Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We began our day with a quick breakfast and then a trip to the clinic so that Madison could have her TB test read. Her TB test was fine but, she does have a lump on her shoulder where she got one of her injections and a rash on her tummy which caused 3 doctors to look at her (which she did not like). It was determined that since she didn’t have a fever she was fine and it was probably a reaction to one of the shots and that I should give her more water. After that experience, I keep praying that we can stay healthy until we get home, I do not want to have to go back to the clinic for anything especially nothing serious!
We decided to walk around the island and explore before our 1pm meeting with Seiw Mei and her staff from Christian Action (CA). CA is a nonprofit organization that co-manages Madison’s orphanage in Xining. Seiw Mei is amazing and so is her organization, they have saved many children’s lives. We met in our hotel lobby and then walked to a restaurant called Lucy’s for lunch. There were lots of pictures taken by the CA staff and of course Madison was showing off for all of them. It was so wonderful to meet Seiw Mei and have her blessing and send off. The work they do in Madison’s providence is amazing and it was easy to tell by listening to Seiw Mei that she truly loves not only the work she does but also the children she is helping. Please take a few moments and Google Christian Action and check out Siew Mei’s blog, under the about her section, is a picture of her holding Madison when Madison was baby.
After lunch and goodbyes it was naptime and then off to dinner with two other families from China Adopt (a website, I frequented during our wait). We ate at a great Italian restaurant and it was nice to get out with other families and have adult conversation. After dinner we explored a new part of the island and found a shop called Jenny’s (which came recommended from another family) who had the best prices on dresses and actually everything. I spent 25usd and walked out with two bags of stuff… ahhh..how I love to shop especially for great deals!
Today we slept in until 9am; finally we have adjusted to the time change. Both the kids wanted to sleep more (they are so my children!). Once everyone was up, we headed down to breakfast in our jammies and finally didn’t have to rush through it to go meet our guide. The only thing on the agenda today was suppose to be that we had to wait in our room between 10:30 – 11:30 in case the US consulate had questions about our paperwork but, in addition to that, they decided to move everyone’s consulate appointment to today instead of tomorrow. So now instead of shopping after 11:30, I decided to nap Madison early so that we would be ready to go to the US consulate at 2pm. Our guide was not available today so he had one of his colleagues meet us at 2pm and walk us to the White Swan hotel to catch the bus to the consulate.
There was about 35 families being sworn in today and it took two large buses to get us all to the consulate. The consulate was about a 35 min ride away and once there we were led upstairs to a security check point. Our guide had prepared us well, no cameras, phones, electronics or water. Going through this security check point was much like the airport, all jackets off, belts off, and everything out of our pockets…they did let us keep our shoes on. Once past security we were brought into a room with chairs facing a bank of teller style windows (with glass) with numbers above them. It reminded me of the DMV except this room had a small play area with toys at the back. Then they started calling children names which of course were hard to hear and understand. When your child’s name was called you were suppose to go up to the window with your passport and be verified and then sign some paperwork. We of course were one of the last families called up and
while we were waiting Madison decided to throw a fit and lay on the ground and cry. All the newbie parents looked at us like we were crazy and should do something but, those with older kids smiled kindly with that been there done that look. In case you are wondering, the reason for the fit…because we said “no more M&M’s”. She already had eaten at least 20 or so plus some hard candy (see how spoiled!) As I told the people around me, I have been here and done tantrums before with Jake and it really is par for the course and we expect it and she won’t be two forever. :)
Once all the families were verified a consulate officer came out and talked to the group and then had us stand up raise our right hands and take the oath. Then it was back to the bus for the ride back to the hotels. Once back it was time for dinner, shopping and dropping off our laundry.
Now that we have completed our oath, Madison’s visa will be ready for pick up on Wednesday and then we are free to head home on Friday. Tomorrow we will go to the park in the am and hopefully shop in the afternoon (and maybe even McDonalds for dinner) and I promise to post pictures with tomorrows post!!
Missing everyone (and face book)terribly!!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Because I was so tired last night and starting to come down with a cold (I went to bed at 7:30pm) I decided to combine day 7 (yesterday) and today day 8 into one note.
We met our guide at 10am and walked to the medical clinic for Madison’s check up and shots. We were one of the first families there and I was a tad worried because Madison has had a green runny nose for a couple of days. First we met a doctor who gave her a quick once over and then off to nurses for weight (25lbs), height (34”) and temp. Once they gave her the a-okay then the ENT doctor took a quick look. Seriously the entire thing took less 15mins. Then we were off to have shots, even thou she was mostly up to date she need 4 shots and a TB test. Of course she screamed her head off while getting her shots and I of course made John be the bad guy and hold her. Once the shots were complete we had to wait around for a ½ hr to make sure she didn’t have a reaction. We had to pay 500rmb (about 74 usd) for her medical exam, which we were prepared for. What we weren’t prepared for was having to pay 1480rmb (about 217 usd) for the shots. With her
appointment completed we strolled back to the hotel and did some shopping.
