Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 13 Guangzhou

Today we had our U.S. Consulate appointment first thing this morning. Basically for those that don't know, the Consulate appointment consists of taking an oath stating our paperwork and oral statements through this whole process are true to the best of our knowledge, submitting some official documents from your child's province and also applying for Emma's visa to enter the USA. This appointment basically completes the U.S. side of the adoption. The visa will be issued/ready tomorrow and we should have it by 4:30pm when we leave for Hong Kong. We will be spending one night in HK and then we leave the following morning for HOME!! Yeah. We are so ready to get home. We are NOT ready for the 15 hr flight to Detroit but we have no choice if we want to get home. Being trapped on a plane with two small children to entertain could be disastrous. We are hoping for time to pass quickly and many hours of sleeping. One can dream, right? Once we land in the USA (Detroit) on Thursday Emma will be a U.S. citizen. WooHoo!!

Anyone who has adopted knows the feeling of wanting to go home and start your "real" life together but also the feelings of sadness as you take your child from their birth country and all that they have known. Even though Emma's life was not optimal, it was her life and all she knew. She was fortunate to be in an orphanage that was well funded, with nannies that truly loved her, and where the children were well feed and cared for. We are removing her from her familiar surroundings, people, food, language, smells, sounds and routine. We know it is for the better but she doesn't know this at this point. We are sad to say good bye to China but so looking forward to HOME! We can't wait to see Gavin and Sophie and our family. We have missed them terribly. 48 more hours and we will be landing in Boston. Hallelujah!

Emma had her first taste of the big double arches today. Needless to say she loved every minute of it. I, on the other hand, skipped lunch today as I have seen the bathroom to many times today! I know, TMI. I am praying this is resolved before our flight home. Something did not sit well with me today after b'fast. I haven't been able to stray to far from our room. UGH!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 12 Guangzhou

Today we had our follow up medical check for the TB test planted on Saturday. Emma's was negative, thank goodness. After our appointment we traveled to the pedestrian shopping center in Guangzhou where the pearl market is. We shopped for a little while with the 3 other families from our agency. On our way home we stopped at the Trust Mart (just like Walmart) to stock up on snacks, diapers and other necessities. We walked back to our hotel and by the time we returned we all looked like we just stepped out of the shower. The humidity here is unreal. It is hard to enjoy yourself doing anything here in Guangzhou when you just walk outside and sweat like a pig. All the travelers look the same, hot and sweaty. The locals don't look hot at all. Some have pants and long sleeve shirts to cover up from the sun too. I guess they must be somewhat used to the humidity. Not me. You couldn't pay me enough to live in this climate. At least 2 showers a day is required to look or feel presentable. It is just HOT, HOT, HOT. Emma wants to be carried everywhere too, just like Lily did. The only difference is that Emma weighs 33 lbs and Lily weighed only 22 lbs. Emma sweats like crazy with the hot weather too. So, not only is it crazy hot, I have a 33lb sweat ball on my hip. She is a little ball of fire, which makes us both hotter. She becomes sweaty and slippery as we walk around. Sounds great, huh?

Tomorrow is our Consulate appointment. We have to get up super early, so off to bed now. Sorry for the sideways picture. Don't have time to fix it right now...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 11 Guangzhou

Today was a free day for us so we decided to go to Shamian Island. We stayed on Shamian Island when we adopted Lily and it is a great place to by souvenirs. After a few minutes of walking we began to see all the familiar sites we were hoping to see. For those that have been there, you know what I mean. The statues, Lucy's, Cow and Bridge, the brides, The White Swan (now under construction), The Victory and all the shops. It brought back great memories of our time there with Lily. The only negative, HOT and 100% HUMIDITY! The weather in Guangzhou in August is quite frankly, disgusting. The minute you step outside you sweat. You feel like you need another shower the minute you walk out the door. Needless to say, the hair situation is not good. We spent the morning and early afternoon shopping and stocked up on gifts. We headed back to our hotel to regroup and have a light dinner and an early bedtime. The girls didn't have a nap today and were very tired.

