At the end of 3 weeks with us (3 years, 7 months old)

Tracking M’s progress – for her sake, for mine, and hopefully for encouraging (ultimately!) others who may be considering a child with substantial developmental delays. ūüôā At her pediatrician appt this week, she’s estimated at a 6-9 month old developmentally speaking.¬† 32″ tall and almost 20 lbs (off the percentile charts tiny).

* Goes from sitting, to standing – when holding our hands

* Will raise her arms up for us when I say “up?”

* Smiles and laughs with us; starting to respond to tickling

* Will pick up finger-foods (“puffs”) with her whole hand and get them in her mouth about 80% of the time (no pincer grasp yet, but she wouldn’t even pick these things up until about two days ago)

* Sleeping less (which is a good thing, believe it or not!),

* Eating a whole slew of puréed fruits and veggies

* Scooting across the floor on her bottom, to get around

*Speaking a bit of Mandarin

* Playing with toys – HUGE step, as her fingers had been her only toys for probably 3 years.

Smiling after figuring out how to play some tunes. (We start them on piano young around here!)

Smiling after figuring out how to play some tunes. (We start them on piano young around here!)

 

 

Pounding out some tunes. The music nerd in my was thrilled that this plays arpeggios - makes it pleasant to the ears. ;)

Composer in the making. The music nerd in my was thrilled that this plays arpeggios – makes it pleasant to the ears. ūüėČ

 

Categories: Adoption, Development and Growth | 1 Comment

Thursday & Friday in China, and Saturday Travels

It’s 4:30 am at home in the US. I’m on neither China-time (5:30 pm) nor US time! ¬†Everyone else is still sound asleep, including one new citizen 3 year old. ūüôā

Thursday.  We slept in a bit before heading down to the watermelon and rice buffet.  My husband discovered the bacon around this time, so our foods were expanded!  Ran into another adoptive family Рthey were bringing home child #8 and #9 Рamazing people! Anyway I asked them what their plans were for the day РShaiman Island shopping Рso we invited ourselves along to share a cab and a day of shopping and picture taking on the island.
(You can indeed fit 8 people into a cab in China….)

This time on Shaiman Island, we explored areas we hadn’t previously seen – and hit up a dozen or so new-to-us stores.¬† Didn’t buy a whole lot, but I really got the swing of negotiating prices.¬† I didn’t always convey intent well though, and panicked a shopkeeper or two when I’d offer 20 yuan per item versus the advertised 25 yuan per item – and they assumed I was wanting 20 yuan for an entire lot of items.

We had lunch at a place called Lucy’s, which is American food – or pretty close to it!¬† Got a certain gal a bottle of watermelon juice which she enjoyed.¬† On Tuesday and Wednesday, she had spent literal HOURS screaming and crying and sobbing.¬† At Lucy’s, she started gearing up – tears and waterworks galore.¬† I apologized to our friends — the wife was SO sweet, she said something along the lines of “It’s such a blessing to hear her cry in the arms of her mother – instead of crying alone in an orphanage.”¬† We SO enjoyed their company.¬† Luckily, the tears were short-lived, and we enjoyed our lunch before getting into our island-photo-taking.¬† We’ll have to upload those pictures at a later time – sorry!

Ultimately we got two silk outfits for our girls, and some cloissone ornaments for friends back home.  Pretty low key.

We finally caught a cab back to the hotel Рquite an ordeal, but apparently not as bad as it is sometimes!  Exchanged email addresses and phone numbers with the other family, really hoping we can keep in touch over the years.  They have possible plans to visit our state at some point in the future, pursuing possible domestic adoption through a program here.  I do hope they can make it.  It would be great to see them again and meet the rest of the clan!

Where did we eat for dinner – I don’t even really remember.¬† Ah – just looked through hubby’s journal.¬† Yeah, we didn’t have dinner that evening.¬† Though I did find Starbucks and enjoyed a Mocha.¬† Random – mochas taste different in China than in the US.¬† Almost a dark chocolate, with hints of what ALMOST seemed like coconut.¬† I’m not entirely sure what it was, or how exactly it was different, but it was good!

Afterward we hung out in the lobby of the hotel and caught several of the other families we’d gotten to know over the last two weeks, and exchanged more emails and phone numbers and blog addresses.¬† Most of them were flying home on Friday -but we’d opted to stay until Saturday morning in case we had any hiccups in the process.¬† Oh!¬† And Meghan’s visa and passport and all that fancy-pants Consulate stuff was delivered.

