My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Looking Back - Plus Two (July 20)

Whoops... I seem to have forgotten to actually publish the July 19th post, so it's kinda just crammed in there just before this one.

Two years ago today, we had the latest wake-up call of the trip, and I was shocked to find myself thinking (possibly for the first time in my life) that 7:30am was late. Unlike the previous morning, the Pipsqueak was happy and giggly and playful, even learning how to play "peekaboo" under a napkin during our (happily leisurely) breakfast.  We were all playing a waiting game to see if the U.S. Consulate accepted all the adoption paperwork, so AJ & I took the Pipsqueak on a tour of all the high-end shops in White Swan's basement, then just puttered around in our room until Lucy gave us the call we'd been waiting for: the paperwork was all in order, and (except for one last bit of rubber-stamping) all the adoptions were considered complete by both governments. The entire group went for a celebratory big lunch and then (after a bus ride into downtown Guangzhou proper) a hot & sticky but very interesting walk through the open-air pet and traditional medicine markets in the old part of the city. After that, a dip in the pool was in order, followed by another American-style meal at Lucy's and then liberal amounts of participation in Shamian's "adoption ecosystem" of small shops*. We had a pleasant surprise at one shop when Miri showed that she actually preferred to be held by AJ rather than any friendly adult female, a sure sign that the bonding we had hoped for was actually taking place. We did a little pre-packing for the trip home that night, with the first sense that maybe, just maybe, it really was time to leave China.

One year ago today, we were dealing with "China weather" here at home, and I have to admit to getting some entertainment value out of watching people's faces when I told them that it had actually been hotter & more humid when we were in China. By this time, all our fears about Miri not bonding well with AJ or the rest of the family had long been shelved; AJ was Mommy and nobody, but nobody, was going to deny the Pipsqueak access to Mommy when she wanted it. (And anyone who thinks that's a complaint really just doesn't get it. <g>)  I closed out the "one year ago today" post with a note that Miri still enjoyed playing peekaboo.

Today we're hoping the weather settles down a bit... it's supposed to be cooler (last year's "China weather was just a rehearsal for this summer, it seems) but rainy, and there were some pretty significant power outages (again!) in the area due to passing storms on Thursday night. The Pipsqueak's back in day care, and we're planning a small family celebration of Gotcha Day this coming weekend (delayed both in deference to Dad's birthday and due to the Pipsqueak being sick on the actual day).

Oh, and she still likes playing peekaboo. :-)

*Present-Day Note: The "adoption ecosystem" I referred to was all the shops selling clothing, souvenirs, assorted tchochkes, diapers, baby bottles, squeaky shoes, and any number of other items most likely to be sought out by adoptive families staying on Shamian Island. This developed because the U.S. Consulate had been on the island, next door to the White Swan, resulting in an extremely high concentration of American adoptive families in a small area. However, the consulate moved quite a distance away across the city in 2005, and even when we were there in 2010 the two families we traveled with (both on their second China adoptions) commented that a few of the stores had gone missing. Since then, many more have closed, and friends who visited Shamian Island within the past few months told us that, with the White Swan closed for renovations and most of the adopting families staying in hotels closer to the new U.S. Consulate, the majority of the "adoption ecosystem" has already vanished.

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