Thursday, July 31, 2008

Almost done! Our last post from China...

So, this will be our last post from China. The people of China have a special place in our hearts, not only because they gave us our daughters, but, because we love them, and want them to know who it was that lead us to our daughters - Jesus. Our guide in Guangzhou is going to church and reading the bible and wants to become a Christian. We talked to her a little bit today about it when we visited the Six Banyon Tree Temple. We will pray for her to completely understand, and will leave her our email address if she has questions she would like answered - pretty neat she would want to talk about it at a Buddist Temple!!

Today was our consulate swearing in ceremony. We went to the US Consulate, and acknowledged that all previous information submitted was true to the best of our knowledge, and they said congratulations, you have your new children. They gave us Allie's US VISA so she can enter the United States, and also, a packet to be opened when we go through customs in DC tomorrow evening.
YEAH!!! This time tomorrow night (our time), we will be on our last flight home!!! We can't wait!!

After the consulate appointment, we went to the White Swan and took the famous Red Couch photos. Enjoy a few pictures from the day...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our free day in Guangzhou

We started our day at breakfast at 8:00, then had to be in the room from 9:30-10:30 to be sure all our consulate paperwork was OK. Our guide called around 10:50 to say all had gone well, and we are all set for our swearing in ceremony tomorrow afternoon at 4:00. So, after we got the good news, we headed out to do our shopping. We got squeaky shoes, and Chinese outfits for the girls red couch photo, which we will have to do tomorow sometime.

We also found a couple of really cute dresses and a few other small souveniers for the girls as well. We had lunch at Starbucks, and had a great mango frozen drink with our lunch. After lunch, we went back to the hotel to cool off a bit, then hit the shops again for a few more things, and to exchange a few things as well.

It was terribly hot today, the humidity is awful!! You step outside, and you are wringing wet!! So, after this bit of shopping, we came in to cool off again, then headed to dinner at the Cow & Bridge Restaurant. Our food was really good! After dinner, I started packing up a little, since we leave at 5:30 Friday morning, and tomorrow is a busy day of touring, pictures, and the consulate appointment. Enjoy some pictures from our day...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In Guangzhou

Yesterday was a very long day!! We had to be up at 4:45, packed, had breakfast at 6:00 and left for the airport for our 3 hour flight to Guangzhou. Allie didn't like the seatbelts at first, and wanted to be able to be up. After a few minutes, when the plane started moving, she was excited to see how things outside were moving past us so quickly. As we took off, she just wanted to watch out the window. It was sort of sad to know that we were leaving the only place she has known as home - the place where she was born and spent the first 3 years and 8 months of her life. We are happy though, that she is ours, and tht soon we will be on our way home with her. We can't wait for everyone to meet her - she is quite a character, and has the sweetest smile.

She is saying a few words in English now. When she picks up her cell phone, she says, "hello" - so cute, then she carries on a entire conversation in Chinese.

We landed in GZ just after noon, picked up our luggage and met our guide. She sent us on to the hotel and she had to wait for the other families to get in. We had a couple of hours to get out and explore to find the shops we visited last year. We did a little shopping, then headed back to the hotel to get ready for Allie's medical appointment, and VISA picture. She weighed exactly what her paperwork said as of November last year, 31.5 pounds. She has grown several inches since then, though, and is 37.8 inches tall. So, she is 9 pounds heavier than Emma, and is 4.5 inches taller - about right for 14 months older. After all this, we went back to the hotel to gather up our documents so we could finish up the paperwork. I went to do the paperwork, which took a little over 2 hours, while Bobby, Josh and the girls played and walked around the area some more.

After we finished up the paperwork, we headed to Lucy's for dinner. Lucy's is a place that has some western choices in foods, as well as other items more familiar to adoptive families from the states. Enjoy the pics from our very busy day!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Two weeks with Allie, and our last night in Dalian

Today is two weeks since we received Allie at the Civil Affairs office in Shenyang. She has not been very shy anyway, but she now seems totally at ease with us, and is such a joy to have as our daughter. She and Emma are doing better than we expected them to, so we are very blessed. We prayed a lot for both of them and their adjustments to each other, and our prayers were answered. They seem to be normal little sisters now - both a little jealous, and both learning to share.

Tonight, we had dinner at a very nice restaurant across the street from the hotel called Papa's. Bobby has been eyeing a rib-eye steak on their menu board all week!! The girls had great spaghetti, Bobby had the steak and Josh and I had roasted chicken that was wonderful!! The girls were given a little stuffed animal, and I got a red rose at the end of the meal - nice touch! There was even live entertainment, a really good singer performing while we ate.

