Well, it has been over two weeks since we have returned from China and been reunited with our entire family. It was great to see many of you at the airport to welcome us home. We appreciate our house being stocked with food and the many meals that we have received. It is a blessing to have many family and friends supporting us.
However, its been a rough couple of weeks for our family, but not from what you would think. Within almost a one week period, Chris or I had taken:
Three children to the Dr. for illness on one day (Trent, Derek, Nicole)
Elsie for a well visit the next (although she was sick)
Trent back to the ER the same day
Trent back two days later for x-rays and blood work
Elsie back to the Dr. a day later for fever and congestion. (she now has the nickname Vader, because the way she sounds when she breaths)
Elsie back a few days ago for a flu shot.
In all, we have had two antibiotic prescriptions, one steroid and two inhalers and a host of other prescriptions. That’s a lot of MD office and prescription copays. Turns out that Trent had a viral and sinus infection. He had been running a fever for nine days with some other medical issues starting on the day we returned from China. During the time he was ill, we were notified that someone from our travel group had an infection of the colon. When we consulted the pediatrician and took into consideration our trip abroad, that prompted the ER and lab work.
Jet lag is behind us and we feel like things are finally getting back to normal, although I am not sure what normal is anymore. Elsie is adjusting well and everyone has fallen in love with her. The girls now share a bedroom and Elsie doesn’t seem to mind her crib. She sleeps through the night without any problem except for the first few days. That may be more attributed to her illness and jet lag. We had to set up a humidifier in her room and it now seems like it is a permanent figure. Nicole would often come into our bedroom at night and give us updates on how Elsie is doing. Nicole has turned into a little mommy. Often, we would peek into their room after they went to bed and see Nicole sleeping at the foot of the crib. It is neat as a parent to see each of our kids form their own bond with her. Even Derek, who is always in his own little world, competes for her attention. And there has been competition, mostly from the boys who fight to hold her or sit by her at the table. Elsie is bonding well with Chris now. She had not disliked him but more just tolerated him. Often in China, Elsie would refuse to be held by him, partly because I was right there. We knew that it is a hit and miss thing with orphans so it never bothered us while we were in China. When we arrived home, Chris noticed how Elsie would widely accept other men (i.e. grandpas) and play with them. Upon someone’s suggestion and my disapproval, Chris shaved off his goatee. He has had it for probably eight years or more and only shaved it off once in that time for scuba diving. The results were immediate. Prior to him shaving it off, he went up to her to hold her and she refused him like many times before. Within a half an hour, he returned with it gone and approached her again. She came and they were able to play on the floor together. She even crawled all over him, something she had never done up to that point. Who would of thought that a goatee would cause Elsie not to bond with him.
Elsie is quite the mimicker. She watches all of us and will copy things we do. She will wave good bye and blow kisses. Her vocabulary is minimal and she can only say a couple of English words. While we were in China, when people discovered that she was a orphan they would speak both Mandarin and Cantonese to her without much response. We are unsure if she was just shy at that point or perhaps she only knew a few words. Nevertheless, we see her improving everyday. She likes to do somersaults and enjoys the swing and slide in our backyard. Although, it took her awhile to figure out if she likes grass. She would stop right at the edge of the patio and cautiously put her foot down. When she fell down on it, she would roll around, not wanting to touch it with her hands. I don’t think she had much exposure to grass while at the in China. We do think we saw a little bit of her personality come out the other day. My sister-in-law stopped by last week with her daughter who is almost 1. We were all in the family room watching Elsie and my niece play near each other with some toys on the ground. Elsie then, got up, walked over to Bailey, and then laid on top of her. We all laughed and thought it was silly, but then picked up Elsie and moved her away. Elsie preceded to do it again and again. We repeatedly pulled her away. We then noticed that Elsie was defending her toys against Bailey. It reminded us of a conversation we had with Elsie’s nanny when we first got her. We asked the nanny if there was anything funny or special that we could tell Elsie latter on in life about her early childhood in the orphanage. The nanny told us that Elsie would eat her food, then after that steal the other children’s food. When we were told that, we just look at innocent looking Elsie and though OK, whatever, the nanny just had to tell us something and perhaps it just happened once. The other night at dinner, Elsie did it again. She ate her own dinner, then was trying to steal food from Derek’s plate.
8 years ago