Sunday, August 24, 2008

Showered with Love

Wow, that week flew by. Brooke got a good dose of Naomi last week and now Jo-Jo is back home from camp. The two busiest families I know added to their already over-flowing schedule by hosting a family shower for Naomi. She made out like a bandit and has a wardrobe like a princess until she is 2. We have been so enormously blessed with Naomi already and now our friends and family have put the cherries, sprinkles and whip cream on the sweetness of life. She has advanced with leaps and bounds. I wouldn't be shocked if she started walking this week. She stands by herself barely hanging on to anything. My persistance of getting her into one two hour nap instead of two one hour naps is succeeding. Now if I could just figure out her potty schedule. It's been hit and miss. She is still doing great, hasn't had any problems with adjusting to foods or lifestyle. She just goes with the flow. She has learned the word "no" and actually is obedient when she hears it. It is so amazing! She learned how to rap dance this past Friday at the FlowFest in Lansing and puts her hands on her head as if she is saying "oh no". She will get her first camping experience this coming weekend with the Freedom Center Family Reunion campout on Friday. I'm sure she will love it. Hopefully we won't have the stiffling hot weather we had this weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Naomi went boom boom and got an oww-y

We sent Jo off to camp today. She is going to get so filled up with Jesus! She was looking forward to this so much. It's the same camp she went to last year and has been yearning to have the closeness she had with Jesus ever since. Naomi and I bid her farewell and later that day Big, Big Sister, Brooke came over and spent the day with us. I am so loving having Brooke around more. I'm sure she is probably bored silly with us but I just love having her in our presence. Poor Naomi took a dive on the wood floor in the kitchen and got a little goose egg on her forehead. She was half sitting and half standing with her legs spread eagled and fell forward. She does this little move all the time but usually falls on her bum which is no big deal. This all happened just as Daddy was getting home. We iced her up and she got some Daddy lovin' and was all good. Brooke and I snuck out to see Mamma Mia at the theater and Daddy put Naomi to bed after her lasagna dinner. She is doing so great. Everyone asks how she is adjusting and it seems like a funny question. It has been such a natural transistion for everyone that it seems odd to even consider that there should be an adjustment time. Today she learned how to wave "hi", double-handed of course and I swear she said kitty cat. It is hard to believe that she couldn't roll all the way over 3 weeks ago. Now she is standing barely holding on to something. She is such a joy and so easy going. God prepared her heart for us and ours for her so it's as if she has always been with us. I guess there's no need for adjustment when God's got his hand on the situation. The only adjustment has been in the amount of time it takes me to get out of the house! She's making friends with all the animals and we are making progress on getting a schedule in place. Life is good.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Worshipping with Jeremy Horn now that's the icing on the cake!

Nothing like getting to worship with Jeremy Horn and his band. Naomi and I dodged the orange cones, zigzagged on the Z bridge and made it to Bay City in time to catch Jeremy Horn performing at a church in Bay City. They have been performing all over Michigan this past weekend and I was in Georgia so I was pretty excited when I heard they would be in BC on Wed.. Naomi seemed to enjoy the worship (but who wouldn't). They are headed up to the U.P. to perform all weekend then will head home (Memphis) and get a month off so Jeremy can enjoy his new little one that is coming soon. It was so good to see the gang.
Jo made a birthday cake for Naomi since we didn't really get to celebrate because everyone got sick. It was a whole day ordeal but as you can see in the picture it is quite the cake! Naomi is suffering with teething lately and didn't sleep well. Hopefully that tooth will bust through soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rub a dub dub, 3 Sisters in the tub!

There's no place like home!

