Thursday, May 31, 2007

What a difference using the magic word makes

No, We're not talking about 'Please' we're talking about the correct Mandarin phrase for go to sleep. We've used it 2 nights in a row now (it took us that long to find it) and although Acer doesn't like it, at least he doesn't try to climb out of bed while he's fussing and he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night. We turn on the radio, let him fuss himself to sleep while we keep the lights off and away to dreamland we three go. This is a major breakthrough on the Bill and Heather Exhaustion factor, the ability to actually get uninterrupted sleep can really help one's disposition.
I've been waking Acer up earlier every day and yesterday we got in an hour and a half nap (another item we're trying to put back on the schedule) before we met friends Kristen and Keira at the park. Acer was somewhat forward, trying to hold Keira's hand and hug on her on their very first playdate! Keira is 12 days older than Acer, and from the province next to Acer's province. Kristen and Mark were also over in China the same time we were, and we even saw them on the great wall! We went on the swings and climbed on the playstructure and shared watermelon together.
Yesterday was my brother James' birthday and we went to Erma's frozen custard to celebrate. This was Acer's first icecream in a cone and he did pretty well. He would have done better if we'd known the word for 'lick', as it was we spoon fed the top part of the icecream (watermelon flavored) and then he was able to crunch through the cone part just fine. He also amused many people with his squeaky shoes.
Bill finished installing the safety gate at the top of the upstairs, this isn't really because I am worried about his falling down them, but more a way to keep areas off limits. Acer has a fantastic sense of self directionas well as very good balance, aside from the first night when he fell down the stairs because he fell asleep, I doubt I'll see him do it too many more times in his life.
Busy day today, many errands to run so I'll sign off as I try to get the two of us ready and out the door.
PS I know I haven't been posting any pictures, but my iphoto needs help so I have to leave it to Bill, and I haven't told him that I have photos ready to go.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

L says lu

I have a few precious seconds to post as Acer tries out a new leapfrog toy - a bus that does lots of stuff. I know that some parents might get sick of the noise, but he is actually learning with these toys and it's also a sound indicator of where he is. That lets me do stuff like laundry without wondering where he is.
We went back to the Dr's for a TB poke and then to the park where the play structure has lots of poles for him to follow, climb and hang on. We'll go to a park again today, okay we're going to try out the school playground, but I'm trying to find the best play structure for him.
I pulled out his new trike from Bill's Aunt Laura an he was scooting around the backyard portion of the driveway in no time. He was pedalling backwards a little and I think he'll get the forward stuff soon. He stops when he hits the grass, so he's fairly contained.
Well I haven't heard any noise from the bus for a few seconds, time to investigate.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Approaching normal

Well, yesterday we did nothing exciting really. Acer and I hung out and then towards 6, Mum came over and finished feeding him so I could work a little on laundry folding. I'd planned on a little outdoor weeding while he explored the yard but it was cold and rainy, so we stayed inside instead. It all was going so well. Then came evening, he went to bed okay about 10 PM and then woke up about midnight. He stayed awake until 6:30 and then Bill was able to keep him asleep. He (and I) managed to sleep through until 2 this afternoon, so that was very nice.
Bill has been working and then coming home to help with Acer. I wish he were able to get more sleep, right now we each take turns holding Acer through the night until he falls asleep, usually in about 2 hour shifts. This isn't helping either of us catch up on our sleep. Add in bits of bad tummy for both of us and we're exhausted.
Today I hope to add the excitment of a shower to my day, Acer joins me and isn't too happy about it but we both end up clean at the end.
Here's hoping we're able to get life to a new normal before I go back to work next weekend.
Time to go, I left the little man feeding himself dry cereal and it sounds like the dogs just got a big floor cleaning bonus today.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The torture of the Dr's office

