Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Many people from our group leave tomorrow. It was a very emotional evening as we said goodbye. It was amazing to share this experience with so many amazing people. Each one of us had our story of what brought us to adopt. It has been a journey full of ups and downs for all. I think we all believe that God has brought us here, and it was a calling we were to answer. I feel so blessed to have so many people here that just get it. This has been a truly unbelievable experience. I'm so grateful that we've been able to have this experience. We hope all will go well at home and we will be able to do this again. Who knows maybe next time it will be a girl...or maybe not. Only God knows. If nothing else through this experience I've learned to trust God's path for us.
Thanks you to everyone who has been so supportive on this endeavor. Thank you mom and dad and Rita for watching our boys. Thanks to all friends and family who have helped out in so many ways. We really can't wait to see everyone. We're coming home soon!
Monday, March 30, 2009
This morning we went to yet another Buddhist temple. They are all beautiful, but they're all starting to look alike. We did get to put money in a special "wishing well", then Eric burned three incense sticks for past, present, and future. We were also able to have the babies blessed in the Buddhist temple. It is believed that most of the abandoned babies are born in the countryside and most of the rural people are Buddhist. It was an interesting experience. After the temple we went to a museum where they showed us how people in China lived 100 years ago. They showed how they slept on porcelain pillows, perhaps now we are sleeping on porcelain mattresses. It sure feels like it. We also had Jack's name done on a wall scroll.
After nap time we did some shopping. It was a lot of fun, but the sales people are bit much. They follow you around and bug the heck out of you. We did find some fun stuff though!
Then came the most wild experience of all! We ordered Papa John's Pizza. We had our coordinator order for us. Since it was taking along time we called. They explained that the delivery bike was out, and so they were waiting for a bus to deliver it! Where they got a bus we're not sure. Eventually our pizza delivery bus came. A group of us sat in the hall and ate it. It was very good, but everything was mini. The pizza, the breadsticks, and the sauce. They sent one teeny tiny container of sauce for four orders of breadsticks. All in all it was a great time. The kids had a ball playing together. Hannah (one of the 10 year olds) was so cute with Jack. He just loves her. One of the other little boys had a birthday, and Jack loves cake! it was nice to just hang out and relax
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Last night we had a major break through with Jack. He took a bath and actually enjoyed it. The first two baths were majorly traumatic. Last night we put him in, and he started to scream, but then he started to splash and play! Yah!!! We have had some better sleep experiences too. The first night that I tried to let him put himself to sleep (I was told he did this), he showed some disturbing behavior. He thrashed and hit himself in the head. I cried watching. I picked him up and walked him asleep. Last night he took me to the door and reached up. He knew I'd walk him to sleep, it was so sweet. Then at nap today I laid him down on the bed and stroked his head and he went to sleep. He now finds the food he wants brings it to us and says "um". We know what that means! He continues to eat well.
Today we went to a Jade market and a pearl factory (isn't that an oyster?). We had a good time at both. The pearl factory was on a seven floor mall, with almost all the floors being jewelry. It was like an enormous Claire's Boutique. Later in the day we went to a German resteraunt. It was actually quite good. It was strange to see German translated into Chinese. Did you know that ice tea is spelled eistee? Sometimes things get a bit lost in translation! We are having a good time, but we can't wait to get home and see everyone. We can't wait to have the boys all together!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Last night we flew from Nanning to Guangzhou. It was about an hour long flight, and Jack was as happy as a clam (how do we know clams are happy?) He ate the whole time! He had crackers, cookies, rice bars ect. ect. We were told he had no appetite???? Perhaps we got the wrong child. He is already a different kid. He is fun and playful. He wants to walk now and is getting better at it. He's also infatuated with stairs. He likes to go up and down them. He needs some help, but boy he's doing better.
We are now at the White Swan Hotel. It is so beautiful. They have a great playroom for the kids and the breakfast was amazing. Guangzhou is a very big city with lots of shopping (we can't wait!!!) We are very happy to be here!
