Actually, let me back up a little to something that happened yesterday that completely describes where we are with Ayla. The girls were playing on the floor, and Eva likes to do her little army crawl all up under the table and chairs. She’ll get to where she can’t get out, so I’ll get her and pull her out. As I picked her up one time, I said, “Come here you little peanut.” Ayla’s immediate response was, “Can you call me peanut too?”
I laughed as I called her peanut too, but I could have cried. Bless her heart! She has been really clingy to me and doesn’t really want anyone else to do anything for her… especially when I’m holding Eva. She’s just extra sensitive right now. I am really trying to be patient with her more-than-usual neediness, but it does get wearing. Pray for grace for both of us!! When it comes down to it, she is a mommy’s girl. I knew that my time and attention being divided was going to be a tough transition for her, but praise the Lord Eva loves for Daddy to hold her, so I can give Ayla some one-on-one time. I know it will get better with time, but watching her struggle in those moments is hard. Eva is “in her space,” as she’s said a few times. And she is. The hard part is that it’s not just her space anymore. There have been several sweet and fun sister moments too. They play together really well, and Ayla loves helping me with diapers… it just hits her in waves that things are different.
|Maoming Social Welfare Institute, where Ayla and Eva lived while they were in China.|
So back to the orphanage visit. Eva first. She is super curious (we’ve nicknamed her George) and starts waving whenever we get out of the van. I had her in the carrier in case she seemed anxious, but as we started walking up the stairs, I could tell she knew where she was. She started smiling and kicking her feet with excitement. At that point I just prepared myself (if that’s possible) for her to lunge for her nanny and not want to leave her. We got upstairs to her floor and several nannies were there to greet her. I took her out of the carrier so the nannies could see her. They wanted to hold her, and Eva seemed fine, so I handed her to her Grandma (her primary nanny… more on that later). She went to her, but almost immediately reached back for me. I almost fell apart. Partly out of pure joy and relief, and partly for the sting that the nanny had to feel. I honestly wasn’t expecting that. One by one, the nannies would reach to hold her. She would let them, but then she’d reach back to her mommy. Every time, the nannies would cheer and give her thumbs up. They were saying all kinds of things to her in Chinese (I learned today that Maoming has it’s own dialect, but I don’t know what it’s called), but the one word I kept catching was “mama.” They were excited for her! We went into the little playroom where she spent so much time, and she played with all the familiar toys on the floor with her nanny. She would play as long as I was close by. It was so sweet to watch, but it’s hard to know what to say to a woman who has loved and cared for your baby for so long. I hope she knows how grateful we are! We went into the crib room for a few minutes. The other babies were just going down for a nap, but we got to see 2 little empty cribs. One was Eva’s. The other was the little girl of the family there with us. When they learn that certain children are being adopted at the same time, they put them in cribs next to each other. So sweet!
Ayla has been looking forward to going back to Maoming since we started talking about it several months ago. We pray for her nanny, and she has been so excited to see her. Several of the nannies knew Ayla. She gave them some shy hugs and smiles. Her primary nanny (her Grandma) was not scheduled to work today, but she knew we were coming and made a special trip to see Ayla. She is SO sweet! Ayla gave her a little gift and hugged her initially, but quickly started having a “moment.” A while later, the nanny had to leave and I told Ayla to give her a hug. She wouldn’t do it. How do you explain to a 3 year old the significance of a day like today? I told Ayla she wouldn’t get another chance to hug her nanny, but she still wouldn’t do it and I wasn’t going to force it. As the nanny left, we walked the other direction. I was disappointed and knew Ayla would be too later. We walked down a floor to the playroom where Ayla had played. She perked up and was playing when her nanny walks back up to thank us for the gift. Ayla looked up and RAN to her and gave her a big hug! I am SO thankful for that moment, and that the Lord gave us a second chance for it!
The orphanage cook had made lunch for us. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but it was really good! After we ate, we took a few more pictures and left to go to Eva’s finding spot. We pulled up to a hospital. It was being renovated and didn’t really look like a hospital at all. Eva was left on the fourth floor, which is the women’s and children’s floor. It was so surreal to be standing in that place. Somewhere, probably nearby, is a birth mother who felt she had no other choice but to abandon her. She was a preemie and weighed just 2 lbs. when she was found. Somewhere is a woman who thinks about Eva, but has so many unknowns. I am so grateful for her birth mom. She chose life for our little girl!
It took us a lot longer to get back because of traffic, but I got some good snuggle time with both girls. On the way back, I was also able to talk to our guide, Aron. I was a little confused about the “Grandma” program at the orphanage since most of the “Grandma’s” were fairly young. It’s actually called a social welfare institute because part of the campus is for the elderly. I always assumed that the “Grandma” was one of the elderly women that lived there, but it is actually just the term they use for each child’s primary nanny. They call them the Grandma so they can prepare the children for their adopted mom and dad without the kids feeling like they are getting a “replacement” mother. This is especially great for the older kids.
Today was a sweet, long, overwhelming wonderful day. Praise the Lord!!
Steven will put more pics on fb, but here are some...
|Headed up to Eva's floor.|
|Her "Grandma" was so happy to see her.|
|She didn't want to go back to her...|
|Ayla's "Grandma" shows up, and was so sweet and excited|
to see Ayla.
|Good thing, because mommy accidentally mixed up the |
gifts. Here's the right one! ;)
|All of us with the girls and their nannies (Grandmas).|
|Steven wanted one with just the girls... Eva wouldn't go|
back to her nanny, so neither did Ayla.
|Two little empty cribs... Eva's is on the right.|
|All the Grandmas!|
|Walking away without saying goodbye...|
|Ayla running to her when she came back!|
|Yay for second chances!!|
|About to leave when we saw this|
|waiving bye bye|
|Eva's finding spot... |
The fourth floor of this women and children's hospital.