Monday, October 31, 2005

Gotcha day video

Russell thinks he worked out the problem with the Gotcha Day video. Try the link above, and hopefully this time will be the charm!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

October 11th 2005

Please share with me and Russell the most important moment of our lives.

(Right click link with mouse and select "save target as" to save the video to your computer. If you have problems playing the video, change the extension from htm to wmv once it is saved on your computer. Happy viewing!)


For your Halloween viewing pleasure. Lydia was not happy about wearing the hat, but life calmed down a lot more once mommy took the hat off her.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pictures of Lydia (It's been a while I'm sure you're dying to see her again!)

BTDT (Been There Done That ) The sequel

One thing I forgot to mention...I meant to bring this item, but totally forgot and it's worth a mention. Inflatable tubs are a good thing to bring with you. I totally had enough room for one in my luggage. (Again I was UNDERWIEGHT and had practically everything I needed and too much of some stuff.) The babies from Desheng were very resistant to being washed in the sinks. Lydia and others about busted a gut over it everytime. (I ended up sponge bathing the child as I have a bad knee and the tub was not gonna be an option fo us.) I was told by Joline later (the member of our party who spoke Chinese as she spent her young childhood living in China) that many of the babies do not like the sinks as they look like pit toilets to them. Now, how true is this...I don't know. But I do know this, we have a tub for her at home and she ADORES bath time. In China, in the sink, bloody murder!! So I really was kicking myself for not bringing the inflatable tub.

Also, someone asked me about toys. I brought Lydia a variety of toys. The soft stuff was a bust. Anything cloth covered or stuffed (besides washcloths and blankies) were met with disdain and suspicion. Plastic toys were a big hit...especially if they made a sound. I remember my nephew. Rattles were so 10 minutes ago for that child. For my little girl, if you can shake it and it makes a noise it is "the bomb", and she will play with it for hours. I brought toy keys, 2 plastic rattles, some see-through noise making blocks (her personal fave) and a ball--and that is what she played with. The stuffed doll, the stuffed sound making catapiller the soft rattle and stuffed dog with chew paws did not make the cut at all. The only thing I wish I had brought (toy wise) that I did not bring was an electronic that made music and lights. I decided not to as the battery compartments are difficult to open and close and I didn't want my luggage to make noise and be checked at customs. (Whatever I got checked anyway...I live with Mr. Shifty after all...I don't know why, but Russell ALWAYS gets nabbed by airport officials. We got it in the way in and on the way out!) Anyway, we got a sound making toy in Guilin...but never could find one that was small that made sound and lit up...if I could go back in time I'd have brought that though. She loves that kind of stuff! And I love when she loves something! That smile is worth a million dollars.

Up all night

When we were in China I was blessed with one of the few babies in the group who would sleep all night without interuption. We did have that one really bad night when we left Guilin while she was asleep and she woke up in the night in Guangzhou not knowing where she was and she was inconsolible. I was up all night that night with her...but that was incredibly understandable. Since coming home to the United States it's been a different story. This child has NOT been sleeping. Again, I understand. Everything is new (including the time zone)...and she's never been in a room by herself before. I have been exhausted and hoped and prayed she would sleep through the here it is...a night with (thusfar) no interuptions...and I still can't sleep, worried about why she isn't waking up...It's official. I'm a mom.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Local colour (Our first day in Guangzhou)

While it's still fresh in my memory I thought I'd share some pictures (non-Lydia) from our travels and talk to you about some of the things I learned/noticed about the people and lifestyles in China.