Sorry for the break in blogs. I wasn't able to get online in Georgia. After 23 gruesome hours on an airplane we finally made it to Georgia to spend the weekend with Mike's family. Not without issues though. We missed our plane to Atlanta from Detroit because we had to go through customs. Which probably wouldn't have been a problem except Naomi wasn't a citizen UNTIL she went through customs so we had to get in the "visitor" line, then we were told to get in the "blue" line, then we were told we were suppose to go to the "US citizen" line - then the "blue" line... We could have made it IF we didn't have to RE-CHECK our luggage. To top it off in the rush and confusion I left a bag with some fragile fabric kites that I was going to decorate Naomi's room with on top of the stack of luggage to be checked. We realized as soon as we got to the gate of our "Re-scheduled flight". Mike went back and they were no where to be found. :(
Naomi did pretty good on the flights. She couldn't get comfortable to sleep even though we bought her a seat to give us more room. Brooke was on the flight that we were suppose to be on for Atlanta and ended up having to wait for us in Atlanta with Papa, Nana & Jo-Jo who came to pick us up.
On Saturday the whole Fellabaum clan headed for Lake Lanier Islands Resort. Our niece, Natalie, was having her 10th birthday party/sleepover there so we got rooms too so we could hang out in the pool and have cake with her. The big bonus for the weekend was when the Post Family from Blairsville, formally from Fenton, joined us so they could meet Naomi. For those who don't know, Terri Post and I have known each other since we were in elementary, which was just a few years ago.
In true Fellabaum fashion, someone ended up sick, actually a few did. One was my daughter, Jo-Jo. At first we thought it was from too much junk food, jumping around and laughing too much (all sounds like good stuff to me so I don't know why it would make you sick). Then Zack, our 3 yr. old nephew, spent the whole night "sick". Poor Lori, all the stink was in her adjoining rooms. Sunday was spent with most of the gang sacked out on any available flat surface and Mike wasn't feeling so good either. When we left for our flight on Monday Jane was sick and Ryan called us at the airport to let us know that his daughter, Ashley, was now sick. Somehow, Naomi, Brooke & I avoided the plague.
It is so great to be home! I let out a huge Woo Hoo when we finally pulled away from the airport in Flint. Naomi is still trying to figure out when to sleep and eat but she's doing great. She is experiencing a lot of "firsts" and every moment has been a blast. I will be posting more pictures as soon as I can find my camera. It has gotten lost in a pile somewhere in the house.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Guangzhou slide show

Almost home

Today's the day. We get sworn in. One of the families that we have been going to dinner with the last few evenings were sworn in yesterday and left today. They are actually from Lake, Michigan. They had quite a scare and had to go to the hospital yesterday. Their daughter got bumps all over her. Which in the states would not be a big deal. Parents might even wait a day or two to see if they developed into anything else but since they were leaving today they had to make sure it was nothing serious. If it were chicken pox or something infectious they would quarrantine them for two weeks to the hotel room. They turned out to be mosquito bites (strange since I've not seen a mosquito here). At customs you have to go through a heat sensor to make sure you are not running a fever. Officials also do a quick physical check of the babies. They got a doctor's note stating that it was bug bites so that they didn't get detained. They shared their horror story at dinner last night and we all started to envision what it would be like to be quarrantined to the room for another 2 weeks. You can imagine the conversations. So now we are all paranoid of being near anyone that might be sick. One of the parents came over to us at breakfast to tell us about a table near them was overheard saying that they had a virus going through their group. It was probably just food stuff but our friends got right up and left.
Now that it is finally time to go we are discovering it is a little bittersweet having to leave. It really has been an interesting experience. We have enjoyed the company of our new friends and hope that we can keep in touch with them. We will be going to say goodbye to Judy today too. We have to leave for the airport at 5:30 AM.
I'm looking forward to a nice cold fountain pop with ice and Mike is anxious to get a good cup of coffee.

Cluck, Cluck

Naomi has figured out to do the clicking noise with her tongue on the roof of her mouth. Many of the gift shop workers make that noise at the babies. She picked up on it and started mimicing it the other day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Only 1 more appointment!

