Thursday, January 15, 2009

Breakthrough today!

Today we visited the Family Chen's Temple, which is the oldest temple in Guangzhou, and it was amazing. The elaborate carvings all around the roof tops were so impressive. Here are a couple of my favorite photos...

After that, it was off to the Yuntai Botanical Garden. This place is absolutely beautiful. The flowers, gardens and perfectly pruned trees are set off by a backdrop of green rolling hills. We only had an hour there, but could have spent much longer just strolling the grounds...

Ok, I saved the best part for last...Lauren only had two major meltdowns today and they were shorter than they have been. Also, she actually walked about the hotel room today and played with toys AND let me play with her for about 15 minutes on the bed...

She also let us put her in the stroller for a walk around the gardens. This was the first time we could put her in the stroller while she was awake. The last time she was sleeping and only stayed in for a short time once she woke up. Most of the time Joe is carrying her in the Baby Hawk...she seems to have a preference to Baba (Daddy) right now and I'm playing assistant. We were so proud of ourselves today when we actually figured out what she wanted a few times...that's a BIG thing!

Here's a few things about our girl...

  • She has beautiful eyes...they are piercingly dark with long eye lashes
  • She has an adorable smile when she flashes it
  • She doesn't like taking baths yet
  • She likes to have her bottle immediately when she wakes up and she's not patient about it
  • She spoon feeds herself and loves congee and green beans
  • If she's tired she can be rocked to sleep quickly, but getting her down in the crib is another story!
  • She sucks her thumb when she sleeps and isn't always quite about it
  • She likes to be bundled up with a coat, blanket and hat
  • She seems to have really good dexterity when she's playing with her toys

I want to thank everyone for all the sweet comments you all left for us. Last night we were both teetering on the edge and reading all your comments definitely made us feel a LOT better. Catherine, thank you for all the prayers...they mean the world to me. Jeanette, I found the round crackers like the ones you gave us from LeeLee at a little shop by the hotel. When I opened them up to give a package to Lauren she recognized them right away. They helped us quite a bit today when she was fussy...I'm so glad I knew that your daughter liked them and tried them here!

The food here has been great! We haven't tried anything unusual...when we go out as a group our guide pre-orders for everyone and she knows what us westerners like. I'm so glad that Joe and I learned to use chopsticks ahead of time so we can eat without asking for a fork. All the restaurants here on Shamain Island have forks, but I'd rather eat the local way with chopsticks.

Some random observations while here...

  • I'm surprised how few Caucasians we see here. I guess I'm used to the USA being a melting pot of different cultures. It's not like that here.
  • The local people like to stare and it's not just a glance or two it's full on staring for long periods of time and it's very uncomfortable. It's not only because we have a Chinese baby...we were getting stared at in Beijing before we had Lauren.
  • The shop owners here on Shamain Island remember everyone's names. I'm not sure how they do it when they see so many people each day, but they do.
  • The pollution problem in Guangzhou is pretty bad, but it's not as bad as I had imagined.
  • The local people spend a lot of time outdoors in the park exercising, biking, skating, and playing games with friends like badminton & hackysack. It seems like they take time to relax and de-stress...we could definitely learn from this.
  • Women friends walk arm in arm down the street while talking and's very sweet.
  • Restaurants don't give you napkins. If you're lucky, there is a little box on the table with what we would consider tissues.

Well, that's it for's a little after 10pm on Thursday night and I'm REALLY tired. Good-night! You can see all our pics from today here.


Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

LOVE all the photos..
I have been thinking of you and hoping that Lauren will start trusting her Mommy and Daddy..
Donna she is sooooo BEAUTIFUL..
I am sooo happy for you..
Have a good nights rest..
Each day will get easier.. and she will be running ,smiling and jumping all over you..
Hugs girly.
Can't wait for tomorrow's photo's...

Dana E. said...

