Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday - Feb. 28th

Today we went to the zoo in Chongqing. We saw the pandas and the tigers, and Colleen got scolded by an old woman for not wearing a sweater. We had heard of the women scolding parents for not dressing the baby warm enough, but this was interesting for Mom to be scolded for not wearing warm enough clothes!

We also went to the Art Museum. We received a lesson in Chinese art and learned a little about the "eye of the dragon." This is the mark of the artist and his/her teacher that is placed within the landscape.

While on the bus ride, Michael, our tour guide and translator,talked a little about the Chinese culture changing from a socialist to a capitalist system. It was interesting to hear that when the government started charging for health insurance and higher education, that the people were actually happy. He explained that it was because they now receive better medical care and a better education.

We also heard some jokes from Michael regarding the Panda's.
First, why do Panda's sleep so much?
Because they are trying to get rid of the dark circles around their eyes... ha ha ha

Second, a Panda walks into a bar. He asks the bartender for a sandwich. When the bartender brings out the sandwich, the Panda eats it, then pulls out a gun and shoots it into the air. The bartender asks the Panda why he did that, and the Panda said "because I am a Panda silly" and tells the bartender to look it up in the encyclopedia. He then proceeds to leave the bar. So the bartender looks it up and finds out that the Panda is a native of China and eats shoots and leaves... ha ha ha

When we got back to the hotel, we tried to relax and take a nap. Sarae had other plans, however, and she decided she would rather be up. So, we ordered room service and stayed in.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Sarae continues to do well. She is starting to come out of her shell and is smiling a little and we have come to realize she can crawl and stand up on her own (for a few seconds anyway). They still have her on a every four hours feeding so I am getting up during the night with her. They told me that she eats congee (rice with lots of water)and noodles. We've introduced cheerios and watermelon. They told me that she was would eat anything and that eating actually soothed her. I believe it because she will sit in a high chair and I can leave the table and she is fine. She tends to cry if I leave her sight of vision at this point. Both Heidi and Leslie were able to hold her yesterday morning without her crying as long as I stood in front of her. Developmentally she seems to be on target and I have to say, we are having an extremely easy time with her. She does have a bad cough, down deep in her chest and they gave me antibiotics. She has a runny nose, but doesn't seem to have a fever. They gave me an antibiotic to give her and I'm also dosing her up with Children's Tylenol. She had her first bath yesterday. It literally scared the poop out of her! : ) By the end, she seemed to enjoy it, although the rinsing of the hair was not a pleasant experience for her.

I have to say, I cannot tell you how great it is having both Heidi and Leslie with me. I do not have to focus on anything except Sarae because those two have everything else taken care of. Since I have not been able to sleep very much, nor eat very much, it has been invaluable. They actually ventured out on their own in Chongquig to buy the most beautiful flowers for me in celebration of the adoption. Leslie has become the professional mother in the group and other first time parents are going to her for advice and questions.

I'm going to end here and now that I have figured out how to charge the laptop and post, you should be hearing from me (us) on a daily basis.

We got her!