This morning we took Jack for the "medical exam" (notice everything relating to medicine here is in quotes). They looked him over, looked in his ears (again we were told he has wax!), they weighed and measured him, and handed us some papers. We did find out he has gained around a pound. We are up to 18 lbs and we think about 29 inches? We had to convert everything, so not sure how accurate the inches are.
We also compleed all the rest of our paperwork and payed the rest of our fees. Yah!! Glad to have all that done.
PS - Nona/Mom, we added comments for you both on the last (BaCall's) post.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Hello to Shannon, Eric & Jack from North America! We await your return, in the meantime you should know you missed a big dating event, Ethan, Caroline, and Cameron dined on local cusine:
Today was a lot better. Jack slept all night and woke up a bit better. No more fever and he had his appetite back. He ate three bowls of rice and bananas. Then he had 3 rice/wheat squares. We took a walk down the street, but it was rainy and Jack did not like that. We stopped at a bakery and the food was great. Then we spent more time in the hotel. I'm so sick of the hotel right now!! Jack fell asleep around 12:00 and slept until 1:15. He then at two cereal bars and seven small cookies, oh and a bag of baked Cheetos. He LOVED the Cheetos, poor daddy lost his snack!!! Then Jack actually got up and played. He walked and picked things up, and actually had some fun! We had a great time with him. He's giving us kisses and head butts (a sign of affection). He also responds with a smile and a hug when we say wha ay nee (I love you). His receptive language is good. He is also saying "ma ma", "no" (he is almost 2), "up", and "more". We found out he loves being with other kids, and shows interest in playing with them. He loves slides and little rocking toys. He's a bit of a dare devil. It was really great to see some of his personality today!
After playing we went to dinner. Jack had a bowl of rice soup and a few noodles, and a yogurt type drink. He certainly seems to be enjoying eating! We are glad because he really needs it.
We have been able to get some past info on Jack. The orphanage directer gave us some pictures of him. In one he still has the umbilical cord attached. His birth date should be pretty accurate. Through a group called Hope and Grace we also got a DVD with info about Jack. We even got a report from the foster mom. Lastly we had sent a care package for Jack and in it were two cameras. We got those back and were able to develop the pictures. It's really nice that we'll be able to share all this with Jack when he is older.
Thanks to all of you that have been praying for us. We really can't wait to be home. We're enjoying our time here, but we miss home and our little boys!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
We have had our hands a little full this past day and a half. After our incredible first day with Jack our second started out great. He had slept completely through the night, and seemed ready for breakfast. He ate a little less, and started to become more fussy. We were really busy, however, because day 2 was when we went through all our paperwork, interviews, giving/receiving ceremony, and made our orphanage donation. I thought it was a lot of money in dollars - in Yuan we didn't have an envelope big enough to hold it all! After that we went to Wal-Mart and picked up some odds and ends. By the end of the day jack was boiling, and cranky, and pulling on his ears - we've seen enough to know what this is. Throw in some teething and gas and we have had a little emotional rollercoaster stuck to mommy's hip. Fortunately we have some antibiotics and Motrin that we started today (day 3). It's helping, and you can see that he really wants to be happy, but its hard. Our guide arranged for a doctor to come see him (we chose not to go to a "hospital") who promptly told us he had wax (poo-poos) in his ear. Gee Thanks! The conspiracy theorist in us thinks they gave all the kids something to get them through the first day, because it seems a lot of children in our hotel have all come up with fevers etc. that weren't there on gotcha day. hmmmm....
Anyway, his sleep is at least OK, and he still eats, so we'll be fine. We have gotten to see a lot of parks, Buddhist temple etc. and Nanning is very beautiful with wonderful citizens. However, we've been praying - and ask anyone else to as well - for Chris and Kelly in our group. Their beautiful girl is mourning the loss of her foster parents, who obviously loved her very much, so she is slow to attach to them. We've all been taught that it is a very good thing as it relates to future attachment issues, but it is just brutal on them in the here and now.
