Formerly "To China For Kelly"

When I originally set up this blog, it was to chronicle our trip to China to adopt our daughter, Kelly; thus the title, "To China For Kelly." But now that I've decided to keep it up as my on-line scrapbook/journal, the title needs updating.
Inspired by my girls, who, despite their ten year age difference, both love lollipops and lip gloss; it is now titled, "From Lollipops to Lip Gloss." This is not to leave my son out, who also loves lollipops, but isn't too big on lip gloss, understandably!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day One

Greetings from Hong Kong!

We made it! The flight was tiring... WOW, SOOOOOOOO LOOONNNNG... fourteen and a half hours to be exact. It was a full flight and the seats were cramped and uncomfortable, so sleep came and went in fairly short increments since it was hard to stay in one position for too long. But it was a smooth flight and they played lots of movies for us to watch.

Hong Kong is amazing. Everything is built upwards, meaning skyscrapers or the like, and everything is squashed up against everything else. Shops everywhere, most of them tiny, one after the other, with lots of lights and glitz. It appears that there are the rich, and there are the poor, and not much in between. It was dark when we arrived, so it was hard to see things. I'm sure daylight will bring a whole new perspective. There's water all around, since Hong Kong is an island (or several, actually,) so we saw lots of bridges and boats on the bus ride from the airport to the hotel.

It's crazy humid- and it's raining. It was raining last night when we arrived, and Clint just got back from attempting to get coffee this morning at Starbucks and its still raining. He went down to get coffee at 6am and can you believe it, Starbucks in Hong Kong doesn't open until 7!!??

Matthew, our guide, has been very informative. We're supposed to meet at 8:45 am this morning to tour Hong Kong with the group. I believe there are eight families all together. We'll get pictures and upload some tonight if we can charge our laptop battery. The converter said it's not for laptops, so Clint's worried about frying it. We'll see if we can get something that will work from the concierge.

I know there's so much more I could share but we're limited on time right now, so I'll catch up more tonight!


Corie Barnhart-Grogan said...

I kept checking this (the last time it was 2:25am your time and was wondering if you were sleeping or in a travel's almost 6pm here and was about to leave work but though I would just check one more time and...YEAH!! I was so happy to hear from you!! I sure don't like you being so far away but the reason makes it all OK!!
I just wonder, is it because they stay up so late at night there that Starbucks opens SO LATE!!?? What is up with that! That's just crazy. Can't wait to hear again later. May you have a wonderful, exciting and very blessed day.
I love you!! Give each other a great big hug from me.

Blomquist Blog said...

Hi Jen!
So glad to hear that you made it to Hong Kong safe and sound. I am sure you are just bursting with excitement. Take this time to soak it all in and enjoy every minute--you both deserve it! Thinking of you and keeping you close in prayers and in our hearts!

Love you,


Connie Son said...

Yea! I can't believe that you guys are there! The count down is really coming now! Have fun and be safe, we are praying for you and can't wait to hear when you got Kelly! Connie

Nanna in Victoria, Texas said...

Hello "Away Team China"! Wow! To think that Kelly is so close! I have no idea how far in miles ya'll are from her but just knowing that you guys are so close to her, gives me goose bumps! I can't wait to read your updates and see your pictures. I love you. Have fun and enjoy the journey! My prayers are with you and "Home Team China"! Hugs!

Nana in Houston said...

We will be praying continuously for God's will and protection for you all and Miss Kelly Elise. I will add a changed prayer request at our church this Sunday for this new step in the adventure.

I had a chat with the family of the little China Doll at O's last gymnastics class. They are excited for you and a flood of memories from all four of them rushed back. They had stories from their experience and suggestions - I took copious notes that I'm passing along - although I'm certain you are well informed and your sister has already given you all you need.

Their little doll had never left the facility in which she was housed. They were advised that she would be under enormous stress because of all the overwhelming new stimulous like the drive from the facility, new rooms, new people, and especially the airport and airplane and strange home and more strange people. She may feel you, as strangers, are not keeping her safe by taking her to these frightening places. If you can learn the Chinese words similar to "You're okay. You are safe," from her caretakers, or whatever words her caretakers use to calm their wards when they become frightened, this may help her with the transition from China and at home also.

