Friday, April 11, 2014

Home -

I am so sorry we got home last friday - and a week later this is the first day I can even think lol

We designed and had these shorts made last summer to eventually announce our adoption.  In addition for an older boy joining 6 other kids we thought they were the perfect way to have him join our family.



So we flew from Guangzhou to Beijing to Houston to Colorado Springs.  So in Houston I had the boys change into their purple shirts.


It was amazing to round the corner at the airport and see a sea of purple shirts, barely held back by the "DO NOT CROSS THIS LINE" sign.  So excited to meet their new brother!



Morgan made him a hat



I loved that after the hugs and introducing - they turned around and started showing the numbers on their shirts.  I think this was especially important since Dawson is smaller than Cav who is 5.





It was so fun as we were meeting each other, we heard squeaky shoes.  Heehee our friend came to meet Dawson and brought balloons YEAH!! 







He did great on the flight, Air China was great AND Houston has the best immigration area of all the airports we have flown through!!





Thursday, April 3, 2014

Worn

The song Worn by Tenth Avenue North has played in my head all day.

This non tech savvy mom really should have had a lesson on how to play music on the ipad.  I listen to Christian music almost all day long at home and so this has been the single most thing I have missed besides my family.

Let me say there are parts of China I love, the culture, the history, the elderly and the babies, the parks, will always have my heart but tonight I'm worn.

Tonight as we said goodbye to our friends and my 11 year old decided to lose it - I'm worn

I am tired of carrying my life on my back.
Of walking, or shoving into taxis always on guard.

I am worn from the absolute filth.
I am tired of men spitting,
People throwing trash at their feet,
I am tired of the cigarette smoke,
The smell,
the masses of people
And the traffic that has come within inches of an absentminded 7 year several times.

I am tired of the Haalo lady,
The hey Missy's and even the madam's.

I am tired of the dealing,
For heavens sake give me a fair price
Or let me go next door for a better deal.as business owners, we eat and breath capitalism.
I love deals but even I am worn.

I am tired of living with 2 little boys in a single room,
Of trying to get them to somewhat behave at every meal
Because we are in a restaurants.

I am worn from finding key cards,
Waiting for elevators,
And searching for chilled water bottles.

My heart aches for a boy who thinks I am a bank,
Who wants Disneyland and Has gotten it for the most part these past two weeks.
I am Worn from watching for the little facial changes indicating sadness,
I am worn from an 11 year old who says he is 12 and acts like he is 3

I am worn because I know even with these faults,
We are blessed by him.

I am worn worrying about home,
And missing my kids like crazy.
I am worn knowing that at least one of those kids
will make me pay for my absence with rages and tantrums.

I am worn from months of paperwork,
Of fighting to get to this point.

I once saw a post asking why Christians adopted.
It was a duh moment for me but I never really had the words to articulate the answer.
I know now.
Because the prayers of my village,
And God himself are carrying me home.

Now only an early morning,
Three flights,
Countless hours,
4 checked bags,
3 carry ons,
Countless presents for little ones,
And one family finally together.




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Marriott - china hotel executive suite

After being here 3 times I really think paying extra for the executive suite and thus larger bedroom is worth every penny.  We did stay for free with points and when booking this online I was given the option to upgrade for $50 for the studio or $65 for the 1 bedroom. I did look and the studio and 1 bedroom are basically the same size just with a wall between the bed and the living area instead of just the rotating big screen tv. 


This is where we put the rollaway but last year my oldest slept on the couch. 

Then there is a desk next to the bed and an office area we put our bags etc. I believe it is 400 yuan more for the studio and 500 for the 1 bedroom per night if you wait until check in. This does includes executive lounge privileges and breakfast buffet (not sure you get the buffet with just a points room)

The most important I think is try to get a room on 16,17 or 18rh floor. They are all connected to the lounge by a private stairway instead of the elevators. 

The executive suite is open all the time using your key and always has 7-up, Pepsi or Pepsi max (what china calls their diet Pepsi) look it says no sugar (only took me a week to figure that out lol!  Waters and then juice and coffee which you can make cappuccino and lattes. 


The can feels like it's dirty but after trying them all over I think this can must be made this way (I have tactile issues lol)


The executive lounge also offers breakfast buffet up there. The selection is primarily what is on the 2nd floor buffet but not as many choices of congee or the noodle soup station. For appt days and kids who are overwhelmed the executive lounge is a God send. 




There are atleast 5different sitting areas that we found the adoptive families congregated to atleast one especially in the evenings. The chairs are a little plush for kids but seem resilient and high hairs are available. 


