Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last Day in China

We're finishing up our last day in China. It is bittersweet. I'm certainly looking forward to the good ole U.S. of A. I know and love. On the other hand, I do enjoy traveling and being in China, and we have met some pretty wonderful people on this trip.

Our last meal with the our Changchun crew. GREAT group! :)

Today we let the boys sleep until they woke up on their own, around 7:30. That kind of put us behind the 8-ball, though, because there were several things we wanted to accomplish. We finally got to breakfast at 9:00 because we were still monkeying around finishing packing; the tone for day was set. (Passive voice, I's a blog. Grammar doesn't count!) After breakfast, I ran out with Emily to do some quick last-minute shopping. I needed a new teapot and some tea. Emily needed some new toys for the plane ride. It was pretty fun. We mingled with the locals. ;) When we got back, I was adamant that I get to go get a message. I got one at the hotel, so it was expensive. $25 for an hour. :) After the message, it was lunch time with our Changchun friends. We ate at a locals' restaurant, and it was pretty interesting. I loved it; some of the others just thought it was ok. Aiden even made a friend for the day. It was so cute!

Afterwards, we had to go swimming for a grand total of 20 minutes because I had promised Aiden. Both he and Ethan love the pool, and I get the feeling Ethan has been in a pool before because he seems to know how to kick his feet and likes to lay back in the water among other things. The best part? Even though they would have loved to have kept swimming, neither pitched a fit when we had to leave after such a short time.

We almost ran back to our room, threw our stuff into the suitcases, and dashed down to the lobby just in time for the Holt group photo. A lot of pretty amazing people were on this trip!

We didn't have to wait too long before our van service arrived to pick us up. It was a pretty nice trip...door-to-door in three hours. It was WAY better than last time on the train. Nice, cool, comfortable. Customs was a breeze and we didn't have to pick up luggage after clearing customs at the train station, then take a bus to our hotel and wait for a bell boy to take the luggage to everybodys' rooms. Oh. And I way prefer the SkyCity Marriott to the Regal. Super nice. But apparently this has been a rough day for everybody...

It's almost midnight here and a long day awaits us tomorrow. So, it's lights out. We'd sure appreciate it if you could pray that we make it back home safely. Next post? On American soil! (God willing!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Accompanying Pictures

We're back from the cruise. We actually had a great time. Aiden slept initially, but I just had to wake him as earlier in the day he was so excited to go on a boat and eat pizza. He loved it, kept hitting me, saying, "Mom. Mom. MOM!" and pointing to things. It made my heart happy. Ethan was spellbound. He stared, agape, the whole time we were topside. Completely out of character, he didn't squirm or try to run away the entire cruise. And, again, we got to spend time with our Changchun adoption buddies. We are likely considered the rebels of this Holt adoption trip, but I'm guessing those of you who know me are not surprised! ;) In all truthfulness, both families are wonderful and we are blessed to know them and have this connection. Shut up, Emily. You know you feel the same way!!!!!

Anyway, without further ado, the aforementioned (as in last post) promised pictures.

Guangzhou Zoo and Safari Park

Shamian Island

Pearl River Cruise

Long Time No Update

We have been very busy. Yesterday was the Guangzhou zoo and safari park. The boys loved it, but it was just shy of 1 million degrees which made it somewhat difficult to fully appreciate! *I will attach pictures later* Aiden is really suffering from jealousy and insisted on riding in the stroller and would have meltdowns of epic proportions if not allowed to do so. That left Ethan to either be carried or walk on his own. We discovered something alarming (at worst) or disheartening (at best). Ethan was walking and decided he didn't want to go in our direction. We waved bye-bye and started walking away. He waved, too, so we kept walking. He looked mildly interested that we were leaving but certainly not concerned. We decided to hide behind a bush; Ethan turned and walked the other way. This coupled with the fact that he still often tries to grab others' hands and walk away is a bad sign. It doesn't bode well on the bonding front. It would appear he and I will have to hunker down in the house for a couple of weeks to try to establish trust, then attachment, and hopefully bonding.