Thursday afternoon, I’d emailed an awesome lady named “Ann” who is basically a Chinese shopping assistant.¬† I said “I know it’s crazy last-minute, but do you have any openings on Friday afternoon to take us out shopping?”

She called that evening – and set us up for 2 pm.

Friday – slow morning, low-key day.¬† McDonalds French Fries for lunch.¬† (Did I mention I lost 14 lbs in China?¬† Yeah.¬† One to two meals a day, and having things like…french fries for a meal…. not quite the calorie count or quality I was used to!).¬† And then we met Ann in the hotel lobby.

Have you ever seen greyhound racing?¬† Little pretend bunny on this track that these greyhounds tear after to try to catch, thus racing at breakneck speeds in an attempt to catch something they never will?¬† THAT was shopping with Ann. She was delightful and friendly and awesome, but freakishly FAST.¬† We ran to keep up with her!¬† Bought pearl earrings, more silks (they were about $5 each, and she was quite the saleslady “WHERE in US can you buy something for $5?¬† $5 NOTHING in US.¬† You need more silks.”), a jade dragon-turtle for my brother, a Pleasant Goat puzzle for me the kids, more cloissone ornaments, a jade family ball, and some tea.¬† I was really blown away by how inexpensively she could find items for us.¬† Very pleased with the purchases though, and happy to have some of China here at home.¬† We went to the pearl market for the pearls, but to all these random down-alley-ways-into-the-heart-of-NON-tourist-shopping(ish) areas for everything else.¬† Most of the shops were about the size of a small walk-in closet.

Ann asked how many kids we had – and when we told her Meghan was #5, she told us we were crazy (we got that a lot in China).¬† She then said we were “way too young” to have so many kids.¬†¬† I commented that we were 23 for #1 – and she said “That’s ILLEGAL in China!”¬† I am not sure what the age of parenthood is – though one of our guides said that you can’t get married until 20 (woman) and 22 (man).¬† Part of family-planning control stuff.

Got a taxi back to the hotel, then had dinner at Coffee Club across the street from our hotel.¬† They had things like “Gromet Hambugers” (sic) and other items that just made me smile.¬† Back to the hotel, got everything packed up.

We left our hotel at around 7 a.m. on Saturday morning for the ride to the airport.¬† Waiting in line to check in at the airport, and a family of 7 jammed their way in front of us to hit the desk first.¬† It was kind of exasperating, and perhaps this isn’t kosher to say – but they cut in line like crazy in China.¬† Really, does it hurt to wait until the small family with one baby gets through the line first?¬† We flew a China Southern flight to Japan, but they didn’t have three seats together, so M and I were on one row, and my husband on the row ahead of us.¬† M did wonderfully on the flight.¬† It was 4 hours — then a 4 hour layover in Japan.¬† While waiting in Japan, a Japanese man accidentally rolled his suitcase over my foot.¬† He looked horrified and apologetic and said “I’m so sorry, excuse me, so sorry, please excuse me” (yes, twice).¬† I just about hugged him – I realized that in our 17 days of travel – for all the bumping, jarring, running-over, clobbering, etc that happens when you’re walking in the midst of 15,000,000 in a city – that he was the first person to apologize to me.¬† He probably thought I was crazy for looking at him all starry-eyed.

Next leg of our flight Р12 hours to DFW.  Good lord.  We actually arrived in Dallas before we left Japan, because of the time change/international date line, etc.  Kind of trippy.

Anyway, Meghan got really worked up around, oh, 1 a.m.?¬† Screaming.¬† Crying.¬† SCREAMING.¬† Inconsolable.¬† The flight attendant came to speak to me, and I immediately started releasing a flurry of apologies.¬† She said “Oh no, it’s not a problem at all!¬† I just wanted to see if you wanted to come to the back of the plane to rock her.¬† Or see if you wanted us to take her for a bit so you could get some rest.¬† We’ve all been there – every person on this plane was once a grumpy baby.¬† So you just take your time with her, head back here if you need to, take care of her and get her comfy.”¬† Five big fat honking HUGE stars for American Airlines.¬† There were several men milling around in the back of the plane stretching their legs, and the attendant said “Gentlemen, please find your seat – I’ve invited this lady to rock her baby.”¬† Within about 5 minutes she was out – and slept for most of the rest of the flight.

