Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodbye Nanchang!

We caved. We ate at the buffet again last night. Peter wasn't feeling well (allergies acting up) and we thought we'd have mercy on him since we had to rely on him to get us there. We WILL be eating at Lucy's in Guangzhou tonight though! We met some other couples here with their new baby's. They will be joining us in GZ tomorrow. It turns out that they did have Pizza Hut the other night, evidently the cheese on the pizza is very different, someone suggested it might be goat cheese. Frankly, I don't wanna know what it is. Naomi is doing much better today. We padded up the "death bed" with towels so she couldn't get her head stuck in between the rails. Not a peep all night. She is a big fan of animal crackers and we can bribe lots of smiles out of her with them. She has been a big hugger from the first day but didn't have a clue what a kiss is but now she is giving kisses out. I think she is going to be the cure to my IT deficiencies as she has quite an interest in anything electronic. The remote and the ipod are her current favorites. Next week we have her medical examination and then we get her visa. After that we can come home. We got a copy of the newspaper posting her abandonment. It was so sad. It was a full page, probably about 120 adds for babies that had been abandoned. We asked Peter if that was an everyday occurence to have that many or if they only published it monthly or weekly. His response was kind of wishy washy. He said they publish them as they are needed. The paper we were looking at was only for this province. It is so saddening. We also got a notarized report of her abandonment. She was left at the hospital in Feng Cheng City with a note saying she was born the day before. She was taken to a foster home that day and that's where she was until we got here. I'm sure they did the best they could to take care of her. She had extremely dry skin, little bug bites all over her and heat rash when we got her. I could tell the foster family gave her lots of love though and that's the most important thing. She has had a fan club in the dining room for every meal. There are a few of the waiters that have really taken a liking to her. At first I thought they just did it to all the babies but after watching them a few times I realized it was just her they fawned over. I know I sound a little prejudice but that's really how it is, really! She's a celebrity here.

1 minute 8 seconds

"The Smile"

Oh happy day!

Happy dance time! We are on our last full day here in Nanchang. Tomorrow we get Naomi's passport and fly out of this joint. Despite Peter's attempts to talk us out of going to Pizza Hut tonight we are headed there for dinner. Mike vowed not to eat at the buffet for dinner tonight. He choked down more fried rice and chicken yesterday. I opted to order off the ala carte menu and got a cheeseburger and fries. Not sure what meat the burger was made out of but it was better than the other choices. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to the ingredients of the food in these parts. At breakfast we talked with some other adoption families and found that we were not alone in our stir craziness. Oddly that was reassuring for some reason. Naomi didn't sleep well last night. We put her in our bed after her head got caught in between the rails of her crib or should I say death bed. I don't know if it is the lack of sleep or the fear of going into the crib again but she hasn't been napping well today and is giving us a good dose of stubborn. Which equates into one cranky baby. It started raining yesterday and has rained all day and actually brought some cooler weather with it. I think Naomi is ready to blow this popsicle stand too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We're not in Kanas anymore, or even any place relatively close!

Yes, it's another stinking pagoda...temple, whatever. At least this one had some nice garden areas for photo opportunities but basically it was just as boring as the one we went to yesterday. We have two more days here. The American channels (hbo & cinemax) were blown out with a wind storm, it's 100 + outside, I am sick of the Chinese version of "western food" and I forgot my ruby slippers to click and get the heck out of here!

Dinner Anyone?

Here's our movie star!

Free Day #1

O.K. already. I'm IT Challenged so this video stuff is a little out of my league. Today was a "free day", which translates into "no appointments today". Unfortunately it is so hot here that if you don't get your sightseeing done in the morning you're out of luck. I love Peter, our interpeter, but he's not much help when it comes to suggestions on what to do. Today we went to a 1000 year old temple. Which probably would have been pretty cool except that everything was written in Chinese so we just wandered around looking at stuff and sweating. Not my idea of fun. To get to the park we went down a tree shaded "walking" street that had many retired people sitting around tables doing whatever retired Chinese people do. We felt like we were a one float parade. Every face turned our way as we approached. Too bad Naomi doesn't know how to wave yet.
We had a pivotal breakthrough today with the potty. She did the deed! How strange to have a 11 month old using the potty. We were making a big to-do about it and she looked at us like "what's the fuss, I've been doing this for 6 months".
Tomorrow is another "free day". We will be hitting the "city center" as Peter says. That's downtown for all you round eyes. There's a McDonalds, Pizza Hut & KFC there. I'm looking forward to eating something besides fried rice. Today's specialty at the buffet was braised chicken unguis, that's fancy chicken feet for you round eyes. Yesterday was fried duck unguis. And no, I am not kidding! Still haven't seen any monkey brain jello.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Officially Ours

