Monday, November 30, 2009

We found a play room, by Stefan

After getting lost in Guangzhou trying to find McDonald's, we finally made it back to Lucy's Restaurant (we've been here 3 days and have eaten there 3 times and Subway twice). At Lucy's, you can get some resembling an American style meal with a drink for about $7-8 per person.

Earlier in the day, Jordan and I were looking for a courtyard that is accessible from the third floor and found that there was a "Play Palace" on that floor too. Although far from a palace, it was right up Taylor's alley. She enjoyed rocking on her horse and sliding on the slide. Joy really thinks she'll like Hershey Park!

Regarding the adoption progress today, we went back to the health clinic to have them see if she responded to the TB test (scratch from Saturday). She had a reaction which required a $30 chest X-ray. Thankfully, the results were negative. It is not uncommon to have a reaction, but it is stressful until you know that the chest X-ray is clear.

If you've been following our blog, we'd really enjoy hearing from you. Please send us an email, because Saturday is a long way off and we'd really enjoy answering questions or just hear about what you've been doing lately.

Tuesday is a free day for us. I think we're doing some photos and then some further exploration of Guangzhou.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today's Word of the Day is "More", by Stefan

Everyone who has a child has these flashes of greatness that convince you that your child is brilliant.  Well, brilliant may be a bit over the top, but we are pleased that Taylor is catching on very quickly to a number of things.  She verbally calls Jordan "gege" (gu gu), meaning big brother, she calls Stefan "baba", for Daddy, and Joy "mama".  She also loves her Grandma Judy very much and often lays on the ground in preparation for the game that Grandma plays where Grandma gets her and tickles her after a she is out of the room for a while.
We've been working on sign language for simple communications like "more", "all done" and "thank you".  Last night, Taylor was having her sippy cup of formula before bed and she was at the stage of playing more than drinking.  So, Stefan took to the cup away from her and placed it on the night stand.  The game of cherades began of "more" or "all done".  Coincidentally, when I took the cup away (or anything else for that matter), she gives the 'cutest' little pouty lip, where her bottom lip sticks out.  After about 5 minutes of miscommunication and some frustration from Taylor, she verbally said a close version of the word "more" and then did the sign for "more".  It was very exciting and we celebrated together.
Joy also working with Taylor to brush her teeth.  It is a slow process, but all things that matter really will take time.  See the picture of the teeth brushing lesson.
Our last day in Nanjing, I caught Taylor with the biggest smile ever during breakfast.  It just makes me smile every time I see it.
Also included are pictures from our day that Joy discussed in an earlier post.