Today we had our consulate appointment. We took our oath and should get Ethan's visa by 4:00 tomorrow. It's kind of sad, but no cameras are allowed, so there a no pictuers of the "big event." After our appointment, we went to Shamian Island. *Pictures to follow* Oh how I missed that place. So quaint and European in feel, and all the cute shops are so fun. Sorry ladies. For those of you who wanted purses, I only got one. :( I stopped in the store I know of for the purses, and she informed me that the gov't is really cracking down on that and regulating it, so she only had a couple and the prices were higher than last time. (And only a couple were even very cute -- pretty disappointing.) We spent a few hours there, did a little shopping, and at Lucy's -- an adoptive parents obligation -- but had to be back to our hotel by 3:00 for paperwork. Ethan slept and Aiden watched Scooby Doo and played iPod.

I'm in a rush, so pardon the typos and lack of accompanying photos; we're off to a night cruise on the Pearl River. We will be dining on....Papa John's pizza. :D Wish us luck. Aiden is overtired, and they're both overly active. This could be fun or it could be a couple hours of sheer torture.

More later, but tomorrow we're off to Hong Kong and homeward bound on Thursday. How is it that this is already over...?? It seems like we just left! Ciao for now.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Update in Brief

We're getting ready to head out, so I will be brief (haha or at least as brief as I can be!). As I said in yesterday's post, we had our medical check. After that, we came back to nap after eating McDonald's. Troy then went to do paperwork (only seems fair he does a few hours after I've done a few month's worth!); the boys and I went "swimming." Well. We went to the pool at least. It is no mean feat to attend to a four and two year old in a swimming pool that is over both of their heads. We managed for close to an hour though, and Troy showed up around 4:30. He and I talked for about 5 minutes when he said, "Oh yeah, we're going out to eat at 5:00." Ah. Ok. I've been swimming for the past 45 minutes and now I have 20 minutes to get ready and get the boys ready. Great. But, because Troy has been an amazing husband and father on this trip (seriously, you cannot imagine all the hard work and dedication -- no joking -- he has shown), we got everybody cleaned up and out the door by 5:00.

We then went out for a Holt group meal. I don't know the name of the restaurant, but Catherine (Holt rep) ordered it all, and it was all incredilby delicious and served family style on a huge lazy Susan! She even went so far to order a special dish for our table because I happened to mention I love spicy food. So does Jeremy and so does Karen. Ron and Karen were at our table. They are wonderful. We really like them and their beautiful kids. We had a great time and Catherine made a point to say we were the fun table, and we all had a good laugh. Her saying that may have had something to do with the fact that we were the only table that ordered beer. Several times. :) (They kept bringing a couple large beer for 6 adults. Seriously?)

The boys went to sleep shortly after they showered (around 9 or 9:30) and slept until 7:30. This a.m. we leisurely got ready and went to breakfast here in the hotel. Ethan still isn't showing any real signs of bonding as he tries occasionally to hold the hands of cleaning ladies or other Chinese folks and walk away, but at least he had the decency to whimper a little when one or the other of us walked away to return to the buffet this morning. It's a work in progress. On a positive note, he will now sometimes get upset if he wanders away and can't see us; he is now giving us kisses, too.

After breakfast we walked around and took the boys to the hotel's play area -- much larger than in Changchun. When we got back, Ethan napped for a bit while Aiden watched Scooby Doo, Dad repositioned packing, and I washed a few pair of shorts in the sink (we're having a load taken to Shamian Island later today). The boys played after nap time and now we're getting ready to head to the pearl and jade market. Yay!!! :)

I will update at day's end, but suffice it to say, we're having a pretty good time!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back in Guangzhou

