Monday, September 10, 2007

Day 4 in Guangzhou

Our very handsome son

One thing I have noticed this trip is how many more special needs kids are being adopted from China. On our first trip to China, in 2004, Grace was one of the older kids we saw every morning at breakfast (and she was only 2.5 years old.) Almost everyone was adopting non-special needs, infant girls. This trip, at breakfast every morning, I see plenty of toddlers and preschoolers and a few older children, all from the waiting child program. This morning I met a woman who is adopting her 10th child, a 9 year old boy with a limb difference. She has adopted several special needs kids from China, including kids with vision impairment, profound hearing loss, cleft palate, and now this child with a limb difference.

After breakfast, we went to the zoo. Josiah seemed to enjoy checking out the animals, and he definitely enjoyed the taro (sweet potato) flavored ice cream we bought him. Personally, I'll stick to chocolate. Or just about any other flavor!

We also got to see Ann, our old guide, briefly this morning. We had brought some children's books for her which she plans to donate to an orphange she is working with. It was so good to see her--she looks just the same. She said we haven't changed either but I think she was being nice!! Tomorrow, we are going to a park with her and out to lunch so we can really catch up.

This afternoon we took pics with our travel group on the red couch in the lobby of the White Swan. The kids did great, though Josiah was crying at first. But of course, Marc figured out how to get him to laugh so we got some really cute pics. Josiah looked really darling in his Chinese clothes. He will probably hate these pictures in another 10 years or so...

This evening we went on the Pearl River Dinner cruise, which is one of the things you do when you come to China to adopt. Josiah seemed to enjoy riding on the big boat and he ate like a horse, as usual. We are now back, and he is in his crib, snoozing away while the TV roars, my fingers type, and the lights in the room blaze. This kid can sleep through anything. Good thing since he's coming home to our very lively and loud house!

Tomorrow is our last full day in China. We head for the airport Wednesday morning. I feel kind of sad that it is almost over, yet I look forward to getting home, seeing our other kids, and getting back to my "real" life. But I so much enjoy traveling and meeting new people and experiencing a different culture.

Click below for a few pics from today.
Day 4 Guangzhou

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Days 2 and 3 in Guangzhou

I can't believe my mom took a picture of me in my undies...

Things are going well in Guangzhou. As much as I hate to admit it, it's kind of a relief to not be in Wuhan anymore. I was very much looking forward to seeing another part of China this time, since we spent the whole two weeks in Guangzhou for Grace's adoption. But in Wuhan, people don't seem to be as used to seeing foreigners, especially foreigners with Chinese children. Everywhere we would go, we would be stared at. If we stopped moving, a crowd would gather. Being pretty go-with-the-flow kind of people, this was not too disturbing, it was kind of funny. Plus, I guess when I think about it, our family gets stared at in the states, too! But it was still nice to get to Guangzhou and see so many other people like us, and not be stared at so much.

Josiah is doing better every day. Tonight he asked to get in his crib and hasn't cried for his mama at all (yet!). He's playing with his toy cars in the crib right now. Today we went shopping at a big mall. I had to find the poor kid some underwear because I don't think they make it small enough in the states. He has absolutely no butt at all. He could easily wear 12 months size in underwear, if only I could find any!! He eats like a horse. I hope he fills out a little when we get him home.

Neighbors, friends, family members, and nursery workers...BEWARE! Our darling son occasionally pinches and bites. He can be smiling one minute, and then...OUCH! He's grabbed a hunk of your flesh, either with his fingers or his teeth. It's kind of strange, because it almost doesn't seem like it's a hostile action. He certainly has plenty to feel hostile about, however, so who knows??

Today we took Josiah to the Swan room. The Swan room is a playroom sponsored by Mattel inside our hotel. It's got a strange assortment of toys, mostly stuffed animals (who everyone should know infants and toddlers rarely play with), and a display case filled with Barbie dolls (NOT to be played with.) Fortunately, the room also has a few toys that make noises when you push the buttons. Josiah LOVED these and played for over an hour with these toys.

Yesterday we had the physicals for the kids. Josiah did great, opened his mouth when the doctor asked and everything. He was very calm. He is 90 cm tall and weighs 11.5 kg. For you Americans, that's 35 inches and 25 pounds! Yesterday we also ate out with our "group". Our guides, Lily and Rebecca, work for our agency, Small World, and also Lifeline in Alabama. So the Knorrs and us joined one other Small World family and four Lifeline families. Nice bunch of people. Josiah is the only boy in the group, all the rest are girls. Most have special needs of some sort. They range in age from about 18 months (I think) to 6 years old.

Today, getting on the elevator, I bumped into Molly, a girl we met here last time. We met her in the shop she worked for and she asked us if we were Christians. Not sure how she knew. Anyway, we gave her a Bible last trip and have prayed for her (not often enough!) ever since. Anyway, she stepped into the elevator,and I said, "Molly?" and she said, "Joan?" and we hugged! Pretty neat. We are hoping to get together with her tomorrow sometime. She is now an adoption guide, not a shop girl.

Well, that's about all. We will be home soon! Can't wait to see all our other kids!

Click below for a few pics.
Days 2 and 3 in Guangzhou
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Friday, September 7, 2007

Pics of Josiah

We have arrived in Guangzhou and are at the White Swan. My kids have requested more photos of Josiah, so here are a few. I'm too tired to write much, but we had a good flight from Wuhan. More below to see the photos.
Last day Wuhan, airport
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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Leaving for Guangzhou tomorrow...

