.  Just like when Darrell got down on one knee and I realized he was about to propose to me.  I focused SO much on wanting to remember what he said, that I'm not really sure I even heard it all!  Anyway, that moment felt pretty huge.  I wanted to get pictures, but the Consulate won't allow pictures inside or outside of the building.

That night we had dinner with a friend from Little Rock living in China.  It was SO fun.  He, obviously, speaks both Mandarin and English fluently.  I loved asking him about his work and hearing his perspectives on China.  I also loved hearing him interact with Jingshu and tell us what she was saying.  That's probably one of the hardest parts of where we are right now--wanting SO badly to know EVERYTHING she is thinking and saying and having no way to do that.  Well, actually, she is really good at communicating with facial expression and body language, but I know we're missing out on some GREAT commentary from her.

Our friend asked Jingshu if she was interested in knowing her English name.  He explained that we each have two names:  BaBa is also Darrell, Mommy is Tracy, GuGu is Parker and Logan, and JieJie is McKenna.  He pointed to her and said Hayden.  She, in no uncertain terms, let us, and everyone around, know that her name is Jingshu.  Three times.  Increasingly loudly.  We are SO okay with that.  We'd just heard that sometimes girls her age were excited about their new English name.  If she NEVER wants to be Hayden Joy, I will be a sad for a little while, but I understand.

Jingshu also asked the waitress, when trying to decide what to drink with dinner, if the apple juice was sweet or if the watermelon juice was sweet.  She chose the apple juice.  Terry laughed, saying she seems like a girl who is accustomed to many choices, as if she is from a wealthy home instead of a foster home in Luizhou (a poor city in a poor province).  I guess she adapted quickly!

McKenna and I had heard that we could get a great massage for not much money.  THAT is speaking our language!  Especially after 3 weeks sleeping on ironing board beds.  So, we went Friday morning to a Chinese medical center.  Amy, our favorite "local" on Shaiman Island, said the massages there are much better than what we could get at a barber shop (?) AND lunch is included!.  Enough said.  And she was right!  It was amazing.  It was more "clinical" than spa-like, and I had bruised muscles in my neck and shoulders for several days, but those muscles were surely more relaxed!  After our massages, we looked at the menu for lunch and decided to skip it.  By Friday, we had ALL had our fill of authentic traditional Chinese food.  We opted for a nice cold frappacino from Starbucks on the way for McKenna to do some shopping.  Unfortunately, she started feeling sick on the way and we had to get back to the room quickly.  I'm not sure what was going on with her.  Maybe the massage released some toxins that just had to get out, or something.  Either way, she rested and felt enough better later in the day for some retail therapy.  I hope we can post some pictures of the beautiful dresses she bought. Stunning!

If I could "make" Darrell do anything, I would've "made" him get a massage Saturday morning before we caught the train to Hong Kong.  And, I think I had him talked into it.  Unfortunately, instead of leisurely checking out of the hotel at noon and catching the train around 1:30, we had to leave our hotel at 9:30 am because there were no drivers available later in the day.  So, I guess we'll just HAVE to go back sometime.

One smart thing we did was pack everything the six of us would need in Hong Kong in just two small suitcases so that the other eight were ready for the trip back to Little Rock.  It took hours to get it all together, but we were SO glad we did it that way!

I don't know if we have pictures (that's Darrell's department) of the six of us walking through the train station with 10 suitcases, many backpacks and smaller bags, and a stroller, but can you just imagine it?  I'm sure we DON'T have pictures of it, because no one had a free hand!  There are three escalators in the Guangzhou train station.  Yep.  And no baggage carts.  We made it, though.  Several (if not all of us) had never ridden a train before.  It was a fun experience to add to the list of  "firsts".

Sitting in the train station, our guide, Wensi, asked Jingshu if she knew what was happening.  She explained that we would ride the train to Hong Kong, spend two nights there, then get on a plane for two LONG rides, and finally be in America.  She asked her if she was excited. Yes.  She asked her if she likes her new family.  Yes--listing each one of us by name.  Then, Jingshu told Wensi about the two dogs at our house.  She said she is afraid of dogs, but she knows she can just follow her BaBa and he will keep her safe.  How precious!  I just love how much she loves and trusts her BaBa.  She is a smart and discerning girl, because I can't think of anyone better to love and trust (on this earth)!

We warned the kids at breakfast that this would be a difficult day and that it would require everyone to work together and keep tempers in check.  I think that really helped.  I was SO proud of our crew for good "can do" attitudes and few lost tempers.

When we arrived in Hong Kong, we had no idea how to get to our hotel.  For the first time, we were on our own with no guide.  We had made our own hotel reservations, with the help of a travel agent in California.  In retrospect, there was probably a bit more information that I should've given her to help decide where we should stay in the city.  Live and learn, right?  Another good idea would've been to get advise from someone who has been there.  Our hotel was about 40 minutes by taxi (3 of them this time because of all the luggage), an hour train ride from Disneyland, and nearly an hour in the hired big van to the airport.  Disney was definitely the highlight of our stay in Hong Kong, except for Logan.  That's worth a separate post.

We checked out of our hotel at 1 pm on Monday, but our flight didn't leave until 11:15 pm.  That's a lot of time to fill with all those bags in tow, so we opted to leave the luggage at the hotel long enough to get lunch, then come back, call the van driver, and head on to the airport.  At least it was air-conditioned there!  In fact, the Hong Kong airport is the nicest one I have ever been in.  It is beautiful, with nice big seating areas close to open spaces so that 5 year old girls can run their stroller around and around and around without scaring too many people; a great assortment of shops to peruse; and a food court that included....wait for it...Burger King! I have never enjoyed a chicken sandwich as much as I did that day!

The airline person at the check-in counter was so nice.  It took SOME time to process six international travelers with ALL those bags.  He even encouraged us to rearrange some stuff so we wouldn't have to pay the overweight baggage fees.  Not only that, but he provided an extra bag, if we needed it!  All the while, one of us was having a long and loud meltdown because she kept running so far ahead of the rest of us that Mommy decided it wasn't safe and had the audacity to make her sit in the stroller.  If we weren't getting enough attention before, we were now!  The airline people were SO gracious.  Thank you, Jesus, for that!