Wohoo! Breakthrough! That's just wonderful. You and Joe have been working so hard through Lauren's grieving period. She is a beautiful little girl with good spirit and it sounds like she's coming around to you two. Hope with each passing day things get a little easier & a little more wonderful!

chicknboy said...

I'm on the verge of tears...but they're happy ones this time!!!

Oh praise God for a good day with Lauren. I had the kids look at your blog with me yesterday and we all prayed together for you guys.

The pics from your day are gorgeous. We were in awe of how beautiful China is...and I love your observations. We, too, noticed the people seemed to take the time to unlike us Americans!

I can't wait to wake up tomorrow to see how your day went. Praying it's as good, if not better, than today was.

You guys are doing awesome!

ps-it is SUCH a great feeling when you actually figure out what they want isn't it?! that was such a difficult thing to do with Elizabeth too!

Jboo said...

So glad to hear that it was a better day for all of you! She is so beautiful! Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.


Sophia's Mama and Baba said...

Donna it is starting to happen she is starting to make a turn. It will be slow and gradual but it is coming. I am so happy that you all had such a good day and from here on out it will just keep getting better and better. She will still have meltdowns and days of sadness but you are starting to get your legs and she is starting to trust you and Joe. You just keep doing everything that you are doing and know that we are praying for you and thinking of you ever step of the way. We LOVED the Chen Museum.

The pictures are great..


Linda said...

When I was looking at your pictures I knew I saw more expression on Lauren's face.. I am so HAPPY!!! that you can see a little change. This will allow you to relax a little and that will help Lauren. I have been staring at her pictures for today and I see a beautiful little girl who will be smiling and laughing before you know it... Keep up the good work.... Love Mom

Ava Baby said...

So glad to hear that things are going smoother. I like hearing you sound upbeat and I'm sure Lauren will also pickup on the less stressed, happier mom and dad. The photos are great- looks like you guys had a great day! Michele

kelly said...

Yea!! So glad things were at least a little better. You guys take beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing this journey. Lauren is absolutely beutiful!! Hang in there, you can do it!!

Carol said...

She is doing great...Emily did the love daddy thing in China too and I just let it be....I made sure that I was the only one that fed her and she learned that real quick...but now she is a Mommie's girl so no worries!!! Lauren seems to be doing better in China than Emily, so you are doing wonderful!!!!!!!! Enjoy!!!!
And we so remember no napkins!!! I carried some EVERYWHERE!!!!!

Natalie said...

Hurray! I'm so glad things are going better. So glad. You are doing a great job. Lauren is just a beautiful little girl and will come out fine in the end. I just can't imagine how hard it is for her to be pulled from all the familiar. But, but how great for her that now she will have a good life, with great parents, and with all the advantages and the best that life has to offer her. I'm so happy for you Donna and for Joe to see this break through. What a tough thing to go through.
Love and prayers for you three.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy each baby step, before you know it things will be the way you always dreamed they would be. Seeing all you pictures and reading your beautiful descriptions makes me want to visit China even more. Thank you for including us in your journey.

AJ's Mama said...

I'm so happy things are getting better already. Lauren is so beautiful!

My son HATED bathes like crazy when he was born. Then we figured out that if Mommy or Daddy was in there with him he LOVED it! I wonder if that would work for Lauren?

I hope you all have a good restful night. And a good day tomorrow.

Best wishes to your beautiful family!

Ladybugsmom said... glad to hear you are seeing her cuddle her keep her close. Ellie Lu was the same way preferred Dad at first and we just kept at it, mostly me bathing and changing and Daddy feeding. She loved to bath with me...I wore a swimsuit so we could film...hug your girl and get your sleep you guys are doing awesome.

Shelley said...

There's something about that 3rd day ...that they finally let their guard down and let people in.

Great job on holding it together and giving her the unconditional love she needs ...even throughout the difficulty.

Wishing you many more breakthrough days. They will come.



Julie said...

I'm so very happy you are seeing little steps of progress. WIth the love you feel and show her, each day will get better.

What a wonderful family you are.

So very happy for you and Joe - and Lauren!

