Late Sunday night (early Sunday morning for most of you), I (Brent) finally arrived in
Here's an excerpt from my first email to Karin:
"Not much to say about the flights except that it was very long and very uncomfortable. I’m really not looking forward to doing it with a baby. The longest flight was 12 hours. I got up and walked around during hour 6 or so, but by hour 10, my knees were killing me and the left side of my waste was numb and tingly. It still tingles a bit. There was absolutely no need to bring any food. They kept us very well fed, and it was all pretty good. On the first flight, we had video screens that came down in front of us, but on the international flight, we had to watch either a 10 inch screen that was 20 feet away or a projection screen that was too dim to see unless the lights were out, which they weren't most of the time.
"I sat next to a young Chinese man who had a Ph.D. in computer programming. He writes software for medical imaging machines. He asked me where I worked. He didn’t speak English very well, but even after some explanation, he seemed to have no concept of what a pastor or church were. I’m sure he had an even harder time trying to figure out what I actually do 40 hours a week.
"I learned a valuable lesson at the
"Marilyn had an interesting bathroom experience in
I'm so glad to be here and I can't wait to tell you that we've got Angie! Check back tomorrow for pictures!
I (Brent) just got back from filling out the last paperwork before getting Angie. We go get her in one hour! There was a new picture of her in the application that we hadn't seen before. I almost cried. She's so cute and has so much hair. I can't wait to show you her newest pictures.
This morning we had a meeting for the families to turn in some of our paperwork that we brought with us. I was late. Afterwards we met in the lobby to go to a nearby grocery store. I was late again. Oh well.
Marilyn and I went out later to eat, shop, and take pictures. The restaurant was a funny experience since nobody spoke English. The menu had no pictures. It had English translations, but I don't think the translator knows any English. I'm still not sure what "loosen benevolent corn" is, and I didn't order it to find out. We selected a couple random menu items and wound up with a pretty good meal, but I think we were being laughed at most of the time for not knowing how to eat properly.
As we walked down the street, we saw lots of clothes hanging out to dry on the balconies above us. We wondered what it would feel like to put on a pair of pants that have been drying in 40 degree weather. They also used their balconies as refrigerators for their meat. Anybody want socks with their chicken?
We walked into a clothing store to look for a jacket for me. The sizes in
The people in
Gotta get ready to go get Angie!
on the homefront
Here's some of how Karianne and I passed the day on saturday after Brent left:
We went to
There was a Chinese grandmother there with 2 sweet little boys. One was Karianne’s age in a stroller and the other boy was about 7. She couldn’t speak any English. I thought it was so strange to meet someone like that in
It's late, and I'm tired, but I'll make a quick post about the best part of our day. At 5:00 pm we got on a bus with 10 other families and went to a government office building where we found a room full of beautiful Chinese children all bundled in red coats. After spending a few moments filming the wrong child, we finally figured out which one was Angie and filmed her while her caregiver held her and we waited to hear our name called.
When I finally got her, she was very quiet and tightly holding an ID badge with her picture on it. She was only quiet for about 30 seconds, and then cried for the next couple hours :-) We finally found something she liked to eat, and she really liked her small musical Christmas bear. She's now sleeping soundly, and we hope she'll do so until we have to get ready for an 8:00 am appointment tomorrow.
The highlights of our first evening with Angie: She loves the bath! She splashed and splashed and splashed! She bounced a bit while we were on the phone with Momma. She looked around and smiled at us and laughed shortly before bedtime. She likes her little sweet potato finger foods. I might remember and write more when I’m not so tired.
Thanks to everyone who prayed and gave to get us here and to get Angie home! We can’t wait to introduce her to you all!
Wednesday December 7, 2005 - 08:08am (CST)
Today I completed two different interviews with Chinese officials and received our official adoption certificate. As far as
When we got back from Wal-Mart, Angie went down for a nap. She woke, however, in a very different mood. Except for when I took her for a walk down the street to the bakery for some treats, she’s been very grumpy and difficult to pacify. Marilyn’s been holding her and playing with her while I upload pictures and make this entry. In a little while, our entire group is going out to dinner to the same restaurant that Marilyn and I went to yesterday. I think I’ll still stay away from the ‘loosen benevolent corn’.
We've got more pictures uploaded in the albums to the right. Select the China Adoption Trip album and click on 'view photos'.
Wednesday December 7, 2005 - 07:11pm (CST)
A Busy Day
We had a busy day today. This morning, we went to visit a palace that was built about 1,400 years ago by a Chinese prince. Marilyn was sick in bed, so I had to bundle Angie up in the front pack and choose between the regular camera and the video camera. The video camera would have been nice because we got to see a traditional Chinese dance and concert at the palace, but I’m glad I had the digital camera to get some really great pictures. I like the one of Angie and I sitting on the throne in the palace. There were gift shops on every floor (six floors in all). At one, they were selling lots of butterfly items. Since Angie’s Chinese name means ‘butterfly’, I scooped several of them up to give to her as birthday gifts in the future. There was some beautiful artwork make entirely out of butterfly wings and a clock with a rotating butterfly marking the seconds. I also bought her a Chinese tea set and other traditional knickknacks.
