Saturday, November 26, 2005
How will I explain this to Hannah one day? I dread the day I have to explain. "Why, Daddy?"
Observations on China:
The Chinese people are warm and friendly and eager to please Americans.
The toilet tissue in Guiyang is not perforated.
The same TP stretches like elastic.
I did not see a bike in Beijing made after 1970.
There are more buses than cars in Guiyang and more taxis than buses.
A Club Sandwich in Guiyang is made with egg.
Chinese who speak english well have a hard time understanding my Southern drawl.
An American with a Chinese baby draws a crowd on the street anywhere in China.
The Chinese will stare at you as if you can't see them.
If you smile at them they smile back and stop staring... for a moment.
English does not always translate well. For example, a sign at the Beijing Airport read "Exit Only in Peacetime" The correct translation is "Non Emergency Exit Only".
The Chinese are embracing capitalism.
The streets in China seem dirty, yet everywhere one turns there are workers cleaning the streets. I saw workers using a floor scrubber cleaning side walks.
When looking at the horizon in Beijing you see a yellow haze (smog). When you look straight up you see blue sky.
There are some curly headed Chinese people, but not many.
Bus drivers and taxis drivers should receive combat pay.
People walk slowly.
Women sometimes walk down the street arm in arm...and so do some men?
I could sit here writing all day about the things I saw in China. These are some that came to mind.
I loved the province Hannah is from...Guizhou.
Over 7000 Americans adopted Chinese orphans this year. May God Bless each and every family. Every family thinks they got the best one.
Friday, November 25, 2005
We are all sick to some degree. We all have coughs (lots of pollution in China)and Hannah seems to have some respiratory problems (minor we hope). I am sitting here watching her in the play pen and she is smiling at me with her wrinkled up nose and squinted eyes.
MaCayla woke up around 4:30 this morning and wanted to go to Mama Jo's right away. We also woke around 2 am. Jet lag is in full force right now. Nevertheless, we want to talk to everyone and see you all. Hannah has been apprehensive about meeting people, but I hope she will warm up soon.
One piece of our luggage was left in Chicago yesterday. It happened to be the one with everything we bought in China. Some of the things we bought in Hannah's province are irreplacable. We were very nervous about getting this bag back. Fortunately, United Airlines delivered it to our doorstep this morning around 7:45 am.
Several people left messages on our answering machine the day we left for China, but we left so early we missed your calls. We listened to them this morning. We were touched by the messages of encouragement and well wishes... Thank you.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Goodbye China...We love China, but we are ready to see 2761 Pierce Dairy Road. Maybe one day we will return to China. Undoubtedly, China will not be the same when we return. China is changing so rapidly that even the minority groups of Guizhou are abandoning their heritage to take advantage of the new prosperous China. If Hannah is interested we may come back so she can see Guizhou...we'll let her grow up a little first. We can't wait to see you all and introduce HANNAH! MaCayla is so excited to show everyone her new sister! See everyone soon.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Hannah weighed 17.7 pounds at her medical exam Monday. We think she has gained some weight since we got her. She eats two breaksfasts. One in the room and the other at the beakfast buffet. She grazes throughtout the day and eats lunch and supper. She eats table food...all table food.
This picture was going to be our Christmas card this year, but Hannah said "no it's not".
No touring today. We are finished touring. We will skip the buddhist blessing tommorrow. We went to a buddhist temple in Guiyang...BTDT. Today we continued our bargain shopping and walked to a McDonalds for lunch. Tommorrow we have our consulate appointment and Thursday we leave at 5:30 am to come home.
Before I forget you all must know how great MaCayla has been on this trip, which at times has been very stressful. She has barely complained about anything. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful little girl. Hannah is another blessing and she has been wonderful despite the upheaval in her life. I can't wait for everyone to see her. She is so mild mannered and soft spoken at this point, but you can see she is a real pistol.
Thank you all for your thoughts, comments and prayers. Although we have rarely responded to e-mails and comments each one has meant more to us than we can say.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Today we prepared our documents to apply for Hannah's US VISA. I think there were 10-12 different documents we had to check and re-check before our agency sent them to the US Consulate for review.
Ironically, Hannah is now the healthiest one of us. She is doing great and MaCayla cannot believe how much she eats. MaCayla was telling me today that the stomach is the size of a persons fist. She said Hannah's fist is so small her stomach could not possibly hold all she is eating. Hannah refuses nothing except milk (formula). She ate broccoli today at lunch with carrots. She drinks from a cup. Her smiles are coming easier and easier. I can even get her to smile sometimes. She loves MaCayla who can make her laugh and smile at will. She will go to most anyone without a fuss for a little while. Last night we placed her in the crib at bed time and she laid down and watched us for a little while and then went to sleep without crying or trying to stand up.