Anonymous said...

lovely, just lovely - all three of you - now just take a deep breath and enjoy this private family time because before you know it you willl be back homke - forget the indoors platya nd get outside - you will never get these days back in China again:):) rememeber, the three of you bonding alone together (not so much with all the other families)and that time for just the 3 of you to walk through the gardens or to go to Lucys sor for ice cream next to the White Swan or to the teahouse by the charity store.... is what she needs - not alot of commotion - just her only mommy and daddy so she can understand the beginning of her forever family- God bless you

mommy of 3 chinese daughters

Anonymous said...

ps - sorry about the misspellings - my 13month old is helping me write this:):):)

Kathy said...

Donna and Joe,
I am glad to hear that things are getting a little easier. I'm sure that it will still take a little time but, she seems that she is starting to trust the both of you. She is just so sweet. I love your pictures and I am enjoying following your blog. Hang in there you're doing a great job.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Let the bonding begin! I'm so happy for y'all. Still praying... and blessings to all of you as you begin your lives together.

tocspaw said...

You can just see by the set of her little chin that she's starting to let you in. I can only imagine how difficult this has been for you guys - I'm so glad to hear of the breakthrough! We're still sending positive energy your way - may each day get better and better! ~Heather

Catherine said...

Praise God!! So happy for today's breakthrough and for your sweet baby girl beginning to settle into her new world. So much has changed and slowly she's accepting it. You're doing a great job mommy and daddy! Prayer team is still on lifting your family up and will continue. Excited to share today's news with them!

Love ya.

Cora said...

Thank you for small breakthroughs, I hope they keep coming. Your pictures are amazing.

Jacquie said...

Breathing a sigh of relief! So happy for you all. Lauren is such a beautiful little girl and just think what a tough little cookie she is to get herself through this.

rebecca/tarynsjourney said...

"full on staring..." LOL! Thanks for the insight!!!

Amy said...

The gardens are magnificent. I wish I could see them in person. You and Joe look more rested and relaxed too. I'm so glad that you had a better day. You two and Lauren are developing your own system of communication and that will make things better for all of you. This non-verbal communication is part of the magic of the parent child bond. I have to tell you that a lot of kids don't like baths and all toddlers seem to want to assert their independence by walking when they want to walk and riding when they want to ride. It looks like Lauren is a very healthy normal little girl. I'll continue to keep you all in my prayers.

Cheryl said...

Hi Donna! I'm so happy to hear that things went a bit better today -- that is great news!! Lauren is stunningly beautiful!! Thinking of you each day,

Stephanie said...

I saw your pictures in Shutterfly before you posted your blog this morning, and it looked to me like you were all much happier. The encouraging words from everyone who has been through this before must give you courage.

Lauren is beautiful. By the way, could you write something about how you pronounce her Chinese name (nickname?). We think we heard it on the video and have had lots of discussion about what you were actually saying!

Anxiously awaiting your return,

dimplesanddumplings said...

Hi. I came to your blog via Stephe's and have been following your journey. Lauren is BEAUTIFUL!!!! And it sounds like she is rounding the bend. My younger daughter (9 months at adoption) cried off and on for two days. It's exhausting and so hard to see them grieve. You all are doing a great job!!!!

FWIW, my daughter also hated baths. I didn't force it - just used a damp washcloth to wipe her off. She'd been home a couple of months before she would tolerate a real bath.

I hope things get better and better every day!

Gayle (mom to 2 daughters from China)

Gail said...

Happy to hear things are getting better.
One step at a time. Your doing great!
It's just emotionally exhausting!
It will all work out. Promise.
Gail B.
Loren 7yo Guangdong
Abigail 14mos old. Jiangxi

A Waiting Cousin said...

I'm at school writing this comment, really surprised and grateful that this site isn't blocked. I can't see the photos; guess I'll have to look at them when I get home...
Good to hear that Lauren is adapting to you well! Counting the days till the 23rd! See ya in 8 days!!!