Today was our first official Dr's visit. I had planned to get him there next week Friday, to give him a chance to settle in. However, we moved up the appointment so that we could deal with the hernia sooner. I'd expected a quick visit today & a longer one next week, but we did everything possible today; Height (35") weight (30#) and then bloodwork and 6 shots.
Poor little guy, just didn't understand why he was so tortured, not able to know that all these pricks and stabs are for his future health. He had one draw, on a very slow vein and 6 shots (plus one shot had 2 times when he pulled it out & even scratched himself) so both his arms had one shot and each leg had 2 shots. He was relatively good, He did fight the needles but we had no way to tell him what was happening. As soon as we stopped, he calmed down relatively quickly. Love my Dr, we have a great relationship and she's so very positive. We worked on our plans of attack on Acer's different problems, hernia and eyes, and also on different child raising issues.
Acer and I got home and Took an whole half hour nap! Yeah us! We are making schedule headway!
Today I tried feeding him at the table, but I let him in charge of the food which he seemed happy with. I know the dogs were happy. This will be our first and last meal with a cloth table cloth and placemat though, I'm not sure what I was thinking but myt happy Lime green pseudo oilcloth $3 target special tablecloth will be making its appearance tomorrow. Who knew that there was fake oilcloth?
I asked my brother James for help again this evening, I knew I really need sleep and that Bill was going to be exhausted too - he went to work today and will work tomorrow too. Just having James watch Acer for a couple hours so we can sleep makes such a huge difference.
Acer actually went to bed at his normally scheduled time - scheduled according to the sheet they gave us that is. He went down to sleep and Bill was even able to leave the bed afterwards! This is a huge step towards normalacy for us, here's hoping another one comes soon.
Well all for now.
Please continue with the prayers as Acer's eye Dr appointment is on June 4th.

We are home!

Well, we made it home yesterday. We got into Detroit Metro at about 1:30PM, and was able to leave the customs at a little after 3:30PM. Yes, it took 2 hours to go through customs. Grrr.

Well, we stopped at the parents' house, and I had such a headache, I had to lay down, and slept till about 6, and then we went home. He didn't really like the carseat much, but he is just going to have to learn. We have an appointment for the doctor today, and his hernia will be looked at.

When we got home, James and Mum were there to help us unload, and to meet Acer. We looked like we were going to pass out, so we asked them to watch him for a couple of hours so we could nap. This was a good plan, we got him back about 9:15, and he was awake until 4am.

I went back to work today, and have many things to do, so I will close for now.

I did want to say thank you for all your comments so far, and we will still be updating, as interesting things happen. Also I wanted to thank everyone for their prayers, and everything that has been done to help bless our trip thus far.

The trip doesn't end, just because we came home.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Getting Ready to come home!

It's 3:40 am, and we are getting ready to start on our way home. We are praying for a safe and uneventful trip, and we are praying for a somewhat happy child for the trip. We will be leaving about 5:45 for the airport. The reason we are up so early, is the little man standing next to me right now saying "yow cheerio?"


Missing pics

Well, I am sorry that I have been lax at sharing the pictures, but with the little guy lying on me all the time, I haven't had the time...

1st up: The Red Couch Photo.

This is the infamous picture that is taken on "The Red Couch" in the White Swan Hotel. BTW, there are MANY red couches in the hotel.

2nd up: some more "happy Acer pics!". Aparently I haven't posted ANY happy Acer pics. Here are some of them.

Well, we are having good times and not so good times, as his hunger and tired status changes because of his really screwy sleep schedule. His very early wake up times are causing us to have sleep issues, and we leave for home in less than 12 hours. This is going to be an interesting trip.

Well, if I don't go to bed NOW, I will regret it in the morning.
We did go today to get Acers visa, and at the consulate, you are not allowed to take ANY electronics into the building. I had the battery for the camera in my pocket, and they took it, and told me to pick it up on the way back out. It was there, but really, what could I do with a camera battery? I am not MacGuyver.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Another day another milestone

Yesterday was pretty interesting, despite the early start. We went to the jade and pearl mart, a two tower, 6 stories each, warren of shop after shop crammed cheek to cheek. There were clothing shops, bead shop, all sorts of goodies (or baddies depending on your view of any particular object.)

Then I escaped and did some shopping on the island here for Acer's traditional dress outfit among other items. Today we'll dress him in it and the we'll take the ever famous (among the adoption community) Red Couch Photo. Acer is the oldest, only special needs and the only boy in our travel group. It'll be interesting to see the outfits the families have chosen for their girls, I know it was hard to choose between the many different offerings for the boys and the girls have LOTS more. I know one Mom was on the hunt for a pink dress with a tutu styled tulle skirt (as requested by her 4 year old)

Later that night, a couple from our group treated us to US style dinner because Bill had helped them with their blog. It's always interesting it learn other people's life stories and Rick & Sue's was no exception. They are the group leaders as they had adopted once before, their daughter Samantha is 4.

Acer went to bed around 8 and I'd hoped for a sleep through until 6 but, no, today it was only until 3 AM. I managed to let Bill sleep until 4:30 & then at 5, I asked to sleep until 6. By 6:30 the breakfast buffet is open, so I took my newly clean self and Acer to feed the tummies.

