Thursday, January 08, 2009
Loafing in Zhengzhou
Rickshaw in Kaifeng
Hi kids! Time for another Chinese lesson! Did you know that Mandarin Chinese has four different tones used to help pronounce their words? There can be several words that look the same but are pronounced much differently with the use of tones. It makes it very hard to learn Chinese! For example: the word for Mama can mean, ‘Mama’ or ‘horse,’ depending on the tone. The word for Daddy, is “baba” but can also be the word for poop! So when we introduce ourselves to our newly adopted kids, we need to be careful. We wouldn’t want to say, “Hello, I’m your horse.” And we definitely wouldn’t want to say, “Hello, I’m your poop.” Haha Mandarin is the official language of China and everyone has to learn it. Cantonese is a language used in the southern part of China. They do not use tones to pronounce their words. The written language for Mandarin and Cantonese is identical, but the words are totally different.
We are in Zhengzhou city in Henan province. Can you find it on the map? “Nan” in the word Henan, means south. Henan means ‘south of the Yellow River.’ Zhengzhou is the capital city of Henan province. It is pronounced, ‘Jheng-jhoe.’
China has been called a land of contrasts. That is because there are many high-rise buildings next to primitive homes, and brand new cars driving alongside bicycles and donkeys.
This man was selling spices door-to-door in Kaifeng. They smelled so good!
I want to thank all of you who have been emailing us and/or leaving comments on our blog. We read every word!! It is so wonderful to hear from you…thank you so much! I am trying to write everyone back, but if you don’t hear from me, please know that we appreciate your notes of encouragement.
Some have wondered how the girls are doing medically. Zoey’s leg and foot are as bad as we anticipated. Since she is just starting to let me get near her, I don’t want to start checking her foot and leg yet. From what I can see, her short leg is about 2-3 inches shorter and her foot is bent totally sideways. There is a huge bruise on the front of her leg – I would imagine it’s from the bone constantly pushing through an area that it shouldn’t be. She hobbles around quite well and is blessed with an indomitable spirit. I’m anxious to see if the doctor recommends amputation or trying to save her leg. I think it would require many, many surgeries to achieve a semblance of normality.
Kate’s hands and feet are always cold and have a blue tinge to them. You can probably see in the pictures, her face is bluer than Zoey’s. She is especially blue around her mouth. She obviously needs her second heart surgery but seems to be doing well and is not short of breath. She seems a bit frail but I think it’s just because she’s still in ‘shutdown’ mode and is so thin. We are happy that her appetite has picked up today.
I forgot to mention the other day that when we completed the adoption paperwork at Civil Affairs, they had a little presentation ceremony. They told us that Zoey and Kate were their very first double adoption and they were happy to see them get a loving family. I knew it was rare to be allowed to adopt two at once, but I was surprised to learn that we were Henan’s first family to do so.
This morning when we sat down to breakfast in our hotel, we were handed a card of congratulations with a sweet poem for the girls about getting parents. It had been signed by the entire staff! We were very touched.
We have passed the magic third day of having the girls—this is the day that kids often start to come alive and come out of the trauma of being handed to strangers. Zoey actually let me hold her today and has been initiating contact. She still prefers Jeff, but it’s fun to have her reach out to me, too. He told her to kiss me and she still won’t, but I got a coy smile rather than a ‘bu yao.’ Today we heard Kate’s little voice for the first time. She hasn’t uttered a sound since the day we got her, except for a few giggles. Zoey has been singing today—it’s adorable. Kate gave Zoey one of her chicken nuggets today and Zoey rewarded her with a big smile.
The day after we got the girls, we returned to Civil Affairs for paperwork and a little girl was brought in. Her family was coming and I was so thrilled to be getting to watch a family being made. When her parents came, the little girl became hysterical and would not stop screaming. It reminded me so much of SaraGrace’s reaction to us. We were deeply saddened to hear the next day that the family decided not to adopt her because she wouldn’t stop screaming and her skin condition covered more of her body than they thought it would. Another family tried to talk to them and explain that kids settle down after a few days, but their minds were made up. They were planning to go home without the child they came to adopt. I am soooo sad for this little girl. I hope that someone else will find her beautiful and accept her the way she is.