Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almost Home, Last Post from China

Whew! What a great feeling knowing we will be leaving in 5 1/2 hours for the airport and another couple more for the flights home...EEk! We'll be traveling for 28 plus hours!! And Miss Lily Ping does not like being confined. We have lots of snacks packed, some toys and big prayers for peace. We will beginning a new year in China in about 2 hours and several more hours for most of you. We wish you a very big and happy NEW Year!

The last two days were peppered with the most important paperwork, completeing the US consulate protocols. We were instructed to stay in our room yesterday from 10am - noon and wait for a call to let us know all was fine and we were free to go. Since I traveled alone we had additional paperwork to complete, including a last minute document from Wisconsin that was to be faxed just hours before our appointment. I waited nervously, until Peter called, letting me know that everything was fine...Great news. We were also, trying to complete our adoption in Wisconsin for Lily. That was also completed on the 30th, another relief. Today, we piled into the van for our last trip together, our last goodbyes with the Yangjiang sisters, to travel to the US consulate to receive our child's passport and a "formal" swearing in ceremony. On the way to the consulate, Peter, received a call from the consulate office, that one of our families had a document that was unsigned...much panic set in...for them and us. Much Chinese was spoken, Peter asked the family to call their social worker to have her sign and fax a copy now. In case you weren't aware, the time difference, depending on where you live in the US is 12-14 hours difference. Therefore it was evening, and their social worker was also out of the country. To make the rest of the story short...they had to sign an affidavit saying they would have her sign and mail it as soon as possible, and they were free to go. We received our passports, along with a nice speech by a consulate appointee, we swore that all of the documents and information we provided was true and off we went. Two families left today, the other two of leave tomorrow. We are all very much looking forward to being home to start the new year!

One of the traditions of American adoptive families is to take a "Red Couch Photo" just before you leave Guangzhou at the White Swan Hotel. Our darlings looked beautiful!
Lily has really enjoyed her hula dress. She likes to put in on over everything else, including pj's and sweatshirt.
Our last post from China. Looking forward to seeing all of you and introducing Lily to our wonderful Circle of Support!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

People watching

The first picture is not a is a school/temple called the Chen Folk Art Museum. It was very beautiful and contained many traditional art forms, including porcelin painting, ivory carving, embroidery, bonsai...all the things that would interest a 20 month old! There are more pictures in the public viewing of our Picassa web album.
As I said, there are many crazy bronze statues all over the neighborhood. And the tourists like to pose with them and have their friends take pictures of them, posing. It is happening everywhere, and all of the time. The other picture taking experience that occurs here all the time and everywhere is wedding photography. According to one source, the Chinese spend alot of money on their photos. As you can see, this couple if decked out. Sometimes there are 4-6 couples having photos taken within 1/2 block. Along with each couple, is a group of photographers, aluminum lighting holder person, often a makeup person and someone carrying all the stuff.
The last photo of the kids was a sweet experience. The one to the left approached me, with a piece of paper and pencil, asking me where I was from, my favorite color,my favorite sport and my name,then asked me to sign the paper. The others stood seriously around and with the urging of the teacher, they each asked me the same questions, I answered the same answers and signed my name. They were adorable. The little girl was the shy one in the group. They were from an English school in the neighborhood. I've been approached on several occasions by people asking if they can practice their English.


We've spent quite a bit of time playing at the playground. Along with her pal, Xiao, Lily is very happy spinning things, sliding down the slide, running and exploring.


One of things we have enjoyed is buying SHOES.

Christmas in china

This is a retrospective account of Christmas in China, since it is now 5 days past. From the pictures you can see that the weather is mild and we spent alot of time outside, which is what we usually do. That will be one of our adjustments upon returning home to winter in Wisconsin. Around the Shamian Island are these crazy statues...Lily thought the pug was great to ride and poked curiously at the buxom woman with her toothbrush(not one she uses for brushing her teeth), belonging to the pub. We had lunch at Lucy's, an outdoor spot that is easy to take an active 20 month old. It is one of the only places I'm finding it easy to take an active 20 month old, at this point. Later that evening we joined the other families in our group and took a cruise around the harbor of Guangzhou on the Pearl River. The Pearl River is the third largest river in China. Once home to the river people, it now is a thriving business, hotel and disco area. The billboards I've seen in this part of southern China are huge, so, much of our cruise captured the advertising giants of the area. The one picture I've included from this cruise is of a beautiful suspension type bridge.

I missed being home for Christmas with my loved ones. We'll have alot to celebrate when we return.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Staying Put...

The temperature dropped a the 50's. I know, I know..I'm sorry to rub it in for those of you back in WI. But, I don't have a hat for Lily and it's windy,too. I bought a hat for myself yesterday, not because of the cold, but it was funky. I thought maybe she would wear it. She tolerated it for a little while and then really didn't want her picture taken with it. She was much more interested in her shoes..

We'll probably go out for a walk, as long as she will keep her hat on! She is taking a nap now, after a long tantrum. She wore herself out.

Slow emergence

Throughout the first day Lily was with me, she was quiet. By the time she went to bed that night she hadn't said a word. She would take a toy from me, yet wasn't really interested. Her face was almost expressionless. She didn't cry, either. She was able to help me dress and undress her, lifting a foot here or poking an arm in there.