We then went to the playroom until 9:30 when we went back to the room, to wake Bill so he could go find some cold meds. He was really suffering last night but they don't carry over the counter meds in the stores like they do at home, they only carry them at pharmacies. We tried to get to the pharmacy yesterday but they were already closed.

Acer has an incredible sense of directional memory, especially when it comes to finding an item again. I've noticed this as I can pick him up, change the direction he's facing and move him several feet away and he inevitably goes directly back to the item I tried to move him away from.

Yesterday Acer was so happy, we discovered that he likes to hold each of our hands and be swung. We didn't even know about this until he picked up both of his feet as we we walking. It's a good thing we had a grip on him! He has such a great grin, it just lights up the room and total strangers respond. He also like to climb on the bed & slowly fall off sideways. He also has a very unusual floor manouver, he can lay on his stomach, arch his back, and lift his head & shoulders and legs off the ground, I call it floor surfing.

He's also picking up words very quickly, today he learned either close or nose (I'm not sure which) from a toy in the toy room. The funny part is that he's also saying/singing it in the same key the toy was singing it. His latest word right now is 'Funny'

We are communicating better, in our butchered Mandarin and his version of mandarin, so that makes for an easier time all around.

Once again we're in a room with construction overhead. While some might consider this a detriment, Acer likes the noise so we don't complain. I don't know what we'll do when we come home, it's really pretty quite there.

Well time for the outfit & picture taking, we'll have to upset the little man because we're upsetting the status quo.

2 days and we're home!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Monday, Monday

Well it's only 10:45 and already I've been up for 7 hours.I was hoping to be napping currently but housekeeping is in my room & it's hard to sleep in a bed they are making.

Today was the medical exam day, Acer currently weighs 13.3 kilos and is 89 cm long; that roughly works out to 30 pounds and 36 inches. He has some ear wax in his ears but no infection.

Bill and are are developing our baby hand off skills to be able to let the other one sleep, unfortunately Acer isn't quite so considerate, he doesn't care if anyone but him sleeps. We're going to have to work on that, and some more manners, I've told him that if Helen Keller could do it so can he.

Acer is getting happier by the day, he's singing or reciting something almost all the time. Although we don't know what he's saying most of the time, his recitations are more staccato and punctuated by sudden rising Hah's! He is picking up more words all the time too, Today he mimicked me and said "I know, I know".(I was responding to his repetition of I have to go pee - which he says in chinese of course)

He is potty trained but we are not necessarily picking up on his signals all the time. I usually catch them, and Bill is getting better, but for now he wears pullups for those just in case times. Bill is also getting over not wanting to take Acer to the nearest bush wherever needed, so we're getting fewer parent accidents now. I call them parent accidents because he does tell us what he needs, we just may not get it right away.

Today we'll go shopping for his traditional outfit for tomorrow's pictures and we'll also go to the Jade and pearl market.

Well housekeeping is gone, I'm going to nap while I can.

Best pillows, worst beds

We're here at the White Swan where we have a gorgeous view of the Pearl River out our window. This is THE hotel for American adoptive families because it used to right next to the American consulate adoption section. That section has relocated about 1/2 hour away but the families keep coming here. We received our going home baby Barbie from Mattel today. This is an exclusive Barbie for adoptive kids (even the boys) and Mattel also sponsors a playroom here that we've already spent hours in.
Today we're trying to get Acer back into a regular schedule, we've had to do so much running around that we haven't been able to keep anything close to his normal meal and nap time.
gotta go
little man needs

Saturday, May 19, 2007

On to Guangzhou

Today, we flew from Nanchang to Guangzhou. This is where the White Swan Hotel is. It is where we will be getting the baby's visas, and their American Medical Exams. It's coming down to the wire.

Today, during the flight, we learned that Acer despises having a seat belt on. At least, he does when he is wearing the compression belt that was supposed to help him with the hernia, but just made him have to pee every 5 minutes. I think he went at least 15 times before noon. It was very strange. He had the belt figured out in the first 2 minutes of the flight, and we tried to get him situated, he had another hernia, we think. But later, the hernia was gone, probably receded on it's own. That was a thankful occurrence. After landing, where we were forced to hold him, in opposition to the handy lit signs, we got here. The White Swan is a LARGE hotel, currently mostly catering to families, but it will be switching to business later.

Oh, and by the way, I think someone dropped off a new child for us when we got here.

