Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday 3/26

Another free day today. We are waiting for our U.S. Consulate appointment tomorrow. Then we are free to head for Oates!!!! We finished up some shopping and picked up a few things we had ordered. Other then that we packed and played with Sydney!

We had a group dinner with some of the other families tonight. Our group leaves over the course of 3 days. It is really hard to say goodbye to these people. We have only known them a few weeks, but they will be in our hearts forever. I feel such a connection with all of them and I will miss them greatly. We have exchanged blogs and emails and we plan to start a yahoo group to share pictures and such. But it won’t be the same as seeing them every day. We already have plans for reunions and I know we will be counting down the days until we can see each other again!


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Tuesday 3/25

All we had today was an exit meeting with our Holt guides. They went over the rest of the paperwork we had to do and what the leaving schedule looks like. We have to have our bags outside our doors at 4:45am on Friday morning and we leave the hotel at 5:30am. It will be an early start to a long day. Other than that we are just killing time waiting on paperwork and consulate appointments. We are ready to come home. This has been a long trip! It is totally worth it though when I look into that sweet baby face. I cannot wait for you all to meet her!

Monday 3/24

Not much happened today other than a group picture. It is tradition for all adopted babies to get their photos taken on the famous red couches that are all around the hotel. Just getting the babies all on the couch at the same time was a job. Sydney actually cooperated pretty well. She did much better than I expected. She just kept looking at the others who were crying like they were nuts! We had decided earlier to dress the children in traditional Chinese clothes. They looked soooo cute! Here is the best of the shots:

Sunday 3/23

Happy Easter to all. We really missed home today. Something about being away from our traditions just made it not feel like Easter. No egg hunt, but we did get to go to church. We attended the only Christian church on the island. The service was in both English and Chinese. It was neat to see how familiar the service was. They sang “Because He Lives” in both languages. It was really cool to see Christianity in China. I was under the impression that we would see none of it. But several shopkeepers have asked us if we were believers in Jesus Christ. It is really cool to be on the other side of the Earth with people who seem to have nothing in common with us, only to discover that we share the same Father. I loved the service. They gave an Easter bookmark to all the first time attenders. Then they brought our the children to sing some songs. It was so sweet! There was even some boys in the front who were showing off for the crowd. Reminded me of Bryce and Jayden! After services we had Lucy’s for dinner. Hamburgers and fries for Easter dinner. Oh well. It is totally worth it just to have Sydney with us. She is such a joy to have around. She is totally cracking us up! She does the funniest things. During services I gave her a wet wipe to play with. She used it whip me with. She was cackling out loud while smacking me across the face with a nasty old wipe! Seems she is adjusting fine.

Sunday evening Holt arranged for us to take a river boat cruise on the Pearl River. It was a beautiful night and we had a really good time with all the other families. The city is lit up with neon lights every night. It was really nice, but not as nice as a quiet country evening listening to the peep frogs.



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Saturday 3/22

We had a busy day with adoption stuff! This is good news to me because we are spending a lot of time waiting on appointments or documents to be processed. Today I felt like we took a big step forward! Unfortunately it rained all day! We had to walk to get to where we needed to go. The White Swan provided us with umbrellas, but we still ended up soaked.

The first thing we did was go get Sydney’s visa photo taken. We walked about a half a block to the photo place. She promptly sat up on the stool, growled at the photographer, got her picture taken, and we walked back in the rain. Thank you very much!

Next we had to do some paperwork. I went to do the paperwork while Wayne stayed and gave Miss. Growling Child a nap! Most of our forms that we had filled out before we got here were all on expired forms. Everyone had expired versions of the forms. We have no idea why. We all got them from Holt. So we had to redo a bunch of them. Basically it was the same forms, just updated versions.

Our next water adventure was Sydney’s medical exam. All babies must pass a medical check in order to be adopted. It was about a 5 block walk in the rain. Sydney loved it. She kept reaching her hand out from under the umbrella to feel the rain. I however did my best to keep her dry. The medical exam was chaotic and primitive at best. The hearing exam consisted of playing a toy piano on one side of her. She turned to look at it and they rang a rattle on the other side. She turned toward the rattle. Hearing is good! The doctors had a hard time understanding us and we had to go get our guides to translate for us. The most effective thing about it was her measurements. She weighed17.1 lbs and was 28 inches tall. So tiny. I was relieved when it was over.

