Saturday, February 17, 2007
Sleeping was another story last night. We are mostly tired and ready for sleep but our stomachs and other parts seem to be on a different schedules right now.
Emma, the first night in her new home, slept for about 4 1/2 hours and was up and fussy from about 2 am on until we got around this morning at about 6:45. Long night to say the least. Come to find out she has a pretty good cold and was beginning to run a fever. It didn't break until around noon today and when it was gone the Emma we know was back and smiling.
Jake had a fun time last night; we took him to his last basketball game and he had a great time seeing his teammates for the game. It was a surprise to most of the team and parents that we were there, but Jake wanted to go and he had been talking about playing for the entire trip. It was hard to ignore basketball because Yao Ming was on every advertisement in China. He did great and had the best time just being with his friends and being a kid having fun. When he did go to bed he was up at about 2:30 with Emma but only because he couldn't sleep anymore. 2:30 am to him was really 4:30 pm in the afternoon in China so he was really supposed to be up. He was really good, just reading his new book for an hour or so and still trying to rest a little but at around 6:00 got up for good and watched some cartoons that he could understand. We tried watching cartoons over there but it was hard. Later in the morning we got him some pancakes like he had been asking for for almost 2 weeks, since Beijing. Today he also had baseball practice and did very well. Once again great to see his friends and teammates and have some fun.
We had a few visitors today to welcome us home and help us get some things we needed for Emma. It was great to see our friends and family and for those of you we have not seen or heard from we can't wait for you to meet Emma. Give us a call and come on over. We would love to hear from all of you.
Lastly, thanks again for all of you checking out our adventures. We may not be posting quite as often for a little while as we get back to normal. Thanks again and give us a call or drop a note on e-mail, we would love to hear from all of you.
Just a note, I know some of you are having trouble posting comments. We are working on an answer. Fellow bloggers if you have any suggestions let us know. Thanks again. See you all soon.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
We would like to take a moment to thank each of you for sharing in our journey especially while we have been in China. It has been amazing the responses and the many people that have been following and sharing in our joy from Dallas, to Fort Worth, to Plano, TX; Dillon, CO, Minneapolis, MN; Missouri, North Carolina, Iowa; Topeka, Kansas City; Hunan, China and of course all of our friends and family in the greater Wichita area.
Just a few parting words from Guangzhou, China:
After spending these past weeks traveling and experiencing another culture up close and personal, I feel each of us have been changed by what we have learned from other families, from the people of China and from of course the reason we came, Emma.
As I have said earlier many of the people here consider the girls and boys that get adopted to be the "lucky" ones but you all know we all are the lucky ones to get to experience their innocence and joy unhindered by the life they were destined to live in an orphanage. We are truly blessed, each one of us. Through prayer and love this chapter comes to an end with a happy ending. But the story goes on and life begins anew for all of us in our new family. We still need your prayers as we all get adjusted to our new life together at home.
Lastly, a short story about our trip to Walmart in Nanning, Guangxi. Our guide who knowingly or not made a very funny joke. She said, "You will notice that all of the things in our Walmart, unlike in America, are "Made in China!" When you think about that statement many thoughts may come to mind but for me that phrase has a whole new meaning!!
We love you Emma (Made in China)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
We then received here VISA packet that is sealed and can't be opened by anyone but the immigration officer in our port of entry, Chicago, on Friday. This last thing was the official end of our trip. Now we are just on vacation in China with our family waiting to come home on Friday.
At the consulate no pictures were allowed and no video or electronics, so the memories will be preserved on here Chinese passport and in our hearts as the favorite valentine we received in 2007.
Later to night we will rap up our blogging from China and look forward to seeing all of you at home. It has been fun and exciting but as you might be able to tell we are all ready to come home.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I had a surprise this afternoon. Can anyone guess? Scott found me enough power so I could use my flat iron. I'm back!!! Thanks babe!
We loaded up at 5:30pm for our dinner cruise. On our way to the boat we saw two different men walking monkeys on a leash. When we got to the dock we had to wait to get on. The boat had 3 levels. We were on the 2nd level and we all had window tables for viewing the city. Our ride was 2 hours long and they had a buffet dinner. Of course there was nothing that Jake would eat. But once again Dad came to the rescue. McDonald's, (they told us that the children would not like the dinner and suggested we have an alternative plan) The dinner was okay and the beer was great! The beer always seem great! We have been drinking a local brew, Tsingtao.
We're back to the hotel and everyone is tired, even Jake. Tomorrow is a big day. We go the the Buddhist Temple for a blessing in the morning and to the US Consulate in the afternoon to take an oath and receive all the documents for Emma so she can come home.
