Sunday, April 22, 2012

Delayed Egg Hunt

Yesterday, we joined my brother- and sister-in-law at my in-laws for lunch and a delayed egg hunt.  My brother-in-law hid the eggs for both generations of kids, littles in the front yard and bigs in the back yard.  He even tried incorporated Passover by hiding a special egg with money in it...almost the afikomen tradition.  It was so nice that he tried to incorporate both holidays.

Before the big hunt...I think the sun was in her eyes.

Kaleb finding his one of many eggs...He helped Hannah and Zach find theirs too.

The kids before the hunt....Chloe and Kaleb went first.

Chloe loved hunting with her Uncle John.

Showing off the goods after the fun

Hanging with their Aunt Amy on the couch
We all had a great time.  We were only missing cousins Jaden, Kanen, and Scott; we hope Jaden feels better soon!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The First Week...

I know I won't probably be an every day blogger like I was when we were in China, but my goal is to at least post an update once a week.

Chloe continues to adjust more and more each day.  Our sleep-time battles have become "small arguments" and last night she slept in her room the entire night.  (However, I almost tripped over her brother Kaleb who was sleeping on my floor by 2:00 a.m.)  She and Kaleb are definitely bonding more.  I have some mommy tug-a-war moments, but I do not hear Kaleb ask "When is Chloe going home?" anymore.

Sibling love
She also wants to do everything her big brother and sister does.

I took her to the doctor on Wednesday, but I left all of her records at home, so we had to re-schedule for Monday.  On Thursday, we had a dentist appointment, but the dentist took one look in Chloe's mouth and referred us to a pediadontist.  Just looking her mouth, he said she had at least 7 or 8 cavities.  One of her molars has deteriorated to just the root and she may need a crown on another.  He suggested, and my cousin who is a pediadontist in FL confirmed, that it would be best to put her completely under to do the process.  Then, they could get everything done in one shot.  He could also take x-rays while she is under and repair anything else then.  The other choice would be multiple dental visits where she would be put in to the "twilight" sleep to get it done; however, by putting her under, she would not remember the process nor have (hopefully) negative associations with the dental office since it would be done in the hospital.  I think that's the route we're going to do.  Now, we're just waiting for insurance approval and, of course, the okay from both her pediatrician and her cardiologist (whom we'll be referred to on Mon.).  On the positive side, she'll have it done before her permanent teeth come in, so the decay issue will be limited to only baby teeth.

We hope that her doctor appointment will go well on Monday.  She's still very thin, but she is soooo much more healthy than when we first got her.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Coming Home...

As I posted earlier, Hong Kong appeared to be a beautiful city.

We had to go through customs and immigration to enter Hong Kong.
On our way to the hotel
Our view from the hotel - there was water on the other side.  The airport was 5 minutes away.
Although we would have loved to spend more time there, we were so happy to board the flight home.  (Our friend, Karen, and her kids had to spend an extra night because her flight was cancelled.  However, they did not seem too upset; they went to Disney because of the delay.)  At the airport, we me up with four other adoptive families that were on our flight.  One of them adopted a little girl from Chloe's orphanage.  They went to school together.

They went through stages of showing love for each other through  sharing, hugs, and kisses.

But mainly they acted catty to each other as you can kind of see through this picture.  Although we couldn't understand what was being said, it almost appeared that they were in competition, saying, "I have this drink" or "This is my back pack."  They sat in front of us on the plane and there were a couple of times we had to tell them to keep it down...Interesting....

The flight was 14 hours to Detroit.  Chloe maybe slept 4 hours and I slept maybe 3.  Despite the LONG time in the air, she was a very good girl.  She watched a few movies (She did not listen because she refused to wear her head phones.) and we walked the aisles a bunch of times.

When we arrived in Detroit, Chloe was wide awake and in a great mood.  We ate dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant and boarded the plane after a 5 hour layover.  (We tried to get on an earlier flight, but all was sold out.)

When we arrived in Atlanta, John, Amy, Hannah and Zach were there to greet us.

Hannah made a great sign. 
Chloe stuck to her big sis like glue. 
She was so happy to meet both her and Zach.
At home, we met my mother-in-law and father-in-law.  They had been taking care of the kids for us and were watching Kaleb.  All was fine until John and Amy began to leave.  I think it all was just overwhelming for Chloe, and she started crying.  She cried and kept repeating a phrase for over an hour.  I'm sure she was saying, "I want to go home," but I couldn't understand her.  I just can't imagine what this is like for her --- new people, new house, new language, etc.  I gave her a bath and put her to bed in my room with Kaleb.  She slept until about 2:30 and started crying again, so I put her in bed with Tim and me.  She then slept on and off until around 7:00.

