Saturday, November 26, 2011

From Lanzhou to Guangzhou...

Charlotte had her first playdate with Taya.  They had been around each other all week but we hadnt let them get down in the floor to play together.  They played very well together and Charlotte liked sharing.  When Aaron got up and started saying bye bye Charlotte started crying. :) I think she really liked playing for Taya. :)

What we have been waiting on...Charlottes Chinese passport! :) Along with our 2 U.S. passports. 

Leaving Lanzhou and our guide aka Uncle Steed.  I cried when we left...we loved Lanzhou & Steed so much!

Our Gladney friends in Guangzhou...Shawn & Kim with their new daughter Mei-li are from Austin, TX and then there is me & Charlotte & our Gladney travel coordinator Gongzhan Wo who just happened to be traveling in China this month so, we got to meet him, and on the end is Jason.  The poster is of Edna Gladney (founder of our agency)

The medical exam...

She really did not care for them doing things to her. :)

 Our guide in Guangzhou, Jack, had on a cap from Leeland, Michigan which is where Jason vacationed as a child.  Small world!  He said an adoptive family had given it to him.

Outside the medical clinic

Our guide in Guangzhou, Jack Mao with us at the medical exam

Beautiful Shamain Island

The guys waiting on me & Kim to finish shopping on Shamain Island 

We are all doing pretty well. I ended up getting sick on the plane and sicker once we got to Guangzhou.  Some how I made it the room and collapsed.  Jason took Charlotte for a couple of hours and let me rest.  It was a hard night for them...she wouldn't go potty for him even though she kept motioning that she needed to go. UGH!  Anyway, I think it helped them bond though because today she has been smiling at him more and one time she didnt even cry when I handed her to him. 

Our hotel is very is huge and similar to the Opryland Hotel with a waterfall etc... but we did not get a suite like I had hoped.  The room is just a standard room.  I am wishing I had asked for a suite but, I assumed all rooms were suites at the Garden.  It is in a good location with lots of things nearby but, after visiting the island I wish we were on the island.  It is so quiet there and easy to walk around with her in a stroller.

We went to the medical exam this morning.  We ate the breakfast buffett and left for Shamain Island at 9:30 with our new guide Jack.  We really like him too.  Boy have we been blessed with great guides.  The medical exam consists of 3 different to measure & weigh the kids.  Charlotte weighed 27 lbs. :)  The 2nd station was ENT where they checked in her mouth, her ears etc.. And the final exam is where we had to take all of her clothes off and she did not like them touching her!

We did some shopping around the island after the medical exam and I found a few cute things for Charlotte. Now we are getting ready to go eat at The Banana Leaf restaurant ( a Tai restaurant) with our Utah friends and our Gladney friends. 

Thankfully I am feeling alot better today and hope to be back to 100% tomorrow.  Charlotte is doing just wonderful...laughing and smiling, playing games and even getting a little naughty with her spitting! LOL!  Daddy is sitting on the bed with her right now and she is laughing and spitting on him and he is smiling back at her while telling her thats gonna work! LOL!  She already has him wrapped around her little pinky! LOL! 

Sending our love from China!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dear Charlotte

Dear Charlotte,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         When I rocked you to sleep tonight and looked into your beautiful brown eyes, I couldn't help but wonder...Did your birth mother look into these same beautiful brown eyes?   Or were you wisked away when they saw your cleft lip & palate, to be found by the nanny of the orphanage on that cold, early November morning? Did she wonder where you are right now?  Did your foster mother (your 2nd mama) lovingly take care of you? Did she teach you to spit shine the furniture as you showed us today? :) Is she missing you right now? I pray both of these first mamas in your life will be able to find peace in the role they played in your life.I sit here in Lanzhou, China the closest I will probably ever be to these 2 important women in your life and in a way it makes me sad to leave Lanzhou tomorrow. Going to Guangzhou is one step closer to home and our boys (your guo guos) but, it is one step away from everything you have ever known.

 I am your 3rd mama, your forever and ever mama and I pray I can be all you need me to be and more. This journey to you has been one of the best things to ever happen to me and I hope one day you will realize how much your 3 mamas have loved you.... 1 enough to give you up, 1 enough to care for you for almost 2 years and 1 enough to love you through anything that might come our way.  It was God's plan all along that on November 20th, 2011 that you would become our daughter and we love you very, very much!

Love, your forever & ever mama

We are doing good!

We have a VERY HAPPY girl today!  She loves her clothes...this outfit was from Aunt Tonya & Laura. :) She loves eatting her little bananas...they are about 2-3 inches long but taste the same as regular bananas. ;)

We are doing REALLY GOOD today!  She has smiled and laughed and been just really happy today.  She is talking more and of course we don't know what she is saying.  I am able to be away from her a little.  Like right now she is sitting on the bed by herself! YIPPEE! :)  She tolerates Jason right now.  If he tries to feed her she jerks away and won't eat it.  But if I pick up the same spoon she opens her mouth right up. LOL!  So stubburn! But she did play with him today and tolerated him holding her in the Ergo Carrier which was good for them both and good for my back! :)  We are getting ready to meet our friends and head to the city square. 