Saturday, November 28 by Joy

     Well we finally made it to our last stop on our trip.  We had a wild trip from Nanjing to Guangzhou (pronounced gwawng zso(long o sound).  Our guide in Nanjing thought that our plane would be delayed because of fog, but we decided to just go wait at the airport.  We go there a little later than we originally planned and found out that it wasn't delayed.  We ended up sprinting for a long time through the airport to get to our gate.  I thought that I was going to pass out because half the time I was carrying Taylor (who is 24 pounds).  We got to the gate and they were loading people onto a bus to take them to the airplane.  We ended up having to take a second bus after the first filled up.  As we were waiting, we realized that nobody's seats were together.  Taylor and Jordan were all by themselves.  We told the flight attendants about it as soon as we boarded and they asked people to switch seats so that Taylor and I sat next to each other and my mom was in the middle seat across the aisle from us.  Stefan and Jordan were in the back of the plane about 8 rows behind us.  We ended up having to sit in the airplane for two hours because air traffic control was trying to sort out the mess from all the previous flights being delayed because of fog.  Taylor would have been fine if we would have taken off on time, but she got really antsy about 1 hour into our actual flight (3 hours of being on the plane).  We had two crying episodes which had to be solved with lollipops.  We are finding that to be a good distraction (bribe) when we know unpleasant things are happening to her.  When we finally landed, two of our bags and D. and C.'s two bags were not there.  Our guide was waiting behind the glass partition and Stefan and D. were able to communicate to her through a crack.  She was able to find out that our bags were sent on another flight so we had to drive to another terminal to pick them up.  We were very thankful to finally get to our hotel at around 9:00.  We hadn't eaten lunch or dinner because of the plane fiasco (we did have a snack on the plane-cherry tomatoes, chocolate cake muffin, sweet roll, and peanuts-and Taylor ate all of her snacks that I packed)  thankfully I had some granola bars and peanut M &M's in my backpack.  We ended up at Lucy's (semi-American food) for a late night dinner.  The food was pretty good.  We will probably go back several times.
     We love Guangzhou. It is on a small island called Shaiman Island.  Our hotel is wonderful.  We chose to stay at the Victory Hotel even though the White Swan is the traditional adoption hotel.  There are many families here that are adopting.  We get to see them at breakfast.  We are getting a suite and another room for not much more money than a small room at the White Swan.  Our room is a Japanese style room so the bed is up a step and the mattress is on the floor.  I almost broke a leg last night when Taylor woke up crying and I forgot that I had to step down.  We love the bed.  It is so soft.  We have had rock hard beds in the last two hotels.  We have a suite so you walk into the room and there is a 1/2 bath on the left and then a sitting room with a couch, chair, coffee table, tv, and a computer desk.  In our bedroom we have a full bath with a walk-in shower and a tub w/a shower.  My mom and Jordan are next door.
     D., C., and E. are staying at the White Swan.  It is a beautiful hotel with a waterfall in the lobby.  We will go there to get photos on the red couch. 
     Today was visa photo day.  Taylor was very mad that the lady took her flower headband out of her hair for the picture.  I am so glad that she lets me put them on her.  After the picture we went for the medical exam.  She had to get a TB test.  She cried for just a little bit because we had given her a lollypop.  We then went to the height, weight, and temperature room.  The next room had a doctor who checked her heart, and then checked her growth on her head.  She gave him her mean look.  She started crying when he made her lay down and took off her pants and diaper to check her hips.  She already hates it when we change her diaper, and she really didn't want that Chinese doctor to do it.  We got her calmed down and then we moved to the ENT room or as Taylor probably thinks of it--the room of torture.  She was fussing and swatting away the doctor's hands as she tried to look in her ears.  Then the doctor needed to look in her mouth and she wanted no part of that.  It took me holding her and pinning her arms down, Stefan holding her head still, and the doctor prying her mouth open.  We have to go back on Monday to have her TB test read.
     We dropped Taylor off at our room with my mom and Jordan (who didn't go to the exam) and then went to the business center at the White Swan to do paperwork with our guide, Helen.  It took a while.  There are so many forms to fill out.  We discovered where a Subway was on our way back so we picked up everyone at the hotel and walked there to get lunch.  We ate in a park in the center of the island.  There were several brides getting pictures taken in the park.  We walked and looked in some shops and ended up in a shop called Jordon's.  We had met him on our way to do the paperwork and in the park when we were eating our lunch.  We told him that we had a son named Jordan and we would be by his shop.  We bought a doll for Taylor and Jordan got a toy which already broke (causing a meltdown due to tiredness).  Jordon made a paper that had Taylor's name on it in English and Chinese.  I kept saying that I really liked him and we found out that he is a brother in JC.  We are going to go back and buy more things in his shop.
     We went out to eat for supper with some new friends that stayed at our hotel in Nanjing.  We were really craving something a little closer to food from home so we went to an Italian restaurant.  Jordan, my mom, Taylor, and I had spaghetti.
Tonight I was looking for the green cup that I make Taylor's formula in.  I said to her, "Do you know where your cup is (after looking all over for it)."  She went over to the coffee table and picked up her other cup and brought it to me.  I really think that she knows what we are saying to her.  She is a very smart cookie.  She is very vocal and makes lots of sounds that resemble chimpanze noises.  We call her our little monkey.  We have had a few two year old tantrums, but overall she is a very good girl.  She loves riding in the stroller and loves her pacifier.  I don't think she had one at the orphanage, but she is attached to it now.
     Tomorrow we are going to go sightseeing and shopping.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We made it to Guangzhou

After a 1.5 hour flight delay, we have arrived in Guangzhou. We had bit of an OJ Simpson moment running to our gate. Our facilitator helped rush us through security. Hopefully our bags made it. Off to get our luggage, grab dinner and go to our hotel. Bye for now.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Goodbye Nanjing

We enjoyed our stay in Nanjing, the city where we met our precious little girl. She was so cute this morning at breakfast and like every two year old is testing boundaries of what is acceptable. For instance, slamming the sippy cup on the table because it makes a loud sound is not a good thing in the restaurant, then a few minutes later trying it again with that sly look of "I know this is wrong and I'm checking to see what you'll do." She is an excellent eater and really enjoys feeding herself using a fork (with assistance to get the food onto the fork). We are ready to come home.