The rest of the day was free. We spent some time at Starbucks unwinding and then walked around a while. Wayne cannot stand to just sit in the hotel room so we have walked around the neighborhood several times. Here’s your Sydney fix for the day:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Friday

This morning was a free morning. It was nice to not have to get up early and get ready to go somewhere. I had forgotten how long it takes to get a baby ready to go. It seems like I am packing the whole house every time!

Sydney’s biggest accomplishment today was wearing shoes! She put them on and wore them all day! She cried when we put them on her before. I am not sure if she has ever had shoes on or not! She didn’t act like it. She continues to go to any of the four of us, but seems to prefer us to strangers. She is a feisty girl. She just fits in with us perfectly. God has a way, doesn’t He?

The afternoon was spent at a local elementary school. We visited the fifth grade English class! Not grammar, but English. It was so cute to watch them try their best English on us. We each stood up and told what we do for a living. We were a big hit when we told them we build playgrounds! Then we told them which state we are from and they would find it on the map. So cute! After that we were able to teach them a song. One of the girls in our group taught them the bunny hop that her family does every Easter! Ashlyn and Sarah got up and helped. You can see in the video that they children loved it!! Next they divided us up and showed us around the school. That school was loud! I don’t know if it was because we were there or maybe because it was Friday, but they were wound up!! Several of them told me I was very beautiful! Several others told Wayne he was very strong! So funny. It was very sad to think that Sydney would have never been able to go to school if she had stayed in the orphanage. Thank you, Jesus!

We went to dinner that night at the Cow and Bridge again. Sydney threw a plate and broke it. Nice. She has really started eating today. She wants to taste everything. But if she doesn’t like it, she won’t take anymore. Also if she is full, she is done!

Less than a week until we come home!

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Thursday

Today we went on a trip to the zoo. It was quite interesting. They had some of the sorriest looking deer I have ever seen. It wouldn't even hurt you car is you hit them! Also there was a huge display of squirrels. Too funny! The weird part was that in order to see most of the animals, you had to get on a trolly/train and ride through where the animals were just roaming around. We went by a camel that stood about 2 feet from where we were sitting! I just knew it was gonna spit! They had a ditch dug between the ride and the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) but it was not a big enough one for me to feel safe. Crazy!

After the zoo trip, the moms all went for a Chinese foot massage! I took Sarah and Ash with me. It was very nice! We got a 90 minute massage for $10 US. At the very end, they brought out this mud stuff with ginger in it. They gooped it on about a inch thich from our ankles to our knees. Then they pulled out these towels that were wet in boiling hot water, and laid them on top of the goop. We all started yelling that it was hot. They just rolled their eyes at us! When finally communicated to get them off now! Our legs were on fire for the rest of the night. Sarah ended up having a blister on her leg right below her knee! Definately not an experience we will ever forget!

We ate supper at the "Cow and Bridge" restaurant. I know. The name alone makes you want to question a few things. It was, however, the best Chinese we have had here in China. The sweet and sour chicken was yummy! They also had garlic bread! OOOOO that was good!

We are still having a blast getting to know this little girl! She is such a doll! We only try to accomplish one thing a day and today was the stroller. We have tried to put her in it several times and she becomes very unhappy. Our backs are really starting to scream though, so it was time to give it a serious try! We put her in, strapped her down, and took off. She cried. But not the hysterical cry, more of a whine. One of us walked up beside her the whole time. After a few minutes, she turned her head away and stopped whining. We thought we were good! However, she basically ignored us for about 3 hours. No smiles. Nothing. She wouldn't even look at us. She hasn't been in the stroller since then. Yes, she won.



Wayne petting a baby tiger.


Ashlyn and Sarah with the birds



Too much for this baby!







I'm not really sure what she is doing.





Sydney was ready to leave!





Our unforgettable massage:


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's Official

Today received Sydney's adoption certificate from the Chinese government. (Whew!) We also applied for her passport. It has to be in her Chinese name because that is her name according to China. The application process took about 5 minutes. Holt is such an awesome agency. They have everything filled out and set up before they send for us at all. We walked in and out in under 15 minutes for all five families.

We also had time to walk around outside the hotel. There are alot of neat shops the all have baby stuff. We bought Syd dresses for $4 each. It's already so cheap and yet you are expected to negotiate on the price. It's really hard because you know that they need the money. Also there are alot of statues all around. Being the rednecks that we are, we had to pose with them.


