Sunday, March 25, 2007

Guess who's walking?!!!!

Yep, she finally realized Friday that she can walk and by my friend's son's first birthday party (Happy Birthday Henry!) really had it down-pat. It's amazing how quickly she can get into the dog's food now. They actually test dog food on humans first right?! : ) Since we were in China during Sarae's first birthday, my niece Tia threw Sarae a birthday party last week. As you can see from the pictures, Sarae really loves icing. She actually grunts when she sees icing and/or ice cream now. Sarae also went and had her picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Judging from her initial reaction to the dogs (screaming), my friend Paula and I were not sure how she would react to the Easter Bunny. Perhaps seeing Paula's children, Lily and Haden with the Easter Bunny helped because she seemed fascinated by him (as well as the fake flowers that were all around as a display which she pulled off every chance she got).

Friday, March 16, 2007

We are Home!!!!

After 26 hours of traveling, we finally made it home around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Heidi and I both think that Sarae was the best traveler since she didn't whine once! Sarae continues to be outgoing and went to strangers on the plane and patted people's heads as we walked down the aisle. It took a few days for Sarae's stomach to get on the Florida time zone, but she is doing great now. She loves to eat and has eaten everything put in front of her. She loves her spaghetti and as you can see in the picture, she wears her food as well. Cody, my puppy, has realized that Sarae is a potential food source and tends to follow her around no matter where she is going. He is very patient with her and doesn't even flinch when she pulls at his ear or pokes him in the eye. Buddy, my German Shepherd mix, isn't sure what to think of her, but he will lick the top of her head and then run. He did bring her his treat yesterday which was very sweet. My sister Lynne, left Sarae lots of food and toys. We play every morning with the toys and Sarae loves them. My niece Tia is positive that Sarae actually said her name today, unfortunately I was on the phone so I didn't hear it. Sarae had her first doctor's appointment today. The doctor was very surprised at how healthy Sarae is (compared to other orphange babies she has worked with). She said that Sarae was very curious, smart and manipulative. Her motor skills are on target and she is a happy baby. Well, that is until it is time to go to sleep. She is still screaming if I put her in the crib and leave. For the last two days I've been able to pat her back for a few minutes and that has put her to sleep. We'll see how long that lasts! She got two vaccinations today and she cried for a total of 10 seconds. She's pretty tough and even when she busted her nose on my tile floor, she stopped crying before her nose stopped bleeding. Hope this blog finds everyone well and I'll try to keep it up every so often.

Take care!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

More Shopping and the Farewell Dinner

We had the morning free so Heidi, the Goliath Family, Sarae and I hit the leather market once again. Then Heidi and I went to Shaiman Island for some additional shopping. Heidi and I have shopped so much we are afraid we will have to buy another piece of luggage to get everything home! We had lunch at Lucy's Restaurant which caters to Americans. We had a hard time refraining from ordering almost everything on the menu, but settled for an enchilada, a grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup, onion rings and spring rolls. For dessert we got popcorn. American food never tasted so good! : ) Sarae had her first cucumber and she loved it.

This afternoon we went to the American Consulate to take an oath that all the paperwork we turned in was factual and to finish the American portion of our adoption. Now when we step into the L.A. airport, Sarae will officially be an American Citizen - Yea!!!

Tonight we had a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Most of the children were dressed in a traditional Chinese outfit and some of the parents as well. We pretty much ate and left since Sarae missed her afternoon nap and really needed to get some sleep.

We leave tomorrow night for L.A. and will arrive at 5:50 p.m. Our Delta flight to Atlanta leaves at 10:55 p.m. We then get on an 8:30 a.m. flight to Orlando arriving at 9:55 a.m. There is an earlier flight to Atlanta and then Orlando (by about an hour) and we are going to see if we can fly standby. If so, we'll call those people who are to pick us up to let them know the new time. Heidi and I can't wait to see everyone!! This will be our last blog since we are going to start packing everything up. Talk to you all soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Shopping & the Pearl River Cruise

This morning our paperwork was taken to the U.S. Consulate to start processing the visas for the babies. While we didn't have to actually go, we did have to stay in our rooms until 11:00 a.m. to ensure we could be contacted if there were any questions. Heidi was kind enough to go to the local bank and exchange more money for us both and confirm our flight to L.A. Sarae took a nap and I attempted to organize our stuff a little.

