This is the ongoing story of faith, love and family as we walk through this life with 3 sons, one daughter, one daughter in law and one grandson

Monday, September 25, 2006

Move Along, We Are A Family, Not A Freakshow

Ahh, it has started already. I thought I had read enough blogs to be prepared for this part of our lives. The "people are idiots, pay no attention to them or what they say" part. But I can't. It started two weekends ago when we went out to breakfast with the girls before the wedding. A woman I do not know approached our table to tell me how she had been admiring Dreamsicle for 10 minutes. She then proceeded to tell me that she adopted her daughter from Korea 19 years ago. That would have been a sufficient conversation. But noooooooooo, she has to continue to tell me that her best friends adopted from China at the same time that they adopted from Korea. She said that when her friends stepped off the plane they were sobbing because they had been given an opportunity "to save another girls life" if they could have afforded to pay for another baby and that since they didn't, that "batch" of girls would be killed that day. Excuse me, but WTH???? I was speechless. As luck would have it, my Mom and I ran into this same lady at a store a few hours later where she proceeded to tell the person she was with the "kill the babies" story.

This evening Dreamsicle and I were in our local grocery store. I saw a woman from my church who hurried over to meet my daughter. She asked me how the baby liked her brothers and her Daddy. I told her that she loved her Daddy with a fierce baby passion and thought her brothers were super cool. She then told me that was because everyone knows that the orphan babies never get male attention so they move them from orphanage to orphanage trying to get them ready to see men since if they weren't adopted they would become prostitutes.

My oldest son had some issues while he was growing up. I was his biggest champion and defender. If someone would have made uneducated comments about his condition, I would have been right there to correct that person, to defend my son and to make sure he knew that he could count on me. These two instances left me speechless. And I am so ashamed of myself for not speaking up. I'm thankful that Dreamsicle is still too young to understand what either of these two women were talking about but boy do I have to load my arsenal and get ready for battle.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Feeble Attempt At Packing Tips

I wanted to post this while it was still fresh enough in my mind to be of use to anyone. Take it with a grain of salt but this is what worked for us...

1. Make sure that you bring toilet paper/kleenex and have them accessible the moment you touch ground in China. I wasn't prepared for the airports to be in the shape they were and had packed my toilet paper away thinking I wouldn't need it before we started touring Nanchang. The "4 star toilet" in the Forbidden City is a squatty potty and you will need it, trust me.

2. I way overpacked in the clothing dept. People say to pack light, do it. We could have easily gotten away with 5 outfits each. Laundry is available and affordable everywhere.

3. Two pair of shoes. I packed a pair of sandals and a pair of Keen's. Both worked out extremely well.

4. Bring two blankets for your baby. A small one to travel with and a larger one for the crib.

5. Make sure you bring extra batteries, battery chargers, converters for your laptop/digital camera/video camera.

6. Try to remember to bring food for your baby on Metcha Day. Our daughter had been traveling all day and was pretty hungry when we received her, I was glad I had food to offer her right then rather than having to wait until we got back to the hotel.

7. If you travel in the summer, don't leave the hotel without a bottle of water. There were times when water wasn't readily available right away and it is HOT!

8. We didn't bring a thermos and honestly never wished that we had one.

9. I went way overboard on the ziplocks. We didn't use 1/3 of the ziplocks that I packed.

10. Scented trash bags for smelly diapers. These were invaluable.

11. Snacks. We lived off of ours.

12. At least one toy that makes noise. Plastic keys were the ticket for getting Dreamsicle to open up. All of the soft lovey types of things I brought never got touched.

13. A container to put your formula in once it is open. The formula you will receive with your baby is in a bag, you really need something airtight to hold it once it has been opened.

14. Leave the duct tape at home. McGyver would probably faint if he read that.

15. We brought wayyyyyyyy to many meds with us. I brought medication for children and adults to combat every illness known to man and ended up being able to help alot of other families out but spent way too much money and used up wayyyyy to much space transporting everything. I would strongly suggest that you bring antibiotics but the scabies medicine, lice medicine, etc wasn't worth packing. No one in our large travel group had the need to use these medicines either.

