Friday, April 23, 2010

Some time with family!

Since we knew we were spending a day in Shanghai, we arranged to meet my Grandmother's niece WaiWai.

She picked us up today and took us to a wonderful dim sum lunch. I tried dates, plain pumpkin, sweet and sour fish, and bean curd thing along with wonderful dumplings and bbq pork. For dessert she ordered red bean paste pie. I don't usually like red bean paste but this was tasty! Lily refused almost everything except for a pastry that went with the pork and the pie. After lunch we went to a YaYuan garden. It was built by a high official during the Ming dynasty but because he had a dragon built in the gardens he ended up giving it to the emperor as a gift. Dragons are only supposed to be for the emperor. It was very pretty and quite large. Back then they didn't have cement so they used sticky rice to adhere all the stones together - funny huh! On the way back, Wai Wai bought us ticket for the train instead of a taxi. It takes about an hour by taxi - it took 7 minutes by train! The highest speed was 431 km/hr! Crazy! Now we are resting and hopefully will find our Bethany friends that are staying here so we can eat dinner with them. Tomorrow we are headed home! :)

Arpil 22 - Long day!

We left Guangzhou but with some difficulties. We were to leave at 5:45pm and did not leave until 11:30pm. There were a bunch of irate passengers so lots of Chinese yelling and screaming at the airport workers. We luckily meet a couple of really nice people that live in Shanghai but are from the UK and another adoptive family that lives in Shanghai but is from MI originally. At least we could keep each other company! Lily did pretty good considering but really it is a day we wish we could forget. We arrived in Shanghai to a Chinese only speaking guide and driver. The driver did not really know where he was going but we got the hotel eventually. The hotel is not great but it is a bed and we were grateful to finally be here! I have more complaints about the day but I think we are just going to move on!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Praise God!

Lily has been peeing today! She has gone overnight, peed on the chamber pot when she got up, had a wet diaper at lunch and just peed again after her nap! That is 4 times already! Considering most days she only goes 2 times this is a major improvement! And the struggles of getting her to sit on the chamber pot are much shorter.

THANK YOU for all your prayers! We are praying this trend continues!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Since I am having a hard time both uploading to FB and emailing pics to the blog, I started uploading pics to Snapfish. These are only ones that are not on FB (and still not all of them!). You may have to copy and paste the link. Enjoy!

April 19th

Thank you for all your prayers! Lily's TB test was negative! Praise God! Of course, the minute she saw a doctor at the clinic, she started to cry. She completely remembered her experience there just a few days ago! A couple kids in our group tested positive but they had clear chest xrays so they are cleared to get their visas! I know their parents were a tad anxious though! Tomorrow our guide will take all our paperwork to the Consulate in order to have Lily's visa started. Wednesday we have to go take an oath regarding the adoption and Thursday we will be able to pick up her visa. It seems like such a slow process - we are ready to go home!

Lily is amazing us every day. Of course, there is still lots of crying, temper tantrums and just unhappiness on Lily's part throughout the day. She is VERY strong-willed and almost any thing can set her off. Many times we have no idea what has set her off. It is almost hilarious at times because she will cry like she is in massive pain but the minute you do what she wants she stops crying instantly. I think some of the temper tantrums are getting better -she is learning that NO is any okay word sometimes. But, now for the amazing..... She is saying so many English words! She started with peek a boo on the first day. She now says gentle, thank you (with signing too!), diaper, along with mama and baba. She will try to repeat us often and does really well. She put on her first pair of squeaky shoes tonight and walked all over the place with amusement. She is very careful - especially with walking. She notices if there is a difference in ground level or type and takes her time. She eats alot of food - especially Cheerios! She likes to have clean hands and will even try to wipe up her spot at the table. She loves to brush her teeth (we have to pry the toothbrush away!) but she hates baths. She sleeps like a champ and once she is asleep we can talk, turn on lights, turn on the tv, etc. Even if she has been angry at us, she wants to be comforted by us. She is quite attached to me, less to Nate but slowly getting there. She has a mind of her own and gets her point across very quickly! She likes girly things (yea!) - we put on a Chinese dress today to try the size and she did not want to take it off!

Please continue to pray about her going potty. She will sit on the chamber pot we bought but it can be a struggle sometimes. We wonder if she has had some bad experiences on the potty at the orphanage? She is still only going potty overnight and then 1-2x a day. Nate's mom is going to call Lily's ped and try to get an earlier appointment when we get home to get her all checked out.

We are ready to come home but know we will have some great experiences still in China. Friday we will be in Shanghai and we will be spending the day with my Grandma's niece WaiWai. I have not seen her since I was in elementary school (I think!) so it will be nice to see her. We are hoping she can take us to see my Grandma's house in Shanghai!

