Still playing catch up on our posts. Today we realized that we forgot to post our trip to the Jade Factory. We bought some jade. I got a beautiful blue jade ring, among other things. We forgot that we went to the jade factory before we climbed the Great Wall. It was amazing to see the different types of jade and learn about them.
Our guide in Beijing was George. He was great! We liked him a lot. He's got a great personality.
After the 2 days of sightseeing around Beijing it was time to fly to Zhengzhou to get Abbey. On May 16th in the morning we went to the airport. We flew Air China (or China Air) to Zhengzhou. It was a cramped ride. Fortunately it was only about 1:45 minutes long. It was a rather smooth flight.
We arrived at the airport and our group was met by our new guides Yisha and Rita. They were very helpful and we got on a bus and went to the Crown Plaza Hotel. The hotel is very beautiful. Our room is twice as big as the one at the Holiday Inn in Beijing and very nice. Although not as many English TV channels as in Beijing. Not that we have had much time to watch television. Nice to have the illusion of being in the US by hearing English on TV.
When we first got to the hotel one person from each family went with our guide, Yisha, to the bank to exchange money for all the business transactions that were upcoming. After that we ate at the Italian restaurant inside the hotel. It was pretty good. We ate with most of the rest of the group. It was fun. Good food and good company. There was excitement in the air. The next day was going to be Gotcha Day.
We got on the bus around 9:30 on Monday morning (May 17, 2010). We rode to the provincial registration office. It was a nice day. The weather was perfect. We arrived and unloaded the bus. Went into the building and some of the babies had already arrived. A few families were handed their child as they walked in the door. We had to wait a bit for Abbey. She came about 10 or so minutes after we got there. We had some time first to take pictures and video of some of the other families getting their babies.
When Abbey got there she was delivered by (surprise!) her foster mother. I had thought that maybe she was in foster care, but when I asked they would not tell me. Whenever I saw pictures of children from Luoyang, they all had shaved heads. Abbey has a major head of hair (down to her shoulder blades in the back). We met her foster mother who could not have been sweeter. She had been caring for Abbey since she was 8 months old. Her name is Tina (the lady in the picture we posted with the white shirt on, holding Abbey). Abbey had been under the care of Amazing Hands (a Christian charity) in Beijing since she was 8 months old. She may have lived at the orphanage for awhile. It's hard to tell. Our paperwork shows she was abandoned at 11 months old in Luoyang. What's the real story? Probably will never know. But it's so wonderful that she was in the care of Amazing Hands in Beijing. Sure would have been nice to know that she was living in Beijing when we were in Beijing. Maybe we could have gone to see where she was living. Abbey and her foster mother and another little boy being adopted by a family in our group took a 6 hour train ride to meet us in Zhengzhou.
I was so shocked that she was in foster care that when her foster mother asked me if I had any questions I drew a total blank. Tina told us that Abbey was not potty trained at all, diapers always. That was good to know. Fortunately our guides had given a questionnaire to each caregiver to answer about each child. They asked some good questions. We also had the opportunity to ask more questions if we had them once we reviewed the answers to the questionnaire. When the foster mother came with Abbey we found out that they were calling her "Wen Wen". She came with a bag of stuff for Abbey. The most special thing (other than Abbey) that they gave us was a book she had prepared for Abbey. It was a book with pictures about her life in Beijing. We got pictures of her with a cupcake in front of her celebrating her first birthday and her second birthday! Is that as good as it can get (in this situation) or what?! I'm so shocked and elated that we have pictures of her life there with descriptions of people and little friends. We also got pictures of her at a much younger age before her lip was repaired. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that Abbey has this little piece of her life to look back on in the future. What a wonderful gift!
Now, you are probably wondering how the gotcha thing went. It was interesting to say the least. The foster mother cut it short and took off, knowing that Abbey wasn't going to like it. She was absolutely right. Abbey was not a happy camper when she realized Tina was gone. She started crying. She started heading for the door. The doors were wide open and she walked on out. I tried to hold her back but she kept fighting me. I tried to pick her up and carry her back in but she wriggled so much that I almost dropped her. David was busy doing some paperwork, so he was not there to help me. Finally she walked outside and stood on the stoop and was very sad, crying. An older Chinese man was there with one of the other foster mothers and he picked up Abbey and sat her on his lap. She was perfectly fine with him (she may have known him). She sat in his lap for awhile and he spoke to her and she was calm. Finally he had to leave and David was there by then. David picked her up and she did not fight him. Now she is a Daddy's girl. She doesn't want anything to do with me. Today (Wednesday May 19) David was telling her (in Chinese), after she had let me put up her hair, that Momma was good, that I was a good Momma. Wen Wen shook her head "NO". How's that for putting me in my place. I know she will get over it (she might want to, LOL) but it doesn't make me feel very good about myself right now. On the upside, I'm on vacation, giving childcare tips to David as he takes care of his little girl. She is warming up to me slightly (and I mean slightly). But we have a long ways to go. David walked away from me in the Chinese equivalent of Walmart (Lotus Center) to find something and Abbey started screaming. Fortunately I didn't get arrested for being her mother. LOL May as well laugh, crying won't do me any good. Yisha told us that these children will choose one parent and not want the other one. About half of the kids in this group are daddy's girls.
After we got our kids we met later in the day to go with the group to the Lotus Center (a somewhat Walmart like store) to get things we needed for the children. It was three stories tall and had a moving ramp between floors to carry people to each floor. The grooves on the moving ramps and the grooves on the wheels on the shopping carts caught each other while on these ramps so that the shopping cart was secure going up the ramp. It was some good technology. We were impressed.