Things we know about Charlotte:
1) She likes to watch Chinese cartoons & points & talks to the tv
2) She can use chop sticks pretty well
3) She LOVES to be outside and she LOVES her stroller! She will go to our hotel door and start to push her stroller to the door if she thinks it is time to go out.
4) She likes to look at the boys pictures and occassionally will say "Guo Guo" when she points to the picture of them!
5) She came from a good orphanage...they use a special wheat additive to the formula in Wuwei to make the kids healthier and we can tell.
6) She likes to fold clothes.  She keeps a little washclothe of her blanket & likes to fold them neatly.  I think she must have folded clothes in her foster family.
7) She took the wash clothe and was wiping the desk in our hotel room off, then, she spit and rubbed some more.  So funny!
8) Our guide says when we drive around she talks about the big trucks!  :)
9) She is an easy going girl...and her smile will melt you heart! :)
10) She loves her little black boots.  I think it must have been ones she has worn for some time.  Her feet are TINY!
11) She eats bananas, rice congee, noodles, those little manadarin oranges and is very independant about it wanting to peel it herself and hand me the peeling. :)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from China! :)  Love you all!
The is a replica of the horse statue that is from Wuwei that is now famous in China
and I believe is used as their emblem for tourism

This Buddha was beautiful!  We saw it when visiting the Budhist temple in Lanzhou.  It was one of several Budha...our guide said they believe in many Gods.

This is looking out of our window in our hotel.  It is a beautiful city but
you can't see clearly as the air is so polluted.

Apartments we can see from our hotel window.

More views from the window

Charlotte putting on makeup like she sees mama do! :)

We went out with our Utah friends and this was part of our Thanksgiving feast!  It was so yummy! Notice the chicken head though...yuck!  We had a very nice lunch with 2 different meat dishes, rice, noodles, and 2 desserts for $18 USD

Our Thanksgiving desserts...this one was like a custard pie and it was YUMMY!  And the other was like a pie crust and on the inside were peanuts and a sugar so it tastes a little like pecan pie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We LOVE Lanzhou!

I had heard before we came that Lanzhou was fairly small and with not alot to do.  Well we LOVE it here!  It is absoutely BEAUTIFUL!  I like it much more than Beijing!

Today we went to a Budhist temple and it was gorgeous there!  Old people gather there in the mornings to exercise, dance, sing etc..  It was amazing to see them!  Jason joined a group playing hacky sac....well with a badmitton birdie that was weighted instead of a hacky sac.  We gathered quite the attention from everyone at the park.  They wanted to know why we had an Asian baby.  They all were very nice and comlimentary about adoption and some told us we were very good people and that they were thankful.  One woman said "She is a lucky girl!"  I told her "We are lucky parents" through our interpretor. :)  we truly are....she is perfect for us and we love her so much!

She seems to be doing better this afternoon.  We ate a Pizza Hut for lunch and we were so thankful for some food that is familiar. Afterwards I told Jason he had to carry her in the Ergo carrier because my arms have been killing me.  So he did and she cried and cried but, we were in a busy area so there was alot to distract her and she eventually got over it.  She has had more to do with him this afternoon and has had a REALLY good day today...smiling and laughing and talking more!  We love this girl SO MUCH!  She is just a doll!  and she amazes us she is so smart!

We met another American couple adopting here this week.  They are from Utah and we have LOVED getting to know them and their new daughter.  Their daughter has a heart condition and is a month older than Charlotte.  But she is not able to walk or crawl.  She was in a different orphange (not foster care) and you can tell she is a sweetie that is just eatting up all of the attention.  Our guide said they probably had 10 babied per nanny to take care of and they just did as good as they could.  She is alos VERY tiny and her color is bad...because of the heart problem.  They will be doing heart surgery in the states so keep this family in your prayers.

We have enjoyed skyping with some of our family this week.  It has made me feel close to the boys an dnot miss them as much.  And Charlotte walked over to the computer just a few minutes ago asking for Guo Guo and pointing. (that means big brothers!)  She has loved seeing everyone too! :)

Tomorrow we plan to celebrate Thanskgiving by going to a nice Western restaurant that our guide recommended with our new Utah friends.  We definitely have SO MUCH to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! 

The assistant Director of the Wuwei Orphanage.  He was so nice.  He told us he could tell we had already done alot for WuKexia and that we had good hearts.  He wanted to make sure we would have more surgeries for her palate if it needed it.  We assured him we would and that we already had an appointment the week after we get back.

From L-R  Melody (the Utah couples guide), our new Utah friends and their new daughter, in between them is their daughters orphange director, another helper form the guide service, Jason, Kendra & Charlotte, Wuwei Assistant Director, a nanny that came to help with WuKexia on the long car ride, our guide Steed (who we absoutely love!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

How is she doing?

