Friday, November 23, 2012

Working On It

I am so sorry I have not gotten a post up lately, as I am sure you can guess things here have been crazy with the coming home, getting settled and all not to mention the one Holiday under our belts and the next one right around the corner.  Believe it or not I think I might be done doing the little bit of Christmas shopping that we will do this year.  If I am not done I am close.  Please don't consider this an update as I will get one up soon with pics I promise I just can not give a good date right now.  By the way I am very curious.....with just the 2 followers and only 1 comment can someone please tell me where you all are on here in a comment or on FB and let me know who knittin' momma is???

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pictures from China

Hi everyone, I am posting for Annette.  Sorry for this link but I am having a difficult time getting these pictures to post like the previous slide show.  Just click on the link and it will take you to the latest pictures from China! I am so excited that they will be home in less than 24 hours! Whoever makes it to the airport give that little guy a big hug from me!


Tuesday, Nov  13

Hello everyone!

Sunday came and went.  Rain never showed just a cloudy and wonderfully cool day for the park.  Due to Joshua being on sensory overload and being cranky and Mikayla just being herself and knowing how service at church would have went we opted to decline.  Greg and Mikayla did head to Sha Mian Island and shopped really good.  They bought Marble stamps one for Joshua and one for Mikayla that has their names in English and Chinese on them that has a little animal craved on top, it came with an ink pad in a ceramic case and is kept in a Chinese decorative box.  While Joshua napped for 3 hours and became a happy boy again he got from Daddy and Mikayla what he loves the most…shoes.  We now have 4 pairs of the cutest leather squeaky shoes for Joshua.  I got something I will love sporting in the states which is a Guangzhou Starbucks Tee.  Does Hubby know me or what?  Later that day we did do our Visa paperwork so Joshua can get home with us. 

Yesterday we ventured to Yue Xiu Park where there was a very large statue of 5 goats which was made of 30 marble bricks all 29 are original bricks except one which was one of the Largest Goats Horns which broke during the Tsunami.  The Goat represents Guangzhou and I can’t remember much else about it but I do know there is also a new lightening rod in the park you can see behind the goat statue in the pic that was put there after the Lightening from the Tsunami broke the goats horn.  After going up the 99 (yes a multiple of 9) stairs to see this statue and then walk down to see some other fascinating carvings and such at the park we headed to the Local Pedestrian street and the Pearl and Jade Market.  This time I got to not only stay the entire day of adventures I also got to shop for some cool Jade.  Mikayla and I got us a matching Jade heart.  The hearts are identical to the naked untrained eye but mine of course is almost 3x the quality and unfortunately price.   Still on the run we had a wonderfully colorful Pearl River Cruise with dinner.  The food was good, trying to get to it (buffet) was a fun adventure in it self but most important was the cruise and the views…I have included a few for you.  The views we saw were many and most had LED lights that changed colors constantly that pictures just can’t show you. 

Today we did the documents and took the oath in the ACS, we took also took our group pictures.  We did have an option for a dumpling lunch, once again due to tired children we opted out.  We walked around our wonderful Garden Hotel and took some pictures that does not do this place justice.  We are currently relaxing until we decide where we might eat dinner for our last night here.  Tomorrow afternoon we get our sons visa and passport and take the express train to Hong Kong. This will be the beginning of our journey home.  So I probably won’t post again until we are home and settled back in so check back often.  For anyone who might be interested in a sneak peak of Joshua before we get home and hibernate for a while we arrive on November 15th United 4:13pm from Chicago flight #3650.

