Monday, September 11, 2006

We are home at last!!!

Part of our welcoming committee....

The boys happy to FINALLY meet their new little sister....

Daddy with his new little girl....

Alice is settling in just fine with all the boys....

And she is already discoverying the power rangers....

Fun in the tub....

The flight home was an adventure, but we are happy to be back in AZ and with our new family. We started our day Saturday at about 4:30am. It was raining in Guangzhou as we left for the airport. We had a small boxed breakfast on the bus on the way. Once we got to the airport and got checked in and through security we only had about 20 minutes to wait to get on the plane to Tokyo. I got really lucky on that flight with an extra seat next to me. That was a dream with Alice on board. They kept us on the tarmac for about 45 minutes because of the rain, but the pilot promised us we would land by 2:20 in Tokyo. For some reason when we got to Tokyo, he kept circling and we didn't get on the ground until about 2:45 -- we all had to connect for flights at 3:30 and in Tokyo you get off the plane and have to re-enter through a small security checkpoint. We were all booking it and were the last ones to get on our plane -- it didn't look as though they were really waiting for us. If I hadn't made that flight, I might have broken down completely at that point -- just way to ready to be back home.

This leg was 8 1/2 hours and we didn't have an extra seat this time -- Alice was not very happy for the entire flight and I'm sure everyone around me wasn't very happy either. That was a true struggle of patience, but we made it!

Once in Seattle, I was so happy to be able to got through customs and immigrations where people actually spoke english, but I was greeted by the grumpiest officer ever who burst my bubble that americans are really friendlier than some of the bureaucracies of the people I had just been dealing with for the last 3 weeks.

From Seattle to Phoenix, Alice finally slept like a dream!! We got of the plane so excited to see Kurt and the boys and when we got out of security there was no one there. We had a mix up in terminals and they were anxiously waiting at terminal 3 and we were at terminal 2. We finally met up and the boys looked to me like they had grown 10 feet. Their hugs and kisses were a very welcome end to my trip!!!

So Alice is officially ours in the eyes of China. However, she is still considered a chinese citizen since only one of us travelled to get her. We will now do what they call a readoption here in the states and at the point that we receive the american birth certificate, she will officially be an american citizen. The US does not recognize dual citizenship with China so she technically will only have US citizenship. Most families do the readoption in the states whether or not they travelled together so that they can obtain an american birth certificate. This way we have documentation that can be duplicated if the originals are ever lost. If we were to lose her chinese documentation, we would not be able to replace it.

This week we are trying to get back with the program. The boys are doing great in school and are so proud to have Alice here with them. She is slowly warming up to them -- they are very different than the kids she is used to playing with.

We are struggling a bit with the time change and having her in a new bed and environment. I am up quite a bit at night right now. Hope to power through it over the next week or so along with a couple of cases of diet coke!

Looking forward to seeing everyone again and introducing you to Miss Alice!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

We are outta here!!!!

Hopefully, the next picture that I post will be of Alice with her daddy and two brothers! Things went as expected today and we ate our last supper at Lucy's. The bell boy comes by at 5:00am for our luggage and we are off to the airport at 5:45. If all goes as planned we will arrive in AZ at around 2:30 on Saturday afternoon!!!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Our last day!

Alice strutting in her Chinese PJ's...

My Dinner looking back at me....

Alice and her new doll...

Alice and her wild crazy self!!!

Go figure that I would figure out the pictures the last week of our trip! We are down to our last two nights and it still seems like an eternity before I'm going to set foot back in AZ. You know it is time to go home when you start thinking with the Chinese accent -- adding r's at the end of words like "Budder" instead of "Budda"; replacing v's with w's like saying "wisit" instead of "visit"; and repeating parts of sentences twice so that the americans can understand you -- this last one is actually very helpful.

Yesterday, we spent most of the day just walking around and shopping. Today it was a nice cool rainy day. We had to stay in the hotel for most of the morning while our guides took our paperwork to the American Consulate. We went out for lunch to Lucy's and then walked around and came back inside for most of the rest of the afternoon. We waited for the other group to come back from their Consulate visit today before going to dinner again at Lucy's. Tomorrow we get to visit the Consulate and then we are officially "released" to return to the states with our new kids.

