Saturday, August 28, 2010

She's not just Mommy's little girl....

Before I begin my next post topic, I thought I would catch you up on a couple of things. In my last post, I mentioned that we are now in Guangzhou. I don't know if it is because more Westerners are here for their adoptions (this is the city we ALL have to come to regardless of where in China our children come from) or because we are so close to Hong Kong, but I can finally access BLOGGER (sometimes...). I can't see any pictures and I cannot yet respond to your comments directly on the blog, but I can read my text and most importantly, read your comments! Thank you for the comments, it is so nice to feel we still have a connection back home.

Some of the comments have asked when we are coming home. We are scheduled to come home on Sunday, September 5th at 6:10pm on American Airlines, flight number 3619 out of Miami.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post......

I wanted you to know that Chen Jie is bonding with Dave just as much as she is bonding with me. Sometimes an adopted child prefers one parent over another in the beginning. So far, that is not happening on our front. Here are some pictures of Chen Jie/Jade-Rose with her Baba (Daddy in Chinese).

This one was our very first day.These three are from the great breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn Hefei.This one is from Chen Jie's first airplane ride. Notice the smile. Nothing has fazed her so far....Happy girl playing with Daddy and a Chinese parasol.I hope y'all are enjoying our pictures and our story. It will mean alot to us if you can keep us in your prayers and positive intentions. So far, things are going very, very well.

A Trip back to the Beginning....

The next day we went to Chen Jie's orphanage or Children's Welfare Institute (CWI) in Luan. Luan is a city about an hour and a half west of Hefei. Our usual driver and Erin our facilitator brought us there. It was explained to Chen Jie ahead of time that we were just going for a visit and for her to say goodbye to her friends. We were worried, of course, that she would think we were bringing her back to the orphanage. She looked a little worried when Erin was explaining this to her, but in the end she was fine.

Here is the Luan CWI.We were greeted by the Director and by Madam Hu. Madame Hu is the main caretaker and has been for many, many years. If you are reading this blog post and have adopted from the Luan CWI, Madame Hu probably was your child's nanny. When she saw Chen Jie she fussed and fussed all over her and pretty much took charge and kept Chen Jie with her. Good thing I'm not the jealous type. Nor am I the talkative type necessarily, and Thank Goodness because such a chatterbox is Madame Hu! Even our facilitator Erin kept shaking her head and saying "My, she talks alot..." But she has a good heart and it was obvious she cares for the kids. Chen Jie's attachment to us has been great from the first hour of our introduction. That would only happen if she was well cared for in her orphanage. We feel very blessed that our daughter was cared for as best as possible. We take nothing for granted.

Madame Hu fussing over Chen Jie:Here are pictures within the CWI. Here is Chen Jie's crib. Yes, she still sleeps in a crib. All the kids do. Her group was the toddler group. They stay in that group until about age 6. Then they move to another room with older kids. In the hotels where we have been staying, Chen Jie also sleeps in a crib (they're big). I may have to make some accommodations back home with one of our toddler beds for her. Right now I have a full size bed in her room. I guess we will have to wait and see how that goes...

The center bed was hers.Here are pictures of Alex and Nathan distributing candy to the children. Most of them are much younger than Chen Jie as she was one of the last of her peer group to get adopted. They had expected us in May, and it is now the end of August, so you can see how long we were delayed. :-(Here is the poignant part of the story..... These photos are of Chen Jie's "finding place." This is where she was left, at approximately 3 days old. She was not left with any information or keepsakes, and the doctor's estimated that she was about 3 days old, so her birthday is also a guess.

She was found at the gate of the CWI. The white building you see behind the gate is the guard shack and a female guard found her in the morning around 10am.We are now in Guangzhou, the last major part of our trip. I am trying to catch up on blog posts. We will be here 8 days. Guangzhou is completely different from Beijing, Hefei and Luan. To help you visualize the amount of people the entire STATE of Florida has just over 18 million people. Guangzhou city has over 12 million. Dave says Guangzhou looks like the city in the movie Blade Runner, without the flying cars. I will let you guys figure that out...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The beginning of many Firsts....

The adoption and bonding process continues. As a family unit we are all doing very well. After reading many stories about other Chinese adoptions prior to coming over here, and the possible problems or hurdles to get over, we do not seem to be experiencing any of them. She is a happy girl. We can hold her, touch her, hug her, kiss her and she loves it all. She and the boys play great together and she is always smiling. Sometimes when she is experiencing something new for a first time (which is just about everything) she will hesitate. But you can tell she is just looking and observing and figuring out what is expected of her.... then she does whatever it is. So far, she has not been overwhelmed nor have we seen any tantrums.

