It's like we're in a whole new world. Changchun was nice, and it was a wonderful experience to see the center and meet Hannah. While I was sad to leave his province and everything he knew, I am SO thankful to be here. 70 degree weather, a five star hotel (the White Swan is beeeeautiful), and somehow, a total change in Eli. There's even a deli just outside the door of the hotel. I just finished an entire lunch that did not include rice or noodles. Heaven. (I actually really enjoy eating food from other cultures, but after a week of rice and noodles and some really bad chicken nuggets, a sandwich on some yummy bread with a COLD sprite was really like the best thing ever.)
About the change in Eli...I think Jim and I are both really hesitant to even discuss it, for fear that it might change at any time. Clearly, there are going to be rough times ahead, but once we got off of the plane, it was like a whole new kid. He's showing us affection, calling us mama and baba or daddy, and allowing us to touch him and do things for him that he fought against since the visit to the center.
It was like he did his grieving mid-week and once we left Changchun and stepped off the plane, a whole new kid emerged. He's still testing us....a lot, but he is listening to us tell him no and accepting no without the constant hitting or fits we saw before.
Right now I'm enjoying watching him look in the mirror and talk to himself. LOL
Also (Jane, Dick, and Cheryl - if you are reading this, you'll appreciate this story), Eli calls me "hello mama." Apparently this was his name for an American volunteer that visited the center last summer. He told the nannies prior to us coming that his American mom was going to put him in time out like hello mama did. This is part of the reason he's been wary of me, according to the nannies. Unfortunately for him, he's probably right. I see time outs in our future. ;) But for now, things are getting better and there isn't much need while we are here. We also invested in an umbrella stroller, and honestly....I'd have paid 50 bucks for that thing for the amount of headache it has already saved us. Lesson learned.
For those who have asked, Jim and I are doing fine. We've been up and down a lot, feeling overwhelmed at times, and then feeling like things were fine. We watch some of the families with babies, ages 2 and under, and realize that our experience this time around is a whole different experience. But, you know....I think that's just what God had in mind.