Monday, July 09, 2007

Six Months

It was six months ago yesterday, in a city on the China Sea, on the other side of the world, in a room with a bust of Ho Chi Minh's head, two officials of the People's Committee of the Province of DaNang released Lana to us. Husband and I each spoke for a few minutes, promising that we would love and care for Lana as our own, and that we would teach her about Vietnam and make certain she would be proud of where she came from.

Lana solemnly peeled and ate a tangerine through the whole ceremony.

After the ceremony, we walked back to the hotel, and the three of us sat looking at eachother and looked at eachother like, "Well, now what?"

We took Lana down to the hotel lobby, and the concierge called us a taxi, and we went to a market, and we bought Lana clothes and shoes and coloring books and crayons and boxes of strawberry and vanilla milk, and shampoo. And I realize, now, with six months of knowledge of Lana, that she was probably in a state of shock.

We went to eat at a restaurant in DaNang called "Bread of Life", and the Vietnamese girl who waited on us tried to coax Lana to eat some bread, and she made her milk with sugar in it...but, Lana drank and ate very little.

Later, we ordered her squid and rice at the hotel restaurant, and she cried when the waiter spoke to her in a soothing voice and tried to sneak rings of squid and spoonfuls of rice in her mouth.

She fell asleep watching a Strawberry Shortcake DVD, and we woke her up the next morning (six months ago today) to take her on her first airplane ride, and she vomited the whole way from DaNang to Hanoi.

Yesterday, Lana put on her pink bathing suit, and ran out the sliding glass doors of our kitchen, and flung herself, joyfully, into the pool. She splashed her brother and her cousin Taylor and her new friends Alison and Adam, and later sat on the front porch, perched on her beach towel, and voraciously ate two hotdogs (no bun) and a plate full of cantalope. She laughed, a lot, yesterday.

It's still not easy. It's not perfect. We are not melded together with 100% accuracy, but, we are a family. She and Gabriel fight. A lot. Like cats and dogs, even. But, sometimes they snuggle up next to eachother, to watch a video, or share a bowl of popcorn, or build a tower of legos, and it's pretty darn adorable.

Last night, just before she fell asleep, she said, "Mommy. Hold my hand. Sing a song." And I said, "what song, baby girl?" and she answered, "Sing 'small world' mommy." So, I held her hand in my hand, and I sat on the side of her bed, and I sang a Disney song, about the world being small.

And I cannot decide, really, considering the last six months, if I'm finding the world to truly be small, or really, really big.



Blogger KelleyO said...

Gretchen, I am so grateful for your honest posts. This one was especially beautiful. I have learned so much from your experiences. Thank you.

Monday, July 09, 2007 3:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

This was a beautiful post. I cannot believe that it has been 6 months. You guys have come so far.

Monday, July 09, 2007 3:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

Beautiful. I am just astounded at how far she has come in six months... how far your family has come. (as I am astounded about Zeeb and our family too)

Monday, July 09, 2007 5:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

That was a precious recount! I'm so glad you went to BOL in DaNang, the owners are friends of mine. Boy, six months has flown by. You have a beautiful family and both you and Lana are blessed to have each other. I honestly cannot remember much about the G&R, other than Mia was in shock and wouldn't let me near her. I have no clue what I said to the officials. And, until reading your post, I'd forgotten completely about that part. It all seems in a haze. I'm glad you have vivid memories you can share with Lana some day.

Monday, July 09, 2007 6:53:00 PM  
Blogger Irshlas said...

What a special memory. And I ditto the thanks for sharing your experiences. Those of us on the same journey appreciate learning everything we can from those who have gone before us!

Monday, July 09, 2007 8:37:00 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Wow - what a touching, sweet post. And what an amazing way you've come in six months. Even though things are still in process in terms of adjustment, imagine what another six months will bring. Thanks for bringing tears to my eyes tonight!

Monday, July 09, 2007 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicki said...

That is so beautiful. Happy Six Months - a family :-) Sounds like she and G are true brother and sister, for sure!!!!! haha

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Great post. Congrats on hitting the big 6 months milestone. I can't believe it has been that long. It seems like only yesterday that I was glued to your blog to read about your experience of traveling to Vietnam and meeting Lana. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your words and insight helped me so much as we were (impatiently) waiting word of our travel dates.

I'm so glad things are going well for your family.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:41:00 PM  
Blogger La Turista said...

Once again, a lovely post. Thanks for sharing the past six months.

Monday, July 16, 2007 9:54:00 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Oh goodness this is such a beautiful post (as I wipe away tears). So nicely put, your prospective is quite helpful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 1:02:00 AM  

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