Getting here was nothing short of arduous, though. Good thing we had a laid back morning because nothing that followed was anything other than stressful for some time. At check-out, the lady at the desk tried to not only charge us again(we paid through a travel agency), she tried to stick us with three other families' bills! Once that was resolved, we headed off to the airport. We left the Shangri La around 2:30. Check in at the airport for all four Holt families took about an hour. Try entertaining a two year old and a four year old, both very active, who are still pretty out-of-sorts. Checking in took that long because, as it turns out, only one of the four families was able to get seats together. Getting through security was another little slice of heaven. Ethan had a lap seat, and it was in Troy's name. Lord help us. That sent them into a tizzy. Finally, we got through security, grabbed a less-than-appetizing bite to eat (with nowhere to sit but on the floor essentially right in front of the quick stop food joint which is next to the bathroom. YUM!),

and went to our gate only to discover our flight was delayed by an hour. A bit later, I went to check the status and saw our gate had been moved from #35 (the very end of the terminal) to #1 (obviously the very OTHER end of the terminal -- upstairs). So, load everything up again and start hualing butt. Aiden is showing signs of stress and jealously. He refused to walk and demanded to ride in the stroller. This means either lugging Tank or having himwalk / run away. SO. MUCH. FUN!!!! We got to gate 1 and let the boys run. Somebody, Karen I believe, went to see if our departure time was still 6:45, and it was. However....the gate had been moved from #1 to #32. I almost cried. I haven't mentioned it yet, but I have an incredibly sore throat. Like, burning sore. This just magnifies everything. What do you do, though? So, load up everything and head back across the airport -- downstairs. Obviously the plane got out of Changchun as we are currently in Guangzhou. It left about 7:00. Actually, in spite all the issues of the day, the flight went remarkably well. Troy and Ethan were going to sit together with Ethan on his lap. Yup. For a 4+ hour flight. :-O Aiden and I had seats together. Luckily for Troy, the seat next to him was unoccupied and he had an aisle seat! Our little trooper sat quietly almost the entire trip and ate very well. The only time he fussed was when Aiden and I made our way back to say hi and left to go on to use the potty. Right after that, though, Ethan conked out for the rest of the flight. Aiden was picture-perfect and slept for a couple hours, too. Our flight touched down around 11:30. We collected our luggage without incident and found our guide awaiting us as we walked away from baggage claim. Even though both the boys were awake, they were well-behaved and in a relatively good mood!

(Yes, that's Ethan in a luggage trolley!)

We got to the hotel shortly after midnight and had a little question at check-in that took some time (our first night is free and this seemed to confuse our little gal), so we didn't get up to our room until after 1:00.

We got the boys bedded down around 1:30 and we had to be up and in the lobby by 10:00 for the medical check. Blah. Ethan slept until almost 7:30. Do the math. That's 6 hours of sleep for a 22 month old and a four year old. NOT ACCEPTABLE. This may account for their behavior at the medical check. Ya think!? (And to be honest, they were still pretty amazing!) At least this time there were not shots!! Remember Aiden had to have 7 shots and a TB test last time, my poor baby.

Poor kids. Ethan's world has been turned upside down and so has Aiden's. So, right now our sons are sleeping,

and we're going to let them sleep until they wake up on their own. Heck, while Troy's down doing paperwork, I may have to join them for a few winks. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Interesting Twist

Thursday a.m. started with Ethan waking at his prescribed time. 5:00. Blah. To his credit, he will lie in his crib and babble and "sing" contentedly for 1/2 hour or better. Aiden is starting to show signs of the stress of the trip, and we wanted him to get as much sleep as possible. So, we tried to keep Ethan quiet, got him dressed, and he and Daddy went for a walk and some play time down at the play area. Unfortunately, Aiden's extended sleep was not terribly extended. He woke up about 1/2 hour later and sat bolt upright, asking where Daddy was. I was mid-clothes washing (load #3 - fun) and had to abandon that to get marginally presentable so I could take Aiden down to play with the other two "boys." I dropped him off, came back to the room and resumed clothes washing and repacking. I also got time to update the blog while they were playing. I'm not sure who got the rougher end of the deal on that. Those boys are BUSY! They played for a couple of hours, and when they came back up it was snack and nap time for Ethan. It was iPod time for Aiden. Boy is he going to hate to return to reality where iPod time is far more limited!! Later in the day we went to the pool with our adoption buddies. It was pretty cold, though, so swimming time was short-lived. We came back and just hung out in the room. At 2:30, Jeremy and Emily (or Jemily as we've begun -- on accident -- to call them) agreed to watch Aiden while Troy, Ethan, and I went to Ethan's finding spot.