On the way to the Lotus Center we passed a bank with an armed guard outside. He was standing there guarding the bank with a big gun that looked like a machine gun. I don't believe anyone will be robbing that bank, unless they are feeling suicidal.
One thing about stores in China. Merchandise of the same type is displayed together like in the USA but other things of the same category might be somewhere else. It was very hard to find many things because there appeared to be little rhyme or reason behind where things were located.
Meigan had to go to the bathroom while we were there at the Lotus Center. She, so far, has refused to use a squatty potty (a basic toilet seat mounted on the floor). We have so far used western toilets (many of which are easily located by finding the handicap sign on the door of such potty). This only western toilet was without a seat and was filthy. There also was about an inch or two of standing water on the floor around the potty (I sure hope it was water, trying not to think about it). I told Meigan to bend like a sitting position and I would just hold her over the potty. She refused to use it. She said it was too gross. I was getting grossed out by whatever I was standing in. Meigan decided to hold it until we got back to the hotel. She held it great. I sprayed our shoes with Lysol when we got back to the hotel.
May 18, 2010
Today is the day we finalize our adoption of Abbey. The last 24 hours have been the "Harmonious Period". It hasn't been that harmonious for me, but David and Abbey are doing great. Today we went to the registration office to get our Adoption certificate and then on to the Notary office to finish up the paperwork. Everything was going well until we got to the Notary office . They informed us on the bus that we had to walk up 6 stories to get to the office (no elevator). I told Meigan that she was going to have to walk at least most of the way. She was tired that morning and was not happy to have to walk. She fussed outside of the building so I carried her up all the steps and set her down. She started to throw a fit. I really don't know what the fit was all about but it was one of her long ones. I asked her to stop and she was too into it so I took her out of the office and put her in timeout on the steps. The whole place echoed so her cries were 10 times worse sounding. We had papers to fill out and no one could hear the directions on how to do it. David tried to fill out the papers on a chair in front of him. Then he tried to move to the table after I was out in the hall with Meigan. Somehow when he went to fold up the chair to get it out of his way it fell and hit Abbey in the lip. She was okay, but not very happy for a few minutes. Meigan was still screaming in the hallway (remember the echo factor). I came back in the room because we needed to do the paperwork and Rita, one of our guides, went to close the door so everyone could hear. The chair I was sitting in was in the way of the door so I moved it. As Rita was trying to close the door and I was trying to move the chair, I got my fingers jammed between the door and the chair. Bruised two of my fingertips. It was just a case of nothing going right. But absolutely at the wrong time. Meigan eventually quieted down and we got the paperwork done. But it was not a pleasant experience.
May 19, 2010
Today is our wedding Anniversary! 20 years of wedded bliss! Okay, maybe not all the time.
Anyway, Abbey hasn't been feeling very good. She had a runny nose when we got her and she started yesterday with a dry cough. Today she is more congested and doesn't feel good. Some of the other kids in our group don't feel well today either, they went to the doctor too. We asked our guide if we could see the doctor at the hotel. The doctor didn't speak English so our guide met us there this morning and translated for us. The doctor checked out Abbey and said she has bronchitis. Ironic, Meigan had bronchitis when we got her. One of the other families in our group had some antibiotics and gave them to us for Abbey. The doctor could have written us a prescription for Chinese antibiotics or something like it but we preferred good 'ol American drugs. That was so nice of Martin and Heather to give those to us!
Today we went shopping for just a little bit to try and find some clothes, shoes, and hair rubber bands to get Abbey's hair out of her face. Her hair grows towards her face and is very fine. She had some stray hairs hanging straight into her face. I trimmed up her bangs and made her more comfortable. Still no brownie points. This gal is a tough sell. Abbey got her first pair of squeaky sandal shoes. She loved them! Squeaking whenever she walked intrigued her.
Abbey's personality hasn't really come out yet. At least not for the most part. She is still rather reserved with us. David knowing some Chinese has helped her to feel more comfortable. One thing Abbey has down is whatever the phrase is in Chinese for "I want" When we have gone shopping she will find something she wants and say "I want" in Chinese. She understands us for the most part and follows commands in English and Chinese. She also feeds herself like a champ. David fed her in his lap for the first few days but last night at supper she took over. She doesn't mind David feeding her, but if he is a little slow she takes over.. She puts whatever she wants in a bowl and shovels it out with two chopsticks. She doesn't like using a spoon. She puts it aside. We have showed her how the spoon works but she takes it from us and sets it aside and goes back to the chopsticks. I just don't understand, if you clearly have a better product (a spoon) why not use it. Why struggle with two sticks to pick up something? I guess I won't get that one, ever. Oh well. Abbey is helpful with things. She will pick something up and give it to us. Or get something out of the way. She seems developmentally on target for her age. She has let us look inside her mouth. Her palate looks pretty good to us. Can't really see her top teeth very well. Her top lip is so tight over them. There are teeth there.
Today was our chance to go to the orphanage. We didn't go. We have three families with children from Luoyang. One family didn't want to go. One child was sick and ours is sick too. Our guide said that we wouldn't be able to go in the orphanage, just take pictures outside. She also said we probably would not be able to take pictures of her finding site because it's in a hospital. With all that against us, we reluctantly decided not to make the 3 hour trip (one way) and the 1,500 RMB to pay for the trip since we wouldn't be dividing the cost. In addition, Abbey probably didn't spend that much time there anyway since she was in foster care. So for all the families that I told I would try and get pictures of their children if we went, I'm sorry.
Tomorrow (May 20th) we are going to a Museum here in Zhengzhou. Don't really know what is there but we will find out. Also, tomorrow we get Abbey's passport. Friday we fly to Guangzhou and start the process to get Abbey's visa so she can come home! Hope she likes me by the time we get home! I rattled on long enough. I'll post again soon.