...gotta go diarrhea just hit!
Monday, March 23, 2009
Jack is awesome! He is very funny and has lots of personality. Last night he ate and ate and ate. He had a half of can of puffs, a bowl of oatmeal, two cereal bars, a bowl of rice congee, some formula, and flavored water. He is very, very, very small right now, but I don't think it will last. The 12-18 month clothes we brought are hanging on him, but the length is about right. I see lots of one piece outfits and overalls in his future! His little feet are so tiny. The 6-12 month socks are too big! Of course Eric couldn't find shoes that would fit him here either. Apparently Chinese men have very small feet. The biggest size we found was an 8!
He loves to clap toys together to make noise, imitate us, throw things (he has a good throw!), and walk. He really loves to hold our hands and walk everywhere. He can walk by himself. It still looks a little uncoordinated, but I think it's because he is walking on two tooth picks. He loved the mirrors at the hotel. He sat and made funny faces for a long time. He hates elevators and cries every time we get on. He is very good at communicating with gestures, and he also has already learned the word "more". What can I say he loves food and wants more!!! He seems very alert and watches everything we do. As we expected he seems a little behind in all areas, but I'm sure it won't last long!
Last night we weren't sure how to put him to bed, so he showed us. He hopped in my lap and rocked side to side. I guess his nanny rocked him to sleep. Heather, it looks like I might need that chair after all! He then flipped on his belly and fell asleep on me. I let him sleep on me for about an hour, then put him in his crib. He slept all night hand clutched on his blankie. We can't wait to see more of him today!
Here is a sleeping pic, but I will add some pictures a little later.
Sorry everyone, but you have to sift through daddy's writing styles. It seems we have yet another mommy's boy!!. He was (obviously)a little apprehensive at first, but has been great. OK, I know it's only been about 90 min with him so far, but he is just incredible! Hallelujah, the boy loves to eat, and boy does he need it. We need McDonald's STAT! He started to get a little cranky during paperwork, but we popped open some puffs, and he hasn't stopped eating them since. Shan will have a proper post later, but I had to get something up right away, and he won't let go of her!
Thanks and Love to all
Sunday, March 22, 2009
We just got back from Walmart. We spent $20 on diapers, wipes, baby food, a teething ring, water, little milks, and yogurt, and a bag too. The money goes a long way here. We have only spent about $150 dollars since we've been here!
We're all ready! We've packed a bag with clothes, snacks, toys, and diapers. Now we just need Jack! We can't wait to take him shopping!
Happy Birthday mom. I know it's still Sunday there, but it's Monday here. We are now 11 hours different instead of 12. We will try to call once we have Jack in arms and it's a decent hour for both of us. We're so glad the boys are doing well. Tell them we miss them! They're in love with ET now...oh no! We'll be finding Ethan hiding in the stuffed animals!
We have made it to Nanning. The city is very beautiful. There's lots of green plants and rolling mountains. It has a very tropical feel to it. The weather is about 83 degrees and very humid. We took a long walk around the area. There were lots of open air shopping places. Although most of them either sold cell phones or fruit! As we walked motorcycles and mopeds and cars and buses and bicycles drove all around us. It was very frightening to cross the street.
The hotel we are in is okay. It's not super clean and we have twin beds. Well, if you can call them that. They are more like boards with covers on them. They are very hard!! Jack's crib is interesting. It's very small and doesn't appear to be very comfortable. On the upside the internet appears to work better here.
The meals we had today were well not that great. Right now we're dying for some good Jim's chili, or something besides rice and noodles. I think it will be quite a while before we hit any Chinese restaurants at home!
Some of the families received their children today. The rest of us will get them tomorrow! We will have Jack in our arms in less than 24 hours! We're very excited.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
While the city of Beijing is very Westernized there are still some glaring cultural differences.
1. You cannot drink the water. We have to boil everything we use. It has been a challenge to remember not to use the running water to brush our teeth!
