Joel and I have sensed a calling to international adoption for many years. In May, 2009 God made it abundantly clear that it was time. After much prayer, research and wise counsel we began the process to adopt a daughter from China. God directed us to an incredible agency that was founded by a family with an amazing testimony. This blog is a chronicle of our journey, to inform our friends and family and as a record of events for our daughter to read one day. Join us in the journey... it is sure to be an adventure!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Bath, A Park, A Zoo, and Famous Noodles

Grace had her first bath. I'm not sure that she enjoyed it, but she accepted it without complaint. She did enjoyed being rubbed down with lotion, though.

We all slept pretty well last night. I am so very thankful for the foam mattress topper that I managed to get into my suitcase. In China, the nicer your hotel~the harder your bed. We are in the nicest hotel in Lanzhou, quite a bit out of our league, frankly. So, we have hard beds and stiff backs.

We visited the city zoo today. They have a Panda, which they are very proud of. We saw several animals we had never heard of before. There was a common housecat in the pen with the pheasants. We couldn't figure out how he got in, but he sure looked like he wanted out. We were the main attraction for much of our time there. Many people, particularly older men and women, want to come and see Grace, ask where we are from, and find out about our other children. They are very sweet and all say kind things to Grace about all of the love that she will have with our family. They have all been very happy to see one of their orphan children find a home. Once when we stopped in the park outside the zoo to listen to a pick-up musical preformance by locals, we drew most of the crowd away from the musicians. I pulled out a photo album with the boys' and our extended family. The people looked through all of the photos and talked about how the boys look like us, and how my mom and I look alike, and how Joel and his brother look alike.

We were at the foot of a rather tall mountain, and kept hearing people calling out to one another. Our guide told us that some of the old people climb the mountain every day for excercise and that the ones at the top were calling out to the ones who were farther down the mountain. I do not know if they were calling out words of encouragement or teasing them for not making it to the top yet :) Excercise is very important to the older people here (60s and above) and they spend a lot of time at it.

We walked through part of the oldest section of this 2,000 year-old city while looking for a taxi. Our guide told us that much of it would soon be demolished for the government to put in new apartment buildings. The people whose homes are demolished will be given a new apartment. She said they were very happy about this.

Our next stop was at one of the more than 300 Lanzhou Noodle restaurants. This city is famous for it's hand-pulled noodles cooked in a special beef broth. *Trisha~I understand why you loved coming home to that smell when you made the recipe. It is wonderful! We thoroughly enjoyed that meal. And, I learned how to eat foot-long noodles with chopsticks!

Grace continues to come out of her shell a little at a time. We are seeing more and more of her true personality. She sings often, and loves to play imitating games. She also let Joel get very close to her while making similar sounds back and forth at the zoo. She even reached out and touched his beard. When we got back to the room, he sat down on the end of the bed next to her. He was able to touch her hair for the first time and rub her back a little. This is huge progress. She was still nervous about it, but didn't start crying this time.

Another huge milestone in this process is poop. Really! Every morning the guides ask if the baby has pooped. Some children stress so much that they won't even do that, and they can get sick if that goes on for too long. The saying is that the first poop belongs to the orphanage, and the second one is the family's. In other words, the first one doesn't count after you get the baby. Well...not only is Grace a champion eater, she's a champ in this arena as well. She truly is a Rainey :) (Sorry to those of you who think that is TMI..)

She is sleeping now, I have taken a nap, and Joel is working on one too. When she wakes up we will go out with another family that we ran into from Indiana who just adopted a 2-year old boy, Joshua. We've been hanging out together some and sharing experiences.

We love you all, and enjoy so much getting up in the morning to read your comments. Thank you so much for your prayers. We have certainly felt them. Tomorrow is another day of touring, including the provincial museum. Grace's paperwork will be finished by Thursday and we leave this wonderful city on Friday.

By the way, Trisha, our guide is your guide's wife :) I've heard some great stories about your family, I think you made your mark on Lanzhou!

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