Our first night and day were spent in Guangzhou...we missed out on Beijing due to the travel agent screw up...but I still really enjoyed our first day as we got to expereince some things most people adopting from China don' mass transportation! I didn't get pictures of the bus (too terrified and too tired--remember we were lost our first few hours!) The bus in terms of it's looks is pretty standard...but the way they operate is different. Basically there are 2 employees on the bus...the driver and the hostess. The hostess takes your money and the driver, well...drives. :-) The hostess takes the fee as you are sitting and she makes her way down the bus a row at a time and takes your 2 yuen. I thought that was incredibly interesting as we usually pay a meter, but one thing I found to be true in China is there are people employed for the most benign of jobs. (There were actually hostesses in our hotel whose only job was to punch the elevator button for you!) Why do these jobs exist, I can only speculate...the need for more jobs as the population is so high? The extreme consceintiousness of the people. (I've never been to a place where people are so willing to help! They will bend over backwards to help you no matter what!)
Anyway more stuff I noticed. The drink cans are all "old school". How cool that was to pop open soda can...made me wish I liked soda more.
The sun is a big deal in China. It's pretty intense...and as I've noted before fair skin is all the rage in China, so large hats and parasols abound. I asked Else about it as she was also carrying a parasol. (Else was the woman who came to help us in Guangzhou when we got lost.) She was the one who told me about how skin colour was a mark of beauty and how she carried her parasol so as to not become darker---she was the first to tell me how gorgeous Lydia was due to her fairness. A often repeated theme to our visit.
The airport in Guangzhou was amazing and the thing I thought was most amazing about it and the other airports we visited was they were always about 30-40 minutes away from the city itself so as to not add to the noise polution of the city. Polution and ecological concerns are paramount to the Chinese. One thin everyone told me before I went to China was it was dirty...I have to admit I didn't notice that as much. I noticed the cities were under constant there was rubble and debris everywhere...but not actual filth. The country is poor so the buildings are in disrepair. Laundry is hanging out almost every window of 8 story high apartment buildings that have glass in some window and not in others. There are patch jobs to roofs and walls that are obvious, and well, probably ineffective...but there's not dirt. There is actually an overwhelming effort to keep things as clean as possible in the cities.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Okay, let me start this post by saying these are the things I would do again and do differently if I was adopting LYDIA again. Each adoption is different. What I found worked and didn’t work for this child in this place during this time under this circumstance. Change any one thing in the equation and I could be saying the exact opposite; however, I thought I would share what I found…just in case it helps another in their journey to China.

First off, check and double check your flight reservations. Also make sure you prebook your seats as soon as possible. It was only by the grace of God and the goodwill of many individuals that Russell and I made it to China and got to sit with each other the entire way. We were not supposed to be sitting together, but kind people moved and accommodated us the entire trip. One couple even gave us their first class seats. However if I were to do it again, I’d have been more proactive on this issue.
Also we booked a seat for Lydia on the trip home. I would sooooo do this again. We needed the space. Flat out…I have no idea how we would have survived without the extra space with a fussy one year old.

Next…my agency told us not to worry about getting Chinese currency before we left and we could get it at the hotel. Well if you’ve read my blog you know it didn’t work that way. Play it safe, $100 goes a loooooooooong way in China. Just change over $100, heck even $50 will probably do ya. I was very glad Russ changed some money over in Tokyo, we would have been stuck without it.

My luggage was way underweight and I had (just about) everything I needed. I had too much of some stuff actually. For instance…formula. Just go and buy those individual packets. One box. Take about 4-6 packets and that should more than do you. Formula is easy to obtain and your child isn’t going to like yours. I’ve tasted American formula. It tastes like stale icky stuff. I’ve tasted Chinese formula and it tastes like sweet milk. Seriously, I’d drink it! Unless the child is famished they are not going to take your stuff without your having weaned them off it. I bought two HUGE containers of formula to bring home so I could start mixing asap in order to wean Liddy off the good tasting stuff. So far so good.

I also brought too many diapers. I brought 30 Huggies—about 15 too many. You really only need enough to get you through a day. The Pampers in China are good. I’ve heard how bad they were, but they worked fine for me. I will say this though…get the kind in the GREEN package—not the red package stuff. The green one was great, the red was crap. Russell remarked there was no difference in the packaging besides the colour and I said “Yes…to us, because we don’t read Chinese…but there is a difference!” All he could say to that was “Touche.” Also…about diapers…I didn’t try them because I found them as we were leaving and didn’t need them, but there are imported Huggies at the Wal-marts. Yes you read that right IMPORTED!

