Guess Who's Walking?

As I type this I can hear a little orphan-girl-no-more crying loudly. There is much struggle coming into this new life for these little ones and it is hard to watch, or hear for that matter. The girl crying is Maya and her new family is trying to comfort her, I can hear their voices through the wall. Mary Jo and Jonathan Jordan are great parents, and I can tell that once Mia gets through this phase, she’ll be in a home that knows more love than could ever be found for her here.

Ahhh…quiet now.

I’m happy for Maya (and the Jordan’s). By the way, the Jordan’s also brought their six-year-old son, Thomas, who’s really doing well with this “I’m a big brother” thing.

Oops, there goes Mia again. Better switch gears and update you all on Abigail (who is sound asleep right now).

It seems that our little Abbie is rapidly gaining both emotional and physical strength! In fact, see started walking this evening!!! This was so cool to see in person. From a passive, lifeless little girl a few days ago to a real life toddler now – how cool is that? It’s so interesting to me how mind and body are intertwined; when taken out of her orphanage and given to us, she lost her will to move – at least that’s what it seemed like. Now I imagine if taken from us she would stop moving again. That would be so sad. Toddlers aren’t supposed to be lifeless.

WARNING, PSYCHOBABBLE FOLLOWS (skip to the PSYCHOBABBLE COMPLETED section, if you desire): As I’ve thought about this peculiar “lifelessness” I’ve wondered if it isn’t some kind of learned helplessness. Think about it. Our typical response to an infant who is crying is to go and meet their need. This is good, because infants require servicing, don’t they (actually, TLC, but you know what I mean)? So, the infant cries and as a consequence gets fed, or picked up, or changed, etc. While this isn’t good behavior for a 15-year-old, it is perfectly appropriate for an infant. Now imagine that this infant isn’t in a home but rather in a medium-sized orphanage like Abbie’s (one with 300 to 400 kids, 1/3 of which are around her age or younger). Because there are so many kids there, staff can’t drop everything when a baby cries, no matter how loving they are (and they do love the children). Instead, babies are tended to upon cues from the clock, rather than from tears. They are diapered on a schedule, fed on a schedule, and played with on a schedule…and nothing the babies do will change that. Their cries don’t impact their environment, so why not just give in? This, is learned helplessness.

PSYCHOBABBLE COMPLETED. The reason I wrote on that is because I caught another glimpse of this behavior in Abigail today. It was in the afternoon and I had encouraged Erin to take in a massage (yeah, we’re roughing it over here in China, for about $30.00 you get a 90-minute Chinese acupressure massage, I ended up taking one in too). Anyway, I was looking forward to time alone with Abigail because I’d had about a half-hour in the morning that had gone very, very well. Needless to say, Abbie didn’t like mom being gone for so long. She cried some and then, all of the sudden, “remembered” that crying doesn’t change a thing. She wilted and it broke my heart for her; her voice is no longer one that nobody listens too, only she doesn’t know that yet. The only saving grace in this is that she quickly came back to life when Erin returned, BEGAN TO WALK, and played well with me later this evening.

Let’s see, what else can I bring you up on? Here’s a few items in rapid fire. . .

We went to the store as a group again today and again raised quite a ruckus (but thankfully nobody pinched my nose). I’ve kept to my one hamburger a day rule – only sometimes the day’s blend together, so I may have had an extra one in there somewhere. And finally, we realized that our 14-month-old daughter knows more Chinese than we do. She really perks up when the TV clicks on and she hears people speaking in ways familiar to her.

As promised, there is one picture of me with Abigail below as well as a few others of interest and even some just for Jackson – we miss you so much you little Dragon-Dinosaur!!

Before I sign off tonight, please remember to keep Michael and Joie Thelander (as well as all their children, Kelly Johanna, Braden, and Georgia) in your prayers. They fly out to meet their daughter-to-be (or their daughter-already in the heart) tomorrow. Kelly is a 12-year-old little girl from Columbia who had given up on finding parents. . .but the Thelander’s are changing that. Please pray for their safety on the journey (they are traveling to an area our State Department says to avoid) as well as for their bonding together as a family. You can read about their journey at aforeverfamily.blogspot.com.

Oh yes, one last thing. Please say a prayer for us as well. We’re heading out to Abigail’s orphanage during your Thursday evening and this could be rough on Abbie and us. We’re going, though, to say thank you to those who took care of her and to create memories for one who’s too little to remember on her own.

I hear a little girl crying again…only this time it’s Abigail (at least her crying matters now :^)

Better run…Reed

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These shoes are made for walkin’ – will you put them on?

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Walking to Daddy!

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Hey Jackson, can you see the secret message in this picture?(Have Aunt Cindy read it on baby sister’s bib.)

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Can you believe these turtles are in our hotel, Jackson???

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Just thought she looked cute here (aren’t I tricky…that could apply to either of them — well, both, actually)!

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Guess Abbie was tired this morning!

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Just a shot from a park near our hotel.

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