I think this, because when we got to the room, until about 8, there were no major blowups, and actually happy Acer. This was strange, and we took many pics of it, just to prove that it happened. Of course, these most important photos, are currently on a memory card that has failed. I am currently working feverishly to recover them, so we can post them. I am very irritated at the device that has slain 2 memory cards so far... Maybe 3. We had dinner in the lounge, and met with Norm, Susie, and Ruth, with Mia their newest daughter. She is 4, and has the cognitive and language skills of an adult. At this time, she speaks very little English, but will come around soon. One of the many things that has changed with Acer is the fact that he actually voluntarily laid down. I know this sounds small, but this has been our fight since day 1. He is currently sleeping on the foot of the bed, so I am going to have to try and move him, and see what happens. Well, good night, and pray to the god of computers that this recovery works.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Last Night in Nanchang

Well, it's our final night in Nanchang, and we are going to get out of here at noon tomorrow to go to Guandong, the place where the White Swan Hotel is, and meet up with the other groups from the other provinces that we split from when we came to Jiangxi to get Acer.

Tonight started out with us going on a walking tour of a park. This park was HUGE! It also contained most of a theme park, with rides. Acer got to check out the bridge, and I tried (and failed) to get over my aversion to taking him into the bushes in a major city to pee.

Afterward, we went out for another wonderful dinner to a place that has a GIANT FISHTANK in the foyer. Heather and her stomach didn't get along for a bit, but she ended up ok at the end. We again had the lazy susan of food, and we just kept eating until we were full.

And as I don't want people to think that we don't take any pictures of Acer, we just don't want to post the ones that show him yelling, screaming, or at the hospital... But, there are 2 that we got today that I think you will like:

Both of these pics were taken during dinner, after the park, and before the fountain show.

We then went to a fountain show, where they claim that it is the largest show of it's type in Asia. I mean, what else could it be with
this as their sign. It was too dark really to take good pictures, but it was really cool. Hopefully we have others in the group that took good ones.

Well this is it until at least tomorrow, as we have to pack up early in the morning, and be all ready for leaving by about 11.

With God, and all of our paperwork completed, we will be coming home on the 24th. Hope to see you all soon.


Forgotten Leftovers

Well, I knew that I would forget something when I did that marathon post.
Last night, we almost had to move. For some reason explained by the hotel as "It's not our fault, it's the building next door." Our floor was nearly fumigated by a smell that is not of this earth. Or, it was some kind of Polyurethane spill, or something of that ilk. It was like they were stripping and re-finishing a bowling alley in our air vents. There were 5 families on this floor, the 19th, by the way, and one of us decided to move to a different floor. I was handed a set of keys for another floor, but we ended up staying. They said it was the building next door, that they were working on, and somehow, the only floor affected was the 19th of 20? I don't really see that as being feasible, but you never really know.

Again, I missed some things from a FEW days ago, that Heather just reminded me of. With the excitement, who will blame me? We went to Tien men square, the famous square where there were protests, etc.
It was an interesting place, we learned that it could hold 1,000,000 people. I thought about it, and that means the entire city of Detroit would fit with a little room to spare. That's a sobering thought, eh? And to top it all off, it's just the entrance to the Forbidden City, the place for the emperors of China.

Much of the Forbidden City was under construction, so we couldn't go into the main buildings, but it was still pretty cool. The emperor that built it was so paranoid, he had the flagstones installed 15 layers deep, so it couldn't be dug into. The amazing thing was that there is a Starbucks in the Forbidden City, but it is well hidden. They won't even let you take pictures of it. Funny, eh? They got permission if they would follow the rules of architecture that the city has.

After the Square, and the Forbidden City, we had lunch in a Peking Duck restaurant. This is supposed to be the most famous one in the city, but there happen to be 2 different locations. We found this out when one of our number didn't show up, and Dennis went to find her. She was taken to the wrong one. Dennis has been a humongous help to all of the families under his care, but definitely for us. We will miss him when we return to Detroit.

So that brings us to the last bit of forgotten time, maybe.

After ALL of this, the Square, the City, and the Duck, we went to the Great Wall. After all that we did already that day, the Wall was killer. But who do we see when we are there, looking all fresh and chipper? Mark and Kristen! The couple that you have read about on this blog before, our best Michigan adoption buddies, the ones that we met in Chinese class, the couple that lives down the road from us, etc. They come all the way to China, and their group tours the Great Wall at the same time that we do. We have definitely removed the possibility of coincidence with them, if anything has worked for us, it is our connection with them. We were able to make the first section of the wall, where there was a shop that sold you "hero" cards, that proved that you climbed the wall. There is a family in the May travel group, that has a daughter that they adopted before with leg problems, she wears a pair of braces and has trouble with walking. She started up the Wall, and when she couldn't make it any further, her daddy picked her up and carried her the rest of the way to the top. That is inspiration.