Sorry, no pictures tonight. I tried, but it was taking over 10 minutes to load just one. I will try again tomorrow.
Monday, February 12, 2007
All the mommies.
Two peas in a pod.
In the park, Emma meets her first dog and he was just her size.
We are all ready to come home! Tomorrow is a free day for us until dinner. We are going on a River Boat Cruise. Emma is getting pretty spoiled and Jake has been such a grown-up boy. We have been doing homework about every other day if we are lucky. The last few days we have been working on math flash cards. It is now a timed game for both Scott and Jake. Jake wrapped up two books today! Hooray!! We get to start a new one tomorrow, "The Mouse and the Motorcycle".
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Breakfast...what can I say, it had everything you could imagine except for what Jake wanted, waffles and pancakes. Have I told you about the rules for in line at restaurants and boarding airplanes and anything else that requires waiting in line? There are no lines, if you do not push your way to the front you will be standing there all day. Cutting in line is considered normal. Which brings us back to breakfast. We are lucky there was lots of food because every businessman from China kept butting in line. It felt like we were at the busiest intersection in China waiting to cross the street without traffic signals. Can you say road rage at breakfast?
The babies play room is wonderful. Emma loves the freedom to crawl and play with every Matel toy ever made for little people. Her favorite toy is the Elmo learning center that she can stand at. Even Jake had fun there too.
Today when we returned from having Emma's Visa photo made and the medical exam, we had a gift waiting for her. A souvenir from Matel, a Barbie, an American mom and her Chinese baby.
We ate at a good Thai restaurant with our group. The restaurant looked just like you might imagine a restaurant in China would look like. It had many beautiful Chinese lanterns hanging from the trees.
The weather was hot and humid but cooled down nicely after dinner. Smoggy during the day and as the afternoon progressed this smog lifted.
Tomorrow we go to the Jade and Pearl market.
Jill and Scott
This little boy came right up to the stroller and started pushing it with Jake. I am not sure if you can see this or not but he is wearing "split pants". These are potty training pants. They do not wear a diaper. These pants are 24/7 open access. Can you say "COMMANDO"? I won't tell you actually were the "bathroom" is.
Today was another day of firsts for Emma. She got her passport and had her first airplane ride. We sat near the front of the plane, by the end of the 45 minute flight the passengers in the back knew her well.
She has trademark "silent cry". It is quite amazing, I have never seen a baby cry mouth wide open and not one sound. She can hold her breathe for about 12 seconds with the only side affect being slightly blue lips and an ear drum piercing scream. It at first appears you are watching a silent movie because you have to swear that she is suppose to be making a sound, but there is not one. She treated the passengers of the flight to several of these.:)
It was a really long day and the kids did not get to sleep until after 10:30pm and not much of a dinner.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
We all brought candy for the children of the village. Apparently, they are a custom to Americans site seeing. They know they get candy when we come. We saw the ladies in the fields tending to the crops and washing their clothes in a pond and scrubbing them on the rock. We also had an opportunity to see a home in the village. Cement floors, a well in the middle of the main room with an open ceiling and a chicken running around inside. The bed room was cramped and had a wooden bed for sleeping.
An old lady wanted to hold Emma and she did great! She is not afraid of anyone yet. The ladies loved Jacob. He even sat on a ladies lap. She said he was heavy. He was a good sport. The people there were very friendly and loved having visitors.
Tonight, we went out to dinner at a restaurant that had engagement ceremonies. Well, the Miau (minority) tradition is the lady comes and picks her groom by tugging on their ear and tapping her foot on their toe. This a sign that she wants to marry him. Well, Scott was chosen to get married. They had a ceremony, they danced on a bench, he carried her on his back and then they toasted wine. The good news is after 3 days they can back out with out
Emma is making so much progress. She turns her head when you say her name, she will let anyone hold her, she eats great and sleeps very well. She is still working on cutting in her sixth tooth. Thank goodness for Tylenol.
Jake has really changed the past several days. He is learning so much about the Chinese culture and traditions and has even learned some Chinese. He writes in his journal daily. So he does not forget a thing. He is an awesome big brother too.
Tomorrow is travel day. We travel to our last destination, Guangzhou to finalize Emma's Visa and Passport. What we hear is the White Swan Hotel, were we are staying is wonderful. May Western traditions and great shopping for souvenirs.
Talk with you all tomorrow!
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Later that evening we went out for a group dinner. We had Chinese food. By far it has been the best we have had yet. Even Emma liked it. She ate Tofu and vegetable congee. Congee? Well is is boiled rice and water until it is almost completely broken down. Most of the time there is something added to it like chicken, pork, beef or vegetable. I has a pasty look, but tastes pretty good. She loves it.