2. The squatty potties. There not so bad. In fact the Western ones that are available are dirtier! There is no toilet paper. I'm still trying to figure that one out?!
3. Driving. Okay the government apparently does not enforce rules. I actually witnessed a van going up a set of stairs today! The cars go everywhere and the lanes are very narrow. Bikes go everywhere too. I just can't watch it's like a train wreck.
4. Motorcycles are illegal. I guess there were people riding on them and snatching purses, so they are outlawed.
5. The traffic used to be really bad in Beijing, so during the Olympics only certain people could drive on certain days. The government liked it so much that now everyone has one day a week that they cannot drive.
6. I am amazed by how much the Olympics changed the way the people live. They added transportation and cleaned up all of China. It also changed the times people work. It used to be everyone worked 9:00-5:00. Now people can work any twelve hours their company wants them too. They have gone to more ecco friendly ways. There are no more plastic bags at the grocery. Lights turn off automatically ect. ect.
7. Here's the scoop on girls verses boys. A while back one of China's leaders felt the country would be stronger with more people, so he suggested they have many children. The more current leaders decided this was bad because more people meant less resources, so the one child policy was put in place. As abandonment and infanticide climbed the leaders realized there was a problem. You see the tradition is for the girls to grow up and take care of the husbands parents, while boys were to take care of their parents. There are not many nursing homes here and that was the only way to take care of the elderly. The leader decided that parents could have one child if it was a girl, 5 years later they could try for one more child. In the country it was the same rules, but they have to wait 7 years. Anyone breaking the rules must pay a fine on that child for the first 14 years of the child's life. Our guide was one of four children. When they had the fourth child both of her parents lost their jobs in the city and had to move to the country. However, they could not own any land or property until they payed off all of their fines. Things have gotten a little better, because elderly now have insurance and are not so worried about having a boy. Insurance will pay for the elderly rather than their sons. Domestic adoption is available, but very few qualify because they cannot have any bio children. Abandoning a child is illegal, so most children are abandoned at night without any notes, so that the parents will not be found. It was interesting that some of the people we traveled with said that there were many more girls seen in the city than there were when they came five years prior.
8. We also learned that in the past before marriage the woman and the man were to go to the hospital to be checked, and the same was true for pregnant woman. Now it is their choice to go. Since then there has been a rise in children born with special needs. They believe this is due to poor prenatal care. In my opinion the environment is partially to blame. The smog here is terrible, and we've been told that it's actually much better here than in other parts of China.
9. Potty training is much different here. The children only wear diapers a short time. Once they are mobile they wear split pants. These allow the child to go to the bathroom just about anywhere. We saw children popping a squat just about anywhere. Very weird to us, but fully acceptable here.
10. Staring at people is not considered rude. When they are interested they will stand very close and just stare. They do not mean to be rude they're just curious.
11. They have many traditions. A few we found interesting were when they want to get married they will take a lock and hang it on the great wall and throw away the key. They celebrate a child when they turn 100 days old. Their first birthday is also celebrated with a big party. They are given things like a calculator, a brush, money, or bottles. Each has a meaning, whichever the child grabs tells something about their personality. If they choose the bottle they will have a happy life, money rich ect. ect. They celebrate the 16th birthday because the child is considered an adult.
12. The elderly and children are so cared for and respected. This was very easy to witness. With all the children we have seen they are treated so well. They are not yelled at and are very well cared for. It was not like when you go to Disney and see parents totally losing it around their children. That would be unacceptable here. When elderly came around people helped them. We saw a lady in a wheel chair and she had about six people helping her around.
I know this is length, but I'm using it for my journal and don't want to forget.
They sure are keeping us moving this trip! Today we went to the Great Wall. It was truly so amazing. It was way bigger than I could have ever imagined. It used to stretch through 7 of China's Provinces. It was amazingly constructed in the mountains. We walked a portion of it today, and let me tell you I'm going to be so sore tomorrow. We walked up about 600 stairs. The stairs were very irregular. Some were very small, while others were so steep you had to climb up on all fours. The views were amazing!