We have enjoyed our time here in Dalian, but we are ready to move on to Guangzhou, and we leave at 6:30 am tomorrow morning. It is a little bit sad, just as it was with Emma's adoption, to be leaving the place where our daughter was born, and the only place she has ever known. We are happy that she is now ours, and will be going home with us though!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Only one more day left in Dalian!!

This morning, we went across the street to Victory Plaza, a big open area with lots of vendor tents, restaurants, and open space, and let the girls blow bubbles. Then, we walked back to the Children's Park and let the girls ride a few rides. They did really well, and Allie loved the rides. She didn't want to get off. When we left there, we stopped by a nice supermarket and bought some drinks, some noodles, and some bread from their really good bakery. The smells in there are wonderful!! Enjoy the pics from our day...tomorrow, we pack up, and first thing Tuesday morning, we head out to the airport to go to Guangzhou for the final steps in Allie's adoption, then home next Friday!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Our shopping day in Dalian

Last year when we adopted Emma, we bought two things for her to have when she is grown in her province - a set of pearls, and a tea set. Today, we shopped for those things for Allie in her province. We found a beautiful tea set, and a lovely set of pearls as well. We will put these away and keep them for gifts on her wedding day. Of course Bobby says they can't get married!! : )

Happy Birthday, BaBa!!

Bobby celebrated his birthday in China this year! We celebrated with cake and dinner at the Thai restaurant again. The girls loved the cake! Emma had eaten a lot of the icing off by the time Allie woke up from her nap. Allie quickly caught up with Emma feeding her! Bobby thought it was pretty good too.

We had cake first, then went to dinner. BaBa carried both his girls down the block to the restaurant. When we got back, Josh was pretending to cry, and Allie was telling him in Chinese "It will be OK GeGe" She was so concerned - she kept rubbing his arm, and his head, and talking away so softly in Chinese - too cute! She loves her GeGe just like Emma does. I sat down on the floor, and they both came snuggling mommie - two sweet girls (most of the time : 0 )

Friday, July 25, 2008

Our day at the beach

Today, after breakfast the girls hugged, snuggled, and played on the bed while we got things together to go to the beach. The beach was Fujiazhuanh Scenic Spot. It is a very popular beach here in Dalian, and a very crowded one!! At first, the girls didn't care much for the pebble beach or water. After a few minutes, they did put their feet in and splash the water with their hands. It was pretty cold, so we didn't play in the water long. They liked playing in the pebbles, though. This beach was not like our beaches with sand; the actual beach was pebbles - a little rough on the feet, too! They dug holes, found shells, filled Bobby's shoes with pebbles, dumped them out, etc.

We stayed only a couple of hours, and headed on back to the hotel. We spent about an hour in the swimming pool, then came back to the room to feed the girls, and Emma fell asleep. While she was asleep, Josh and Bobby went to get something for lunch. While they were gone, the hotel delivered a birthday cake for Bobby!

First thing this morning, when she woke up, Emma hugged her BaBa and sang Happy Birthday to him. She loves birthday cake, so when she wakes up, we will have cake and celebrate.

For now, enjoy the pics from the earlier part of our day, and I will post a few more later of the cake and our little "party."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Children's Park

At breakfast today, the twin girls we had met with their mom and dad from Australia posed for some pics with the girls. After breakfast, we decided to walk to the Children's Park, which is a pretty good walk from the hotel. The girls did great on the way, and the park was beautiful! We got lots of great pictures of the skyline, flowers along the way, statues, the girls of course, and Marc and Max harmon and their mom, Debby.

When we left the park, we walked to a really nice, very clean supermarket, where they have a bakery with wonderful smells. We bought a couple different things and some drinks, then came back to the hotel and had the breads, apples, plums and grapes for lunch, then put the girls down for a nap. They were both so over-tired from the heat, it took about 40 minutes to get them to sleep. Now that they are sleeping, they will probably sleep a good while. Enjoy the pics from our day today. Tonight, we are going to try a Thai restaurant around the block from the hotel. The couple we met from Australia told us it was really good food, and reasonable in price.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our Wednesday in Dalian

The girls woke up in a good mood, and played together snuggling with BaBa for a bit while I showered. Then, at breakfast, Emma was trying to use chopsticks. Allie picked up hers, and leaned over to show Emma how to use them. It was cute to see.

