All day our precious girl showed us evidence that she is just soaking up the love we've been pouring out on her. It is such a joy to watch her unfold like a beautiful flower! We are so blessed to be able to experience this miracle of adoption again, and we just give the Lord all the praise for how beautifully Lily Kay's transition is going!
When it was time to get dressed this morning, Elisabeth said “Let's pray that Lily Kay doesn't fuss this time!” So we did...right that minute. And our precious Lily Kay not only smiled, but LAUGHED, her way through the clothes changing! I still can hardly believe it as I'm typing it! And there I had just been hoping she wouldn't cry for an hour! Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Eph. 3:20
After breakfast our guide took us and another adoptive family (we are really enjoying getting to know the Parkers from UT) on a tour. The tour today was to a Buddhist Monastery. Our guide, while not a practicing Buddhist herself (she instead believes in “education”, like many Chinese), Jessie was very knowledgeable about Buddhism and was able to explain to us the symbolism and meaning behind everything we saw. While it was beautiful and very interesting to walk around this 1,000+ years old place, it was very disheartening to see these Chinese people lighting incense, leaving gifts for, and praying to these Buddhas. While they are big and impressive, they are just man-made objects that can't provide the “love, joy, peace....” (Gal. 5:22) that our universe-creating, mountain-moving, awe-inspiring, eternal God can! These people may have never even heard the name of Jesus before, because it is illegal to evangelize in China – and “Atheism” is the official religion of the People's Republic of China. Oh, precious Jesus, we know that “with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) and I pray for these people of China, that You love so dearly. Amen.
Our family did experience two more wonderful “firsts” while touring around the monastery. Zibing held her arms up to me to ask me to carry her! I'll never forget that moment. And within a few minutes, while I was still holding her, out of the blue, she laid a big smacker right on my right cheek! Oh, the joy that this mama felt! I want to cry just remembering it! I had to stop our tour and announce to everyone that Zibing had just given me my first kiss!
All the loving, snuggling, and hugging and kissing (that she has accepted well, but stoically) that we've been giving her the last couple of days has apparently “filled up” her love tank and now it is over-flowing and started to come back on us – praise you, Lord! But we know it won't just stay filled up, and you can rest assured that we will continue to work hard every day re-filling it!
I can't count how many times, over the course of the remainder of the day, Zibing reached up to have me hold her. To be honest, I don't know when my arms have ever hurt this bad. They were literally shaking by the end of the day...but there is NO way I would have told that precious child “no” for anything! On a practical note, I am very thankful, and continue to be in awe of the Lord's perfect timing. Yesterday was 11 weeks since my surgery (5 weeks since I've been cleared to lift anything over 20 pounds) and the Lord knew that I needed that time to heal (and not just six weeks like I'd assumed) to be able to tote an almost 40-pound bundle of love all over Fuzhou, China! It is just my arms that are hurting, and not my core (as it has at times in the past few weeks when I've overdone it)...I promise, Mom!
Our group asked our guide and van driver to stop us by McDonalds on the way back to the hotel, and we ordered some food 'to go'. While she wouldn't even entertain the idea of trying a fry at the restaurant, Zibing began wolfing down fries like there is no tomorrow once we got back to the room! And, we've discovered she likes ketchup (which I would imagine she's never tried before yesterday). Elisabeth's reaction to this discovery: “YAY, she's on our team!” (Noah and mama are the only ones who don't like ketchup at our house. It's yucky, right Noah?)
(Side note: Zibing appears to be right-handed. YAY, she's on my team! Until she joined our family, I was the only one in our house who isn't left-handed.)
After lunch, we all settled down for a nap, and Zibing settled herself back into “her” chair we put in front of the door whenever we're about to sleep. But she at least slept during naptime this time.
We had a big time playing in our room after nap (blowing up balloons, watching and singing with Mei Mei, etc.) It was too cold yesterday to be outside too much – so we didn't get to go back to the park for paddle boat rides yet, like we plan to. Zibing is more susceptible to the cold than we are. She starts shivering when the rest of us aren't very cold at all. It's a good excuse for snuggling, though! Jas says we need to get her home and “put some meat on her bones!” Oh, I can't wait to do just that!
The four of us ventured out to find a new favorite local place for supper – and we hit the jackpot! (Is that o.k. for a baptist to say???) Armed with a phrase that we'd just googled that we thought would order us some yummy Wonton soup, we headed into a nice looking place, a bit bigger than our first favorite place. The waitress did NOT understand “hun tun tang mian” (so much for google replacing our guide!) But we were able to point to a yummy looking soup that the man at the next table was eating and got one of those. (Daniel, you would have loved it!) And an order of dumplings, our hands-down favorite food so far. It was all so good, and better for us than McDonalds (which wouldn't be hard to accomplish) and it was 19 yuan (a little over $3)
It is just so cute to watch Zibing. She is just so...well, Chinese. From her talking, to the way she knows her way around a Chinese table, to using chopsticks (she's not totally proficient, but way better than us!). It makes me sad to think about her losing these things – as it has made me sad that our other children, adopted at younger ages, lost the potential for these things – when we take her away from her first home. But here again, God is at work, and is taking these sad circumstances and painful beginnings and is working “all things together for good for those that love Him.” (Romans 8:28) As we frequently tell our children, that verse does not say that all things are good, for believers – but that God will work all things for good...for those that believe in and love Him. And we're here to testify that He does!
After an already long, full, wonderful day...Zibing had two more fabulous “firsts” to show us! We had not yet pushed the issue of a bath with her, but we thought it was time to give it another shot. Elisabeth got in first and slowly, but surely, Zibing joined her...and had a great time, I might add!
And then, to cap off a fabulous third day together...she slept in the bed! Yay! Whooppeee! Praise the Lord! Happy dancing all around! We have one very brave, very trusting, very open-to-love little girl on our hands, and she just continues to amaze us!
We just can't wait to see what Wednesday holds for us!
No, this is not a smoker, like Jas originally thought - but I bet you could smoke a lot of "butts" in there, Robbie!