Jingshu was SO, SO excited for that plane to take off. She could hardly contain it!  i was a little taken by surprise by my tears, realizing that she was leaving her homeland and everything familiar for a very long time. She is a great traveler.  Even when she got sick a few times, it didn't really upset her--no drama queen.  We were so glad that both she and Darrell had extra clothes in the carry on bag!  That flight was 12 hours and 40 minutes.  Everyone took a sleep aid to help us sleep through as much of that as possible.  I'm glad we did!   Then, after 6 hours in the London airport, the next flight was 10 hours long.  I encouraged everyone to NOT take a sleep aid for that one so we would feel like sleeping when we got home.  That was fine.  No sleep aid needed!  Darrell and Jingshu were asleep before the plane pulled away from the airport and my book fell out of my hand before we took off.  For some reason (probably because we were excited about coming home) that flight seemed like the longest to all of us.  For a while I would look at my watch every 15 minutes, thinking an hour had passed.  About 30 minutes from landing, McKenna and I took our little cosmetic bag to the "bigger" bathroom in the back of the plane and went in together to freshen up.  That was fun and funny.  Most funny was the look on face of the man waiting to come in after us.  Obviously, he's not a girl, and maybe doesn't even know any girls well enough to understand that we NEEDED to brush our teeth and put on makeup TOGETHER after all we had been through!

Finally, the wheels touched down in Dallas and our little China doll became a US Citizen,  regardless of what the USCIS officer told us in the airport.

Check back later today for the next post about the three hours it took us to get out of the Dallas airport and our WONDERFUL friends who drove all the way to Dallas to drive us home so that we wouldn't have to drive ourselves after traveling for so long.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hong Kong to London

We're hangin' in the Hong Kong Airport. Flight leaves in 5 hours... At least there's free wifi! We'll be home in about 50 hours! Ugh! But, we saved a ton o' cash on airfare.

Been an amazing trip! We have felt your prayers at every moment ~ every turn. We put an exclamation point on the end of the trip with a day at Disneyland Hong Kong! We had a blast. Jingshu's first ride? Space Mountain ~ kind if a baptism be fire, if you ask me! She loved it!

All of us are doing great. I'm so proud of how our family has hung together, given and taken, and made it through the tough times.

More later,

Darrell Adcock
Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Many people have asked, “Why are you adopting from China?”.  The only honest answer is that God put that dream in my heart more than 10 years ago.  We were living in Las Vegas at the time.  I don’t know where the dream came from.  We didn’t know anyone who had adopted from China.  It was even before we knew Steven Curtis Chapman had adopted.  Somehow.  Someway.  A small, burning coal was placed deep in my heart that this was something I needed to do.

I’m reminded of the passage in Acts 2:16-18 (New International Version)
No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 

" 'In the last days, God says, 

   I will pour out my Spirit on all people. 

     Your sons and daughters will prophesy, 

      your young men will see visions, 
      your old men will dream dreams.
A dream like this is an outpouring of the Spirit which guides God’s people to accomplish His purpose in the world.  It’s not a wish.  It’s not a fantasy.  It is always impossible on your own.  It always points people to give glory to God.

I was at a Worship Conference five years ago and had a profound experience in worship; a powerful impression that I had a daughter in China.  Not just any daughter.  Not just a random person some governmental agency would pull from a file.  But one specific girl ~ as if McKenna, my own flesh and blood ~ my daughter, were stuck in China and she were waiting on me to find a way to get her home.  It truly was a confirmation of this dream and a strong motivator to keep moving forward.

As a middle-aged man of 46, I’ve lived long enough to experience that there are a few moments in life that seem more real than others.  All of life is real, but every once in awhile, at certain times, you sense a gravity of time; a fully present moment.   They are marked by fuller understanding of consequences of your choices.  You feel the heaviness of the risk that is at stake.  You taste the powerful potential that lies in wait if you take the next step.

I have experienced time like that when I was eight-years-old and knew I needed to surrender my life to Christ.  I knew it on my wedding day as I watched the love of my life beautifully walk down that aisle.  I experienced it driving Tracy home from the hospital with my first-born locked safely in the back seat ~ my knuckles nervously gripping the wheel like I was taking my driving test all over again. 

I felt it again last Monday.  We had just gotten back to the hotel in Nanning with Jingshu.  There was incredible euphoria that she was finally with us and the amazing relief that she wasn’t overwhelmed with fear; but seemed playful and curious.  The initial hours had passed.  I was laying on the bed and had that feeling again.

This was one of the most real moments of my life.  Nothing could be bigger stakes than this.  Taking this little precious life.  Changing its course forever.  Changing our life forever. 

A few days later we were driving to Liuzhou City to visit Jingshu’s hometown.  With her in the van, changing the clothes on her doll for the hundredth time this hour, I looked at her.  Looked out the window with Alison Krauss in my headphones.  And cried.

Do you know what it’s like to touch your dream?  To hold it in your hands?  To hear it call your new name?  Those chances don’t come along every day. 

Some dreams come and we celebrate their completion.  A certain job or accomplishment.  A level of influence or appreciation.  And when it comes, we’re glad.

But then there are dreams, that when they come, are just beginning.  This one calls me Ba Ba.  This dream has to sleep with a foot or a hand touching me no matter which way she flips and sleeps across the bed.  This one, despite being fearless and strong, plays her sympathy card and “needs” me to kiss her every minor bump. 

This dream is finally… real.

Bubblebath Breakthrough

There have been major breakthroughs in the last 24 hours!  The first came during the drive to the Xiangjiang Animal Safari Park  Tuesday morning.   We were joined by Serana, a very fun, VERY bright 17 year old girl from Guangzhou.  She is the daughter of our guide, Wensi.  Wensi couldn’t be with us for the day, so she asked if we would like for her daughter to go with us.  Serana speaks both English and Mandarin, so she was able to be our translator.  We probably could’ve made it without a translator, and the park was fun, but not fun enough for the extremely hot weather.  So, the real treat of the day was having Serana to tell us what Jingshu was saying.  Jingshu chatters constantly, as if we can understand everything she is saying.  I guess that’s fair.  We talk to her as if she understands us.