Our visit to the Consulate is another "formality" in the process -- it is called an interview. What happens though is that you show up with about another 50 families or so -- you wait your turn to go to the window with your passport and your child. Then they verify that the child you are holding is the child on the passport they are about to hand you. If it is, they hand you all your official documents. Once everyone has their paperwork, you go into another room where an american comes out and asks everyone to raise their right hand and answer a couple questions, such as, do you really want to take this child home. This is the actual "interview"!! Then we get back on our bus and come back to the hotel.

I have mostly packed my bag with all the things that we have bought. I am going to donate Alice's clothes and anything extra that I have for her to a store down here whose proceeds go to the local orphanages. They will take whatever we have and use it or give it to other families that have come and may have forgotten something. It looks like I've done a good job and won't need to purchase another suitcase to get back home. This has been a common last purchase with a lot of families and of course, all the local shops sell the lastest in fine luggage.

Tomorrow, we are also going to go down for our last foot massage. Some of my friends leave tomorrow night and the rest of us leave Saturday morning. All I can say is it has been great, but I can't wait!!!!!!


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The count down begins...4 days if you are in China

Here is a picture of Alice in her. dress that Amy bought her. It is a little long for her, but I know she is going to grow and she doesn't seem to mind it one bit.

And here is the infamous "red couch" photo that each group will take prior to leaving. These are the other kids that were in Alice's group. The are from left to right Polly, Bliss, Alice, Larissa, Clara and Paige. Then this is also Bliss looking at Alice wondering what all the fuss is about!

Yes, I have begun the countdown!!! It is Tuesday here now so I leave in 4 more days -- my saturday morning and then I arrive in the AZ saturday afternoon.

It is interesting to see how accustom we have become to the daily activities. Such as how they drive. The first day here we were intimidated to even put one foot in the street because there is no evidence of traffic rules being followed and definitely no pedestrians right of way. But today we even walk down the middle of the street right along with them all and we know which cars we can walk in front of without fear of them not stopping! All the shop owners recognize us and some even know us by name. We know which shops we can get the "good" discounts in. When I look out my window down at the street and see people walking around, I can recognize at least someone that I know either from our group or one of the shops!! And we can actually count out our money ourselves now when we purchase something rather than just letting them point to what we need. I also don't try to convert everything to USD before wondering if it is a good deal or not. Another thing that you would be having a fit over in the US is when you order your dinner, they just bring out whatever is ready whenever it is ready -- this could mean that one person might get there dinner literally 10 or 15 minutes before anyone else at the table. I remember this being very noticable the very first dinner we sat down at in Beijing, but tonight I didn't get my dinner until about 15 minutes after the first person and it didn't even phase me. In the US this would be grounds for a free meal!!

I missed the tour this morning because Alice fell asleep at 9:00am and I wanted to let her sleep. I heard it was beautiful and I can't wait to see Daniela's pictures -- she is Sabrina and my personal photographer. She said she is going to put all her still photos from Guangzhou on a CD for me so I can bring them home. She has a wonderful eye for getting interesting shots.

I went to Lucy's for lunch and then walked around a bit and then came back to the room to rest before the big photo shoot. The red couch photo is just a tradition for each group from a particular agency. It does help to signify that we are on our way home, finally!!! And tomorrow we will be off on our last tour of the trip! After this, I believe the next two bus trips we will take will be to the consolate and then to the airport!!


Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Labor Day!!

This weekend we were pretty low key. Alice caught a little cold on Friday and so Saturday was pretty yucky for her. The not so fun part was that she was throwing up a bit -- so in the hotel room that was not a lot of fun. The good part of that though was that she managed to do it on both beds and they had to change out one of them because it went through to the mattress -- this was good because the new mattress they brought in actually has a little bit of give to it and is a little bit softer! She is doing better today, but not quite over it all. It is moving down a little so I put her on an antibiotic -- just want to get her healthy for our marathon trek home this weekend.

I can't believe that I can finally say that we are going home soon!! I thought it would never come. I think the last 3 days have been the hardest maybe because I really didn't go off the island, but also because I couldn't imagine that I have to wait for ANOTHER Saturday before I could leave. We had some more familiar faces from our message board come in this weekend -- they were in different provinces and came here for their consulate appointments. Although I love my travel buddies, the fresh new faces and stories and babies were fun to have. There should be some more arriving today or tomorrow.