16. Your sense of humor and patience. We had the good fortune to have a great guide who took awesome care of us. She kept telling our group how much she loved us because we all joked with her, expected delays and knew mistakes would happen. Going in with a good attitude helped tremendously. We watched other travel groups have meltdowns over little things and I think they all just allowed themselves to get wound too tight. Laugh. It's one of the happiest trips you will ever take.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I am weepy today

Dreamsicle is experiencing her first illness since we have become a family. She is running a fever, throwing up-you name it she's got it coming out of every orifice of her body. She has wanted to be held for hours (this is the first time I have put her down in 6 hours) and just can't get comfortable. While cuddling and soothing her I started to have thoughts of her life in the orphanage. When she was sick, was she picked up and comforted? She has only wanted me and cries out "mama,mama,mama". Although on a certain level it makes me feel good that we are attaching to the point that she is seeking me out for comfort, it makes me wonder who she called out to for the first 12 months of her life. During the wait I pushed alot of the "what if" scenarios to the back of my head. I had to or it would have driven me crazy. Now that she is with us, I am finally allowing myself to play those scenes out in my head. It's not a pretty place to be (inside my head, right now, that is). I know she was well taken care of. Every picture we have of her from the camera we sent shows that she was probably cared for by the same ayi most of the time. But when that little sweetie looks me in the eyes, strokes my cheek and calls my name because she wants me to do something to make her feel better, I find myself falling apart inside. I'm not even sure why. She's here now, she's loved and well taken care of. I think I'm just starting to grieve for her and what she has endured and maybe, what she has lost.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Picture Posting Delay

I cannot get my pictures to post to blogger for some reason-sorry! I'll keep trying over the weekend. We survived the wedding last weekend. Dreamsicle insisted on being out on the dance floor all night long. She still can't walk by herself but she was shaking her groove thing holding onto mama's hands every time a fast song came on. I have had to go to work three days this week due to high level meetings. She punishes me when I walk through the door by refusing to look at me for a good 2-3 minutes when I first arrive. After that, she can't contain her smile anymore and starts giggling, moving her arms and legs wildly and wants me to hold her. I'm glad I have the next 5 days to be with her because her snubbing me breaks my heart. I don't know what I'm going to do when she actually has to start going to daycare! While I was gone her daddy, X*Boy and Pixie all took turns watching her. None of them got her to take a nap, she would let out one cry of protest when they layed her down and one of them would immediately run in to her room and pick her up. Needless to say, dinner has been difficult as she is almost falling asleep in her food, but bedtime has been extremely easy since she is completely exhausted. She will be heading to New Orleans with me next month for a show. My mom will be accompanying me to help watch her while I work. I'm curious to see how she does on the plane this time. I hope that she will turn out to be a good traveler since she will be doing so much of it. I signed her up for her own frequent flyer number-might as well start racking up points for her now. :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Week 1 update

It is hard to believe that we have been home for a week already. Dreamsicle is adjusting so well that it seems as if we have been a family for much longer. Over the course of this week she has learned to sit up by herself, blow kisses, and to feel secure enough to touch our dog.

She eats whatever we put in front of her except grilled cheese or mac and cheese. She had her first ice cream sundae last night and LOVED it.

She sleeps through the night.

She tolerates her car seat well for an hour, after that she wants out!

She still adores her father-when he is in the room she only has eyes for him.

I promise I'll post pic's this week.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Our Hotel in NanChang