The pictures I will attach will be some of the official adoption photos. We had to go back to the Civil Affairs office the day after we got Chen Jie for her official adoption from Anhui Province. They asked us if "we were satisfied with the child" and "why did we want to adopt a child from China?"This next picture is our official family portrait after all the documents were signed. We are standing in front of the official emblem of either China or the Communist party. We took over 7 photos trying to get a decent one. This one turned out the best, even though Alex looks a bit like Popeye.Fairly close to our hotel in Hefei is a public park with a little amusement park in it. The children went on a few rides. Here were some moments of "firsts" for Chen Jie/Jade-Rose. Here is the first time she went on a slide. Ignore the precarious body posture where it looks like she is about to fall off the ancient slide on to cement. She got better at it as she kept doing it.Then we went on a little ride. Notice the hesitant look on her face. But in the end she liked it. Good thing, as her brothers are big amusement park riders (did I just hear someone say Disney?).
Here are other ride pictures.
This picture here of the group of people standing at a ride, was our entourage. No, I am not exaggerating when I say that. This was the group of people who followed us around and stood at each ride to watch the kids. There were so many people, I could not get up to the ride to watch my own children. The ride operator saw me and let me in, so I could stand near by while the ride was in motion.For our final photos of the day, we have the first time eating an ice cream cone with her brothers. She is always smiling like this. Whether or not she has an ice cream or not. I can't wait for you all to meet her.Tomorrow will be the trip back to the orphanage.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gotcha Day or Forever Family Day....

Hello All! Well, the day has finally arrived. We went to the local Civil Affairs office where they were going to bring Lu Chen Jie to us. We arrived before she did, and here are some photos of the room we were in.The third pic has our interpreter/adoption facilitator Erin in the photo. She is very nice and her English is perfect. She met us at the airport on Sunday night, even though it was very late at night, with a driver.

When Lu Chen Jie arrived, she was wearing the same dress that I have seen her in many times from the some of the pictures that I have of her. She also was very quiet, stoic and scared. A couple of times her eyes filled with tears from fear, but she never boo-hooed cried. That is when I was saying bu ku, "don't cry." She would look straight ahead and not respond. This behavior was completely expected, and I cannot imagine how much courage it took for her to be there.

Here are some pics of right after the introduction while we were in the van on the way back to the hotel. You can see the deer in the headlights look on her face.Happily, and surprisingly, this did not last very long. Erin came back to the suite with us, and talked to her occasionally. We just let her hang out and get used to everything. At one point, she needed to use the toilet and Erin took her back. On the way there, Erin pointed out the clothes that I had brought for her, which were folded on a stand. Once she saw all of the pink clothes everything changed!

Erin ran back saying her personality has completely transformed, and then Jie Jie came to get me and bring me to her clothes. She wanted to change her clothes into her new clothes. This was also something unexpected. Many children coming from an orphanage situation do not necessarily want to take off their clothes right away. It helps them to feel secure to keep them. I have read numerous stories where the children even want to sleep in their clothes and wear them for days. This was not going to be the case for Jie Jie.

I had also brought a little purse with Disney Fairies on them, and she won't go anywhere without it. She is also very determined to have her hair done. I had brought new fussy flower pony tail holders and they had to go on as well. To say this child is a "girly-girl" would be an understatement.

You can see the transformation in the next series of photos. These are when we went to lunch at a noodle restaurant. The first one is a family pic.These are from the restaurant. She really enjoyed it when I fed her. Again, something great and unexpected, as sometimes it is hard to get eye contact from the child or get them to smile too soon. She is a big smilie girl, and loved it when I fed her. We get constant eye contact and engagement.There is so much to say on this day, I think I will wait to continue this day at my next posting. We have all spent the night together and have had 3 meals together so far and it is amazing how well everything is going. No more crying, no bad behavior, tons of smiles and all the kids get along well (although the boys keep talking to her in English and don't understand why she is not answering them back....)

Some people call this Gotcha Day or Forever Family Day. I think it will be the latter for us, as even though it has only been 24 hours so far, it already feels like Forever. She fits in so well and we all love her to pieces.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Did you know that Nathan and Alex were Celebrities..?

Apparently in China they are. We actually have accomplished a great deal of site seeing in Beijing considering we have only been here for about 3 days, and we thought we would be adjusting more to jet lag.

I already shared with you the Great Wall athletic event that we accomplished. We also have gone to the Forbidden City twice and Tiananmen Square which is across the street. Dave and the boys went to the Temple of Heaven and I went to the Pearl Market (did I buy pearls, oh yes!).

People stare at us quite a bit as there are not too many blondes in China, but what is most amusing are the amount of people who want their picture taken with Nathan and Alex. Even if not getting their picture taken with the boys, various people would get out of their seats on the subway so the boys could sit down. Even elderly women were doing this, no matter how hard I tried to stop them.

Twins in China are called shuang bao. Twin boys are considered particularly good luck. Many people stop us and tell us how much good luck it is to have twin boys. (they clearly have not spent a great deal of time with twin boys I imagine, but yes, we do feel lucky).

Here are some publicity shots for the boys:I forgot to mention that the first day we were at the Forbidden City, it was raining all day, thus the raincoats.