Emma continues to do well despite the fact her whole entire happy world has been changed. She has had a few moments of crying/wailing and some moments of being sad but over all she is happy, silly, and affectionate. I can't forget FRESH too. She is still testing boundaries with us, of course. She is catching on though that there are consequences to her freshness. We are not being Drill Sergeants but we have been setting a few limits. She is listening and learning. She truly is a beautiful, smart, funny, and an out going little girl who LOVES to eat! We have only known her for 7 days but it feels like she has been with us forever in some ways. I can't imagine my world without her now. We can't wait to return home so our family and friends can see what an amazing little girl she is!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 9 & 10 Leaving Yinchuan, Hello Guangzhou

We arrived in Guangzhou at about 8pm Friday night after traveling for about 9 hours from Yinchuan. It was an exhausting day. We were SO HAPPY to arrive in Guangzhou at the Garden Hotel. This hotel is absolute luxury compared to the hotel we stayed at in Yinchuan. The Yinchuan hotel was clean, but run of the mill, average hotel. No one spoke English AT ALL in Yinchuan so it was very difficult to communicate about anything, even ordering food. We were the only Americans there. We basically ate the same food for days. The Garden Hotel is paradise! People speak English, our suite is pure luxury and swanky. The beds are soft and comfy. The beds in Yinchuan were like sleeping on plywood. No joke. The food is great here in Guangzhou. The feel is just totally different here. Maybe it is because it feels somewhat familiar from being in Guangzhou in 2009 with Lily's adoption. Regardless, we are feeling relieved and happy to be here.

Emma did ok on the plane. She cried when she had to be buckled for take off and landing but over all ok. I think the car seat situation at home will be interesting. The 15 hour plane ride home will be an adventure too. Not looking forward to that....

This morning Emma had her medical exam and test for TB. We will have her TB test read on Monday, hoping for a negative reading obviously. We meet 3 other families that are with our same adoption agency. Nice to have other families to connect with and speak to! More pics to come later.

Emma continues to do great. She is funny, happy, strong willed and HEAVY. She is 32-33 lbs. She weighs almost as much as Lily!! She loves to eat!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 8 Yinchuan

We toured the Haibao Pagoda and Zhongshan Park today. The Haibao Pagoda is a Buddhist Pagoda where Buddhist Monks come to visit every month to pray and burn incense. It is the oldest Temple in Ningxia and one of the few open to the public. It has existed for over 1500 years. It was amazing to see. We purchased incense and said our own prayers for Emma, her birth counrty and birth parents.

We spent the remainder of the morning at Zhongshan park. Beautiful scenery for pictures. This park had amusement rides for the kids too. We attempted to ride a few rides as Emma and Lily were both excited but once on a small train ride, Emma started to cry. We then just walked around and admired the scenery. I wish I had photography experience with the incredible surroundings at the Haibao Pagoda and Zhongshan Park. After we had a wonderful lunch with our guide, Linda.

A few other things to say.

1) Really bad hair. That's all I'm going to say about that.
2) We really miss everyone at home. We have skyped and texted mnay times but we can't wait to wrap our arms around everyone. Thank you to Grammy, Beeb, Renee, Cody, Peter and Angie for holding down the fort so we could make this trip happen. Love you all!! Thank you Gavin and Sophie for being so incredibly awesome! :) Less than one week and we will be home!!