On the drive, we were introducing ourselves to Serana and Jingshu would say, “Ni hao, Parker!” “Ni hao, McKenna!” etc.  I had already been wondering if Jingshu had a problem calling me Ma Ma because she already has one of those and, at this point, doesn’t see a need for another one.  I mentioned that to Serana and so she pointed to me and called me Tracy.  Immediately, Jingshu said, “Ni hao, Tracy!”  That was the first time she had addressed me by any name, so I was pleased, but quickly realized she can’t call me “Tracy” for ever, so why start now.  I asked Serana to refer to me as “Mommy” instead of “Ma Ma”.  From that point on, Jingshu has addressed me frequently, even with enthusiasm!  Every once in a while, she will forget and say Ma Ma instead, but not often. 

That was a GOOD step in the right direction.  It didn’t, however, keep her from choosing anyone over me and at times, still being downright rude.  But, that’s OK.  I am better able to deal with it now.  In fact, Darrell suggested that perhaps we were trying too hard.  You can’t coax someone to love you, especially when they are in crisis, and you serve as a constant reminder of that crisis.  I get that.  So, in general, we stopped “forcing” the issue and tried to just go with the flow and enjoy any bit of interaction she would accept.

Serana told me on the drive back home that she could tell Jingshu was missing her foster family because at every animal exhibit, she would ask Serana where their Ma Ma and Ba Ba were.  And when she saw a picture of a bear crying, she asked Serana if the bear was missing his Ma Ma.  It breaks my heart to imagine how her heart must be breaking.  I have to continue to trust that this is God’s plan for this little girl, and that He has great plans for her life.

Fast forward to later last night.  I was tired and had been HOT and SWEATY, so I decided to take a bubble bath.  And, I decided to make it a very relaxing time by taking my book and a glass of juice, turn on the classical music that plays in the bathroom and just let everyone else take care of Jingshu for a while.  I doubted if she’d even notice that I was gone.  I used two whole hotel-sized bottles of bubble bath, since it had become clear to me that she doesn’t like bubbles in her bath.  (In fact, I wonder if that was part of the problem to start with.  More on that at the end of the post.) 

It wasn’t long before she popped into the bathroom to say hello.  Sweet Logan tried to get her out, and keep her out, guessing that I could use some time alone.  She kept coming in.  I told Logan to just let her.  If this was the moment she chose to interact with me, bring it on!  I had someone take my book and my glass out so we could just play and nothing would get messed up.  So, she would go out of the bathroom and turn off all the bathroom lights (the switches are outside the room) and I would “scream” for help.  She would come in and laugh, then go out and turn the lights back on.  Then she’d grab a handful of bubbles and clap her hands together or blow them.  Apparently she likes them as long as she can control where and how they touch her.  This went on for 30 minutes or so.  Finally she came in while I was washing my hair and I asked she wanted to wash my hair.  She did it!  That was huge!  She then used the hand-held shower thingy to rinse my hair and decided it was pretty cool to spray my face, too.  The shower is another thing she doesn’t like, so maybe getting to control that was good for her, too.  I just kept praying that the Lord would protect me from whatever we’re supposed to be avoiding in the water, because it was going up my nose and in my mouth.  But, we were laughing and having a GOOD time.  I felt sorry for the rest of my family, knowing all the ruckus must have been annoying.  They were just thankful, along with me, that she was choosing to be where I was and we were having fun.  I love my family!  Later, we sat together and watched her favorite nighttime show on DVD on the computer.  I asked her if I could pull up a chair and she said yes!  That was new.  And from that point on, everything has changed.

Today Parker, McKenna and Logan went shopping with Serana.  What a great experience for them!  They rode the metro (subway) to her neighborhood, went to a dim sum restaurant for lunch and then shopped in “real” Chinese stores, not ones targeted to tourists.  Wait ‘til you see the LED (scrolling digital readout) belt buckle and black and yellow shoes Parker bought.  I really do love that he is confident enough to do his own thing, style wise.  Really, I do.   Mostly, I just love him.

Darrell and I had the morning with Jingshu to ourselves.  We were walking through the hotel to see the waterfall pool and she was holding Darrell’s hand.  At one point, she let go to skip ahead and Darrell grabbed my hand.  When she looked back and saw me holding his hand, right where she had been, she got mad.  I told him to grab her hand with his other hand.  She liked that.  And then…Get this...She let go of his hand and came around to GRAB MY HAND!  We were both SO excited! 

We spent the afternoon and evening with our friends, the Smiths.  Jingshu and Li Na (her Chinese name.  Her American name is Kelina.  Don’t you just LOVE that?) have become fast friends.  We took a taxi to their hotel, ate a dim sum lunch (small, bite-sized portions of several different dishes), then walked back to the island.  The White Swan Hotel is located on Shamin Island. Darrell and Matt took the girls to the Swan Room to play while Sheri and I did some shopping.  When we returned to the hotel, we decided to order Papa John’s pizza for dinner.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen seven people more excited about pizza!  I’m not sure the little girls were quite as excited, but they ate it.  We took the girls for a swim in the beautiful waterfall pool.  Needless to say, Jingshu fell asleep quickly tonight.  And I will go to sleep one happy Mommy.

Lessons learned:  Read.  Get educated.  Try to keep expectations low, and expect to be surprised by how hard this is.  Then, follow your educated gut feeling.  I had been trying so hard to do things by the book:  do everything for her, try to get her to be dependent on me, make eye contact, interact, interact, interact.  The more I tried, the more she resisted.  In trying to do everything just right, I was probably doing everything differently than her foster mom (like putting bubbles in the bath or combing her hair a certain way, or honestly, just trying to do those things for her when she’s used to doing them on her own!), continually reminding her of what she is missing.  Jingshu is fiercely independent.  We knew that was a possibility and is likely her survival strategy.  But, let me tell you, I believe this little girl would be strong and independent if she hadn’t been through so much in her short little life.  Finally, our educated gut feeling was to let her come to me.  And finally, she did.  I know to expect moments of rejection again.  She will continue to grieve for the family she lost and remember that she doesn’t need me because she has a MaMa.  That’s okay.  I’ll look back at this blog post and have hope.  And, I’ll likely run another big bubble bath!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pictures from Guangzhou

Arkansans visit French "Wal-Mart" in China

I’ve been working on a blog post for the past hour or so.  I hit post and something crazy happened.  So, just in case I lost it all, I’m going to try to recreate it again.  HOW FRUSTRATING, but worth it!