As for supplies…I did not bring enough snacks…not for us or the baby and snacks for little ones are hard to find. They do not have Cheerios there and Cheerios are very suspect by the Chinese people. Seriously!! I was strongly approached at the park about feeding Lydia Cheerios and the women were very disapproving. Also our coordinator tried to blame Cheerios on the cold symptoms running rampant among our 13 Guangxi babies. They wouldn’t be so sick if we just kept our rooms around 85 degrees, put blankets on them all the time even when they are hot and we should not feed them the diabolical snack food of America! (I am NOT making that up.)

I also wish I’d brought more Liquidlyte packets. (Pedialyte in powder form.) I actually brought plenty, but I was unaware many babies do not like apple. (I had no idea this was even possible.) If you try to feed my daughter anything apple flavoured she will look at you like you are trying to kill her and begin to wail. (We have a lot of grape juice here now at home…much bigger hit.) I’m glad I had the fruit punch stuff, but I’d bring that exclusively if I could now. The babies sweat a lot. It’s hot and everyone wants them swaddled constantly…bring it…you will not regret it! I’d also recommend powdered Gatorade for the grownups. I went to China in the fall and it was 75 at the coolest and 95 at the hottest. It was usually closer to the hottest…sweating will happen even in October.

I had a ton of drugs for baby…most of which got tossed because Liddy has drug allergies we were not aware of until we got to China, but I’d take it all again in a second. We used the Benadryl (which makes her hyper!) the saline spray (a GODSEND and made me quite the envy of the group) and Tylenol for teething pain. I did not have tons of drugs for us and that was a mistake. I should have brought cold and flu meds…wish I could go back in time and do that now. It would have made Russ’ life a lot easier. And I apologize to him publically for forgetting them as he was the one whose cold was the worst of the three of us.

I was glad I brought formula and diapers to Gotcha day. I knew my child for less than 5 minutes and she had the worst poo in our very short history together. She was STRESSED and famished. I had a prepared bottle and Lydia sucked that bottle dry!! Even though it was the poo tasting formula she wanted it and drank it greedily. Now, the next day, she’d have none of it…but that day, that time, she was just hungry and stressed enough to take anything.

As for bottles…all I can say is I love my platex nursers. I took the ones with the plastic inserts ( not the drop ins) and it packed great. Make sure you bring enough inserts and nipples though, they do not do the nursers in China. They were great though because at the end of the long day…I just had nipples to wash…very very nice!!
Also bring a variety of speeds of nipples. I wish I had. All mine were fast. Mistake. I know many say the babies are used to hot stuff thrown down their throats…not so much for Lydia and the other girls. They took their time and fast nipples were too fast. Also my thermos…good thing…was too big. I had a thermos for all day. Try one for 2 meals…it takes less space and I almost always used bottled water anyway.
I brought two changing pads and glad I did. One was in my diaper bag for outings. And trust me, you use it—no changing stations in pit toilets…you change baby on the sink and floor a lot. The other I used in our room as the changing station.
Charmin rolls…the travel kind are a must…about 3 should do ya. I had to use a pit toilet…some have TP…some do not. The one I used did not—but I was prepared. THANK GOD!!

Wow, this is long…I’ll go now…if I think of more later I’ll add it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

But I thought I was the baby!

Ahhhhh adjustment...
It's not just Russell, Lydia and myself who are having to adjust it's also the cats. Thusfar no real problems. I've seen far less of Oz (our black cat) than I'm used to. As a matter of fact he hid for about 4 hours when we first came home after he saw Liddy. Samantha is being fearless and Roxanne is being cautious but present. Jack could care less as long as he still gets fed. (We do have our priorities after all.)