And on the second day, she still looked warily at me, but walked around our room looking at things. That's when the toothbrush came into her life...a pink monkey toothbrush became her constant companion. Her magic wand of inquiry...she'd see something she wanted to know about...poke,poke, something she wanted to touch..poke,poke. She'd run it along the mirror, at the drawer pulls,at a cabinet, clothes. She loved her big purple ball from the start and was able to keep the toothbrush in her hand, a cracker in the other, or two and still pick up the ball. It was on the second day I discovered her ability to take a bite of food, then another, then her time in between for chewing. She appeared to like the food...until I'd reach up a hand to help catch some drips of a drink...and out came whatever she did not like, bread or fruit, yesterday it was corn. I am better prepared now, and usually have a napkin handy. Not the best table etiquette at a restaurant.

The third day, after a long and arduous trip to the orphanage, she really began to vocalize...aiaiai, as she wanted to get down or stand up during our official lunch with the orphanage director, on the busride, on the way up the elevator. She is strong,too. Once she gets down, she is active, busy, happy, poking away with her toothbrush...

Now, on day five I am seeing a beautiful, strongwilled, inquisitive, smart and sweet little girl. She smiles alot(when she is down and freeeeee), she likes to interact with the other girls and the adults. She likes to be held and hugged, tickled. She had a couple of melt downs yesterday, mostly related to confinement and no nap. She cried, cried when it was bedtime, even though she hardly slept at all. I put her down after some crying. She kicked and yelled for a few minutes, tears streaming down. I picked her up, she stopped, I put her down, she started up again. I gave a few minutes, picked her up and she was out, deadweight, in 2 minutes and has been sleeping soundly since(it's 4am here). She is a true blessing. We are very lucky that she is so "typical" toddler.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Now, the real Lily Day

We met at our hotel lobby. There are 2 couples, another women with a friend and myself in our travel group. All of our daughters are within a couple of months of each other, all from the same SWI(orphanage) in Yangjiang. All of our daughters were given the surname of Yang, followed by Jiang and then their individual name. Lily's name was Yang, Jiang Ping. There is also Jiang Ye, Jiang Shen, Jiang Ciao.

We traveled about 30 minutes through the busy streets of Ghangzhou to the Adoption Center.People zoomed everywhere on bikes, motorbikes, cars and by foot. Open air shops sold everything from clothing to pipes and plumbing supplies, food, fruits, name it.

When we arrived at the CAB, we traveled up the elevator to the room where we would meet our girls. The room was in direct contrast to the grit of the streets. It was spacious, brightly lit from the windows, beautiful photos of lovely children and families. The couches and cushions were modern in a mod red, white and black motif. It was a bit surreal.

We milled around, being nervous, taking photos and video, wondering if they were here....sequestered in a back room, waiting for us eager parents. After about 20-30 minutes, our guide, Peter, checked and informed us that they were on their way up in the elevator.

Within seconds,7 adults were aiming video cameras on the elevator corridor. We stood there waiting for the first glimpse of our babes. I wonder how it must have looked to them?

What seemed like 20 minutes later, and was probably only 3, the elevator doors opened, the caregivers walked in with 4 toddlers, walking...really We oohed and aahed and cooed and cried, watching them come in. I recognized Lily immediately. She was the second little one in. She was wearing the read Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt I had sent her and orange and white patton leather shoes(poor thing). They walked toward us, as though they were going to let us have them right then and there, but someone said something and off they fast as a toddler in tight shoes can walk...into another room. We all moved our vantage point to see in the room as they readied the girls. One by one, they were brought out, carried by their caregiver, handed to us, while at the same time, we were handing our passport and travel approval over to the official worker.

She was quiet and calm. She didn't cry or fuss. She didn't express much on her little serious face.

I carried her to the couch and gave her a toy. She looked at it, didn't really reach for it, let her stay in her lap, looked at me, and looked around. We had a few moments together before more paperwork. I offered her some fruit puffs, she looked at them, didn't know what to do with them. I fed her one, she opened her mouth and let it in. I didn't see much chewing, but she accepted the next one, and the one following that. Her cheeks weren't puffing up like a chipmunk, so I gave her a few more. I put some in a cup for her, and she got the hang of it. She started feeding herself. I offered her a bottle of water. She willingly took that. She rested against me to drink and when I had to move to do paperwork, she wanted to come with. Peter helped by holding the bottle for her, while I signed papers. Finally, we finished this process and were able to leave. I'm glad Eli has been giving me practice in upper body strength, I needed it for this little one.

More about the rest of the day, later.

Lily Day

This morning I strolled around the hotel, watching groups of people doing their morning exercises, playing badminton, chinese music playing in the air. The weather is warm and calm. There is a constant hum of activity, work, actually. Many small projects and renovations going on. I changed hotel rooms, from the New Victory to the Old Victory. The rooms are much more spacious. I have a little sitting area, with windows, overlooking Helen's Laundry.

The early afternoon was preparing documents, and ourselves to meet our daughters. How do you Prepare for such an event? How about some prayer, meditation and some chocolate! The best I could do...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pictures of Shamian Island, GZ,China

First day in China

This is my first day in China. I took a walk and look what I found....not the most important site, yet comforting, for some reason.
My flight was long, very long, very smooth and uneventful. There were several children on the flight and I couldn't help but think about bringing Lily Joy back. What a shock for many new experiences. It is hard to imagine.