Tomorrow we receive Emma's passport and the on to Guangzhou. the flight is 4hrs and 20 min. We are a little nervous about the flight. Not sure how miss Emma is going to handle it.....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 7 Yinchuan

Today we spent the morning at the orphanage, Civil Affairs office and Public Notary's office signing documents and preparing for Emma's Chinese passport so she can travel to the U.S. next week. I was not mentally prepared for our visit to the orphanage today. Not that we saw anything other than happy children in the lobby with the nannies but because I hadn't prepared myself for the finality of going there today. I have thought of what it would be like going there but I guess you can never really prepare yourself until you are in that moment. When Emma started to cry when she saw all her nannies it broke my heart. She wasn't crying because she wanted to leave but because she wanted to stay with her nannies and the Director of the orphanage. It was so hard to see her so sad and grieving for them. She left in my arms willingly but she was truly sad and weepy. It was also so sad to see the other children with virtually no chance to be adopted. Most of the children that we saw today had down syndrome or some other major special need. I was a mess when we left the orphanage mostly for Emma, knowing we were taking her from the people she loved but also for those children that will grow up without a family. Adoption is so hard. So many emotions are felt during this process. It is not all happy but definitely worth it. I know Emma will have a wonderful life us that she wouldn't have had if she stayed. Knowing that makes those hard feelings easier to experience. Nothing can sugar coat those feelings though for the unwanted children of Ch!na left behind. They way heavy on your heart.

We were planning on spending the afternoon sight seeing with our guide but we changed our minds and decided to go tomorrow instead. All of us were feeling a little sad, overwhelmed and just needed to have a quiet afternoon. We had lunch at the hotel and all of us took a nap after. Tomorrow is a new day. We will sight see in the morning before our afternoon appointments.

Emma continues to do great despite todays orphanage visit. She is so funny, happy, playful, and MISCHIEVOUS! She is definitely testing the boundries with us. I think we might be in for it when we get home. When she does something she is not supposed to do (throw noodles on the floor, throw her baby on the floor, or if we tell her no) she laughs and laughs and laughs. I mean belly laughs. Oh boy!

 Lily is handling the big sister roll fairly well. She has been a huge help making Emma feel less nervous and scared. She has been so sweet holding her hand or rubbing her back when Emma needs comforting. The reality of having a little sister is sinking in though. Sharing has been difficult for Lily. We know there will be growing pains. I just pray those pains aren't too painful for Lily. She has been our little princess for the last 3 years. Now Emma has arrived and needs our attention too.

Now for the pictures.....    

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 6/Yinchuan

Today has been a quiet day. No appointments or sight seeing today. Just resting and getting to know each other. Emma continues to do great. She is truly a sweetie pie. She continues to be affectionate and happy. We are trying to figure out her symptoms from her special need, Spina Bifida, at this point. For those that don't know, Spina Bifida can affect a child's mobility and bladder and bowel function with different severity.  Emma walks with a limp as her left foot is slightly smaller than the right. She is at times unsteady on her feet too. She can walk long distances though as we have taken a few walks around the city where the hotel is. She has sensation when she has to urinate or poop, which is great. The urinating we are still trying to figure out. She has to pee frequently at times and not at others. She had 1 accident yesterday but was dry this morning when she woke up which was also great. Yinchuan is different than I expected. It is cleaner and "newer" looking than other cities in china we have seen. We are getting many stares from the locals where ever we go. I think because we are Americans(we are the only Americans here that we have seen) but also because we have 2 little girls with us with visible special needs. My thoughts on that deserve another post at some point. Tomorrow we visit the orphanage and then do some sight seeing with our guide. More pics below!!

Emma Yilan has arrived!! Day 5

Today has been surreal! It truly was an amazing day. The only thing missing from today was Gavin and Sophie. I so wish they were here with us. Emma did great. She is absolutely adorable & precious. She was a little scared and cried briefly when she initially saw us. She quickly warmed up to us though. We have already had multiple smiles, belly laughs, kisses, lots of hand holding & eye gazing. She is sooooo talkative! She has talked non stop since we got her. I can only imagine what she is saying! She has eaten great, took a nap today and has been very silly & easy. No crying or tantrums, yet. Just silly and happy:) I know things can and probably will take a turn but we are enjoying the "calm" now. Just a few pics below. It is getting late and the girls need to go to sleep. Anthony is already sleeping. The jet lag this time has kicked both of our butts!!