As for Lydia ands us...adjustment is coming along, slowly, but coming. The trip home was hard on all of us. We were all sick and cramped for space. (Even with buying Lydia her own seat!) We were quite blessed in that department though. We were not scheduled to sit together on 2 of our three flights (including the 11 hour one) due to our late ticket booking caused by our travel agent cancelling our seats. On the 11 hour flight a gentleman gave up his aisle seat to Russell so we could sit together as a family and on the other flight a couple gave us their first class seats so we could have more room with Lydia. The first night home, we all slept...since then it's been a bit more of an adventure. Lydia thinks night is day and day is I spend most of my night up with her so Russell can sleep as he has work. She is EXTREMELY clingy right now...more so than she was in China. I can only assume this is because the world is totally different to her now than it was before. She is easily agitated, but fortunately easily calmed. She is happy most of the time, but I can tell she is confused and overwhelmed. So are we to be honest. But we are happy and I think she is as well. Now if only the cats would get happy too.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Asleep in her own crib...

...well occasionally anyway. :-)
We're home. We're tired. I'll tell you more about it later...but wanted to let you know that our new little citizen is safely sleeping right now in a purple room with faries on the wall.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Today is our last day in China and so we took Lydia to the Buddist Temple to be blessed by the monks. The temple is well over 1000 years old and our guide took us around and explained many of the rituals going on as we waited to have Lydia blessed. While I realize that Lydia had no idea what was going on, I felt it was important she receive this last gift from her birthland. China is a beautiful place that has given us so much. And as I pay my respects to this land that gave birth to my daughter I feel it is also important to pay my respects to those individuals who helped Russell and I give birth to our dream of being a family. Mom & Dad Graham and Uncle Mike Trask we thank you...Xie Xie from the Schneider FAMILY.

Until we meet again in America...I say goodnight...our story will continue once we are finally home.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pearls for her wedding

We all went to the Pearl market today...Guangzhou (which sits on The Pearl River) is famous for it's Russell and I decided we needed to make sure Lydia had a strand for her wedding. I went in and started wheeling and dealing and I was able to get some really nice pearls for Lydia for about $100 American. I will put them away and someday she will have them as her "something old" from the country of her birth. For myself I got a jade necklace in the shape of a spider. It's really pretty and I paid very little for it. There really is a lot of beautiful pieces to be found...and each necklace is hand strung right there as you wait. I also indulged in some double sided embroidery...I already have one double sided piece I got in Mobile during a Chinese craft exhibit and I just love it. Shopping here is incredible and if you can haggle well you can get some great deals. I just wish we'd had more time...but honestly our schedule was crazy. The other coordinators were in awe about the schedule we kept...laid back this trip had NOT been because of the Trade Fair in Guangzhou and ASEAN in Nanning forcing us to move often and endure MANY long bus rides in order to find shelter in the storm so we could get here in October as opposed to November.
Tonmorrow is our last full day in China. I am looking forward to being home. I will miss this place...but I think I would have missed it more if I'd gotten to slow down and had time to look around a little more. I do want to come back. Maybe to adopt, but more likely just to show Lydia her birthland--it is old, it is poor, but it is noble and I want her to be proud of this land and it's people. I hope she embraces it...I know I have.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sean Penn Baby

No photos at this time please!

My daughter likes chocolate and other significant details 2

She likes to dance to music.
She is easy to get down for a nap, but hard to put to bed at night. (Russell says this is a lot like Mommy!)
She is a grumpy riser. (Russell also says this is a lot like Mommy.)
Her Daddy makes up things about her mommy. :-)
She won't wear hats.
She prefers not to wear shoes.
She likes breezes and laughs as they hit her face.
She chatters constantly.
Her favourite toy (sofar) is blocks.
She likes to feed people.
Things on the nightstand are way more interesting than toys.
She loves silver.
She loves to look out the window.
She can say Ma Ma and Da Da but doesn't know this is our names yet.
She responds to we call her Liddyhua (which rhymes with Lydia) and this gets her attention most of the time.
She loves to feel people's hair.

