Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Synchronize Your Watches

Tomorrow will be two weeks since we arrived home! It's really only been in the last three or four days when we've started to feel that our little dumpling has joined us in the Mountain time zone. Prior to that, it's been variable how and when she has slept, and, therefore how and when we have slept. There have been many late night sessions of car rides, stroller rides, front pack rides, Disney movies, Chinese lullabies in a dimly lit room, and other attempts to battle late night wakefulness. Start with the time and environment shift and mix in a couple of doctor's visits including 5 shots and a blood draw, and Lily has reason to be a bit discombobulated.

Lest you should think we've been suffering, you should know that, by and large, she's loads of fun for the better part of her waking hours, even during many of those graveyard shifts she was mostly cheery. We have discovered many fun things:
  • Night time on the back driveway, the bright light casts shadows on the back gate. Lily finds it absolutely hilarious when her shadow crosses yours, and she'll chase your shadow if you move it away from hers
  • Her little red car, be it inside or out, is a delight to drive (foot driven, a truly manual transmission)
  • Negotiating the doorway thresholds on the back and front doors, though tricky, is most satisfying
  • M&Ms - who doesn't like M&Ms?
  • Music of all genres is also great fun, and often inspires spontaneous dancing
  • Sitting in her own chair at the patio table with Mom and Dad directing drumming of the hands on the table surface
All in all, we are all getting along swimmingly, and Lily has even not found the dogs to be too much of a problem. The dogs have been trained to steer clear of her, and she mostly ignores them for the time being, but is starting to take note of them a bit.

OK, enough with all the babble, and on to what you've been waiting for, the pictures!

MacDonalds! (In Guangzhou no less!)

Bad Hair Day

Loves the Swiffer

Pine Cones are Fun Too!

Rock Star!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Final Stretch

All day Monday along with Tuesday morning provided yet more opportunities for shopping and looking around in Guangzhou, including walking through the Qing Ping Market, where an interesting array of live animals can be found, some of which are intended for pets, but many of which are to be consumed. I'm not sure about the line between these, so I believe in the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in this case. We saw snakes, scorpions, turtles, puppies, and a wide array of fish.

Lily now has more shoes than Imelda Marcos, but the investment must have been immeasurably lower for Lily's new inventory. We also visited the local jade market, which is shop after shop for several city blocks. The hard part is knowing which shop to choose, since the only communication is a tiny bit of English (hello/goodbye level) from some of the shop keepers, and the standard calculator passed back and forth to enter prices for negotiation. You can't really ask about the grade of the product or any details about what you're buying, which makes it an adventure to say the least.

Tuesday afternoon (that's today) we did the final bit of "official business" we needed to return to the US with Lily: we went to the US Consulate and got back Lily's passport (it's a Chinese passport) with the US Visa now added to it, and also received the famed "brown packet" which has the further paperwork needed to enter the US. We took an oath en masse with probably 100 or so other adoptive parents, and that was it.

So, this is the last entry during our trip to China. Tomorrow evening, we will leave Guangzhou headed for home. Overall we've had a great time, but we're also ready to get home and settle in to a more normal existence for awhile. Here are a couple more photos for good measure.

Feeding Mom a Cheerio

Beautiful Park on Sha Mian Island

That's a San Miguel Label You've Never Seen Before

Night Life on Xia Jiu Road

Soliloquizing? (or Wants Something from Mom)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hanging Out in Guangzhou

As we mentioned, not much official business left to do, so now we're just hanging, shopping around, and getting to know our girl. Deirdre summed up our day as follows: We bought some squeaky shoes, took our laundry to be done, and a lot of feeding, diapering, and putting to sleep of our baby girl.

Needless to say, we're "Ga Ga" for our baby girl. She's really fun, silly, and funny.

But enough talk, what you really want are more pictures.

Budding Entrepreneur?

Mom was just to the left

Always two-fisted eating

Fun to Walk!!

Mirrors are Fun Too

Nice Ear Wear, Dad!

Loves Green Tea Lattes??

Friday, November 02, 2007

Last Days in Nanjing

On Thursday afternoon, our guide Sandra brought us our final paperwork, including Lily's very own Chinese passport! That evening, the agency sponsored a very nice dinner at a place within walking distance of the Jin Ling Hotel where we stayed in Nanjing. Sandra was kind enough to order an interesting variety of foods, including a very delicious beef dish in an interesting steamer, which made gurgling sounds like it might explode at any moment, and a dish with duck and vegetables which you scoop into a biscuit and eat kind of like a small sandwich - very tasty.

