So much progress today!

Last night we went out for ice cream.  We deserved a treat after such an emotional day.  I know Russ and I were rocked by what we saw at the orphanage.  I want to cry just thinking about the life of these orphans.  3 days with our little girl and we're completely in love with her (not that we weren't before we left) and to think she would still be in the orphanage had we not stepped out in faith on this journey.  I'm sad for all the babies left behind.  Rachel was the only girl left in her age group.  All the other kids were boys.  So many boys left abandoned.  Keep praying and advocating for those babes.  

It's official, she likes ice cream.  The first bite she gave a wrinkled nose yucky face but soon decided she liked it. 

It's official, she likes ice cream.  The first bite she gave a wrinkled nose yucky face but soon decided she liked it. 

This morning we dressed, had breakfast and met the rest of our group to go to a beautiful park in Nanjing.  It's almost like Central Park in the middle of the city.  There was a beautiful lake and gardens to walk through.  The kids had an opportunity to feed the goldfish.  Ms Independent did not want dad to hold her so it was either I hold her or she walked... and soon she chose to just walk.  She has walked many miles already since leaving the orphanage.  She just loves to walk and see new things.  We're thrilled she does.  The red book warned us she does not like new environments but so far has been doing great with the new environments, it's just the new people she's not really a fan of.  Up to this point, only I could hold her.  She held Russ's hand for a little while last night as long as I was holding the other hand.  She gave Russ and Abigail an occasional hug but mostly has been smothering me with lots of hugs.  

Ms Independent walking through the park.

Ms Independent walking through the park.

A beautiful park on a not so beautiful day.

A beautiful park on a not so beautiful day.

Friends in our travel group had two littles with them but neither wanted the stroller so we decided to give it a shot with Rachel.  We had already tried in the store and she just screamed.  Today, she went in the stroller and even let Abigail push her!

Must have some tired little legs!

Must have some tired little legs!

There's a beautiful lake behind us, I promise.

There's a beautiful lake behind us, I promise.

To this point, she has only shelled out a kiss to me... and today she gave Abigail a kiss.  Abigail was over the moon happy.  She's been trying so hard to be patient and waiting on Rachel to connect with her and she's finally opening up to her more.  It's so beautiful to watch!

To this point, she has only shelled out a kiss to me... and today she gave Abigail a kiss.  Abigail was over the moon happy.  She's been trying so hard to be patient and waiting on Rachel to connect with her and she's finally opening up to her more.  It's so beautiful to watch!

We took the bus back to our hotel, grabbed some grub and went back to the room for a nap.  Rachel has cried every time I've put her to sleep.  Today, she just went in her crib and went right to sleep.  Not a single peep of protest.  And last night, only cried out once, not many many times like the night before!! Progress!!  

When she woke up from her nap, we enjoyed some quality bonding time in the room before meeting the group for dinner.  We played ball and of course worked on her hair.  She loves to brush everyone's hair and get her hair done as well.  That's why you always see her with new hair accessories.  Her baby doll also is constantly getting a new do.  

We met our group and walked to dinner.  We've really enjoyed getting to know our travel group.  All these families are also with Holt and we've made some great friends.  

After dinner we walked around Nanjing, walked by the Confucius Temple and shopped for some goodies for Rachel from her hometown.  We are kind of like a walking freak show.  People point at us, stop us to take pictures and follow us around.  It was bad before but now that we have a Chinese baby girl, they really point and stare.  I don't think it's rude to point and stare in this country.  We've also learned that it's not rude to knock people over if they are in your way.  We had little old ladies try to run Russ down at the airport as he was blocking them from taking Abigail and I down.  This place is just so different than home.  Personal space does not exist but then again in a country with a billion people, there is no room for personal space.  Okay, tangent over.  It was a beautiful night weather wise and even more beautiful because Rachel let Russ hold her tonight for nearly our entire walk.  He won her over with his silly animal noises and his 'doobeedoopeedoo' that has made all of our kids laugh, Rachel included.  She is smitten with her daddy.  Wow, did she just make her baba's day!  

The freak statue man that stalked Abigail through the store.  

The freak statue man that stalked Abigail through the store.  

The dragons outside the Confucius Temple

The dragons outside the Confucius Temple

Yesterday she would not walk anywhere unless attached to my finger.  Tonight, she's a daddy's girl.  Beautiful!

Yesterday she would not walk anywhere unless attached to my finger.  Tonight, she's a daddy's girl.  Beautiful!

It really is beautiful to watch Rachel see all things new as Russ described in his post.  She is really starting to come alive.  She was closed up a bit in her shell and very scared.  It's beautiful to see day by day how layer by layer her fears are fading and she is beginning to trust us.  

Tomorrow we fly to Guangzhou.  We have to go there next to meet at the US Consulate in order to get her visa to return to the US.  Our work with the Chinese government is done and now onto the US Govt.  On Saturday she will need medical checks which will include blood and TB test.  Not looking forward to having her face a needle so soon.  We have various interviews and swearing in ceremonies and then await them to get us her visa by Wednesday night.  Then we fly home on Thursday.

Continue to keep our sweet baby girl in your prayers that she will continue to attach with us, trust us and we can have patience as we wait out these last days until we can go home.  We all miss home and our boys.  We've had some Skype dates with the boys and she seems intrigued with them.  She grunts and babbles to them... and they wrestle together on the other end so she is getting a taste of what real life will be like when she gets home.  Thank you so much for following our journey and keeping us in your prayers.