The most beautiful girls in China

They say here in China that the most beautiful girls come from's a bit a proof as our "southern girls" are the most beautiful!


Nothing...I mean absolutely nothing is better than this.

Birthday girls

I was very upset when we missed our daughter’s first birthday. We should have been there for it. We had our referral in way enough time to receive her 3 weeks prior to turning 1. Alas the American Consulate was being incompetent so we were severally delayed.(I blame George Bush…it may not be his fault…but I like to blame him for stuff as he’s not my favourite president. LOL)
Anyway—many of us missed our daughter’s birthdays here. All but 2 of the 13 have October birthdays in this group…so Dennis and Lina (our coordinators) planned a birthday party for all the girls. We all ate yummy Chinese food, and played a traditional Chinese game where the babies on their first birthday are set before a large mat with many items that symbolize jobs they may have in the future. Our baby pulled a small pot out and Lina declared she would own a restaurant someday. (I’m okay with that…free grub!) Afterwards we had a huge cake with all the girls names on it and sang happy birthday to them all. It was wonderful. Lydia got cake everywhere and we all felt a little better having given them a very special first birthday together.

Pictures from the most beautiful place on Earth

Pictures from Guilin of the Li River Cruise and the Guilin Park. The seaboat merchants actually will throw hooks up to the boat to try to sell their wares to the tourists. From the park you will see pictures of children who are on a field trip with their English teacher. We felt like rock stars as they all wanted to speak to us in English and have their pictures taken with us. (They even had us sign much fun!) They are not the only children who have approached us on this trip, but they are by far the most excited and largest group we met.


Okay…most of my posts have been fairly positive, but here comes a negative one…coming to a Guilin was a BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD idea. I have no idea why were are here and I wish we hadn’t come. Now the city itself is gorgeous, and as usual the people are kind. It’s in an incredibly scenic area with a wealth of history. So there is a lot here to like. However there are several disadvantages to Guilin in terms of hosting an adoption group. One of the problems is it is a tourist city BIG TIME. Which means everything cost more. A large bottle of water in the USA cost about $1.19. In Nanning it costs about $.25. In Guilin it costs about $2. Also, this is a town and a hotel not used to hosting “the babies” so the staff has been nice, but not nearly as accommodating to the group as The Majestic. It’s also a rougher city. Nowhere near as safe as Nanning, so it has been suggested we not go out after dark. That confines us to quarters big time. It also is a city under major growth, so it’s got some major MAJOR construction going on…right outside my window at 3am. City construction is an amazing thing to watch by the way. One day a major strip of sidewalk will be there and the next it won’t and then the next day a newer and better one will be in place and almost finished. Seriously, they’re like swarming ants around here! The beautiful scenic boat ride down the Li River was a total bust. Basically a bunch of new parents and babies crammed in a boat for 8 hours only prepared for 5 (because that’s how long we were told it would last) and no one looking at the scenery because our babies who were just starting to blossom are again working their way towards catatonic due to cramped quarters and the inability to move. Lydia fared okay on this one—she wasn’t happy, but didn’t backslide as some of the others. She is probably the second most advanced of the babies, only to be outdone by her favourite baby Alexandra. Most of the babies can’t feed themselves or pull themselves up—some have problems crawling still. Lydia crawls like a demon, pulls herself up, walks while holding onto things, and can feed herself with her hands. (And throw food on the floor using her hands as well.) She also gives kisses. Which personally is my favourite thing she does. The only thing Alexandra has on her really is the ability to walk.
Anyway, I digress, back to the cruise…the only part of it I did enjoy was the part afterwards where we walked to the bus. We walked through a merchant area and that was pretty cool. LOTS of local colour. We haggled and wheeled and dealed and got a few things—including pearls for Lydia’s wedding, wall hangings for the dining room and a puppet for me.All for under 550 Yuen. (That’s about $65 dollars American.) We saw a man on a scooter with a roasted dog for his dinner. (No lie….roasted dog!) And as we were boarding the bus to go back to the hotel I was literally grabbed by a very old, very short woman with one tooth who wanted to talk to me, bur I didn’t understand her. We eventually found out she was trying to tell me we were both lucky—we discovered from Joline (who grew up in China) that there is a superstition in here that very fat people are good luck and also people with only one tooth are good luck as well. Apparently the old woman was trying to “bond” with me. We also did enjoy the park here. It’s huge…has a zoo and a temple etc. The monkey’s were running loose and we watched as others fed them. We, again, made quite a stir in the park as entire groups would surround us to meet Lydia. We even had a English class of 10-12 year olds mob us as they asked us questions and tried to show off/practice their English. It was great talking to all the children and they were so excited to meet the Americans. They all wanted their pictures taken with us and with Lydia. One girl even gave Lydia her pen as a gift because she was such a beautiful baby. (Again fair skin = gorgeous around here and Lydia’s is among the fairest of them all.)
Tomorrow is our last full day in Guilin, and while I do have many good memories, I’m glad. I want to leave here and make it to Guangzhou. Once we are done with GZ we are at the home stretch…we are almost home. And home sounds like a very good place to be.
(This post was written October 17th)