At 3pm we met our guide and the other family with our agency and went to tour the Chen temple. With two toddlers in tow it was slow going but that was okay. We got to see many exhibits including an amazing silk embroidery collection. Madison drew quite a crowd around her at one point with people wanting to touch her and take her picture. All in all the tour was interesting and fun. On the way back we had the driver drop us off at the other family’s hotel (about 4 blocks from us) so we could walk back and peruse the shops. We were able to get Madison a stroller which thankfully she loves (and so does my back and arms) and picked up a few trinkets (including a purse for mama!) We walked around for an hour or so and then it was back to the room for dinner and early bedtimes.
Btw - At naptime we found out that Madison is a thumb sucker… Caught her sound asleep with it in her mouth and fingers wrapped around her nose (too..cute!) Thought of you J-LO and told John that Madison can marry Jack :)
Today we met our guide and the other family to go on a walking tour of the shopping district. I was very excited because I have been looking forward to getting Madison some pearls at the pearl mart. When we left the hotel it was sprinkling and first we walked through the open air food market and then on to the open air pet market. I was a little sad to see in the food market turtles on a stick and then to see them in tanks in the pet market. At some point while at the pet market it started to rain harder and I realized that poor Madison’s legs were soaked even thou the rest of her was dry in her stroller. Luckily for us the clothing market was mostly under cover and I was able to get Madison some dry pants which made her very happy. Then it was on to the pearl market. All I can say is WOW!! It was an indoor mall that was six stories with hundreds and hundreds of shops. Our guide directed us to a shop with a good reputation, where I was able to purchase
a string of pearls with matching earrings and a jade pendant for Madison and a pendant and earrings for my mom. The prices were very reasonable and I didn’t do too much damage. Then our guide took the other family back to their hotel and we went to McDonalds which made Jake thrilled! He was able to get his chicken nugget fix. Madison on the other hand loved the fries but did not like the nuggets, which is too funny to me!!!
Then it was back to the hotel to Skype and naptime for Madison. I walked to the other hotel to with our guide to review our paperwork for Madison’s visa. I had everything in order so it was a relativity quick appointment and I was able to walk back and do some shopping in peace. Now it is time for dinner and once again a early bedtime because tomorrow we have to go back to medical clinic and get Madison’s TB injection site checked (hopefully it will be negative…fingers crossed!)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
layover in Xianing and that we will have to get off the plane, get our luggage and change planes?!! I was trying so hard to be nice but at this point I wanted to scream! Oh yeah and the layover is 4 hours!! So I had her write in Mandarin the flight information and that we needed help, and off thru security and to the gate we went. Our flight was about an hour and uneventful as Madison was asleep the entire time.
We landed in Xianing and handed our note to our flight attendant who informed us that our flight was on a different airline and why didn’t they book us on this continuing flight we were already on. Okay…I really wanted to poke someone’s eyes out at this point but John reminded me that showing anger and frustration in public is considered rude in the Chinese culture (BTW…not that I really cared). We found someone to help us find the baggage area and then we showed our note to the information desk only to be told that we were in the wrong terminal and needed to walk to terminal 2 (300 meters away) to check in. So off we go into the cold (30 degrees) with two luggage carts and kids in tow.
Once in terminal 2 we were informed that we weren’t allowed to check into our flight until 2 hours before departure. So we had an hour and 45 mins to kill. There was a coffee bar and 2 gift shops in this area so, we sat down and got the kids some food, well really Madison because Jake would only eat the white rice.
Finally it’s time to check in and I am hoping this will go smoothly. But of course it doesn’t! We present our passports and note only to be told there is something wrong with Madison’s passport and ticket and that we need to wait to the side for 15 mins. Mind you they speak very very very little English and we have no one to translate for us. A manager approaches and takes John away and tells him that Madison was booked as an infant ticket but that she is not considered an infant so we need to pay ½ price. John talks to this man for about a ½ hour while I am trying to keep the kids happy and eventually the manager allows us to keep the tickets they way there were. So off thru security where they were also unhappy with Madison’s passport and ticket which meant another manager needed to review it. Finally with a 45 mins to spare we are on to our gate.
At this point it is 8pm and both kids are tired and hungry. We get on the plane and the 1st hour is fine, however hour 2 was rough. Between Madison crying and throwing fits and hitting her brother, I was ready to land in Guangzhou. We finally landed, got our luggage and met our guide Elvin. Elvin tells us the ride to the hotel is about 20 mins, we are very relived until our van breaks down on the freeway, on a blind curve. At this point I could either cry or laugh…I choose laughter (I think poor Elvin thought I was crazy!) Elvin and the driver went out with an umbrella to wave drivers around us, we had a couple of close calls but, lucky did not get hit. Finally 40 mins later someone the driver called, showed up to help us. We had run out of gas…yes gas!! Which only made it funnier to me… So at 11pm we arrived to our hotel safe and sound but exhausted!