Thanksgiving acrostic by Joy

I am thankful for:

Taylor Grace Liqing Weaver
Her smiles, laughs, and singing when she is happy.
All the people praying for us on our trip
New gege (big brother) Jordan-he has done well although he misses his friends
Kissing Taylor's chubby cheeks.  Today she started puckering for us to kiss her.
Stefan-he has been wonderful!
Grandma Tarbox-I am so glad she is with us to get to know Taylor and help with Jordan.
In the mall across the street they have a really cool light show every night.
Very nice people who speak a little English to help us from time to time.
In our hotel we eat a yummy breakfast every morning.
Nancy, our guide who is very knowledgeable about Nanjing and the adoption process.
God's blessings for our family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, by Stefan

Words can only begin to express how thankful we are at this time of Thanksgiving.  It is Thanksgiving Day morning in China and we are so thankful for all the blessings that we have.  We are so excited that Taylor is a part of our family.

Please see a picture of the pajamas that Taylor was put to bed in last night and a picture of her sleeping.

We have learned that there is a hotel in Nanjing serving an American style Thanksgiving buffet.  We're planning to go.

God Bless you this Thanksgiving!

Bath Time, by Stefan

Taylor hopped in the tub with Jordan and really enjoyed herself. 

Belated Birthday Celebration, by Stefan

Here are the pics from the birthday celebration on Wednesday.

Museum Shots, by Stefan

We went to the Nanjing Museum and tour the city on Wednesday.  Here are some pictures.

Wednesday, November 25 by Joy

Today we went to a museum about Nanjing (the city we are in). There were several rooms including a jade room, a porcelain room, a brocade room, and a pottery room. We bought several cool things in the brocade room.
After the museum we went to a jade factory. They tried to sell us some expensive jade pendants, but we ended up buying the cheaper ones.
We had asked our guide, Nancy, if she knew where we could get a cake to celebrate E. and Taylor's birthdays since we missed them in September. Their birthdays are only 4 days apart although Taylor is a year older. She told us that we would be receiving a cake from the hotel at 5:00. We all gathered in my mom's room and celebrated their birthdays. The cake was topped with peaches, kiwi, and dragonfruit. It was pretty good.
We attempted a bath tonight and it went well. We thought maybe she would cry since she doesn't like to get her diaper changed, but I think that because Jordan was in the tub with her and she had lots of toys to play with she did okay.
We have her Thanksgiving jammies on tonight and she is peacefully sleeping. Stefan will post some pics of our day.

A Cheerful Heart is a Good Medicine, by Stefan

Tuesday morning started early and after we all woke up we ended up in Grandma Judy and Jordan's room.  While Grandma and Joy were taking showers and getting ready, Jordan and I were playing with Taylor.  We had a couple of stackable toys from Burger King and before you know it we were tossing things back and forth on the bed.  One of Taylor's tosses was strong and hard and it flew off the bed.  She let out a big laugh and it was a major break through in making a connection with Taylor.  So although I encouraged her to throw some toys, the main benefit to connect with her in my eyes was more important.

It is amazing how cheerful she is and interested making us laugh or to have us make her laugh.  The walls are falling down and her little personality is starting to shine through.  Taylor is very bright and has a lot going on in that little head.  We are very blessed with the little girl that He selected for our family.

Here are a few pictures from Tuesday morning when we were playing.

Pizza and Swimming, by Stefan

Papa John's is franchised in China.  On Tuesday night, we had a 14 inch pizza (half pepperoni, half cheese) for about $14.50.  It was pretty good, it could've used some more sauce and the cheese was a bit rubbery... but then again it's gotta be pretty bad for me not to like pizza.  For those of you who like Papa John's, yes they had peppers and buttery garlic sauce included.  Check out the pic of the Papa John's box.