Here is a family pic before we went inside.The other photo op for the boys was when they went to the Temple of Heaven. This time an older girl wanted her picture taken with them. You will notice one of the twins is missing. That is because Alex likes to wander off and not listen to Daddy.... Here is Nathan and his new friend.Dave and the boys at the Temple of Heaven.
I forgot to mention that the way we have been getting around the city is via the fantastic subway system in Beijing. Because of the Olympics, signs all over the place include English (or Pin Yin) as well as Chinese. The subways were easy to navigate and very clean. Crowding was another issue, but then again, this IS China.
Here are the 3 boys in the subway.For those of you who are reading this blog from the States, we are a day ahead of you. Presently, it is Monday August 23rd and we are about to go get Jade-Rose in about 10 minutes. I am writing this blog to try to get us caught up before it is the Gotcha Day announcement.

I hope you are enjoying moments of our trip and please continue to have us in your thoughts and prayers.

4 planes down.... only 5 more and a train to go.....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Train for the Great Wall even if......

Even if you think you won't be climbing it. Because you just MIGHT!
Oy Vay! That's what happened to us yesterday, on my birthday, August 20th. Our plan was to take one of the cable car rides up to the wall, take some pictures and ride the toboggan slide down. Unfortunately, we did not know (nor were we told) that there are TWO cable car rides and the slide is only next to one of them. Ugh!

I knew that the Great Wall of China was a huge structure that spanned thousands of miles. So large that it can even be viewed from space. I pictured in my mind great expanses of walkways on top of the wall. Ummmmm... not so much. Actually, there are some expanses of walkway on the wall but there are many, many STEEP staircases going both up and down. This was an incredible discovery for someone/family ill prepared for a great climb. What we decided to do since we were sent up the wrong cable car ride was to walk to the other cable car/toboggan ride area.

[We pause in this story to show a picture of where we are staying. The first picture is of the Novotel Hotel in downtown Beijing. It is walking distance to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. We hired a private van to pick us up at the airport and bring us here because it was so late at night. But we will take a subway back that apparently goes directly to the airport and is across the street from our hotel.]Here are some pictures of our climb (there will be no pictures of me huffing and puffing):

The first pic is of Dave and the boys against the wall.I always like to take one of these type of pictures with the three of them holding hands.Here is a picture with one of the watch-tower turrets that run all along the wall. You will notice that Alex's hand is extended in the air. He said he was posing like the Statue of Liberty. I guess wearing a red, white and blue shirt with the US flag on it, didn't scream American enough to him.The last two pictures show a bit of our climb. Particularly, the second picture. That entire stretch of the wall that you see in this picture, was our climb (it is not a walk, it is a climb). Way in the distance, at the top of the far mountain is a building that has a traditional roof on its structure. I hope you can see it. That is where we began.Dave doesn't think that picture does it justice. He believes it does not show the steepness of the climb. At least you can judge the great distance. Dave just said that parts of it are as steep as a Black Diamond ski run.

So, the moral of this story is, even if you think you will only be going to the Great Wall with two 6 year olds to take a nice ride and have a photo op, you may just end up doing much more than you planned!
Another lesson to learn if you decide to try the cable car rides, make sure you GET ON THE CORRECT RIDE. Here are the differences.
This is the WRONG cable car ride if you want to do the Toboggan ride down the mountain,

This is the Correct cable car ride. Notice it is more like a chair lift that you would see at a ski resort. Less like the enclosed cable car. (If you scroll down this guy's travel blog you can see the chair lift. It's the best picture I could find)

Here is a link to the Toboggan ride. A definite MUST DO! You have a choice of a single car, or a double car. The kids sit in front of the adult in the double car.

My friend Diana is making the posts for me, as Blogger (and Facebook) are blocked by China. I have also noticed on other internet searches that many things are blocked by China. There are moments like this that help you appreciate the freedoms we all take for granted living in the US. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press is a wonderful thing to have.

Love to all,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

9 Planes and a Train

Hello All!

We have started our journey and so far, so good. The picture above is when we first began at the Tallahassee airport. We had the nicest American Airlines person assisting us. We were even able to scan our passports right at a kiosk and we have our boarding passes all the way to Beijing. We were the only people in line, and I guess that is why she was able to spend so much time with us and help us out. We were grateful.

Packing was challenging. I don't normally worry about losing luggage while traveling. But considering that we are literally going to be on 9 different planes by the time we return home from this special journey, I was a bit nervous about checking any luggage. Believe it or not, I was able to pack for 5 people in 2 carry-on suitcases plus our individual carry-ons. The boys have their backpacks and their special pillow friends (or C-pillows as they call them). Dave has a backpack and I have our old diaper bag (those Skip Hop bags ROCK!) and travel purse. I was thinking of my friend Julie Guyot the whole time, as she encouraged me to attempt this international travel with just carry-ons. I did it, Julie. I did it!

This picture is of Alex and Nathan on the flight to Chicago. I am blogging to you from a food court in Chicago O'hare. 2 flights down and only 7 to go. LOL!
We hope all is well with you, and please keep us in your thoughts as often as you can. But I thought I would take this time in the beginning of our journey to let you know that we are all doing splendidly. Let's hope the boys sleep on the way over to China!!!

GUESTBOOK. Please Sign In.