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!

We have him

He was there when we arrived early. They didn't want us to see him which was awkward but he was happy to see us. Recognized us from pics. I am praying this is a good sign that he wants to join our family. 

He and Brahm are 2 peas in a pod. Brahm is so excited I am sure he is annoying the crap out of Dawson. He repeats a ton and knows a few English words. So far he is easily redirected and sensitive to voice tone

They had fun playing ipad and are now watching pleasant goat. It really is different getting an older child. 

His future sized shoes are gone and he chose the kerns we brought over the crocs

Brahm stands taller but Dawson sits taller and probably was triple what Brahm does!

Oh and the van cracked me up. 

It was like the consummate swag wagon. Between that and the disco music in the elevators I feel like I have transported back in time!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Waiting, waiting, waiting - catching up

Let me just say I like Sunday gotcha days Bette and then morning ones, because frankly 3 pm gotcha sucks.

As I unpacked my bags last night (we had our beijing clothes in our carry on bags).  I found a little white bag I didn't recognize.  As I opened it up I couldn't believe my eyes.

My 12 year old was our largest obstacle in our adopting Dawson. Although we don't allow our children to make these types of decisions we wanted to be sensitive to her feelings.  However, when we realized she was against our adopting for selfish reasons then we had some lessons in store for her.

Fast forward to February and she showed us a fundraising sheet for their art program.  I could tell by her impish smile that something was up.  When I looked at the sheet, I got tears in my eyes.  She had drawn this amazing picture.  I thought it would be perfect for getting Dawson - however, orders weren't even due until mid march.  I did email the art teacher asking if we could pay for it to be rushed, the size etc but never heard anything back.

The white package was not only snuck into my bag by my daughter, but paid for with her allowance.  Our difficult kiddo had come full circle.  It could not have been a more amazing present.


Our flight to nanning became disastrous as we started to descend. Brahm has been getting sicker and sicker.  It culminated with terrible ear pain upon descending.  I was proud of him for not screaming his head off, but his giant tears broke my heart.  We tried everything, yawning, gulping water, massage, pulling on his ears, holding his breath and blowing - but still terrible pain.

He looked terrible, had a fever and was becoming lethargic (not alarmingly so).  I couldn't find any my go to alka seltzer cold tablets, and no matter how hard I tried we couldn't get brahm to swallow a pill (he is a medicine pita - makes me crazy). So I gave him some Benadryl and checked him all night .  I knew we were just a block from Walmart but chose to wait until this morning to see if they had anything for him.

He was a little better this morning - praise God. Still, I almost started singing alleluia when the first little store upon descending the escalator into Walmart was a pharmacy.  I pointed at his ears, and made coughing noise.  They handed my on box I couldn't decipher at all.  Then I pointed to his ears again and I almost cried when I looked at the box and realized it was pediatric Zithromax!

They even had enough of a dosage chart, and checking the internet we figured out what to do..  It's granules so we finally realized we needed to mix them with a drink.  Praying this will clear up his croupier sounding cough, and ear issues.


Besides worrying about brahm all night, I was up every about hour worrying about poor Dawson.  Was he nervous, scared, excited. Praying constantly for his heart.  I am not sure I could do this at his age.

As for my, I a, so glad I know what to wear - Morgan sure made that easy for me - because I have changed my hair about 12 times today.  This way I look to old, or to young.  Don't want my hair in the way when I meet him.

It's stupid stuff, because truly I so worried about how this is going to go.  When I was a nurse my friend took all the older kids and I took all the babies.  How did I get here adopting an 11 year old.  Will he hate me?  Will this be a huge disaster.  I do find that because this is so not where I thought I would be right now that I so know its God.

When I awoke at 2:30 and waited for the melatonin to kick in, I read one of my Beth Moore freebies from iBooks.  Believing god.  It truly could not have been a better item to read the night before meeting our 3rd oldest son.

Having gone through the good, bad and truly ugly, I am praying desperately that this is a good adoption.  That Dawson comes completely into our family.  I am also completely aware that this could be as bad as cav's adoption or even worse.  Regardless, we know God is with us.  He has had his hand in this adoption since the beginning.  He has a plan for our boy.

I found a necklace for Dawson that explains it all "plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jer 29:11. Ultimately that is why we are here.

Mutainyu Great Wall and panjiayuan antique market

The marriott concierge hired out one of their drivers to take us to mutainyu portion of the Great Wall plus a stop at the Olympic stop and then drop off at the antique market. They charged us 850 yuan which I didn't think was to bad. Was I surprised when they pulled up in one of the hotel 'limosaines' a black sedan but it had nice leather seats and wait for it . . . Seatbelts!!  Mutainyu is a little further out but also less crowded. It takes about 2 hours to get there but I loved driving through the countryside and little villages.

Walking up to the Great Wall portion you pass a ton of vendors who I usually offer 1/4 -1/3 what they ask and just walk away. We paid 180 yuan to ride the chairlift up and the sled ride down. Very memorable!  Brahm was free ( he is the size of a 5 year old and they think he is 3 for some reason. 

Be warned the lift operators are a bit um forceful helping you!

Once at the top we walked the wall - ALOT. We turned right and it was incredibly steep with ups and downs. I think turning left it was much more flat. 

I was about done - Brahm did great but I realized how unfit I still am!  Some of the steps are as high as my knee!

Then came the FUN!  The sled ride. We love speed - you have control of how fast or slow you want to go on the ride!  

Brahm rode on my lap!  

Panjiayuan antique market is like a flea market within a walled city block. They are open until 6 pm on Saturday at least. All the vendors were lined up with little towels on the ground and their wears. A lot of the people looked like they had dug some of their stuff out if the ground. Some stuff was cleaned and others came with the dirt. I was in LOVE. There is everything from broken pottery to metal pieces to fossils. 

I really wish I had prepared and read up on the market before going as well as being more educated about Chinese antiques. So I spent what I could afford to lose and what I loved and would want to give our kids one day. My favorite and what I had wish I had bought more of were the baby shoes which obviously were used for bound feet. Like I said I have no idea if they are real but I recognized the embroidery from tao's province and so they were good enough. Most of the things I loved were 10's if thousands of dollars. One was a bell collection I had seen at a museum in shandong. 

We took the subway home which was a little more difficult than I remembered but luckily we had some English speaking angels who helped us get back to our hotel. But for 2 yuan it was worth a little struggle. 

I did want to mention just outside the panjiayuan station there are a ton of vendors. Definately cheaper than inside the gates but also way more aggressive. I bought this gorgeous piece for 300 yuan. Then she hurried and grabbed my money in a panic. I realized her friends were coming and had cheaper.  They surrounded us and wouldn't take no for an answer. Wanting to sell theirs for as little as 100 yuan.  I finally grabbed Brahms hand yelled boo- ya and marched down the street. In retrospect my piece was nicer and she must have needed a blessing as when I got home I found and extra 100 yuan!  Love when that happens

As a side note what's the deal with the walnut looking shells and wood beads they use like rosaries?  

All in all if you are like us and like unique then this is a must see experience - but educate yourself ahead of time!