Our hotel has a swimming pool.  Tuesday night was the first real opportunity for us to take time to go to the pool.  We went to check it out on Sunday night and in the back of my mind I wondered why there was no one in the pool.  The pool is very nice and very large.  Everyone is required to have a swimming cap to swim in the pool (about $3 to get one).

When we got to the pool, the girl we spoke to told us that the pool was open, but are we sure we want go because the temperature is 18C (Celsius).  I said, we'll go test the water and decide.  I knew that 18C is cold and indeed, when we dipped our toes in the water it was quite cold.  Jordan still wanted to go and I was willing to suffer for a few minutes to help Jordan see that even though the pool may look nice, going into 64F water isn't the greatest.

So we donned the newly purchased swimming caps and went to the pool.  I jumped in first knowing that it would be the only way for me to possibly get in.  Then I helped Jordan to get in.  At that point in time, if Jordan had the ability to walk on water, his flapping and splashing would've definitely accomplished it.  I quickly put him on my shoulders and we took a few laps back and forth then hit the showers to thaw out.  It was a great bonding time with Jordan.  We had a great time even though we were only in the pool for a few minutes and we'll need the swimming caps when we go to Guangzhou.  See the picture of us back in the room with our swimming caps. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday, November 24 by Joy

We have had quite a change in the last 32 hours. When we got to the Civil Affairs office yesterday at around 10:00. Taylor was waiting for us with her nanny. She was walking around and I bent down to talk to her. Her nanny let her know that I was her Mama. She let me pick her up without crying. Our guide had to do some paperwork so we sat on a couch and just held her. We had brought some lollipops so we gave one to her. We also fed her goldfish crackers, teddy grahams, and Cheerios. Her nanny said that she had gotten carsick on the two hour drive there, but I think it was because they had a winter coat, sweater, and pajamas on her and she got overheated. In China they think that young children need to wear tons of clothes to stay warm. The baby car seats are flat because they probably couldn't even bend the babies to stick them in a sitting position in a car seat due to the fact that they look like the Stay Puff marshmallow man. We only had one little time of crying due to the fact that they made us take the lollipop out of her mouth to get a family picture for the paperwork. The four children who were in our meeting room did not really cry at all. I have seen many blogs where all the children were really crying, but I think my mother's prayers were answered. She said that she didn't know if she would be able to handle being in the room with babies that were crying. We gave the orphanage director and the nanny some presents and then they left. Taylor looked for them after they left and tried to walk to the door. She really didn't react today when she saw the orphanage director.
We discovered when we got back to the room that she hates to be undressed or to get her diaper changed. That is the only time she cries and it is more like a whimper. We did notice that pretty much her whole backside is covered with Mongolian spots. This is a birthmark that Asian children get. It looks like she has bruises all over her hands, arms, back, and buttocks. They will probably fade and disappear in a few years.
Taylor is a very laid back child. She likes to play. She laughed for the first time this morning. (Although her dad taught her to throw toys which made her laugh. She now thinks she can throw any toy.) She likes music and tries to sing when she is happy. She eats anything we give her and tries to use a fork and spoon. She is starting to want to snuggle with us. We haven't attempted to give her a bath yet because I don't sense that will go well since she cries with a diaper change. She will look if I call her QingQing (pronounced ChingChing). We are blessed with a wonderful daughter.
Taylor went to sleep at 7:45 last night (Monday). At 4:00am Stefan was awake and it woke me up. Shortly after that Taylor woke up. She didn't seem to want to go back to sleep even in bed with us. We ended up giving her a cup of water and some cereal puffs. She didn't drink her bottle last night so I think she was hungry. I heard my mom and Jordan talking in their room. They had been awake since 4:00 am also (although they went to sleep around 7:00). I went to sleep the latest at 10:00 so I really should be the most tired.
Today we had to go back to the Civil Affairs office to finish our adoption in China's eyes. We had to have a 24 hour guardianship period to make sure that we wanted to adopt her. We had to answer questions that we were asked by the Registrar and the Notary. We had to sign paperwork and then stamp our thumbprint over our signatures. She is now officially our daughter.
After we were finished there, we went to Carrefour. It is kind of like a Walmart. We bought several books for Taylor that have pictures and then Chinese and English words for the objects. We also bought some snack foods. Our most important purchase was an umbrella stroller. We think Taylor is around 24 pounds, but she is very solid. I am not used to carrying that much weight around.
After Taylor took her nap today (no nap yesterday-according to the orphanage schedule she sleeps from 12:00-1:30 every day.) we went over to the mall that is diagonally across the street. It has outdoor sections and indoor sections. It is 10 stories high. Six are above ground and four are below ground. Each level is not that big. There was a cool children's store on the fourth floor that had a baby play area (you had to pay). We ended up getting Papa John's pizza for supper to take back to the room.
We are corrupting our daughter. Yesterday we fed her Burger King chicken tenders and french fries, chocolate, and ice cream. Today it was pizza. She eats anything we feed her except for the chips I tried to give her today. She didn't want anything to do with those.
We just got to hang out in the hallway with two other sweet girls that are being adopted. Taylor was sharing her toys with E. who is D. and C's. child (the family from our agency that we are traveling with).
Tomorrow the plan is to tour the city with our guide, Nancy. I am not sure exactly what we will see.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our new family

