Our Son!

Our Son!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Long Time, No Post

It has been some time since I posted.  There's so much to do in Guangzhou, and since we only had a day in Hong Kong, we made the most of it.  Or tried to anyway.

I will post some pics of what we've been up to and try to update when we get home, God willing, Friday night at 10:00ish.  As it is, I'm sitting at gate 49 at Hong Kong International Airport waiting to board our plane to arrive so we can start the final leg of the journey with our 15 hour flight.

And we'll be taking this portion of our journey with a newly adopted 3 year old.  I would be far more concerned if he were not so ridiculously well behaved and easy to entertain.  Now watch him chose this time to change his ways.  :-O

In brief, that night after Carter's consulate appointment, we went and found a cute, local neighborhood restaurant where not a soul spoke English and not a word of English was on the menu.  The lady there was a doll, though, and we ended up with delicious food!

That night, we went on the river boat cruise.  

The next day was our last day in GZ, and we found our way back to that restuarant and Shamian island since our van to HK didn't leave until 5:30.  The van ride was uneventful, and I again cannot say enough about the value; the ease and convenience of the van ride make it well worth the nominal extra price compared to the train we took on our first trip.  

We got to HK around 8:00 and ordered room service.  The next morning, we availed ourselves of the delicious buffet breakfast and headed out for the day.  We visited the Po Lin Monastary and the Giant Buddha.  The tram ride, while beautiful and breath-taking, left much to be desired as far as I'm concerned, but I did it.  It was, most definitely, worth it!  

We then headed into Hong Kong.  Now, that is a post in and of itself.  Sigh.  Suffice it to say, it was a bust.  Unbelievable.  And, you might be thinking it would be because we were hauling an over-tired toddler around with us.  Nope.  True to form, he was impeccibly behaved.  He even fell asleep on the metro and continued to sleep in his stroller for about an hour.  The trouble had to do with a mall and the wrong colored cabs.  Unbelievable.  I'll tell that story another day.  

Now, I'm sitting on the plane about 3 hours out from Dallas / Fort Worth.  We've been on here for about 11 hours thus far (not including the hour after boarding / time on the tarmac / taxiing et al). Carter fell asleep while we were waiting to push back and slept for about 2 hours.  Since waking up, he's quietly eaten and watched Planes (2 showings), Finding Nemo & a little of Frozen.  Now he has been sleeping again for about 4 hours again.  He's been awesome.  Not really to our surprise.  

He and Troy are in front of me since we couldn't get seats together in main cabin extra.  And WOW is main cabin extra worth it!! Great seats and lots of space.  It didn't cost much more and for a 15 hour flight? Totally NOT over rated.  Well, took a break from movies (so far Blended, The Fault in Our Stars, $@* Tape, and Draft Day) to finish this.  Back to the entertainment, if I can get my stupid entertainment system working again.  Sigh.   

Next post will (prayerfully) be stateside!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nearing the End

We just get so busy here in Guangzhou that blog posts seem to take a back seat.  Time is slipping away quickly.  It's an emotional conundrum.  We love it here.  Guangzhou is a great city with so much to see and do, and it has a decidedly Western feel in places compared to other parts of China.  So, our love of being here is warring with our desire to get home to family and friends. The weather here (upper 70s and lower 80s vs the crap back home) is also making it difficult to leavve.  However, the squatties are putting this place at a decidedly disadvantage!

 (One of the CLEANER squatties I've been in.  PS They don't flush their TP and only flush when it's #2!!)

Anway, after 4 hours of sleep Friday, we got up for the medical check.  Fairly routine -- except when they rip your newly adopted son with whom you're trying to bond out of your arms, whisk him away to a closed room, and ram a needle into his arm (ok, that might have been a melodramtic visual but actually not far from the truth) to do a blood draw.

 At least they had a wine vending machine in the lobby! :-/ Surprisingly, I did not avail myself of any of its contents!

Anyway, all went well, and after that concluded, it was nap time for Carter and paperwork time for Daddy.  Then we went for supper with a wonderful Wuhan family.  The food on the other hand... Blah.  Suffice it to say, eating "Australian" in China?  Not recommended.

The next day was a free day.  We went to one of my favorite places in the world: Shamian Island.  It has this wonderful tropical / European feel.  It has fabulous shopping and beautiful pedestrian areas. 


We ran into another Wuhan family there and went to Lucy's: a Chinese adoptive family pilgrimage.  However obligatory, not the greatest food.  We got to eat outside though, so bonus!  

Then we came back to the hotel to go swimming for a bit.  Yes.  Swimming.  Outside.  In 80+* weather.  Yeah.  I am NOT looking forward to going home.  Have I mentioned how much I do NOT want to leave this weather?  

After swimming, we got cleaned up and headed to our Holt group supper.  Ah.  Yum.  I cannot begin to explain how much we love the food here.  And this meal was phenomenal!