Guangzhou has quite of few markets that sell at wholesale (or so they say). Today we went to the electronic market. We looked at many different items and ended up buying a little. We then returned to the hotel and Sarae and I took naps. Unfortunately, Heidi wasn't able to fall asleep.

The weather turned quite cool today and we are regretting sending our warmer clothing home with Leslie, but fortunately we have enough clothes to layer and keep warm. Tonight we went on a cruise on the Pearl River. Lucky for us, the boat was enclosed. While waiting to go on the boat, a little Chinese boy came up to Sarae and attempted to kiss her several times. She seemed amused by him. The buildings along the river all have lights on them so it is quite pretty. Guangzhou is known by several different names, Two of them are "The South Gate to China" since it sits on the river and is a major trading city and "The Flower City" - due to it's warmer climate, many different flowers are grown here. It is said to have good feng shui since it has both a mountain and a river. There are approximately 20,000 foreigners who live here. Many Africans are here, they buy from the markets and then sell the items in Africa. I know that when I sit in Starbucks (thank goodness they have tea and hot cocoa!), I see people from all over the world - pretty neat.

Sarae was actually on her schedule pretty much today and did extremly well. It's amazing to see all of the children adapting so well to their new parent(s) and their new environments. Only 2 more days til we start the journey home!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Shopping and Paperwork

Today Heidi and I had the morning free so we decided to go out on our own to go shopping. We got a staff here at the China Hotel to write down in Chinese that we wanted to go to the Leather Market, than hopped in a taxi and showed them the paper. It worked and we spent 2.5 hours walking around and shopping. Sarae was so thrilled with the shopping, she fell asleep. We then rushed back to the hotel so I could work on the paperwork to obtain Sarae's Visa so we can come home. Meanwhile, Heidi stayed back in the hotel room so that Sarae could get her afternoon nap.

This evening we took a taxi to Bejing Road which is a road filled with shops.
We went with the Goliath family since they had already been there and were familiar with the layout. We went down an alley then upstairs into the little shop and they opened up two suitcases filled with different types of watches. Hopefully you can see this in the picture posted. It was hilarious - like something out of a movie.

Sarae continues to do well. She's eating very well. So far I know she likes watermelon, cantelope, noodles, tofu, eggs, and bread. I think she's getting a little bit of a tummy! She actually slept through the night last night, but since she missed her naps yesterday I'm not sure if that was just a one time thing or not. The only time she ever cries is if she is hungry or if I put her down to sleep. She screams horribly when I put her in her crib for anywhere from 5-15 minutes and then mid scream she will drop off to sleep. I feel so bad for my neighbor in the hotel!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Shopping and the medical exam

Leslie had to unexpectedly leave to return to the States last night due to her nanny quitting while she was here with us. We miss her terribly and hope she had a safe flight home. Heidi has helped tremendously and even though she didn't think she could, she cleaned Sarae's nose and changed a poopy diaper. Yea Heidi!!!

This morning was a free morning so we met up with another family who had been here 2 years before. They had made a friend here then named Millie. Millie took us shopping and Heidi and I were able to check off some gifts on our list. We really felt fortunate having Millie with us as she did all of the bargaining for us.

This afternoon we went to Shaiman Island and had our medical check-ups. Sarae is a whopping 20.7 pounds. Good news - she's completely normal. The only bad news from the exam is that we learned Sarae is a kleptomaniac as she stole the rattle from the doctor. Hope Devereux will give a family discount : )

We are meeting for a group dinner here at the hotel and then it will be an early night for all of us. Hope everyone is doing well. Only 4 more days until we start our trip home.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

We're in Guangzhou!