Dallas.¬† Nightmare.¬† Customs/immigration line INSANE.¬† It snaked around this room 7 times.¬† I don’t even know how long we stood in line.¬† We got through – then were ushered into a room – the same room where they check you for drugs and contraband and all that stuff.¬† They needed to process Meghan’s paperwork.¬† I’m really debating whether to share some of this publicly, but I’ll go ahead.¬† The man in that room was a world-class JERK.¬† We were there about 45 minutes.¬† At one point he looks at my husband and says “DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM?!¬† You keep lookin’ at me.¬† Why do you keep lookin’ at me? You got a problem?!”¬† Yes, we were looking at him – he had our daughter’s paperwork, we weren’t sure what was going on, what the deal was.¬† It was ridiculous.¬† He then went on to ream me for assuming our daughter was a citizen (she was, due to Hague treaty stuff; all her stuff was processed at the Guangzhou Consulate, and once through customs & immigration – she’s a citizen).¬† So anyway – “Come on, that’s ridiculous!¬† Can you imagine if EVERY person who set foot on American soil – automatically got citizenship?¬† It’s idiotic to even think that, I’m the expert, I do this all day” – blah-blah-blah – and so forth.¬† My husband tried to ask him if we got any of our papers back from the packet we had to submit, and he asked how the *bleep* we’d expect her citizenship to be processed if we took all the papers.¬† Then he drew in her visa, which made me sad.¬† Circled things and drew lines all over it, and yeah.¬† I’m not sure if that was really necessary, but I was sad that her pretty little face on her visa was marked up.¬† Unfortunately, because their rules prohibit cell phone use etc while there, we couldn’t even look up (on smartphone) the laws and such so it really just sucked.¬† We were then ushered out and I was so mad I was shaking – not to mention was 18 hours or so into travel and exhausted out of my ever-loving mind.

We had to recheck our baggage.¬† We had to redo TSA screenings.¬† I really kind of hated all that.¬† Japan screening?¬† AWESOME.¬† China?¬† AWESOME.¬† TSA?¬† Eh.¬† The positive side was that I was “wearing” Meghan so I got to finally bypass the backscatter thingy.

Four hour layover – though really we barely had an hour by the time we made it through that craziness.

I may or may not have literally skipped down the tunnel to our plane.  Home, oh my goodness, almost home sweet HOME.

Flight good, Meghan a bit fussy.¬† Overall OK.¬† Got to our home airport, and were met by kids with signs and balloons and all around AWESOME.¬† I was exhausted out of my mind – I don’t remember a whole lot of details, except that I’m sure I cried.

And then?  We came home.  All 7, one roof.  All together.  Happiness.

Categories: Adoption, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Tuesday & Wednesday

I had a post, but either China or my computer ate it.  It basically went like this.

Tuesday –

* Chen Family Temple

* Passport arrived, yay!

* Meghan screamed.  For hours.

 

Wednesday –

* Consulate Appointment, yay!

* 6 story crazy-mall with guide, and wow are Chinese ‘legos’ cheap and of fantastic quality. My husband will be leaving all his clothing and toiletries behind in China to make room in his suitcase.

* Meghan screamed.  For hours.

She is grieving HARD. ¬†Seriously, seriously hard. ¬†Imagine the loudest toddler temper tantrum you’ve ever heard. ¬†Magnify it times about 7,000,000. ¬†And stretch it out for hours. ¬†With no respite. ¬†Non. Stop. Screaming. ¬†Please pray for her, and pray for us, too. ¬†We were expecting her to grieve, we were hoping she would grieve (I know that sounds horrible, but it’s important for her future attachment to be able to grieve what she’s losing). ¬†But it doesn’t make it any easier.

The good news is, I got 5 smiles from her today. ¬†That brings my grand total to 6 smiles since “Gotcha” 10 days ago. ¬†Baby steps, people. ¬†Celebrating the small victories.

Categories: Adoption | 2 Comments

Monday – Shaiman Island

Kelly, our guide, met us about 10 this morning. ¬†We weren’t sure what exactly we were doing today – when we got in the van, she announced we were going to Shaiman Island. ¬†I was OK with this, as I’d heard quite a bit about a few of the shops… very tourist’y spot, geared toward American families. ¬†The US Consulate used to be located on the island, and the White Swan Hotel is also on the island – where all the adoptive families used to stay.