The last few days have been such a blur!  I hope a don’t forget details that I will one day want to remember.

Friday evening we flew from Nanning to Guangzhou.  This was Jingshu’s first airplane ride ever.  We wondered if she’d be frightened, or at least apprehensive.  NO.  We had a hard time keeping her close as she wanted to run onto the plane.  The only thing she didn’t like was having to wear a seatbelt.  The most memorable part was when we had a bit of a rough landing, she grabbed the armrests and LAUGHED!  Darrell told his brother that she eats fear for breakfast!  Ha!

We arrived in Guangzhou late and at 11 pm still had not had dinner so we took our family of six down to the cafe in the hotel (the famous White Swan--more about it later).  Three of us ordered “mini meals.”  850 yuan (~$126!!!) later, we knew we had to make a different plan for the next eight days in this hotel! 

We decided that we would go to the breakfast buffet (included with our room rate and definitely not your typical American breakfast buffet because it includes fried noodles, dumplings [McKenna’s favorite], steamed vegetables, cold cuts and cheeses, and salad plus scrambled eggs, made-to-order omelets, bacon, ham, what they call sausage [we call hotdogs], fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereals, pastries, etc.) late in the morning and then eat a late lunch OUT of the hotel and a light dinner in the room, or visa versa.

That’s how we learned about Carrefour.  Saturday morning, after taking Jingshu for her medical exam and TB skin test, we took taxis--it takes two because each only holds three or four people--downtown.  Carrefour is a “hypermarket” according to their website, but it was almost exactly like the Wal-Mart we visited in Nanning.  It is several stories high, except this one goes down into the ground and has almost EVERYTHING.  We even found peanut butter and jelly!  They didn’t have deli meat, like ham and turkey, but they did have more fresh whole (head and feet attached) chickens sitting on ice in the open air than I could count.  And have you ever seen a black-skinned chicken, except on Discovery Channel?  I hadn’t until now.  There was also a large container of live somethings that looked like fat eel to me, but someone said they were catfish.  Let’s just say they didn’t look like any catfish I’d ever seen!  We didn’t buy any of those, but we did buy bread, pb, jelly, chips, fruit, yoghurt, cookies, milk-in-a-box, cereal, juice, bottled water, coke, sprite, a block of cheddar cheese, these weird jello-in-a-pouch-with-chunks things that Jingshu likes, and noodle meals.  Think Ramen on steroids.  They are larger and come in a container with dried vegetables and seasonings so you just have to add boiling water.  Our rooms have a small refrigerator and a hot pot for boiling water.  No microwave.  We left there having only spent 365 yuan (~$54) with enough for several meals and snacks.  MUCH better plan!

Sunday we went to the Toy Wholesale Center with the Humphries, Howard and Kim and their three China girls (we wrote about them earlier).  This place is HUGE and has EVERYTHING, except food!  Two towers with six stories each, plus one underground.  People from around the world come here to “go to market” and it made me think of Tracee Harrison, who goes to market for their Cornerstone Pharmacy.  We met a lady from Ghana who comes several times a year.  Darrell, the boys, and Jingshu shopped for a bit before heading back to the hotel.  McKenna and I stayed with the Humphries, and even a bit longer, after they decided to leave.  We were there for about four hours and only saw the first two floors of one tower!  The biggest adventure of the day came when we spent ONE HOUR trying to get a taxi to bring us back to the White Swan.  I won’t soon forget McKenna and I going from one corner of this HUGE intersection, to the other, to the other, and some spots in between, trying to hail a taxi.  I held the stroller and our bags while she would run from taxi to taxi seeing if they were empty and if they were, if they would take us to our hotel.  (That's how it is done here.) A few did not want to drive that far because they can make more money on more frequent, shorter trips.  The lady from Ghana told us this is normal at that time of day.  I was so thankful for her!  She spoke English and gave me hope that we’d eventually make it.  And, we did!  I LOVE my non-drama-queen girl who made that time a fun memory instead of a crisis!

This morning, after taking Jingshu back to the medical center to check her TB test (which was negative, thankfully!), I took her to the Swan Room, a playroom on the first floor of the hotel set up by Mattel for adoptive families to use while here.  We’d originally planned to make it a family event, but Darrell suggested that it be a special time just for us.  I’m so glad he did!  For a while, she only wanted to play by herself and yelled at me if I tried to interact with her.  But eventually, she did invite me in.  She likes to work on projects, and so do I, so we put together a huge foam floor puzzle.  And then we pushed stuffed animals around on riding toys.  She would take my hands and put them right where she wanted them--either on the backs of the stuffed animals or on the handle bars of the riding toy.  It was fun to see how she was able to communicate with me, even though we don’t speak the same language. 

When it was time to go, we held hands and skipped down the hall.  Right up until she let go and took off running as fast as she could and got into an elevator.  I was just barely able to make it in before the doors closed!  I really think this was her way of distancing herself again.  I wonder if she feels disloyal to her foster mom, whom she loves dearly, when she has fun with me.  There are several families here adopting their second, third, and even fourth children.  They give me such hope and encouragement with their stories of similar experiences.  I am so thankful that God has provided community, even on the other side of the world.

While Jingshu napped, the kids and I loaded up all our dirty clothes and took it to one of the many places that offer laundry service near the hotel.  We took 26 shirts, 26 pairs of underwear, 10 children’s clothing items, 8 shorts, 8 pairs of socks, 5 undershirts, 3 dresses, and 1 nightgown.  The total cost:  $30.  Can you imagine how long it would take to hand wash, and even more, how long it would take to dry all of that in the 74% humidity?  And can you imagine the site of all of that laundry hanging around these two relatively small hotel rooms?  HA!

Logan and I got to do some shopping in the little shops on the island this afternoon, just the two of us.  I have really missed one-to-one time with him!  He worked so hard early this summer to earn money for this trip and he came with a few things in mind that he really wanted.  He found them today, but at one point had tears in his eyes because he was afraid he wouldn’t have enough money left to buy nice gifts for the people on his list.  After some good bargaining, he had plenty to do both.  Just wait ‘til you see what he bought today!  I SO love that boy!

