Yesterday morning, bright and early, we took a bullet train to Guilin. A bullet train is a super fast train (I believe the fastest in the world) that you can get all over China on. It’s a very nice and inexpensive way to travel and it’s really neat to see all of the countryside as you go.
One day when I come back to China for a visit with my hubbs, I’d love to spend time in the countryside in the mountains. It’s absolutely beautiful.
It’s also neat to see all of the farmhouses and farmers out working by hand in the fields. I’d love to sit down at one of those little houses and eat with a family.
It took about 2 1/2 hours to get to Guilin on the bullet train and the scenery was increasingly more beautiful the closer we got.
After arriving in Guilin a driver picked us up (we traveled with another sweet adoptive family and our guide, David) and we went and found something to eat. We were then able to shop at a small market place for some items specific to Chapel’s area. I was able to get her a beautiful silk dress, some paintings (that I could roll up in my suitcase) of Guilin, and some neat ornaments to add to our Peru Christmas tree which is now going to be a multi-cultural forever family tree. <3 Shopping at local markets is probably one of my most favorite things to do when traveling internationally (besides of course-getting to know the real people and real culture) because you get to meet real local artists and buy things unique to that part of a country. Love it.
We walked around some park area that was on the Li River and then went for the orphanage tour. I opted out of taking Chapel back into her orphanage but my mom went in and took photos for me. I’m glad for that because she might want to see them one day- but I didn’t want to hinder any attachment progress we’ve made. One of the orphanage directors who work with the children did come over and try to talk to Chapel and she sank down into the carrier to hide her face and started to cry. Oops. Maybe she thought the worker was going to take her back.
Chapel continues to make more connections with me every day. In fact, a lot of the things I saw from her on days 1 and 2 aren’t showing up much anymore- which makes me think they were more trauma related. She actually let me feed her with a spoon last night! And enjoyed it! I almost cried. For real. I was getting concerned since she had been refusing to eat.
She’s getting more silly and playful with me too. She’ll kind of sway back and forth like she’s dancing (with a smile on her face) when I hold her up in a standing position. A couple of days ago I was showing her what giving “sugars” was. I’d pucker up and lean forward and give her a kiss and she’s smile so huge. Well yesterday she started mimicking me and would pucker up and lean forward but then start laughing before she ever gave me “sugars.”
Last night I video chatted with Danny for the first time while she was awake. The minute she saw him she smiled. She’s had a book with his picture in it and I’m wondering if she recognized him.
I made some bonnets for Chapel to protect her inner ears in the wind while we are out and about since she has no outer ear to do that job for her. But also because of a heads up from other adoptive parents about how special needs are handled and responded to in China. Other parents have warned me that they’ve received lots of negative attention and how difficult that was while in country.
On the way home on the bullet train I decided to take off Chapel’s bonnet because it was hot. Sure enough, I soon had a lady standing up behind me on the train as it was moving- just staring at Chapel. She told a few people around her and they all stood up to check out the situation. She literally stood there for at least five minutes and was not detoured even though I decided to just stare at her as long as she stared at Chapel. She didn’t seem to notice.
My first thoughts were offended ones- but the lady actually smiled at me in a nice way. I asked David about this and he said he thinks people are just curious because they don’t see people very often with visable special needs. I noticed very early on that you don’t see people out and about with special needs. I mean there are herds and herds of people and I haven’t seen one with special needs. David said most of these people stay at home or only feel comfortable going to some parks. Either that or they are abandoned as infants because people have to purchase their own healthcare and most people don’t feel they can afford healthcare for a child with special needs. So the sight of someone with visable special needs is something many people never ever see.
I started thinking about it in a slightly different way after that. If the very rare exposure that is seen of special needs children is with adoptive families, then I want the impression I leave with those who notice that to be one that makes people question what is deeply ingrained in them. That kids with special needs are beautiful and should be highly treasured members of society who are capable of giving and receiving love. So as offended as I want to be, love is always what leaves a lasting impact. Lord, help me.
I got to video chat with Danny and all my Reedlings this morning which did my heart SO good. I’m really homesick and can’t wait to see my family.
Today we fly to Guangzhou to complete the second part of our process and last leg of our journey.