After the Great Wall we went to a Chinese restaurant. The food was very good. I tried everything and I have to say the only thing I didn't care for were the french fries! I even tried a fish that still had the eyes and all. It actually was good! We finished the meal with a shot of sake. I about died drinking that. I think my whole throat and mouth burned for about 10 minutes, but it sure cleared the sinuses!
We finished up the day with a trip to Summer Palace. This is where the empress would spend the spring and summer months. It was huge and very pretty. There was a large man made lake surrounding it.
I think I did more walking and stair climbing today than I have in a very long time. We are wiped out!
Tomorrow we will be flying into Nanning, which is the largest city in the Guanxi province where Jack lives. We won't meet Jack until Monday afternoon, but we're getting closer!
Friday, March 20, 2009
We had a very busy day today! We started with the hotel's breakfast buffet. Let me tell you that this was no mini Holiday Inn Continental Breakfast. This was a huge buffet. There was every kind of food you can think of and some you would never think of. They had some interesting things like fish, chicken, noodles, rice, hot steamed soy milk, strange fruits ect. I stuck mostly with foods I could name, but I did try the coungie. It wasn't very good. It sort of tasted like runny grits. The rest of the food was great! It was a good thing we ate breakfast because we really didn't get a chance to eat the rest of the day unless you include candy and cheese nips.
After breakfast we headed to Tian'anmen. This was the center of the city and had a historical monument on it. Apparently the people consider it the birthplace of new China. Really it was just a large area with lots of people and a very well guarded monument. We walked around and took pictures for a while. The funny part was that we found out we had celebraties in our group. We had a very tall man, a little blond girl, a red head, and some ladies with large chests. These were all noticed and many came up to get pictures with them. The really tall man (Snuffy) had a large crowd following him around taking pictures. It was so funny!
After, we went to the Forbidden City. This is where the emperors used to stay. There are 9,999 rooms in the buildings. Even though we only walked to some of the buildings it felt like we saw all of them. It was really interesting. We learned all about the meaning behind the colors and symbols. We found out that the number 9 was lucky and the number 10 meant as high as God. The colors of red, green, and gold were royalty colors. Ordinary people could only wear black clothing. I find it interesting that in the new China the color black is bad luck. They had no landscaping inside because people could hide in it and kill the emperor and it could catch fire. No one lived in the house with the emperor, not even his wife. People caught wearing gold that were not the emperor were killed. Whatever religion the emperor was the people were the same. Every thing had a meaning and how people had to act was very scripted. It's hard to believe that China was this way until 1911. You would never know seeing the people in the city today. It is very Westernized people speak English, they drink whatever they want when they want, wear the clothing they like, choose marriage partners, choose religion, and the profession they will take on. We were told it's a bit different in rural areas where traditions are more lasting.
After the forbidden City we got a surprise trip to Olympic Village. We were pretty excited! We got to see the Bird's nest and the Water Cube. It is a very touristy area. There were tons of street venders. We did learn how to say no I don't want it (boo ya) We got good at that one. The venders were crazy. A few even ran along side the bus we were on.
Last we went to an acrobat show. It was really cool. There were people doing things with their bodies that should not have been possible. It was a great show, but we were all so tired we were fighting to stay awake! We really had a great first day. Tomorrow we are going to the Great Wall and Summer Palace. Sounds like more walking!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
So, 21 hours later we have made it to the other side of the world. We kind of feel like we've been through a war. We ended up sitting together, however we had the ever lovely last two seat that recline like a centimeter and that are located right by the bathroom. Well, let's just say we really did not sleep. The food was well, interesting. We had a chicken like substance around 3:00 in the afternoon. Then we were served Roman Noodles at about 12:00 AM are time. Last, but not least we wrapped up with lasagna and yogurt at 4:00 am Cincy time. I thought it was an interesting combo. We were all so glad to get off that plane!
