Saturday, July 28, 2012

Feeling Like a Family: A Transformation

Today was our best day as a family by far, thus far. Everyone got plenty of sleep last night, we ate breakfast together, then headed out. First stop was my agency, where everyone got to meet Sissy and I got to feel the love and support of experienced adoptive moms and I got some good advice that helped me see a few new things, too.

One of the main things I saw, was how Sissy reacted to the staff. They were generally young, good-looking woman that girls can easily relate to, who were experienced at what they do and immediately got us all involved in an activity, simply coloring. It was perfect because it introduced harmless interaction all around. I could see Sissy taking it all in, seeing me, her mom surrounded by this group of fantastic women and being included. Sissy, like Jie Jie, was very impressed that I can drive, too.

The realization was this: We Americans must look very inept to these Chinese teens while we are in China. We don't speak the language. We are waited on hand and foot in the hotels. We are rushed from one appointment to the next, looking lost much of the time, or at lease harried or nervous or overcome with happiness that often looks like tears or strain. We can't figure out the money most of the time and we're scounging for food. This doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it?

Well, here on my own turf, I'm rocking. Sissy is the fish out of water now and her perspective is different now, too. I'm a talker and Sissy mistakens small talk with friendship so she asks me repeatedly if all these people I encounter throughout the day are my friends, like the cashier at the restaurant we patronized for lunch, or the mom in the store also buying shoes for her daughter.

The seed of respect was planted today. So was the seed of interest.

Now that we're all more relaxed, I felt the most like Sissy's mother than I have this whole time. The only other time I felt it was on our first day. After that, I felt more like a wrangler. This doesn't mean I've not loved her, but I'm sure those of you who have been in this position know exactly the feeling I'm trying to convey.

The big success of the day was that Sissy now owns black patent dress shoes. She absolutely would not agree to buy black shoes in China, and only allowed herself to try on one pair under much duress. Once home, she even agreed to try on a dress she thought would be too big and with the shoes, she loved the result! Each little thing like this that goes in my favor and pleases her, add one more block to our slowly growing foundation.

Thanks to Jie Jie's insistance, we ended the day at the park nearest our home and the girls played together, really played, for the very first time. I got these great pictures of all around smiles and beauty. We are definitely on track and moving in the right direction!


Lynnea said...

Wow...she does have a more peaceful look to her! Amazing!
And so happy you are home safe and sound. Now to get ready for "round 3" lol
Enjoy and hoping the jetlag isn't kicking your butt too bad!

Jeanne said...

Have so enjoyed seeing all your pictures and really happy for you now you are truly on your way to happiness with your new daughter.

kimjax said...

What a transformation already! I'm so happy for you!

Renate said...

The picture of her on the swing is just amazing. So happy for all of you.

Anonymous said...

So happy for your family!
I am curious about language acquisiton.

Does Jei Jei remember any of her first language? Did Jei Jei speak any English when she first arrived home? Was she able to understand folks around her on this trip?

Has Jei Jei been able to communicate with Sissy in Mandarin? Do they even speak the same dialect?

Are you using an electronic interpreter? (there's an app for that!)

Glad you are home safe!

Karen said...

You've made ALL of this seem so easy. I don't know how you do it! Really.

Chrissy said...

The joy of being home and her starting to see and understand how wonderful this new family is going to be! Keep working because you are already making it happen.

Nicole said...

The photos of the girls are gorgeous! Look at the change already in Sissy posing appropriately for the photos!
Welcome home!