Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Last Update before Sydney

Sunday 3/16

Today we had our orientation with Holt. They walked us through what we would be doing for the next few weeks in order to complete our adoptions. They said that it was probably best to just not think about all the steps and just follow along. All I can say is just tell me when and where and I will be there. I cannot imagine doing this with a different agency than Holt. I have followed others on their journeys and it was nothing like ours. Everything is taken care of for us. The Holt staff is professional, knowledgeable, and always accessible. After the brief overview, they flashed updated pics of all our children on the screen and we had to see if we recognized ours. No problem. I knew just who she was. I hope that is true tomorrow. Next they passed out updated info. Ours said that she had and excellent appetite! She has been introduced to solid food and can feed herself. She has had pureed pork and carrots. She can walk while holding onto someone’s hand but prefers to crawl. It also said she is an excellent sleeper and has her own crib. (Some children share cribs and it makes it hard for them to sleep alone.) It said she likes the bright colored toys the best and shares well with others. Her updated measurements were the same as what we received before: 26.5 inches & 16 pounds. So I hope the clothes I brought fit. They should if the measurements are correct.

After orientation, we had another group lunch. We had Chinese food again. This time there was a whole fish served. It’s nasty old mouth was gapped open and it made me want to gag. I am all for trying to learn the culture and stuff, but that is just nasty! It is just the whole animal just thrown in and cooked. What I wouldn’t do if they would clean it and fry it up along with some hush puppies and iced tea! Can you tell that we are getting a little tired of the food. Everything tastes the same. And there are no other kinds of restaurants like in the US. No Mexican! Our guides said that the food in Guangzhou would taste differently. I hope so. I feel like I have ate the same thing for a week!

Our afternoon was spent visiting the Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square. It was nice but all we could think about was packing up and going to get the babies. It was neat to see the place where history was made in ’89, but sad also because Pan has never seen the picture of the tank being stopped. She has heard about it. But as far as the rest of China knows, it never happened. Weird.

The street vendors are driving us a little nuts. Everywhere we go, someone comes up to us and tries to sell us something. And don’t even think about looking in a shop, because they will pounce. Mostly they all have the same stuff, too. Some will follow us down the street and seemingly never give up. At first we hated telling them no, but now we have no problem!

That’s all for now. The pics are all of Temple of Heaven and Tiananmen Square. Tomorrow we get Sydney!

Monday 3/17 @11:00am

I am writing this on the China Airlines flight to Guangzhou. We woke up very early this morning to get to the airport to catch our 8:30am flight. One of the most intimidating things with travel in China is the weight limit on inter-China flights. They only allow 44 lbs per ticketed passenger. When the youth group reads this, they will shake their heads because they know there is no way me & my girls can make it. Added to that is Sydney’s stuff and you know that we are way over. Our guide Pan took us to the check-in gate and told them we were adoptive parents here for our children. She also said we had gifts for the orphanages. So they weighed us as a group and passed us with no problems even though we were way over. However we did not have the heaviest bags of the group. Nicole had a bag that weighed 60 lbs! I was really glad to have this weigh in over. I felt like I was on The Biggest Loser dreading the weigh-in.

Next up was security. Our guide, Pan, is so awesome. She stayed right with us through everything. It was a good thing too! Two days ago, China began a new security system in preparation for the Olympics. The scene at security made entering Winter Extreme look like a stroll in the park. It was wall to wall angry Asians, with this little pocket of 11 Americans in the middle of it! And it went on forever! I have never experienced anything like it. There weren’t any isles to get to the various security stations, just masses of people. We stayed that way for over 30 minutes. Not fun. But Pan got us through it and took us right up to the gate and talked to the guards telling them that we were a group and needed to stay together. So they allowed us to all pass as one group. This ticked some people off big time! One woman just about lost her mind. But Pan handled it! She is a pretty tough cookie! We had to say good-bye to Pan then. It was really sad to part ways. She met us at the airport the first night and has been with us ever since. She acted as our guide, interpreter, entertainment, babysitter, errand runner, and finally bodyguard! She is a wonderful person and surprisingly I will miss her greatly. Some of the littler ones in the group cried to leave her!!!

Next we made it to our gate without incident, thanks to Pan’s instructions. We checked in at the gate and were led outside to board a bus that had no seats. Did I mention the driving in China!? This bus drove us out to our plane where we climbed up the stairs and got on board! Strange. We waited on the plane for over an hour to take off, because in China the plane doesn’t leave until all the passengers arrive. So now we are on our way to Guangzhou. We should arrive at 12:30pm and get Sydney at about 3:15pm! (That will be 2:15am on Monday morning for you all.) I don’t even know what I am feeling right now. I am exhausted and hungry and weary and just want to get my baby. I am scared about what she will feel like. Will she scream or stay quiet. I don’t even know which would be better. I hope she is doing OK right now because I know that she has left the orphanage and is staying in a strange place already. I will update as soon as I can and of course post pictures. Just a few more hours now……..

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