Thank you again for all your prayers! We feel them!

P.S. - since I can't get on my blog, I have no idea what I posted before (too tired to remember!) sorry if I am repeating myself at all! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 17

Thank you for all your prayers! Lily did well at the medical exam considering she received 4 shots and a TB test. No fever so far so we are hopeful that she is not going to have any reaction from the vaccines. We go back Monday to check the TB test results.

Your many prayers have been answers so we have a strange and sort of personal prayer request - could prayers be said on Lily's behalf that she pee? She only pees overnight and then only 1 or 2x a day. It just does not seem like enough and we are a tad concerned. We bought a chamber pot but she does not like it or toilets. I worry she has a UTI or bladder infection but she does not have a fever or any noticeable pain. Please pray that any bladder problems will be solved and that she will pee normally! I told you it was personal! :)

We are all very tired and off to bed. Tomorrow we go to a folk art museum and then to a park for the kids to play.

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 17th

Today we have to have Lily's medical appointment. I have heard it is pure chaos at the clinic on these days. They will examine her and she will have to have any vaccinations she hasn't had yet. I have heard of kiddos getting 7 shots at once! She will also have her TB test.

Please pray that she will have not have any reactions to the vaccinations! With that many, she can have high fevers, allergic reactions and who knows what else.

Please pray that she will have peace in the midst of the chaos! She is a screamer when she is upset or she does not get her way. We pray that she will be calm and that the vaccinations will not keeps her upset for too long.

Please pray that her TB test is negative. If it is positive, she will have to go through more tests. Chinese kiddos can test positive because they may have had a TB vaccine. We do now know if Lily has had the TB vaccine yet. If she tests positive, it could delay our coming home!

I somehow broke a blood vessel in my left eye and my eye is not feeling the greatest. Pray for patience and healing for me (and Nate) please.

THANK YOU for all the prayers and encouragement! We continue to need them! And truly appreciate them!

Unable to get on again

We were using a VPN that worked great in Beijing and Hohhot but now it is not working in Guangzhou! So, no more Facebook status' or real blog updates with pictures. Sorry! We are off to bed after a long day! I will try to update the blog tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13

We are so thankful for all the prayers! God is amazing us every day and Lily did pretty well this morning! We got to the room before the orphanage workers and she was sitting in our laps and playing when they came in. They talked to her from across the table but she pretty much ignored them. The nanny came by us for some of the paperwork and Lily just kept playing. She handed the nanny something at one point but never tried to go to her. A little bit later, the nanny came back to us and held her arms out to Lily. I refused to let her take Lily and it seemed the nanny was okay with it. But, it made Lily cry and get all upset again. I was really frustrated with the nanny! I don't understand why she would do that but I am trying to be sympathetic to her. The assistant director had the nanny step out and that helped calm Lily down. She only got upset again when we were waiting for the other couple to finish their paperwork. She laughed and smiled and called Nate "baba" which I think helped the orphanage workers to see we were a good family. They asked us about what medical care we were going to get for her and asked us for updates and pictures. We will be glad to share with them - I know they certainly cared for her!

Lily had to do a footprint in red ink as her signature to show who she was.

Since we were signing all kinds of paperwork, she wanted a pen and pretended to sign too. She would help turn papers over and even pretended to do her fingerprint. We had to sign and then do a fingerprint over our signature for every signature.

The nanny, the assistant director, and the orphanage director

After all the paperwork, we went to lunch at McDonalds (LOTS of stares there!) and went to a baby store for diapers. Lily fell asleep in the Ergo on the way back. She won't let me take off her coat so she is napping in the bed with everything on! She is going to be a sweaty mess! She loves her hat and scarf Daniela!

The greatest part of today was that we received some things from the orphanage. She was left with a pink bracelet on and we recieved that. Lily promptly put it on like she knew what is was! Also, we found out that Lily had been brought to a private foster care in Beijing for a few months and they sent a letter and a necklace as a reminder of her time there. They presented us with a rug/wall hanging of Genghis Khan (founder of the Mongol empire). And best of all, they gave us a photo book of photos from her life at the orphanage! Pictures of her at different stages and with her little friends! There is some writing so we will have to have someone translate that for us. I am just so excited to have these photos and her bracelet!

Not much else planned for today - maybe we will venture out to a grocery store at some point. Lily is napping and I am not waking her up. She is a good sleeper! Tomorrow we go to the Cultural Museum and the next to a local market. We are waiting for her passport to be ready for us on Friday and then we leave for Guangzhou for the medical appts and the visa paperwork.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We're a family!

