Monday, November 30, 2015

Consulate Day!

We had our consulate appointment today!  There are no pictures from that as you are not allowed to take any electronics inside.  We were there with 10 other families, but we were the only one from our agency.  We found out that we might not have been the worst off in Beijing.  There were other families that were on the plane for 11 hours before they were finally allowed to take off.

Thanks to the organization of our agency and facilitator everything went through without any issues.  Hopefully as long as there are no system issues we should get Hailey's Visa tomorrow!  We are scheduled to leave the country on Thursday and we are ready.

So after we got back we took a trip to the AEON for Diapers and a few other things.  We ended up at McDonalds again.  I am so tired of fast food!  So later I had Jim scout out some new dinner places.  He will add some pictures from his adventure later.

(Jim here) I followed my instructions to find some real food.  I went down and spoke to the tattooed concierge.  He gave me a map of local food joints within walking distance!  Why did I not ask for this earlier??  I dutifully took it up to show Cora my prize.  We discussed it, did a little internet research (Hey! We ARE 1990s kids, we know the Google.) and decided on The Paddy Field, and Irish Bar and Restaraunt.
Being the responsible soul I am, I decided, with Cora's approval, that I should go reconnoiter the premises.  You know, just to make sure it was a good place to eat.  Well, I got there and saw that they had some good Irish stout on tap, and being as this was a trip to verify the excellence of this establishment, I figured I should probably see if they had good beer.  You know, as a responsible husband, I mean, what if the beer was bad?  Wouldn't want to bring my family to such a place.  Best to verify.

So, much as I don't enjoy beer, I threw myself upon the sword of Murphy's Irish Stout.  What a punishment.  But, all in the name of love.
 Mmm-mmmm, LOVE!
After verifying the beer was edible, I decided to take a right upon exiting the little mall the bar was in, instead of a left.  my route took me through a very quiet neighborhood.  It was awesome.  I ended up going around the back way.  I saw some really cool things.  I had my camera...obviously.

I love street photography.  I wish I could have the opportunity to do it more.

(Jim is done here)

He found an Irish pub that was really pretty good.  I had Chicken Cordon Blue, Jim had Chicken Kiev and Chloe had Spaghetti...not sure how Irish it was but I ate it with a Guinness so that makes everything Irish right?

Hailey on the other hand decided she was going to take a nap and nothing we did could wake this Child up.  She LOVES her sleep.  She does sleep with her eyes slightly open, we have been told it is a side effect of her surgery but we will figure it all out when we get home.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Shamian Island

 We took a trip to Shamian Island yesterday to do some shopping.  Last time we stayed ON the island.  The prices were pretty good last time, but this time, they were a bit more spending.  Our guide said that the economy is changing here as well as everywhere else.  Jobs are leaving, and things get more expensive.  Such is life I suppose.
 Chloe was exquisitely homesick, and didn't bother to hide it one bit.  I think we were all miserable by the time we got back to the hotel.

 The island remains a photographer's dream, although, weeding other photographers and people out of the photos has got to be a nightmare.  I chose to not bother trying to keep people out.

 The other family we came with have a little girl who cannot see...Chloe and she seemed to get along pretty well, even with the language barrier.  It was one of the few quiet times for Chloe.

 This was one of the few smiles we got from Chloe, and it was at the beginning.
 Above is the pearl market.

Pearl River Cruise

Saturday, was just a paperwork day for us.  Our guide came to our room to do some paperwork and that was all for adoption stuff yesterday.  Our Guide had arranged a Pearl River Cruise for us that night.  It is something we didn't get to do the last time we were here.  He arranged for a driver to meet us in the lobby of the hotel at 5:50 (one thing we have learned in China, nothing happens on the hour).  The driver spoke no english but was very nice, we had no idea what to expect but decided to go with the flow.  We got to the dock and we were at least able to understand to "stay here" and the driver ran away, what?  Ok don't panic, stay here, he won't leave us right?  He didn't, he came back with the tickets, whew that was a close one.

He took us in the building where they were loading passengers.  Again, he didn't speak a word of English so with hand signals he tried to tell us what to do.  It wasn't working and guess what? The tickets were in Chinese.  So he found the nice ladies loading people and basically put them in charge of us.  One thing about the people in China is that they care about other people.  If someone is obviously in need of help, they tend to take care of them in one way or another.  Those ladies were going to make sure we got on the right boat.  So oriented on that goal, they put us through the fence first, and made sure we were ushered in the right direction when the time came.  They were so sweet.  

