Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Small Step Back

Monday morning did not start off will with Lily waking up and crying for her nanny. I held her, but she was mad. She threw the toy I gave her and waved her hand at me like she did that first day. She did let me hold and comfort her though. She did feel a little warm and still had a low grade fever. We think her anger and sadness was a combination of not feeling well, and me leaving yesterday. She did do better as the morning wore on and the motrin took effect.

Later that morning, I had to take her to the medical exam office to have her TB test read. That turned out fine. Then it was back to the hotel lobby to complete the paperwork for her adoption on the U.S. side and to receive her visa. After that we joined Ruben and the boys for lunch in the room.

We didn't have any plans the rest of the day, so after naps, we walked the island and checked out a few shops. We had to go back to Jenny's as Alex had talked about all the gifts he got there. Then it was on to dinner, and bed.

Lily perked up as the day went on. She stuck close to me, but there was no more crying. The big news for her was that she got new sandals! She finally let me take the sandals off she wore from the orphanage (which were 2 sizes too small), and put on a new pair. They're still the type that make the squeaky noise when she walks, although we'll probably be removing the squeaker once we get home. She even let me take them off at night, and went to bed without them on! Big step for our little girl.

Tomorrow is a big day as we'll be going to the Safari Park. The kids are really looking forward to seeing all the animals.

This morning I got some smiles, as Alex was standing behind me.

The kid's bedroom
The family room
Our bedroom
Unlike Nanchang, scooters are not allowed in Guangzhou because of the traffic. You do see a lot of bikes on the island though.
Taking a walk by the not very clean river, although we did see people fishing here.
More statues to pose by. We're trying to hit every statue on the island!
Lily finally got in on the statue posing fun

Check it out.........Ruben took this picture and Lily didn't duck her head! Hid behind her hand a little, but we're making progress!
With Jenny of Jenny's Store. The kids are all holding the cookies she gave them.
Looking cute in her "wild child" pink pj's.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fever, Shopping, and Temple

Last night at 3am, Lily was very restless. I thought her hands felt hot, but it took a while for my tired brain to make the connection and feel her forehead. She was burning up!! Fever of 103 from the shots. Fortunately I was smart enough to bring 3 bottles of motrin in 3 different flavors. We were able to find one she would swallow and not spit out on the floor. She did sleep then until morning. Her fever was down to 100 in the morning, but after another dose of motrin, she was able to eat a good breakfast, and seemed to be feeling a little better.

Today, we went on a tour of the Six Banyan Temple. This is a Buddhist Temple originally built in 537 AD. There are still Banyan trees on the grounds, although the original 6 are long since gone. Upon entering you see a number of statues where people worship. Many burn incense sticks and leave the sticks or peanuts as offerings. I asked about the peanuts and was told that the monks are vegetarians and cook everything in peanut oil, so apparently, it's an appropriate offering. We did see a number of monks there and they will come out and bless your child, although we opted not do the blessing. One of the members of our group caught a picture of one of the monks on his blackberry! Alex had a lot of questions about why the people there were praying to statues/rocks, and not to God. He even went up to one of the Chinese worshippers (who did not understand English), and told him he should not pray to the rock. Our guide told us that the official number of Christians in China is approx. 1%, but they think the real number is closer to 2.5%. Christian churches are allowed, but they have to follow certain rules. Because of this, there are a number of non-registered churches in people's homes.

The pagoda on the grounds was quite beautiful. It appears to be 9 stories on the outside, but is actually 17 stories on the inside. Not long ago, it was open to the public. It was closed after a person (maybe more - that was not clear), thought they could fly and jumped off.

After the temple, we went to a shop to look around. There was an artist there that does beautiful drawings with only his fingers and palm dipped in ink.

Lily still wasn't feeling 100%, but did ok. She just wanted to be carried a lot.

After lunch in the room, I met 3 of the other Moms for some shopping at a wholesale warehouse mall, and the pearl and jade market. I will never complain about the crowds at the mall during the holidays again! I have never seen anything like this. The mall was at least 5 stories of hundred of little shops, and crowds of people. It was hard to walk, and easy to get lost. Each store was tiny. Three people was a crowd. Found some good deals, but was glad to get out of there. The pearl and jade market was similar in set-up, although not as crowded. Tons of little stores, all selling pearls. We had a personal shopper that took us to certain stores and helped us negotiate. As much as I wanted to shop, I was glad when we were done!