All went well with the consulate appointment today. Tomorrow afternoon we take a bus, along with many other families to the formal "swearing in", where we promise to love and care for Naomi. After 24 hours we are free to go. Unfortunately there are no flights leaving after 7 PM on Thursday so we will be leaving early on Friday. We will be spending a couple of days in Georgia with Mike's family before we come home. Jo-Jo is already there visiting and Brooke will joining us for the weekend too. Tonight we are going to dinner with the families that adopted from JiangXi again and hope to get a group photo to post. It's raining today but we are hoping it will clear up soon so we can do a little shopping before dinner.
We have a VIP guest staying at the hotel here with us. Mike saw a convoy of limos with a police escort coming down the street the other night. Then we heard that the governor of Hong Kong is here. I'm not so sure I'm excited about that. I'd rather the political figures stay far away from where I'm at. The military is all beefed up presently too. I'm guessing this had something to do with it.

Naomi Comaneci

Mama Mia!

Wow, we actually had a great meal tonight! We went with a group to an Italian Ristorante'. This place was FAN-CEE! I almost forgot I was in China. Mike and I got this huge calzone. To top it off, the whole meal was about $20 US/$128 Chinese/Yuan. We were with 4 other families. 3 of them had children from JiangXi Province, which is where Naomi is from. I am learning that certain regions have particular characteristics that are common in the children. JiangXi children are known to have lots of hair and for being tall. They also have a certain shaped eye. I wouldn't have thought there was much truth to that until I saw all the kids from there together tonight.
We have been exchanging contact information with all our new friends in hopes of keeping in contact. We have met two families from Michigan and have already started planning a rendevous. We also have found a few families that will be leaving on the same flight we are. It is reassuring to know we won't be the only ones with a baby on the flight.
We also exchanged email addresses with our Christian shop owner friend, Judy.
Tommorrow we have to stay in the hotel room from 9-11 AM so the consulate can contact us if they have any questions about our petition to adopt. Peter takes all the paperwork there and presents it to them.
Naomi is still being a daddy's girl which I am only tolerating because I know I'll get to hog her when we get home and he has to head to work. I'm just the official potty cheerleader right now. She doesn't seem to want to perform for daddy. Must be a modesty thing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Green pizza

We had a typhoon yesterday so I wasn't able to post or at least I should say that I was too chicken to turn on the computer with the lightning after blowing out my last computer that way. We took a trip into town to what we were told was the electronics market but it wasn't. It was more like China's version of Best Buy. We toured the mall next door which was probably the Somerset Mall of GZ. Lots of designer stuff and no bargains. The grocery store was next door so we spent some time in there marveling over the strange food again. They must think we are nuts. I was taking pictures. There was a KFC outside the market but we decided to pass it up after we noticed the pictures of the food on the window didn't really look like the colonel's famous recipe to us. We ventured into the Papa John's nearby. It wasn't too bad. The pizza cheese had a greenish tint and they had fountain pop which we were a little leery about but we didn't find ourselves running for the bathroom anytime soon after partaking in it. We had a little trouble getting a cab to stop for us until I figured out that I could stand behind a pole and wave my hand and they couldn't see I was American until it was too late. We hit the pool when we got back to the hotel and later visited the "Swan room" which is furnished with toys from Mattel. Today we are just going to hang around the hotel and relax. We had some new adoptive friends invite us to go to tea later.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Shamian Christian Church, Guangzhou, China

Shamian Christian Church, Guangzhou, China

Christian churches are now open to the public in China. 70% of the Christian churches have been built in recent years. I read somewhere that approx. 10% of the population of Guangzhou is Christian, a high number for any area in China. The city that Naomi was born and fostered in (Feng Cheng City) only had 1%. Even though Christianity is state governed, many Christians still suffer because of their faith. Christians must register with the government and have many restrictions, especially when it comes to sharing the gospel. Therefore, many choose to attend "house churches". The church on Shamian Island where the White Swan hotel is located was built more for the American guests. That was the Chinese government's plan, God's plan has this building overflowing into the "side room" with video feed with Chinese Christians. We were able to purchase a Chinese/English Bible from the bookstore on the grounds. The store is only open for 1 hour on Sunday and it was packed with people, many were walking out with stacks of bibles. One can only speculate and hope that they were going to share these with friends and family. This church also holds bible studies during the week as well as prayer sessions.