Today was a much better day for Chloe.  We stayed home as I feel that it is better to keep her world small.  She played with her brothers and sister nicely today and took a good nap.

We hope each day gets easier and easier for her and that she continues to adjust well to our family.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

One Night in Hong Kong

Today was a pack and wait day.  It was raining in Guangzhou, so our entertainment consisted of an inside dance party and Chinese soap operas.  (Chloe loves them.)  There was a lull in the rain around lunch time, so we headed for a quick trip to McDonalds.

Chloe's visa was ready for pick up at 4:15 and we piled in the van around 4:30 for Hong Kong.  We were kind of surprised that Karen and her crew had a separate vehicle than we did.  However, Chloe did well on the ride.  She slept, ate a little, played a little, and only needed one bathroom break.  

We arrived at the Marriott in Hong Kong around 7:30.  Even though it was dark when we arrived, I can tell that it's a beautiful country.  (We had to go through a border check and customs before entering.)  I'll post pics when we get home.  I can't seem to find my camera tonight....It's hard to believe that the next time I write, we'll be back in Georgia.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shamian Island

Shamian Island used to be the place that adoptive families stayed in Guangzhou.  Although some hotels still remain, since the White Swan, the main hotel, is closed for renovations (We couldn't even get into the lobby to look.), families now just visit.  It was just a 10 - 15 minute taxi ride from our hotel.

The entrance to the famous White Swan hotel
The island itself is beautiful.  Built with both French and English influences, it includes cobble stone streets, open park areas in between century old buildings, beautiful bronze statues, and courtyards.  It reminds me of New Orleans, Coral Gables or even a little like St. Augustine.

Some of the old buildings held government offices and some held shops.
A view down a walking path between buildings
A gazebo in Queens Park
The park housed trees that held the striking, red blossoms we found at the Buddhist temple.
Apartments were also present.  I wonder how much people pay to live in them.
We even saw a bride and groom and models posing for professional photographers.  Because of its beauty, it must be a popular place to have pictures made.

When we first arrived, we walked around and checked out some of the shops.  Shop workers and owners came up to you and tried to entice you to enter their stores.  I wonder how the closing of the famous hotel has influenced their business.

This was a shirt hanging outside one of the shops, too funny!
We then walked to Queens Park where many people were enjoying the holiday.  (It's still the Tomb Sweeping holiday.)  They were playing hacky-sack and soccer and were dancing.

Chloe wanted to dance when she saw the others dancing, so this gentleman taught her some moves and encouraged her to dance with her Baba.

We walked along the river's edge in the park and enjoyed the view.

Then, we let the kids play on the playground.

We topped off our trip with lunch at Lucy's, a famous restaurant on the island that serves Western food.  Chloe ate fries, a little of Tim's burger and my sandwich, a little fried rice with beef, a spring roll or two, and some of Zoey's noodles.  Of course, by the time we got back to the hotel, she was ready for a banana and milk snack.

Tomorrow will be a packing day.  We leave for Hong Kong around 4:30.  While w have enjoyed, we are more than ready to be home.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Consulate Appointment Day

This morning we woke up early to meet two other families at 7:50 in the lobby to go to our Consulate appointment.  This appointment is the final step in obtaining Chloe's visa.  Since it was one of the tomb sweeping holiday days, traffic was light, so we arrived extra early.  People were lined up outside to go in.

The queue included other adoption families and a school group traveling to America.
When we entered the Consulate building, we waited in the lobby for the Consulate to open.  (It's located on the fifth floor.)  We snuck in some picture taking since electronics are really not allowed in the building.  Jason, our guide, warned us that we might get yelled at, but we did not.

Jenna, Zoey, and Karen in front of the US Consulate sign

Juliet, Maggie, Amy, and John traveled with us too.

We finished our picture taking without being told to put our cameras up....sneaky!
After going through security on the fifth floor where they compensated any electronics, we were ushered into a room with other adoption families.  All of the parents were asked to stand up, raise their right hands, and swear that the paperwork we were about to present was a truthful representation of the facts.  The Consulate representative said all immigrants coming to America were required to say the oath.  (We were saying it on behalf of our children.)  Then, each family was called on individually to present prepared paperwork to the clerk at the window.  The entire process took about 45 minutes, but we were comfortable because there was air conditioning on the fifth floor (the only place in the building) and a play area for the kids.