We did better on naps today. We put her down about 11:00am. She slept for about an hour and got up happy! She also fell asleep right as we were walking in to the passport place. We had to wake her up for her passport photo and she did OK. Right now it is about 6:00pm and she is starting to get abit sleepy so we will have to see how this evening goes!


Holt loaned us a baby carrier and Sydney loves it. Since my arms are so sore from carrying her around, it was alot of help today. It is nice to have her on me too! The Chinese will walk up and pick up babies to play with them. They may even walk away a little to show their friends. It's just the Chinese way. But it scares the crap out of me!


Sydney is still doing really well. I am amazed at the new things she does each day. She can wave hello and bye-bye. She also made kissing noises at us today! She hasn't given anyone a kiss yet, but she is letting us kiss her without hiding her eyes. Most of the time she smiles at us when we kiss her. She also said "Mom" today. I don't think she knew what she was saying, but she said it over and over!


Her eating is a little better today. She takes food into her mouth and sucks on it and moves it around inside her mouth, then takes it out and hands it back to us. Nice. She is eating plenty though. She loves her bottle! We are making it with formula and rice cereal and sometimes vitamins.



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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First day with Sydney

Sydney woke up to her first day with her new family and was a bit confused. She looked at me like "Are you still here?" She wasn't near as fussy and only hid her eyes a few times as we got ready to go back to the Civil Affairs building for 2 interviews (gulp!) She does not like to be undressed and seems to knid of freakout when we touch her under her clothes. When I put lotion on her it seems like it is almost over stimulating her. We dressed her in her blue and white short-sleeved outfit and then put a sweater on her even though it is 75-80 degrees here. The Chinese people frown on baby skin being exposed. (grrrrr)





At breakfast, I tried to feed her some eggs. She had no idea what to do with them. She mostly played with them in her mouth and hands. I am not sure she swallowed any at all. But it was really cute to see.




She likes to set on my lap really close. She sets right up against me and holds on. Like I am gonna let her go! She is making more eye contact this morning and is letting us kiss her cheeks without crying or hiding her eyes. It is amazing the progress she is making in just a short time.




We loaded the bus and went back to the same room where we got her. Her orphanage director was required to be there, and I hoped we did not see him. I was afraid we would have to start all over with Syd! The first thing we did was get a family photo taken. Just Wayne, Syd, and I were allowed to be in it, though, because we were the only one on the adoption paperwork. It didn't bother the girls though. Next we had to go to the first interview. Right before we went in, it was like a switch turned on in Sydney. She started smiling and playing with her ball! I guess she figured out that we were not going to leave so she would make the best of it! During the first interview they asked us basic questions, like age and names and marriage date (I reminded Wayne before we went in). Then he asked, "Do you want to adopt this child?" Sydney immediatey threw the ball at him and hit him in the chest with it!!!!!!!!!! I almost passed out. He smiled (a little) and handed it back to us. So sorry!




The next interview was about the same, except we hid the ball. After that, the adoption is a done deal on the Chinese side. We just wait for all the papers and certificates to be printed! WE left without seeing her director (whew).




We had the rest on the day free. It was raining, so we really couldn't go look around outside the hotel. This hotel is huge however, and we nosed around it for quite some time. We spent alot of time is the Swan Room. It is a big play room full of toys from Mattel. We went in there and Sydney loved it! She crawled all over. Then she just stood up and took off walking. It is the cutest thing! She holds her hands up by her head to keep her balance and just toddles along. But she hasn't walked in the room yet. I don't know if it is because the play room is a bigger room more like the orphanage or what.




We made the big mistake today of not napping. She went to sleep easily about 11:00am. But when I laid her down she woke back up. I figured it was too early for a nap so we just went with it. Big mistake. Huge. About 6:00pm she fell asleep. We figured there was no way she could sleep through the night, so we woke her up about 7:00pm. That little sweetie whipped all of us!! Wayne finally took her outside the hotel to look at the lights and she settled down. But when he brought her back, it started all over again. She even started hiding her eyes again! It broke my heart. I finally got her to sleep at 9:00pm and she slept all night again. I learned that a nap will happen no matter what with this girl!




I will try to get some video clips of her posted but I am not sure that I know how. We'll see!