We had a very busy morning. First there was an appointment at the CAB (China Adoption Bureau) at 8 AM to sign papers to let them know that we would indeed keep this baby. I guess yesterday was a free trial and we could still change our mind until we officially signed today. Yeah - like that ever happens! We had a short interview, a family picture done for their records, paid lots of money, turned in signed papers and then it was off to the Notary office, then Mike and Peter went to different Notary while Naomi and I hung out on the cushy couches in the first office, they had to go to make a deposit at a bank, then back to the second notary and finally back to get us. After all that we headed to the Security Bureau to apply for Naomi's passport. We ventured to Wal-Mart and are now hanging out at the hotel watching movies. It's too stinking hot (100 +) to be running around a busy city. We might do some sightseeing in the mornings on the next two days (before it gets scorching). Naomi was a trooper through it all and didn't make one little fuss. On Friday, we will pick up her passport and then head to the airport for our flight back to Guangzhou. I like the hotel room here better but the buffet is a little strange. Supposedly we eat at the "western" buffet which is more western-friendly but I just can't ever remember a western restaurant serving fried duck feet before. I've been sticking to fried rice and steamed rolls, supplementing my diet with cheez-its and pepsi to sustain my girlie figure. Also the pool here is rather strange. It's indoors, on the 4th floor, but to get to it you have to go through the locker rooms and then up about 3 floors by steps. Not exactly the easiest task for a woman with temperamental knees and a 30 lb. kid on her hip. So needless to say we won't be visiting the pool in Nanchang. I'm looking forward to taking Naomi swimming at the one in Guangzhou. We took a dip on Saturday and it was really nice.
Naomi is a good eater. She takes bottles of a rice and powdered milk formula and then eats fruits,breads and congee (a rice soup) with us at meals. We haven't mastered the potty thing yet but haven't given up yet. Peter says her scheduled it all messed up right now and once things settle down we will probably be able to get the hang of it. We got a written schedule from the foster family and are trying to stick to it as close as possible. She goes down for naps without any trouble too. She's just perfect!

White Swan Hotel

It's Gotcha Day!