Lily doesn't sleep particularly easily. Horizontal is not her favorite "attitude" in general. After much effort and lots of walking around on Thursday night, we put her down to sleep, but she awoke at around 2 am and cried for about an hour straight, despite our best efforts to calm her down. We felt bad for our neighbors at the hotel, but never heard and banging on the walls. Eventually, Deirdre performed some sort of magic trick which resulted in Lily asleep on the floor, which by that time was good enough for us and (apparently) for Lily. She slept there soundly for the rest of the night.

On Friday afternoon, we flew from Nanjing to Guangzhou, our last stop before our return home. We were pleased to see that Lily was OK with the whole airplane thing, at least for this 2 hour flight. Mom did spend some effort keeping her entertained, but there was very little fussing, and this girl loves to be tossed around, so take-offs, turbulence, and landings are just fine with her.

Saturday morning had us going to the requisite medical examination, then filling out paperwork with our Guangzhou guide, Li. We have very little "official business" left to do at this point: Li will take our documents to the Consulate on Monday, then we have a short ceremony to complete the visa process on Tuesday and that's it. Then we have the long flight home, which should be a great test for all of us!!

Now that this girl is feeling pretty good, we see her true personality, which is active, entertaining, and wanting things her way! We understand even more her "rock star" status at the orphanage - she's quite a bit of fun! Lucky for her she's absolutely adorable, so her parents are quickly becoming wrapped around her finger and are mostly able to keep her happy. Check out the pictures for irrefutable evidence of a high degree of cuteness.

Balancing Act

First Bath (Lukewarm Reception)

Bedtime - Walking Around with Dad

Morning After a Night on the Floor

Lily and Abby at Breakfast

She Loves the Headband (Thanks Shanna!)

Cute Girls!

In a Sea of Adults

Lisa, Abby, Deirdre, and Lily

Whew! She likes the front pack!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ophanage Visit

Lily was feeling better on Thursday morning, so we were able to visit the orphanage. We met Coco, the director of the orphanage, and we received beautiful presents. We also delivered the pajamas sent by our adoption agency. From being at the orphanage, we understand better why the babies are so bundled up, the windows were opened and it was a bit chilly and drafty.

When we first arrived, there were women hanging out the window calling "Jiang Jiang! Jiang Jiang!". All through our visit, all the workers there seemed to know Jiang Jiang, and she seems to have been very popular. Chris, our travel mate, said it was like being with a rock star. We also met one of her favorite, people, a "grandma" from Half The Sky Foundation, who was her primary care giver for quite some time up to two months ago. Even though she is not working there anymore, she made a special visit so she could meet us and see Jiang Jiang again. As soon as we saw her grandma, Jiang Jiang smiled and reach out for her, and her grandma picked her up and carried her for most of our visit.

After the visit to the orphanage, we asked Sandra to take us to the park where Jiang Jiang was found in October of 2005. The park is called Wu Chao Men Park and it sits on the ruins of the Ming Imperial Palace and the Gate of Heavenly Worship. It was a beautiful park and wonderful to get a chance to see where Lily's Mom left her daughter with a note asking for someone to adopt and take care of her little girl.

Jiang Jiang's Grandma at the Orphanage

Sandra, Chris, Abby, and Lisa receiving orphanage gifts

Jiang Jiang with her favorite Grandma

Grandma and family at the orphanage

Grandma, Jiang Jiang, and Mom

Deirdre and Sandra, our guide in Nanjing

At the park where Jiang Jiang was found

Cute Girl!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Two Days, Two Long Nights

The first evening with Lily, we had a scheduled visit to our hotel by Dr. Gong, a pediatric cardiologist. She came to us with a pretty bad cough and a lot of congestion in her chest. After examining Lily, Dr. Gong suggested that we go ahead with the course of antibiotics we had brought with us and keep her fever down with Tylenol. Lily's first night with us was a tough one for her. She had "GI" problems and a fever. Since her condition seemed worse on Tuesday morning, we contacted Dr. Gong and he suggested it was best if Lily come in to his office at the Children's Hospital for some tests after our morning appointment. He said we could wait until we had our scheduled morning adoption appointment.

