Monday, April 16, 2012

Photos from Guangzhou


Monday April 16

We are still just killing time in China, waiting for our appointment at the US Consulate. I filled out the visa paperwork yesterday, but our appointment isn’t scheduled until Thursday. This morning, after the enormous breakfast buffet, we fed the fish (huge carp) in the garden. Did I mention that this hotel has an enormous garden area? Complete with bridges, pavilions, waterfalls, and lush landscaping, the garden area of The Garden Hotel looks like a movie set. We usually do not take the children there, because we know they will disturb the tranquility (and walk on the grass—heaven forbid!), but we had time to kill this morning. After feeding the fish bread (which I’m sure is against the rules), we decided to rent the tennis court for an hour. John and Ben played tennis for an hour, and Sam ran around happily fetching the balls. DangTong (Leo) mostly sat on the sidelines with David and me. Of course, Leo had to find trouble, and he was held tightly in my lap for a “time in “after he suddenly kicked and spit at David for no apparent reason. He’s done the same types of things to all of us. The tennis courts are away from prying eyes, so it was much easier for David to effectively address Leo’s misbehavior. It’s often difficult to send a clear message to Leo because Chinese people try to intervene whenever we discipline. For instance, on the airplane to Guangzhou, we had one guy shoulder his way over me to unbuckle Leo's seat-belt for him, after I had just moved him to his seat and buckled him in tightly enough so that he couldn't escape and stand- up during take-off. Yes, of course I know he’s crying at the moment, but he will never obey if we give in every time he throws a temper tantrum! Grrr. Whenever Leo spits at us, pinches us, or hits us, we need to immediately address the behavior, but we keep getting undermined by the well-meaning, nosy Chinese people, who think we are just dumb Americans. Last night, Leo took a drinking glass off the bathroom counter and deliberately threw it (smashing it) into the toilet bowl. As I've said before, Sam is just great, but Leo acts like a terrible two year old most of the time. We had to call maintenance to deal with the glass mess. Ugh. We know; this too shall.

And just so you know, Leo acts out physically because obviously that is what he is used to doing for attention. It’s really sad. When we prevented him from hitting and pinching us, he began to pinch himself---hard! Really, it’s just sad to witness. We did have one mother (of 8 children, 4 adopted) tell us that she is truly impressed with how well we are handling Leo. We were on the bus to Shamien Island, and I was singing nursery songs to him to calm him down. Hey, whatever it takes. I’m just very,very thankful that Sam has stopped mourning for his foster family and seems to fit in so well with our family!! We can take extra time to help Leo heal now, knowing that Sam is going to be ok.

Some more photos

April 14, 2012

A brotherly discussion