Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Part 2 of First Full Day With Hattie

Good Evening from China!

We thought you might like to hear Part 2 of our first full day with Hattie. She has been such a brave girl. We can tell that she is really thinking today. Her eyes are so worried, it really breaks your heart. As we watch her in her grief, we also are seeing the first little glimpse into her real personality. Watch out, Culley, you may have met your match! When she woke up from her nap, she was smiling. Then she played a bit and for the first time pointed right at the container of Gerber Banana Puffs and made a little sound. She started shoveling them in her mouth. It made me nervous, only because I am not sure yet of how she really eats and drinks with her cleft lip/palate.

After this we all went down to the lobby to rent a stroller ( a little over a dollar US to rent per day, we have a carrier but we wanted to power walk!) She really enjoyed being in the stroller and we walked around the hotel to a beautiful little park, we watched big fish in a pond for a while and then decided we were not up for a long minute walk in this heat/humidity to go get lunch. It is so humid, your hair does not dry after your morning shower. Many families who are here at the hotel have told me they just gave up and let their hair do whatever it wants. Hattie and I went back to our room while Kory ventured out for lunch. This is when she got wild and crazy. She was walking around the room and going in the bathroom (shut that door, she is too short to reach the door knob!) then she walked over to her suitcase and sat there looking at it for a bit. Then she began to take each thing out and study it before throwing it on the floor. It was as if she was making sure she approved of what we brought for her. She took a pair of pink shorts and held them in such a way it looked like she was making sure the tag was the right size. By the time she was done the room looked typical after a baby is on the loose. I was glad to see her doing normal baby things and thought of our neighbor "Baby Cake" as it sounds like she has been into the same type of mischief.

We cleaned up that mess, had lunch and then Hattie came to me and climbed on my lap and went straight to sleep. I was tired so I moved to the couch and we both had a mini nap.

She seemed more sad this afternoon, if Kory tried to hold her she would just begin to cry and neither of us want to make her feel more scared, so I took her from him and she would quiet right away. Her cry was so brief but oh so heartbreaking, we could hardly stand it.

We decided an outing might be good to distract her so we went to the grocery store and slowly wandered around. As soon as we reached the books, Hattie reached out and seemed to recognize them. We bought her a book with chinese and english, a baby book. We also were amazed by an entire aisle of just baby lotions, powders and soaps. All in the cutest bottles and containers. Some were shaped like colorful mushrooms. Baby powder (Johnson and Johnson) comes in little round containers and you apply it with a powder puff! We had to get that for her as well. They had the cutest size baby wipes, too. They are the size of the little packs of Puffs. We picked up a sweet little set of pink baby chopsticks and also kids chopsticks for Hadyen and Culley. We bought rice cereal for Hattie in case we can't get the rice congee. We also bought the sweetest mini little cream cake with flowers, we plan to share that with Hattie tomorrow to celebrate her new life with us.

We also saw a display with pig snouts and dried fish (big fish!) chicken feet, we saw live turtle waiting to be purchased for dinner, buckets of eel, fish is displayed out on bed of ice, where anyone could touch it; tons of different kinds and colors of eggs all out at room temp!

While we walk around with Hattie, it is interesting to watch the reactions of the people around us. Some are so curious and seem happy to see a baby until they realize her lip is as it is, then they either stare more or study us as if to figure out what must be wrong with us to take her. We just smile at people and keep on moving. A few people tonight were so very kind. They chatted to me in Chinese while pointing to her lip and then would pat me on the arm.

We made it back to our hotel. It is only a 2 minute walk but the mopeds and bikes and traffic are just a wild sight. Enjoy the pictures.

First Full Day With Miss Hattie

Hello From China on our first full day with Hattie. She is very sweet, brave, curious, alert and a snuggle bunny. We were told she would do the best if she slept with us, which is the Chinese way. We put her to bed and she slept all night, not a peep out of her. When we woke up (good old 4:30 am is our new wake up time!) she was at the top of the bed on the pillows of the king size bed all sprawled out. We each took showers and got ready for the day and did a bit of handwashing before waking her up for breakfast. I thought she might wake up and realize she was still with those strange white people and become afraid, but she just woke up and soldiered on. It really makes us wonder what she is thinking and feeling inside. After breakfast, we met Mary at 8:30 to go to the Notary Office for an interview. When we got there we were called into Notary Room #4 and we were asked to confirm that we would like to adopt this child, we were asked our education level (very important here in China!) and we were asked what year we were married and also that we would promise not to abuse or abandon "this girl." Then we had to sign 4 or five documents and were told we were done.

