Saturday, June 29, 2013

We are Home

My VPN didn't work in Guangzhou so I'd have about 30 seconds to send an email or blog post and then it would disconnect. For those of you who might be travelling or know of someone who is travelling soon, I used Express VPN in Hunan and it worked great and my friend used Go Trusted in Guangzhou without a problem.

The girls and the baby did very well on the flight home. It was a smooth as travelling with four children can be, meaning I didn't get a lick of rest, but I'm doing okay. I'll get pictures posted soon. They are super cute. I'll also try to include some video of Apple at the pool. She's such a sweet-natured baby!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Leaving Guangzhou Tonight

Everything has gone very well and we are fine. I am having trouble with the VPN so I've not been able to blog. I'll try to catch up tonight in Hong Kong.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On the Way to Guangzhou Today

We are leaving Changsha today and heading to Guangzhou. I'm very excited. I LOVE Guangzhou! We are staying at the Garden Hotel. I love being able to have easy access to food and Trust*mart and the subway.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Final Decree & More Cuteness

The girls think they look like birth twins in this photo.

Baby games at breakfast.

Blossom holding Apple for the first time.

Obtaining the final adoption decree!

Changsha University/Confucius School

It was a little cooler today so after picking up the adoption decree at the civil affairs office, we went to this 1000 year-old school. It was less hot than yesterday, but didn't take long for us to be dripping in sweat. I'm glad to have seen it, and I regret not being able to tour more, but it's logistically very difficult to move my family around China in this heat. One daughter is on medication that increases her risk of over-heating and my new baby sweats excessively as part of her syndrome, so keeping cool and hydrated is paramount. This site is supposedly 1000 years old, but some of it has been rebuilt in 1986. The gate in the first picture is original. This is where Confucius set up his school and where a Chinese emperor came and toured in plain clothes under disguise then decided to build a library where ancient texts now are housed. It's peaceful and beautiful and beautifully scented by the surrounding trees.

Are we in China or The Shire?

Baby Cuteness from June 18th

Gong Gong's first hold at the Civil Affairs Office while I signed papers.

Total water baby!

I wasn't sure if she'd like cold things, but she liked this mango popsicle.

This is my favorite photo so far!

Visit to Apple's Orphanage

The drive was long, through beautiful lush green mountains with rivers, ponds and lakes throughout. The SWI was typical, but the workers very, very good and nice. Apple shared a room. There were 8 children ages 1-6 years old in her room and 6 caregivers. What a great ratio! No wonder it's so obvious that Apple was held a lot. All the children in the room had special needs of one kind or another. There was a sleeping room with an unused bathroom, a playroom that had a bathroom with a regular Chinese toilet, plastic baby potties and a bathing area with a baby tub on a stand near a decent faucet. There was an office for the volunteer organization in charge of the children's medical care, with physical therapists, one from England, in fact. And there were four medical staff members. There are 300 children in this orphanage!

Even though the rooms were small and crowded, the children were ALL clean. They did not smell at all. All their nails were trimmed, too. No dirty diapers apparent and no sour milk smell anywhere. My own daughter has little hand orthotics that they gave me and other children had AFOs and other equipment as needed. This is an orphanage that's really accomplishing something good. I was also told that all the children have adoption papers submitted to Beijing. I was asked to advocate for two little boys who have waited on the shared list for THREE YEARS! I'll post their pictures and information later on. I have video of both, too.

Apple was happy to see familiar faces but wanted her mama most of all! It's amazing how fast they start to bond. She has done some grieving, too. Each day in the late afternoon when she's tired, if we've been out and come into the hotel room, she starts crying. She's easy to comfort, but it's clear that she's grieving. Tonight, she started crying while we were still in the hallway as I was unlocking the door. She's a very easy baby! She's becoming more animated each day and letting a little more of her personality show as she begins to trust me. Her sense of humor is tremendous and she plays baby games and jokes on me all the time. I'm really looking forward to being her mama. I can't wait to hold her in my rocking chair and feed her her bottle.

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Family Day

Apple is asleep in the stroller.
She sleeps with her eyes partially open.
It's disconcerting, but normal for her special need.

I should mention that the sores on Apple's face are not serious. They are caused by an allergic reaction to IV antibiotics that she was given for a respiratory infection. Apple's special need is obvious. It's called Apert's Syndrome and most people with Apert's have normal intellect. Otherwise, Apple is a very healthy baby.

First Swim

All the classes on attachment recommend not changing the child's clothing right away, but I absolutely had to. The dress that Apple had on was so full and big she was lost and hot in way too much material. It was soaked with her sweat and it was hard to hold her in it since it kept bunching up.

She loves the stacking cups!

This one's for you, Karen!
A headband with a bow just long enough for this picture.

She's not alone in this picture!
I am only inches away.