Last night was the night of firsts...first poop and first bath. She loved her bath. She just splashed around and did not even care if I put water on her head.
Tomorrow we are going to a museum and then have the rest of the day to ourselves.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Today was an odd sensation. You would think yesterday with the actual meeting would be the hardest but today when we went for the ceremonies and had the opportunities to thank the orphanage workers and the director for taking such good care of Emma was actually the part I was least prepared. Could you imagine trusting someone to look after your daughter for ten very important months of her life and not even knowing who they were? All I can say is that faith plays such a strong part in making this all work. I couldn't help but know that prayers are truly answered and that there are people that God puts in our lives to do great works for us that we rarely get the chance to know except to say thank you when they are done. Today was that day to say thank you and the words were simple but they seemed to not be enough to express our gratitude, but they were all we had to offer for Emma.
The Chinese people say that these little girls from here are the lucky ones that get a family, but we all know that we will be the blessed and lucky ones for all time because of the way they have changed all of our lives for the good. We can't wait for you all to see our new gift, a gift from many people in China to many people in America. She arrived in your heart the moment you first prayed for her and she arrives in her new home on the 16th.
A word about our boy Jake: He has been magnificent and we have both found another dimension of our love for him. What a special kid he is. We have asked alot of him in this process and he has always found more than enough love and understanding to spread joy to Emma and us. I believe he is a changed person after this trip. Some of you may not recognize the grown-up little boy that comes home in a few days. We love him so much.
"Thank you" and "I love you" are two simple yet powerful phrases that I have learned say alot but always seem to fall short of expressing the overwhelming gratitude and awe inspiring love we have for those we are thanking for giving that unconditional love to our new baby girl.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Life is great! What more can I say. This morning I got up around 5:15am and Jake got up at 5:45am, while Scott and Emma were still asleep, we had our time. He came and sat on my lap and told me how much he loved Emma and if we could get her up to play. He is so good with her. He is not comfortable holding her yet, but in time I am sure he will be an expert.
Today we went back to the Civil Affairs Office to be interviewed, take an oath promising to provide a loving home, education and to never leave or abuse her. Of course we all said yes. We also had a chance to talk with the Director of her orphanage. You could tell how much he loved children. I just felt like I was taking something away from him. But I know I am not, it was just emotional for me. Sad and happy all at the same time. We also exchanged gifts with them too. We received a small photo album with pictures of the orphanage, her care giver and several pictures of her. What a keepsake.
We are back in our room, Emma is napping, Scott went to the bank to exchange some money and Jake is watching Toy Story 2. Later today we are going to Wal-Mart!!!
I almost forgot to tell you, she is not as big as the last update. They must have measured and weighed her with all of her clothes on. Some of the clothes we brought fit great but everything that is 12-18 months is too big. Go figure.
Gotta run, time for lunch and then off to Wally World! Talk with you later.
We met our Holt representative, Jane, at the airport and she gave us our instructions on what the rest of the day was going to look like. Go to hotel, check-in, eat lunch, meet her in lobby at 3:20pm, go to Civil Affairs Office, wait in a large room with the rest of the families (6 total), a lady will come in say your daughters name and we bring our Adoption Approval Letter, they match up name with child and then give her to us.
So this is how it all went down...check-in, ate a crappy lunch, went to the Civil Affairs Office, went to the large room to wait. We could hear babies crying outside our room. You just cannot help but to get choked up. Scott decides to let Jake video while he snaps the camera. By the way, Jake thinks he is the expert cinematographer. He cannot stop taking still pictures with the video camera. So we are waiting and waiting, this sweet young lady comes in and reads us this little speech asking us to love and provide a safe and happy home for our new daughter. She then introduces the two directors of the orphanages. The moment we have all been waiting for...the first little girl comes in, everyone has tears rolling down their cheeks, dressed in a red velvet shirt and snow white pants and jacket, red flowered shoes, she announced her name, Hau Ru Qin, yes we were the first. Emma is so beautiful. Her pictures have not done her any justice. The sweet innocent look with her dark brown almond shaped eyes, her ears, nose, chin, fingers are all perfect. She did not make a sound. Not one peep. She let all of us hold her. She did have a surprise for us, teeth, six of them! Two on the bottom and four on top.
Everyone is so happy. We left the Civil Affairs Office and headed back to our hotel for the rest of the day.
So far so good. She can crawl and pull herself up on the bed and in her crib. This morning before they brought her to us she had fallen and bumped her head and nose. She also has a little cold too. Of course we inspected her from head to toe. She has a birth mark on her hiney and no diaper rash. Her checks are dry and her little nose is red from her cold. Otherwise she is gorgeous!