I do have to say that my travel friends have been the best. The Parkers from Mesa have more than befriended me and helped me out a lot when I have felt lonely. My buddies from Florida -- Sabrina and Daniela have probably eaten more meals with me at Lucy's than they probably care to! I also have two friends, Jennifer and Kathy from Michigan. Jennifer's little girl is about 2 weeks older than Alice and is from the same orphanage as her. We are trying to figure out if they recognize each other or not. I have Carol and Russell who are both pharmacists and have done their fair share of helping us figure out antibiotic and decongestant dosages. The Weilers are a fun family -- they brought their 4 and 2 year old with them and a friend as a helper. They are very adventurous and nice -- I enjoy talking to them -- their blog is very interesting to read and look at. And of course, I can't forget our guides Rui (Ray) and Kelly. They have had a hard job keeping us entertained over the last 2 1/2 weeks and also trying to keep our moral up when we all miss our families and friends. They do a lot of the paperwork behind the scenes for all of us as well as stay on call for us 24/7. They try to tell us funny jokes on the bus in english and sing us songs in Chinese! Overall we have a great group of people from a variety of places and of course we all have the best babies you could imagine!

Last night I went with the Parkers across the bridge to "the other side" off the island to go to Mc Donald's. McD's never tasted so good! Across the bridge is basically downtown Guangzhou so it is just like the big cities with lots of traffic and people walking everywhere. We definitely got stared at a lot, but we were also doing a lot of staring to. Just such different cultures. The stores on the street we were walking on looked to be pharmacies with lots of bins of twigs and dried mushrooms and other things that they would grind up for you. We also saw a couple of street venders -- one with a couple of cute little white bunnies and some little turtles. We were guessing that he wasn't trying to sell them as pets!! There are a couple of the open markets within walking distance of the bridge, but we didn't go to them yesterday. I would like to go to one before I leave just to see it. These are the ones with all the really "fresh" things for you to buy for dinner. Once we crossed the bridge back to the island, we realized how quiet the island really is. Can't really complain about where we are staying!

Today, we went to a statue of the 5 goats -- symbolic of bringing resources to Guangzhou -- cool statue up on top of a hill. We also visited a natural history museum about Guangzhou close to that. Then we drove around another little island which is considered a rich island. I think she said the average apartment is about 700 or so sq. ft. in the city. On this little island the average was between 2000 and 3000 sq. ft. The cost I think she said was something like $3000 a cubic meter. So this is a very expensive place to live. You could definitely tell it was upscale since there was no laundry hanging from the windows and the buildings looked much more nicely maintained -- more like what we are used to seeing at home.

Tonight, we ate with everyone in the hotel downstairs -- it was an outside "western" style barbecue. You picked out your own raw meat -- they had everything you could imagine and then they cooked it on the grill for you. Then there was a buffet to go along with it all -- very yummy -- Kurt would have loved this with all the choices! Being in the hotel, it wasn't cheap even though it was all you could eat so it is a one night thing for us. So it is back to Lucy's for us tomorrow!

Tomorrow, we are going to a mountain called White clouds mountain by translation. I think we will just walk around there. And then another day will be done!

I do have to say that I'm probably getting a little bit spoiled by not having to cook and never cleaning up the kitchen and having someone make my bed every morning and turn down my bed with chocolate every night. We even have attendants on every floor that press the button for us to go up or down the elevator and one that constantly open and closes the door in and out of the hotel in the lobby. Even with all this, I am so looking forward to getting back to my 2-buck Chuck and Einstein's and Nello's and of course my 3 wonderful boys!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Another day!

Unfortunately, the days are starting to run together now! I think yesterday we went to another temple and to a big auditorium that was built by a man that promoted chinese democracy. The temple was like the other that we visited except this one was called Tauism (??) and the other was buddist -- not really sure of the difference -- they both had buddas and lots of incense for prayers. Our guides say this weekend we will take our babies to a christian church so they are getting good coverage by all.

Today, a family watched Alice so I could go to the gym and run. It was good and they said I could do that again so I will see if I can do that every other day or so.