We left there and traveled to the hotel where we received the babies yesterday. We went up the elevator and saw the orphanage staff right away. They gestured to us trying to ask if Siqiong cried. We said, no, but very serious. This was such a blur-we had a big box of blankets to donate to the orphanage on behalf of a company called aiden+anais. We gave those to the Orphanage director who told us (through our guide) that they were so happy to have these and all was happening so fast and I wanted to document- so I asked if we could please take a picture. She agreed, but I was thinking what fun is this picture when no one can even see what is in the box? Kory teased me a bit for this, but I swept up some blankets and handed them to her and held them myself so we could take another photo to share with aiden+anais.
(A side note, for future adoption travelers to China, we ordered a stack of these blankets before we left to bring to China as they are light weight which is nice especially here where it is so hot and

We left this room and went to another room down the hall where we had yet another interview. This time it was with the Civil Affairs Office. She asked us first, "would you like to adopt this girl?" we said, yes. Then she asked, "do you know she is special?" Kory and I said yes, and looked at each other. I know she meant "do we know she has the special need of cleft lip/palate? Our first thought was, "Of course she is special!" (Not in a special needs way if that makes
sense) She asked us to tell her why we want to adopt this girl. we said we would like to love and care for her and have her join our family. She wrote this out in Chinese. We then had to sign more documents, complete with our thumbprint in red ink and followed by a right footprint of Hattie on the paperwork. She then said, now she is your daughter and handed the papers to our guide who will do some work now, to complete the Province Paperwork.

Next, we were called down the hallway to another room. Remember, our good camera is being weird here, so we are taking pictures with our iphones. I had my hands full with Hattie. Kory has a backpack loaded with baby gear, gifts for the orphanage director from us and last but not least a huge stack of Chinese money that we are required to donate to the Orphanage. This is the famous money that adoptive families gather crisp hundred dollar bills for, then convert to Chinese money and then freak out for days as we have to carry it around while being aware of "picky pockets" as our guide informed us; there are no "criminals in Nanning just LOTS of picky pockets" :)

Anyway, we were led into a room that had stacks of cardboard boxes and was full of furniture. There were two ladies at a desk from the Civil Affairs Office who were silent but had to watch the money exchange. Anyway, Kory and I were so surprised when they told us to please now hand the money to the director of the orphanage. I was freaking out as I wanted a photo of this in the worst way and I wasn't sure it was allowed, but Hattie was grabbing for the cardboard boxes and her book was falling on the floor causing the orphanage staff to chatter, and Kory was trying to grab these wads of bills from the depths of the backpack and I asked him for the camera which he dug out of his pocket. I snapped a few pictures, one was of Kory's hands handing the the money to director who then hands it over to a man from the orphanage to count. If they say it is ok, we are done and are then free to exchange gifts. We gave dried cherries and Gwen Frostic Stationary as a gift from our local area. They gave us a disposable cameral with pictures from Hattie and her foster family. Also, the care package items we had sent for her birthday which I wish we would not have done as they didn't allow her to have the gifts, which was the only reason we sent them. The best part though was a bound book showing Hattie as a new baby on up through now, with dates. There were details from her check ups and we also received the note she was found with (a copy, they keep the original) and her vaccination record book(this will be translated into English next week when we go to the

Lastly, we had a chance to ask more questions to the staff. We wanted to know how they fed her bottles. We had such a hard time figuring out how to feed her liquids (with Cleft Lip/Palate, babies can't suck). Last night, Kory was using a straw to drop water in her mouth and we ended up spooning her formula into her mouth. But her diapers have been hardly wet, which makes us nervous. Plus, as I have said, it is super hot and muggy here. After quite a heated discussion in Chinese, they told us to use a toothpick to make the hole of the bottle bigger and they also gave us two new bottles. Chinese style that she is used to.

Now, she and Kory are napping and I should be but I am so messed up sleep wise. We have free time until Thursday morning when we will go out with our guide for fun and also to buy Hattie Sea pearls. We plan to try out the swimming pool and the park near the hotel. Mary told us she will feel sad in the room but happy when she is out, even if it at the grocery store.

A few odds and ends. Yesterday, after we received Hattie, she fell instantly asleep. We had to have a family photo with her and she needed to be awake and in the middle of us. This photo will be on her adoption paperwork. We all tried to wake her to no avail, so they wanted us to set this sleeping baby on her feet to wake her. We kind of ignored this request. But then they asked again and we felt we better do what they asked-no one could believe it, but she stayed sleeping! They told us to go and they would come to our hotel room later to try to take a photo. They did come back and they took the photo right here in our room. (glad we weren't yet in our jammies!)