You can protect her from harm but you can't protect her from the pain of separation. Distress can't be avoided.

They adorned her room with "frilly" girly things and regretted it. She was used to a stark environment and they wished they'd kept her room plain and simple and allowed her to get used the "decorations" little by little. Many things they thought she would like absolutely terrified her - especially things with eyes - like stuffed animals.

Crucial to their daughter's emotional survival was to set up continuity and a sense of order because her world was turned upside down. They tried to restore her same routine as much as possible and help her with a sense of prediction - using as many same things as possible: bowl, cup, bottle, blanket, foods, schedule - they were a measure of comfort.

She was used to eating from a single rice bowl and cup and her type of baby bottle and her blanket and a simple toy. They tried to buy things she had been using from the orphanage but the staff couldn't deal with that simple request. So they bought similar items in the same area, including food items that would travel, so she could eat with some familiarity. They had been told by another adopting family that their little one refused to eat for many DAYS without a rice bowl and familiar cup and familiar foods and never accepted another kind of bottle. Bedtime and nap time was difficult without the bottle. They had to find an Asian market in a nearby city to shop, but couldn't reproduce the baby bottle. After a while this family would continue to offer the China implements but also offered or laid their options at his finger tips - he eventually aped their form of eating utensils and platewear.

All during the China travel and especially at home they tried to set up structured activities so she could predict a beginning, a middle, and an end to gain mastery and accomplishment, begin to trust them, and provide some order and control of her new life. Some hints were available to them through how the orphanage provided "play time" or activities in which she was familiar.

More advice: Be patient with her attachment to you - sometimes it takes a long, long time. Don't get discouraged if she rejects you time and time again.

The language barrier was a huge one so they established soft cooing and voice tones. Their little one was terrified with over-expressed facial expressions, especially heightened joy through eye brows high on the forehead, widened eyes, and large bared teeth in a big smile. These facial expressions sent her into screaming fits of terror that were nearly impossible to calm down - especially when visitors came to meet her and expressed their joy through their faces. She would hide under the bed and refuse any comfort. Later she ran to her closet and shut the door when the doorbell rang or any other stresses overwhelmed her.

They believe all these little children have attachment disorders. Expect regressive behaviors - a more helpless state reverting to "baby" behavior may be restimulated instead of age appropriate behavior. This can be very frustrating but try to meet those needs if possible. She may be telling you she missed those things and now wants them. Some symptoms are flashbacks, emotions that come in waves, hyper-reactions (grossly over-reacting to situations), oppositional (defiance) and dissociation (numbing of feelings, zoning-out, animal behavior, angry glares). They said it is easy to misinterpret behaviors as "being bad" when she is merely trying to survive the stress in the only way she's figured out can on her own. She can be clingy one moment and then scream and give you undeserved hateful looks the next.

They stated that you will be called upon to exercise better than average parenting skills - and that is the least of my concerns - you two are the greatest at providing unconditional love. They said they had to constantly and endlessly repeat the words and behavior that stated, "I won't hurt you. You are safe. You are worthy and deserving. I like to do this. I am available."

Too much information? I guess I'm excited Chatty Cathy. I took notes hoping not to leave anything out that might help or fit.

We are looking so forward to meeting the newest member to the family this summer when you feel visiting it right. Love to you both!

Corie Barnhart-Grogan said...

Oh Jen...I love your curls!! You know how much I love the curls...just ask your sissy!! :) I have so much to say but am running out of time right now (it took so much longer today to read all the wonderful posts-good thing your tour was cancelled since you have so much to read-smile) To Nana in Houston..WOW! ALOT of great advise. I'm so glad that Jennifer & Clint did their due diligence so that they are very prepared to deal with all of the scenarios and more.
The pictures are awesome, thank you so much for keeping us all connected, truly a blessing to have this technology so that we can share this incredible journey with you.
Love and fountains of Blessings!!

Cindy Cardey said...

Jennifer & Clint,
Kelly is so beautiful, I keep looking at her picture!! China looks really interesting, have you eaten any scorpions yet?
We can't wait to meet you little princess, we are praying for you daily!
Cindy & Max