Taylor is now a member of our family. See how she's already bonding with gege (big brother) in the family picture at the Center of Civil Affairs. We are absolutely thrilled!

Notarizing the Paperwork

This is the Notary for our adoption documents.

It's Official

This is the registrar sealing our adoption documents.

Good night

Trying out the pajamas from Lenore, we're hoping our little 'monkey' gets a good night sleep. Taylor really enjoys playing independently with toys and does enjoy interacting with us during play. We've been getting some smiles mixed in. She is still getting used to everything new.

Yum Yum, Ice Cream

She got the knack of eating ice cream. It took a while, but by the end she was licking with her tongue.

She Likes to Eat

Taylor eating fried rice for supper. She has a great appetite and eats everything we give her. She tried chicken nuggets and french fries at lunch.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chilling in the Room

Taylor in some comfy clothes

Guess who we have?

Welcome to Nanjing, by Stefan

On Sunday, we packed up and went to the Beijing airport for a 10:30am flight. True to form, our flight was delayed 2 1/2 hours because it was foggy in Nanjing. The flight delay was a mixed blessing because we learned that if our flight would have been on time, both families (ours and the other couple we're traveling with) would have gotten their girls at 2pm local time on Sunday. As much as Joy and I really wanted to see her, we weren't mentally prepared for getting off the plane, getting the hotel, then rushing to get our child (Gotcha Day). Please understand that we're still jet lagged and our bodies are still adjusting to China time.

So after the delay, we took a one hour and forty minute flight to Nanjing, which (according to our new guide, Nancy) only has 7 million people, not 20 million people like Beijing. It is still a bustling city, but we think we'll like it here. On a side note, it is incredible how much construction is currently under way in Beijing and Nanjing. It is not unusual to see multiple skyscrapers under construction in the same vicinity of each other, at the same time. There is also a lot of infrastructure being built including: highways, bridges, high speed rail lines, etc.

Stefan is beginning to think that sleeping is optional when traveling to China. It must be Stefan's turn tonight to be awake in the middle of the night. Once again he is awake at midnight. Fortunately, Joy is sleeping soundly. Jordan and Grandma Judy are now sharing a separate room next door to us. There is a crib in the room, prepared for Taylor to stay with us.

We are less than 12 hours away from seeing Taylor! The excitement is building! It is hard to even put into words the thoughts and feelings associated with this experience so far. But we recognize that it truly is a blessing to have this opportunity and experience and that we have so many reasons to be thankful.

An additional note, we have free internet in Nanjing and will be able to update the pictures much more easily from this location, as time and energy allow.

Please keep praying for us. We have much ahead of us today!

With love,

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009 by Joy

I was able to sleep from 8:30 to 6:00. I really needed it. My back kind of hurts from the rock hard bed. We had breakfast at the hotel again. They had some new food. I ate hash browns, bacon, French toast, dragon fruit, and watermelon. It was yummy.

We went 1½ hours away to Living Hope's Fangshan Training Center. Sixty-eight children live there ranging from 6-17. They just got 12 new children. The children have no parents and their only relatives are either too old or too poor to care for them. They are not able to be adopted because they do have living relatives. The children were preparing for the 1st anniversary of the training center opening so we saw a rehearsal of what they will perform. They were so good and we were very fortunate to come on a Saturday when they were able to share their performance with us. Here is what they did:
Heavenly Road Dance
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (in English and Chinese)
Beijing Opera Dance
Mask Dance
Sun Above the Clouds (song)
Spicy Girl Dance
Door of Blessing

We were able to meet up with a friend who is my mom's friend's daughter. She volunteers at the Training Center. My Mom was excited to see her. She spent the rest of the day with us.

