"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Hefei Zoo & Shopping

This morning Anna Grace awoke with the same sad smile. She has taken a liking to my Mom, Scott and Kai, and I of course, the main taker, is put on the back burner. She will come to me if I have something she wants, and then it will be only under her terms. She is quickly learning that I am the “term setter”. Still we do not have tears, just a very sad, little girl with deep whimpers trying to hold it all in.

After breakfast we met the guide downstairs and headed to the Hefei Wild Animal Park. I decided to sit in the back of the van alone with Anna Grace and hold her while we were driving to the zoo. It was about a 20-25 minute ride. She was not in the mood for me whatsoever and would respond to none of my requests. I could very few times pull her out of her shell by tickling her, but this time it just brought on an onslaught of sadness. The first few tears we have seen were in the back seat that morning. She cried deeply and began calling for her “YeYe”, which means grandfather. I originally thought that she was asking for her foster father, but later have found out that at the orphanage she was a very spoiled by many of the elderly residents. One particular “grandfather” was very special to her, and this is whom she was referring to.

I know that time will make things better, and I so badly wish I could communicate with her. All I can do is have patience and continue to show her that we will get through this together and regardless of her actions, I will never stop loving her.

Hefei has a huge amount of smog. This is the fifth city I have been in China, and this city has to have the worst smog I have seen yet. We have seen no sunshine whatsoever here.

Getting back to the zoo, it was a cool morning, but the humidity must’ve been 100%. You walk outside and sweat. My hair has this funky frizz thing going on. Oh, well.

The entrance to the zoo consists of probably 60 steps up this large hill. We, of course, had two strollers that had to be carried up, and two toddlers that weigh a ton when you are carrying them up those steps.

The zoo was nice. Nothing spectacular, but much nicer than I expected it to be. The highlight of the zoo for the kids, I think, was some ancient amusement rides that they went on. Kai was in his glory. He loves rides and Anna Grace did well on the first one, and really didn’t care much for the rest. I rode with her on the bumper cars, and Scott rode with Kai. It was funny to see the look of confusion on her face as to why we kept bumping our cars together.

We walked around the entire zoo and made a couple of stops for ice cream and water. Just before leaving, we saw a group of middle school students on a field trip, who quickly left the chimpanzee exhibit where they were to run to where we were and practice their English. They were really cute!

We were also excited to see they had a panda exhibit. But, to our disappointment, there was one lonely and sad panda hiding in her enclosure to try and keep cool. Again, Kai enjoyed the animals. Anna Grace could have stayed home if it were up to her. She was phased by any of it and had no intentions of playing with anyone.

As we were leaving, I decided to carry her out. I picked her up and accidentally she tugged on a small branch from a nearby tree. The branch sprang back and smacked me in the head. Oh my gosh!! She was doubled over laughing. I then realized that this was a huge amusement for her and maybe it would break the ice and draw her out of her dark day. I grabbed the branch again and pretended to let it hit me. Again, she cackled loudly. Well, after a couple of times, the game got out of hand and by then she was outright just slapping me. I quickly put an end to it, to which she didn’t appreciate and withdrew herself again.

We returned to the hotel where she played with Kai a bit, we went down to the noodle shop for lunch and then met our guide in the afternoon for some shopping.

About 3 blocks from the Holiday inn is a “walking street”. It’s pretty much a wide street shut down to traffic and lined by stores on both sides. We went to purchase our agreed orphanage donations, candy for the children and a stroller for Anna Grace. While strolling, both Anna Grace and Kai had fallen asleep. They awoke about 20 minutes later while we were in one of the department stores. Both children were drenched in sweat since the air conditioner appeared to not be working. Suddenly a sales clerk came up to me and rattled something in Chinese. The guide turned to me and said that the lady would like to know if I wanted a quilt for Anna Grace since she seemed to be cold. HUH?? A quilt. Holy cow! The girl literally was soaked in sweat. She needed a towel to dry off, not a quilt. But, I just politely smiled and said, “No thank you.”

Another thing we found with her province was that it was EXTREMELY expensive, compared to Guangzhou. We ended up buying an office shredder for the orphanage that was 3x the amount of what we would have paid for in the U.S. That’s pretty amazing considering it was made in China. UGH!

Anyways, we have no regrets. It is an honor to be blessed with another beautiful child from this amazing country and we do what we have to.

Tomorrow we visit the foster family and the orphanage. Please continue to pray for our baby girl and her healing heart.

Missing our kiddos at home…..

Scott, Ohilda, Kai, Anna Grace & Po-Po

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