We ate at the White Swan Buffett tonight. Deann found a tiny octopus in her shrimp fried rice and lost her appetite. After MaCayla saw the octopus she lost her appetite. After a little while I found myself sitting at the dinner table all alone eating until my heart was content, octopus and all.
Oh, we found out that Hannah was left at the doorstep of a villager in the Nanshao Village in Jianhe County, Guizhou Province. The man who found her was named Xiao Jianfang. Maybe that is where they got the name Ya Fang. This was a tiny village. No one I asked in Guiyang knew of this village.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Deann woke up today with a sore throat. MaCayla coughed all night. Hannah slept like a baby...oh, she is a baby. The glands in Deann's neck are very swollen. Besides that, it has been 10 days since she's had a decent cup of coffee. In Beijing and Guiyang the coffee was awful and we were lucky if it came to us hot. Today is a new day at the fabulous White Swan were the coffee isdelicious and hot...we are told. We will know in a few short minutes as we go to the breakfast bar, which we have been told is one of the best in the world. This is a five star hotel...can you believe we are in a five star hotel.
Bucky, don't worry we don't have to tell Hannah you are her uncle we can just tell her you are one of the families crazy friends:)
Joan commented that I look thin...this is true...I hope to fatten up here in the next few days. We ate at a Restaurant called Lucy's last night and I had a huge plate of fried noodles and I had one bite left when the waitress took my plate. I was actually a little anry I didn't get that one last bite. I still had my chop sticks in my hand.
Doug, now I know why you use chop sticks when we eat at Happy China. I actually like using them now too, especially when I eat noodles.
The family in the picture with us are from Marietta, GA. They are great with wonderful sense of humor. Also, it is nice to hear other Southern voices.
The families pictured are the Guizhou Travel Group. These people are the nicest and most patient people on the planet. Sick children, new families and strange surroundings will make one show their true colors and the people in this picture are like a rainbow. Look closely at this picture and you will see that many of these children are 2 years old. They need special parents with a strong fortitude to get through the bonding process. These kids have come a long way in the past 5 days.
I can see the Blog now that we are on Shaimain Island at the White Swan. I need to proof read a little better. Anyway, if you are reading this for the spelling I suggest you need a life. I am rushed everytime I post so spelling and grammar take a back seat.
I will post a new picture of Hannah very soon for all her adoring fans. MaCayla continues to be a great big sister.
I just want everyone to know this process has not been easy. We have had many stressful moments and at times have been pushed to the edge of the emotional abyss. Anyone considering adoption from China needs to be prepared for the worst and hope for something a little better, but not much. With that said, it is more than worth the effort. Just look at Hannah and MaCayla with a little sister.
Friday, November 18, 2005
I am bending down in this picture and I have my knees bent. These girls were so small. The necklace I am wearing was given to me after I married the girl on the left. Deann married a Maio boy in the same ceremony. The marriage didn't last too long... maybe five minutes before we got back on the bus and returned to our hotel.
After going to the Miao Village we went shopping at a minority store in Guiyang. We bought several things that are part of the minority art work in Guizhou. We bought silver, jade, batek and tommorrow we are going to purchase a really cool hand carved flute.
Tonight we finally had some home cooking Guiyang style. The amount of food we had on our table was amazing. There were three types of dumplings, fried spicy egg plant, a pork dish, a chestnut dish, noodles, and a fried banana desert. I think I may be forgetting something. Anyway, all this cost us $10 and there is no tipping in China for food service (there is tipping for other services)! The walk to the restaurant was interesting, as well. At times you have to walk in the street because the sidewalks are full of food vendors at night. So, there is nowhere to walk except with the traffic. We ate dinner with a few other families who were brave enough to try some local cuisine. It is very enjoyable to get to know the other families. They are all so interesting and fun.
Regrettably, this day must come to an end now...it is our bed time. Off to Guangzhou tommorrow at noonish. The final leg of our trip and we are ready to move on. The people in Guiyang were so friendly and they love our babies. Most of them have no idea foreigners adopt Chinese abandoned and special needs children until they see us in the street and we show them the card (written in Chinese, of course) we have explaining why we have a Chinese baby. They say "Lucky baby", because they know these children will be well taken care of in the USA.
I wish I could respond to everyones e-mails individually, but I barely have enough time to write on the blog. Please know we appreciate each and every comment and e-mail. We can't wait to see you all and introduce you to Hannah Yafang.
