Monday, May 28, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

It is wonderful to be home. We've been here for less than 48 hours. I haven't uploaded any pictures from our return, but I will soon.

We landed in Dallas a little earlier than scheduled, but Immigration made sure we didn't leave the airport earlier than scheduled. With J, we were able to go through the non-US citizen line. We thought that'd be great because it was half as long as the citizen line. What we didn't realize was that after we got to that counter, we had to go into a room to wait for processing. An hour and a half later, we left that room, grabbed our bags which were, thankfully, still there and had no line for customs.

The greeting that we received at the airport by family and friends was amazing. Simply amazing. We were pushing our cart full of bags and rounded a corner to cheers and chants of "We Want Josie!!". I, of course, was overwhelmed. Hugs and kisses and roses and balloons and everyone near and dear. Almost. Unfortunately, since we were in Immigration for so long, Elastigirl had to leave before we came out. I'll have to make a special trip to her house and deliver goodies that we picked up along the way for her and her guys.

Uncle J's wife and daughter and a couple of his grandkids were there. That only added to the emotional nature of it for me. I was so glad they were able to be there and hang out and wait for us to come out.

Here's a little clip of our arrival. You'll have to pause the music at the bottom of the page again, although there really isn't much to hear on the video.

I was so overwhelmed by the number of people there, that I didn't even see Phoebe until she ran PAST me to Allen. I love the part of the video of her running to us.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Our Last Day in China

Today is our last day here. I can't believe it!

On the one hand, it seems to have flown by. On the other hand, I'm so ready to be home. Maybe the "ready to be home" hand is the one with the carpal tunnel acting up. :)

We've missed our family and friends and especially our Phoebe girl. I can't wait to hug Phoebe the second I see her!

Yesterday was our American consulate appointment. Turns out, that's not even something we had to go to the consulate for. Our guide went on behalf of all of the families and took the paperwork. Today, in about 30 minutes, we will leave to go to the consulate for the "swearing in" ceremony and to get our babies' visas. At that point, all of our official business here will be done.

Our flight leaves tomorrow at 7:50am, which means our bus leaves the hotel at 5:30am. We land in Tokyo around 1pm and leave for DFW around 6pm. Keep us in your prayers for a smooth, "quick" flight. When we land in Dallas, around 3:30pm Saturday, we will have been "up" for 24 hours. Hopefully, there will be lots of sleep to be had on the plane.

Thank you all so much for your comments on the posts. It's been great to have that contact with home.

Love to all and see you soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Medical Check Up

Wednesday, Josie had a medical checkup to make sure she's well enough to leave the country. She passed with flying colors. She weighed 17 2/3 lbs and is 27 3/4" long. Here are a few pictures of the experience.

Here's the entrance to the clinic.
Josie having her temperature taken. We just loved the nurses' hats.
Josie's bottom on the scale showing 8.020kg.

Measuring Josie's length. How do you like that eye chart?
Josie is 70.5 cm long.
Open up and say ah? I don't think so!
How big is her head?
Can she stand? Only when she wants to.

Shopping for lunch after the checkup. No, really. Not for us, but that's exactly what this shop was.

Red Couch Pictures

It's a tradition among families adopting from China to take pictures of the babies on one of the red couches at the White Swan Hotel. Here's how our photo session went Tuesday night.

That's a bird cage behind the couch. It's quite large with several birds.
All of the babies in our travel group.

The moms and babies of our travel group.

Our travel group. Our guide, Rui, is second from the left on the back row.

Here is one of the pictures I tried to upload the other night. It was taken on Sunday. Josie has since learned to climb up onto the bed from her bed, completely unassisted.

As a side note, I'm really not getting lazy about posting. This post took me a little over an hour. Uploading the pictures is trying my patience.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007



We love you sweet girl. Have a wonderful birthday. I can't wait to hear all about your day.

We will be home soon. Just four more days!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Playing with Dad

I'm trying to upload more pictures, but blogger is giving me fits. You'll have to get by on three for now.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Saturday and Sunday

Let's face it. You're just here for the pictures. I could tell you the places that we visited on Saturday and Sunday, and you'd just scan it and get to the pictures. So, I'll just throw in a few lines as we go.

The first picture is for my Phoebe girl. For those who can't see it, the bear says "I love my sister". P has a bear like this at home, too. We took a picture of her with it and we're showing it to Josie every day.
Josie with her toys.
The next few pics are from Saturday at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. Revolutionary leader. Pretty gardens. The whole place smells like flowers. Very nice.

Saturday night we were approached by a university student. We assumed she wanted to practice her English. She asked why we were in China and we told her we were adopting J. She got a bit verklempt. She asked if she could take "moving pictures" of us. We found out she and a couple of other students were sent out by their teacher with a camera and told to find a story. They interviewed us about adopting from China. They had NEVER HEARD of people coming to China to adopt babies. As we walked with them toward our hotel, they kept seeing more and more families and saying "there's another one!"
Sunday we went to the zoo. It was a bit rainy, but that just made it a little cooler than it has been for the past few days.
This picture is for Tate. He told me to be sure to look for pandas in China and take pictures of them. Here you go buddy. He wasn't drinking out of the water fountain though. He was just resting.