Overall she is doing really well.  She smiled and laughed for the first time a few hours after we had her.  She has this really cute pouty face.  It is ADORABLE!  When they were trying to take her picture for her Chinese passport she diddnt cry but she would stick out her bottom lip. :)  Everyone in the store laughed and laughed at her.

She is grieving though fairly hard at times.  She will break out in a cry for no reason what so ever.  It makes me think something is hurting her but I know it isnt.  I think it is her broken heart....not knowing what is going on and who might leave her next. :(  It breaks my heart too. 

For some reason today she won't have anything to do with Jason.  We know this sometimes happens in the first few days but, man are my arms killing me!  And today she has decided she won't sit alone in the floor and play.  If she plays in the floor she wont let her butt be on the floor...she has to be in my lap. :)  She also wants to have her shoes on all the time.  If she doesn't have them on she points to them & grunts.  We know all of this normal...she has been SO BRAVE! But, if you think about it, pray for her...I can't imagine all that is going through her mind.


First smile! she & Baba were playing with stacking cups.

Playing with Baba before she decided she didn't like him.

Officially the newest McCuistion! :)

a smile for mama!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We have her and she is BEAUTIFUL!

We met her in our room and she is amazing!  So smart!  She has been calling her brothers "guo guo" (which means big brothers) in their picture the last few hours!  She called Jason Baba! (which means daddy) And she really is potty trained.  She motions when she needs to go pee and has gone 3 times! :)

The first hour or so was pretty bad.  She was crying and wanted nothing to do with either one of us.  They said they had picked her up from her foster family just this morning.  The woman that is in the pictures she didnt know before this morning and the man is the Assistant Director of her orphanage and they were both so nice!

She is already a master at the stacking cups and loves watching Chinese cartoons. I think that might have helped as our language is so foreign to her.  After we turned on the tv, she has really opened up. :)

She is doing really good right now.  We heard her first laughs when we put stacking cups on our heads & then letting them fall. lol! Although I am a rasd worried about bedtime.  We got her around 2:30pm & it is now 7:30 p.m. so bed is coming soon...

We are sooooo happy & so thankful! Thank you so much for your prayers. They were certainly felt today.

with lots of love from China,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We aren't in Kansas anymore....

This building was built specifically for the Olympics in is called the Birds Nest

Street vendors selling sweet potatoes and roasted chestnuts....which made me sing Angela one of my favorite Christmas songs.  She said she had never heard it. :)

A rick shaw ride through the hutong.  This man was from Gansu province and only gets to see his family like once a year.

What is a hutong? It is an alleyway and all of these doorways off the alleyway lead to courtyard surrounded by rooms.  The hutongs were originally built by the Emperor to house the generals and army officials around the Forbidden that they could get there quickly. No one else was allowed to live there. There are over 4,000 hutongs residences still in Beijing and it is something like I have never seen before.  The old people believe in feung sway (sp?) and that living on the ground/soil is healthier.  So many people have to live in high rises that these are very south after.  This hutong Angela said would cost $3 million U S Dollars! So these hutongs are for the wealthy!  It blew me away....we are definitely not in Kansas any more!  This is the real China.

The honeymoon room in the hutong! :) LOL!

There is a big courtyard and 4 buildings.  The building on the north is for the elderly or owners because of the way the sun sets and rises it is cool in the summer and hot in the winter.  The building on the south is for the servants because it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  The building on the east is for the son and the building on the west is for the daughter.

 A typical bedroom.

The hutong dining room...she made the men sit in the throne chairs. :)

The owners talking outside their home. 

The kitchen

The doorway to the courtyard 

The beautiful Summer Palace

The traffic is HORRENDOUS here!  There are 5,000 new cars on the rode every day in Beijing.  The Forbidden City is in the very center of the city and they call the road around it "ring roads"  1st ring road, then 2nd ring road etc... They circle the Forbidden City and continue on out the higher number. There are alot ALOT of people riding bicycles and scooters.  Cars do not speed (they dont have a chance) but kind of follow their own passing on the side of the road.  It is all bizarre and results in lots of honking.

Today we went to see The Summer Palace. It is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been. The lake was man made and the Navy used it for training since Beijing doesnt have a coast or water for them to train on. It was all very ornate and beautiful!

This is the male lion outside the Summer Palace.  The male is always on the East and the female is always on the West.  The male has a ball under his paw and the female has a cub under her paw.

 One of the massive gates into the Summer Palace

The temple at the Summer Palace is in the background.  The lake was man made and the dirt was then used to make the hill on which the temple is.

A man practicing his chinese calligraphy on the sidewalk with water.

This picture is of a marble boat the Emperor had made. 

And you want to know the best news.....WE GET OUR DAUGHTER TOMORROW!  Somebody pinch me...really I feel like I am in a dream.  Tonight is the last night Charlotte will spend in the orphanage! Praise the Lord! 

We don't know exactly what time we will get her tomorrow but we think around 10p.m.-midnight CST on Saturday night.  So please pray for Charlotte and for is going to be a very big day!

With lots of love from China!