Oh...Hannah continues to do better and better. I placed her in her crib tonight to go to sleep and she cried for less than a minute and dozed off. She is showing us how smart and energetic she is now...which is great...she is so cute...Many Chinese women stare at her and when I see them they tell me she is beautiful...I say "thank you she looks just like me". Also, many Chinese people tell me she has a good name...Ya Fang.
MaCayla has some congestion and Deann was dizzy tonight. Hannah is OK and now my other girls are under the weather...go figure.
Today we visited a minority village in Guizhou Province. The teenage boy and girls danced and sang for us dressed in there traditional costumes. We got to dance and sing and even had to drink out of a bull horn. The girl in the middle holding up the peace sign looks a lot like Hannah. I couldn't take my eye off of her, because I think Hannah may look like her. You see, Hannah is Maio just like this teenage girl. Hannh may grow up to look just like her. The Maio are a minority in China and are very distinct in their culture and looks. I have been told the Maio are respected for their dancing and siging, as well as their good looks by Chinese standards (whatever that means). They were a very handsome group of young people performing by my standards too!
Hannah and MaCayla Update!
Hannah broke out of her shell today. She is much more active. She is doing all of the things we believed she could...like crawling, talking, crying louder, eating more, drinking more, laughing more...it has been a great day so far. No bad diapers today. As a matter of fact, no dirty diapers at all. Oh boy! She is becoming a Mama's girl. MaCayla told me today she didn't realize she would love Hannah so much. When you see her you will fall in love with her too. She is precious and a delight to be around. We are the luckiest parents on earth. It is such a priviledge to parent two wonderful children. God is good! MaCayla is doing homework right now, but she is receiving a better education just experiencing all we have seen and done.
One note: if you ever come to China stick with the Chinese food. They do not make western food to our satisfaction.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
The man in the photo is a famous calligrapher in Guizhou Province. The scroll he is holding he just finish painting for Hannah. The first two images on the top of the scroll are her name and the rest is a poem he wrote for her. The poem says something about beautiful music, birds singing in the park...I don't remember the rest. Somehow the characters mean one thing individually written, but when placed together they form a poem. I didn't fully understand. Anyway, it is beautiful and we will place it on the wall in Hannah's room.
The park we visited today had monkeys in it roaming around freely. People were feeding them. They were biting one lady on the hand, but she kept feeding them. The monkeys fought with each other over the food. We were standing right there in the middle of them. I do not have any pictures, but I do have video tape.
Hannah had a great day. She had only two (stinky) diapers today. She ate well, but will not drink any type of formula and drank little water today. She is so small we think she may be getting enough fluid from the food she is eating. She loves noodles and rice cereal. The rice cereal has lots of water.
We go to a minority village tommorrow. I am told the villagers will put on a singing and dancing show for us in their traditional costumes. They wear lots of silver necklaces and silver headresses. I am looking forward to seeing these people as they are Maio people. Everyone here has told us Hannah is definitely Maio. I want to see what Hannah mght look like when she gets older.
MaCayla is doing great. Several of the parents have commented on how good she is doing. They are right...she is doing great. She is maturing some on this trip and taking the big sister thing in stride. Even with how well MaCayla is doing we know there could be some rocky days ahead as we trasition from 3 to 4.
We are blessed to have great friends & family who have prayed for us these past few days. We have definitely been feeling everyones love sent our way. Keep up the prayers they are working. So many people in this group are having a slow time of bonding with their children. I have seen some major melt downs with some of the 2 year olds. Keep them in your prayers, also.
We ventured out into the street today to look for some shoes for Hannah. At one point we were quickly surrounded by dozens of people who encircled us. I thought I was video taping this, but when I looked down to stop the tape I found out I never starting taping. We have a laminated card with us that explains why we are here and when the people read it they thank us for what we are doing. We are the ones who are blessed most by this opportunity. After we tried to move on the people just started following us, but not very far.
The people here cannot help staring at us. I just stare back and smile. Sometimes they will get very close or follow you around trying not to look like they are following you.
Good night, it's bed time here.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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I don't think I have written about this incident at the Forbidden City. I am having a hard time remembering what I have placed on the blog because I cannot see it here in China. I will explain later, if you care to know. Anyway, at the Forbidden City in Beijing we saw a small political protest. As we were entering the outer gate a commotion began near the middle bridge. Police came from everwhere and started evacuating the area near the gate. Later we learned that some young men passed over the middle bridge to try and enter the Forbidden City. That bridge is reserved for the Emporer (they do not have an Emporer now)and to pass over is taboo. There is a guard standing right in the middle of the bridge. There are several bridges to pass over, but not the middle one, which is guarded by a chain. I saw the police placing one suspect in a van. Oddly enough he put him in the front seat. They where handling the protestors very roughly, but for some reason it seemed like it was choreographed. just my perception, but if i was going to fight the police it would be much harder than the protestors were fighting. It seemed like they were just making it a little harder to be arrested, but not really fighting. I guess they were making a statement. After it was all over we made our way into the city. We were a little unerved as we pushed our way through the gates. Yes, pushed...we were in a throng a people and MaCayla was scared. It was like arriving just after kickoff at a Georgia game, but not as much pushing and shoving. i don't think there were and drunk rabid Dawg fans in the crowd. Except for me...minus the drunk part.