Josie seems to be doing really well. She makes all kinds of noises. Guess I'll be the only quiet one in the family. Unlike most babies her age, she doesn't put anything in her mouth. Well, besides her fingers and her bottle. We can't get her to eat any baby food off of a spoon, or any other way. So, it goes into the bottle too. We are only giving her a little. The last couple of days she's spit up a few times. Today we decided to not spike her bottle with fruit, etc. and see if that helped. We'll get there. We can work on eating from a spoon when we get home.

The girl LOVES being on the bus, unlike a lot of the other babies. She just stares out the window the whole time and bounces and hits the window with her hands. The highlight of my day on Saturday was when we were on the bus on the way to the memorial. She actually leaned over, while looking out the window, and started sucking on my arm. This is the first thing she's put her mouth on. Later in the day, she actually picked up her soft rattle and put it on her mouth, but not in it. We're not sure why she has this aversion. Our guide suggested to another family whose child is the same way that maybe the orphanage wouldn't let her put things in her mouth.

She is sleeping well. The first few days, she slept for 11 hours each night. Then, Thursday night and Friday night she woke up several times. A lady in our travel group said she'd heard that was normal. Apparently, after the babies start getting used to the new parents and bonding with them, they wake up in the middle of the night to make sure they are still there. I guess I can't get too cranky about that. [Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I started typing about J being a good sleeper, she woke up about an hour early from her afternoon nap! Oh well. Guess we'll go wander around.]

Friday, May 18, 2007

Our Days Thursday and Friday

On Thursday, we went to the Chen Family Temple. It was once a place where all members of the Chen clan went to pray to their ancestors. It then became a school, and is now a folk art museum.

This is the entrance to the temple.

Dad and J just inside the doors. She slept through most of the tour.
This is a panel of embroidery. You can see it's multiple layers of translucent fabric. I really want to find a small panel of fish embroidery. There is also one in the hotel that is transparent fabric, so you can look at the embroidery from both sides. Where do they hide their knots?
Dad and J watching a puppet show. The sign out front said "Approaching Puppet". It kind of seemed like a warning. We assume they meant something like "the puppets are coming." Which also seems kind of ominous.

One of the lion statues outside the gate. The lion has a ball in its mouth representing a pearl. This is done to stop the river from flooding.

After our tour of the temple, we went shopping at a place that had jade, pearls, embroidery and other things. We picked up a few gifts for J and others.

On Thursday we went to Six Banyan Tree Temple. This is an active Buddhist temple. We couldn't take pictures inside the building, but you can see the giant Buddhas through the doorways.

We were among some of the families who took their babies inside the temple for a blessing from a monk. We did it to honor part of her culture and to allow her culture to wish a happy life for her. Incense and sprinkled water - just like home. Here's a pic of J with her head still moist from the sprinkling. She slept through that, too.

After our tour, we went to a "toy market". It was a 6 floor building full of everything under the sun, not just toys. I was looking for a baby doll for J to play with that looks like her. Oddly, I didn't find anything. Plenty of blond haired, blue eyed dolls, though.

Here we are back at the hotel after a long day. J is practicing standing with Dad's help.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Josie In Action

This is what we saw before we went to bed Thursday night and wanted to share it with you. Before you play the video, go down to the bottom of the blog page and pause the music.

Our Day Wednesday - It's Official

On Wednesday, we had a couple of outings.

In the morning, we went to a supermarket to buy things for J, like baby food and such. It was quite an experience. It was like Wal-Mart on steroids. It was (at least) 3 floors. They had what was basically a combination moving sidewalk/escalator between floors so we could take our carts from floor to floor. We didn't venture too far into the "butchery" section (sorry Sam), but we did see tanks and tanks of fish just waiting to be pulled out and, uh, sent home in a bag. But not in a nice "I just got a new goldfish" kind of way. Hey, at least it's fresh, right? Very fresh.

While we were waiting for our bus to take us back to the hotel after shopping, an elderly woman approached our group and asked questions. She told us, through our guide, that we have generous hearts and thanked us and bowed. She said she was 83 and used to teach kindergarten. She would like to adopt, too, but said she was too old. It was actually a very touching experience.
I love how this picture shows her (in the middle) in motion bowing and the rest of the people still. The baby in the foreground is not Josie, but the other girl from the same orphanage as J.

In the afternoon, we went by the Civil Affairs office, but only our guide went in. When she came back, she said, "Congratulations. You are all officially your baby's parents" and passed out the official, Chinese adoption certificate. After we left the Civil Affairs building, we went to a police bureau to have Josie's passport photo taken. And with that, our appointments on the Chinese side of things were completed.

And now the payoff for reading through the whole post:

I think this girl is figuring out that she quite likes being held. And we are perfectly happy to oblige her.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Our Day on Tuesday

Monday night, we put Josie to bed about 9pm. We had to wake her up at 8am Tuesday.

Yesterday morning, we went back to the Civil Affairs office to get a family picture taken and to have interviews saying that yes we wanted to adopt Josie and that we would never torture or abandon her. Here are some pictures of our day :

Sleeping J
Eating breakfast. The way the orphanage told us to make the bottle is with formula and rice cereal and very hot. She sucked down the bottle in no time, so I guess I made it well enough.
Back at Civil Affairs with Dad. She fell asleep shortly after this.
Hanging with mom at Civil Affairs. She loves the carrier. Thanks Sarah.

Bath time! Oh my gosh. She loved her bath. She splashed and splashed and got water everywhere. It was great.