Today was another free day.  We opted to forgo the zoo as we'd seen it already, and Carter, although he would have loved it, wouldn't remember it anyway.  Instead, we went to the pearl market 

 (Some gals at the market stringing me pearls.)

and back to Shamian.  We wandered about and ate a light lunch outside.  So gorgeous. 

I even treated myself to a massage.  Hard to pass up at $30 for an hour.  Seriously amazing.   Tonight, Troy and I again ventured out to get authentic, local food.  Oh. My. Word! So delicious.  And luckily we had a "menu" written out for us by one of the Holt staff so we got amazing food.  Nothing was in English and nobody spoke a word of English! :-O

Now, as we're nearing the end of our time in China, a brief word on the most important part of the story.  Carter.  He is ridiculous.  He is so well-behaved, neither Troy nor I know how to deal with him.   In fact, we've said time and again that he's just too easy!  We don't even know how to handle it.  We're sure it will all change, but for now, he is quiet, sweet, and gentle.  He can sit for hours and play by himself.  He will happily sit in his stroller or on our laps in a cab or on a bus as we haul him around.  He will sit quietly at a table in a restaurant and be content with a single car or toy.  His heart is very gentle; a stern "no" and a frown can cause him to fall apart.  He will occassionally contemplate defying us but never will follow through.  He is really an angel.  And, we cannot wait for that to change.  We're sure this is a, "somebody recently didn't love me enough to keep me and threw me away" stage where he is trying to ingratiate himself to us.  It's really very sad.  We're hoping that soon enough he'll realize he's stuck with us.  Forever.  Poor kid!  Short story long, we love this kid.  He's pretty amazing, and we can't wait to get him to his home! And, in 3 days, we start that journey!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Better Late than Never

Yesterday, after putzing around "our" neighborhood a getting the kids' passports, we made our way to the airport 
 (Crossing over the Yangtze River)

only to discover that our flight was delayed by 2+ hours. Then, we got to sit in the plane for 1 hour and 15 min.  Our flight lasted about 2 hours.  After we landed and got our luggage, waited for our bus, and rode to the hotel, it was after midnight.  By the time we got to our room (I'll regale you with room switch saga at another time), it was about 1 a.m. I cannot say enough what a rock star our little man was! He never fussed, got crazy, or whined...anything.  He ran about a bit in the airport but was "reasonable" for lack of a better word (and on 4 hours of sleep, I'm fortunate to forming moderately coherent sentences).  On the plane, he played quietly with the couple of toys we supplied or looked at the in-flight magazines.  
 (Making sure he has all the safety information down pat before take off)

Shortly after take-off, he fell asleep in my arms.  

He slept for about an hour.  Even with the post-flight rigamarole, he was exemplary.  So proud of him! Anyway, Carter zonked out around 1:30-ish.  Troy fell asleep around 2:00.  I started to get homesick and couldn't sleep right away.  It was closer to 2:30 before I gave up the ghost.  My falling asleep (and staying asleep) was in no way aided by the chainsaw in my room.  It was a short night.  Waaaaahhh! We had to be in the lobby by 9:30 to go to our medical check at 10:00.  It's pretty routine,

 (Carter might see it differently, though!)

 but nonetheless, it lasted about 2 1/2 hours because of the sheer volume of people in our group. We came back to the hotel and had (UGH) McDonalds because it's convenient, fast, and it was past nap time.  Carter napped, I homified the room, and Troy went to do paperwork.  Afterwards, it was later than we'd hoped, so we just went down to the OUTDOOR pool to talk with some fellow Holt / Wuhan adoptive families. 

 We decided to just go across the street for supper.  Again.  Ease and convenience.  Let's face it.  We're TIRED today! Hence the short, boring post.  Tomorrow is a free day.  We plan to go to Shamian Island (obligatory) in the a.m., back in the afternoon for a nap, and swimming after Carter gets up.  Then we get to go out for authentic Chinese with the entire Holt crew!  

Can't wait for a day to just relax!  Now, off to bed before I tip over.  Night!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Goodbye Wuhan

Today is our last day in Wuhan, Carter's birth city. Again, the departure is bittersweet. I won't be able to blog at my usual time because we leave the hotel at 3:00 to get Carter's passport, then we head straight to the airport. Our flight leaves at 7ish and is supposed to land in Guangzhou around 9:05 if we have safe travels. Prayers to that end would be appreciated! We're off to play outside right now. Carter had a rough night after seeing foster momma yesterday, woke up sad, and isn't feeling well. �� Poor baby. Back to square one for bonding. More from Guangzhou, God willing!
 Last night's delicious supper w/the entire Holt Wuhan crew!
 Carter playing at the desk. He sits there for hours. Literally. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Orphanage and East Lake

Today we were granted the privilege of visiting Carter’s orphanage.  Although he did not spend a great deal of time there, we decided to visit as this was where our son started his journey to us. As we neared it, it became apparent that Carter recognized the area.  He grew quiet and sat very still.  We got off the bus and were greeted by a few of the staff: the director of foster care and international adoption and a couple of her assistants.  