Tonight we took a cab ride to Pizza Hut in Guiyang. There is no roller coaster ride more thrilling than a cab ride in China. Traffic lights are hardly a suggestion and lane lines are meaningless. They have a signaling system with horns and lights that everyone understands and adheres to...I guess. It appears chaotic and unorganized, yet as cars and pedestrians come within inches of colliding someone always gives way. It is like a giant game of chicken with thousands of cars involved.
The pizza at Pizza Hut was exactly like the pizza in the USA. Hannah loves pizza (the bread part anyway). She also loves rice cereal (which we found out today). She continues to have many pooh diapers, but not as many as yesterday.
Each of the 14 families with us are facing their own challenges with their new daughters. Some cry, some cannot pooh, they are all sick (ear aches, upper respiratory infections, temperatures) and some fight violently to get away at times. Half the babies are 2 years old and understand Chinese very well and even speak some. They all have their own way of grieving. Despite the challenges there are great moments of love and affection. All the familes are taking two steps forward after one step back. So ground is being gained in the battle to win these little girls hearts and confidence.
I tried to send another picture with this post, but the cute picture of Hannah wrinkling her nose kept loading. Maybe it will work better tommorrow.
You all would not believe how easy it is to get Hannah to go to sleep. She knows when it is time and falls right off. I hope this will continue. With that said we have had a very trying day. Hannah vomited at breakfast (I call it vomit because it was so much, but it would technically be called a spit up), another vomit/spit up after lunch in the room and on the bed. A poop right on the bed. Deann thought she was finished and took her diaper off to change her and there she blows (the diarrhea makes things unpredictable). Enough of the bathroom talk for now. I can't promise I won't write about it more in the future, so if you are offended I apologize in advanced.
It is 9 pm'ish an I am off to bed. We are finally starting to recover from the jet lag.
Before we left for China we mailed a disposable camera to Hannah Foster Family. We just had them developed. This is a photo from that camera. We have not seen very many smiles from Hannah like this, so far. It looks like she is waving. The pictures we received from the Foster family show Hannah in a different light than we have seen. She is very happy with them. She has been very quiet with us. She is very scheduled and sleeps well. She eats very well. We hope her personality will start to bloom soon. We think she is potty trained, but she will not go in a western toilet. It scares her. Overall, she is a very good baby.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
She has 6 teeth to be exact, and a smile to go with them. She does not walk on her own, but she can walk holding my hand. All the clothes we brought to China are too big for her. Even the 12 months clothes seem too big. We do not see a lot of smiles yet, but we have only had her 21 hours. She is subdued by the fever and ear ache, but she gets along with all of us. She took a nap this morning at the meeting to finalize the adoption. She is officially ours now and no one can take her away :) She wimpers when she cries. MaCayla is adjusting well and trying to help, sometimes all little bit to much. She can't help herself.
Last night we ate i the hotel restaurant. I ordered fried fish and received a club sandwich. Guiyang is a little backwoods, not many people speak english. Sometimes you think they can, but then you receive a club sandwich.
Look what we found in our room when we arrived in Guiyang. Two hours and Hannah may be playing in that crib. Can you believe it! We are hoping for some good bonding time. No expectations of bliss, just time together to figure how to get to know Hannah (and Hannah to get to know us). I doubt anyone will read this before we get Hannah. It is midnight in the States, but please pray for Hannah. She may not know what to think of our big noses :) Seriously, she may not like leaving her Foster family at first. Also, pray for MaCayla as she gets use to 2nd fiddle for a few days. Then we'll have two first fiddles. Oh boy!
Sunday, November 13, 2005
This picture was taken around October 30th. We received it today at our Beijing orientation. It looks a little funny because it is a picture of a picture. Look at those darling eyes! We have another picture of her standing next to her crib. Her update said she can say Mommy and Daddy and she likes to talk. It also said she loves to put a play phone up to her ear. Talking and loves to play with the phone...and she's not even a teenager yet :) I think I may be in trouble. We get her tommorrow and we will meet the Foster Family. The handoff is scheduled for 3pm China time. So it will be 4 in the morning in the USA when we get her. The sweater she is wearing looks hand made. She seems so healthy. We are leaving to tour the Forbidden Palace and Tianamen Square now. I will post the other picture later.