Troy felt it was a little anti-climatic. He said he didn't know what he was expecting, maybe to go into the hospital or something. Sadly, all the report states is that he was left by the front gate of the #1 Yiqi Hospital, so we took pictures of the facade of the building and the front door where he was likely abandoned. It is beyond sad. It is heartbreaking to picture a mother setting down her baby and having to walk away, for reasons we will likely never know, in the hopes that her baby would have a better life. He was about 10 days old. She left him where she knew he would be found and would be taken care of. She has no idea where he is and how he is faring. The thought that kept going through our minds was, "I wonder if his mom and dad are nearby. Is it possible that they are here?" We took our pictures and some video and returned to the hotel. We collected Aiden, visited with Jemily for a while, and decided we had better get the boys down for naps as both were starting to behave, well, less than civilly.

Aiden wasn't taken with the idea of sleeping while Ethan was his predictable self. Put him in his crib and he will, after some cooing and babbling, fall asleep. Around 5:00 (I know, great parenting. Again.) Aiden finally gave up the ghost and took a nap. We woke both the boys at 6:00 to go get some local cuisine. We went to our first restaurant where our server from the other night recognized us and went out of her way to accommodate us. She ushered us outside onto what can loosely be termed the terrace and brought out a make-shift table. She was beyond sweet. It was beautiful outside, and our little al fresco dining experience will probably be the most memorable from the trip. We got our usual four beers and then pointed to what looked good on the menu. We got a couple large, delicious dishes to share with Jemily and some rice for the boys. Troy and I decided we'd better buy to pay for babysitting expenses from earlier in the day. Jeremy and Emily MAY have gotten short-changed on the deal. In total, the bill was 110RMB. Yeah, that's less than $15!! And again, there was food left over!

Here's the interesting twist part. As we were leaving the restaurant, we crossed the street, and a cute young lady stopped us and asked us if these were our children. Keep in mind, as I've said before, we've been started at, pointed at, whispered about, and even glared at. I responded, "Yes. We adopted them on Monday." She immediately began to cry and, in so many words, thanked us for our generous hearts and for loving their children. She continued on to say we were wonderful, that she loved America, believed relations between our people were better than what news portrays, and that she loves speaking English and feels good when she does. She went so far as to invite us out for a meal but said she understood when told her we were leaving for Guangzhou the next day. She could not express to us enough how grateful she was for us. She almost brought me to tears. So, I decided to try something. As people stared at me, instead of ignoring them or glaring back at them, I smiled. Guess what. More often than not on that trip back to our hotel through Jianen Alley, people smiled back at me. Lesson learned. Don't make rash assumptions. Look for the good in people instead of the negative! I guess I needed to be reminded. And if the young lady outside of the restaurant wasn't enough, we stopped in a local grocery store for some chips and snacks, and as Emily and I were standing outside, a couple boys and girls walked up to us and asked us if these boys were 1/2 Chinese. When we explained the situation, we got much the same reaction (albeit a little less emotional). Go figure. Whodda thunk it? Hopefully I'll remember this little life lesson for a long time to come and pass it along to my boys.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Quiet Days

It was another quiet day. Troy made a trip to the local coffee shop and WalMart again. We had breakfast in our room. As it turns out, Ethan takes a.m. naps. The paperwork we got failed to mention this. So, we put him down for his nap around 10:00 and I got to washing load #2 of bathtub laundry. So not fun. For lunch, we ate at the Pizza Hut across the street. That was the big event of the day. Seriously delicious! Aiden ate three pieces of pepperoni. Obviously international travel can make a guy hungry. (Actually, he hadn't been eating all that well, so this was nice to see.) Interestingly enough, this meal (shared with our adoption buddies) was twice as expensive as eating "locally." It was 280RMB -- about $40 for two pizzas, some stir fried rice and four beers. The other night we got two large dishes (remember, I couldn't tell you what it was), two bowls of rice (with a lot of leftovers) and four beers for 140RMB. The *kind of* taste of home of The Hut was nice though.