The morning appointment was back at the Jiangsu Registration Service Centre For Foreign-Related Marriage, where we waited with about 15 other adoptive parents to go through two different stations where we were questioned. Would we treat Jiang Jiang well? Would we ever abuse or abandon her? We answered correctly and were allowed to sign the papers. Jiang Jiang is now officially ours! Now that she is ours we have to take care of her, so off to the doctors' office.

We went to the Nanjing Childrens' Hospital where Jiang Jiang had heart surgery almost a year ago. We went to see Dr.Gong who was so very kind to us. He went out of his way and "fast tracked" the process for us. We had our young and very competent guide, Sandra , with us (it would have been impossible without her). It was totally different than any medical experience we have ever had. We had to register, which Sandra did for us, we then waited to see Dr.Gong. No line, no appointments, just a throng of parents with their children pushing forward to be seen. There is no patient privacy, everyone is watching and reading what the doctor does over his shoulder while they push closer to be next. It is not Mayo Clinic. Dr.Gong listened to her lungs and heart and decided she needed to have a chest x-ray, a CBC and give a stool sample. He printed out orders from the computer. Doug and Sandra went to stand in line to pay for the tests. We then went with the receipt to the x-ray, lab and the specimen departments to have the tests done. We (Sandra) then went back in 30 minutes to collect the results, then we went back to Dr.Gong's office. He had cleared out all of his patients' and was waiting for us. He decided that the antibiotic she had taken was bothering her intestines and that she needed IV Amoxacillin as well as something else written in Chinese and pedialyte which we had already discovered was by prescription only. So off Doug and Sandra went to stand in line and pay the cashier and pick up the meds while I again held a sick, feverish baby girl. Dr.Gong then walked us to the next building, gave the Amoxacillin to the pharmacist to mix into an IV and took us to his favorite nurse who he says gets 99% of her IV sticks in the first poke. She put the IV into JiangJiang's forehead. It probably took her less than 20 seconds from looking for the vein to all hooked up with an IV and on to the next kid. We then joined the hundreds of parents in the hallways sitting on chairs with children on their laps and IV bags hanging from hooks on the wall. JiangJiang had 2 IV bags to go through. When the first bag runs out, a parent or grandparent runs to get a pink clad and hatted nurse who comes to change to the second bag. It took about 4 hours for the IV's. We were at the clinic for about 7 hours and the total bill was $74. Dr.Gong came to check on us before he left for the day and told us to come back the next day again for another IV :(

Day 2 with baby girl. We went to breakfast with our friends Lisa and Chris and their new daughter Abby whose beautiful smile is amazing! They commented on how much perkier Lily seemed, and she did have a nice bowl of congee (rice porridge). Everyone went on a tour of Nanjing except Lily and Deirdre. Lily took a nice long nap and when Doug came home there was only an hour before we had to meet Sandra to go back to the clinic. Same song second verse at the clinic except that baby girl was feeling a bit better and there was no way she was going to just sit in mom's lap and the floor was to germy for her to walk on. Thank goodness it was raining and we had a Jinling umbrella. We followed suit with other parents marching around. Deirdre held, jostled and jiggled the wiggly and frustrated girl while Doug held the umbrella aloft with the IV bag attached and Sandra handed out crackers, for both hands. Turns out it takes 3 people to take care of one baby in China :) After our 4 hours were up we took our very frustrated little girl out in the rain to wait for a cab in rush hour traffic. After about 10 minutes (felt much longer) a non-cabdriver offered us a ride at 50% over the going rate which is $1.20, we took it! The JinLing Hotel never looked so good!

So the frustrated baby alternated between doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a while tonight. Her Mom and Dad alternated taking her on a long walk and elevator rides and she finally quieted. She fell asleep on Dad's chest and was moved gingerly to her bed. Tomorrow is her orphanage visit and we hope to all go if Lily feels up to it, otherwise it might just be Doug and the O'Connells. We have 12 or so kiddos to photograph for waiting parents and we know from experience how important that is. Nite nite and love to all!

Chris, Abby, and Lisa at Final Adoption

Deirdre & Lily at Final Adoption

Lily getting her IV

Downtown Nanjing, near the Museum

Her first halloween costume! (on for less than 5 minutes)