In defiance of the clothing police!

Oh yeah…they exist…they are out there lurking behind every park bench waiting to let you know what’s wrong with your daughter’s outfit. They will also let you know what’s wrong with your outfit too! I’d never heard that one before, but we both got in trouble for short sleeves more than once. We had no problems with the CP in Nanning. But we were also near a hotel that often hosts international adoption. Here in Guilin where it’s not as common to see “the babies” the CP are out in full force! The majority of the folk who approached us were very sweet and had nothing to say about how any of us were dressed. They asked us how old Lydia was, how long we had her, what country we were from, etc. They would complement her looks a lot. Apparently fair skin is considered the height of beautiful so Lydia by Chinese standards is quite the looker as her skin is actually paler than Russell’s and almost as pale as mine. By my standards she’s the most beautiful person in the world so it was gratifying to hear so many people agree with me. The few who did have something to say mostly said her sleeves are too short and would try to pull them down a bit and that was that. They would then give us a thumbs up and depart smiling. In their defense today has been the coolest day we’ve had here being in the mid 70’s. In my defense, it’s the mid 70s. But I was understanding and wrapped her arms in a blanket and thanked them for their advice. Only one clothing police officer has gotten on my nerves and that is the clothing commissioner herself, Lina our coordinator. Lina is great and mostly it’s annoying because she is the only clothing police officer who can come to my hotel room at any hour she likes and let us know her opinion. In Nanning our room was cold all the time. We actually shut the AC off and it was still cold in there. We dressed Lydia appropriately and blanketed her all the time, but still Lina about busted a gut at us 2-3 times over the temperature of our room. She even checked our thermostat to make sure we were telling the truth. A line crossing I personally did not appreciate and put Lina in my poor graces for a time as I hate being accused of lying. So now here we are in Guilin, where are air conditioner does not work at all and it’s in the 80’s in our room and all of us keep a constant glaze of sweat on our brow...openly defying the clothing police!

Notes to my daughter

We got both of Lydia’s notes translated. The first note we received (but not the first written) was from Mr. Wei the orphanage director who loved her and cared for her and who basically acted as her father for the first year of her life. It said: I wish for Ye Hong Hua a healthy and happy life. And that she enjoys her family.
The second note, presumably from her birth parents, says: This child was born at 5:15 in the morning of October 9th in 2004. This is the 26th day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar.
It doesn’t seem like a lot…but it means so much. It means she was left to be found, not discarded without care or concern. Whoever left this baby wanted to give her the ability to track her astrological chart…a very important aspect of the Chinese culture. I thank them for this gift to her. It put them at great risk to write anything at all…but having lived with her for a short while, I can tell you, she is worth any risk.

