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Receiving God's Gift of Grace

Sunday - January 9, 2011 - 9:50pm

Grace arrived at our room on the 12th floor of the Galactic Peace International Hotel in Nanchang at 3:45 this afternoon. I'm sure that I cannot accurately describe my feelings since meeting her a few hours ago, so for now I'll just report the events of the afternoon and evening. Suffice it to say that we are overjoyed with the precious gift the Lord has bestowed upon us.

Our AHH guide, Helen, escorted three ladies from the Zhangshu Social Welfare Institute (the orphanage where Grace lived) to our room so they could deliver Grace to us. It was a joyous moment to see the little one we had waited so long for. As you will see from the pictures, Grace was calm about the situation when she first arrived ..... until she was handed to Renee that is. At that moment, she seemed to have a change of heart. She expressed herself very clearly and left no doubt about her dissatisfaction with the arrangement. Since Renee needed to communicate with the orphanage ladies regarding Grace's diet, sleeping patterns, entertainment preferences, etc., I came to Grace's rescue and walked her to the other end of the bedroom. Facing her away from the orphanage ladies and distracting her with a baby doll seemed to calm her fragile nerves and she stopped expressing her displeasure. Although she continued to try to turn towards the other end of the room until the orphanage ladies were gone (which was only a few minutes later), she seemed content to play with the toys she brought with her and settled down nicely.

Last summer we mailed a "care package" to Grace that contained a soft baby doll, a small stuffed horse (an appropriate gift from Kimberly), a bottle, blanket and a soft, padded photo book with pictures of our family in it. We were extremely pleased that she arrived with the entire contents of the care package (we were told there were no guarantees she would even receive it), including the disposable digital camera we had requested be used for photos of her surroundings, playmates and caregivers at the orphanage. The soft baby doll seemed to be a favorite as she stopped crying immediately when I offered it to her.

After Kimberly left with Helen to purchase some baby formula and diapers, Renee and I had some bonding time with Grace. Renee held Grace in her lap on the bed for a few minutes eating some snacks (she responds well to offers of food) and Grace seemed to be able to sit up on her own just fine. We were told that institutionalized children are normally behind in their development of various motor skills so we really didn't know what to expect from our little 13-month old. As soon as Renee got up to walk across the room, Grace who had been sitting by herself next to Renee for a time, rolled over and scooted off the bed feet first. It looked just like she knew what she was doing. So I reached over and stood her up next to the bed where she steadied herself for a moment before walking to me while holding onto the bed. Next she transferred from the bed to my legs and made her way around to the desk where I was sitting. The next thing we knew, she was walking across the floor towards the container of banana-flavored puffed cereal-type baby snacks. Well, she was mostly falling forward and trying to make her feet keep up with the rest of her body. When she would go down to the floor, she landed on her hands and knees without a whimper. We no longer needed to wonder where she was in her motor skills development. I am quite sure our little bundle of energy will be walking (or running) all over the place before we leave China.

Once Kimberly returned with the diapers, Renee prepared a bath for Grace and got her ready for bed (around 5:30). Grace seemed to enjoy her bathtime and didn't mind too much when her splashing caused the bathwater to wet her face. When she was dressed in her pajamas, Renee and Kimberly prepared some rice cereal and formula for her dinner. After Grace had eaten her fill, she played with Kimberly on the floor for a while until Renee decided it was time for bed. That's when Grace found her second wind. The first thing I noticed about Grace when I held her for the first time is that she is quite strong for a thirteen-month old little girl. Well, OK my first observation was her impressive vocal capacity when upset. But she is also very strong - strong armed, strong willed, independent, determined to do what she thinks is best. And she was not convinced it was time for her to sleep. But after Renee held her and sang softly "Jesus Love Me" several times, Grace relaxed and finally lied down in the crib to go to sleep.

Did I mention that the hotel was kind enough to provide us with a crib for Grace? Did I also mention that Helen called with an urgent message from the orphanage two hours after they delivered Grace? It seems they forgot to inform us of one aspect of Grace's physical prowess. Apparently she enjoys climbing out of her crib and they wanted to warn us to keep a close eye on her. Fortunately, we had already discovered that she possessed that ability. Although she didn't get completely out when we had placed her in the crib to get acquainted with it, she did stand up and get one leg over the side before we took her out. It was then we knew we had a "climber" on our hands. She later boosted herself onto my leg as I sat of the floor and promptly climbed up onto the bed.

I think I will end here for now. It is getting late and I'm sure there will be more stories to tell about what happens tomorrow. This was by no means a complete account of our time with Grace this evening but it gives you a good idea of our first encounter with her. Tomorrow we go to the local government office to sign the final papers for the China-side of the adoption. So, by noon she will be officially ours. God is good, Grace is beautiful (and sound asleep) and all is right with the world.

Posted by jimstearns 04:33 Archived in China Tagged grace nanchang

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So glad to get your news!! This last entry was read at the beginning of our meeting today, and then we prayed for you!!! Joel showed some of your pictures on the screen before we started singing.
Much love to all of you and we are looking forward to welcoming Grace into our fellowship.
Big hugs!!!

by K Milroy

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