When we arrived, Kelly got out of the van, pointed one way and say “this shop, this shop, and that shop are that direction, Starbucks is this other way, and such-and-such is down this street. ¬†When do you want us to pick you up?” ¬†Now, our other two guides were glued to us in our other two cities, so this autonomy was kind of new. ¬†We asked for about 2 hours, said “bye” and headed toward a place called “Jenny’s Place.”

About 20′ from Jenny’s a little Chinese gal came up to talk to us. “Oooh, you adopt? Daughter or son?” ¬†“Daughter.” ¬†“Ah, yes, I see, I see. ¬†Jenny’s? ¬†Come please.” and she handed us a business card. ¬†We told her were were already going that way. Got to Jenny’s — teeny tiny little place, run by a sweet man who spoke English very well. ¬†Interesting thing about shopping in China — if you pick up anything to look at it? ¬†The shopkeepers immediately bring you EVERYTHING else remotely like that. ¬†“Oh, you like the jade dragon? ¬†Here – here is a silver dragon. ¬†And a cloisonne dragon. ¬†And a chess set with dragon pawns. ¬†And maybe shoes with embroidered dragons on them. Or maybe you liked the JADE of the dragon – here is the jade tiger. And jade rat. And jade dog. And jade chess set.” ¬†It made me a little dizzy. ¬†Happened in EVERY little shop we went into though.

We picked up a few items for the kids, and a gift for a family member at Jenny’s… no squeaky shoes though. ¬†Walked to A Gift From China, run by a British woman – they say. ¬†Picked up a few little things, Chinese dresses for the girls’ American Girl dolls, and some small knick-knacks. ¬†Went to Sherry’s and looked at the Squeaky Shoes… I narrowed it down to two pair – a black and red pair, or orange and brown. ¬†I showed them to my husband and he said “Orange, of course!” ¬†So…….the shop keeper proceeded to enthusiastically produce every single shoe that had any kind of orange on it, just in case we needed more orange.

Now, they say the shopkeepers enjoy bargaining. ¬†I don’t. ¬†My M.O. — “How much for this?” “120 yuan.” ¬†“Oh, ok. No thanks.” ¬†“Wait. 100 yuan.” ¬†“Ok!” ¬†Worked well for me. ūüėČ ¬†My husband tried negotiating with one shopkeeper. ¬†She told him “40 yuan.” ¬†He said “35 yuan.” ¬†She replied “40 good price.” ¬†Hehe.

We ended up missing lunch altogether today, waiting for our laundry to be picked up. ¬†I really, really hope we get it back. ¬†I have this fear of losing all my pants. ¬†Never having sent out laundry, it’s a little unnerving. ¬†Annnnnnnyway.

Hung around the hotel for a lot of the afternoon, then headed to Starbucks for a hot mocha, then eventually out to dinner.

My husband picked out something that appeared to be a beef dish, and I got what ultimately ended up being pork fat. ¬†I was holding M, and eating with chopsticks, so my first bite of the beef dish I ended up shoving a HUGE piece of meat in my mouth so as not to drop it on little Miss. (I’m still not quite a pro at the whole chopsticks thing). ¬†Big mistake. ¬†It was one humongous glob of gristle. ¬†I really tried to eat it, but I couldn’t. ¬†I was very embarrassed to spit it onto my plate – until my husband reminded me that the staff put a potty pot on our table for our toddler. ¬†Surely spit-out food couldn’t be worse than potty pots next to your food….right? ¬†So, yeah. ¬†That was my first and last bite of that.

Tomorrow another pretty laid-back day, while anxiously awaiting the arrival of somebody’s passport… (come on passport, come on passport, come on passport!). ¬†We’ll visit a Buddhist temple which is several hundred years old, and perhaps a park, if it stops raining long enough!

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Photos from the last few days

Comparing her photo from admittance into Marias in March - to her visa photo from August. 13 lbs versus 20 lbs.

Comparing her photo from admittance into Marias in March – to her visa photo from August. 13 lbs versus 20 lbs.

 

Meghan and Daddy, after Xuchang orphanage tour

Meghan and Daddy, after Xuchang orphanage tour

 

Someone has the same opinion of hair bows as her oldest sister...

Someone has the same opinion of hair bows as her oldest sister…

 

Attempting to master the spoon.  She has figured out how to get it into her mouth - but figuring out how to get food onto it is still to be learned.