This post was written October 15th

My daughter likes chocolate and other significant details

If Lydia could talk she would say...
I like to play in my crib.
Sound is bitchin’.
Soft toys? Where’s the fun in that?
Apple juice are you crazy woman??? Gross!!
Grape Juice…now you’re talking!
Pumpkins aren’t just for Jack-o-lanterns anymore.;..they’re for eating.
If somebody else has it, it must be better than what I have…so I will steal it!
Diaper changes are akin to torture.
Where’s Alexandra?
My gums hurt!
I want Mommy to hold me!
Baths…please see previous note on diaper changes.
Mom twirls me better than daddy.
Being held upside-down is ubercool.
What’s in your mouth mom? Let me see if I can pull it out for you.
Dad makes a great bed.
Boat trips are boring…
Who is this strange Chinese woman and why does she keep pinching my cheeks.
I like chocolate cookies--Yummy!

This post was written October 14th

Here's Jooooohhhhny!

Okay, back in the game with internet! Thank God!! Guilin was a total bust, please see forthcoming post that I wrote while still there about our Guilin experience. All I have to say about it now is unnecessary. It put all of us, especially the babies under undo stress and made for a miserable night for mommy last night as Lydia (who now has Russell's cold) was so scared I was going to leave her here alone. She literally woke up every 15 minutes crying Mama and wanted me to hold her and soothe her back to sleep. Which I did, but it broke my heart everytime to see her crying in panic and then as she saw me she'd touch my face and smile as I calmed her down until the next 15 minute interuption. Today I'm exhausted, but glad Lydia is finally sleeping in her crib again, and hopeful she will do so tonight. Her cold isn't serious, but we did call the pediatrician to ask about what medications we can give her as the orphange gave us a long list of drug allergies she has. When I called Dr. Houston (I LOVE her by the way.) she told me to basically throw away everything I have and she's right now being dosed with benedryl and saline sprays. WOW--Saline spray is GREAT for clearing little stuffy noses. TAKE SALINE SPRAY IF YOU ADOPT FROM CHINA! I am the only one here with it (all the girls have colds) and I am quite the envy of the group. Who ever would have thunk that salt water could make you the envy of the town?? :-)
We did our medical exams today. Again, WOW. It was miserable and hot. The lines were extremely long and the babies were just processed like factory goods. Lydia apparently has a sore in her mouth and they stopped us for that. Scared us as we weren't sure what was up at first...and we will definately have Dr. Houston take a look at it asap! Tomorrow is when Lina (our coordinator) and Annie (our guide) have interviews with the Am. consulate regarding our adoptions so we are on standby in the morning in case there are problems. In the afternoon we go SHOPPING. Oh yeah...back away and keep your hands in the cart, because Lissa is loose in China with her Visa! The prices for stuff here is crazy low! Shoes are like $2 a pair--for like really nice shoes. Shoes are an obession with the Chinese--Russell and I noticed that. Shoe shine places abound and shoe stores are everywhere. Men who otherwise may look like crap--unkepmt sweaty, etc.--but their black leather shoes are always well cared for!! Oh Oh I do know one thing that is expensive in China!! Deoderant. Mine busted on the way from Nanning to Guilin. Fortunately it was in a baggie, so it was destroyed, but the other stuff survived. Anyway, it took me 2 days to find deoderant in Guilin and when I found it, it was 1) mentholated and 2) over $10 in American. Now, near the Swan I found some and it was reasonably priced--but that is an area that caters to foreign trade so if you forget your underarm protection, or it's destroyed like mine before you get to Guangzhou--expect to pay out the nose...get out the nose...(sigh I guess it was a bad joke huh?)