We were able to eat lunch with the children. We got our trays and chopsticks and stood in line with the children to get our food. We had rice, sweet and sour pork, mixed vegetables, and green beans with potatoes. After our meal we took our trays to the trough sink to wash them as the children have to do. We made Jordan do it as well to get the experience.

After that we went to the Great Wall. It was very hard to climb because the steps are very uneven. Some are very short and some were high. On the first very steep hill, there was ice on the steps. It was very hard to not slip on them. I could definitely tell that I was out of shape. As we got to the bottom of the section we were on we saw the place where you can put locks on a chain connected to the wall. We bought a lock, tied on a purple ribbon (for RQ), and locked it on the chain. Instead of making the traditional wish before throwing the key over the side, we said a prayed that we would always love Taylor and she would always love us. Jordan went to throw the key over and instead hit the wall and the key bounced back at his feet. He finally got it over on the second throw.

As we drove to supper we passed the Water Cube and Bird's Nest from the Olympics. It was only supposed to take 1½ hours, but traffic was so bad that it took over 2 hours to get to the restaurant. Jordan fell asleep so Stefan had to carry him in. He slept on the floor on our coats until the food came. We had a Peking Duck dinner. I was not impressed. It was very fatty tasting. We had several other dishes, but I only really liked the fried rice.

We are off to the airport tomorrow to fly to Nanjing which is the capital of Taylor's province. There is a possibility that we will get her tomorrow, but we will definitely have her by Monday afternoon.

Friday, November 20 by Joy

Friday, November 20 by Joy
I started the day by waking up at 3:00 in the morning. I tried to go back to sleep, but the next time I woke up it was 4:00. My mom also woke up around that time so we whispered in the couch area. Stefan got up around 5:00 and Jordan slept until 7:00.

We ate breakfast at the hotel buffet. It had an odd combination of food. Most of it was not what I would consider breakfast food. Jordan ate mostly bacon and watermelon.

We met our guide Lisa in the lobby at 9:00. Then we drove to Tian'anmen Square. Traffic is crazy. We had a lot of close calls. Gung (rhymes with sung) was a good driver. Cars just go into whatever lane they feel like without using turn signals. Bicycles weave in and out. Pedestrians take their lives into their hands when crossing the street.

It was clear, but very cold and windy in Tian'anmen Square. There were 56 big red pillars that represented the nationalities that make up China. We then went across the street to the Forbidden City. The emperors lived there long ago. It was built from 1407 to 1420. The place is huge. You go through many gates into many courtyards before you get to the actual palace. There are 9,999 rooms because they thought that heaven had 10,000 rooms. In the back we saw a neat garden. As we came out of the other side we crossed a very wide moat.

After the Forbidden City we went to eat lunch. It was very yummy. We had Kung Pow Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Garlic Broccoli, some kind of beef, soup, rice, and fried/steamed bread.

We then went to the Temple of Heaven. The emperor would offer sacrifice 2 times a year to have a good harvest. Currently, the older people go and hang out in the outside hallway, a place they like to gather. They play cards, do Karaoke, and play hacky sack.

We were very tired at this point, but we headed to the Pearl Market. It has many floors full of stalls (think flea market). At this market, you are expected to bargain for a better price. All the vendors swoop on you to buy from them. It is very overwhelming especially if you are exhausted. We bought some pearls from a vendor that Lisa, our guide, says gives the best price. Stefan enjoyed bargaining for a good price, but after a few purchases, even that became laborious. We went to some other sections and bought a dragon kite (for Jordan), a panda ornament and a framed portrait of the Great Wall made from various items, mainly feathers.

We then went next door to Toy City in search of a ball that splats when you throw it to the ground and then goes back to its shape. We found one for about 75 cents. We had to go back to the Pearl Market to pick up the jewelry that we bought then we decided to go to a different floor where they were selling purses and shoes. It was horrible. They wouldn't let you pass and they kept pushing shoes into Jordan's hands. He got very tired of the girls touching his hair. My mom ended up buying a purse for $15 after trying to walk away when she was told a higher price. I did not like the experience of the Pearl Market.

