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Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Mei Mei is absolutely perfect, just as she is, just where she is. The Tongginator burst into hysterical sobbing within the first five minutes of meeting her new sister. When I turned to her in alarm and asked what was wrong, she blubbered, “I’m… just… so… happy!!!”
And we are… just so happy.
Obviously Mei Mei isn’t so sure.
These past 24 hours have been brutal for her, as she experiences so many unknowns. She approached our initial meeting with cautious acceptance, but – as the hours wore on – the grief and fear built to a crescendo. The Husband and I continue taking it slowly with Mei Mei, and the Tongginator is doing beautifully in regards to giving her new sister space and acceptance.
Last week, in Maryland, the Tongginator and I watched her own adoption trip video (for, like, the millionth time). I reminded her of how scared the other babies felt the day we all met, and pointed out the times she herself felt fear, most especially when we arrived at BWI airport and her cousins met her for the very first time. The boys felt so excited to finally see her, they crowded in, trying to make her laugh with “monkey faces.” (They’d recently been to the zoo.) Even a child can spot the fear on our then one-year-old Tongginator’s face.
Before we left for this trip, the Tongginator and I decided that I would say our code phrase – monkey faces – if her excitement and love became a little too much for Mei Mei. I’ve only said it one time since Monday, and the Tongginator immediately backed up to give her new sister a bit more elbow room. Which made me feel oh-so-proud.
Mei Mei is absolutely amazing. We see glimpses of her personality, most especially when she is playing with her new daddy, but I know there is so much more to come. She loves the carrier – she seems to feel very secure in it – but clings for dear life if I hold her in my arms without the carrier.
Obviously she is a bit delayed skill-wise, having spent the first eleven months of her life in an orphanage setting, with a ratio of two caregivers for every 25 babies. She seems to catch on to new skills rather quickly, however, and we also aren’t yet sure of all of her accomplishments. (She may still be hiding a few under her belt during these initial days together.) I feel tremendous relief that her sensory challenges appear nominal. After our long road with the Tongginator, I can’t tell y’all how much that eases my heart.
Mei Mei is physically sick at the moment, but God smiled on us in the form of Doctor Laura from just outside Minneapolis. This pediatrician and her husband adopted a gorgeous 16-month-old just two weeks ago (they leave China tomorrow). Dr. Laura examined Mei Mei in our hotel room, along with several of the other children in our travel group, and passed along some medications to various parents. Our travel group crowded into the room, actually, and the group discussion centered around fungal infections of the skin, upper respiratory infections, possible asthma and hip dysplasia.
I could go on and on, but we have another appointment. We have to meet in the lobby in less than five minutes. I’ll sum it all up by sharing what her new daddy said just ten minutes ago, “I can’t believe we are allowed to parent this beautiful child. I feel so very blessed.”