Walking TO Pizza Hut. Aiden loves "Emmie".

Pepper steak pizza...and yes, that's corn

Walking back FROM Pizza Hut. Aiden also loves "Jemmy".

We were supposed to go to Ethan's finding place then, but taxis refused to take over four people, the max allowed, so we had to go with plan B. Jeremy and Emily agreed to watch Aiden while we go with Ethan to his finding spot the next day. So, we went to WalMart with Lillian so she could show us where to buy milk. We also bought some bananas (interesting - they have a weigh station and then you take them to check out). Afterwards, we took the boys to the play area again for a bit and then came back to the room.

Fun at the playground!

All tuckered out

Ethan is both a good eater (he wants to eat ALL THE TIME!) and sleeper, so it was nap time #2 for him. Actually, it was naptime for both the boys. Aiden was DONE IN. He is not used to getting up so early, and his little world has been turned upside down yet again, so he needed to sleep, too. And sleep they both did. Lillian had to come by at 6:00 to give us Ethan's paperwork, so we needed to wake the boys up before then. Neither of them was too pleased at the prospect and consequently cranky / wild. Instead of dragging them to a restuarant and tempting fate with their behavior, we ate what we had in the hotel: little hotdog type "things" for Ethan along with a banana and jello; Aiden had leftover chicken nuggets and jello; I had a sandwich from the local coffee shop, and Troy got leftover pizza. Talk about ecclectic. I think we may have to venture out in the near future regardless of the boys' tiredness level. Besides, there are only so many days left to eat authentic Chinese food -- of course here, it's just called food! ;)

Lillian did get here around 6:00 to give us some vital documents. (I managed to squeeze in a question about a spa we saw nearby, and she agreed to see about how much a massage there would be and to possibly take me! Yay!) We also got Ethan's baby book from Half the Sky. It's kind of heartbreaking. He is so skinny as to look malnourished in his first pictures. He hardly looks like the same kid. It is all in Chinese, so I will need to get it translated, but at least we can look at some earlier photos of him.

He still has me a little concerned. We are really going to have to work on bonding; although, he seems to be starting to connect with Daddy. Some things are concerning. It seems he doesn't know how to be held (like to wrap his legs around us); he certainly doesn't like to cuddle, even when he's getting a bottle; it appears he doesn't know how to give or receive a kiss, and he happily crawls into his crib and goes to sleep on his own. We have seen no real greiving. These are not the best signs in international toddler adoption. On a more postive note, he does make good eye contact and interacts with us. He follows Daddy and Aiden around. He imitates / mimics us. He seems bright. I wish I knew a few more words/phrases in Chinese. I realized today when he wanted to get down off the bed, he said bao bao (bow bow) which means hold me or pick me up. We taught him the sign for more at Pizza Hut and he immediately used it when he wanted another bite. He is generally a happy kid, but sometimes I worry that he is trying to manipulate us with his smile and head tilt etc. But, maybe, he's just being cute! We will pray for the best and prepare for the worst. We could use your prayers, too, that he will start attaching and bonding.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beck's Birthday

You may be asking yourself, who is Beck and why is the Sturgeon's post title about him? Well, Beck is another couple's son who are here adopting right now, too. We've "known" them, Emily and Jeremy, (via technology) for several months now, and it just so happens that yesterday was their new son's birthday! Other than going and applying for Ethan's Chinese passport, our big event was Beck's birthday party. We went down to the hotel's (very) small play area, had cake, and the boys played. They had a good time.

