|Hallie, trying out her hat for the first time|
Yesterday was a quiet day for us. Lucy (our guide here in Guiyang) met us at our hotel after breakfast, and she took us for a brief walk around this part of the city. It turns out that she's actually not even from this province; she just comes over here when there's a family—like us—who travels here to adopt a child. We feel a little bad that she has to spend this week in a hotel, away from her home, but she doesn't seem to mind. She's not that close to 5' tall, but you'd never know it from the way she carries herself. She definitely sees it as her mission to take care of us this week. She can be a little bossy at times, but in an endearing way that clearly demonstrates how much she cares about us and our little ones. She's been guiding adoptive families for thirty years, so she certainly knows what she's doing.
On our walk yesterday morning, she took us to a supermarket, which is a perfect distance from our hotel (about a fifteen-minute walk). We picked up a few things, and in the process discovered how pushy sales people here in China can be. Kristie was looking for some baby cereal so that we can continue mixing that into Hallie's bottle (right now, that's the ONLY way that we can get any real nutrition into her), and the lady at the market tried very hard to get us to buy another kind of cereal, the most expensive one in the store. The container she was insistent that we use was about 400¥ ($65)!!!! As politely as she could, Kristie told her, "No, thanks" and put a far more reasonably-priced container in our cart. On a side note, the markets here in China tend to be located in shopping malls. Weird, but someow it seems appropriate.
After our excursion, we went back to our hotel room, and Lucy came up to talk to us about the next couple of says. Unfortunately, we didn't get Isabelle yesterday like we had hoped; we'll get her this afternoon (Monday). This turned out to be a good thing, I think, because it gave Hallie another day to get comfortable here. In fact, yesterday was the best day we've ever seen her have. When we arrived here, we expected that Isabelle & Hallie would follow the typical pattern for adopted children (based on others' experiences and what Kristie has seen with her own brothers and sisters) and bond with me first, and then her. It wasn't that way with Mikaela, who bonded just like a biological child because she was only 11 months old when we brought her home, and developmentally more like a 3-6 month-old. Well, since Hallie seems to be in the level of a 12-month-old, she has bonded with Kristie first. She is most definitely a Mommy's girl. She sticks to her at pretty much every turn, and while she likes me, I don't get the same kind of clingy hugs that Kristie often gets. She clearly likes me, but I'm not quite on the same level as Kristie in her mind. She's usually very agreeable when I hold her, so long as I don't try to kiss her cheeks very much. Our kids back home often tell me that I'm too scratchy, and in our running dialogue voice for Hallie, I've become "Scratchy Face Man" more often than Daddy. But, yesterday she showed more affection towards me than she has—giving me some clingy hugs nearly worthy of Mikaela's—even after I did the unforgivable and gave her a bath and washed her hair. All in all, she continues to open up and explore her surroundings more and more. Now, we can't wait to meet Isabelle, see where she is, and watch her open up. It's such an amazing thing to watch kids open up who have never received anything like enough attention of stimulation before.