On Sunday after our orientation we visited Tianamen Square and The Forbidden Palace. It was very interesting and we had a very pleasant walk through the city, which is very big. We took many pictures. We are starting to feel a little better from the jet lag and just in time to get Hannah tommorrow. We are getting to know many people in our group and are enjoying their company as we all prepare for a very emotional day on Monday. Most of the children being adopted in our group seem to be older than the norm and everyone is anxious about the bonding issue.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
MaCayla smoozing with some new fans on the Great Wall of China. MaCayla says "Gotta keep the fans happy" Actually, MaCayla did not like this at all. One man picked her up and set her on his lap for a picture. He may have asked, but we couldn't understand him:)
There are 16 million people in Beijing and I think we saw every one of them today. I mean there are people and more people everywhere one looks.
We toured the Great Wall today, road in a rickshaw and visited a Hutong neighborhood. The Great Wall was steep and had very uneven steps, the richshaw was fun, and the Hutong neighborhood was very insightful into the way some of the Chinese people live. It was all exhausting and MaCayla has fallen asleep again at 6pm.
Good news! We will get an updated picture of Hannah on Sunday at 9am. I will take a picture of the picture and post it here around noon Beijing time, so when you wake up Sunday morning you can see the latest picture of Hannah. We are very excited to get an updated picture eventhough we will have her the next day. Stay tuned!
Friday, November 11, 2005
Yesterday was very relaxed. We ate breakfast in the hotel at their amazing breakfast bar. They will short order cook your eggs any way you like (scrambled, omelet, over easy...my favorite, etc.). Later, we went shopping at a very modern mall with six levels. We only bought one baby outfit to replace the clothes Hannah will be wearing on Gotcha Day. After that we tried to eat lunch at 3 pm. MaCayla wanted to swim in the hotel indoor pool,so we did. We didn't swim much because there was a hot tub in the swimming room and it felt much better than the cold swimming pool. We skipped supper and came back to the room and watched a DVD. Deann fell asleep before 6pm and MaCayla followed shortly thereafter. I tried t0 stay awake, but succumbed to Mr. Sandman at 7:30pm. Now we are all awake at 1 in the morning and very hungry. Only five hours until the breakfast bar opens:0
Thursday, November 10, 2005
It is amazing how many people work in the retail stores. A childrens clothing store we visited had 16 employees in a store a quarter of the size of Madison Drug. At first I thought they were all shoppers. Incidentally, there were few to no people shopping.
This is the view from our hotel window. It is almost 4 in the morning and we are all wide awake. We are trying to adjust to the time zone. We are anxious to get going today and take it easy at the same time. We plan on eating a very early breakfast and then venturing out into the city for a walk. We need to unscramble our brains. Way too much informaton overload yesterday as we arrived in Beijing and were extremely tired. On top of that I have a sinus infection, which I am finally letting Deann treat me for. I gave in because the pressure in my head is hurting so bad. I wanted to try and beat the bug myself. I can't believe we are so close to finally meeting Hannah Yafang. I will keep you all posted of our adventures here in Beijing.
Here we are in Chicago. Ready to go to Beijing. We arrived in Beijing after 24.5 hours of travel. MaCayla slept some, Deann slept less and I did not sleep at all! I am very drowsy as I type this so you will have to excuse any typos. Our flights were very uneventful and smooth. We arrived in Beijing and immediately went to our hotel. As we were riding along in the mini-bus I began to notice people staring at us. I felt like an animal in the zoo. We went to a restaurant to eat supper and no one there spoke english. We simply pointed to pictures and they brought us mostly what we thought we ordered. Our server was a young girl who felt compelled to help MaCayla eat, so she started feeding MaCayla with her chop sticks. It was quite hilarious as MaCayla did not know if she should let her. MaCayla was so taken aback she forgot to chew and swallow the food the girl placed in her mouth and she sat there for a few seconds with a large leek looking thing hanging out of her mouth. Everyone in the restaurant was staring at us. One man refused to be seated next to us. He looked disturbed that we were even there. Everyone else just smiled as they stared. I was too tired to smile back. It is time for bed. We are only a few days from getting Hannah, Amen. Hopefully, we will be refreshed after a good nights sleep.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Speaking of Hannah, we leave for China in one week. MaCayla is the most excited I have ever seen her, Deann is anxious and I am my laid back self (secretly I am anxious, too).