We even went onto the tennis court and they just RAN! So, when we got back to our room around 4:00, both boys were all done-in since we'd been up since about 5:00. Even though it was so late in the afternoon, there was no keeping them up, so they laid down for a little snooze. (Troy and I stayed up since Ethan, he and I may have "nodded off" for a couple hours in the a.m. while Aiden quietly played with the iPad.... Yes, once again, we're in the running for parents of the year!) Anyway, after the nap it was time to eat. We met Emily, Jeremy and Beck in the lobby around 6:00 and headed out for the Curry House. Jeremy knew right where it was! Again, Emily's "app for that" as well as her ability to order us large beers came in handy. We got the "what's good here" again, and again we were pretty clueless as to what it was. It was, once again, very good though! What we got to eat that is. Dealing with Aiden and Ethan was something of a challenge. ~~Please feel free to ask Troy about his bathroom experience with the boys there and about the one in Hong Kong. Hahahaha! They're priceless!~~ Anyway, I'm not so certain the locals were all that impressed with our manners or our visit in general, but we had a good time. :)

Yes, and the Sweetest Brother in the World Award goes to Aiden Sturgeon! That's him feeding Ethan Cheerios while we were out to eat. Ok. Now you can insert the "Awwwww...."

Today, as per usual, we were up at 5:00. I have to say, the kid has an amazing internal alarm. Ugh. I will also say he seems to be pretty bright and can make his needs be known and get them met without having any English. He does try to imitate some English, too. Then there are some of his quirks; some of his little habits are beyond cute. When he wants something, he will put is chubby little palms together (think praying), do a couple quick shallow bows, and smile. He will also do this if you give him something he likes / wants. Often times, this is followed by his hands going behind his back as he tilts his head and swivels his upper body. Boy is he going to be a manipulator. ;) Although he doesn't know any English, he does definitely has some Chinese. Today he was playing with Troy's shoes and kept repeating the same sound, so I typed in "shoe" into Google translate. Sure enough. He was saying shoe. I have to wonder what else he is saying that we don't understand. He is now calling me Mama and Troy Baba (although sometimes Troy is also Mama), but before you do the whole, "Awwwww" bit, please know that the cleaning lady came in yesterday and he called her Mama, too!

He is generally a pretty happy little guy. Our big concern is is that he's too content. He grieved that first day and had a couple VERY short-lived cries the second day, but other than that? Nothing. In this situation, it is better for bonding if he grieves the loss of his family. It would be hard to watch and deal with, but then we could really start the bonding process. If that doesn't happen, the concern is that he views us as just another set of caregivers; in which case, we have our work cut out for us. In fact, he doesn't even seem to be in shock like Aiden was. Ethan is very outgoing, playful, dare I say willful, and content. Please pray that the worst-case scenario is not the case, that bonding will not be an issue. He does play pretty well with Aiden and likes to imitate everything Aiden does -- and he can keep up with him -- UGH! Aiden is patient to a fault. He is also overprotective and has a tendency to spoil Ethan. :-/ And Ethan can be a little stinker sometimes!

Well, even though we've been up for 5 hours, I've gotten very little accomplished. The boys are dressed (I on the other hand am not) and the room semi-arranged. Troy is at WalMart, better him than me! Ethan is lying down with a bottle and Aiden is watching Scooby Doo on my phone. After lunch today, we're headed to Ethan's finding place. That's all that's on the agenda. Maybe we'll locate the hotel's swimming pool, but essentially, a quiet day. Except maybe more bathtub laundry. BLECH!


Here are some pictures from Gottcha Day! We're still having some issues with uploading; I have to do them individually, and these are just a few -- because the loader quit working again after I got this many done. I will blog about today after the boys are in bed for the night. (I can only do this now as they are both napping. At 4 in the afternoon. EXCELLENT parenting skills. But at this point, let's face it, it's more about survival skills... I'm just sayin'....)