So that is all the backstory that I forgot. I hope. So sorry for the marathon posts, but that is what happens.

My bad too...

Well, yes, we have been really bad at the posting thing, and I am sorry. We have had an interesting time of this city. What with the hernia thing, and the not really sleeping thing, and the sorta getting sick thing.

We did go to the Teng Wang Pavilion (I know a silly name, but it's named after a prince.

And thought it was pretty cool, it is said that the building has been destroyed many times, and when it is rebuilt it is rebuilt in the style of the current ruling party.

There were many cool things there, but one of the best was some of the woodwork on the top floor where we saw a traditional dance routine being performed by locals.

Click for larger pic, just figured that out.

After that, we came back to the hotel and kinda stayed home the rest of the day. We were exhausted. It was one of the most trying days that we have had. I was at the height of my cold, Acer was at the height of his stubbornness, and heather was at the height of her back pain. Through nothing else but the strength that we have asked God for, we made it through.

The next day, yesterday, was a bit better. Acer has decided that watermelon is his favorite food, and will ask for it as soon as he wakes up. The word for watermelon in Chinese is she gua, which can also be translated, depending on the tone used as just fruit. It is fairly cute when he wakes up all sleepy and says "she gua?" first thing in the morning. Unfortunately that day, there was no she gua on the buffet. He was devastated. But we pushed on. That was also the day of the hernia, read Heathers' post about that. That evening, we had a birthday party for 2 of the dads and all of the kids at a local restaurant right behind the hotel. The staff was excellent, the facility beautiful, and the food was great! I wish I had taken pictures. I think I will have to get a site put up when we all get home to have all the group post their pictures, and we will be able to share what we all saw. I know that I haven't been taking all that many, but there are others that have taken tons. Also, the videos that are available are really good. I will get all of that condensed, and there will be a more consistent timeline of photos put up.

Anyway, after the dinner, we decided to come straight back, as Acer was getting a bit grumpy, having had a hernia worked on earlier in the day, and we got back, he went right to sleep, and as Heather said, only got up a couple times in the night. This then brings us to today.

Today, Acer decided that tea was an excellent drink. I asked if that was fine of the guides, and Mary said it's tea, it's good. So the correct chinese word for tea is cha, but I somehow got him asking for it by the word for water which is shue (shway) tea is now "baba shue"(daddy's water). We also have a game, as we learn his words for things, the phrase hai yao means more, and bu hai yao means no more. I have gotten him to actually laugh, I have no idea why, when he whispers hai yao, and I will whisper back bu hai yao. Aparently this game amuses him greatly because he actually laughed openly while doing this.

He is still in the baba bao and mama bao (daddy/mommy pick me up and carry me) stage, but it's something we will have to work on. We were told by the doctor yesterday to not make him cry, as it might re-open the hernia. Boy, is that a tall order. This evening we have another trip with the families to a park and dinner, with a fountain concert at 8ish. I was told that it wasn't just lights, but music as well, so we will go, and hopefully, as Acer hasn't had a nap, except when I carried him to the video arcade down the road, he will fall asleep well tonight.

Oh yeah, I forgot, when he has to use the bathroom, he give a code phrase "wo men niao" and then we dutifully take him to the potty, and he does his business. Well, I was told that phrase today, and turned around to go back to the room in the elevator, and lo and behold! peed on. I am not talking just a slight tinkle, I am talking Niagra Falls here. I was so wet that I dripped on the floor of the elevator! Had to go up and change into a different set of dirty clothes, because our laundry had not yet been returned. Now, I am a father! It makes this:

The best of times.

Anyway, laundry is back, I have to get changed for the next outdoor trip. Will post more as it is available.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Yes, we know we've been bad about posting