After shopping at the Pearl Market, we went to the acrobat show. D. was not feeling well so a lady from our agency took her back to the hotel. The show started at 5:15 and lasted about 1 hour. It was an awesome show and we had seats in the third row (VIP). C. and I fell asleep at the end. My lack of sleep the precious 2 days had caught up with me.

We went to supper and had a corn dish, rice, pork in tofu wrappers, green beans, chicken wings, and rice. Jordan started falling asleep at the table at the end of the meal. He did fall asleep in the van on the way to the hotel.

As soon as we got back, I got ready for bed. I laid down and immediately fell asleep. It was an exhausting day.

Weaver's at the Great Wall

Climbing one of the seven wonders of the world isn't for the faint of heart (or slightly out of shape). It was definitely worth the climb. Stefan carried Jordan on his shoulders the whole way down the wall. Next time, Joy preference will be to go to the portion of the Great Wall where you can ride a cable car up and slide all the way down. SW

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday: Quick Update by Stefan

We had a great day sightseeing, shopping and eating on Friday in Beijing. It was a long day after the jet lag from the trip over. We all went to bed before 8:30pm local time, unfortunately, I woke up at midnight, wide awake. I'm hoping to fall asleep soon (it is now 2:30am local time). More sightseeing on Saturday. Overall, we are doing well. We're only a few days away from seeing Taylor!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Forbidden City

As you can see, we're at the Forbidden City at Tian' anmen Square. It is chilly and windy, but we are having a great time. SW

Wednesday, November 18th (According to Joy)

We left for the airport at 7:40am. We met up with C+D at the check-in counter.

After a short 1-hour flight, we arrived in Newark, NJ for our "2 hour layover." We ate lunch a McDonald's and a deli in the food court. We boarded our flight for China around 11:45am and then sat and sat and sat on the plane until around 2:15. The fuel pump had to be replaced on the plane, so we all had to get off. They gave us each $8 credit for food. We had already eaten lunch, so we went to Ben & Jerry's to get ice cream. We only used up 2 vouchers, so we used one to buy bottled water and the other to buy bottled sodas.

We were originally told that we would probably board at 4:30, but we didn't board until 5:30. Once we boarded, we still had to wait for the new flight crew to come and get their paperwork transferred, but we finally took off at 6:45.

The food on the plane was okay, but it was combinations of foods. I was glad that I asked for the children's meal for Jordan. The strangest thing was around 2:00am (eastern time), they brought around hamburgers and vanilla ice cream (Haagen Daz). We had pretzels with drinks, supper, the bizarre snack in the middle of the night, and breakfast.

We finally arrived in Beijing at 9:15pm local time (8:15am eastern). We originally expected to arrive in Beijing at 3:30pm local time.

We were met by Lisa (our guide in Beijing) and taken to the King Wing Hot Spring Hotel. It is very nice, although, the room was about 90 degrees when we got into the room. We quickly turned off the heat and opened the window. It took a while for the "sauna" to cool down before getting to bed just before midnight (local time). [Only Stefan is still awake and will be going to bed very soon.]

Tomorrow we will meet for breakfast at 8:00 and start our sightseeing adventure.

We made it!

We have arrived in Beijing, cleared the Health Checkpoint, cleared customs, gotten our baggage and met our facilitator. Next stop, the hotel! It is after 10pm, so we'll be going to bed after a 45 minute drive.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Off we go!

It looks like the new crew is here. Once again, we're preparing for the cone of silence... okay, maybe you're ready for us to be silent for a while?

De Ja Vu, All Over Again

Okay, with more than 5 extra hours logged in at Newark, we are trying again. We're back on board the repaired plane and hoping to get in the air soon... It feels like we were here before ;)

Jordan is making friends

This is Jordan's new buddy, Shaina. She was adopted from China and her parents are adopting again. We hope to see them again in Guangzhou.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

We are waiting in line for dinner vouchers since we now know that our plane requires a new fuel pump. Updated departure time is now 4:30.