I thought our hotel in NanChang deserved its own post. What an experience that was. If you followed our journey on the babyjellybeans site then you have seen pictures of the neighborhood of the hotel. It was in the "low rent district" if you will. You could safely walk about two blocks in each direction from our hotel before you really felt as if you were taking your life into your own hands. When Pizza Hut tells you that they won't deliver to your hotel you know there is a problem. This led to countless hours of boredom in the hotel. Ahhh, the hotel. When we found out the name of the hotel we were staying at I immediately looked it up on the internet. It stated that there were 17 restaurants in this hotel. I was pretty stoked thinking that we would have many choices in food, so I was geeked. So not true. The truth was lost in translation. They have 17 meeting rooms and one restaurant. ONE restaurant. Oh, and a bar-that serves the exact same thing as the ONE restaurant. The breakfast buffet was included in the cost of the hotel room so everyone would head down to the buffet every morning. The selections never changed. McGyver had to teach the chef how to make scrambled eggs. It was the wierdest thing-they had a chef ready to prepare eggs over easy or sunny side up but would not cook an omelette and had no clue what a scrambled egg was. So through sign language and the help of one of the waitresses he was finally successful in getting our request for "egg for baby" known. The poor guy-once the other families saw that Dreamsicle was getting scrambled eggs, his whole job became making "eggs for baby" each morning. After 7 days of "deep fried spaghetti with onions", rice congee and a whole table full of things that still had legs and heads, I was ready to eat the bedspread in our hotel room rather than tackle the breakfast buffet again. The hotel was undergoing construction during the entire time of our stay. It didn't matter whether it was day or night, you could count on hearing drilling, hammering, etc. Not so great for getting babies to sleep but hey-maybe they were constructing another restaurant!
One night the doorbell to our room started ringing-and ringing and ringing and ringing. I was delirious since I had been soundly sleeping for four hours already. I jumped up and I was trying to process what could possibly be the reason for the incessant ringing doorbell and could only come up with the scenario that maybe there was a fire and the hotel staff was trying to wake people up. I immediatly run to the door, throw open the door without looking through the peephole (yes, I know better than this-I swear) and came face to face with a prostitute! That's right-standing before me, not speaking a lick of English but pointing to her hootchie was a hooker. The poor thing, all I could do was laugh as I shut the door in her face. If she thought she was going to score on our floor, she was sorely mistaken as the entire floor was adopting, sleep deprived parents.

Our travel group consisted of 7 families. 3 of the guys were pretty big guys. Whenever we were going to head out anywhere, our guide would have us meet in the hotel lobby-which was located on the 2nd floor of the hotel then we would have to take the elevator to the first floor to venture outside. One of the first days we were at the hotel found the 3 big guys and their wives all on the same elevator at the same time. When the doors shut, the elevator started jerking-heading up a floor then back down, then suddenly dropped. We were over the weight limit for the elevator! Needless to say, that was traumatic enough for the wives and babies that those three families made a point of never sharing an elevator after that.

NanChang itself was a very interesting city and I would have liked to have been able to experience more of it, had we felt safer we probably would have.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Brushing My Teeth

It is funny, these little things that we take for granted in life. Things like being able to turn on a faucet and get clean, fresh water. Water suitable for drinking and brushing your teeth. While in China you are keenly aware of the fact that the water is not suitable for human consumption. Unless you boil it, you are not to drink it. Ever. This lead to having to go into camping survival mode for two weeks. Each morning and night we had to run our toothbrushes under a stream of bottled water to get them wet, then brush our teeth and rinse our mouths and toothbrushes from the bottled water again. When we arrived home, I think I brushed my teeth twelve times just because I wanted to be able to see the water run out of the tap and know that I could drink it, brush my teeth, shower-whatever-without fear of illness. It makes me so sad when I think about the quality of the air and water in China. I am so thankful that I live where I live.

In Koli news...She went to sleep at 7:30 last night, woke up at 11:00. I rocked her for an hour then she went back down and slept until 8:00 this morning. She is now down for her morning nap. She does so many things that capture my heart. Yesterday I was eating a sourdough donut and gave her a bite. She literally let out a high pitch squeal of delight and moaned as she savored the flavor. She really is her mother's daughter.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

We Are Home!

Words cannot adequately describe the past two weeks of our lives. We received Dreamsicle and she is just that- a dream. She is a smiley, giggly girl who loves to cuddle and has the best baby sense of humor I have ever seen! She is attaching equally well to both McGyver and I. When we returned home she met X*Boy, U*Haul and Pixie. She loves her big brothers and will go to them willingly but also reaches for her mama and daddy when she is ready to be comforted. Our trip could not have gone better as far as our baby goes. She is healthy, happy and transitioning nicely. I'll post a different post chronicling our hotel stay in NanChang-that is worthy of it own post to say the least. All of my pictures are on my laptop so I have to do some work in order to transfer them over to my PC-I'll post some pics of the Princess of the Universe later. By the way-when we met her orphanage director he told us that her nickname in the orphanage was Princess.

Of course it was....

About Me

I am a Christian woman, the wife of an outdoorsman and mom to a computer loving twenty something guy, a Marine, a Sailor and a three year old Princess who rules the roost and has all of us wrapped around her little finger. Add into the mix a daughter in love and the cutest grandson in the world and you have our big old house of love