When we returned, it was picture time for all the families.  We met in the lobby of the hotel and recreated the famous White Swan couch scene.  The White Swan is the hotel that most adoptive families used to stay and has a red couch where pictures of newly adopted children would be taken.  However, the hotel is now closed for renovations.

The girls fooling around before the formal pictures were made
Chloe and Juliet
The happy family - I seriously need to have my dress altered.
Our entire adoption group
All of the adopted children from our group - They stayed still for maybe 5 seconds before they started moving everywhere.
The China Hotel has a lovely outdoor heated pool, and we checked it out this afternoon.  Chloe was very brave and loved being dunked...up to her the water.  Her Baba took her out to the middle of the pool once, but she was scared.  Regardless, by the end of our pool time, she was floating on her back...a true water rat in the making.

She LOVED the water.
Tonight we had a delicious dinner at the hotel.  Their buffet included all types of food, both Asian and Western.  Chloe particularly enjoyed dessert.  She loved her ice cream and chocolate covered strawberries.  Other than Kaleb, she is the only kid I know who gets the wait staff to serve her at a buffet.

Below are things I've noticed about Chloe's growing personality.

  1. She is definitely an extrovert.  I'm not sure where the shyness that was listed on her report went.
  2. She talks incessantly, from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to sleep.  The only exception is when she has food in her mouth.
  3. She still eats A LOT, but she now can wait to have food if I tell her that we'll eat soon.
  4. She understands much of what we say to her already.  However, some times she chooses to listen to it and some times she doesn't. :)
  5. She loves being around other children, especially girls who are a little older than she is.  I think she will LOVE having a big sister.
  6. She has a great sense of humor and loves to joke and play games with her Baba...when she's not being mean to him.
  7. She is feeling more and more comfortable with us every day.  She feels secure enough to leave our side and play with other children in our group.
  8. She is a lot of fun and has a great belly laugh.
Tomorrow is an off day since the US Consulate is closed for the tomb sweeping holiday.  Tomorrow morning, we're going with Karen and her crew to Shamian Island.  It's supposed to be beautiful there.  One family told us that it reminded them of walking through the streets of New Orleans.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Getting Buddha with It

This morning was our TB check, so we piled into the van with the rest of the families that adopted children over two and went to the medical center.  The exam literally took approximately 5 seconds per child.  All the nurse did was check each child's arm and say okay.  Thankfully, all the children passed with flying colors.  We were in and out quickly since they opened especially just to do the TB test results since it's one of the tomb sweeping holiday days.

Chloe and her friend, Juliet, at the medical exam office.
When we returned from the medical center, we decided to take a little walk around the neighborhood of the China Hotel.  We found this beautiful park hiding behind shops across the street.  It housed a large lake with paddle boats and koi fish.

The view from our entrance to the park

Paddle boat went up and down the lake.

Zoey, Jenna, Juliet and Chloe:  Chloe made Juliet her big sister for the day since her real big sister is at home.  Get ready, Hannah!

An older gentleman with his grandson give the girls crackers to feed to the fish.
 In the afternoon, we took a tour with the rest of the group to a Buddhist temple.  It was really interesting. There were various Buddha figures in temple structures and a group of people chanting and worshiping in a room.  Buddhism is the largest religion in China, followed by Taoism and Christianity.

The only female Buddha, she is supposed to help with fertility, growth, etc.

A large tower in the center of the complex

The trees were over 100 years old.

People were chanting in their worship ceremony, kind of like reciting prayers and hymns.

Much, much incense was burned.  Check out the smoke around the incense station.

Beautiful red flowers grew and fell from the trees inside the complex.  Maggie, our guide, gave one to Chloe.
We then visited a museum of art.  It held everything from ancient furniture to ivory and bone sculptures to beautiful embroidered artwork on silk.

The front of the art museum

These were two mannequins in the old furniture section; they reminded me of scary wax figures.

The museum had beautiful courtyards to sit in.

This woman was more interested in taking our picture than looking at art.
Chloe was more interested in pushing the stroller around and being pushed in the stroller by Juliet than learning about Buddhism or art.  However, she was definitely interested in the pizza party we had at the playground of our hotel afterward.

Pizza - so yummy after a long day....
Tomorrow is our consulate appointment, our last official duty before getting Chloe's visa.  U.S.A., we're coming soon!

One more thing...between today and yesterday, I had two Chinese people tell me that although Chloe was quite beautiful, she was also naughty.  It made me chuckle....Of course, we already knew that.