Today, we thought we would go to Tiger Beach. The cab driver took us back to the acquarium where we had gone over the weekend. We didn't understand that Tiger Beach was also there, and we must have seen it unknowingly Saturday. Needless to say, it was a wasted morning, and cab fare. We did see some pretty scenery along the way, though.

This afternoon, we walked back to the book store where we found the Dora videos in Mandarin, and bought 6 of them to help Allie with English. There must be some sort of festival or something going on, because there were lots of new food vendors out today. Enjoy the pics from our day...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pics of the girls

We just got out and walked the area some more today, so I just did a slide show of the girls throughout the day today...

Monday, July 21, 2008

One week with Allie!!

Time flies, and today is one week that we have had our sweet Allie. She seems very comfortable with us now, and is doing really well. Most of the time, she and Emma play well together. When either one is tired, they fuss about anything/everything. We brought two of everything for them to play with, most things identical, but if they are tired, they each want what the other one has - typical behavior for the 2-3 year age range, though. This too shall pass!! Overall, it has been a great week (except for the day Bobby & I were sick!!)

Visiting the orphanage was both good and bad. It really makes you appreciate your children - not one single person in the entire world is perfect, yet here, if there is anything wrong, whether physically, outwardly noticeable or not, these precious lives are considered worthless, or "broken" as the policeman put it the other day at the passport interview. It is heart-breaking. Every child, no matter what, deserves the love of a family. I would have loved to pack up everyone of them at the orphanage and brought them home!!

Pics in this slide show are from last night, this morning, and on our walk around Dalian this morning and afternoon. Enjoy them...I love the ones where the girls are sitting on the bed holding hands - Emma is singing to Allie. She sang her Jesus Loves Me, Happy Birthday, and the ABC song. It was so sweet, it just brings tears to my eyes! Now these two girls will have each other to love and play with FOREVER!!
And, hearing them giggle together is the best sound ever...

Sights around Dalian

Today, we walked a good bit around the city. Here are some pictures of the areas around town...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Today, we visited the orphange where Allie spent her first two years and her last 13 days before we came for her. The orphanage director met us at the hotel and at first had said we could only see the outside of the SWI, but did allow us in once we arrived. She tried to get Allie to go to her, and she wouldn't - she came around behind her momma!! This appeared to make the director happy. Allie is bonding very well!

It made me very sad to count 30 babies in several of the first rooms we visited. They would not allow pictures of any of the children, but we got to visit with some of them. We saw the infant rooms, the toddler girl and boys rooms, kitchen, bathrooms, dining area, and the playroom.

In the playroom were children ranging in age from about 18 months up to about 3 years old. Oh, by the way, we found our third daughter while there : ) She is 3 years old, and we tried to talk them into letting us take her with us. The director smiled, and said she would trade us for Allie - strange. Anyway, she got very attached to Bobby, came to me, and called Josh GeGe. We did find out her name, and that paperwork has not yet been submitted to CCAA for her - you never know!! She had big eyes, and brown hair up in pig tails - adorable!! She cried when we left.

After the orphanage, we went to find Allie some new shoes. She came to us with one pair of sandals, and I wanted a pair of little white sneakers. Couldn't find any, but we did find a really cute pair of white sandals. She likes shoes, and got upset when we took them off to buy them - she had to wear them out of the store - just like Emma!!

While at the mall, we also had some DQ - Allie's first ice cream, and she thought it was pretty good. The morning activities tired both girls out, and they are sleeping, and snoring as I type!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hutan Ocean Park

We spent most of the day today at the Hutan Ocean Park. Parts are sort of like Ripleys' Acquarium, but it's much larger, and has bird shows, a dolphin show, a mermaid diving show, and a lot of other things as well. It was extrememly crowded - it seemed like all of China was there at times.

We did enjoy what we got to see and do, and the girls enjoyed it as well. By the end of the day, they were pretty tired, but they were troopers all day.

We have lots of pics from last night, and today, so I will post a second journal entry to be able to add more pictures from our day.

Tomorrow, we will visit the Dalian City Orphanage, where Allie spent her first two years of life.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Everyone is well now, praise the Lord!!

Well, we are feeling better today, but it is pretty rainey outside, so no outside activities other than a trip across the street for some drinks and teas. We did take the girls to the pool in the hotel today, though. Our sweet travel-mate Debby and her two boys went too, and they all had a great time with beachballs, and just splashing around. Enjoy some pics from earlier today...