Things are going SOOO well with Josiah! Let's see, it's been a while since I updated everyone. Yesterday, we went to the orphanage. We spent over 2 hours there. We were able to get a little information about Josiah's foster family. His foster dad is a boss at a construction company, and his mom stays home. They have one bio son, in second grade. They are quite well off apparently. The mom wanted to "give something back," and with her son being in school all day, she thought fostering would be a good way. Josiah was her second foster child. After telling us this, the head nanny said that the mom says she will not foster anymore because it is so hard to raise them and lose them. This made me start crying, and every time I think about it my heart just breaks for her. I wish so much we could have met her. I know it would be hard at the time but it would be healing for everyone (hopefully) as well, unless she would say, "Don't give my baby to those crazy old parents with all the kids!"

Yesterday we also visited a turquoise factory. Apparently, Hubei province is the only province in China that has turquoise. End of my knowledge on the subject. After that we visited the Yellow Crane Tower which I am not even going to try to explain. Suffice it to say it was a great place to go to look out over the city of Wuhan. I feel like my brain has been so stuffed with Chinese history this week that I can't remember any of it.

Today, we hit the museum for a bell concert which was pretty amazing. China has these huge bells that are over 2000 years old, and they made a replica of them (they don't play the real ones anymore, but the replica supposedly sounds exactly the same). Anyway, it was very enjoyable except for the army guy in front of us whose cellphone kept ringing. He would answer it in the middle of the concert and talk in a loud voice! Grrr...I asked our guide if this was socially acceptable and he said it was just as rude in China as it would be in the US.

Finally, we went to Eastlake Park which is a nice place to walk around. They have boats to look at or rent, lots of lotus flowers, etc.

Sightseeing finished, we headed off to Pizza Hut for lunch. Had a pizza called "Veggie" pizza but not quite the same as veggie pizza in the US. Ours had the typical tomato, green pepper, onion, etc. but also had corn and pineapple (!!) on it. It was pretty good!

The Knorrs wanted to buy a washing machine for the orphanage, and we wanted to buy some baby clothes for the orphanage, so next we went shopping. Actually, yesterday we tried to buy the washing machine without the presence of our Chinese speaking guide, and that was a complete laugh. It was as if the store (Carrefour- the French version of WalMart) didn't want to sell us one! They would tell us it was "no good", or it was the last one, or who knows what. So we finally gave up and decided to wait till today.

Now we are back in the hotel waiting for Eric to return with our papers from the Notary's office. Tomorrow we head to Guangzhou. There are so many things I didn't write about while we were here. We met families from Spain and Iceland. We've been stared at like a freak show everywhere we go. My efforts at buying snack foods at the Carrefour have been hilarious--I came home with coffee flavored Chips Ahoy cookies, onion flavored cookies, orange flavored Cheez Doodles, and spicy-pepper coated dried apricots. Yum yum yum!! And NOOOOOO, we don't normally eat that kind of food but we are kinda limited as to what is safe to munch on. I'd sure love a big salad and a pink lady apple right now!! Oh, I did find these wonderful little latte drinks there that come in cartons with straws like those Horizon chocolate milks they sell at Costco. They are so good!!!
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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Day 2 with Josiah

Here's a short slideshow of our pics from today. Josiah is doing well; the toughest times of day are naptime and bedtime when he cries for "mama" (and he doesn't mean me!) But overall he is adjusting well and the real blessing is that he will go to both of us and doesn't seem to have a clear preference for one of us (at least not yet). Also, he is very reserved and will not go to strangers or even acknowledge them. So clearly, Marc and I are in some sort of category of our own while he processes all of the changes he's going through. This is a good sign.

Some Humor in China



Let us take some time to humor you with a few things we have noticed in China. First of all, a "No Smoking" sign in China really means "Smoke Like Chimney". Example #1 - As Marc was exercising in the workout room a man walked in talking on his cell phone and smoking a cigarette! Not only was he smoking in the workout room, where several No Smoking signs were posted, he was flicking the ashes on the floor. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?! Marc used his best sign language to remind the guy that... YOU DON'T SMOKE IN THE WORKOUT ROOM!! He quickly shuffled out of the room. Example #2 - Josiah and Marc were on the elevator headed for their room on the 18th floor. A gentleman entered on a lower floor with a lit cigarette. He tried to hide the cigarette behind his back. I could not help but laugh as smoke billowed out from behind him, the smell wafting about the elevator. I noticed a No Smoking sign above his head and across the elevator from him! In fact, there were FOUR No Smoking signs in the elevator. The guy must have thought I was blind, had no sense of smell and could not read.

OK, let's get off the No Smoking theme and start a new theme I will entitle, "Good Intentions Gone Wong." Please note the three pictures above. The first two were found in the restaurant and the third was found at the playground. "French Petty Fours" should apparently be "French Petit Fours"...I (Marc) did not get this one but Joan thought it was funny. The only French words I know are see vu plate, which means "please pass the plate". Now the second one really scared me. I think the word "lamb" should be substituted for "lamp". I was taking no chances however, deciding that I did not want to be electrocuted on my first bite. The third sign has been read over and over by both Joan and Marc. If you can decipher it please share with us in your comments to this blog.
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