Attempting to master the spoon. She has figured out how to get it into her mouth – but figuring out how to get food onto it is still to be learned.

 

Trying to figure out the Squeaky Shoes - we think these may be her first pair of shoes ever

Trying to figure out the Squeaky Shoes – we think these may be her first pair of shoes ever

 

Tuckered out after a long morning shopping.

Tuckered out after a long morning shopping.

 

 

Categories: Adoption | 3 Comments

A Beautiful Sunday Among Friends

What a wonderful day.

We ventured out of the hotel around noon, in search of lunch. ¬†Walked around the block – uncertain of which restaurant to try – when we ran into some folks we’d met back at the airport-to-Zhengzhou. (They are military family, previously based in our state). ¬†They said they were on their way to “Honey Go” – and would we like to join them. ¬†Sure!

Got there and were seated – and another American family walked in. ¬†Staff naturally assumes all white people know each other, so they were seated with us too. ūüėČ It was a really nice meal. ¬†They brought water in glasses – versus bottles. ¬†I didn’t see bottled water on the menu, so got a can of Coke instead. ¬†The rest of our tablemates were under the assumption that the Chinese know their tap water isn’t potable – therefore it must be bottled water – and they drank it. (Spotted the staff later filling the pitcher straight from the tap…. uh-oh…)

Anyhow, the military family told us they were holding a small church service in their room at 3:15, and would we like to come? ¬†(We’re all in the same hotel). ¬†We very enthusiastically agreed.

We were the last to arrive (had accidentally locked all our room keys in our hotel room, which slowed us down a bit), but there were about a half-dozen families gathered together in this little hotel room. ¬†The military man was actually a chaplain at his AFB, so he and his wife led the service. ¬†One of the other dads opened us in prayer, the chaplains wife led us in three hymns, then the chaplain read a bit from Romans 1:16-24(ish). ¬†It was very special to me that M’s first worship service was in her own home country, among her own peers – former orphans now in families. ¬†They took prayer requests, prayed over all of us, sang another hymn, and departed. ¬†It was really beautifully simple and perfect.

Headed back down to our room, and Meghan and I watched some Pleasant Goat, and then some bad 80s movies that were in English, which was exciting for me only because they were in English. ¬†Subtitled in Mandarin, of course. ¬†At one point during Pleasant Goat, Meghan was down at the foot of the bed and I said “Meghan?” ¬†She turned to me, scooted to me, grabbed my fingers and pulled herself up to a stand. ¬†I was beyond excited! ¬†This was a girl who 6 days prior – wouldn’t even react to her Chinese name, when spoken by an ayi. ūüôā

Hubby spent the afternoon getting paperwork fixed up to get M added to our health insurance. ¬†Not sure what all she’ll need when we’re home – but don’t want to spend time arguing with insurance companies about coverage if we can avoid it.

Went back to Honey Go for dinner (actually tried to go somewhere else first – I don’t know the name, but it’s three Chinese characters – which probably narrows it down to about 3,000,000 restaurants in this province…anyhow, they had a HUGE wait). ¬†So – to Honey Go. ¬†Discovered that Honey Go’s idea of western food is anything – with melted American cheese on it. ¬†Sometimes still in it’s square glory. ¬†We’re going to look for something else for today, I think.

Had a good evening, M slept well, the rest of us mostly did too.  Had some folks arguing in the hall for a good hour last night which was annoying, and had an obscene call at 1:30, which was even more annoying.

Ready for some sight-seeing today, and the results of M’s TB test. ¬†Hoping for the wonderful news that somebody’s passport has arrived early, too.

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10 More Random China Things

* The street sweepers (vehicles) play music as they drive down the road. ¬†Just like the ice cream trucks back home. ¬†The one in Zhengzhou drives up and down the street playing “Happy Birthday.”

* Restaurants are really cheap – but they charge for everything. ¬†Oh, you want napkins? ¬†That’ll be 2 yuan, please.

* On menus? ¬†“Pork” may mean “pig’s feet.” ¬†“Duck” may mean “duck’s neck.” ¬†“Bacon” may mean “ham.” ¬†And ordering any one of the aforementioned items, may result in a platter of…beef….

* English letters on signage are as much for decoration as anything. ¬†One store we walked by was called “LOHAS” but their graphic was written “HOLAS.” ¬†Order does not seem to matter.

