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!