She slept for 1½ hours and woke up with a smile! We cannot wait for everyone to meet her. Talk with you tomorrow.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
It's 3am and no one has slept well. For me, I was just worried we would miss our flight. We are leaving our hotel at 5:30am, however, our luggage is to be outside of our hotel door at 5am for pick-up and we have to check out. Now you would think that would not be a big deal, but here in China check out is a production. They physically send someone up to your room to check the mini bar to see if you have used anything before they finalize your bill.
It is a 3 hour flight to Nanning. So I hope we have a little shut eye then.
I forgot to tell you we had Pizza Hut pizza for dinner last night. It was pretty good. For dessert we had Hagen Daas Ice Cream. Yummy!
I am heading to the shower. Talk with you all later. Miss you!
Today was the orientation meeting. Primarily logistics, the boring stuff for Jake. But there were some facts about China as well. At the end of our session they were showing pictures of all the girls from each provience and they asked us to raise our hand when our daughters picture showed up on the screen. Talk about being nervous. When Emma's photo showed up we were not sure if it was her or not until her name appeared, like many other parents. My has she grown. We also received a beautiful red silk covered book with updated information about Emma. She loves playing with water doing and outdoor activities. So she will love grandpa and grandma's pool and the lake. She can crawl and stand with assistance. She likes to sleep with someone, in the dark and in a quiet environment for about 9 hours. (we'll see) She still feeds with a bottle and loves music.
We did go to Tienanmen Square and to the Temple of Heaven. Both places were crowded with people. We took several pictures, but would have like to stayed a bit longer and do some people watching. I had a little Chinese girl approach me at Tienanmen Square and she introduced herself both Chinese name and her American name, Barbara, and welcomed me to Beijing. I did get her to let me video her. We will get it posted soon.
Otherwise, we are glad to have a chance to slow down a bit, but I am sure we will still be busy, but a different type of bus
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Today we went to the Great Wall of China. It was built in 1475 – 221 BC. It is almost 4,000 miles long. We took the short and hard trip, approximately 1 mile up and back, which is the badaling section. Also the most frequented section of the wall. There are two sides to choose from, long and easy or short and hard. With a stone floor and steps, the elevation grew as we climbed the wall. The interesting thing about the steps is that they were not the same height, every step was different. It was extremely windy and very cold too. While we were at the wall, Jake had his picture taken twice by Chinese families. I guess the love Americans.
We also we to a factory where Cloisten or Cloistors are made. We are not really sure which it is but, the make the pots from copper. They glue on the design with copper wire which create the pattern and then fill each section with liquid porcelain. Then the pots are fired/baker and refilled with liquid porcelain. Fired/baked again, sanded with stone and polished with charcoal to make it shine. The last phase of this process is to all gold through electro plating.
We had another Chinese meal. Everything was pretty good. Jake did not eat a thing, the second day in a row. After lunch we had the opportunity to shop for a pot. We did buy a small pot and it is beautiful.
Back to the bus, we then headed to “old” Beijing. Where the streets are narrow. We rode in a rickshaw, a three wheeled bicycle with a rickshaw basket. This was Jake's favorite thing today. He giggled the entire trip. We also toured someones home. It was a small 3 room home. They had two live grasshoppers, straw crickets and 9 fish as pets. Freaky!
We did not miss dinner tonight. Scott had a tenderloin, Jake had spaghetti and I had pizza. Off to another nights sleep. We hope to sleep until 5am.
We have met 4 or the 5 families going to our province. Tomorrow we have our orientation meeting and tour of the Tian An Men Square and Temple of Heaven. Should be a busy day.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Breakfast was awesome! Omelets, bacon, waffles, pancakes, lots of fruit, and the best croissants I have ever had. We left at 8:30am to go see the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. Both places were completely breathe taking. The Forbidden City was built in 1420 and has several buildings under renovation in order to prepare for the Olympics in 2008. The Summer Palace was serene. Even though nothing was in bloom the art was magnificent. On our way back to the hotel we drove by where the Olympic Stadium is being built. It was something else.
We did lots of walking. Jake was tuckered out and so were we. He fell asleep on the bus on the way back to the hotel. He walked back to our room and he never saw the light of day until 3:00 the next morning. Well for us, I started looking through some papers they gave us and Scott and I were asleep by 5:30pm and did not get up until Jake woke us up at 3am. Needless to say we had a hungry kid on our hands. Good thing we brought snacks.
I am working on loading our photos but it is taking a long time. I will work on this tonight.