We're getting know other families

As you can imagine, there are other families from all over the country on our flight. There are families from Georgia and Tennessee that are sitting close to us. Before you know it, others are coming up and joining the conversation. This was an unusual set of meetings because our flight delay. It is helping the time go by, but we're eager to get going.

The captain updated us with the problem and indicated that the fuel pump is having problems. He also said that the typical diagnostics to correct the problem didn't correct the issue. The Maintenance crew I in contact with Boeing engineers in hopes of finding a solution.

The stewardess just told us that customer care personnel will be coming on board to give us vouchers... not a good sign! We are approaching a 2-hour delay.

Travel Delay

The captain indicated that Maintenance is on board to resolve as issue in the cockpit! Hope to be leaving soon.

Waiting in the plane

Jordan looking away from his game for a pic

Entertainment Options

This is the flat screen monitor for at seat on our flight. Jordan will be well entertained. He's currently playing a Winnie the Pooh video game.

Our first flight today

Our first plane ride

Picture at Harrisburg Int'l Airport

Group shot with our luggage at Harrisburg

Premium Service

Here's our little luggage attendant!

On the plane

We're in the Continental Boeing 777 ready to go!

We're in the plane

We're in the final stages before we start our flight from Newark, NJ to Beijing. Our journey started at Harrisburg Airport this morning with a 9:10 flight to Newark. We are all very excited about the journey ahead. Taylor Grace, we're coming!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

For My Mei Mei

Jordan made this panda Build-a-Bear today for his mei mei (little sister) who he will get to meet in one week.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Have So Much To Do

I feel like I am 90% ready now to leave my classroom in good hands.  I met with my sub today to go over everything.  Lesson plans are done until Christmas.
Now I need to start with the serious packing.
6 more times to go to sleep before we leave for China.  11 more days until we kiss our precious daughter's cheeks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Itinerary in China


11/18/2009 Leave Harrisburg at 9:10AM Flight to Beijing!!

11/19/2009 Arrive in Beijing at 3:00 PM (Beijing time), Lisa will meet you at the airport and take you to check in the King Wing Hot Spring Hotel. After getting settled, you will meet back up with Lisa for dinner.

11/20/2009 Tour Tianan Men Square and the Forbidden City. Visit the Temple of Heaven and see the Chaoyang Acorbatics show. (B/L/D included)

11/21/2009 Climb the Great Wall of China, drive by the Olympic Bird’s Nest, visit the LH Fangshan orphanage and enjoy a Peking Duck dinner. (B/L/D included)

11/22/2009 Flight MU2802 from Beijing to Nanjing, Jiangsu 10:30am-12:10pm. Nancy will meet you at the airport and take you to check in the Mandarin Garden Hotel

11/23/2009 Pick up baby at the local Civil Affairs Office!!!!!!!!!!!! Guide will take you shopping for supplies

11/24/2009 Trip back to the local Civil Affairs office to do the paperwork

11/25/2009 Rest, or visit your child’s orphanage
11/26/2009 City Tour

11/27/2009 Pick up notary paperwork and baby passport. Flight to Guangzhou, HU7114, 3:20pm-5:20pm. Judy will meet you at the airport and take you to check in the Victory Hotel

11/28/2009 Baby medical check, visa photo, and visa paperwork

11/29/2009 Tour Guangzhou

11/30/2009 medical check again to read tuberculosis results

12/1/2009 Rest, free day!

12/2/2009 Consulate appointment. Guide will deliver the paperwork, family will wait in hotel room until guide calls.

12/3/2009 Trip to the USC to recite the group oath

12/4/2009 Pick up the baby’s visa in the afternoon
12/5/2009 Flight to Beijing, CA1330, 10:00am-1:15pm Flight to Newark 5:00 (Beijing Time). Flight to Harrisburg 7:55 PM (EST)

Monday, November 9, 2009


We found out today that we will be leaving on November 18 and returning on December 5. I can hardly believe that it is really happening in less than two weeks!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Travel Approval

We finally have our travel approval. I got the phone call yesterday at about 3:45. I really didn't think that I was going to come so it was quite a shock. We went out for Chinese food to celebrate. We are hoping to get a consulate appointment for December 1. If we can get that appointment than we will be leaving on November 18--IN TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!
There is so much to do before we go, but we are all so excited.

Sweet baby girl--Mama, Baba, and Gege are coming for you.