Darrell and Parker didn’t feel well today, so they stayed in the rooms and rested so that they felt up to meeting some new friends for dinner.  Matt and Sheri Smith are here adopting Li Na, a four year old girl.  They also have three other children, two sons and a daughter.  Li Na and Jingshu have become fast friends!  The Smiths are having similar trouble (even harder) with Li Na rejecting Matt.  We talk about strategies, things we’ve read, things we’ve heard, what works and doesn’t, and what we believe, but mostly just support each other.  Again, I’m thankful for community!

We ate at Lucy’s, a place that comes highly recommended by the seasoned veterans and newbies, alike.  Lucy’s serves western food, like chicken tenders and french fries, onion rings, milk shakes, pasta, and hamburgers.  McKenna was MOST excited because our guide told us today that she like the large lemon drink and we assumed she meant lemonade.  That’s the thing McKenna is missing most from home right now, except for friends, of course.  Well, it was actually their version of iced tea.  It was served in a large jar (southern style) with a small pitcher of simple syrup (sugar and water) for sweetening, and several slices of lemon.  It tasted like instant Nestea!  And it was yucky!  But everything else was good, and she liked the cheesecake, another of her favorite things.

Tomorrow we will join the Smiths again, and go to a safari park.  I’ve heard that we’ll get to hold a baby tiger and see pandas.  We’ll take some pictures and write some commentary, I’m sure!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To my Girlfriends who worked so hard to help us find LS/LP...

I keep forgetting to write about the one bit of information that we got before we came that apparently does not apply to the southern provinces of China in July during the 100 year heat wave:  that we must keep her in long sleeves and long pants at all times out of the hotel.  And maybe not the northern provinces, either, but I don't know that for sure!  EVERYTHING I read before we came said we must, even though it would be hot.  NOBODY here is complying with that.  So, we have a drawer full of really cute outfits that will return home perfectly clean and ready for fall.  We are having fun shopping for shorts and t-shirts and sundresses.  Prices here are really good, so it's fine.

Thank you to Julie, Stephanie, Suzanne and friends, and any others who helped us find what we thought we needed.  It will be a fun memory for the book!

Steph, the clothes that fit best are the 5s but the 4Ts work, too.

A Good Day

Well, it's Sunday, July 11th @ 4:16pm here.  We got to Skype with "the cousins" as they are called (Damon, Deborah, and my brothers kids), Mimi & Pa (Tracy's parents), and my Dad (Darrell Sr.) last night.  It was fun to hear & see them and good for the family.

This morning we went to breakfast, came back to the room, then met up with some new friends adopting their third little girl from China.  We took taxis to the Toy Wholesale Emporium ~ a 9 story beautiful building crammed with thousands of tiny shops.  Some were probably only 2'x10'.  We had fun shopping (about an hour) then me and boys brought Jingshu back, ate some noodles & PB&J sandwiches.  The rest of them are still enjoy shopping.  We are enjoying not!

Hayden is taking her afternoon nap; a routine for her.  We read some books together with the lights low then she fell asleep.

The older kids are doing great.  Many families have commented on how helpful and kind our kids are and how they handle adversity with a smile and good attitude.  They really do make a ba ba proud.  I truly believe having the kids here has allowed Jingshu to attach more quickly and easily to our family.  I'm especially glad for this time with Parker as he heads to ASU a month after we get home.

The "weather" between Tracy and Jingshu took a slight warming trend today.  We are trying to create more opportunities for them to be alone and do things together.  Your prayers are making a huge impact.  Keep 'em coming.  Tracy's doing great.  

Yesterday, Mattel gave each adopting family a Barbie Doll holding a little Asian baby (remember… rugs are oriental, people are Asian).  Mattel has furnished a play area for all of the adopted kids here at the White Swan.  We're saving that as a special adventure Tracy can take Jingshu on.

We love and miss you all and look forward to you meeting our newest family member soon!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back to Her Beginning

I can't thank you enough for the kind and caring comments.  I am feeling encouraged by  them; by my older kids who are protective of me and making sure that I know, and that she knows, that they love me; by Darrell, who is as always, so good to love me well and know just the right thing to say or do when I am sad; but mostly from the power of everyone's prayer.  

I am so glad that we made the decision to visit Liuzhou City.  The three-hour drive through south China countryside was breathtakingly beautiful.  Seriously, China is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  We had heard that China is dirty and stinky and that the people spit everywhere.  I have not experienced any of that in any of the places we have been--Beijing, Nanning, Liuzhou City, and now Guangzhou.  The people are beautiful and friendly.  And curious of the large (in a couple of ways!) American family.

Glen told Jingshu that we were going to her home town just for a visit to show her new family and asked if that was okay with her.  She was fine with it.  When we were eating lunch he asked if she could tell him where her foster family lives.  She ignored him.  He asked if she would like to go back to say goodbye to her kindergarten class.  After a long pause she told him she couldn't remember where it is.  Those were the only signs of any distress that we saw that day.  That doesn't mean she didn't feel it, but this little one is very strong and shows fear by taking control in other ways. And, boy, does she!

This province only allows visits to the courtyard, inside the front gate of the orphanag.  As you can tell from the pictures, the front building is being renovated, but we gathered under a pretty tree (shade!) and visited with three of the directors.  The lady we met Monday when we first met Jingshu oversees the adoption department and brought us another gift from the orphanage--a beautifully framed beadwork character for good fortune.  It was made by the special needs children of the orphanage.  

Jingshu has gotten a runny nose and little cough, probably from the air-conditioning, which she is not used to.  I asked the director what medicine she would suggest for her, thinking over-the-counter.  She ran to the medical clinic and came back with three different prescription medications:  an antibiotic in adult capsule form (!), a liquid cough medicine, and a medicinal tea.  I loved the concern she showed.  I have no doubt that our little one has been very well cared for.  BTW, I chose not to give her the antibiotic, but have used the tea and it seems to be working well for her.