Alyson and Ford said...

Ahhh, Life is good!
If not for the cheerios, I don't know that Alyzabeth would have allowed me in the same room! :)
Happy to hear about your breakthrough. Too good!

M3 said...

Good to hear! So glad you guys are seeing a little progress!

On the bath front, I forgot to mention that our girls HATED baths at first. They were hysterical, arched backs, the whole thing. If anyone looks back at our China trip pics you'll see the girls hair get greasier and greasier by the day, we just didn't know what to do and kind of avoided baths altogether. And then a mom who was traveling to meet her second daughter from China noticed what was going on and told me to get IN the bathtub with the girls. Worked wonders! That was literally the last bad bathtime experience we ever had. I continued taking baths with the girls for another two weeks or so and then gradually transitioned to where I was sitting on the side of the bathtub, then completely out of the tub. No idea if it will work for you guys, but it's worth a try. Big hugs.

Lisa~~ said...

Good to hear things are turning around with Lauren and each day they will hopefully get easier and smoother. Good luck with the bath thing, Maisie hated baths for about 8 months and it wasn't until we were in Utah and Tiffany coaxed Maisie into the tub with Eliza that she finally began to love baths. Guess peer pressure worked for her because when we tried getting into the tub with her she wanted no part of it.

Melissa said...

Donna and Joe -

Wow - where do I start...I have been lurking on your blog for well over a year - maybe two (kinda introduced to your blog from Amazing Grace)...I have prayed for your little family many times. God is good and it will be no time and Lauren will running into your arms!!!!!

I am pleased as punch that I can now follow your journey to Lauren...and literally cant wait until your next post (hurry up - would ya?).

I am rambling - so I will stop for now.


Karen said...

Oh Donna, HUGS!
It will get better, just stay in survival mode (you may be there for awhile). Keeping you all in my prayers, this is hard stuff. My DH & I still say it was one of the hardest things we have ever been through - but so so worth it. She is beautiful!

Janet said...

Oh, I am SO thankful for that! She truly is beautiful! One step at a time, one step at a time. **HUGS*******

Andrea Nielsen said...

So Glad to hear things are going better and that know that there are lots of people praying that tomorrow is even better! I love your pics, and am amazed how much your Lauren Elizabeth looks like my Lillie Elizabeth did in a few pictures. Blessings

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad precious Lauren is doing better. It hurt to hear your last description of her behavior. I woke up several times last night thinking about your family, wondering what time it was in GZ and praying for you. For what it's worth - it's like going through labor. We all have it different - yours is just a little longer and more painful. Welcome to parenthood!

Waiting Mother (Gotcha Day 2/2/09) in Washington

Sophia's Mama and Baba said...

Donna I forgot to mention that Sophia at first went to both of us and then made a distinct turn to Riz. Riz carried Sophia all over China and all the way home from China on the plane. It took several weeks for her to start coming to me again and even a few more to really start what I felt was a real true bond or attachment. The advice about the skin on skin is great advice and is what eventually helped Sophia to make the turn to Riz. He would lay on the bed with out a shirt on and just let her come to him and rub his chest hair (sorry if that is TMI). When we got home I bathed with her every time she would get a bath and held her a lot with as little on as possible. Somehow it works and to be honest I loved it there is nothing better then the feel of your child's skin on yours...Keep up the good work.

Love ya

Nancy & Brian said...

I am so happy. She is beginning to trust you! She is so beautiful, we are excited to see you all on the 23rd!

OziMum said...

Hooray For Lauren!!! I never ceases to amaze me, how resiliant these little children are. Their whole world is turned upside down... and within days - they learn to trust, that you will never leave them. Amazing.

So so happy that Lauren has had a good day! (certainly makes for a better day for Mummy and Daddy too!!!)

Its so cool seeing all your pictures - coz we'll be going there too!!!

Quick question - whats the temperature? Is it really cold in Guangzhou? :) Of course, you don't need to answer right now! But before 10th Feb, would be good!!! :)

Aunt Judi said...

