Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Notary and Registration Day

Tuesday started out early.  We had to meet our guide in the lobby at 8am to go back to the Civil Affairs office for two interviews, one with the notary and the other with the registrar, to have Sophie's picture made, and to do a little more paperwork.  It was a pretty painless process, with the exception of the registrar.  He didn't seem to like us too much, but we understand that we were his first customers that morning and that he gets more friendly throughout the day.  I was a bit nervous he was going to tell us that we couldn't proceed with the adoption!  I don't know that that has ever happened before, but I was a little worried.  Maybe he just needed a little more time to wake up or another cup of coffee or tea! 
Anyway, we had to tell them why we wanted to adopt from China, and then we had to promise to take very good care of her, to never discriminate against her, abandon, or abuse her.  When we were done there, we went to Carrefore shopping.  It's a French Wal-mart basically.  It has more than one floor, though I'm not sure exactly how many floors.  We only went to two of them, the food level and the level that has diapers.  To get from one floor to the other, you take something like a moving sidewalk that goes up.  Imagine an escalator, but without the steps.  They have anything in there you could ever imagine.  We bought a watermelon, some drinks and snacks, and of course some diapers and wipes.  I brought one package of diapers with me, but they are too big.  She wears 12m or 18 month shirts, but 12m pants fall off of her.  She has a tiny hiney, needless to say!  It's a good thing someone suggested that I bring safety pins!  The shopping carts are much different here than in the US.  Here, the front and back wheels swivel.  I have to say it was very hard not to run down someone or something with that cart!  That was about the extent of our day.
Several people have asked if we have met many people while we have been here.  There is a family from Atlanta down the hall from us.  We've shared some of our meds with them, as their little girl is sick with a cold or bronchitis or something.  Then I finally met Fliss and her husband who live in Florida.  They were introduced to us by a mutual friend, Monica.  Thanks, Monica!  Before coming to China, we had only chatted via email or on Facebook.  Fliss is a hoot!  They have a precious daughter.  We've met a couple from New York who are adopting a little boy, a family from St. Louis who is here adopting their 6th daughter.  This family used our adoption agency for one of their previous adoptions.  And a family from Maryland, who is in Fliss's group.  Everyone has been really friendly, and it's been a lot of fun getting to know so many different people.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our first day together

Gotcha Day started out pretty relaxed. We prepared the room for Sophie's arrival and then walked around the island (Shamain Island) for a bit and found Lucy's for some lunch. For those of you who are not familiar with the whole China adoption process, Lucy's is a restaurant on Shamian Island that serves American style cuisine. It was such a nice day out, we sat outside at an umbrella covered table and had a cheeseburger and fries. It was quite good! We had to be back in the lobby at 2:15 to meet our guide to go the Civil Affairs office to get Sophie. The drive was a bit hectic, as most drives are anywhere in China, but we arrived safely.
When we walked in, there were people everywhere! Our guide suggested we find a place to stand to wait for Sophie. She brought over some paperwork for us to fill out and suggested we go into one of the rooms to fill it out. My heart was racing, as everyone was talking and I knew in just minutes we would see our daughter in person for the very first time. The paperwork was finished quickly, and we went back out into the room to wait. I gave the video camera to the guide and the digital camera to Bo to take pictures and as soon as I turned around, there she was walking toward me.
I just knew she was going to start screaming, but she didn't. I picked her up ever so slowly and sat down with her. She stood straight up on my legs! I talked to her for a few minutes and kept telling her that I was her Mommy. She finally sat down, and I kept talking to her. We went back into the room where we had previously done the paperwork so that our guide to talk to the orphanage worker and ask some questions about Sophie. Turns out that she was the one who would go out and check on Sophie when she was in foster care. She said Sophie was very smart and loved to explore and figure out how things work. She also said that she was bossy around other kids!
While our guide was talking to the orphanage worker, Bo did a little paperwork while Sophie and I played. We played with the stacking cups and Mardi Gras beads. Both were a hit. In just a few minutes she was smiling and even laughed a few times. We left the Civil Affairs office shortly after and came back to the hotel to do some more paperwork. She played with Bo and me very well. Later, we walked down the street to the Italian restaurant and ordered a pizza for us, and some chicken and rice for Sophie and came back to the hotel to eat. She ate a very good dinner before getting a bath. I put her down at 9:00, to which she objected, but I laid down at the foot of our bed where she could see me, and she quickly drifted off to sleep. She slept until about 5am!
We have been so blessed, and our prayers, and yours, were heard. We appreciate them all so much!
Thanks for all of your sweet comments! We really appreciate them as well!