BTW the family picture is of us at the White Swan hotel on the famous red couch!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Arrived Safely in Guangzhou

Howdy, Russell here.
Lissa would be writing this, but Lydia is having a bad night. All the moving around and whatnot has left her feeling a bit insecure and she's not sleeping well tonight, so Lissa is sitting with her.
We arrived in Guangzhou. The hotel is pretty posh, but we didn't get settled in until around 10:30PM, and we have to have had our breakfast and be ready to leave for our medical appointments by 9:40, so we're not even going to have time to really unpack, much less explore the hotel.
I'm pretty bushed myself and operating under a internet-access time limit, so I'm calling it a night...

Monday, October 17, 2005

On our way to GZ

Well hopefully we will be able to blog again soon. I apologize for the
"hole" in the blog, our hotel in Guilin did not have internet access in our
room and as Lydia has more strongly attached to me, it's very difficult for
me to get away for any length of time to get on to do anything. I am
blogging on my computer and will hopefully post back logs to the blog as
well as continue with our story once we get to Guangzhou.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

On our way to Guilin

Well everybody, we are leaving Nanning and I have to admit, I'm pretty sad about it. This is a magical place. Yes, there is a lot of construction and dirt. Yes, there is a lot of poverty. But this place has a pride and a majesty to it that I will sorely miss. On the bright side, next is Guilin. The place considered to be the most beautiful on the planet. So no complaints. I wanted to let everyone know I'm not sure what internet access will be like in Guilin. I will blog while there...just not sure I'll be able to post again until Guangzhou. I imagine I will be able keep looking. But if I don't then it's because we couldn't get internet. The trip by bus to Guilin will be a long one. 5 hours. A shorter bus ride for our babies than their trip from Desheng to Nanning, but I'm sure it will still be a hard one on them. They do take a lot of comfort from being together that may make it easier on them. Interesting side note the park yesterday, there were many school children who had gone to see a program. As they were leaving they were lined up with all the girls in the front of the line and all the boys in the back. First to note...there was twice the number of boys to girls. Second to note, Lydia LOVED the girls. She would laugh and smile and clap her hands at them...but the boys she just stared at...the same stare she gave me when I first met her. It's not frightened. (I don't think Lydia gets frightened easily.) It's more like cautious curiosity. I'm pretty sure boys are a thing Lydia had ever really experienced before. If her father has his way...they are something she won't experience again until she's at least 35. :-)

Meeting people...

So we made it to the park today and it was awesome. We walked their from the hotel. Not far at all. On the way we passed by a store and I saw some squeaker shoes and I got two pair. One for now and one for when she is bigger. They are shoes that as the baby walks, they squeak with each step. It's suppossed to encourage the baby so they learn to walk faster and better. Not sure if that's true or not, but I needed to get them for her as they are darling! They are adorable. She doesn't walk on her own yet, but when supported she will step, so they are nice to have and fun!

The park was beautiful. Lots of sound and colour and Lydia loved it. We met a lot of people and they would stop to look at Lydia. All were friendly and asked about her. (No clothing police!! We must have done okay. Whew on that one!) The ladies (and some men too) would ask us her name and age. Many would try to guess her age. We got lots of thumbs up etc. One person who knew a little bit of English came over and asked if I was American or from some other country and I said American and he said good good, and gave me a thumbs up. They really like Americans here. reason I think they like me and Russell is because we try to speak a little Chinese. We say hello and smile at everyone and that goes a really really long way here. We say Ni Hao (pronounced like Knee How)to everyone. (That basically means Hello) was also say Xie Xie whenver someone is nice to us. (Sheeah Sheeah) It means thank you. The Chinese really appreciate you at least attempting to speak to them in their language and it's helped us get along. Really the only person I've met in China who was a jerk was a guy at the hotel who is an American. He dislikes all the babies being around and is very vocal about it. He met my husband on the elevator one day and was looking for an ally in his position (not realizing he was talking to one of the fathers) and Russell embarressed him about it! Go hubby, go hubby, Oh Yeah!!! It amazes me the intolerances people have. To hate, because someone chooses to sad.

But I don't wanna go to bed!