Well, enjoy the pictures! We have loved this process here in China and now having Hattie and seeing the end result of years of paperwork, it is really just unreal.

Thanks for the comments and emails. Please know, we are unable to see our blog here in China. Feel free to email your comments if you are having a hard time with posting to our blog.

To Hayden and Culley; we noticed that Hattie really perks up around kids. She is very curious and likes to play. Daddy and I know she will be very happy to have such wonderful big brothers. we love and miss you!!!! We think she will like to play "kitchen" with you Culley. Hayden, I think she may like to have you help her do dress up. And guess, what? We set her down to play a minute in our room and she popped right up and walked along the bed towards us. She wants to be held all the time since we are new to her, she is scared. we will all have to be extra kind and helpful to make her feel comfortable. Hattie really loves the book we brought her with the crinkly sounds, she has played with that a lot.

I am glad you all are liking the details.We want to document as much as possible for Hattie to read someday. Also, for us while we were waiting to go to China, reading and learning about the process from others made it more real to us and helped keep us focused and excited.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hattie Day!

We will write all the details tomorrow, but for now, we knew you would most love the day in photos! We are loving it here in China and all went well receiving Hattie. It was very busy and loud and all happened quickly. Our only issue is trying to feed her, it is hard with her cleft lip/palate. Our guide was urging us to do as Chinese parents do and mash a banana or apple (yes, mash an apple!!) and feed it to her as well as her bottle and water so she can "make a poo-poo" Our guide told us if she does not make a poo-poo in four days she will take us to get Chinese medicine. She has not cried but instead has been very quiet and still, which is also a common way some kids act during this time. She is VERY curious of Kory and cranes her head to watch his every move, yet she does not really want me to set her down or have Kory hold her. So I hold her and he feeds her, we figured this way she will realize she needs us both! She is a smart and curious girl (not just about Kory) but she watches every thing and seems to be very serious. Her name means "beautiful thinker" according to Mary, our guide.

It is hard to describe, but for so long we have waited to come to China and get our "China baby" now we are really here and we really have her. So amazing. She is asleep on the bed and we will hope for a good night sleep!

Oh, one funny thing, when we were talking with Orphanage director she informed us that " Bo Siqiong has a personality like a boy and is always climbing and getting into things" and both Kory and I looked at each other and said, Oh, NO! We told her we are ready as our favorite three year old has trained us hard in this department! She laughed.

Maybe more details at 2 a.m. if our pattern holds. We are still not sleeping as we should.

Monchurian HotPot Dinner

One more post from Beijing....

What a night! Ekin's friends came to pick us up at our hotel. They called themselves Victor and Luna as they know Americans have a VERY difficult time pronouncing Chinese words/names. They were to be our translators/helpers for the night. We drove quite awhile before getting to an underground parking structure. Ekin's dad came and met us and walked us up to dinner. We were a bit overwhelmed, the smell in the restaurant was new to us, the atmosphere was really different and we were led to a private room where Ekin's mom was waiting. The table had a center area that was filled with boiling broth. The table had loads of little plates of watermelon, nuts, Chinese tea, and such. We were unsure of what to do! Then we were led to the hallway where there was a huge row of sauces that you could mix to come up with what you wanted to dip your meat into- we were so clueless, so Ekin's dad picked a mix for us which I LOVED. It was a peanut type sauce and was delicious. We then went back to our room and sat down. There were a few different servers in our room who would throw various things in the pots of broth. It was incredible and difficult to capture in pictures or even to try and describe. The meat was very thinly sliced lamb and beef that were rolled up and then dropped in the boiling liquids. One side was with Chili's and was quite spicey- the other was more mild.We enjoyed the meat very much. Then they had a paste of some sort in a bag and cut that open and squirted it into the boiling liquid, that was shrimp and there was a special sauce to dip that into. The food just kept on rolling out for two hours. We had fresh hot soy bean milk (was good, gray in color), we had mung bean "noodles, we had tofu, we had dumplings, we had Chinese Yam, different fruits, Chinese Hot tea, Chinese Cool tea-the food kept being added to the boiling flavored broth and then served to us. By the time we were done, the whole table in front of us was FULL of bowls and it was just so surreal. We also had a noodle dancer. A guy who danced with dough and by the time he was done it was a long strip that he then pulled into long thin pieces and threw in the broth. In the midst of dinner, Ekin called from USA to talk to each of us, it was so sweet of him.