* Sometimes the t-shirts that the Chinese folks wear – that are in English – really don’t make sense. ¬†Like the “It’s Not Easy Being Green” t-shirt with the giant ice cream cone, or my favorite “Ideal is the bacon, without bacon no direction.” ¬†There was also a shirt with a giant screen-printed cat that said “I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING!”

* Matching clothes… Grown women out and about in matching clothes. ¬†Our guide said that’s something sisters or best friends do. ¬†I remember in 3rd grade wearing an awesome tie-dyed jumpsuit along with my best friend at the time. ¬†Can’t think of anytime I’ve done that as an adult (bridesmaid dresses aside).

* Photographs. ¬†My picture is probably on the (Chinese version of) Facebook pages of a dozen people’s pages. ¬†“Look at the crazy white lady with the clown hair with the Chinese baby strapped to her!” ¬†Sometimes I wish the photographers were at least a little more discreet. ūüėČ

* In defense of the Chinese people….I probably get just as excited when *I* see a white person around here. ¬†You wave and smile and wish them an enthusiastic “HELLO!” like long lost friends, even though you’ve never seen them before in your life – and will probably never see them again.

* Umbrellas are everywhere. ¬†If it’s sunny – they’re up and down the street blocking the rays. ¬†If it’s rainy….well, that makes sense. ¬†(And it’s always rainy in Guangzhou this time of year, apparently).

* My baby is the cutest Chinese baby ever.

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M’s First Flight, Travel Medical Appt, and Germs

Friday we had nothing to do but get M’s passport, and get to the airport for our flight to Guangzhou, where the US consulate is. ¬†Well…..the computer system was down at the Xuchang PD, so no passports were printed. ¬†We had to come to GZ without the passport, but they say they’ll mail it to the hotel. ¬†It’s supposed to arrive Wednesday morning, but our Consulate appt is Wednesday at 8:30 — so we need that passport! (She’ll get her US Visa). ¬†Please pray that it arrives on time!

We got to the airport on Friday afternoon, and M did fine until it was time to go through security. ¬†They took her bottle, and I had to take her out of the Ergo. ¬†She started crying – and crying and crying and crying! ¬†We made it to our gate, and the poor girl was just about hysterical. ¬†I wondered how much the airport was like the train station — she’d left her orphanage by train, and then left Maria’s by train – could she be thinking she was in for another big change? ¬†I just kept hugging her and saying over and over ‘You’re staying with us, you’re staying with us, you’re staying with us.” ¬†Eventually she settled down. ¬†After only about an hour delay we were able to board the plane. ¬†As I walked down the aisle to our seat, our silly girl patted everyone on the shoulder/head that we passed. Lots of little old Chinese ladies would hold and shake her hand and said “Ni hao, bebe.” ¬†She did great on the flight – 2.5 hours or so. ¬†But I think a baby monkey that had polished off a 6-pack of Red Bull would have had less energy than she did! She was bouncing all over the place! ¬†Made it to GZ around 10 pm, then to our hotel, China Hotel (Marriott). ¬†Very nice hotel!

Saturday morning she had her travel medical appointment. ¬†I was hoping and praying her fever would be down. ¬†My husband and I were both really feeling under the weather, but we plodded along… ¬†First thing was her Visa photo. ¬†Then they took her vitals – uh-oh, fever. ūüôĀ Weighed and measured her. ¬†Then into an ENT room where they checked her ears and throat. ¬†Then another room where they checked heart, etc. ¬†Then they swiped her from us, and a half-dozen nurses took her into the TB test room. ¬†Longest 5 minutes of my life! ¬†She was screaming hysterically the whole time, no doubt had NO idea what was going on. ¬†After that, they took her temp with an old-fashioned mercury thermometer to see if she still had a fever. ¬†15 minutes under her arm! ¬†She was screaming and crying the whole time, and in my husband’s arms — he, himself had a 102 fever — so I kept thinking “she’s going to be high, she’s going to be high….” ¬†Kept praying that she’d be fever-free! ¬†Miraculously – she was! YAY! ¬†When I took her afterward, she was cool as a cucumber.