Napping in the pool?

Naomi's personality is really starting to shine. She is getting quite active. I don't think she had much opportunity to really move around while in foster care. In just a week she has figured out how to roll over and is making strides in figuring out how to walk. Today we went to church (I'll write another blog on that experience) then spent about 3 hours in the pool. She actually fell asleep in the pool. It started out like "daddy's club" again but after awhile more mom's joined in. It is so interesting to hear all the different stories from each of the families. We went to Lucy's for dinner again. The buffet in the hotel is about $45/person which is really ridiculous. We can eat at Lucy's for under $10 for both of us. After dinner we did some shopping and met another Christian shop owner. Mike noticed his bible on his desk and struck up a conversation with him. His name is Jordan and he wrote Naomi's name in chinese calligraphy for us as a keepsake. We stopped at the 7 eleven on the way back to the hotel and got some icecream bars. I'm sure it was another 1st for Naomi. She really enjoyed it. So far we haven't found much she doesn't like. Tomorrow the plan is to hit the electronics market.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Swim, Swam, Swum

Naomi met a new friend, Stephanie, at the pool today. Stephanie has to get therapy on her right arm. She cannot extend it due to an injury during birth. Her parents said that it will probably be overcome with therapy.
Naomi gives daddy a kiss and flashes one of her fantastic smiles.

Moon cakes and more

Ahhh, it is actually very refreshing to be in GZ. The hotel is much busier but the area around the hotel is much more laid back. We are on an island so to speak but it seems more like a peninsula. I would compare the lifestyle somewhat to Mackinac Island (minus the horse poop), but Asian style. Peter says it is too expensive for most natives to live here. They get many Chinese here on vacation as well as adoptive families. You only see taxis, limos or high end vehicles here. They have tennis clubs and fancy restaurants down the streets. There are "squares" inside the neighborhood blocks where they play badminton and hacky sack. The buffet is much better here at the White Swan hotel. They actually have a chef from Louisiana working here. So the french toast is really french toast. They even had waffles today. I didn't see any duck or chicken feet, but it was breakfast! We had our medical appointment for Naomi (which she passed with flying colors) and had her photos for her visa done today. Then we took a taxi into GZ and did a supermarket trip. We were going to do the electronics market too but we spent so much time marveling over the delicacies available that it was time for Naomi's nap. We'll make another trip this week and check that out. After her nap we ventured out to the shops around the hotel and visited our new China friend, Judy, that we met last week when we were here. She invited us to her church (she's a Christian of 3 yrs) here and we are going to go tomorrow. She owns a shop off the main street so we did some shopping there. She gave us some good deals. We hit the pool after working up a sweat (nothing in comparison to Nanchang though). Naomi loved the pool and made some new friends. The swimsuit Danna Taylor gave us fit her perfectly. It seemed like there was a "daddy's club" meeting in the kiddie pool. It was great to hear all the different adoption stories. Some of the stories were sad but all had happy endings. There were quite a few older/special needs children. A few cleft palettes, one had burn scars on her arms and another had something with her arm that it wouldn't extend. All are fixable it seems. Most of them were 2 or older, most of the parents started out like us and switched their dossier to accepting a special needs baby because they were tired of the wait. It looks like it only speeds the process up about 6 months. Many of them used The Holt International agency that is supported by many of the Christian artists we play on Smile FM. I have heard many praises for that organization from the families that have used them. We have not met anyone who has used the same agency as we did.
We don't have any more appointments until Wed. & Thurs. so I'm sure we'll find some trouble to get into the next couple of days.
Today starts the Mid-Autumn Festival aka Moon Festival to celebrate the abundance of the summer harvest and tradition is to eat moon cakes under the moon. They have moon cakes for sale here and we are hoping to partake in this tradition sometime this week. I'll let you know how that all works out. As long as it involves eating cake and not some kind of animal feet I'm up for it.