A year ago today I was sitting on a lawn chair in my garage, having a rummage sale and trying to convince myself that even though it was 101 degrees out, the heat wasn't so bad in the shade. We were in the middle of the horrible waiting time for Rachel. We had no idea when we would be able to travel and the waiting was taking a heavy toll. Katherine had been watching TV inside and suddenly came running out shouting, "Dillon [our agency] called there's pictures of Rachel on the computer!" There were no customers at the moment, so I hurried inside and pulled up my e-mail. Sure enough, there WERE new pictures of little Fu Shen, as well as updates on her height and weight and general development!
We had several pictures of Rachel, but all had been taken many months before. All of the information we had on her was over a year old. But here, HERE, were photos of what she was like right now! I was so excited. I thought she was beautiful, despite the boy clothes, the bruise on her head, the solemn expression, and the new buzz cut. This was my girl. I was dying to hold her in real life, but the pictures helped a lot. It would be almost 3 months before we'd actually meet Rae, but she would look almost exactly the same, down to the same Blue Cat clothes and another fresh buzz cut.
I often get asked about the classic Chinese buzz cut that so many babies from there seem to have. Katherine's hair was buzzed in her referral pictures, taken when she was around 5 months old, but had grown out by the time we got her. It made sense to cut babies' hair short in an orphanage. It is a lot easier to keep short hair clean and it helps reduce pests like head lice that are so common in institutional life. It is also incredibly hot in much of China, so buzzed hair is much cooler. But Rachel was not in an orphanage and the area she was in is not as hot - why buzz her? One of our guides in China explained that many Chinese believe that buzzing a baby's hair makes it grow back thicker. Nearly every baby or toddler we saw in China had their hair buzzed or growing out from a buzz, so maybe our guide was right. Rachel's hair is certainly thick, so maybe it works! Besides, if her hair hadn't been shaved we would never have enjoyed the months of her wild, standing on end hairdo!