Today started off rough. Little Kate woke to find that she was not in the orphanage but still in the hotel with Dennis and I. She cried big fat tears when she realized that she was somewhere unfamiliar and even more so when she got a glance of Daddy. I know that it is breaking his heart but he understands that she will soften to him in time. The orphanage director did share that Katie has not been around men or animals which eases the sting for him a bit. The bottom line here...she is grieving hard. She is sad several times a day and cries silent tears. Sometime with a whimper but mostly with the void expression of a child who is so overwhelmed that she has to shut off the world in order to cope. She misses her nannies and friends, especially Hui Dan, the little gal whose crib was pushed next to hers. The nannies told us they were best friends and close like siblings. We hope to meet Hui Dan tomorrow on our trip to the orphanage which was confirmed just a few hours ago.
On a happy note, Katie has enjoyed trying new foods. At breakfast she sampled yogurt and it was an instant favorite. Not knowing if she has any allergies, we have been taking it slow with just one to two new foods each day. She has given up her bottle for table food and is willing to eat just about anything. She loves noodles, chicken, crackers and these little orange cakes that the children eat everywhere. I may have to fill a suitcase with loads of these cakes because they make her happy....her toes wiggle when she sees Daddy open the box.
After breakfast we went to the park for possibly the biggest culture shock yet. The park was huge...much like Central in New York but it was filled with dozens of organized and unorganized exercise groups made up of mostly elderly folk. I have never seen people in their 60s, 70s and 80s in such great shape. The Tai Chi was beautiful and the hacky sack games were so intense that I'm sure they could have given any American high school kid a run for their money. The statues, ponds, music and Banyan tress make it the most beautiful park I have ever visited.
Dennis and I were clearly the only foreigners in the park today which drew much attention. We had our photographs taken several times and one group of ladies stopped to talk with us (Cantonese of course). Thanks to our guide, Jocelyn, we had a card to hand them that explained who we were, where we are from and little about baby Kate. It was very helpful. We found that most people gave us a thumbs up, nod, or smile as we walked by. The pointing and picture taking doesn't bother us because we know that the locals are curious. What does bother us is being chased down by the police. Apparently Dennis and I were trying to exit the park through the entrance and an officer ran toward us shouting something that we clearly could not understand. She was either very helpful or super annoyed when she gave us a personal escort to the correct door.
Highlights From Today:
1. Little Kate played on the playground with another child and smiled several times.
2. When a Chinese lady tried to pick her up while at the playground, she ran to me, flung her arms up in the air and clung like velcro! This is a great sign...I'm her safe place.
3. We heard her voice! She said "Baba" which is Daddy in Chinese. The downside: that means I am 0 for 3 when it comes to having our kids say Mama first. However, for all we know she was saying, "Baba scares me to death. Please don't let the big white guy pick me up."
4. She has learned to give high fives, has mastered the stacking cups and can build a pretty awesome block tower. The nannies sent her favorite blocks and insisted that she keep them.
5. She laughs....a deep raspy laugh. Dennis, still trying to win his girl, busted out in his version of Tai Chi in the hotel room. He was hysterically funny and like Kate, I was laughing too. In fact, I didn't know he had such slick moves.
6. Here it is...the big one! When Kate wondered away from the playground she quickly became nervous. Daddy was only a few steps behind her and when she realized he was the closest of the two of us, she reached up to him and he was able to pick her up! He knew it wouldn't last long so her gave her a hug and kiss before letting her come back to me.
7. We applied for Kate's passport! One step closer to home!