The same amount of food is available from 5:30-7 (I think But maybe it's 7:30) each evening. We have always found enough things people will eat (I am the pickiest of the group) each night we have gone. They always have a chef at the grill and then the metal hot chafing dishes. Plus salad and fruit. 

And now don't think bad of me but it's worth the adult beverages alone. By evening I am done. Especially since the entire wee has looked like this


They have wine, beer, and you can mix your own drinks (if you know how). They have desert until 9 pm. Needless to say our food bill has been minimal. 

Also these are pics of the downstairs breakfast buffet - today we didn't go til 9 so it was way less crowded. 



There are more stations around the corner. I think there is more of each item but not necessarilya significant amount more choices. 


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beijing airport

My favorite are the mJust a few quicky points about Beijing. I worried a tad when I realized I would have to check in myself for our flight to nanning - but no worries. They sent me to the special services desk when I showed them my flight info. 

The helpful lady checked us in, took out bags which were closet to 50 lbs than 44 since it now contained rocks lol. 

We got to our gate plenty early. Again all of their carts are free. Security does require you to take out your cameras AND lenses - we got detained and I was sweating bullets one of our market treasures was illegal lol!

Loved these carts for little ones with plenty of storage for carryon.  



Drinks are cheap at 3.50 or 4 yuan

There is also a KFC in terminal c.

My favorite are the water fountains where you can get hot, warm or cold water and paper cups are provided. 


Lastly, there are tons of places to charge icrap. 


Oh and all announcements are in English also. All this to say that you to can do Beijing without a guide if you have to!

Catching up

Let's pray I can get this post up while the internet and blogger are both playing nice.

We finished up our time in nanning by going to the museum, which included meeting a fabulous women who makes the balls that you find in the region. She uses a stool that is 4 generations old.  She has taught her daughter how to make the balls as well as a few other students.  The balls she makes cost about 1000 rub and take 2-3 days for her to make.  She was beautiful and I was surprised she was 70 years old.



On Friday we flew to Guangzhou - getting in late in the evening. Momma mistake in not getting food at either airport and everything was closed by the time we got to the hotel.  Luckily I had some crackers and snacks and there was fruit in the room.  Dawson did fairly well - although we are in swing the orphanage fidget and the touching of everything in site.  I finally gave him the info card when he refused to keep his seatbelt on and the tray table up.  He likes to test the waters by saying no to me, but I give him the stern look and he is fairly cooperative.  I did tell him by translator if he didn't follow the rules the stewardess would make him get off.  Later I found out he was up periodically in the night playing the ipad or nabi (brahm saw him, I never heard anything even though we were in a small room.  So we learned 2 things - this boy needs his sleep or he is harder to handle, and we made it clear that I am in charge of electronics including the tv (he likes to switch channels constantly which makes everyone crazy.)

We had to take a bus to the the Tarmac and go up stairs that was fun with the crowd. 

Regardless, his reality is heartbreaking.  He came with so much stuff from the orphanage we went to walmart to buy him a,large yellow suitcase that is packed all of his possessions in.  When we got to the airport he almost was in a panic as that yellow suitcase was placed on the conveyor and it suddenly disappeared.  Luckily the guide was still there to explain we would get it once in GZ.  You could see the relief on his face as that bright yellow suitcase rounded the curve on the baggage claim area!

Checking into the china hotel - marriott I did realize that booking my points online and upgrading at that time saved me almost $20 off the upgrade fee over doing it at the front desk.

We also were given a rollaway bed, although truthfully they are both small enough to sleep on the coaches (brahm has claimed the settee for himself - the little dork!)


Like the weight and measurement with his shoes in!



Our first day here we went to the medical appointment.  We saw lots of other families and met some new ones - including a family with a little girl the same age as Tao - and has dwarfism!!

Dawson did awesome including his math problem lol. Then it was to trustmart for some supplies and shamanism island for laundry and a little shopping!




Today - Sunday we went to the church on shamanism island, and picked up the laundry.  It is raining but really it's a bit of a treat because it's a nice warm rain.  Many of the shops on shamain island are closed, and the people are not interested in making a ton of deals - which really I just don't understand the mentality.  It's almost April and already hot-  how many other people will be over to buy winter jackets in the next 6 mos.?!?  Ultimately we got pretty good deals on North Face knock off jackets for all of our littles.