We are surviving, and alive. We have had to carry Acer everywhere, even if we're not moving we have to have him up on our shoulders. This is, of course, exhausting holding a 30 plus pound child up on your shoulder. We even have to do this in the middle of the night when he wakes up, at that time my life is measured in moments, I count to two hundred for each position as I transition him from being way up on my shoulders to lying down in bed.
Thankfully this is not bothering the small of my back where I usually have issues, instead it sends the middle of my back into spasms. This is an odd blessing, but it still enables me to walk, and the small of my back pain immobilizes me. Don't think I've asked Bill where his sore points are, I'll have to do that. Though I think with his being sick, he just aches all over poor guy.
Bill is fighting some bug with antibiotics, I'm trying to dodge it, and Acer has the occasional run of snot not & gooky cough but it hasn't developed any further than that. We do need to keep our room warmer than either Bill or I like it, but if it keeps him from hacking, we'll sweat it out (literally)
Yesterday we were supposed to go to a local village to see what life is like but instead we decided to stay here & try to rest. We were letting Acer be nekkid butte boy, when I noticed his parts weren't centered properly. A little later that spot really started swelling and we put in a call to our guides while they were at the village (thank heaven for cell phones) As soon as they came back, they came up and confirmed what I was worried about, that it was a hernia. Mary, our local guide, got in touch with the head of the local urology department and he skipped lunch to come over to check him out. He tried to put it back in (while we had to hold him down, and he cried heart wrenching sobbing screams) He was unable to manually fix it there so both Mary and Dennis (our guide for the whole trip) went with us and the Dr to the local hospital. the Dr used his clout to get us dealt with right away & Acer's hernia was temporarily fixed. We have a compression belt for the trip home, but for now we're under instructions to keep him from crying and watch that spot carefully.
He's feeling a lot better now and is able to sit normally, not splayed out.
Evidently the orphanage knew about this, but we weren't informed. I could have kept better check on that area. Oh well.
We had a good night's rest last night, Acer only woke up twice and Bill & I each took one turn to get him back to sleep.
Please continue the prayers, especially now that we've added a new concern to the mix.
All for now, I actually have to go do yet more paperwork - yeah me!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

No, it's not gas

We have learned a few new phrases that Acer has. The most used are baba bao and mama bao which mean Papa(Mama) pick me up and carry me around so I can sleep thrown over your shoulder. There are a couple others, but they have to do with the bathroom, and will be left unsaid at the moment. :)

But the biggest news was at dinner tonight. Not only did I get him to eat a little congee (rice soup) but I learned a new word tonight she guo (shay gwoh) which means watermelon. We got him a couple pieces of watermelon, and he started to eat it standing by the table, said baba bao, I told him "eat she guo baba bao after" he stopped, finished the piece, and then wanted up again. That is an improvement. Then I got the best part. After handing him another piece, while holding him, he actually gave the biggest(only) grin I have seen outside of the adoption center!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This nearly made me cry, as it is the first positive emotion that we have seen, after days of just yelling at us for his foster mom.

Also, he has definitely started calling us mama and baba finally, and meaning it.

It may not be a 90 degree corner, but it is a corner that we turned. Tonight should be interesting, as he has done a lot of sleeping today, but I am sure he was plumb tuckered out after the less than 4 hours of sleep last night.

mama bu bao

Donations made it!

Yesterday we gave Acer's orphanage the remaining two suitcases of donations, One had been given to our agency's local unit where they care for children after major surgery, or as a hospice. So many people gave donations it was incredible to us and to the SWI officials we gave it too. For those who gave money, the conversion rate is about 7.5 to every US dollar, they were very pleased as they are trying to build a new center.

Heather's view

Howdy all!
Today we are celebrating our first bit of 'good news' this is an euphemism for poo, or number two as it is also known. This is an odd but huge step forward in the bonding process. It means he's getting more comfortable around us. He even took me to the bathroom, walked to the toilet and clinked the seat. Me bring the observant person I am, quickly figured out that this must be the meaning of the phrase he'd been bellowing at the top of his lungs. The problem with what he says is that according to both Mary, our guide, and Mrs Li, the assistant director of the orphanage he is already multi lingual. Mary used the word several and Mrs Li said many. This is great, except that it makes translation by our guides Mary & Dennis that much harder as they have to listen & then attempt to switch him into a language they know. He already knew 'I Love You' and we have taught him the word for Cheerios. (this is important as he wasn't eating until we brought them out)
Gradually we are learning his personality and can't wait for him to really open up into the happy little guy we've seen glimpses of.
The most heart breaking thing for me is the phrase that Dennis translated for us yesterday, "the orphanage didn't want me". Evidently the SWI had taken him back from the family and kept him for some unknown number of days before they brought him to us. He must have thought he was going to stay there forever, this place where he had visited so frequently, then they put him in a car a drove him for hours to meet with us, betrayal!
As I've gone through this past few days I have to say that both Bill and I feel a sense of 'This is right' about it. It makes the bad times; the soundless crying in his sleep, the loud crying and yelling as we don't understand what he needs, the physical ache from holding him standing up or walking (we do use the Ergo for long trips) accidentally getting him so mad he pees on the bath rug; and the good times, seeing him curled up like a little frog with me in the tub, and watching him sleep nekkid, sprawled out on the bed with his head on Bill's shoulder while Bill slept, the first night when he said 'I love you' when he was talking while half asleep,all these things together add up to the 'This is right' feeling. Yes, we'll have days of hell to start (and I'm sure in the teen years too) but we'll get through. There is the phrase 'to whom much is given, much is asked' Bill and I are so blessed, that this doesn't seem like much to ask at all.
We haven't taken many pictures lately, I think we're going to do some sight seeing tomorrow so we'll taken more I'm sure. It's always interesting to travel here, Bill says the driving makes M-59 look safe and boring to drive on.
On the Heather personal front I have been blessed with good health this entire trip, no bad tummy or nausea or travel sickness, please keep those prayers coming our way.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's Official!