After that it was off to get Alice's picture for her Visa and then to get her "medical exam". This was a simple exam of taking her weight, height and temp and then going to another little room where the dr. checked her heart and looked over her skin and body for visible signs of defects and then off to the ear, nose and throat lady who proved to be quite scary for most kids. It was a lady with a mask and the old headband circle thing to look through. The hearing test consisted of her squeaking a toy on the side of one ear and then hitting a toy instrument/piano on the side of the other ear and seeing if she turned. She did this several times and then stood behind her and did the same thing. Then she looked in her mouth and ears -- not with the instruments we are used to, but just with her eyes. I don't know if she ever even looked in her nose.

Anyway, all indications from this are that Baby Alice is healthy and weighs in at 21 pounds -- of course they don't remove diapers or clothes for these measurement like we do so she may be closer to 20 pounds. I didn't catch her height because they said it in metrics and my brain didn't work that fast to figure it out. The Weilers posted some pictures of their baby's exam if you want to revisit that site to see what the clinic looked like.

In the afternoon, a few of us headed back over to the local foot massage parlor -- if I could fit these people in my suitcase, I would do so and not bring anything else back home!

Alice and I ate leftovers in the room for dinner and then visited a friend that came in from another province. And now after a day of no napping, Alice is finally falling asleep!!! She just doesn't want to miss anything!

Tomorrow, they are heading to a mall and IKEA. I don't think that I want to go and will probably just take my time in the morning getting up and then hang around the island.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I think I might have actually got another picture loaded!!! Yea!! If this works, I will try more later.

Last night, Alice stayed up until about 10:45. She just wouldn't settle down and kept giving me that goofy smile to try to make me laugh and play instead of sleep. I finally got her to stay down in her crib and she sat up in the corner and ended up falling asleep sitting up. I thought it was really cute, but then she ended up doing the same thing today and it made me sad because I realized that this was probably the way she fell asleep a lot in the orphanage. Today she also showed me that she could climb out of the crib. I was laying on the bed next to the crib with my eyes closed and the next thing I knew, she was standing on the the bed looking down at me -- quiet as a mouse getting out of the crib! These cribs are much smaller than ours probably the size of a pack and play, but made out of wood. I've asked to see if I can get a bigger one.

This morning we went to the Guangzhou Zoo. We saw the giant panda -- he was cute as well as all the typical zoo animals. This was one of the first times that most of us noticed other people really looking at us with our babies. On the island it is totally expected, but I guess there were so few of us out today that we were interesting to look at.

We ate lunch at a Latin buffet restaurant. Probably more the chinese version of latin food, but it was still good.

Alice and I just came back to the room this afternoon and that is when we began our napping adventure. I woke her up around 5 and we went to dinner at Lucy's -- the american bar and grill down the street. I think we have a regular table there! Alice is still eating really well. Last night she ate an entire grilled cheese sandwich. She will eat lots of fruits and veggies so if I can keep her going maybe she will have a more well-rounded diet than her brothers.

We have been hearing rumors around that some agencies with Guangdong babies are not having to stay for the extended stay....needless to say that is not making our group very happy we would be headed home in a few days. At least we are at a nice place so that the stay is comfortable, plus I am in very good company!

Let's see if I can get some more pictures out there!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Map of "Island"

Here is a link to the map of the small island that we are on....

Today was basically a free day. Alice and I got up and finally went to breakfast around 9:00ish. Then we ran into some friends in the lobby and let the kids just play on the floor for awhile. I took my sandals off while I was sitting on the floor and was told that I had to put them back on by the sandal nazi in the lobby!! :=)

Alice and I walked around the island for about 45 minutes or so while she slept. I found a little roman catholic church, but it was locked up and I couldn't read the sign to figure out if they held mass because it was all in Chinese -- I will have to ask about that. It is a nice little island. We came back and felt like it should be 5:00 pm and it was only noon.

We filled out the remainder of our paperwork for the visa application and then just went to dinner. Tomorrow is the zoo and a Latino barbeque for lunch.

Still working on the pictures. In the meantime, you should visit the following blog. It is a family in our group and they have done a fantastic job documenting what we have been up to and she has been able to get pictures up of where we have been. Even if you don't read it, you can just scroll down and look at the pics real quick.

Yesterday and today

Yesterday, we went to the Six Bayan trees Temple and then to a procelain and Jade store. The temple was pretty cool with some really neat Buddas in it. For fun, we got blessed by a buddist monk. Lots of incense and very interesting to see people praying and offering up ritz cracker, peanuts and hard candies as gifts.

The porcelain and Jade store were uneventful and were basically just stores, but we did see some of the beautiful paper thin porcelain that they made -- amazing.