It was a wonderful unique experience and we were told, one that is unique to Beijing. We were treated like royalty which really does feel uncomfortable. They said. they "worshipped" us for the kindness we have to take the baby and help her with her health. They expressed gratitude for us having taken care of their son for a year. They had ordered MoonCakes for us and gave us many wonderful thoughtful gifts, like a silk outfit for the baby, squeaky shoes, a dragon puppet, jade necklaces and a pearl necklace. They really just did too much. It was all so very thoughtful and kind. We will always remember our time with them and our only regret is that we don't speak Chinese so we could truly enjoy a conversation with them.

When we said, goodbye, I had to give them hugs, which I know was not a familiar thing for them, but to me a handshake just did not seem enough.

You all should have seen Kory with his Chopsticks, pretty great!

Off to pack for our very early morning and BIG day.

We hope the pictures can help you understand our night out on the town.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hutong Tour

Good Afternoon from China and Our last full day in Beijing.

We had our favorite breakfast this morning at 6 and then met our group at 8:30. We went to the middle of Beijing to have a Hutong Tour. Kory and I loaded up in a Rickshaw for the tour and it was just wonderful. We were taken up and down little roads in an area called Hutong, which are an old fashioned way that the Mongolian people used to live. For some years these areas were knocked down and big buildings put up in place. However, the Chinese Government soon realized the loss of this special way of life and began to preserve some of these areas. Basically, they are narrow roads with small areas of courtyards and areas where people live. These homes have no private bathrooms and can only use public restrooms. My favorite part of the tour, was feeling like we were able to peek at the way some Chinese live. There were dogs out and about and families just sitting peeling beans and chatting. The best part was seeing the babies and small kids in their split pants. So cute! We were invited into a Hutong and it was just beautiful. There were Pomegranate Trees and Chinese Date trees, squash growing way up high, roses and other plants and trees, all nestled in the courtyard of this old building. The man who grew up in this Hutong let us in his sitting room and shared some of his family photos with us. It was truly very special. We learned that Pomegrate trees were favored by the chinese as they have many seeds and they believe the seeds bring favor to have sons.

We left there and went to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. These were very nice to see but it was so hot and very crowded it was a bit difficult to fully enjoy the tour. We walked about 2 1/2 hours in the heat and with little shade and only an occasional breeze. The buildings were beautiful. We will share more pictures later, but for some reason our camera is acting up. So the pictures we have been sharing are from our phones of all things!

I am so glad we read up before traveling, I have managed to avoid the squatty potty's by remembering a tip I read, which was to look in each stall and the last ones very well could be western style toilets. So far this has been true:)

We are going to take a nap and get ready for dinner with Ekin's family tonight. They are picking us up at 6 at our hotel and taking us to a Manchurian Hotpot place for dinner. We need to also prepare for our early departure to Nanning. We need to be in the hotel lobby at 5:30 am and our flight is at 7:20. We should arrive at 10:20 am in Nanning and our guide Mary will be meeting us and getting us settled before we meet Hattie.

We are getting excited about the next and real reason for this journey to China. We prepared the last bits of our paperwork last night in the business area of our hotel. We had to make copies on Chinese Legal paper. We will have now not only receive Hattie but start the real work of our trip as well. we have paperwork and many appointments to do the whole rest of the trip to deal with the business side of our adoption.

Our guide here in Beijing told us she was from Nanning and we should buy Sea Pearls and a Love Ball for Hattie so she has something special from her Province. We were happy to have the inside scoop from a local.

In case we don't get a chance to write again tonight, our next post will be from Nanning and most likely will be of us with Miss Hattie! We know tomorrow may be a very rough day and we are as prepared as we can be. We are ready to parent in a way we don't normally, that is BRIBE. We have lollipops and banana puffs and a huge box of Multi- grain cheerios as well as toys and we are ready to pull it all out to help Hattie cope and adjust. I am most afraid that she will come to us upset as she most likely will be picked up from her foster family by the orphanage director and then in a car for two and a half hours to meet up with white people. All of which are probably new for her, say your prayers!

Hayden and Culley, we are thinking of you often. We think of you, Culley, especially when we see huge platters of watermelon! Also, Culley, you would be all over the babies here, they are just darling. Hayden, there is a little boy here with his parents who is your age. He has taken to showing me the things he has purchased with his spending money here in China. He made a point to watch for us at breakfast today to show us the nesting Panda's he bought that he thinks you would like....What do you think of the pictures? Tomorrow, we will get your little sister! We will show her pictures of you both and then she will be excited about seeing her very own forever brothers.

Time for a nap.

Thanks for all the emails, we just love reading them! Just to help you all understand (we can't figure it out and we are here!!!) We should meet Hattie Monday at 3 a.m. Traverse City time.