The director who was more directly involved in Jingshu's life was very protective for her.  She wanted to know if we would learn Chinese cooking when we returned home.  I told her that we would, and that there were Oriental groceries and restaurants nearby.  I also told her that Jingshu had enjoyed everything she had eaten with us, including pizza and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  She quickly told me that, while it was fine for now because we are still on a trip, she WOULD need good Chinese food at home.  She also asked if we would enroll her in school.  Because she is enrolled in Comm Central, I said yes and planned to leave it at that.  Glen had to go and tell her that we homeschool.  Of course, in China, that didn't go over well at all.  I tried to explain that in America that is a good thing!  And I later asked Glen why he "threw me under the bus like that!"  He said in China institutional education is highly valued.  Oh, well.

My favorite part of the day was our visit to the park, right down the street from the orphanage.  This park has a significant part in Jingshu's life.  There is a gate that is within sight of the orphanage.  After a fun visit inside this beautiful place, including a small roller coaster ride, we gathered as a family at the gate to thank God for creating this beautiful girl, protecting her, and bringing her into our family.  I will never forget that moment.

Then, the long ride home.  I am most impressed that this sweet little girl never complains.  She is content.  When the guides have explained what is happening and asked her if she is happy, she says she is.  She eats whatever we give her and seems to like it!

And so it was, that the Adcock family traveled back to Hayden's beginning.  

Tracy Adcock

[Flickr] D1musicjr shared a Flickr set with you



D1musicjr shared a Flickr set with you.

Liuzhou City, Guangxi, PRC ~ Hayden's Hometown

A set by D1musicjr
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Here are photos from Hayden's home town! What a beautiful place!

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Friday, July 9, 2010

From Nanning to Guangzhou

Well, we are on the plane to Guangzhou! South China is so beautiful and such beautiful people. It has been funny to walk around and be watched. They always stare but never want to be caught staring!

Our celebrity comes from being Americans here. Also from being a large family (China's one-child policy means most families are small, but also have Grandma & Grandpa). And even greater because we're adding to it!

People have approached us to compliment us on the great thing we are doing and that Hayden Jingshu is fortunate to be adopted by us and live in America.

The Orphanage Director said that having a boy and girl makes a perfect family and that our family us doubly perfect. I don't know about all that, but I am so thankful for our family and the friends and family that allowed us to take this journey together. This Forever Family is forever grateful!

Darrell Adcock
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And So I Dare

I attempt to put on make-up through eyes clouded with tears, and wonder if I dare write and share all that is in my heart today. Do I chance the criticism of those who have never experienced the rejection of one longed for and worked for, or of those who have and are now on the other side and recognize my short-sightedness and immaturity? As I ponder these things I am gently reminded of the One Who experienced much more rejection than this--not just by one, but by all whom He loved and who claimed to love Him. And, He wrote about it so that I could know that He understands my feelings and my fears. And so I dare.

Jingshu must be feeling much more fear and anguish than I am, but she does not show it in the same way that I do. She laughs and runs and plays. She is most comfortable with her new big sister, and then with Darrell and Parker. She loves Logan, too, but doesn't light up when she sees him as she does with the others. She avoids contact with me whenever possible. If I call to her, she runs away. When I lay next to her she moves her babies, her pillow and her body over away from me. She will allow me to help with some basic things, like putting toothpaste on her toothbrush, washing her face, and getting her dressed. And, she smiles at me occasionally, as long as I do not move toward her.

I am struggling to stay engaged with her. I must find ways for us to have fun together, but it seems that will have to happen when the others are not around. And it is not safe for me to be out of the hotel alone with her because she runs from me. Maybe in Guangzhou, Darrell and the big kids can do some sight seeing while she and I stay and play.

A dear friend stopped by early Wednesday morning as we were preparing to leave for Dallas and told me she had a verse for me. It is 2 Corinthians 12:9. Paul is writing about the thorn in his flesh and asking the Lord to take it away from him. He calls the thorn a messenger from Satan, sent to torment him and keep him from becoming conceited. I can understand how easy it would be to feel somehow accomplished in my own strength, or even just that we had prayed enough for things to go smoothly. But I don't see this experience as a messenger from Satan. Anyway, verse nine says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I appreciated this verse very much Sunday night and Monday when I was anticipating meeting her for the first time, but even more now.

I recognize that my tears today are not just from this rejection, but a let down of four months, if not four years, of emotion. And the tears are cleansing and helpful. Already I am feeling better.

Thank You, Sweet Jesus, for your gentle comfort to me today. You are GOOD and GREATLY TO BE PRAISED! I trust in Your power because I am weak.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's a New Day

Thank you so much for the comments and messages in response to the blog and pictures!  It means so much to us!  I can't remember if we've told you that we can't actually see the blog here.  We send updates through email to the blog and get comments the same way.  (Don't ask me how that works.)  I did learn the hard way that it is best not to try to send pictures with the message.  I think there are still parts missing to the really long message I sent about our first days in Beijing.  I'll fix it when we get home.  For now, Darrell will post pictures to flickr instead of trying to include them here.  Check back later tonight (USA time) for the pictures. D is sleeping now but can post them in the morning (China time).

Today we visited one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is called Qingxiu Mountain, which is beautiful and green and lush all the way from the bottom to the top.  We walked a bit, then played on the very cool playground, and fed thousands (no kidding) of big coy in the lake.  All four kids went on a boat ride and we were able to stay back and take pictures of them.  In one place on the mountain, there is a huge sundial that uses the signs of the Chinese zodiac and behind each one was a larger sculpture of the animal.  We took everyone's picture with their animal.  I don't know exactly what the Chinese believe about the zodiac, or if it is anything like the one at home, which of course we steer clear of.  

Before we even got to the park, we could tell that today was the day that Jingshu finally felt comfortable enough to test us.  So, there were several toddler tantrums, defiance, and instances of her ignoring us.  No more thank yous at every turn.  Early this morning Parker told us that we might need to be more strict with her.  We told him that would happen in due time.  Well, due time came after a very nice traditional Chinese lunch.  We arrived back at the hotel and Jingshu was ready to go to the room.  She took off running through the lobby to the elevator.  We needed to finish a conversation with our guide about tomorrow's schedule, but she would have nothing of it.  When Parker tried to hold her she screamed, hit and kicked him.  Darrell took her and she did the same, but he did not back down.  He did leave the lobby and take her up to our room where she finally broke down and grieved.  She cried and cried and cried.  And even said several times that she wanted her ma ma.  And let me assure you, it was NOT me to whom she was referring!