Monday, March 29, 2010

We Have Her!

Today was one of the very best days of my life!  She is absolutely beautiful! 

More Beijing


FW: Our Last Day in Beijing

Today was our last day in Beijing.  We started out the day early in order to make it to all of the places we wanted to go.  There is so much traffic, and we have been in several traffic jams.  There are few rules on the road, and I made the mistake of asking our guide how many car accidents there are.  She says not many, but then we see 4 or 5 wrecks right after that, none of them serious.  We are told that there is traffic control in place during the week that allows cars with liscense plates ending in even or odd numbers to drive on certain days of the week.  On the weekend, though, anyone can drive.  And they do!  There are 18 million people liviing in Beijing, and many have cars, so you can imagine how bad the traffic was.
Our first stop was Tianamen Square.  It is very big, holding approximately a half a million people.  We saw a monument erected to remember those who died during their wars, and we saw where Chairman Mao would come out on the balcony to talk to the people.  When you see the picture, I'm sure you will recognize it from the news or history books.  We then toured the Forbidden City, part of it, I should say.  All of it is not open.  The buildings are beautiful. Most all of the buildings have gates that lead into and out of the different parts of the city, and most of the doorways have high thresholds to keep out the evil spirits.  They believe that the spirits cannot jump over the thresholds. 
Next was the silk factory.  We saw how the silk is taken from the cocoons and spun into threads.  We also helped stretch the silk to make a silk blanket.  Cocoons with one pupae in them are used to make thread, while the cocoons with two pupae are stretched to make the blankets.  The silk threads are very coarse and strong, while the silk from the double pupae cocoons are very soft and still very strong.  They had beautiful things to buy here. 
Lastly, we went to a Chinese tea house and participated in a traditional tea ceremony.  We tasted three different teas, but the ginseng tea was our favorite.  From the tea house we headed to the airport.  Our flight to Guangzhou was uneventful, thankfully, and we arrived safely.  Our hotel is very nice, and we have seen several families who are adopting and have already had their Gotcha Day.  I'm sure we will meet many more.  Please say a prayer for us as we prepare for Sophie's arrival in a few short hours!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Beijing

Pictures of us stretching silk at the silk factory and our guide, Theresa, and driver, Master Tom.  In China, you have to take a test to become a master driver before you can drive tourists around.  You have to be a master driver to maneuver in the traffic here!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Great Wall

It seems that part of the first photos of the Great Wall did not post, so here they are! 

More Summer Palace

Summer Palace

More Great Wall

Jade Factory

A Full Day!

Today was definitely a full day! We started out by meeting our guide at 10:00am in the hotel lobby. We headed out for the Great Wall, but stopped by the jade factory on the way there. The work the jade carvers do is quite unbelievable...and from one piece of jade! We looked around a bit and admired all of the goods and then headed on out to the Great Wall.

Let me just say that pictures do not do it justice. It is so massive that you only catch pieces of it in any one photograph. We climbed up to the first watch tower, but that was as far as our tired legs could take us. Thankfully, it as sunny, but the wind made it quite cold.

From the Great Wall we made our way to the Summer Palace. It was built by Emporor Qianlong for his mother's 60th birthday. There is a massive lake on the property that was peppered with paddle boats. Along the lake is a long corridor which holds the Guiness Book of World Recofrds longest corridor award. Each beam and cross beam is beautifully painted. It was a beautiful day for having a leisurely walk along the lake.