Acer is now our child legally in China and the United States!

We returned to the adoption center, and this was very traumatic for him. It was a place that was familiar to him, and the deputy director was there and so was the director of child services. Both of whom he knew very well. And they gave him an ice cream bar. This nearly undid all the bonding that I thought we had done, but now I don't know. He has only had 1 bottle of formula today, but he did have nearly a half pound of cheerios. Now we have to see what happens tonight when we go to bed.

We have found that the only guaranteed method of getting him to sleep is to put Heather and him into the tub and they take a bath. He then will fall right to sleep curled up on Heather. I'd post a pic, but it's not appropriate :)

In there he sleeps like a frog. It's very cute.

Day 3 awaits.

PS: We ate breakfast, but that was the only meal so far today...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Notes from the first night

Well, the first night went relatively well, we got in and he was so upset he threw up the cheerios that we fed him on the bus. I think he finally realized that we were not going to take him back to the foster home. He speaks rather well in Chinese, but it is a dialect that our coordinator does not speak. He can understand a little, but not everything he says. We tried giving him a bath, Heather got in the tub with him, and he fell right to sleep. According to Heather, this proves that he is meant to be her son. The proof, however, that he is MY son is the sleeping method. He sprawls. Heather said she was hit with every one of his body parts... He is also rather mobile when sleeping, and he did say "I love you" to me when he was sleeping.

We were finally able to get him to eat this morning, nearly a full bottle of formula. We are going to try other things later, but we shall see.

Arriving back at the hotel!

We've Got Him!

We got Acer!!!!!!! We picked him up this afternoon a little after 3:30, and the first thing that he said in english was "I Love You". Everyone melted at that, as we were the first that got their child. Acer was the only one that was at the building when we got there, and all the other families said "Bring him in!" After he said that, he is able to speak quite a bit of Chinese, more than we expected, so it is hard, because he is telling us what he wants, but we cannot understand him. As I write this, Heather has just gotten him to sleep. I know it's early, but I hope that he will be able to eat dinner, and then we will try some more to bond.
Mom and Acer their first experience!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Leaving in the morning

We leave in the morning for Jiangxi province, @ 8:30am. We have to have our luggage ready for the bellhops @ 7:30 so we are madly packing and prepping now.

We get Acer tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Interesting Development

Well, I cannot access the blogger website, so I am glad that I set up mail to blog before that happened. 

Yesterday we went to see the Temple of Heaven and the Drum Tower, took a Three-legged Chicken (rickshaw) tour of a Hutong, which is a narrow road neighborhood, where families share courtyards.  We also got to go to a kindergarten for deaf students, and learned that sign language is almost the same in Chinese as it is in English. 

So many things happened, I seem to have the order wrong.  I will put them in order:

1) added 12 more families, but 11 of the new ones, and all the already here ones went on the tours today
2) Went to the Temple of Heaven, not sure how to add the pics yet through e-mail, but will figure it out.  This was also the first exposure to squatty pottys for the group.
3) Went to a Dai(ethnic minority that live close to the border of China and Burma) restaurant to eat lunch and watch some ethnic dancing
4) Took a Three-legged Chicken tour of a Hutong, which let us visit the deaf school, and a native home.
5) Visited the Drum Tower, climbed 69 steep steps, where the people were awakened at 5am and sent home at 7pm.  They had this to keep track of the time of day, because clocks were not in use for people, the only timepiece was a water clock in the tower.
6) Went to see the Peking Acrobats, a group of young adults that did awesome feats of skill, nearly fell asleep, it was so warm, and we had been walking and seeing sights all day. 
7) Went and ate at the KFC across the street.  It was interesting, the menu has many items that are not available at home.  The place is VERY popular with the locals, but I don't think we will go back.  We were just too tired to do anything else.  That's also why I didn't post yesterday, we got back, and went straight to bed....