Donna & Joe:

Your Mom called to tell me that you got Lauren. We are all so happy and excited for you. She is absolutely beautiful. The picture of Lauren and China are amazing. After reading your post today, I can feel your pain as you watch your daughter going through this time of transition that has to take place. Just remember all that is waiting for her in the future
love, happiness, family and a wonderful life with great parents. What is happening now will just be a memory, more for you than her. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with as you continue this journey. Waiting for more updates.

Love Aunt Judi

Michele said...

Yippeee! Can't wait to hear about your day tomorrow. Our Catie didn't like the bath until we got in with her (never thought I would get out of the tub, but it worked)

Katie said...

I made my mom send me the post (the site is blocked at school, but luckily my e-mail isn't) because I was so excited! Just one more week until I get to see her!! We're all so excited!! Josh keeps asking about Lauren and China and a bunch of other things! He is ecstatic! And just a reminder: I CALL BABY SITTING!! I'm so happy that she is finally starting to trust you guys!! I swear I almost started crying in the MIDDLE OF CLASS when I read today's post. I'm so excited!! I can't even put it into words!! I'll be the one jumping up and down at the airport!!
Lots of love,

PIPO said...

SO glad to hear small gains are being made. Each day better than the last.

It looks like you had a wonderful day, indeed.

Alyson and Ford said...

Glad to hear the good news. We know how it is, one step forward, two backwards. At least you are now getting a small taste of the "better each day" we talked about. Love, hugs and more love will get her through until the next breakthrough.
You're all doing wonderful!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Sherrie in HB said...

Congratulations Donna and Joe: I am so glad Lauren is s-l-o-w-l-y accepting who her parents are. As I told myself a lot of time, Earth was not made in one day. That's when I always laugh at God because he has to tell me to learn to be patient. I just wanted to say you are doing a great job of being very patient with Lauren. As a mom to two munchkins, you will really be appreciated later when you sit down and show Lauren all these wonderful pictures of China. I fully understand the frustration both of you must be going through but hang in there - when you get home to your own home, you will truly see what God has given you.

Enjoy the time in China and thank you for sharing all these precious moments with us.


amyinbc said...

I am so glad to hear today was a better day :) So interesting to hear of your observations about the country, just fascinating.

Love the pictures, your daughter is so lovely. Congrats again Mom and Dad!

Scott and Kim said...

Glad to hear of the breakthrough with Lauren. We love your family pictures that you have posted, what a beautiful family! Before you know it, you will be back in the USA.

Kristy said...

I love all of the photos also, and you can tell just how beautiful she is sitting on the bed playing. God is good isn't he, it will get better everyday. God bless !
Love and blessings, Kristy

Karsynn's Mommy...Sammi said...

I knew she'd come around. You're doing great with her! Just give her space and time, that's all she needs, and love, of course. She'll have you all wrapped in no time at all. She's still trying to figure this all out. Tell Alison hello from Karsynn. Loving the pics!!!

fuzzandfuzzlet said...

I am so glad things are going better.

I was reading Mary Mia`s advice about getting in tub with her. I agree. Both of my kids always loved tubby time, but I have fond memories of bathing with them. I would think it is great for bonding too.

KHM said...

So glad things are looking better.

JJ was not to fond of bath time in China, but as soon as she was comfortable here she turned into a water baby, so you may find it is just the "differentness" of everything.

I am sure thing s will slowly improve from here.


Mrs. M

Christi and Abbey said...

So so happy that you are turning a corner!!!!!!!!!!!!! May it get better and better!

Cupcakes and Hairbows said...

We were at the botanical gardens a little over a week ago and it was our favorite stop in China! It was beautiful - reminded us of a Disney park! So happy you are seeing that sweet, precious little girl come through! Each day gets a little easier - just rejoice in Lauren's baby steps as she progresses and takes everything in! Remember - you have been waiting for her for over 3 years (probably) and she just "got the news" about you a few days ago!