We immediately went to the sixth floor.  We looked into a couple of rooms and prepared to make our way down to the fifth floor when we heard a shout and the clapping of hands. We turned and a familiar looking lady was smiling and walking at us.  She had been in the videos and pictures sent to us during our wait.  It was confusing and happened quickly. She grabbed for Carter (much to my chagrin), took him from my arms, and hugged and kissed him.  He patted her face and kissed her when she obviously requested it by pointing to her check.  Troy shot a little video; I took a picture.

He did not seem particularly pleased and quickly turned to me with outstretched arms, so we said our thanks and left, assuming she was his teacher or orphanage staff.  We came to find out later that that was his FOSTER MOTHER! Ah, regrets! There were no Madarin speakers with us, so we had no way of knowing. I could CRY! What I would have given to express to her our gratitude.  Carter was very obviously well-cared for.  He is silly, happy, and funny.  He knows how to give and receive hugs and kisses. He seems very well-adjusted and was seemingly well-prepared for this adoption. Now, she probably thinks we’re thoughtless, self-important, ugly Americans.  We did eventually tell the director to express our gratitude and explain we did not know who she was.  Sigh.  The good news?  Carter wanted to come back to US!! In fact, as we left the orphanage, he was very stressed. We had to stop for a group picture out front, and Carter wanted nothing to do with it. He wanted to get on his bus and get outta there!

(Yeah, Carter is pointing at the bus!)
(He REALLY wanted to go. I swear I'm not laughing at him. It's one of those awkward, we want a picture at the same place where we had received other photos of him in but he's freaking out because he really, REALLY wants to leave pictures. And yes. I know that all should have been hyphenated, but it's a blog not academic writing. And I'm on an iPad, so it wasn't gonna happen!)

After the visit to the orphanage, we went to East Lake.  It’s a pretty area.  Carter loved it because he got to run.  Always a highlight!  The best part of his running, at least in our estimation? He always comes back.  Sounds ridiculous and inconsequential, but in international / toddler adoption, it’s huge.  He was happy, we got some fun pictures, and we were ready to come back after the hour and half there.  The most important aspect of that little excursion?  Shorts and t-shirt weather! ;) It’s in the mid-60’s, and the Chinese look at us like we’ve lost our ever-lovin’ minds! They’re in long-sleeves and coats – some of them winter coats! We got a couple of “talkings-to” by a couple of grandmas because Carter is just in pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Cultural differences.  Haha!

 (FYI he's eating a granola bar over Dad's head.)

We’re back at the hotel now.  Carter is napping, Troy’s grabbing a bite here in the room (Ramen – I didn’t have to.  I got fried tofu with some tasty mystery sauce at the lake), and I’m updating the blog and Facebook.  A big day already, and tonight we’re going out with all the families to have a meal together at a local place since tomorrow we leave and head to Gaungzhou.  A bittersweet day.  I miss the boys like crazy and look forward to being one step closer to being back with them.  But with our departure, we leave behind Carter’s home.  We will take him from the only place he’s ever known.  Wuhan is not a particularly inviting place, but I will leave a part of me here as I did in Xi’an and Changchun.

Til later....

Too tired....

.....to do any post justice. So, I'll just post pics and say it was a nice day at the Yellow Crane Tower, the symbol, if you will, of Wuhan. 
Love the juxtaposition of old and new!
And love this face! (snack time at the tower)
Speaking of snacks, Troy found some FABULOUS street food!

More tomorrow. We have the privilege of visiting the orphanage, and then we will visit East Lake. We leave the next day, Friday, for Guangzhou---the last half of our trip. 

G'night from China!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What We're Learning

Here's what we've come to know in the first 48 hours.

at first prefered Daddy.  Now, Mommy is where it's at, and he cries whenever she walks out of his line of sight. 
does NOT like socks.
is getting a fairly nasty cold. Guess he wants to compete w/Grandpa....
likes his head covered when he sleeps and is a tummy sleeper.
gets into bed easily but messes around for quite some time. (HELLO? ETHAN?!) 
may never have worn underwear even though he's potty-trained.  He giggled when we put a pair on him -- he came to us sans under garments on our Forever Family Day. 
will eat fairly spicy food but makes an adorable little face and sucks in air through clenched teeth before going back for more. 
likes. to. run. (HELLO!?  AIDEN!?) 
he will run away but comes back to "home base". 
plays well by himself. 
didn't know how to blow kisses or give high fives but does now. 
will repeat words if pressed to do so and is in the mood.
is the singularly best ignorer in the world (makes it really hard to ascertain his level of hearing loss!). 
is spicy, just like we were told kids from this province are. We love it. And this kid!!!!