Today we will be having a CHI orientation and get to see the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. 

More later.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Beijing - Day 1

Today definately was a long/fun day. It started by getting to eat breakfast @ 8am in the hotel, while getting ready for the day trip to the Summer Palace where we went all around the palace that was created by the last dynasty to rule China. All sorts of interesting things went on at the palace, and the slideshow below will show you some of the sights that we saw.

But as to think that we could not find one: - This sign
This sign was a most welcome sight, so we knew where they were. VERY important

We went to lunch afterward with 2 other couples, both of who are adopting from a different province than we are. We found, right between the KFC and the Pizza Hut this.
We were very impressed with the menus, as they were bound by wood covers, and had 18 pages of teas, yes 18 pages of tea.

There are going to be more posts, but it's now almost midnight again, so I should go to bed, and maybe I will have Heather post more tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We Made it to Beijing

We left our house @ 11 am eastern(GMT-5), and we ended up in Beijing @ 10:30 PM Beijing Time(GMT+8)

This was with a stopover in Tokoyo, Japan(GMT+9) and I can tell you, I have not seen more sunlight continuously than today. I know that it is 12 hours ahead of home time, so I can tell you it was a long ride.

Did have pics, but weirdness ensued, will have to take new ones tomorrow. We will be going on a trip tomorrow, if we wake up, to the Summer Palace. We shall see. Sleep is calling.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Leaving In 6 hours!

Okay, I'm geeked, I admit it. totally loving it scared about the future joyously geeked. If I were a little boy I'd be doing the happy feet dance right about now.
Send up prayers to the big buy for us - all the way thru until the 24th when we return, We'll need it.(and don't stop then please)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wonderful day

Yesterday was a perfect day weatherwise, the sky was blue, temperatures were moderate, the Kwanzan cherry outside the shower was in full bloom. We were truly blessed by all the friends and family who came.
Personally I think that having a toddler shower is MUCH more fun than a regular baby shower because the toys are a lot cooler. We had assistance in trying out the toys and gioving their stamp of approval from Kayleigh, Oliver and Lucy. Kayleigh and Oliver were also #1 assistants in bringing the gifts to me to unwrap. Oliver made sure I did everything in the proper order & read the card first! I think that everybody shared little bits of themselves because they brought what was important to them. We had art, safety tips, toys, many books (yeah!) and the carseat that should outlast the house! I think our favorite fun item was that 3 people bought us the Ikea stuffed dragons - lovely! Others might return the 'extra's' but not us because they're so us. We either have one per person or one per floor of our tri-level. It has also been suggested that we take our Christmas pictures in them!
We also received more orphanage donations! More items to be packed and a gift of money to be spent for the orphans while we're over there. I'll be packing and weighing bags tonight to make sure we're set.
The Shower was thrown my life long wonderful friend Vicki at her condo complex clubhouse and we fit everybody perfectly. The three incredible women from Bill's side of the family, Bill's Mom, our sister-in-law Kerry, and youngest brother Joe's girlfriend Tammy did a ton of work. Also a Thank You! to Kerry's Mom, Sandra, who assembled many little takeout containers as she was visiting Kerry this week and Mum who helped with clean up. Between everyone there was an imaginative and tasty menu, good conversation and communication, and a wonderful job done! Yeah Guys!
As we had invited menfolk too, we didn't indulge in standard shower games. Instead we gave everybody a pair of chopsticks (Ikea scores again) and had people pick pepperidge farm goldfish out of a bowl and put them into cupcake papers. Some did better than others and the bonus was that if you didn't win you still got to eat the goldfish!
Bill was working until half an hour before the shower and arrived just in time. By eight o'clock last night he was barely able to keep his eyes open and he was in bed by about nine thirty. He had to get up extremely early today for church set up, but was still so tired that he came back to bed to sleep for an hour. I guess he wasn't trusting himself to drive as tired as he was. We finished the thank you notes last night so they're prepped to go out in Monday's mail. When you only have a few days between shower and take off, you have to get them out right away or they just may never happen.
Well time to get ready for one of my last work days, should be lovely busy as it looks to be as beautiful today as it was yesterday.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Toddler Shower - Mark 1

We had a toddler shower from Heather's work, and it was GREAT fun!