Got back to our hotel at noon, and I was feeling utterly miserable. ¬†We put her down for her nap, and we laid down too. ¬†Every part of me ached, my heart was racing, and my head was throbbing like it has never throbbed before. ¬†Mono and the flu felt like a walk in the park, comparatively… ¬†At one point, I dragged myself out of bed to take my temperature — 104!!! ¬†Turned down the a/c, took some ibuprofen, and covered myself with cold, wet towels. ¬†After two hours I was down to 102.7. ¬†The three of us spent the next 18 hours sleeping – M up occasionally for a diaper or congee. ¬†Finally feeling human this morning (it’s Sunday morning here in GZ). ¬†Low-grade fevers all around (under 100), and we’re opting to stay in today versus the slated touring and shopping. ¬†We may go meander a bit outside later. ¬†We did make it down for breakfast, which was our first meal in about 48 hours. ¬†Caught up with a few of the other adoptive families, too, which was nice.

All that said – M is doing great today, actually each day we see more and more progress on her part. ¬†She has changed so much in the almost-one-week’s time since Gotcha. ¬†Looking forward to seeing what’s in store for her. ūüôā

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Finally, a slower paced day!

Ahhhhhhhhhh. (contented sigh of relief).

We had a much-needed down day.¬† Breakfast at the hotel as usual (Meghan had half a bowl of congee in the room beforehand, more congee at breakfast, and of course watermelon!¬† Big appetite for a little girl!).¬† Our guide met us at 9:00, and we headed to the oldest public park here in Zhengzhou.¬† It was really lovely, and but just teeming with people!¬† Anywhere there was a gathering space of any reasonable size, there were ladies lined up with music blaring doing their “exercise dancing”… Our guide said they’ll do this for about 2 hours each day – all in synchronization.¬† Each group had their own music and their own moves.¬† I cracked up when our guide described one group as “spicy mamas dancing gangnam style.” (mom, you can google gangnam style if you need to).¬† Hubby took video of several groups, I’ll have to try and upload some once we’re stateside.

There were also groups of men playing a game that was like a combination of badmitton and hacky-sack and…volleyball?¬† It was really interesting to see.¬† Equally interesting were the older men practicing their calligraphy using giant mop-sized paint brushes and water on the concrete.¬† I really need to find a mop-sized paint brush for my kids at home…¬† It was, as usual, hot and humid – but very manageable.

After that, our guide took us to the Henan Museum.¬† Meghan screamed the whole way there, was nearly inconsolable.¬† We worried that she was just really overstimulated and worn out.¬† I wore her in the ergo for the museum trip, and bounced all the way through the museum, trying to pacify her.¬† It mostly worked, but my legs were jelly afterward!¬† The museum was really interesting – but would probably have been more interesting if I wasn’t touring with a grumpy 3 year old. ūüėČ China has SO much history, it really makes our US history of a few hundred years seem really pitiful.¬† I would love to spend some of this Fall semester doing Chinese history with the kids – so many different elements to cover, the music and instruments, the progression of art and materials, burial rituals, building construction, and on and on and on…. (hard to turn teacher-brain “off” sometimes!).

We finally found some postcards in the museum gift shop, and hope to mail them off from Guangzhou.  We may be back in the US before they arrive!

Got to the van and Meghan was really upset and feeling awfully warm.¬† We got back to the hotel, and hubby and guide went out to get take-out while I stayed in with her.¬† She had a 102 temperature and was SO irritable and fussy.¬† 3 hours into ibuprofen, we’d only dropped it down to 101.6.¬† We called our guide who said the hospital was really our only option for medical care for M, and she’d be at our hotel in about 30 minutes to accompany us.¬† While we waited on the guide, my husband remembered that we’d been given the contact info for Meghan’s doctor from MBHOH – so I called him.¬† What a blessing he was!¬† He told us that a virus had been going around MBHOH, and told us the typical progression and what to watch out for.¬† We brought some amoxicillan from home (from her pediatrician), and if it doesn’t appear to go the viral route, we will begin treating her with that.¬† That said – I was getting off the phone with him as our guide knocked on our door!¬† (doctor also suggested that M had a good chance of catching “something else” at the hospital).¬† We decided to skip the hospital – but the guide went ahead and took me to get dinner while Meghan and Daddy stayed at the hotel.

