Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Travels and Travails....

I haven't posted in a couple of days because I didn't think there was all that much interesting to share. We are just existing as a family and doing our day to day things. If day to day can be described as "living" in a luxury hotel with an extravagant buffet breakfast everyday ("luxury" at US budget hotel prices). Going out to eat at every meal and buying souvenirs in one form or another every day..... I'm afraid our girl will be in a bit of a shock once we are home and realize that life is not all luxury and fun and games everyday. Oh well..

I will gloss over some of the sightseeing that we have done. I have already described the events at the Great Wall and other Beijing sites.

In Hefei we went to the orphanage in Luan one day, and I also described the park near our hotel where our entourage liked to gather. In Hefei, we also went to the Hefei Aquarium. The Aquarium was actually very nice and indoors away from the heat. Do the Chinese use air conditioning? Sometimes and somewhat. In the aquarium I still found it a bit warm, even though the lighting was very low. Air conditioning is used only minimally.

Here are some pics from the aquarium:The highlight for Alex and Nathan were not the dolphins or sea lions or all of the unique and beautiful fish. The Hefei Aquarium had a Spongebob Squarepants play area. The boys could run around to their hearts content. And Chinese people could freely take their picture....Here is a group shot.I've told you in other posts that we are in Guangzhou and have been since last Friday night (it is Wednesday right now). One of the touristy things that we have done was to go to an animal safari. It was quite good, but excruciatingly hot. Tallahassee in the summer feels much cooler to give you a comparison. :-0

They had a great train ride around the park to see animals. Many of the animals come right up to you and are very close. The train ride was the best, the park was very nice and would be great in cooler weather. They did have an incredible panda exhibit. Since Dave and I used to live in Washington DC, we have seen a panda before. But nothing like this. Almost all of the pictures that I take are from my iPhone. My iPhone does not have a telephoto lens, so you can see how close we actually were to the pandas. They also looked happy, healthy and active, very unlike the DC panda.Dave and the kids also got to hold a baby white tiger. That was really cute. This safari had many white tigers. I think they must specialize in breeding them for other parks or zoos or magician couples.I'm trying not to bore you with too many "family photos." I will save that for a big slide show when I get home (ha, ha just kidding).

As for our travails. There has not been much. Chen Jie/Jade-Rose is still doing remarkably well. Monday was our first day with tears. She started to cry after she threw something in play and it hit Alex in the head. I tried to get her to hug him to apologize and to tell her not to do that again. That was the trigger. But then it clearly just became the gateway for other tears to come.

Dave took the boys to the pool and I held Jade for about an hour while she cried. I have never seen a child cry that long. I guess it all needed to come out. Better out then in. All of this was expected. I also expected her to push me away. She did a little bit. It was an interesting dynamic to observe her body language. We were laying on the bed together and she kept her arms around my neck the whole time, but was using her lower body to push me away at times. It was like she was fighting two different emotions needing to push away to be alone, but not wanting me to leave to make her alone. Poor little baby.

As the tears subsided a bit, I pulled out my laptop which was also on the bed and started to look at pictures. She LOVES to look at pictures of herself. I also clicked on some video that Dave took of our first day. The first moments when she was scared as she walked into the Civil Affairs office. Moments afterwards when she started blending in with our family. And video of her later all laughing and happy. By then she was happy in my arms as well, and we made it through our first emotional breakdown in this process of older child/international adoption.

We are still blessed and doing exceptionally well. Here is a pic of her on one of the famous red couches of the White Swan Hotel here in Guangzhou. This is a tradition established by adoptive parents many years ago when the first Chinese adoptions began. It started with groups of babies being all lined up on the couch for an official good luck portrait. Since we are not in a group, it is just Jade-Rose.Keep us in your prayers and protective light. I will especially need it next Saturday when we begin our travels home.

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