For dinner we at in a train box car restaurant. Just had fried rice with bacon and scallops -- pretty good. It was Amy's last night with us. I think Alice definitely recognizes that her jungle gym has left the building!!!!

So today, we went to the Yuntai Garden -- no historical significance, but a magnificant garden built on a hillside with beautiful tree sculptures as different objects and animals. We spent about an hour there and it was really nice.

Then we went to an outdoor mall area apparently typical of china. It was very crowded and full of the tiny shops again. They had what they call department stores and then just rows of the little kiosk type/size stores, but set in the wall -- not out in the aisles. I didn't really shop, just looked around.

I took Alice to eat at her first Mc Donald's -- I'm sure her brothers will be happy to know that she like chicken nuggets.

After Mc D's, we were headed back to the bus and I stopped to take a picture and my wallet got stolen out of my back pack. Fortunately, I had relatively very little in it, but it was just a little unnerving. I'm back on track now with that little bump behind me and very glad that it was only my wallet I lost and not this wonderful little girl named Alice!!!

Later this afternoon after that adventure, 6 of us went down for a foot massage. This was a 70 minute massage that started as a 15 minute upper back and neck massage while your feet soaked in some Chinese medicinal water to help you relax. Then they massaged your feet for the remainder of the time. They served some sort of sweet tea and pears. We were all sitting in a room together in comfy recliner chairs. All of this cost us $6 each with a $1 tip. Definitely, made my day better--and I'm sure we will head back there again. We are going to also try the 2 hour massage for $22 sometime soon!

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures -- the blog isn't uploading my pics right now -- trying to figure out why!! Hopefully, more soon!!! :=)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Chen Family Temple

Yesterday, I found the gym and ran for the first time. I will have to find someone to trade "babysitting" with so that I can run after Amy leaves. We went back to the Civil Affairs office to pick up the Adoption Registration certificate and then went to the public security building to apply for baby Alice's passport -- one more important step to bringing her home!

We also went to the Carre Forre store which is roughly a chinese version of Walmart. It was very interesting -- can't really describe the feel of it. Very crowded and seemed kind of like an indoor market place -- it had everything we needed. I needed something for my itchy bug bites and I ended up with some bottle of chinese stuff that is suppose to work well -- kind of looks like a thin bottle of olive oil. We also bought Alice a new ride -- a nice little stroller to help me get her around.

Amy and I ate dinner downstairs in a nice little lounge restaurant that overlooks the river. All the buildings on the other side of the river have neon on them and reflect on the water -- not as cheesy as it sounds. We thought we were just going to get some cheap pizzas and wine and ended up spending close to $100. Didn't realize that the House wine was $14 a glass and we each had 2 then we bought 2 bottles of the local mineral water that should have been something like a quarter, but paid like $5 each!! It was good, but not what you imagine for $100! Our mistake!!!

I think last night was the best sleep that Amy and I have gotten. I think we fell asleep around 10:30 and woke up around 6:30! Of course, Alice was asleep the entire time! We both have been waking up at around 3ish each night and then trying to stay asleep until morning.

Today we went to the Chen family Temple and then to the Pearl Market. The Chen family temple is an old temple that has now been converted to somewhat of a museum. It had several different trades represented -- embroidery, silk process, wood carvings, etc.

The Pearl Market was a very interesting place. We went in to a building that was essentially an indoor mall. In it was only jewelry stores. Every store front was about 15 feet wide and maybe 20 deep and filled with some kind of stone or beads. This went on for 5 stories high. And then there were little alley ways off to the side that if you took those you would truly get lost. I'm not sure how they make money in there -- especially the ones down the alley ways. Our guides led us to the stores that had the better reputation for higher quality stones.

Alice is still doing great. She loves her "Aunt Amy" -- thinks she is a jungle gym. We are having a lot of fun with Alice. She took a bath this morning -- they typically don't like baths initially because they have always been sponge bathed. She does ok in it, bu you can tell she is tentative and doesn't like to get water poured over her head.

I bought her a soccer ball yesterday at the Carre Forre and she already new what to do with it! She is going to love having her big brothers!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Alice and her cup

Happy Alice

Last night Alice kept going until around 10pm and when we laid her down in her bed she simply closed her eyes and went to sleep -- alot like her new daddy! She slept until about 6ish and woke up and just looked at us with a face that said "oh, that wasn't just a dream"! She ate a great breakfast and eats almost anything we put in her mouth. Not quite as picky as her brothers are!