Her preference for Darrell was much more obvious today.  She didn't want anything to do with me at all, and in fact at lunch got up and moved to a different spot when I attempted to sit by her at the table.  We decided the best thing I could do for her was to give her some space for a little while.  When I got to the room, after finishing the plans for tomorrow, she was sitting in the middle of the big bed screaming.  Darrell was on one side of her and I laid down on the other and we both just waited it out, occasionally reaching out to her to rub her back.  Darrell got up to go to the bathroom and for a moment, I thought Jingshu was going to follow him!  Now that would've been funny.  I asked her to stay on the bed, but didn't know if she would or not.  She did stay but moved to the very edge of the bed, as far from me as she could get.  When Darrell came back, she got up and sat on the sofa.  Darrell wisely took her blanket and pillow and all of her "babies" to the sofa and was able to get her settled there for a nap.  She cried herself to sleep.

This, of course, is not easy.  But we know it is good.  She needs to go through the cycles of grief.  We would be very concerned if she continued on as if life was normal.  Darrell and I have spent the last 4 months preparing for this response.  Our other kids, however, have not.  McKenna has such a sensitive heart that today was the second day that she ended up in her room crying as her heart breaks for her little sister.  Yesterday we asked Glen to assure Jingshu that we understand that she is sad (following the silent tears) and that it is okay for her to cry when she needs to.  He started by asking her if she was missing her foster ma ma and ba ba.  Again, silent tears as she nodded her head.  I am glad she really believed him when he told her that we will not be angry if she needs to cry.

All three of us slept hard for a couple of hours.  At one point I woke up to go to the bathroom and noticed that Darrell's loud breathing had awakened Jingshu.  She raised up, looked over at him and up at me.  I was able to stroke her hair for just a bit before she turned over and went back to sleep.  When we woke up, she was back to her happy little self, and seemed to take one step back toward me.  But only one.  

We had such a big lunch that we decided to just walk over to the supermarket across the street and get bread and jelly for pb&j for dinner.  We brought the peanut butter with us.  We should've brought the jelly!  No jelly to be found, but we did find some honey, which made for a yummy dinner.  Jingshu is so easy when it comes to food!  Tonight we gave her yogurt, fruit and Ritz crackers an then a part of a sandwich.  She liked it.  Just like she liked the pizza yesterday. 

After dinner, I asked McKenna if I could polish her nails so that Jingshu would see that and let me polish hers.  This has nothing to do with trying to make her a girly girl and everything to do with having an opportunity to hold her hands for a little while.  It worked!  She let me!  Then she got to come back to the room (we did nails in the elevator lobby to avoid the strong smell in our rooms) and show off her pretty nails to her Ba Ba and ge ges (brothers) who made a big deal about how pretty they looked.  Soon after, I ran a tub of water and she got in and played in the bubbles for a while.  And she let me wash her body and her hair, and then even let me wrap her in a towel and carry her to the bed and hold her for just a minute.  I think it takes that long sometimes for her to remember that she doesn't need me because she already has a ma ma.  But she was not angry or defiant tonight.  She even let me put lotion on her.  Baby steps.

Tonight she is sleeping in the middle of the big bed again, as close to Darrell as she can get without knowingly touching him.  

We have decided to take a trip to Liuzhou City tomorrow. That is Jingshu's hometown.  We're not sure how she will respond, but we believe it is the right thing to do.  Glen will explain to her that we are going back just to show her new family where she came from.  It may be hard, but I really do think she will someday be happy to have the pictures that we will take.  We will not go into the orphanage or meet her foster family, but we will go to the gate of the park where she was found.  I think we may be doing that more for us than for her.  When you adopt a child, especially an older child, there are many, many missed moments.  Now that she is with us, I am really doing my own bit of grieving for all that we have missed of her life.  Maybe tomorrow will fill at least a small piece of the puzzle.

Darrell Adcock

follow our trip to china to bring Hayden home...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Power of Prayer and "Are you CRAZY?"

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has prayed for this child and our family. If the story of our journey doesn't convince you of the power of prayer, I don't know what will. GOD is SO GOOD and WORTHY TO BE PRAISED!

I can't remember ever being so scared! I've done the "mother" thing before, but I did not feel adequately prepared for meeting Hayden on Gotcha Day. All the books we read and classes we took taught us to understand what she might be feeling and how to help her feel safe when she is with us, but I did not know what to expect or how to respond when she walked into the room. My anxiety about that moment was made 10 times worse by our guide here in Nanning. When we were driving from the airport to the hotel (meaning we had just met him), Glen told us that adopting a six year old (she's only five, but he kept saying she's six) is very difficult. Then he told us that she may decide she doesn't like us and will tell the officials that she does not want to go with us, and that they would not make her. He said we may have to leave the country without her!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

I spent the rest of the night continually reminding myself that God has brought us this far and would not leave us now, and that we have prayed more over this moment than just about anything I can remember.

The ninth floor of the Majestic Hotel is reserved for adoptive families and there are several of us here now. Monday morning I met a mom who has five biological children in their 20s and two adopted Chinese daughters. Her family is here adopting two more girls, sisters who are 7 1/2 and 8 1/2. It was so helpful to talk to her. I asked many questions about what THAT moment would be like and she talked me through it. And she told me things to do when we came back to the room. After talking to her, I was finally able to breath again.

We left our hotel and rode to another hotel where we would meet Hayden. Many families were in the same room waiting. And then, I saw her walk by! For a few minutes, she stood with her orphanage director and peeked into the room, and then ducked back. Over and over. Finally she walked in the room and came over to us. She was tenative, which was to be expected. When her orphanage director, a beautiful young Chinese woman, directed her to, she gave Darrell and I hugs. I handed her a gift bag that contained candy and bubbles (recommended by the experienced moms). She enjoyed a tootsie pop and just watched us. By the time we left the building, she would hold our hands. And we were so relieved!

