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  • Marilyn Saltzman

Getting into the swing

Selam is so enamored with the local park that she chose it over the zoo excursion today even though her best buddies – 12-year-old Seneca and 8-year-old Sophie – were going to the zoo. Mama said no more toys, but I couldn’t resist the long tubes of bubbles because I had seen them in action, and they were impressive. So I let Selam pick out two tubes and bought them when Mama wasn’t looking.  While Selam is an experienced bubbler, it might have been Dian’s first time, but he soon became a pro and squealed with delight as he waved his wand and a multitude of bubbles appeared. I don’t know if it’s the wand or the bubble solution, but we got many more bubbles per dip than we do at home.

We had them dressed in jie jie (big sister) and di di (little brother) t-shirts (words written in English and Chinese), and Chinese people of all ages grinned, pointed, made comments and stopped to look at the kids. One elderly woman stood nearby for about five minutes and watched them play with bubbles.

Dian got into a swing for the first time. He was very tentative at first, but he soon loved it as the photo with the huge smile proves. In fact, our guides were commenting that he always looks very serious, so I showed them the picture of his huge smile, and they said, “He is so handsome. He should always smile like that.”

Selam is getting into the swing of big sisterhood. Though she still likes to rough house, she is learning to quit when Dian expresses his displeasure. We are all trying to use positive reinforcement, and sometimes she’s rewarded with sugarless gum — or “num” as she calls it — after several hours of good behavior.

Dian already seems to understand a lot and is repeating some of the words from the toy cell phone. He said “uh oh” and “two” today! Selam’s newest expression is, “What time is it?” She asks regularly throughout the day though I’m not sure she knows why. She is also very enamored with policemen and police vehicles and even asked for my camera to take a photo of a police officer at the park. It’s not a bad shot after I cropped out the part with her finger in front of the lens.

Tonight all the families adopting Chinese children dressed the kids in traditional dress, and we gathered for a group picture. A number of the families are adopting children with special needs, and I truly admire them. One family has a nine-year-old who has some bone or muscle disorder and has to be carried a lot; another has a toddler missing his forearm; and a third has an albino two-year-old.

I never thought I’d say this, but I actually enjoyed eating McDonald’s for dinner as a break from Chinese food. We ate burgers, chicken and fries. Dian loves fries, but doesn’t like ketchup. He does, however, like dipping the fries in ketchup, so he feeds them to others after he dips.

Tomorrow Heidi, Robin and Dian go to the American consulate to finalize his paperwork, so we can bring him home!

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