Lastly, we attended the Chinese Acrobat show which was great. The acrobats are amazingly flexible and strong!

I am so tired I can't think straight right now, so I'm going to close. I will try to post more later as my brain becomes less foggy.

And to update you all on what happens next...
We will check out of the hotel tomorrow morning and visit Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. From there we travel to the airport. Our flight for Guangzhou leaves around 3:15 tomorrow afternoon. We get Sophie on Monday!

Thanks for all of the comments you all are leaving. We have loved reading each one!

Friday, March 26, 2010

We Made It!

After a couple of LONG days, we made it safely!  It's late here and no pictures to post.  Look for a post of our visit to the Great Wall, Summer Palace, and the acrobat show tomorrow!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Our bags are packed, and I think we have everything ready to go! We leave bright and early Thursday morning from Mobile and land in Beijing Friday night around 10:40pm, which is 9:40am here! It will be a long day, but we are so ready to go, to take this step into the next chapter of our lives.

We would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support during these past 4 years. I'm sure there are more of you than I know, but we do appreciate them so much. We would have never made it to this point without each of you, but please don't stop praying now! Pray us all the way there and all the way home. Pray for Sophie, as she has just been moved from her foster home to the orphanage. Pray for peace for her and for us as we meet each other for the very first time. Pray for safety for all of us.

Everyone keeps telling us how much our lives are about to change. I'm ready for it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flights Are Booked And Itinerary Is Set!

Everything is set! I booked the flights today, and we have our itinerary for while we are in China.

March 25 and 26 - Fly to China
March 27 - Sightseeing in Beijing (Great Wall, Summer Palace, Acrobat Show)
March 28 - Sightseeing in Beijing (Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, Temple of Heaven)
March 28 - Fly to Guangzhou
March 29 - Meet Sophie
March 30 - Finish China Adoption Process and Passport Photos
March 31 - Apply for Passport
April 1 - Sightseeing
April 2 - Sightseeing
April 3 - Sightseeing (travel to Shantou to visit orphanage on one of the sightseeing days)
April 4 - Sightseeing
April 5 - Free Day
April 6 - Physical Exam, Receive Passport
April 7 - Apply for Visa
April 8 - Swearing in Ceremony
April 9 - Receive Visa and Take Train to Hong Kong
April 10 - Fly Home - Arrive back in Mobile at 9:06pm

We are so excited!! In 10 days we will hold our baby for the first time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We Have Our Consulate Appointment!

Our consulate appointment has been confirmed. It is April 7, which means we are leaving in 8 days!

Here is the schedule so far:
March 25, 2010 - Fly to Beijing
March 28, 201o - Travel to Guangzhou
March 29, 2010 - Gotcha Day!!! This is the day we meet Sophie!
April 7, 2010 - Consulate Appointment
April 10, 2010 - Fly Home!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our TA is here!!

This is the plan, although it still has to be confirmed.
Leave on March 25 - fly to Beijing
March 28 - fly to Guangzhou
March 29 - meet Sophie!!
April 6 - Consulate Apptmt
April  8- Get Visa
Fly home either evening of April 8 or morning of April 9.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

TA Is On Its Way!

I love the Chin* coordinator, Xioaqing, at our agency!  She is awesome!!  Would you like to know why?  Because she stays up late, late at night to talk to the workers at the C*C*A*A to find out the latest on all of our files.  This morning at 2:30am, she emailed me to let me know that our TA was mailed yesterday!!  This means we will be going to China VERY soon!  WOOHOOO!! 
Stay tuned for more details!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Still Waiting on TA

This is how I feel right now while we wait for TA. We had hoped it would be here on Monday, but no such luck. Our agency is now hoping for Friday or next Monday. I guess it has to come eventually, right? It's just so hard watching our daughter grow right before our eyes as we wait. I know it will be worth it in the end, but it sure is difficult right now.