So sorry that I did not post an update yesterday. I had too much on my mind with Hurricane Irene. I have been talking with my Dad on and off and we have been hit hard...VERY hard. We are coming home to a disaster...the worst that we have seen. I don't even know how we are going to deal with the jet lag and trying to clean up and dry off and replace what needs to be replaced. We are trying to keep our minds off of things and on Ava and finishing the final steps of her adoption but it's hard. We feel so helpless being so far from home.
Today we took a cab over to Shamian Island and went to The White Swan. It was so surreal being in that hotel again. It was 2 1/2 years ago that we were there for Halainah's adoption. It brought back so many wonderful memories and made us miss her even more. It has been pure torture being a part from her. Every part of me misses her. I ache physically and mentally from being away from her. I cannot wait to hug her and kiss her and let her know that Mommy and Daddy will never leave her again. Thursday is going to be so sweet in so many ways.
We are ready to come home. This trip has been mentally exhausting. We have had many issues to deal with. It would literally take me a week to write everything down. Ava has been through a lot. She has been thrown into 4 different families and I am sure that she doesn't understand nor does she know what a forever family is. In the beginning of this trip she was terrified of me. She would back in a corner and shake when I would come near her. She attached herself to her Daddy and he was her hero. Now...I call her my Koala Bear because she is attached to my hip and neck. She wants to be held by me all the time and follows me wherever I go...usually holding onto my leg as I try to walk. She cries when I leave the room and is happy when I return. She calls me Mama and loves to say "Oh Baby" with me. She kisses my arms while I am holding her and smiles all the time. And her episodes of shutting down have become fewer and fewer. She is learning to trust us and I believe she is beginning to feel the love. Right now she is dancing and jumping all over the room. A week ago she would stare at the wall with such a sad face...and a broken heart. It's amazing how much she has changed. If you asked me a week ago whether I believed she would make this transformation so soon...I would of told you "not a chance in the world."
Ava is also a little miss sassy pants. She has aggression built up and likes to pinch and throw things. We are working with her and feel that once we are home and things are stable she will learn that those things are unacceptable. It's so hard to pick your battles while you are on the other side of the world, trying to bond with your daughter but also trying to lay down the rules. But we will learn together as a family.
I am so thankful that we were able to soak in the beauty and culture of China with Halainah's adoption. This trip has been more of a challenge. Adoption is not easy...and I have not come across an "Adoption for Dummies" book that could help with any of the issues that we have encountered on this trip. But it is also so rewarding and I would never change a thing. I have two very beautiful treasures and I cannot wait to watch both of them blossom into two amazing young women...slowly of course.
Tomorrow is a big day as we head to the US Consulate for our Visa appointment and our Oath-taking Ceremony. I cannot believe that our trip is coming to an end and we will soon be on our way home. Wednesday we pack up and take a train ride to Hong Kong. I am not looking forward to checking into another hotel. But it will mean only one day away from our Lainey girl.