This morning we woke up and were able to just hang out around the hotel room as we didn’t need to meet our guide until 2:30 to go to the Kumbum Monastery. It was so much fun to play with Madison and be able to relax without the pressures of hurrying up and getting ready! I know boys and girls are way different but it has become even more obvious to us. Madison is very thoughtful; loves to play with her dolls and her fine motor skills amaze me. She eats better with a fork than Jake does. At this age Jake was running around jumping off things, not so with Madison, she is content to play with her toys on the bed. While she is stubborn she defiantly listens better than Jake did. When I put her down for her nap, she will lay there until she falls asleep, not the case when Jake was little…he would have gotten up and run around.
We headed for the monastery and were not prepared for how cold it was going to be. It was FREEZING (probably in the teens). I am soooooo not winning mother of the year, I forgot Jakes gloves and poor Madison didn’t have on enough layers. My only saving grace was that I had packed another pair of pants of Madison in case of an accident so, I was able to add another layer. The monastery was very beautiful and our guide did a great job explaining the Buddhist religion to us. Everywhere we go we get stares but at the monastery people were stopping and touching the kids and taking pictures. For us this was very strange but, per our guide it is meant to be a compliment. Both of the kids do not like to be touched, they both tried to hide behind John or I. The monks were also fascinated with Jake and Madison and would stop to touch them or talk to them. Many monks tried to get Madison to put her hands in her pockets and let go of the Cheerio container but,
that just resulted in her screaming. We toured the monastery for about 2 hours and when we were done my legs were numb and the kids were cold and exhausted.
Once back in the car and warm everyone’s spirit was much improved and we headed to the hotel for dinner. Since it was Christmas Eve the hotel put on a huge buffet including a roaming Santa who gave the kids stuffed animals. The buffet was good, of course I played it safe and only ate American type dishes but John was more adventurous and ate pigeon, pork knuckles, duck and sushi. Jake ate noodles and fries while Madison ate anything put in front of her. The dinner was quite expensive 800rmb (about 120usd) but well worth it. It was the best meal we had eaten so far (no wonder John is down 5lbs and I am down 9lbs) Once back in the room the kids opened the few presents we brought and then it was off to bed.
Tomorrow we are off to Guangzhou for the last leg of our trip.
Today was the day we met the foster family. Our day started out with us having to go take photo’s for the civil affairs office. Our guide had us walk the six blocks to the photo place. Finally Madison let John carry her in public and actually feel sleep on the walk. After photo’s we grabbed a cab to the KFC where we had lunch. Lunch was interesting, even thou it was a KFC it wasn’t like home. I had a chicken sandwich which was a chicken patty that had corn and peas mixed in. It was neither good nor bad; it was okay but made me miss the KFC at home. After lunch we walked back to the hotel, the fresh air did us all some good. Once back at the hotel it was time for naps and to prepare to meet the foster family.
When we arrived at the orphanage the foster mother, sister and brother in law were outside waiting for us. As soon as Madison got out of the car she went running for her foster mother. We were all ushered inside by the staff into a very small room. It was a very surreal and emotional experience. I must admit that I have very very very mixed feelings about the entire experience. I do not regret it but, I am not sure if given the option and what I know now that I would do it all over again. Once in the room our guide asked if we had questions for the family, which I did about bedtime and bath time. The mother answered them, but also had the guide tell us how sad she was and that she only received two days notice that we were coming. She wasn’t ready for Madison to leave her care. I guess I had imagined that the foster family would be sad but, also happy that Madison was being adopted but, that was not the vibe in the room. The foster mother was very
upset and dare I say angry that we were here to take her baby away. As the person taking this child away, it makes you feel terrible to see your child so happy to see the only family they have every known and to know you have brought this family so much grief and heartbreak. So now the foster mother, sister and I are all crying. They truly love Madison and I think if they could have kept her they would have. We gave them our gifts (which of course they did not open in front of us) and I presented them with the photo collage that Millie put together (THANKS!). The photo was a huge hit, they loved it. Due to passport photo issues for Madison, our visit was rushed and we didn’t get to tour the orphanage, which was probably better. At this point the foster mother was lecturing me thru our guide, about feeding her enough, she told the guide she was worried we won’t feed Madison enough (all I could think was come on lady look at me…cant you tell I eat!
plus we are sitting here giving her Cheerios while you are holding her!) then it was about Madison’s runny nose (she is teething) and then about her clothes and eyes. I know the foster mother was being over protective but, it is not my 1st time at the rodeo, I do have a 7yr old who is well cared for. I was feeling very emotional spent and was relieved when the guide said we had to go back to the photo place. Of course before we could go, we had to take pictures with the family and the director. It was time to leave and the foster family put Madison in their car, I threw my guide a look and she said “They just want her to sit in their car, one more time” Of course my mama bear instincts kicked in, my guide said “Don’t worry, we won’t let them take her.” John put down the bags and looked like he was ready to run over at any moment and tackle the foster family. The guide convinced us that we should go wait in the car while she the orphanage
staff stood guard. Finally they brought Madison back to us, who promptly started bawling. Luckily we had to get going to take her passport picture again and that was a great distraction. After about an hour of crying and fussing, she was better and was calling us Mama and Baba again and handing out kisses.