There are no words to describe today. I realized that I did have some pre-conceived ideas of how the delivery process of Naomi would go based on stories and videos. I had expectations of a doctor's waiting room and someone coming out and hollaring our names and then handing her to us so I was completely caught off guard when we walked into a big room with benches lined on the walls and a couple dozen or so people lingering around. A small group of 5 adults and 2 babies caught my attention. I recognized Naomi immediately and any doubts I had were diminished when the man holding her threw a big smile my way. It was really awkward because I didn't know what we were suppose to do. Our interpeter was chatting with someone near the door and it was obvious that these folks with Naomi didn't speak any English. Mike didn't even have the video camera going. He was like a deer in the headlights when he realized he was looking at her. I should of had the video camera on him!
But that has been the only awkward moment since we got her. From the first time she came into my arms she has been a love bug. It was only a short time after they handed her to me that we were whisked back to the hotel in a cab. She layed her head on my chest and I knew that my prayers for her heart to be readied for us had been answered. We have yet to hear her cry. She has smiled, gabbered and cuddled as if she has known us for the day she was born.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I apologize for not posting any video yet. I am having difficulties and hoping to figure it out soon. I've been having a lot of fun capturing it all so I hope I get a chance to share it. We hopped on another plane to Nanchang today. It was only an hour and a half flight, which was nice but... until you experience being in an enclosed area with a hundred or more Chinese you won't be able to relate. It is so noisy! They all talk, all the time, loud and fast. The closest I can come to describing it is the lunchroom at the elementary school. For someone with A.D.D. (that's me) it's like someone who's claustrophobic getting a CAT scan.Check SpellingThe flight was a domestic flight so we got to experience a little of the culture. Instead of peanuts or pretzels for the snack on it, we got a little bag of roasted green peas. I found them quite tasty. Similar to corn nuts without the tooth chipping hardness. Another treasure I discovered on the flight was the Chinese barf bags. Those who know me well, know that I have a warped sense of humor and so these are wonderful gift bags in my world. Nanchang is quite a bit different from Guangzhou. It's more like a big city even though I think it is smaller than GZ. It is hotter, noiser and busier. I had my first "no toilet paper" experience at the Nanchang airport. Luckily, I had my pocket tissues with me so I was all set. It was odd to go in the stall and not have a dispenser in there. Which reminds me of a funny incident in the bathroom at the GZ airport. I went into a bathroom that only had four stalls and one of them was out of order. There were 3 girls already lined up waiting and it wasn't long before there were another 3 behind me. After about 5 minutes of waiting I noticed the girl in front of me was fanning her nose. No emotion just fanning. About the same time a horrific odor wafted my way. The first girl in line got out tissues and put them over her nose. It was apparent that someone in one of the stalls was having issues. The second girl in line actually had to walk out side to get some air. I looked behind me and two of the girls were gingerly holding their noses. No one made a comment, or showed emotion through the whole thing. I never did see who the culprit was. They were STILL in the stall when I finished my business and left.
Our hotel room is gorgeous. It's an elegant contemporary look and layed out really nice. We got settled in, Mike had to go get some copies made down stairs because the copies we had made at home are too big. Evidently China's paper is smaller so the copies we had made won't fit in the files. We had lunch and now are chillin out until 3:30 when we will leave to go get Naomi. It's so strange to think that in a few hours our lives will completely change. Similar to birth but very different at the same time. We have been praying for her heart to be open in accepting our love and that her adjustment will go well. We will be here for 5 days and then we will head back to GZ. Our interpeter, Pei Dur (Peter), is here with us the entire time which is refreshing. They speak a different dialect here, as well as Mandarin, and not many know English.
After we get her, Peter will take us to a store to get the kind of food she eats. My understanding is that most of the babies eat a rice soup. We have a hot pot in the room for heating the water and they also brought us a big fancy thermos thing too. We should be good to go.
Well, next time I post we will have our new family member. If I can't get the video up, I will at least get a few pictures.

Introducing Guangzhou

Well, Here we are, Guangzhou (pronounced kind of like Gah-wan-joe) China after a grueling flight. I'm already dreading the return flight. Northwest Airlines took us from Flint to Detroit, then we switched planes and flew to Tokyo-12+ hours, about an hour lay over in Tokyo and then it was another 6 hour flight to Guangzhou. I won't go into the details but let's just say a root canal sounds like fun now. So we arrived to the White Swan hotel about midnight. We went to bed shortly after arriving. I have tried to give you a taste of everything we found in GZ on video. Of course I missed a few good opportunities but I think I make up for it with the clip of the "gold digger" I captured in the hotel lobby. Some of the things I couldn't capture were some of the things that we noticed were absent. So far we have found China to be absent of men wearing baseball caps, pigeons, ice in drinks (guess that goes hand in hand with "don't drink the water"),and GM cars. I was pleasantly surprised to find flush toilets, toilet paper & air conditioning. We got daring and went to a shopping mall. So now we can say we did it, and I'm not too interested in doing it again! We even went into the market place where you can work the prices down. Mike got a kick out of the "hawkers" calling me "miss woo-woo" when they were trying to get me to look at their wares. Not sure if that was a compliment or an insult. The coolest thing that happened today when we went for a casual walk around the hotel and ended up in a little store off the beaten path and had a great conversation with a young woman named Judy. She noticed the cross necklace I am wearing and proudly proclaimed that she is a Christian. Which as you might know, is a rare thing in China. She invited us to her church which happens to be close to the hotel. We are hoping to find it next Sunday. This Sunday is our "Gotcha Day" and we will be flying (ugh!) to Nancheng (nan-chang)to pick up Naomi. Today we saw dozens of "round eye" parents with their new babies around the hotel. I was so precious to see these kids just sucking up all the love that was floating around. It was great to see all of their smiles. We are soooooo anxious to finally get to meet our daughter.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The countdown begins!

