First off, thank you for all the comments/emails of encouragement. It is so nice to have y'all (throwin' down a little Virginia there) follow us on this trip. It is so so so encouraging, especially with Josiah's illness and a new family member. Thank you!
We rose this morning at 4 am - the boys kept mostly quiet while Autumn slept until 6 am. Taking your newly adopted child to eat their first buffet breakfast is the best part of a new adoption, I think. You get to see them feed themselves (or not, in Autumn's case - she doesn't know how to use a fork or spoon, and can't drink from a cup, nor sippy cup, on her own - I feel like I'm feeding a goat when I hold the bottle-like cup up to her mouth), experiment with what foods they like/don't like and watch their reactions, sneak them some American food (going against the Chinese guide's suggestions), and watching them interact with their new family, all while sipping coffee (or in this hotel's case, cappuccino) and eating excellent food, in a fairly controlled environment. By far, my favorite part of our adoption times in China.
Autumn thoroughly enjoyed breakfast. We watched her break out of her scared, reserved shell. She ate mostly fruit and egg. We fed her congee (rice porridge), what the orphanage told us she eats, but upon first bite, she opened her mouth, with a grossed out look, and let it dribble down her chin. Later, our guide told us that it's very bland, and they usually mix it with egg, meat, and vegetable.
After breakfast, we went back to the Civil Affairs Office to officially adopt Autumn (the previous 24 hours, we were official babysitters). There were about 7 or so families in the office, all with their new children. Autumn pointed to a little girl and ran over to her. I asked where the little girl was from and it turns out that she is from the same orphanage. That family is from Italy, I think. The dad spoke some English, but the mom kept saying Ciao! It made me giggle thinking about all the times I just smile and say Hi, over and over again, when I don't understand another person's language - which is pretty much everyday, here in China.
Autumn loves riding in the minivan. She was dragging us to get on that van. She loved pointing to the "gong gong chi che" (buses), while I loved saying it over and over again - it's easily my favorite Chinese word. She had this air of excitement about her in the van.
After Civil Affairs, we stopped at Chinese Wal-mart. We bought some water, noodles, new shoes and crocs for Autumn, and a few items of clothing that might fit better. Shopping is always fun in China, as probably with any other country, because some of the items they sell are so different than the US, and also, all the US products we're used to seeing, are all written in Chinese, but you still recognize that Snickers bar.
Note: for those waiting to adopt, Chinese laundry service that was once so cheap - like $10 for a couple loads, is now a ridiculous $50 expenditure. Maybe it's the province we're in. We were planning on having laundry service twice while here and now I'm telling the boys they have to re-ware all their clothes.
Before we left home, I read a woman's blog, who adopted one week before us, and she shared about her daughter's grieving, and to be honest, it terrified me. She talked about crying along with her sad daughter. I was thinking - I don't know if I can handle that or if I'm emotionally ready for that. And yet, I feel like our experience with Autumn, mirrors her experience with her daughter. And though it terrified me, it hasn't been as hard as I anticipated. My heart breaks for Autumn and I cry with her, but it's out of compassion for her. Her grieving seems to match what I hear others experience. But it has been very different than what we experienced with the boys. Sheehan had an almost angry, demanding kind of grieving (which was freaking hard to take) and Josiah had like no grieving, and I chalk that up to his carefree personality - he just wanted to party. Every child's grieving is so different.
In the afternoon, the agency doctor arrived. I'm so thankful that she is here. She examined both Josiah and me as soon as she got here. Although she can't confirm without a throat culture, she thinks we both have strep throat. Another option, for Josiah, is Kawasaki Disease (she's going to monitor him over the next few days). She had brought along an antibiotic prescription for kids, that we gave to Josiah, and she took our guide and Steve to a local pharmacy to fill a prescription for me. We're going to begin putting Vaseline on Josiah's rash. He's just in so much pain, constantly going in the bathroom to examine his red, peeling skin, rubbing Cetaphil cream all over it.
Dr. Barbara will be with us for the remainder of our trip, through Guangzhou, so when (Steve prefers the word "if") the rest of the family gets strep, they can also get antibiotics. We've never taken antibiotics on our trips because or pediatrician won't give us any, but after this experience, I would recommend taking them and getting them however you're able - via Internet, a friend, whatever. You can always call your doctor in the US (for a hefty fee) to get medical advice, but how will you get the meds? My friend Christy, who got back with her new son the day we left, offered to FedEx me the antibiotics she didn't use. It shouldn't have to come to that.
While it's hard to see the blessings in our illnesses, I'm able to see one, although I don't think Josiah would think it's worth it, at this point. Ive been able to bond a lot with Josiah on this trip. He and I struggle to bond sometimes because he's so carefree (which can sometimes be translated to careless) and I'm an anal, frugal, perfectionist who doesn't like to clean up messes. I prayed that I would appreciate his differences more and not be so naggy. Well, my heart has really broken for my little boy, just seeing the pain he lapses into and how he tries to take care of himself by examining his rash and applying cream, while fighting off tears. I've held him and snuggled with him a lot on this trip. I've thought about him going from the baby to middle child and have been giving him extra attention. I don't know if I would have, if he weren't so sick. I hate that he has to be sick in order for me to realize his need for my attention and for me to get past my nagging over petty things. I hate being out of control while my Munchkin suffers - but, I think that's where God wants me (not controlling), for all our benefits.