07 September, 2008 9:00pm ish
For those of you who have been there, done that, this conversation will come as no surprise. But for the rest of you, this is the conversation we have at least a dozen times a day. Walking down the street, eating at t restaurant, waiting for an appointment, shopping…
Any random Vietnamese person ---Viet Nam baby?
No, I think, lucky mama, lucky family.
Unfortunately, I walked off today without my camera. Oh, I am so sorry I can’t share with you the visions of the market place complete with live eels and crabs and fish… row upon row of shopping streets including “shoe street,” “underwear street,” “junk food street,” “cigarette street,” ”baby street,” “clothing street,” “ toy street,” all of which we navigated and so so many more. And the wonderful beautiful Hoi Keim Lake.
A young man asked me if I wanted to buy a baby today, motioning to a young woman holding an 8-10 month old baby. I think he must have thought I was a collector seeing as how we already had 2 Vietnamese babies. There’s so so much more I could comment about this, but what could I say that isn’t less attention than this deserves.
We also had our U.S. Visa interview this afternoon and finally recieved Jujube and Tess's U.S. visas. This is the one thing that we were waiting for so so very long, permission from the U.S. govt to bring Jujube and Tess home. In the end, this process took 3 months longer than it should have in my opinion, and now that I’ve had a chance to see what 3 extra months will do to a baby in an orphanage while we wait for the U.S. gov’t to navigate through its beaurocracy, it would be fair to say that I’m absolutely livid. I am ashamed of this part of my government and will accept no excuse as adequate compensation for my children languishing these extra months in an institution. I’ll save my anger for later and for now focus on the celebration of these two perfect children that are forever ours.
Tess comes to life a little more to life each day. Today we heard her first giggles, and she is now able to sit all on her own. When we first got her, she would bare no weight on her legs at all. Now she will “stand” on our laps or the couch while we support her. Maybe small accomplishments, but for her this is huge. For us this is huge. To see how far this sweet baby girl has come in just 8 short days is again God’s blessings.
Adoption buddies-bargaining-I think a lot of this probably depends on your experience in other countries and if you’ve had to do it before. So after I read all the warnings from previous travelers, I was a little nervous. But we’ve had some experience with street beggars and market “negotiations” in other countries and we’ve all commented that we’re a bit surprised that the vendors haven’t been more pushy or aggressive. If you’ve traveled in Mexico at all and dealt with the scene down there, then you might have some idea what to expect. They can definitely smell blood, and if you show even one iota of interest, then you’re doomed. The moment you start to negotiate, several other sales people will come heading your way all looking for the all mighty dollar. Be comfortable feeling surrounded or just walk off and do NOT show your money too soon. The $2 bill again has been great tool. A baseball hat today started at $8. Honestly, I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy it, and as I walked along saying no, eventually the cost went down to $2 when I finally stopped to negotiate. Tim whipped out a $2 and a $1 and the salesman’s eyes got big. I told him I wanted 2 hats for $3, and he didn’t blink as he admired the $2 note.
Later we took the babies to the pool. Both have been scared to death by baths and the pool didn’t start off much better. Both started to cry at the touch of the water. But curiosity got the better of Jude and he just had to splash the water. Then Tess started as I’ve told you she’s obsessed with textures and even water was a new sensation for her. Ultimately we could have stayed there for hours. Jujube was shivering he was so cold but the moment we tried to take him out, he just cried to go back in and continue splashing. Can’t wait to take them in the pool at home.
So now we get ready to come home. Still not exactly sure when yet, as we're working on the details still. But we are all clear to come home after only 8 days in Viet Nam. On one hand, I think I could easily stay in the wonderful country for another couple months and soak it all up and learn all that I could so that I can teach Jujube and Tess all I can about their homeland. But on the other hand, I'm far more homesick for my other children than I ever imagined I'd be and want nothing more than to return home. Papa and I have already committed to coming back. It is an easy country to travel in and a delight to all the senses. We will be back.
Stacey- The quilt store was worth finding and we picked up some goodies. Thank you so much for getting the address for me.
M2-You ready, mama, to come get your baby? Kenny was off today after he picked up our visas to get ready for your arrival. I think he was going to get some papers for you. I’m so excited for you!
Granna and Storm- I LOVE the pic of Papa and Jujube. My baby & your baby together. I think Papa gets this whole thing maybe a little more than anyone else. I love this man so much. Thank you for being wonderful parents that have nutured his spirit until he is the wonderful man he is today.