Angie and I went out to lunch at the European Coffee Shop down the street. It was an eclectic looking shop—a Chinese place trying to look European with stuffed animals and pillows in the windows. I tried the
Our group went out to dinner at a different restaurant tonight. Angie really opened up. She sat in my lap the whole time and pounded the table, made all sorts of cute noises, and smiled and laughed at the other people at the table. Unfortunately, her pleasant demeanor disappeared when we got back to the room. She cried for almost an hour while I gave her a bath and got her ready for bed. She finally took a bottle and fell asleep. Overall, she really has changed a lot since we first got her. It’s nice to see her finally smiling at me and playing with me.
Tomorrow, we go to see her orphanage.
Thursday December 8, 2005 - 08:22pm (CST)
Sorry, folks. I was wrong about the orphanage trip. That's tomorrow. Today--more shopping and sight-seeing. I wish we could just get out of here; I want to get home so badly, but we can't go to the American Consulate in Guangzho until we get Angie's passport back. We head to the consulate next Monday.
Angie just gets more and more well-adjusted all the time. This morning was the first time she didn't cry during a diaper change. At breakfast she ate well and smiled at me quite a bit. Right now she's laying in her crip and playing on her own. It's the first time she's done that for any length of time. -I take that back, she's starting to cry a bit.
Brent's day- by Karin
Brent is sick now as well. He said he had some coke with ice and apparently the ice made him sick, you know what they say- "don't drink the water". Yesterday in the morning he went to a city park and took lots of pictures of the people there. He said in the middle of the park there was a huge brick surface where hundreds of people were there, just doing their own thing. Some old ladies knitting, men playing some sort of checkers, a lot of people doing Ti Chi. He got his daily scolding from old ladies for not dressing Angie warm enough. One old lady told him how to "fix" Angie's flat nose. He just needs to pinch it at least once a day. :-)
In the afternoon the tour guide/translator took the group to a department store where they had an hour to shop and eat lunch. He had lunch at Pizza Hut, sorry nothing more exotic than that, and that is where he got sick. That's about it because he hasn't done anything since. Today he is supposed to get Angie's passport and tour the countryside, so he really hopes he'll be feeling better by then. He feels he is already on the mend just very weak from being sick all night. He visits the orphanage on saturday.
Here at home Karianne and I have pretty much just stayed home all week, it has been very cold for us here and haven't really been motivated to get out. Today, here at our house, the temp did not get above 30 degrees!
The Orphanage Visit
Getting sick from the water in
This morning (Saturday), I awoke feeling much better. We left for the orphanage at 8:30 a.m. It took over two hours to get there. It was quite a cultural experience. I realize that we are very fortunate to live in
We were taken to a room in the orphanage where all the families were able to meet with the director, his assistant, and the foster mothers. It was an odd experience, I think because there was little emotion from the foster mothers. Angie’s foster mother held her for a long time, but didn’t seem emotionally attached to her. Angie had spent three months with her. The orphanage director and his assistant,
We were given permission to go through the building where the babies had stayed. There are no babies there right now. I recognized the main room from the pictures of Angie that we had received from a family who had gone there recently. It was a very sparse facility. Afterwards, the orphanage director took all of us out too lunch. I just ate some rice and a piece of cake. I wasn’t feeling up to much else after being so sick.
With all due respect to those who live in
Monday December 12, 2005 - 07:25am (CST)
Tomorrow we fly to
Since it’s our last night in
Today was uneventful, but pleasant, simply because we were finally leaving
Tomorrow, Angie gets her medical exam as part of her immigration process. Wednesday we go to the Consulate, and Thursday we get her visa so that we can leave on Friday.
(Some of today's pix aren't as high quality because I took them with my PDA.)
Tuesday December 13, 2005 - 10:44pm (CST)
Medical Exam Day
Today was a fairly easy day. Angie had her medical exam this morning, which she passed with no problems.
We went to lunch at a place called Lucy’s, which features some pretty good American dishes. We liked it so much we went back there for dinner. In between, we spent the afternoon walking around
This part of
Thursday December 15, 2005 - 08:22am (CST)
The Red Couch Pictures
Before many adoption groups leave the White Swan hotel, they gather on the second floor for the famous ‘Red Couch Picture.’ You can look at ours in the China Trip album now. Angie definitely had more hair and personality than any other baby there!
It's Thursday, 8:00 am back home, but it's 10:00 pm Thursday here in
Today we finished the last official business before leaving. Technically, each adoptive family has to sign their paperwork in front of a
P.S. I know some of you who are reading this are families who will be coming to
Tuesday December 20, 2005 - 06:17pm (CST)
After almost 24 hours of traveling with almost no real sleep, we've finally made it back home! Angie is already adjusting very well to life in our home.
She really loved watching the Christmas tree. Now she also loves watching TV. Unfortunately, she's afraid of dogs, but seems to be getting over it. We slept for 16 hours before Karin decided to wake us up so we could sleep tonight.
We're so glad to all be home together! We'll keep posting new pictures of our entire family, so keep checking back here.