Arriving Guangzhou

Saturday, Nov 10

Today was a tiring one arriving Guangzhou hotel at about midnight and getting settled and to bed at about 1am getting up at 7am to go to our Medical and then do some sightseeing.  Naps for just the kids (yes I had to tell you that) came about 1pm and Joshua is just now waking at 3:15pm.  Joshua was awesome in our journey to get his passport, going to the Pharmacy, getting to the airport sitting for 3 or so hours there even before getting on the plane then a 2 hour flight considering we were all on lack of sleep.  Mikayla also did well but complained a bit about she was hungry, thirsty, tired of walking, tired of sitting tired of waiting, etc.  In getting Joshua’s passport was interesting as the office started work at 3pm and you are not allowed in and so you call and they tell you to wait…you wait in your car or standing out on the street.  You never know if you are going to stand there for 5 minutes or 5 hours.  The last family our guide had got there at 3pm and waited until 6:30pm.  I have to thank you all for all your prayers they are working well.  God is hearing your prayers and helping us glide through; my illness is more annoying then disabling so I am getting along well and only missed the one adventure and have been doing well otherwise, our son is doing great and getting along and attaching well, all travels have been smooth up to this point.  Our sons passport?  We arrived about 3:15pm left to head to the airport at record time of about 3:20pm a total 5 minute wait.  Then of course our flight here where everyone was so tired and yet no one killed anyone and no one screamed bloody murder or any such thing the worst thing that happened was what I thought to be a diaper malfunction on the plane.  I say this because just before take off Joshua and I got soaked….He peed all over me and him (I had him in the carrier on me) so we sat for about 3 hours that way before I was where I can change him.  At this point I found not a diaper malfunction but just a very wet diaper I guess he just let it all out on the plane.  Of course you might say this a misfortune but to me a blessing.  A Blessing you say? Yes a blessing as it was only pee and could have been so much worse.  Thank you God for hearing our prayers.  Once arriving and looking for our guide and heading for the van we came to a door that would not open (a lot of motion sensors around here) and all of a sudden it worked…we laughed and even our guide said we must have a higher power working with us.  Thank you all for all your prayers keep them going as we are not home yet and out of the woods called China.

Today we did the Medical and Joshua did well and had no issues.  We then went to Flower City Square which was so beautiful with all the gorgeous flowers and roses in all colors while our guide told us about the buildings and their nature and history.   In about 2 hours we will be going to eat at what is one of the best Cantonese places according to our guide.  In the meantime we ate some McDonalds that was easy access and I stopped at Starbucks…ok God why did you not teach them how to make a Chai Tea Latte in China???  Tomorrow we go to Church here in China imagine that…God thanks for being everywhere.  After Church which will be in 3 languages Cantonese, Mandarin and English we will head out to shop at Sha Mian Island.  Squeaky Shoes here we come.  Not sure what else is on the shopping list but I am sure it will all be good.  The hotel here is a 5 Star Hotel with awesome sites right inside and the rooms are like small apartments with digital television and lots of amenities including outdoor pool (rare for China) and playroom for the kids, Exercise room, Tea Room, Piano Bar and so much more.  This includes a Spa for Massages, Hair Salon, Japanese Restaurant and an awesome bakery/sweets counter and more.  Love the hotel and the area here.  The Weather we left was getting cooler in the lower 50’s and now we are currently in the mid to upper 80’s.  Hot but not too hot, no where near the oven of Mikayla’s time.  Rain is expected for our future lets hope and pray our outdoor festivities are not hindered being I am well enough to enjoy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

In Zhangzhou


We arrived in Zhangzhou without any issues.  It was a very much needed relief.  The weather we left was some slushy snow and much smog now we are in nicer weather of mid to upper 50's and 60's and a little less smog.  Monday the 5th we traveled a mere 15 minutes to where we finally met our son for the first time.  Last time we traveled about the same but was our group of four families including us where this time we traveled to the province alone to meet up with our guide.  Although we traveled alone to our son's province of Henan, City of Zhengzhou we had approximately seventeen families from other agencies including us all at the same place at the same time in a small room (approx 40x15).  It was a very loud emotional room.  Joshua was handed to me right away and for a short moment cried....I think more because all the other kids were crying and he felt he should more so then because of how scary I probably was to him.  When I handed him to Daddy it was the same brief bout of crying.  With Mikayla such an angel and a breeze being prepared for a demon seed as I would say, Joshua did what I hoped and prayed, he proved my prediction wrong.

Mikayla was totally unattached willing to be with anyone in the beginning where Joshua takes short moments to show an attachment to each of us which shortens each time.  Already in just three short days he does not want to be with anyone other than us. He's a happy little boy, a ham, who loves to laugh, run, play and is becoming quite the momma's boy.  He sleeps well and sound, he goes down in his crib calmly and without a fuss.  When he wakes he sings and plays by himself while waiting for someone to get him.  He loves shoes, maybe he'll be a shoe salesman, I hope not but he does have a thing for shoes.  He loves his stacking cups just as Mikayla still does hers and he is definitely a deep down big belly jolly little guy, he loves belly tickles so much he asks for them ....he lays down and points to his belly.  All worked well on clothes sizes too.   Twelve months are perfect where 18 months are a bit long in the arm and leg still work also.  We brought mostly 12 months so we did well.

