So we are still getting to know our new little daughter, Meili. Yesterday was day 2.5 without a bowel movement (yes, I know, too much information!) so we began to wonder if our western parenting skills were confusing our daughters eastern ways. Off to the local drugstore I went to locate a baby laxative (of course, the ONLY thing we did not pack) and that was an adventure all alone. The people here in China are so sweet and patient with we foreigners and the concierge manager downstairs at our hotel is no exception. She helped me translate a note of what I was looking for and sent me on my way into the bustling city to locate the Bai Xin Pharmacy. I only had to show my note once to another passerby before I found it and quickly asked for help from the nearest white coat. Nobody spoke any English but yet I was able to get the right product, I thought. Upon returning to the hotel, I asked the concierge folks to translate the instructions for me when I discovered the pharmacy gave me a different type of product than what I needed so the kind woman told me to go to my room and she would call a doctor! I did not really want all that fuss but had no way to communicate it without insulting their kindness so I just said…OK. Two minutes later, the concierge manager and a local doctor were standing in our room speaking Mandarin at a blistering pace and administering the special medicine. Five minutes later, Meili and her itty bitty bum were sitting on the gigantic western toilet and feeling much better. Our total bill for the doctor visit that I could not refuse…$3 US. A totally Chinese moment! Turns out, our smart Chinese daughter was trained not to go #2 in her diaper all along and we just never put her on the potty so she never went! Yes, we feel terrible. FYI, since she has an open palette in her mouth, Meili is unable to suck from a bottle properly so we have a special type of bottle for her. However, she sometimes is still unable to drink it properly so we have to sometimes squeeze the bottle for her – which has learned to do on her own, also. You can really see the survival instincts that come from growing up in an orphanage and it is very emotional to witness.
Yesterday was also her first bath and she seemed to enjoy it. As you can see, still not a whole lot of emotion coming from her but we are beginning to see signs of the amour dropping a little bit. She is a little skinnier than we thought she would be and also much stronger. What chunk she has on her long and lean frame appears to be hardened muscle as she is quite able to stiffen into a tree log when upset – which makes her virtually impossible to hold. She is very much used to defending herself and taking whatever she can from whomever is willing to leave it in an open hand. We are discovering new things about her everyday and also learning about her tragic past through scars and fleeting glances. You can quickly go from joy to rage to confusion when you see these things and we will share more at a later date.
Last night we ventured out into the cold rain to find dinner. It was at dinner that we were able to capture a fleeting smile on camera from Meili. She has already flashed it to Mom a couple times but I had not been able to see it – until last night! We love being in China but are anxious to get back home with Meili and being our new family life.
We are leaving in 90 minutes for a visit to Meili’s orphanage. I am not sure I want to do it but Tracy really wanted to so I agreed to go. Again, I love being here and experiencing the culture but it is hard for me not to be a little angry over a system that results in the life Meili has lived. Tracy feels the same way but she is focused on recovering the final pieces of Meili’s history before we depart and longs to know all she can. She (Tracy) has always been wise like that – able to push down the emotion for the greater good of the purpose, I, on the other hand, will have a heard time controlling my fatherly instincts to lash out. I must remind myself that this is all they know and often mean no harm or ill will. After all, Meili’s parents could have chosen abortion yet the chose to give birth to her. They could have done many other things after the birth and yet they chose to risk arrest by taking the newborn into the city and dropping her off at the children’s hospital. These conflicted feelings will be what I remember most about China.
Next update tonight after our return from the orphanage.