Today we head to Guangzhou.
Which means that, other than the necessary traveling we will do, we are staying put in the hotel until it’s go time.
Clementine is still rattly, but seems to be making improvements daily.
So, since it’s a quiet day for us, I thought I’d take the chance to write down some thoughts on our girl.
What I’ve learned so far about this sweet, sweet soul.
She is silly. She loves to laugh and smile and to see you laugh and smile, too.
She is constantly changing faces – I could take 100 pictures in a row and her expression would be different in every one. Part of me thinks she knows exactly what she’s doing, and loves to mesmerize us with her silly-face-making self.
She is easy-going.
And I mean crazy-easy-going. We have bathed her in a too-small sink, removed an IV port from her foot, given her all kinds of medicines including inhalers, fed her strange foods, overwhelmed her with our strange faces, taken her strange places… and she just takes it all in. Even the things she clearly resists (who wants someone pulling on their IV site?) she let’s us know she’s not happy but then forgives us. Smiles, even, when we snuggle her and tell her we’re sorry to have to do those things and how very proud of her we are.
We have been watching her closely and we are learning some of her non-verbal cues but – so far – this child is essentially unflappable. Other than a squeak or two, she’s never complained.
Not that doesn’t mean she doesn’t make her needs known. (And not that she won’t completely make me eat my words between now and the flight home.)
Just yesterday at the park, about an hour in, she began to get somber and serious and started to avoid our gaze. That’s when we knew it was time to go. Thankfully the car was close and as soon as we got in, unbundled her, and began to engage her, she came back to life. By the time we got back to the hotel room she was all smiles.
We are also learning that a turn away, or a hand up means no thank you. And a huge grin and legs kicking means yes please!. And every day, like men on a mission, we are finding more and more that induces the grins and kicks.
Today it was banana puffs.
She is mighty.
She’s tough. Resilient. Surprisingly hardy for such a little bug. She can eat her body weight in steamed egg and congee (with some spice, please), and then polish off a 6 ounce bottle of formula.
She’ll try new things and even if she’s not crazy about it, she’ll give it a few bites before the official thumbs down. She even eats some solid food which – considering she only has one bottom tooth (so cute, btw!) – is impressive. I have a feeling that by the time she has her front four teeth in, she’ll be eating pretty much anything she wants.
And I have a feeling I’ll be giving her pretty much anything she wants.
She is loving.
Despite the fact that she was first in her birth family, then an orphanage and then three foster-care settings, Clementine loves to love.
When we hold her she will wrap her tiny hand around one our fingers and squeeze. She will reach for us – an arm, a face, or just do a full-body hurl into our lap. She likes to run her fingers through my hair, too. (Chris’s? Not so much.)
She loves raspberries on her tummy and tickles under her arms. Even when we act like we are about to tickle her, she giggles. She loves to be carried and snuggled and will even reach for me over being put down to play. But she’s not anxious about it. Or fretful. She just takes all that she can get of it, and thankfully we’ve got a lot to give.
Truly, someone has been loving on this baby girl, and we are forever grateful.
What else do I know about Clementine?
I am smitten. Clementine might just think I’m kinda okay at this point, but that’s perfectly understandable.
I think she is positively wonderful. Adorable. Precious.
As I’ve shared here before, I was anxious about how I might respond the moment I met Clementine. I’ve never even been around a child with Down syndrome, much less held one in my arms. So the idea of going to China to bring home this child to love, care for and mother forever was just impossible for me to visualize. I might have been 100% wrong in the way I’d imagined my other kiddos to be on adoption day, but at least I had a visual.
With Clementine, all I had was a blank (and occasionally scary) slate. Add to that the lack of updates, her heart issues and her significant hospitalizations and I was way, waaaay out of my comfort zone.
But The Lord went before us. He so very clearly brought her into our path at just the right time. He stirred our hearts in a way that we knew for sure to be Him. He mobilized His people (you guys!) as well as our families to support, encourage and pray for us and for Clementine every step of this journey. And He surrounded us with a church family to love on and support us at home in a way we have never experienced before. (My kids at home are eating better and doing more fun things than, well… let’s just say they’re not in a big hurry for us to get home.)
He made the path clear. And then He gave us just what we needed at every step. All we had to do was obey. He didn’t even mind that I was quaking in my boots along the way, He just gently reminded me of His sovereignty and my lack thereof.
Let me just tell you. His plans are better.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
Love hearing more about her! And so not surprised that you are smitten 🙂 How could you not be?! She is just precious. And perfect. Enjoy GZ!
Love that quote of yours at the bottom of this post…”His plans are better.” So awesomely true.
I dont know what it is but every “Clementine” post makes me cry. At work of course.
She is gorgeous.
Thank you for sharing her with us.
She’s beautiful in every way, and I see God knitting her into your heart. Love this.
Jim R says
So glad to hear that things are going so well after all the worries and troubles. God grant they continue to do so, and that you have a safe trip home. Hope young Sophie is enjoying her trip, too.
Clementine is perfection. What a beautiful baby girl. I love her many expressions. I am so happy for your family. Every day, I have prayed and prayed for your as you take on this task. May God bless you greatly. Love, Becky
Probably your most beautiful post since you arrived in China! Love seeing her beautiful little face along with your honest and heartfelt words…… His plans are better! Safe travels my friend!!! xoxo
Look at that baby girl!! She is beautiful!! She makes my heart flip flop!!
Kelly Payne says
An extra chromosome never looked so precious!! Praying for your journey! Can’t wait to see all your sweet ones together for the very first time!
You nailed it, the faces of Clementine are extraordinary, she has that magic something, extra charm or charisma, what a little dreamboat.
Kiddos with Down syndrome are truly a gift. I am so glad that you and your family will get to experience the joy of loving one of these special kiddos. Hopefully by sharing your journey, more families will open their hearts and minds to a child with Ds. Thank you 🙂
I have been following your blog and praying for Clementine for quite a while now. Checking in on all of you in China is the high point of my morning. She is wonderful! God Bless!
Thank you for the update! I check every morning and pray for your family every day! Clementine is such a cute and so are all your kids!
Mary Gene Atwood says
I love reading about sweet Clementine. Her face just melts my heart. I’m so happy for all of you. Safe travels and enjoy your time.
Oh my God. She is so precious when she laughs!!!
Connie J says
Clementine is absolutely breathtaking! We are praising God that He went before you and prepared her for you, and you for her. Loving your posts!
Tim Stowell says
Congratulations. I know His plans are better, far better than we would ever dream possible. Blessings that you have discovered this insight.