First days at home!

The first night at home was a long one for Rachel.  She was crying a lot and I spent a lot of the night on the floor next to her crib rubbing her back.  She is in Abigail's room so eventually I climbed into bed with Abigail and slept on and off in there rather than making the trip down the hallway.  My house feels huge after spending two plus weeks in hotels and seeing a home in Beijing.  Just a side note, we are so blessed in this country to have so many single family homes with running water and toilets!  Enough said!

Rachel and I got up around 3:30am and headed down to join dad who was already downstairs working on his computer.  Abigail joined us soon after and we enjoyed delicious jersey bagels.  Wow, such a good taste from home.  Even bagels, muffins and donuts in China at fancy hotels do not taste like Jersey.  The breakfast buffets are nice but I'm so done with fried eggs, soggy bacon and the Asian's attempt at a western breakfast.  By the end I could only stomach oatmeal and fruit in the morning.  

Rachel definitely has a 'see' food issue.  She sees food and throws a fit until she gets what she wants.  We know this is a typical survival mode for her as she probably did not always eat when she was hungry.  She is a solid girl so she was not starved but she likes to have all the food she sees.  So my counter which was now filled with fresh fruits and veggies from friends who delivered while we were away was more than she could handle.  We had to hide all the food from view and not open cabinets or the fridge while she's looking.  Hoping this will change over time.  

When the boys got up, we spent a lot of the day just playing together.  Play is the best way to bond with a new child.  So for those who know Trevin, he is always in warrior mode so Rachel got her first experience sword fighting and had a great time.  She was laughing and giggling as everyone she hit would fall to the ground.  

 She refuses to hold the sword by the handle because she knows better.  These are only foam swords so no harm done.

She refuses to hold the sword by the handle because she knows better.  These are only foam swords so no harm done.

 Everyone in their seat!

Everyone in their seat!

 She thought she was hilarious sitting in her chair then standing up and then plopping down again.  She was making us all laugh.

She thought she was hilarious sitting in her chair then standing up and then plopping down again.  She was making us all laugh.

The kids were playing shops where each had a shop and they went around buying things from each other with Monopoly money.  Rachel started following Josh around.  He's so gentle with kids that it was natural for her to start to play with him more before Trevin.  Trevin is a bit intimidating to adults I think, let alone kids with his rough play but she's warming up to him a little bit.  She yells at him in her little Mandarin talk when she gets mad.  It's humorous.  

We went outside but she was really scared.  I could not put her down on the grass.  I really don't think she's even seen it.  I don't remember seeing any grass at her orphanage.  Only paved driveways and a paved playground.  So as long as I held her, she was happy to be outside and watch the kids play.  Eventually, we tried the stroller and she was happy in there as long as I was close.  

 Helping Abigail play Frisbee.

Helping Abigail play Frisbee.

On day number 2 home we've seen vast improvements.  She slept so much better.  She slept through from around 6:30pm - 5am.  She ate well and we made a lot of progress outside.  She actually let me put her down for a few minutes and she walked on the grass for a little bit.  On day one when she saw a neighbor, she started crying and reaching for me to pick her up.  The second day, she saw a neighbor and waved at them.  

We feel like we've won the lotto with this girl.  We expected the worst and she has far exceeded our expectations.  Don't get me wrong, she does throw an epic tantrum when she doesn't get what she wants or she gets frustrated with our inability to understand her.  We suspect she was totally the princess in her group.  She was the only girl left on her floor of all boys and I think the nannies gave her whatever she wanted.  She throws something on the floor and yells until someone picks it up for her.  Well that has changed very quickly.  We responded to her requests on day one but we soon figured her out and now she understands the words 'get it' and we celebrate when she picks up the toy for herself.  She likes the applause and is responding well to a little positive reinforcement.  For the most part, she communicates her needs well but there are times when we don't understand what she wants.  We are working through a lot of issues but she's overall a very happy little girl and has started playing well with the boys.  She does not say a lot that we understand but she has picked up a few words since we've had her.  Her favorite one: uh oh!  She drops something... uh oh!  Someone falls... uh oh!  It's so darn cute!  She also says bye bye and waves and says a lot of 'mama'.  

 All dressed in their outfits from China and she's already a warrior with her brothers sword.

All dressed in their outfits from China and she's already a warrior with her brothers sword.

 I've put so many pictures of her smiling on the blog.  So you don't get the wrong idea that she's never sad, here's one of her tantrums.  She's still so cute!!

I've put so many pictures of her smiling on the blog.  So you don't get the wrong idea that she's never sad, here's one of her tantrums.  She's still so cute!!

 She loves riding in the gator with her brothers!

She loves riding in the gator with her brothers!

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 She's walking on the grass!  She freaked out when she saw the grass the day before! 

She's walking on the grass!  She freaked out when she saw the grass the day before! 

 Most of the time however, this is how she rides... in mama's arms!

Most of the time however, this is how she rides... in mama's arms!

 Praising Jesus!  No, not really!  She's whining to be picked up again.  

Praising Jesus!  No, not really!  She's whining to be picked up again.  

We're still struggling from jet lag.  It's especially tough when the boys are on their normal schedule but each day is getting easier.  We feel super blessed to finally be home with the little girl we've prayed and dreamed about for years.  Continue to pray for this sweet girl to adjust well to our family, to connect well with each of us and that we can conquer some of the institutional habits / fears.