After dinner, we finally gave M her first bath.¬† She LOVED it.¬† She splashed and splashed so much!¬† Lots of yummy baby lotion and a fresh pair of pajamas.¬† She was starting to perk up and was really interacting with us more.¬† I got 4-5 deliberate smiles from her this evening – and I tell ya, she really makes you work for those!¬† Since she was feeling so much better, I played more “Come On Eileen” and….yet again…..she popped up and boogied with me, smiling most of the way through.¬† She also let me rock her to sleep for the first time, what a treat that was. <3

Unfortunate side to all this, though, is that my husband seems to have come down with whatever virus Miss Meghan has. ūüôĀ Fever, plus cough and bad congestion.¬† He feels absolutely miserable.¬† Doing the best we can with the oils we brought and the medicine-cabinet-worth of supplies.¬† He crashed early this evening; hoping he’s feeling better tomorrow.

Looking forward to another easy-going day on Friday, nothing to do except get M’s passport from our guide (she will have a Chinese passport, because she won’t be a US citizen until our plane lands state-side), and catch our flight to Guangzhou at 6 pm (or so).¬† Last city in our whirlwindy trip, and last flight til our flight home.¬† Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait!

Bedtime Stories with Daddy

Bedtime Stories with Daddy

Categories: Adoption | 2 Comments

Tuesday & Wednesday

Tuesday was another crazy busy day.¬† First stop Civil Affairs office to finalize some things for the adoption.¬† Then to Maria’s Big House of Hope, which was about a 2 hour (one way) trek.¬† Our driver wasn’t exactly sure where he was going, and the GPS wasn’t working, so we stopped for directions 5-6 times.¬† I was really sick to my stomach most of Tuesday, and we aren’t allowed to post anything but generic photos from MBHOH, so I’ll save a “real” post about Tuesday for later.¬† I was in bed by 6 p.m. (we were gone from 8-5:45 or so), and stayed there til morning.

Wednesday…also long.¬† We toured her orphanage (about 1.5 hours away), had lunch with the orphanage director, visited her finding spot (another 45 minutes one way), back to the orphanage to pick up one of the orphanage officials, then to the passport offices, then back to the hotel.¬† Probably 8-9 hours of busy.¬† So the details:

The orphanage was really surprisingly nice – though very understaffed.¬† The first floor has various classrooms and therapy rooms… Music rooms, water therapy rooms, sensory integration rooms, preschool classrooms, etc.¬† One of the preschool classrooms – that was obviously used – had Montessori materials on their shelves.¬† Whether the teachers know what to do with them is unknown to me, but it made me happy to see them nonetheless.¬† There were probably 20 or so preschoolers in the Sensory Integration room when we arrived, and 2-3 ayi’s (nannies).¬† When it was time to go to their rooms upstairs, they all grabbed the shirt tail of the child ahead of them and walked single file. The orphanage director is in grey, and waving to them as they walk by.

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We went upstairs where her bedroom was, as well as a large playroom full of bridges, tunnels, tubes, and more.  Not many toys, but many, many kids.  I think I counted about 40, all under age 4 or so.  First, playroom.  Then her bedroom Р20 little beds, and 2-3 nannies.

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I delivered a stack of blankets made by our AHG Explorer girls, and they were grateful for them and placed them in M’s old room.

Very huge variety of needs and disabilities among the kiddos.¬† But I truly got the sense that the staff did care for them – even if they were overworked and overrun.¬† Time and again, one of M’s old nannies would come up to see her and simply could not believe the change in her since March (when she was transferred to MBHOH).¬† I do believe that she had been healthier and that they did the best they could – but I have a feeling that when her pyloric obstruction made feeding extra difficult – they were not able to invest the manpower into caring for her….with so many other babes to care for.

Here is a little guy who has a family waiting for him back in the U.S.¬† I have video of him cruising around in a walker too that I’ll be sending his mama when I’m stateside.¬† He is a wee fellow.

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Other misc. photos from the tour:

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As for Meghan…. she spent most of her time snuggled into my husband’s shoulder, with huge, silent tears pouring down her cheeks. ūüôĀ

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Finding spot was quite a ways away – tiny village in the middle of nowhere as far as I could tell.¬† Very, very poor area.¬† She was found at the Government Gates, about 50 yards from the Police Station.¬† She’d been abandoned around 8 months old, and our guide said the location of the finding spot was a guarantee that she would be found – and quickly taken to the proper authorities.¬† I was struck by how utterly silent it was.¬† China is a NOISY place, and there was no noise here – save for a rooster that kept crowing.¬† Internet has said I’ve uploaded enough photos for now, but I’ll get it posted soon… The gates are on the left of my photo, and the police station on the right. Next door.

 

 

Categories: Adoption | 1 Comment