The adoption process this time is also a bit different.  We signed papers quickly there right when we got him we also did the fingerprinting and such all that same day.  Right after getting him was our shopping journey for diapers and the like.  The very next day at 9 am we finalized the process with a less ceremonial process then last time since most everything was done except to get the official papers and take the official family picture which took all of maybe 2 minutes.  Also the same morning we also headed to the Notary on the 3rd floor up 6 flights of stairs with a new infant in tow and a 4 year old not quite sure of many steps yet along with not so in shape parents...the gym visits helped I am sure.  Later the same day without a break back to the hotel we set out for a 2 1/2 hour drive with both kids squashed up in a van.  This journey was better than could be expected but definitely not fun.  All for a trip to McDonalds that lasted about 2 hours since we had time to waste (they did have a play area for Mikayla, Joshua just enjoyed being in the fishbowl and pretending he was outside of it)*.  After the long lunch we applied for Joshua's Passport which took all of maybe 15 minutes if that.  Then back in the van for another long 2 1/2 hour journey back to the hotel arriving back to our room approximately 6:30 pm giving us a running day of approx. 9 1/2 hours. 

This day, today, is a FREE day a much needed one not just to recover from all the running the day before but to hopefully recover more from what started out as a very dry nose in Beijing to what I think has turned into a major sinus infection which as of today has left me speechless....ha me speechless just without a voice.  I just hope and pray no one else shares it with me and also that I recover a bit before Friday and our next flight.

Now at about 9 pm our room I think is trying to kill us....the room is hotter than.... well you know.  So here I sit at 10:30 everyone asleep but me and I saw some hotel workers across the hall and asked them to help but to shhhh (this is the 3rd attempt since here already without resolve). They came and did whatever which I think will work as the room did drop one degree in the last 30 min...heat wave.  Ok, I was wrong the temp went up another 2 degrees now more visitors....grrrr.  Ok here's what the final outcome is for this's China and for China it is winter after all so all rooms are heated and there is no air conditioner.  We started out at 69.8 degrees which was great (they go by Celsius my reason for the odd degree) then all of a sudden now we are at 78.8.  I am going to roast.  They say since winter and no air we can turn off heat but we might get too cold when sleeping....ok outside it is maybe 50's I don’t think we will freeze especially with down comforters on each bed.  So off with the thermostat, open the window and room door for now and when I am done the door will close and the window will remain far I already feel much better...hmm lets check the states we are back down to 69.8 but I don’t feel like it is quite that cool.

Tomorrow we head out to the Henan Museum of History and I will let you know how it all goes.  I will also let you know if we have penguins skating around our room when we return.  Friday we should receive Joshua's Passport in time to head out to our flight to our last leg of the journey in Guangzhou at about 10 - 11 pm.  Saturday in Guangzhou in the AM we are to do his Medical.  Until then and for our entire journey all Prayers for wellness and safe travels are totally accepted.  Zài Jiàn

*When you’re an American in China with not just one child but two, and not just two but with two and one being a so called special needs child and Daddy is helping with childcare you will feel like you are in a Fish Bowl as everyone not just walks by and stares but goes out of there way to get to look at you.  We laugh and when we see the people coming our way with that look in their eyes we just say FISH BOWL.  We did meet a Christian Chinese woman who was quite friendly and I began to talk to her with Mikayla telling her Jesus is in her heart.  I found she was not just looking at us as in a fish bowl but as family.  Being in China and a Chinese woman and topping it off with being a Christian is rare to find she has adopted herself a boy.  She talked in length of his story and how God is bringing them through.  Her son only 4 has brain issues and lung problems.  They say he would never move or talk or do very much.  She told me all this as we watch him and Mikayla play in the playground.  He played like a normal little boy and says one word MA…this is more than the woman ever dreamed possible and she keeps the faith and prays God will continue to be with them and give him a Strong Body….I left her there with smile on her face as I told her I pray many blessings for her and her family but I think I was more blessed to have had the chance to have the short but meaningful conversation with her and to have our guide there to help translate our conversations to each other.  