Once the pictures were completed, we headed for the computer mart, which is like a mall with different computer stores/stands. After many conversations we were able to find someone who had a 110/220 converter. I prayed that it would work because I was feeling homesick and really needed to talk to my mama! Luck for us it worked and now we are back in contact with our world. Tomorrow we are off to sight see!
Our power converter blew up yesterday so now we cant charge our laptop or video camera (URGH) and there seems to be translation issues here because no one including our guide seems to understand what we need. So we wont have internet until Friday once we get to Guanzhou. So no updates until then & no Skype (URGH)
Thanks for all the good wishes & emails. We miss you all & wish you all Happy Holidays...
Today is what is known as gotcha day in the adoption community, it is the day you meet your child.
We had to be up by to get ready to leave for the airport by . So we set the alarms but Mr. Jake had other ideas as he woke up at 2am and stripped down to his underwear and started getting dressed because he was ready to go get his sister! We had to convince him that it wasn’t time and to please lay down but at that point we were all up and no one was going back to sleep so we got up and Skpyed, did email and tried not to be exhausted. This early rising made for a very long tiring day!
We got to the airport where according to our guide we got very lucky because they didn’t charge us for our luggage even thou it was way over! Then we had Burger King chicken strips for breakfast. So for anyone who was worried (and you know who you are) about Jake starving, so far so good! We got to our gate, where they put us on a bus and drove us out to our airplane. We had to board the plane old school style by climbing the stairs. I got yelled at by some ladies for not having a jacket on Jake, yes it was cold but he wouldn’t put it on and I wasn’t going to fight with him and then the flight attendant scolded me. So when we got off the plane in
When we arrived in
We were off to meet Madison and the butterflies starting swirling about my stomach but it was a quick ride so I didn’t have time to be too nervous and when we got there they were waiting for us. We walked into a small (maybe 250 sq feet) room where we were greeted by six people and Madison who was sleeping. Madame Li from the orphanage was there holding her, there was a Christian action rep, a nurse from the orphanage, and staff from the Civil Affairs office all there as well. So here I had been worried that we would walk in and
polite and did get anymore overwhelmed than John and I was. They gave me
she was so proud that she started repeating good job in English back to me. Back to the bank where John is still waiting to exchange the money, after about a ½ hr it’s finally his turn and after another 15 mins we find out that they don’t have enough to exchange all of our money so, Rose and I will need to go to another bank while John is finishing up. We decided to walk the 2 blocks to the bank with
Back at the room I stripped
understands us. After our guide left the troops were fading fast so we decided to give
At dinner we quickly ordered our food and I ended up with both kids in my lap. Madison who was looking around and Jake who was exhausted and having a small melt down, not that I blame him he had been up for at least 18 hrs at this point and it had been a loooooong day! Dinner arrived and Jake had fallen asleep at the dinner table.
Once back in the room, John and I each took a kid and got them ready for bed. Due to the tiny beds, Jake and John are sharing and Madison and I are sharing. Jake went down without an issue, however
John and I are over the moon excited and thrilled that our 1st day went so well. We are hoping the rest will be as easy (even thou we are prepared for them not to be!) Tomorrow we are back to the civil affairs office to sign our paperwork and then off to shop for a bit,
We arrived in
weight will be a issue but, I am not going to worry about it till tomorrow.
Candy and the driver both made fun of John for wearing shorts and told him he needed to wear pants or else he “might catch the swine flu” John took it in stride and said okay “Tomorrow, I will wear pants” John and I both laughed about it in the room especially since it sounds like something my grandma would say!
After settling into our room we decided to go explore downtown
has been an outstanding kid today! He has been very flexible, not worrying and has being trying to go with the flow, plus he has not made any rude comments and has done amazingly well with the smells, he didn’t even comment about how bad the van we got in reeked and it did reek! Now we are back at the hotel and now are getting ready for bed. Both John & I are very proud of how he is embracing this adventure!
We also got reemed at the hotel when he bought bottle water..we had more for 3, 8oz bottle waters than we did for our Mcdonalds dinner. They are charging $6 bucks
Tomorrow we head for the airport at and our flight heads to