While I was gone, Ruben managed the 4 kids and did a great job, of course! Lily, however, wanted her mother. She did nap, although she cried going to sleep. When she woke up, she cried for a while. Ruben had to walk with her as she wouldn't let him sit down. She did settle down once I got back I took Lily and Alex for a walk to pick up laundry and look at some shops. Alex's favorite shop is Jenny's, as she always gives him a free item when we go in. So far he's gotten a flag, a fan, a package of cookies, and a dragon necklace.

That evening we had pizza from Papa John's in our room. It was pretty good. Not as good as home, but better than the Pizza Hut pizza we had in our province. Lily seemed to like it an ate it as long as we cut it up for her.

Lily cried when we put her to bed, and called for her nanny. She hasn't done that in 3 days. It took her a little longer than usual to fall asleep.

Things we've learned about Lily:

- She's very neat. She picks things up off the floor and brings them to us, and she doesn't like it when food falls off her plate onto the table or her clothes.

- She eats better if her food is broken into pieces. If given a whole cookie, she will take one little nibble, and put it back. But if the cookie is broken into pieces, she'll eat the whole thing.

- She loves to copy Alex. He was marching through the suite carrying his flag, and Lily picked up a flag and followed after him!

- If her brothers are doing something she doesn't think is right, she comes to us jabbering and pointing..........she's a very cute little tattle tale!

- She prefers to be held in the front with her head on my shoulder. I'm enjoying the cuddles now, as I'm sure it won't last.

- She loves riding in her stroller. She was a little nervous at first and held on tightly, but now she jumps right in when it's time to go. She's also a little possessive and grabbed it from a little girl who was touching it at the medical center!
- She's STILL a little leery of Daddy. If she's playing with a toy when daddy walks in, she puts it aside until he leaves. She also still turns her head when he kisses her.....and wipes it off. She won't go to daddy, but will let him hold her if he just picks her up.

Good morning Lily!

These men were playing some sort of game outside just off the street. The smiling Budda that welcomes all to the temple
The Pagoda

These 3 statues represent Past, Present, and Future. Many people were burning insence and worshipping in front of these statues.
An offering table
Taking a rest from the heat with one of the families from our agency. They are from Kansas City and are traveling with their 8 and 9yr old boys to adopt their 2-yr old daughter.
Sitting by the Banyan Tree. The little girl is Jolee.....the new 3-yr old daughter of one of our agency families.
A monk heading off to study or worship
Artist that paints with his fingers and palms
The wholesale mall
This is a typical hallway at the mall .........check out the crowds!
One of the pearl shops
After you select your pearls, they string them at the shop
Alex loves to pose with all the statues on the island

Saturday, August 28, 2010


(I have occasionally written more than one post in a day, so make sure to scroll down)

We made it to Guangzhou and to our hotel Friday night at 9:15. Flying in China is quite an experience. The airport in Nanchange has hot and extremely crowded. We were sent to gate 4 with one other family from the U.S. It became obvious very quickly that we were not at the right gate. After talking to a nice Chinese lady who spoke English and asking airport personnel, we were told that the gate was changed......maybe to 8, but to wait for the announcement to make sure. Well, we made the right decision to head down to gate 8 (which was on a different level), because there never was a gate change announcement. The first announcement was the boarding call ! The way boarding works is everybody rushes the gate, and whoever pushes the hardest, gets on first! This time we had to get on a bus to get to the plane. Once the bus is full, they add on about another 30 people. You don't have to worry about holding on, because you're wedged in too tight to fall down. Our seats on the plane were not together, so it took a few minutes for the flight attendants to convince a few people to change seats. Sounded like he didn't give them much of a choice. This was Lily's first plane ride and she did great initially. She did grab and pinch my leg to hold on, but seemed ok with take off. Landing was another story. She screamed throughout the last part of the landing. She hated the seatbelt, and I'm sure the pressure felt strange to her. Once we landed and I picked her up, she fell into an exhausted sleep. Tyler and Michael had also fallen asleep on the plane and did NOT want to wake up! It didn't help that although we gate checked the strollers, we didn't get them back until baggage claim. You should have seen Ruben hauling all the carryons and sleepy children! (sorry no picture as my hands were rather full too)

The room at our hotel is really nice. Although older than our last hotel and not as updated, we have a suite this time connected to a regular room. 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a living area. Nice and roomy. Because of the extra room, we were actually able to get unpacked after putting the children to bed.