Wow! What a day! The wait was torture and we were in the lobby 30min early. Another American family is here (different agency) to adopt a little boy so we were at least together in this! Sandra our guide showed up and the orphanage workers were not here yet. She was calling them and they arrived right then! They walked in the hotel and we met our kids. Lily was shy from the first moment and shyness turned into crying and screaming when the nanny put her down. Anytime we payed attention to her, tried to offer her toys or food, she just pushed us away. The picture they took of the 3 of us for our official paperwork has her screaming! The caretakers moved into the business center but Lily continued to scream. Hotel workers kept trying to help but we were not handing her over. Trust me, she was not a happy camper! She was screaming, pushing us away, arching her back, and hitting our faces. I left to try to get paperwork done so we could go to our room and Nate did what he could. He soon prayed that Lily would have peace and she konked out in his arms. Praise God! We switched so Nate could do his part of the paperwork and ran up to our room. Why they did not get a meeting room reserved so this did not have to be done in the lobby is beyond me!

After we went to the room, she slept just a little bit. She woke up, opened her eyes, saw me and started crying all over again. This time did not last nearly as long but she kept pointing at the door. Broke my heart to see her so upset! Nate was holding her at one point and I started playing with the toys. She kept watching me out of the corner of her eyes - seeing if she could trust me. After awhile I offered her a little Asian doll we had brought. She grabbed it and that was the breaking point. Nate sat down with her and she continued to watch until I got a little ping pong ball out. I rolled it to her and she threw it back! I almost cried I was so happy to have her interact! Then the cheerios came out and she started feeding Nate and I and herself some. Then we got this.....

The first smiles after an hour and a half of pure crying and screaming! She thought Nate was hilarious when he would make sound effects when eating the Cheerios.

Feeding BaBa some cheerios! I got some too! She even started saying Mama and Baba when she fed us! Praise God!

Playing peek a boo with a little people girl, the ball and smarties. She even started saying Peek a boo while playing! She loved dumping everything out of the cups and even stated stacking them herself!

Loves her bag and puts it on her shoulder after I showed her what is was. She liked to hide things inside and find them again.

We were so happy to have her interacting and smiling and laughing! She ate some noodles with us, and an entire huge orange. Oranges are apparently a favorite according to her nanny. We managed to change her diaper and put her in pjs. We ended up hiding her clothes from her because she started getting a little upset after we got them off. I think she sort of realized she was staying when the clothes came off. We decided to not attempt a bath. Too much good happening and we did not want to upset her again.

The doll that made the breakthrough - she is kissing and hugging it now after putting on her pjs. We did attempt the teeth brushing and she loved it! After we stopped, she asked to do it again. After 30 min of brushing teeth, I took the toothbrush away and she was mad! She started hitting my face but I would tell her "no" and "gentle". She kept doing it so I said a firmer "NO". She looked kind of shocked and then cried. But, she came right to me and I was able to comfort her very quickly. I think she might be used to getting her own way......

We skyped with the boys and she just watched. Andrew was calling her by her Chinese name -he is so sweet! He took a picture of us on Skype to take to school for show and tell. The boys want us home now so they can really meet Lily! I think she is going to give them a run for their money! She is definitely going to hold her own!

She was getting very tired so about 8:30 we hopped into bed (all of us in our bed), she fussed for less then 30 sec, rolled over, put her thumb in her mouth and fell asleep! It is now the next morning at almost 7 and she is still asleep! Praise God!

Some things we are really thankful for today:
Lily is walking with a slight limp but able to get up and down by herself and walk around independently!
She is using both hands and has great dexterity in both. I have not measured but the difference in the lengths is barely noticeable in her arms
She is babbling and repeating tons of words! We would have never thought that she would be repeating English SO quickly! And using some works appropriately already!
Though the screaming is hard, we know that means she was attached to the orphanage worker so we are actually glad for the screaming!
LOVE the smiles and laughs!

Continued prayers please.....

Lily will have to see her caregivers again today to do more paperwork. This time we will be in a meeting room thankfully. But, we know this is going to be hard and upsetting for her. She will not understand when we have to leave the caregivers again and we know she will be upset and cry again. We pray that we will be able to comfort her quickly!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 12

We just arrived in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia a couple hours ago. We are settling into our hotel room and trying to make ramen noodles for lunch. It is 11:20am right now and we will meet Lily at 3pm TODAY! We are anxious and excited all at the same time. We will update as soon as we can!

