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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Two Years

I can't believe it has been two years since Rebekah joined our family. Some days it feels like just yesterday but it also feels as if Rebekah has been part of our lives forever. God is so good and has really blessed our lives with two beautiful little girls. Many of you already know the story of how Rebekah came into our lives. Some of you may not. We adopted Rachel in May 2004. She was and is such a joy. She exudes happiness and glows from head to toe. In December 2005 we sent paperwork to China for child #2. The wait was much longer this time. Early December 2007 the call came that we had been matched with a child in Hunan province. It was 600 am in China when the call arrived. I couldn't wait to wake Rachel and Dan and tell them all about Rebekah. Since we were already living in China at the time, Rachel wanted to get on an airplane that day to pick up her Mei Mei (little sister in Chinese). We had to wait for travel approval and our group from the US to arrive. We were finally able to meet Rebekah in February 2008. Below is something I wrote in 2008 after the adoption.

"Thursday, February 14 we (Dan, Rachel, my mom and I) flew to Beijing to meet the rest of our travel group from the US. We spent two days in Beijing touring and giving the rest of the group time to adjust to the time change. A fourteen hour time difference can really feel like a bulldozer for some people. It was a nice time while we all got to know each other and see Beijing. The first day we went to the Great Wall. Rachel was thrilled about that since Big Bird walks on the Great Wall in the movie "Big Bird in China." The Great Wall is an incredible thing to see since you don't realize how big it actually is until walking on it. Rachel was a trooper and walked up and down some very steep parts all by herself without complaining. Later that day we visited a jade factory and saw the artisans at work followed by lunch, a Cloisonne dealer, and the Beijing Acrobats. The second full day in Beijing we went to Tiannamen Square, the Forbidden Palace and a pearl market. The Forbidden Palace is another spot that is much larger than I would ever imagine before being there. We made a list of things we didn't see so we can go back and do them all at a later date.

In Beijing we had a tour guide named Jerry who was with us the whole time. Rachel attached herself to him and started calling herself "Jerry's Assistant." He was a very kind young man who really tried to make her feel special and like she was helping. Still when she mentions Beijing she calls it "Jerry Land" and asks if we think Jerry misses her.

Sunday, February 17 we flew to Changsha in the
Hunan province. This is the province of Rebekah's birth. The schedule was to pick up the babies at the civil affairs office in Changsha at 9:00 the next morning (Monday). When we arrived we were notified that the appointment had been moved to 3:00 on Monday afternoon. This, of course, made for a very long morning of waiting to meet our children. Finally we boarded the bus for the civil affairs office with bags loaded with diapers, bottles, toys, blankets, change of clothes, and any and all of the many things a baby may need. There is no way to describe the emotions of being on the way to meet your child. It is such a mix of joy, excitement, anxiety, worry, and more. The oldest child in our group is almost two and the youngest is Rebekah who will be ten months on February 28. Who knows what they have been through up to now. Who knows how they will react to having everything they had known changed in under an hour. The emotions were all in there mixing together. Anyway, when the bus pulled up in the parking lot a woman in a red coat was walking into the building holding a precious little girl with hair that stuck up all over her head. One of the men in our group said, "I wonder which one of us will take home that cutey?" It turns out that she was one of the twins that he and his wife are now loving and feeding and changing. We all pile out in our best clothes with our fancy new diaper bags and all the fixings and take the elevator to the third floor. And then BANG as we step off the elevator there is a room full of babies and nannies waiting for us. This was much faster and overwhelming than with Rachel. With her we went to the Social Welfare Institute, met the director, had a tour, and got our children. It was very calm and organized. This time we barely had our coats off before they started calling parent's names. The twins were first, followed by Hannah, and then our little one. She had big wide open eyes and just stared at Dan and I. She didn't really cry but just looked. It was more like no emotions at all at first. Rebekah is just a doll......very petite weighing only 13 1/2 lbs at almost ten months. Rebekah was also the youngest and the smallest in her group. I held and kissed her then passed her on to Dan to do the same. After that she wanted nothing to do with me for the first twenty minutes or so. I can tell you it felt like a lifetime. Every time I would go close to them she would start to cry. As soon as I would step about six steps away she would stop. I have friends who have been through this and were barely able to hold their daughter's for the first few weeks. It is one of the things that I most feared would happen. I stood across the room and watched Dan talking to her and rocking her in his arms. Slowly I moved a little closer once he sat down to give her a bottle. Then I sat next to them and she didn't cry. Very slowly Dan gave me the bottle and we transitioned her to my arms. I could have jumped for joy when D handed her to me and she only whimpered once and then stopped. We now know that she doesn't like the transition from one person to another. She cries a little each time we switch who is holding her. It is getting less and less each time. She appears to be equally attached to both of us now and wants to be held all the time. The vacant stare has disappeared and been replaced with smiles, coos, babbles, and giggles. All normal for a ten month old which is just how we hope for her to be. She still has poor muscle tone but is starting to try and sit up and can roll from back to front and back again. All this has developed in the past week. These girls amaze me at how much they grow and change in such a short time with a little extra attention, holding, and love.

The next day....Well it is official.....we are now a family of four as of Monday afternoon, February 18. Rebekah Yuhong is a doll and very tiny. I think she may actually be smaller than Rachel was at this age. She seemed to be in shock for the first couple days and was very quiet. She also has an upper respiratory infection and has been on medication. This may be the reason for her quietness. Her muscle tone is very weak. It seems as if they were still being only bottle fed at almost ten months and very rarely out of the crib. That said, she is now eating any and everything we give her. Her favorite seems to be jiaozi or dumplings. She will kick, reach, and squeal while waiting for the jiaozi to cool enough to eat. Last night was our third day together and we saw our first smile. It was such a happy moment to see her finally starting to connect and react to us. She also rolled over once while trying to get a toy. Today she has been trying to sit up and starting to babble often. She woke up cooing and happy in her crib this morning. Rebekah loves to watch everything Rachel does and looks for her if she is out of the room. Considering the situation, Rachel has been great. We have had a couple difficult times but all in all it is going well. It has been a great help having my mom with us to spend time with Rachel when she is feeling neglected. Dan and I are each trying to spend one on one time with her each day. Rachel and Dan swim together every day which she really looks forward to. All our documents in Hunan (the province of Rebekah's birth) have been completed. We are off to Guangzhou and the US Consulate in the morning and should be back in our home by the end of the week."
February 18, 2008* February 1, 2009* December 25, 2009
three photos of our Rebekah as she grows

Today Rebekah is a happy thriving almost three year old. Recently someone referred to her as a "pistol." Such a great description of her. I also often call her a firecracker. She loves to laugh and hug. She sings while she plays. She loves her big sister more than anything else in the world. I am so thankful for our family.

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