Yikes! Only 3 more days to blast off! We have been hussling around trying to get everything we might possibly need while in a foreign country. Anticipating our needs has been the biggest challenge. Besides the usual obvious excursion needs we will be bringing plenty of pocket tissues as we hear that toilet paper is a hot commodity in the orient. We also doled out close to $200 for medications that may be needed for Naomi, travel size everything, diapers & snacks. Then we had to buy some new luggage to take it all in! Fortunately, we were able to get a great flight package that is just for foreign adoptions through Northwest that allows us 2 - 70 lb. bags each instead of the measly 1-50 lb. bag allowance. We are flying out of Flint on the 24th and returning to Atlanta on the 8th, then to Flint on the 11th so that we can spend some time with the Fellabaums of the South. Our 11 yr. old daughter, Jo-Jo, is already down there on her annual visit and our 23 yr. old daughter , Brooke, who lives in Auburn Hills, will be joining us in Atlanta as well. It's a 22+ hour flight from Flint to Guangzhou. My legs get "charlies" in them just thinking about it! God has been so good as to give me peace in these crazy pre-Naomi days even when my heart races a little thinking of all that needs to be done before we go.
Check out this website of other babies who have come from the same province that Naomi is from. It's pretty funny. We have a similar picture hanging on our fridge.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fengcheng, Jiangxi

Population 1.2 million. 333,000 under the age of 15. Famous for a special tea called yun wu cha. Porcelain capitol of China. 80% of industry is agriculture, another 10% is industrial. Approximately 20% of the population is illiterate. These are just a few facts about the city our Naomi has spent the first 11 months of her life in. The most stunning revelation in my research adventure of this little known city in central China is that only 1.5% of the population proclaims faith in Jesus Christ. Most have no idea what God has done for them.

I expected a low number but, WOW, that's incredibly low. Granted most of the figures are from a 5 year old census and Christianity is on the rise. An estimated 15,000 people out of over 1 million. What a sad place this must be. Not to know the love of Jesus and what is to come has to make a city groan with pain.

The literal meaning of Fengcheng is "Harvest City". Which translates to - it's seed planting time! Can't have a harvest without planting a crop! So please pray that we will get the opportunity to plant some hardy seeds in this drought plaqued countryside. Let us quench a thirst for the Living Waters.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stay Tuned

I know I started this blog years ago - literally, to use to journal our adoption of Naomi with all intentions of getting the hang of this blogging stuff but of course, stuff happens, and so this didn't happen. So bear with me as I take this crash course in blogging. So onward with our adoption progress...
After 3 years, 5 months, & 17 days (I may be off a day or two as my head is spinning with dates these days) we finally got our referral notice that we would be heading to China to get our little doll. The agency told us the process would go something like "wait, wait, wait, HURRY, HURRY, HURRY". For us it has been a little different. More like, wait, wait, wait, wait some more, wait a lot more, wait again, HURRY, wait, wait, wait, HURRY, wait, wait and that's where we are now. We actually have our consulate date (our last appointment in China before we can head home) for August 6th but are still waiting for our CAB date which is the date we to be in China by. We put our 11 yr. old, Jo-Jo on a plane to Atlanta this morning for her annual visit to Nana & Papa. She usually goes a week or two after school gets out but it got scheduled to fit in with the adoption trip this year. It looks like we will be flying to China somewhere around the 23rd so we will have a couple of weeks to get prepared for our new family member.
Naomi is reported to be about the same size, weight as an American baby of the same age. She has been foster care since August 11th, 2007. Which may be why she is not under-developed as many internationally adopted babies are. We are so happy to hear that our prayers for her health and safety have been answered while we were not able to care for her ourselves. The report also stated that she has developed an attachment for her foster mother, which is a blessing in that we know that she does not suffer from an attachment disorder but could also prove to be a hurdle for Naomi's separation from her. We are now praying that God will comfort her in this time of change as only He can.
I am hoping to get the hang of adding video to this blog so that we can share our China adventures with you. So stay tuned !