We flew to Chongquig, the province where Sarae is from, Monday morning. We got into our hotel around 12:00 and had an hour and a half to unpack. Leslie and Heidi were incredible in helping me unpack and put everything away to prepare for receiving Sarae. During this time we were practicing with the camcorder and for some reason it decided to stop recording. Thank goodness we realized this before we left and we had another couple agree to let us use their camcorder. They weren't going to videotape theirs, since they both were going to be focusing on receiving their daughter so Leslie offered to video tape for them and Heidi to take still shots. It ended up working out for everyone. We drove to the Civil Affairs office to get our babies and when we walked in you saw babies everywhere with nannies. There was about 15 minutes where we were waiting to go into our room to receive our babies and during that time we were each anxiously looking at the different babies to see if ours was there. I became overwhelmed and had to stop looking because I was getting too anxious. Leslie and Heidi kept looking and thought they had found her. They called out your name and then brought their babies to you. There were several people in front of me and for some reason, I just zoned out so when they called my name, I just stood there. Felt like an idiot when I finally heard them calling me, but all was forgotten when they handed her to me. She was smiling when they handed her to me. She's absolutely beautiful and she did not cry at all. She would look at me and then look around. At one point, she laid her head down on my shoulder and took a short nap. While they were coordinating the paperwork, (here in Chongquig the process is different and I actually finalized the adoption that day, it was interesting to see how the other children were reacting. The ages were from around Sarae's age to almost three. As expected, the older ones were having a difficult time going to these "strange looking" people. One couple in particular had a little girl (almost 3) who was crying and running from them. After watching the adoptive parents and the caretaker run after this crying child, Leslie finally went up to her and picked the crying girl up, took her to the parents and explained they needed to hold her and take her away from the caregiver so she would stop crying. They followed her advice and although it wasn't smooth sailing, the father was able to start working with her and she ended up bonding with him. It's amazing, but almost every child bonded with the father initally instead of the mother. In my case, no problem, she bonded to me.

We're here and we have her!

I apologize for not being able to blog up until now. Unfortunately, when I open up to post blogs, everything is written in Chinese and I have been trying to rely on my memory to figure out how to post. Then, we realized that the adapter we brought (China uses a different voltage than the U.S.)was only for a two prong plug and the computer's was a three prong. Luckily, the hotel was able to provide us with the correct one. Hopefully, this post will be able to get through.

Our adventure began with an extremely long flight. We flew to LA with no problems and had a 14 hour layover until our plane left for China. We had gotten a hotel room with the thought that we would be able to sleep and shower. We all showered, but couldn't sleep. We did watch movies all afternoon (thanks Tia for providing those!). By this time, poor Heidi's head cold had gotten worse and she wasn't feel too well. The plane to China had tiny seats and tiny aisles. Just walking down the aisles to my seat I kept hitting everyone with my backpack. The flight was uneventful. On the plane we had to fill out forms regarding our health and what we needed to declare. Heidi and I were laughing at the translation because one option you could check was "snivling", we figured that meant a runny nose and since Heidi was sick, I believe she picked that one (she's asleep right now so I can't confirm). Once we got to Guangzhou, China, Leslie and I got through customs with no problems. I turned to wait for Heidi and saw them taking her off to another room. I started to go after her when Leslie reminded me they had already taken my forms and I wouldn't be allowed back in. I waited until I saw the guy that took Heidi off and questioned him, but he had limited English and I speak no Chinese and all I understood was "wait here for a minute". I figured they held her back due to her cold, I remember reading in the paper about their fear of sick people entering the country due to SARs and the Avian Flu. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, Heidi came out. Thank goodness when they took her temperature, she was normal. When we got to the hotel, Heidi went to sleep to try to get over her cold and Leslie and I ventured out. We went to Starbucks (yes I am forced to go here, since there is no Barnies in China that I can find!), 7-11 (to pick up drinks and snacks) and McDonalds (to pick up a little dinner). As you can tell, our hotel is surrounded by American companies.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Dogs...

Here are Buddy and Cody anxiously waiting for the arrival of Sarae. Buddy is the German Shepherd mix and is about 6 years old (he was abandoned so we are guessing what his age is). Cody is multi-cultural and he is the same age as Sarae, currently 11 months. Huge thanks to my sister Lynne for coming and taking care of them while I'm in China - I love you!!!

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Baby...

One January day
I had an answer to a prayer
when I finally received a call
to say that you were there.

Though holding only a photo,
my heart was lost that day
to a tiny girl in China
half a world away.

The baby face and tiny ears,
the lovely almond eyes,
the chubby oh-so-kissable cheeks
held power to mesmerize.

The distance seemed to melt away
though still a world apart.
Gazing at your picture,
I met you heart-to-heart

At long last knowing you were real
a child to call my own,
the daughter I was soon to meet
to finally bring you home.