We went back to Civil Affairs to register the adoption so baby Alice is officially ours!! Please say a prayer for baby Alice's mother. I hope that she feels a since of peace even though she doesn't know that her daughter is not part of a family that will love her forever. That process involved being interviewed twice asking questions like why we wanted to adopt her and promising that we would never abandon or abuse her. Then going to get our picture taken and then being interviewed by another person who asked us the exact same questions! We were trying to decide if this is the new bureaucracy or the old!

On the way home, she sat with both hands on the window and her eyes fixed on everything that was going on outside -- very, very curious. I have to remember that every time we do something it might be the first time that she has ever tried it or seen it! Gives a more exciting perspective on things! Loves riding in the stroller and elevator and loves being lifted up and down any way you can.

We had lunch and then went walking around the little island streets. Alice stayed awake until 5. She slept for a couple of hours and then we went to dinner. And now she is reinvestigating the room like last night.

We still have not heard her cry! She laughs at almost anything. She is learning to clap and we think she might be getting used to her name. I sat her on the scale in the bathroom and she weighed about 20lbs.

Things still seem a little surreal -- and I can't believe that she is mine to keep and bring home!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I will write more tomorrow, but just wanted to get a picture out here for you! Alice was the first to come in the room and she walked in! She came over and let me pick her up and just hugged on, looked over my shoulder and started smiling! She was very happy and very comfortable. She hasn't cried once yet! We took her to dinner and we learned that she knows how to tell us know by viciously shaking her head back and forth. She is VERY active -- it is now 9:30 and she is still going as strong as she was at 3:30 when we met her!

Lots and lots of fun -- today made the wait worth it all!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tuesday is THE day!!!

I found out today that when we arrive in Guangzhou tomorrow that we will go to the hotel, have lunch and then go to Civil Affairs to pick up our little girls!!!! Hopefully, I will have a picture or two posted tomorrow when you wake up!!

Today was great!! We went to the forbidden city --- very interesting architecture and history and beautiful. The great wall was GREAT!! I walked up about the distance of going up to the top of Squaw peak and back down. Amazing how long that thing is!! I had to laugh at someone's comment that didn't want to go up further -- it keeps going and all looks the same....All the same it was beautiful and a great thing to be on and experience.

I met Jeff and Amy tonight along with another couple that I have kept up with on email but had never met in person. We went to a little outdoor restaurant and had pizza. It was really nice. The weather here has been perfect -- warm, but not very humid at all. I think Guangzhou is much more so.

We leave tomorrow morning about 6:45 from the hotel and should get to Guanzhou around 11 or so.

I'm tired now so I'm going to go to bed!! :=)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

In Beijing

I arrived in Beijing about 9:00 pm last night. All my flights were fine. I watched 5 movies on the 10 hour flight to get to Tokyo -- that really helped the time pass. I met up with another woman travelling with GW in Tokyo and we sat together on that flight. She is really nice, lives in Toledo and was also travelling completely alone.

I was a very interesting experience walking off the plane in Tokyo to all the chinese. My first thought was I hope the bathrooms have western toilets. So far so good on that one!

I basically got no sleep from when I woke up Sat. morning until last night -- probably about 27 hours awake. I woke up around 6 this morning so about 5 1/2 hours of sleep. I'm sure I will be tired tonight.

Today we go to the great wall, forbidden city and tian an mein square (spelling!). It will be a full day with a bunch of really tired people! I should meet up with my friend Amy tonight and tomorrow we will head for Guangzhou.

I miss my family a ton! It was so hard to say goodbye to them at the airport, but we all handled it very gracefully!

My guide is very nice and so far very helpful. My room is just as expected -- very nice, but with very hard beds. Hooking up my computer was a snap last night and it will be hopefully as easy in Guangzhou. I spoke to and saw the kids and Kurt last night and am very happy with the modern technology that we have!

The first questions from the kids were if it was dark here and if I was holding the baby yet! They told me they had already slept and that I should go to bed.

Thanks for all the emails I had when I arrived -- it was nice to have them to read!!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tomorrow is the big day!