I forgot to mention yesterday that not only did Lily go to bed Thursday night without crying, she woke up Friday morning with no tears! Matter of fact, as she was waking up, I heard her singing a song in a whisper! It was very cute. I so wish I would have had the video camera!
Lily also went to bed well on Friday night. She slept until about 6:30am. Her brothers slept until after 7am!

After breakfast, it was time for Lily's medical exam. There are 4 different stations, the last being immunizations. It was very crowded as one of the agencies had 28 families there, so it took a while to get through. Children are not immunized to US standards in China, and a relatively new rule by the US government says that all children have to be caught up on their shots before they can enter the United States. Prior to the rule, parents could have their children checked once home and immunized over a period of time. Our Lily had to get 5 shots and a TB test all at one time!! One little baby from our Nanchang hotel had to get 7 shots!!! It's really sad that they put these children through this horrible experience. There are people working on changing this requirement, but it will be some time before it makes it through all the government agencies. So for now, we sit and wait for shots. Lily did fine for the TB test and first 2 shots, and then she started to cry. She was gripping the candy they gave her, so as soon as the shots were done, I unwrapped a piece and popped it in her mouth. That made everything better! (I did give her Motrin before we went, but she spit it out on the floor!) The boys were good sports through the long exam. They brought their trucks, and we found a movie playing in the back.......Pixar Cars!! (movie in English, subtitled in Mandarin) Michael didn't want to leave! Eventually, Ruben took the boys and went to the little shop to buy snacks and drinks.

After all of that, it was back to the hotel for lunch in the room, and nap time.
While the 3 younger kids napped, Alex and I took a walk around the island. In Guangzhou, we are staying in an area called Shamian Island. There are a lot of adoptive families here and plenty of little stores to shop in. Today we just looked, trying to get an idea of what is available. The shop keepers are all very friendly, and will follow you around the stores. Dropped some laundry off at one of the shops, that promised good pricing. We had a little sticker shock in Nanchang with the laundry prices there.......especially when everything else was so cheap. While walking around the island, we also saw a number of couples having their wedding pictures taken. Our guide said that is very common, as the island is so pretty.

Things in Guangzhou are definitely more expensive than they were in Nanchang. We are no longer able to eat dinner for $12. The convenience store prices were also more expensive although cheaper than home. (they have 7-11's here!)

Once the kids woke from their naps, we headed to Lucy's for dinner. Lucy's is well known on the island for their American food. We wanted the boys to have something they actually liked for dinner. Lily had some of Ruben's beef stir fry, that she seemed to really like, as well as rice, and of course, french fries with ketchup!

After dinner we took a little walk and then headed back to our hotel for bed.

Friday night at the Nanchang Airport with our wonderful guide, Coby
The morning picture
Checking out the view from the new hotel
View of some of the rooftops nearby
The playroom at our hotel........not much there, but it was good for a few minute diversion
Waiting to be called in for pictures prior to the medical exam
The chaos at the medical exam
People everywhere waiting, and waiting. Our guide said that sometimes there's only a few families. We just had a bad day. One of the agencies had 28 families there that day!
Still waiting. The boys brought their trucks to play with.
Exam room 2
Waiting for the last room...........shots
Shopping at the local 7-11
One of the many brides in a traditional Chinese dress
Ivory dresses have become very popular for weddings. (interesting style)

Shamain Island is quite pretty

Look what we found! Haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure we will!
Michael eating his traditional Chinese meal

There's lots of statues on Shamain Island. The kids had fun posing with them.

Every hotel room needs a gas mask! We seriously have these in each of our rooms!