Once at the airport (which was huge and beautiful) we easily found our FTIA rep and headed to the hotel. The ride over was insane. There were buses, mopeds, bicycles, walkers, and dogs all on the highways! I was truly amazed that we didn't hit anyone. No one appears to pay any attention to any traffic laws. I about had a heart attack on the way to our hotel. The hotel is beautiful. We have a very nice room on the 12th floor.
Once we got here a bunch of us went up to the local market to get snacks and drinks. It was interesting and very cheap. For six dollars we got 6 bottles of drinks and 3 bags of weird flavored Lays (cucumber, blueberry, and mango), and some other snack mix. Tomorrow we'll be doing some sight seeing and going to an acrobatic show. We are with a great group of people, so it should be fun! Now after being up for 27 hours I think we are off to bed!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I am however so sad that I'm leaving my two babies. As I put them to bed for the last time for 16 days I cried my eyes out. I rocked Cam a long time tonight, and as I put him in the bad he stuck his hand out waved and said I wuv you. Ethan gave me a big hug and I could see he was a bit sad. I probably won't get to say good bye in the morning because they'll still be asleep. It breaks my heart to know Cam will be calling my name in the morning and I won't be there. I know that they'll be fine and that there in the best hands they can be in. However, I can't help but be sad. I have never been away from my boys for more than a few nights. I rocked Cam to sleep every night for the first 18 months of his life. He's my baby. I think Ethan understands what is happening, but 16 days is a long time. My heart is breaking knowing I will miss 16 days of reading to him, 16 days of listening to his rendition of the Polar Express theme song, and watching him pretend his little potty is Walley (don't ask!) I'm trying to get this out of my head so that I can soak in every minute of our trip, but it's really a challenge.
Those that are following us I have a few prayer requests. Please pray that my boys know how much they're loved and that they understand that we're coming home as soon as we can. That I will be able to not worry too much abouot them and be able to experience a trip most people never get to do. That we have safe travels. That God is with us through the whole process. That our new race is one that we are ready for. Thanks to everyone who is helping us, supporting us, and praying for us. See you in 16 days!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I will miss Ethan and Cam so much. I don't think we've ever been gone for more than a couple days. I will miss snuggling with Cam each morning and reading with Ethan each night. That will be my biggest struggle during this trip. I can't wait to have all three of my boys together!
Hopefully by March 23rd I will be posting updated pictures of Jack. This will be his Gotcha Day!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
- March 18th : Leave from Cincy Airport (9:25)
- Arrive in Chicago with a few hour lay over
- Onto Beijing
- March 19th: Arrive in Beijing 3:25 pm(not sure whose time???)
- March 20th and 21st: Tours of the Great Wall, Summer Palace, and Forbidden City, and see an acrobatic show
- March 22nd: Travel to Nanning via flight. Staying at the Majestic Hotel
- March 23rd: Gotcha Day
- March 24th Complete adoption
- March 25th and 26th: Tours, go to Nanning Orphanage (Quinzhou Orphanage doesn't allow visits) I'm a little sad we won't get to see Jack's orphanage
- March 27th: Pick up passport for Jack, fly to Guangzhou (Staying at the White Swan)
- March 28th : Have Visa's and medical exam done for Jack
- March 28th-30th : Tours or Free Time
- March 31st: Visa application goes to US Consulate
- April 1st: Group Oath taken, receive Visa
- April 2nd Fly out from Guangzhou to Beijing 9:25-12:25am, Beijing to Chicago, then Chicago to Cincy
I may have to update times because our flights keep changing. I also have no idea whether the times our listed in our times or theirs. I'm so confused!
We are traveling to Beijing with 13 families. 4 are nsn children, the other 9 are sn. We will be traveling with two other families to Nanning. One of them is from Lebenon Ohio, which is about 20 minutes away from us! We will meet back up with everyone in Guangzhou. It looks like an amazing trip!