We spent the past 2 days with our friend Claire who we met last year getting Tao.  She adopts children with albinism like I adopt kids with dwarfism lol. The boys are all close in age and get along great (for the most part).  Of course they Re 4 boys so they are loud but fairly well behaved for the circumstances!

This afternoon we are watching tv in the room as it is a torrential rain pour lol.  As I type brahm and Dawson are wrestling so I think it's time to find a new activity.

Liuzhou orphanage visit

I apologize - I am having a terrible time blogging using both the app and direct internet.

Our orphanage visit was not prescheduled like previous adoptions, and I about fell over when we were told it would be 1500 yuan to go.  I knew we had already paid for our driver for the day and put up a mild stink.  Lo and behold it was much cheaper and faster to take the bullet train.  Perfect.  They neglected to tell me we wouldn't be able to see the orphanage because it wasn't an official visit.  However after finding out the story of Dawson's best friend I knew we had to go.



And I have everyone beat lol - watching Frozen on the ipad - going through china at 200km/h while a very pale child belts out let it go lol in English!


This is what it looks like directly across from the orphanage!


Liuzhou is beautiful. It features the "cast" type mountains of Guilin without the water.  The orphanage staff met us at the train station and picked us up.  We were ushered into the front room, offered pears (I am allergic to apples and kept worrying I would get sick lol).  Everyone came in to see Dawson and meet our family.  He was the rock star of the orphanage they said.  He apparently went home with the director some evenings which explains a lot.



Then we went out front for pics, while the driver went off to the school to get Afu (Dawson's best friend).  Apparently he had an American family who wanted to pursue him ( I have no idea if that means they came to china or he was somewhere in the paperwork portion).  He was to scared and refused to be adopted.  Seeing his personality I can see that but it was almost like a stab in the heart when I found out he was 14.  I am thankful he is still living at the orphanage and being allowed to go to school.

Orphanage director and Brahm has Dawson's present for adult

These guys broke my heart. They obviously don't go to school and just want some love. They are covered in orphanage behavior scratches and picking. The little boy with DS broke my heart. 

I guess there ar 200 kids at the orphanage.  The older and apparently smarter ones go to school in town, which they take a bus to (or the driver takes them.)

When Dawson had to run in and go to the bathroom, I put my phone in Brahms pocket and he took a few pics for me.  That was the closest we got.  I'll post copies of the pics the staff gave us, but as far as a tour, we were told it wasn't an official visit and we normally wouldn't be allowed past the gates (fantastic!)






We were sadly ushered out before the other kids got home from school for lunch from 12-2 so we didn't disturb their nap.

So basically a strike out - except the teachers and really most of the staff seemed like the genuinely loved our son, and he was excited to see them too.

We went to the city center and Dawson had his first mcdonalds (basically because Brahm was dieing)



The area was stunning, as was the river walk 



We got back to nanning right at rush hour. I think we were all done but especially Dawson. 


He started crying in the car for afu - then started looking pale and sure enough barfed. I think it was a culmination of the heat, people and days events. I frankly was glad to see him cry as he has not grieved at all (and because typing is slow I will tell you he woke up happy this morning)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our son

Let me just say that having an 11 year allowed to make such a life changing decision as being adopted is not for the faint of heart. We were at the notary, answered all of the questions and then were informed she needed to talk to Dawson privately. We went across the hall and Baum looks at me with pure white face and tears in his eyes - "do you think he is going to say yes mom?" Oh my heart. I about wanted to cry then too. 

The. On to civil affairs. We were there for hours but his teacher was there also - she remembered when he arrived. We found out he didn't cry when he was found. He wasn't walking. He didn't want to walk and would cry every time they tried to get him to walk. She said he didn't walk until he was 3 or 4. Three is about the delayed timeline for dwarfs. All clues towqrds trying to figure out his age. We found out a ton of other information  all which was very nice to have. 


He made his red handprint and signed the papers!!


They had an official ceremony and then pics after. The lady on the far right is his teacher and next to her is the civil affairs lady. Both extremely nice

Then we walked 3-4 blocks after getting back to the hotel - to a huge and very ritzy mall (the one next to the marriott nanning is closed for refurbishing)


We sat down at Pizza Hut and Dawson ordered spagetti. Let's just say he will need to be enrolled in mommy boot camp for manners lol. Even Brahm states at him with huge eyes!

There was a nice skating rink in the mall and Dawson was fascinated!


Not sure if you can see but they are using a hose and snow shovels to clean the ice!


We found this amazing grocery store  called Ole. Think an overpriced wild oats. A lb of cherries was 662 yuan!!  Still they had everything we do in the US!