Today we are preparing to go home! We got a surprise phone call from teta Gaile just before breakfast which made our morning!!! We were also able to face time with teta Lina, mociute and tevukas! Lilija was blowing kisses and trying to say their names... it was darling!
This afternoon we checked out a play room on the 13th floor. The girls had a blast! Lilija totally follows Nati around and imitates her. I think Rob and I are in trouble because these two will be plotting against us soon enough!
Our guide Jack picked up Lilija's passport with visa and immigration paperwork from the embassy today. As soon as Lilija's passport is stamped by US immigration, she officially becomes a US citizen and just in time for the 4th of July!
We are all set to leave early tomorrow morning...yippee!!!! A van will pick us up at 6:30 and we will drive to Hong Kong. From there it is a 15 1/2 hour plane ride home. Please keep us in your prayers that Rob and I survive such a long flight with two over-tired toddlers! Fingers, toes and eyes are crossed that these two are mellow on the plane and are able to fall asleep for part of the journey home! We have met several others families who will be on our flight. So, at least it will be a friendly crowd :-).
We have come a long way as a family since gotcha day. Nati is slowly learning to be a patient and loving big sister. Sometimes she forgets that she is four years old and acts like a two year old! She is still all about wanting the exact same thing as Lili, even though it is not developmentally appropriate for her age. Jealousy still rears it's ugly head in both girls. Lilija is discovering that Rob and I have enough love in our hearts for both of our girls and that there is no reason to be jealous of the attention that we give to Natalija. Even in this short amount of time, Lilija's receptive language skills are improving. She is able to follow basic requests. She still prefers to scream or cry to get what she wants, but slowly we are teaching her that there is another way to get her point across. She is able to approximate and use the signs for more and done. She is also beginning to imitate simple words. I love listening to her self-talk and singing during quiet times. She has a very sweet little voice. I would say her skills (especially speech and gross motor) are about a year delayed, which is totally within the range that we expected. According to what we have read, you can expect a 1 month delay for every three months spent in the orphanage. We are actually really surprised at how well she has adapted to her new life! Rob and I are learning to be more patient and forgiving. It was a hard decision for us to make in terms of whether to bring Nati along on this trip. In the end, we are happy with the decision and believe it was the right one for our family. She gets Lili to laugh, run, play and talk! However, there have been bumps along the way. I must admit there was a time or two that I went into the bathroom and just cried out of sheer frustration. It has been particularly challenging at times for all of us to live in such a confined space for so long. It will feel good to get settled at home. Nati needs to be reminded of some basic behavioral expectations that have gone by the wayside while we've been in China. And as Rob says, Lili has to go through mama and daddy boot camp once we get home. At some point we are hoping that peace and harmony will prevail!