The journey to Joshua is here!


The journey to Joshua is here!  We arrived in Beijing on time and without a hitch.  It was a very long flight with the last four hours dragging on for much longer than the first twelve but all so much quicker than the last hour.  We eyed our Beijing contact in the array of varies sizes and colors of signs quite quickly.   In the very first conversation with Amy we found our hotel reservations were changed and the Panda Phone (china rental phone/cell phone for all of china journey) that we ordered was now sitting at the wrong hotel. Our new hotel was also now further from the airport by one hour IF no traffic jams but can be up to two hours (Amy's words).  Turned out NO traffic jams and I don’t even think it took an hour and the new accommodations were larger and Mikayla had her own room and we actually had a living room and small dining area.,  Amy works near the original hotel so getting our panda phone was also a non-issue.  At this point we had some issues but all were resolved and we are still ten times better than last time with a night spent at the airport and no luggage for four days. 

Arriving at our room very tired and a bit hungry at about 6-7 pm Central time sleep won the battle. Up at 5:30 am with a 6:30 am wake up call expected just gave us all time to relax and take our time moving and getting down to breakfast.  This is the day to begin our site-seeing journey....We headed out at 9 am (China time from here on out unless noted) and became amazed by the Wonderful Temple of Heaven.  Our group consisted of us and two other families and our guide Tim, nine people in all.  Interesting as I write this is that the meaning that revolved around the Temple of Heaven was the number nine, the three levels are reached by a set of nine stairs each and the walk ways and rails are all multiplies of nine depending on the level the number nine is repeated throughout,  The three levels of the temple were created with meaning starting at the lower level or ground level was Hell, the middle was humans and the top Heaven,  This temple is also colored with meaning such as blue for the sky and Heaven.  All things China have a meaning of some sort so when you look at China know that everything you see and everything they do has some kind of meaning.  Watch how you put your chopsticks or you can show death or move your hand in what you might think is friendly can be a rude jester and be sure your clear in your words or you might get something you don’t expect, like try asking for toilet paper and see what you might be surprised. :-)

Back to the Temple it was very interesting, very high and quite the great distance in length as well as width.  We walked to the top (the length) but not the width or entire grounds and yet so worth every second and every step.  We took a rickshaw ride and made our driver get a great work out but hey we got ours too.  We visited the home of a gentleman (I forget if he was a general or what special title) which is built in a square.  The entrance to the home was a large French type door leading into a patio area where each room has its own door to enter from and there is no way to enter one room from the other.  The patio is where day time socializing took place when the weather is nice.  It was also where the fruit and vegetables were grown along with other plants.  While we were there two men played a game of what looked like checkers but I think was a game of chess as each piece had some sort of writing on it and by the deep thinking they were involved in for every move.  With time to spare on our adventure we journeyed to the Sun Temple.  This temple was not as elaborate as the first but was just as interesting and had just as much meaning.  I have learned that at least in China if you have seen one Temple you HAVE NOT seen them all.
After the Sun Temple we went to see the Acrobats of China.  This is a show I have seen many times in many places but in China trust me it was so much more than what you see in the states.

This morning after much rest from all our walking we woke again this time almost 2 hours before our wake up call.  We went down to breakfast and met the other family that arrived late last night,  We also found out the last family to join us missed their flight and were going to try to make it here later today.  We all pray and hope they do because if they can not make it here today they will have to wait for the next adoption group to be schedule to come to China before then can journey to there new family member....I so feel for them and hope they arrive soon.

The temperature is much cooler this time around and so much more enjoyable but I think I am going to have to say that I do not do well traveling abroad.  As I once again did not feel up to the second journey.  Once again missing the trip to the Great Wall.  Greg the trooper that he is traveled on carry with him my heavy heart.  Mikayla my beautiful understanding daughter promised to take care of Daddy and take many pictures for Mommy bringing tears to my eyes.  So with sadness I think of them as they traveled to Tiamen Square, The Forbidden City and The Great Wall not just without me but in the rain.  The last family’s prayers were answered and arrived in time to also do this tour. They say we might get snow tonight....I hope not as we are to leave in the early morning to go to our baby boys province.  Until then....Zài Jiàn