Tomorrow I leave for China. I am very excited for the trip overall. It is amazing that in just 5 days we will have a new addition to our family. I can't wait to meet Baby Alice. I wonder what she lookes like -- the pictures we have are from back in Feb. 2005. I think she will be walking and may have slightly longer hair if they stop cutting once they know they have a family. I'm sure she is going to cry when I take her away from her familiar faces, but I hope that she will be comforted soon.

I will leave in the morning, the 19th, and arrive in Beijing in the evening on the 20th. I have met another woman via our message boards who will be on my flight from Tokyo to Beijing so we are going to look for each other. I go on tours of the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tien a min square (spelling??) on Monday. Monday night I will meet up with Jeff and Amy and also a friend, Sarah, that I have been emailing with who is also adopting.

Tuesday morning Amy and I will fly to Guangzhou and we should meet Baby Alice on Wed.

I am very emotional about leaving Archie, Sam and Kurt. I have never been away from them for more than 4 days so 20 is a stretch for me. They are very excited to see baby Alice and don't appear at all to be emotional about me leaving. I think they understand what we are doing and my leaving is for a great reason. They have lots of excitement in their voices when they tell people about what we are doing!

I will write as often as I can and try to post pictures as long as everything works in China!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Waiting for Travel approval

We are waiting for our travel approvals, but anticipate to get those sometime in the next two weeks. Right now I am just busy getting necessary paperwork complete and thinking about what I am going to take on the trip. Our best guess is that we will travel mid-August.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Updated Info on Alice

We received Alice's medical info. Everything looks good as far as we can tell! We found out that she was 17 lbs and 27 inches in Feb. We looked up on the growth charts for chinese girls and found that she was in the lower percentiles -- so she will be petite!

What a wonderful day

Yesterday was quite undescribeable as far as emotions goes! Honestly, the best word I can say is euphoric -- just such a high!! I didn't want to talk on the phone to anyone -- just wanted to enjoy the feelings -- I didn't want them to leave! :=)

I had to share the news with Kurt over the phone, but it was still great! I got my phone call at about 1:40 and when she said "I have your daughter her" I just got tears in my eyes. Then she shared all her details with me. I called Kurt and told him everything and he was especially happy to hear that she was 18 months old!! He wasn't quite prepared to go back to the "baby, baby" stage. We didn't get her pictures until about 4:00. The time actually went by quickly as my friend Tara and I sat and literally clicked the send/receive button about every 30 seconds or so. We also monitored the message boards to see what news others in our group were getting.

Once we got the email, I was scared to look at her, but scrolled down pretty quickly to see that cute little face. It only took me about 5 seconds to fall in love with her! Kurt didn't get to see her until about 6:00, but called right away and thinks she is pretty cute, too!

Archie and Sammy are happy, too. Archie took one look at her and got a big smile and said "Its a boy!" Then he realized Alice is really a girl and said that he thought she was good! He went away and then about 20 minutes later came back to ask for all the details -- I think he had to process it a little. Sam understands who she is, but doesn't quite get the relevance of it all. But they both know that we will be picking her up sometime in August.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, but I think that was mostly from drinking diet coke all afternoon while I waited! And I slept with a picture of her on my nightstand!

Monday, June 26, 2006


ITS A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are waiting for pictures -- so you will have to check back soon. BUT we do know that we have a little girl named Ji Hao Fa and she is from the Guangdong province. Her birthday is 1/7/2005.

They say she is a deep sleeper, likes to play with toys, gets along with others, is quiet, is closest to her caretaker, is imitating words, crawls and walks with assistance. Her dimensions are tiny, but I'm not sure when they were taken. She is roughly 17 pounds and 23 inches tall (I don't think I wrote down her length correctly -- just a little too excited!!!).

I know she has short hair, but that is it!!! I will post them as soon as I get them!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Stork is on his way!

We are anxiously waiting for Monday to come!! We found out yesterday that the Stork is on his way for us and we should finally find out who baby Alice really is!! We have waited for about a year from sending our paperwork in -- June 28th, 2005 and a tad bit longer from when we actually signed our contract -- late January 2005. It was longer than we anticipated, but we tried to keep ourselves busy with Archie and Sam which wasn't very hard!

I will post our information on Monday as soon as Kurt has had a chance to see it! He will be travelling to Oregon so I will have to reach him before I can share our news with everyone else!

See you Monday!