April 11

What a difference a day makes! Today was cold and very rainy - we froze! The sad thing was we had warmer clothes in the room but we did not realize how cold it really was outside. But, even with the rain, it was still crowded on our tour. We started at Tienanmen square, walked through the Forbidden City and went on a tour in the Hutong. Tienanmen Square was really busy - most people were waiting in this huge line to go to see Mao's tomb. The masses of people and all the umbrellas was quite the sight! And the walking vendors were right in our faces all the time trying to sell us umbrellas and ponchos. I was very tempted to buy Lily a Panda hat but I resisted for now. I don't know how long I will be able to resist though - they are cute! Next, we followed more masses to the Forbidden City. They have renovated parts of it and it looks very colorful and shiny now. I forgot how many walls and entrances there are! As Americans, we got lots of stares! People would try to take pictures and video tape us secretively but usually one of us would notice. Some in our group even got asked to take their picture with a Chinese family. It was pretty funny! Last we went on a Hutong tour. The Hutong are communities originally built around water wells when the Mongols were in power. They are really old and look like the poor section of the city but is actually really expensive to buy a house there. I think many people are relatives of those who originally owned the courtyards and houses and they have been passed down. We visited a local family and her family has owned it since the before Cultural Revolution (some dynasty but I can't remember). To get around the Hutong we rode in a rickashaw - quite the experience being on the back of a bike - they like to fit us in tiny spaces! We were still frozen when we got to the hotel so I was glad I brought hot cocoa.

I was having trouble with emailing pictures to the blog so I decided to just put some on flickr. It shows them uploaded but I can't see them for some reason. China likes to block things to who knows! Someone email me if they are not there. I can't read blog comments so you have to email us. Someone in our group found out how to get around all the blocks but I don't have the energy to deal with it.

Tomorrow we fly to Inner Mongolia and meet Lily! Think of us if you are up in the middle of the night!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 10

     I tried this once and my pictures were too big I guess!  I will just add the one then. I will try to set up Flickr tomorrow for more pictures!

     Today is Lily's 2nd birthday!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILY!  Only one more day and then we will meet her!  Here is what has happened since we left.

     Thursday we were woken up at 1am with a call from United saying our flight from GR to Chicago was delayed.  We were actually okay with that as we had barely slept at that point and it gave us a few more hours of potential sleep.  We must have been pumped on adrenaline as we felt like we hardly slept even with the extra hours.  In Chicago we noticed that a couple on our flight from GR was waiting to fly to Beijing too.  They approached us and we found out that we were both adopting (different agencies) and they live quite close to us in Allendale!   Besides the 2 of us, there were at least 5 other families on our flight there are adopting.  One was also from Bethany so we were glad to get to know them before arriving. The flight from Chicago to Beijing was very uneventful.  We had been in different rows but the attendant in GR got us next to each to each other.  She actually put us in Economy Plus (for free!) so we had the extra 5 in of room.  5 inches really makes a difference!  Not much sleeping happened on the flight either.  After being driving to the hotel, we had dinner in the Western restaurant of the hotel.  The couple we had met had joined us too.  We had a hilarious time trying to talk to the poor staff.  We must be confusing people! 

     Today, after the big buffet breakfast, we headed out to the Cloisonné factory.  It took forever to get there because of traffic.  At one point, the bus driver turned off our bus.  Definitely not a good sign… We had been here before but it was still neat to hear how they make cloisonné and watch them work.  After lunch, we headed to the Great Wall.  We got to take a cable car up close to the top and then hike the rest of the way up.  There were SO many people there!  It was crazy!  The Chinese don't understand personal space the way Americans do (our guide even said so!) and so you pretty much had to push and shove your way up to the top.  We hiked mostly with a family from Colorado.  He is quite tall and has a bald head – only said because people notice him. A little girl noticed him and started talking to us.  It appeared that her family was trying to get her talk to us to use her English. She was probably around Andrew's age.   She said hello, asked how we were and our names.  She has this cute panda hat on and we asked if she was a panda.  She promptly took her hat off while saying NO!  We then all exclaimed that she was a girl! Her family must have understood as there was laughing all around.  J 

            Now we are waiting for our pizza to arrive from Pizza Hut. Sad we know!  We wanted something fast (dinner was a long coursed meal last night) since we are so tired. It took quite a long time to get back from the Great Wall and we are ready to sleep. Tomorrow we are going to the Tiananmen Square, Forbidden city and a Hutong tour.  It will be day filled with lots of walking!  Monday morning we fly out and meet Lily in the morning! 

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Monday, April 5, 2010

2nd test

Because I can't remember how I did this last time I have to test again!  My blog won't be pretty when we are in China because blogger is blocked there but I will try to give little updates and add a few pictures.  Hoping to leave Thursday now!  Here is a picture of us on Easter.  Soon to be a family of 5!

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WE GOT TA!!!!!

We were on the way out to IL for the week and we got the call that our TA (travel announcement) arrived today! Luckily, we didn't get very far this morning so we were home again very quickly. Bethany has a group leaving on Wednesday and we are doing our best to be in this group. Bethany has to get confirmation tomorrow about our Consulate appt and then we can book flights. If we can't get out on Wed we can leave this weekend and be in Lily's province by Monday at noon. Please PRAY that we can get flights on out Wed!