Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting to know our girl

Most of you know that we received over 50 pictures of Mercy as well as three videos during our wait.  We would often wonder what her personality was like and really felt like some of these pictures were giving us a glimpse of what we might expect.  We tried not to make to many expectations because a picture is one moment in time and we didn't want to fantasize about something she may not be.  Well those pictures expressed her pretty much to a T.  She is the sweetest, snuggliest, goofiest little girl.  She loves to be held and snuggled and kissed.  I mean really, all those fears I had about needing self control so I wouldn't scare her in my desire to squeeze and smother her with kisses but knowing I shouldn't are just null and void.  She let's me squeeze her tight and she has tolerated my lips on her head and cheek more times than can be counted.  She is silly. She loves to play with toys and is very content to do so.  Almost to content because she would sit and play alone for a long period of time if you let her, but we want her to play with us.  She likes hard toys that make noise when she taps them together and she likes toys that connect or one goes inside the other.  She does NOT like soft, plush toys.  As a matter of fact it has become a game with her.  I bought her this soft, plush lady bug doll and every time we give it to her she chucks it across the room.  She laughs and we laugh.  I take the doll and snuggle it and say "aahhh baby," and then I give it to her to do the same but she grabs it by the leg and the baby goes soaring.  Then she gets this cheesy smirk on her face and chuckles, which makes us laugh hard.

Mercy is still not walking and she cannot crawl well either.  She scoots herself on her bottom from point A to point B.  Her legs are complete jello and they move in positions that are just not human!  Our girl is a chunky monkey.  Her belly and thighs are chubby and there is no muscle tone  I don't think she can even bare her own weight on her weak legs, which may be one of many reasons why she isn't walking yet.  She tries though, she will hold your hand and take one step after another.  In the past 24 hours she is already pushing herself up from a squatting position, so let the leg strengthening begin.

She is mostly quiet, but gets into these chattering spells.  We have no clue what she is saying, it does sound Chinese, but to quote a friend it could just be "babblese."  For a child who has severe language delays, we are already not worried.  In the past 24 hours she has learned how to say mama and baba with coaching from us.  Actually she is quite the parrot.  She likes to cough when you cough, click her tongue when you click yours and we know in time her language will probably catch up.

She is stubborn.  Oh my word the girl has a stubborn streak like a mule.  She does not want to give the strong-willed Chinese woman a bad rap, so she is fulfilling her role well.  (lol)  She does not like to be told no and she can scream like there is no tomorrow.  Her cry and scream fascinate me.  I'm sure at some point it will wear me down, but for now I actually like it in a distorted sorta way.  It's cute, for the moment, but then again I haven't been listening to it for the past 2 years.

Her smile melts your heart.  She has a sweet smile and she has a mischievous smile and they are both very different and we love both of them.  She is pleasant and content and we pretty much can't take our eyes off of her.  We have literally spent hours today just watching her every move.  She is soaking in all the attention too.  

We are still figuring out her eyesight, but the girl can see more than we expected.  Her nystagmus is worse then we expected.  Her eyes rock back and forth pretty rapidly.  At first it was hard to watch, but in a very short time we have already gotten use to it as part of her.  So much so that there were moments yesterday that I forgot about it.  We know she looses sight of you after you are about 5 feet from her.  Not sure what that means at all, but that's the best we can tell so far.  She has no problems seeing a cheerio or raisin in your hand when held close to her face and she has the fine motor skill to pick it up and eat it.  Oh yeah, and the girl can eat.  We haven't found anything she doesn't like yet with the exception of American formula.  We cannot get her to drink anything but Chinese formula.  We are going to have to buy another suitcase just to bring a supply home.  

She is delayed, there is no doubt.  She is right on target for what the doctor predicted.  She is somewhere between a 9 - 12 month old.  There are many things she can do that the caretaker updates said she couldn't, so we are very encouraged that way.  She is super smart, a problem solver already.  She has done a few things that have really surprised us and we know in the end she is going to catch up to her age (assuming her age is even correct, but that's a story for another time) and we know she is going to be just fine.  

She does have some self-soothing behaviors that will need attention as well as some gross habits.  She likes to pick her nose.  Seriously the girl is picking her nose all the time.  My guess is it was entertainment for her.  She probably discovered her nostril one day as a baby and just began playing with it and well now she's a nose picker.  We will work on that one pretty quickly, but she pitches a fit when I take her hand away and tell her no and she instantly puts her finger right back up her nose when I let go of her hand.  She rubs the top of her head when she gets tired.  Her hand caresses her hair back and forth.  She grinds her teeth and picks at her top lip.  I have been able to distract that one with Chapstick.   She also doesn't like short sleeves.  We found this out the hard way.  I'm guessing it's because she is used to long sleeves and layers.  I dressed her in a short sleeve shirt and she began scratching at the bare part of her arms and crying.  I had to the notion to put a light jacket on her and she instantly stopped scratching and crying.

Our biggest concern at the moment is her mechanism for stimulation overload.  She goes into a staring trance and you can't connect with her.  In overwhelming situations she has also passed out.  So we she either gets spacey or she's out.  I feel so bad for her.  This is all so much for her to take in and add vision impairment to the mix and it is sensory overload pretty easily for her.  I have been able to ask a few BTDT adoptees and they assure me it's normal and will go away in time.

She receives our love and affection pretty easily. I'm chalking it up to being loved well  in the orphanage.  She has moments when she pushes you away, but thats OK in time I know that will change.   She is very ticklish and she laughs easily and often.  So this is some of what we have gathered about her in the past 48 hours, but I'm sure there is so much more we will learn in the days ahead.  Overall we can sum her up in one simple word AMAZING!!!!!  She is absolutely positively AMAZING!!!!!!!!!  We are so in love with this little girl.  It blows my mind how you can fly across the world, be completely and emotionally distraught over all the daily happenings and then in a moment you meet the reason why you were here and nothing else matters.  Our hearts are beyond full.  This girl has rocked our world for the better.  The fears, headaches, fears, paperwork, fears, finances, fears, waiting, fears, culture shock, and did I mention fears, they faded away in the eyes and smile of this little girl, just vanished in one moment of time.  It's crazy and it's something only the Lord can orchestrate.  We don't deserve her, we just don't and yet in God's kindness and mercy He has given her to us and blessed us exceedingly and abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined.  


  1. Great post! Thanks for taking the time to write it all down. You (and Mercy) can look back on this and relish each word. Simply wonderful.

  2. Oh, yes, God is full of mercy.... :) What a perfect blessing. This post just brings joy to my heart. Thanks so much for sharing. CANNOT wait to meet her!! Love, Becky and clan

  3. Oh, gosh... She sounds so similar to Brynna. The screaming, the scratching, the stubborn will of steel, the mischievous grin, the snuggling.... The good, the bad, the "we will need to work on that at some point" stuff. Itching to get you home and get on with knowing her for myself ;) love ya. Miss ya. So proud of ya!!!!