We made it to Guangzhou and have met up with the other families. It's been great catching up with everyone and seeing all of the new children. We got in later than I thought last night and so when the team brought Sarae her birthday cake, she and I were already asleep, so we'll celebrate tonight instead. This is the last day of the Chinese New Year and it is also considered the Chinese Valentine's Day. For those of you that know Heidi, you can imagine how thrilled she was to be able to celebrate Valentine's Day twice this year! : ) We went to the Buddhist temple where many of the local people went. There was a lot of incense burning and the monks blessed all of the babies. It was a neat ceremony. We were going to go shopping afterwards, but Sarae fell asleep so we came back to the hotel instead. We plan on shopping tomorrow after the medical exams. Not sure if I will be able to post pictures tonight, but I will try. If not, I will definitely post the ones from this morning tomorrow.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. We miss you all!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Mountain Park and the Tea House

Today we were taken to Mountain Park to walk around and see the sites. The park, like the zoo, is open to the public at no cost so you see many people there, some exercising, some dancing, others just walking and socializing. The weather was perfect, cool, but not too cool. We walked up quite a bit so you could see the city below, but unfortunately, the pollution is so great, that you can't see very far. China has grown industrially very quickly, but there is no EPA here to help regulate the companies. In Mountain Park there is a government owned tea house and we were shown the correct way of making tea. We also got to try three of their teas. The tea trade has lasted over 4800 years in this area. I found the teas to taste too much like perfume was added, but other people in the group loved them. Sarae especially loved the chocolate wafers so we ended up buying those for her. The traffic over here is incredible and although there are lanes, people just drive wherever they can fit. It's a bit scary sitting in the bus and see another bus coming straight towards you. Somehow, everyone figures out what to do and I have yet to see an accident. There is no yielding for pedestrians and crossing the street is quite a challenge. Our guide Michael said there were three steps to crossing the street. One, close your eyes, Two make a wish, Three Run! I quite agree!

Speaking of Sarae, she is walking quite well with assistance. Doesn't seem to want to try steps on her own like yesterday, but walks like a champ if you hold her hand. She has also learned to clap her hands and say her version of "yay!". She finds this very amusing and laughs and laughs. She also says mama and dada. I've explained to her that I am her mama, not quite sure how to break the news about dada to her : ) We don't have to worry about Sarae's self-esteem - one of her favorite things to do is to look at herself in the mirror and kiss herself!

We received the paperwork for her adoption today and will receive her passport this evening. So, tomorrow we head back to Guangzhou. Not sure if we will post tomorrow or not. Will try since it is Sarae's first birthday!, but don't worry if you don't see anything.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Orphanage and first steps

Today we were taken to one of the orphanages here in Chongquig. It wasn't Sarae's orphanage because her's is too far away (6 hours). This one was 2 hours and 4 of the babies in our group came from it. Surprisingly, only one other family decided to go, so it was a small group. One section is for the infants and the other section is for the elderly. We were allowed to go look at the baby's rooms, the kitchen and where they bath the babies. I think we all thought it was much better than what we had imagined in our minds. They obviously care for the babies and do the best jobs they can. The way they bath them is hysterical. They have this blown up pool like object (except it is smaller circumference wise and taller). They put a floatation device around the baby's head and place them in the pool/bath. I was glad to hear that once the babies are no longer considered babies, they are placed in foster care so they have a more normal upbringing.

We are seeing more and more of Sarae's personality come out. She is starting to laugh and smile more and actually went to a couple of other people today without crying. The exciting thing is that she actually took 3 steps today. She seemed pretty proud of herself afterwards! If you want to make her laugh, just tickle her tummy and she'll show you her pearly whites - all 5 of them!

The girls are asleep and I didn't get to download their pictures so I can only post the pics on my camera.