We came back to the hotel, showed her our rooms, played bubbles (pronounced pow-pow in Chinese), and gave her the baby doll. Then for a while she pushed her baby up and down the halls in the stroller BLAS gave us for her. She only has one volume--LOUD! And, just like we were told in the reports we have about her, she talks and laughs a lot! She is absolutely delightful! After about 30 minutes of us chasing her up and down the halls, she came back into the room, plopped down and said something in a loud voice. Glen (BLAS guide) laughed. I asked him what she said. She had said, "Are you guys CRAZY?" or "Are you guys NUTS?" I don't know what you think, but I think she will fit into our family well!

She also had LOTS of fun taking pictures with McKenna's camera. And she likes directing who is in each shot and where they are to stand/sit and if we should show the victory sign (what we thought was the peace sign, with two fingers held up). As a matter of fact, when the official government photographer came to our room to take the official picture for the adoption decree, Jingshu (she doesn't know her English name, yet) told Darrell and I to do the victory sign. And we did. So, it's official--at least for the time being, she is the director/commander/boss in our family.

I must say, though, that she is very well behaved and polite. It is apparent that she was well cared for and trained. And, my favorite part: she is extremely neat and organized! I had to come all the way to China to get a child that cares about such things as much as me! (Logan cares, but not quite as much as Jingshu and me.)

Speaking of Jingshu, when we have mispronounced her name (we had heard two pronunciations) she is quick to correct us.

Darrell already mentioned the food street. Let's just say, we needed a guide to order dinner! Our guide didn't stay with us for dinner, but suggested we try the food street (smallish stand-alone food court next door to the hotel). It is a row of small Chinese food vendors. This is NOT your Chinese buffet or even any Chinese restaurant I've ever been in! There is a picture of every item, which may or may not be a good thing. And STILL we couldn't figure out how to order for ourselves! We saw a family that we recognized from the 9th floor, and their guide was with them, so Darrell asked if we could borrow her. She asked Jingshu what she would like to eat and was told a chicken leg, rice, vegetables, and egg. The picture of chicken that the guide pointed to was a whole boiled or baked chicken including the HEAD! We were SO thankful that what showed up was just a chicken leg. We also had good rice, sweet and sour pork (that had bones in it), spicy beef and vegetables, bok choy, and steamed buns. Most of it was delicious. Jingshu started with her chicken leg, then rice in a small bowl, to which she added some of her hot tea and some beef, pork, and eventually even the steamed bun! And she ate every bite!

After dinner we went swimming, which you won't see any pictures of because, to make swimming pictures even worse, every person is required to wear a swim cap. Take just a moment to enjoy a laugh as you imagine us in those!

Bedtime went very smoothly. After her bath, she let me wrap her up in a towel and hold her for just a minute. She actually has been more affectionate with Darrell than with me. And even that is not much. She loves to play with us, entertain us, laugh with us (sometimes at us when we try to repeat what she is saying), but has not yet turned to us for comfort. She is very independent, which we knew to expect. Right now, we stay close, show affection by gentle touches to her back or arm or by stroking her hair. She doesn't pull away, but does not in any way respond. It's okay. A time is coming when she will be much more dependent and need us. We look forward to many opportunities to nurture her!

Glen asked her yesterday if she wanted to sleep on the small sofa pushed close to the bed or in the bed with us. She told him she wanted the sofa. After bath time, her favorite show happened to be on TV (which the report we received yesterday told us was a part of her bedtime routine). She arranged her "babies" (the stuffed dolls that she came with that are characters on this show) all around her and settled in on one side of the huge bed. When that show was over, we turned off the TV and dimmed the lights. That is when we saw the silent tears slide down her cheeks. Our hearts were breaking for her, understanding that she misses everything familiar, not the least her ma ma and ba ba. I slept in the middle of the bed and just stroked her hair and shoulder. She fell asleep with her back to me and slept all night long. In fact, we had to work pretty hard to wake her up this morning for our adoption proceedings.

When she did wake up, she was happy. SHE WAS HAPPY!!! It is so obvious that our prayers have been answered. She has been very well prepared for our coming. She LOVES her foster family and is grieving them. That is a very good thing, because, even though it makes this transition painful for her, she knows love. And if she has known it before, she can know it again, though it will take some time for her to be willing to trust and invest her heart again.

Today was a very good, very long, day. Official meetings this morning made her officially our child. The orphanage director gave us not only the cameras that we sent in the care package, but also many pictures from Jingshu's years under the care of the Liuzhou City orphanage (including foster care). We have PICTURES! Yeah!

Then a trip to Wal-Mart, which was a good thing because it's been 7 long days since the Adcocks have been to Wal-Mart--setting a record, I'm sure! As with everything, Wal-Mart in China is quite different than in Arkansas. First of all, it is several stories high and has many things our local store does not have. Like live seafood. (I'm not talking about lobster here, people.) And many, many different flavors of packaged chicken feet. We didn't go looking for these things. They're just there, right in the aisles! As if people really WANT them!

We had pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch. Even the newest little Adcock liked it, even though it was new to her. WHEW! Afterward, we crashed (all of us) for a nice, long nap.

Jingshu has dressed and undressed her baby at least 100 times today and we've colored and colored and colored. Oh, and we've (she's) taken a gazillion pictures. Either her aim is getting better, or we're doing better of ducking into the picture!

Just now, she got up and turned the TV off and got her "babies" settled and crawled into bed, right in the middle, next to her new Ba Ba, who is already sound asleep. I stopped typing to lay down next to her until she was asleep.

I am SO in love with this little girl! She is BEAUTIFUL! And I can say that, right, 'cause she doesn't have my DNA and I didn't even pick her out myself. But let me say this: She couldn't be more perfectly suited for us if she did or we did. I CAN'T WAIT to hug her and kiss her. But, I will wait. We've waited this long to meet her, so I know we can wait a bit longer for her to welcome our affection.

Tomorrow we will do some sightseeing here in Nanning, the capital of Jingshu's province. And on Thursday we hope to travel 2 1/2 hours to see her city. I wonder how she will feel, going back so close to what is familiar? We have changed our minds many times about whether or not to go. I think it could be hard on her now, but I also think she will value the photographs and the knowledge that we were there.

More later...

Tracy Adcock

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