Monday, August 20, 2012

We Got Him

It has been a long day, but we got Ethan. It was rough in the beginning. He cried for about an hour straight. He fell asleep for about 15 minutes at the Civil Affairs office, and after he woke up he never really cried again there. We were at the Civil Affairs office for a couple hours. Sadly we have no video as video cameras weren't allowed in the building. And, oddly enough, we had the hand-off in the hallway. :/ The sun was behind them, so we have no pictures of it either. Suffice it to say, he was NOT happy. After the paperwork was completed, it was on to get our family picture and finally the notary. We missed lunch and nap time. The boys, remarkably, held up pretty well. We got back to the hotel around 1:30 and realized we needed to get the boys some lunch as well as restock our supply water / pop, so Troy ran to WalMart and KFC. Ethan did cry quite a bit when Troy left, but stopped shortly before he returned and hasn't really cried again. We put him in his crib around 4:30 and he slept for about 45 minutes. The boys, all three of them, are currently playing like maniacs with a beach ball. Ethan tries to imitate pretty much everything Aiden does. Aiden is the most amazing big brother. Ethan fussed briefly when we laid him in the crib, and Aiden melted down. He told us NO we should NOT make baby brother sleep and NO crib (we kind of wondered if it was some kind of repressed memory...maybe he on some level remembered the orphanage and didn't want to subject Ethan to that?). Actually, it just happened again. Ethan wanted to get into the crib, so I set him in there and Aiden screamed, "NO! Get him out! He's all better..." Aiden was almost inconsolable while Ethan lay contentedly in the crib. That's what Aidenhas been like; he wants wants to share everything, help with everything, and play everything with Ethan. He has been beyond sweet. Heartbreakingly sweet.

And I? I am beyond exhausted. Ugh.

(I will post pictures when blogspot's picture uploader is working....)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's Go Time....

Well, almost. After a fitful night's sleep, I got up at 5:00. They boys are still sleeping, which is good. I think we may have gotten Aiden turned around. Yesterday certainly helped. I am glad we got into our province a day early. It gave us a chance to relax, get ready, and get Aiden a much needed nap. Yesterday was entirely uneventful other than yet another trip to Wally World and finally meeting Emily and Jeremy. They came to our room early in the evening, and we just sat around sharing some travel and other stories, laughing and having a few beverages. At 5:55 I got a call from Holt's Lillian. She said she had our red book and asked when we could meet. Um. NOW! I knew from last time there were updated photos. So I left everybody and headed to the 2nd floor. She gave me the book, and I immediately opened it to find 10 new photos of Ethan!!

Sorry, they're pictures of pictures. It's the best I can do.

She then explained the upcoming process. It was a lot of information but pretty much the same as with Aiden. I'm not too worried about remembering it all; Holt does an amazing job of walking us through everything! After our meeting, I headed back up to the room to find a pretty wild Aiden. It was time to eat. Lillian had told me about a good curry restaurant, so I suggested that to the group. Jeremy CLAIMED he could see a sign he thought said curry and that he could lead us there. When we got to the lobby and I informed Emily of this, she made a comment along the lines of, "We're relying on JEREMY to get us there? We MAY eat tonight." So we set off in a random direction.... Ah, happy chance. We never did find the curry place. What we did find was a local place where not a soul spoke or understood English. The menu? Entirely in Chinese. Emily whipped out her phone and said, "Don't worry. I have an app for this." The waitresses were troopers, played along, and ended up bringing us a delicious meal accompanied by great beer (which interestingly is the one thing Emily can order in Chinese! hahaha) One of the items we ordered because Emily used the app to ask, "What's good here?" We have no idea what it was, but it was fabulous. We think it was beef; we know it was kind of spicy, but that, along with what we think were pork dumplings enough for all of us (and quite a bit leftover) cost about $5 per adult. There's a very real possibility we will return! Aiden was kind enough to take photos of the experience. :)

Now that I've looked back, it's time to look forward. In about an 2 hours, we will be headed down to the lobby to await our bus that will take us to our son. The time is finally upon us. One year and one day after we filled out our application, we are going to hold our boy. The sun is shining and it's a gorgeous day. That seems appropriate, fitting. It IS a beautiful day. I am remarkably calm. I have butterflies, but overall, I feel peace. As we get closer, we'll see if I can maintain this near Zen-like state, but right now, all is good. Troy is awake now and says he's a little uptight but ok. Hahaha!!! Now, as I am typing it, it seems more real that I'm committing it to words and my stomach just knotted up! Ahhhh! Ok, I better stop so I can remain calm, cool, and collected. Shut up! I CAN too be calm, cool, and collected!! ;) Besides, it's time to go get ready, eat some breakfast, and head to the Civil Affairs office. Believe it or not, we should be back here around noon; we will be a family of four!!! <3 Dreams really do come true!