The boat came.  It was the Dragon boat and it was really cool.  Jim will add all the pictures not sure if he got a picture of the boat but it was neat (Jim here...I think I managed to avoid taking any pictures of the boat...yea me.).  We were seated on the top deck and it was a beautiful night.  The breeze was warmer than expected and we ended up taking off our sweatshirts and jackets.  We met a very nice older couple and, although again we could not speak the language, we seem to understand each other.  I got a big thumbs up from grandpa for getting a hat and blanket for the baby.  We also exchanged pictures of each other.  We also met a couple with a 14 month-old little boy from Hong Kong, they could speak english!  

(Jim taking over, Cora is taking control of bedtime, yea Mom!  You rock!)The wait staff brought tea and fruit, but we didn't really have time to enjoy it, as we were all gathered near the rails watching the lighted bridges go by feet overhead.  Various bridges and buildings were lit up and were a brilliant sight from the river.

At one point a beautifully dressed lady sat down to a traditional Chinese stringed instrument and she played a beautifully Chinese song.  In all we may have travelled all of four or five miles, but it was a good forty-five minute to an hour cruise.  

We were among the last off the boat and travelled through the cruise building and came out the other side.  Our guide had gestured to a spot and intimated that we should wait there when we were finished.  "OK?" Yes, we'd nodded.  So, there we stood on the indicated curb and within three minutes, there was our driver in his van with the little tan curtains.  He waved on the way by and pointed down the road a bit where we all piled in.  

Our journey home was accompanied by Chloe's litany of things she missed about home.  The poor girl is homesick.  She misses her Nana, her Poppyseed, her kitty, her Gypsy, her name it, she misses it.  And, do you want to know the most missed thing?  I know you're dying to hear.  Well, it is her "Hot milk."  

At home she routinely goes to bed after drinking warmed milk.  It's a comfort thing.  She has done so since she was a baby.  We negotiated with her.  She knew she would be unlikely to get hot milk in China.  We ended up taking her pillow and her Lovey, but the milk had to stay simply because of logistics.  She has done very well without it.  Obviously, that loss is only temporary.  She misses it so much she pines for it in her teary tirades.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Visiting the Orphanage

Yesterday we had the very special opportunity to visit Hailey's orphanage.  She spent the first 16 months of her life in this place and it is a very important part of her story.  We were not able to visit Chloe's orphanage so it is a special event that you don't always get to see.   

We started the day very tired.  Hailey has been sick with a cold and was up all night coughing.  We headed to breakfast then we needed to be at the bank early to exchange money for the orphanage donation.  It is quite an event when you need to exchange so much but we were able to navigate it with the help of the bank staff.  Then we meet our guide for the drive to the orphanage.  When we got there and walked around the grounds a bit.  Then met with the director (?) she was the one that brought Hailey to us the day before.  Then we headed to the the part of the orphanage Hailey was in. We came up to the room where all of the Nannies that took care of the babies Hailey's age were and all of her little friends.  

They were all so happy to see her.  Her Chinese name is Jing and they all started calling Jing Jing.  It was so sweet.  One Nanny inparticular had a special connection with our girl.  She wanted to hold her so I handed Hailey over to this sweet lady and the look on Hailey's face was priceless.  It was all I could do not to cry.  She was so happy to see her nanny agian.  You could just feel the love for the kids in that room.  Hailey did not want to leave that room that was her place for her whole life and I could not blame her at all.  Everyone knows that a family is the best place for a child but knowing that these children are loved is so important.  They were all very happy that she seemed to like us, since she is usually not very happy with strangers.  

After I finally got Hailey back they showed us the crib that she slept in.   There were a couple of link toys in it and it was one of only 2 that had a mobile above it.  We meet with the nurse and she explained a little bit more about her procedure or rather the issue after.  She said that she gets congested easily and that that is probably what we are seeing.  That her body just needs to get used to the changes in her face.  That is also thee reason that she has more trouble closing her eyes.  I can't wait to get her back to the US and have a doctor explain things with out any language barrier.  

The Nanny that was her primary caretaker and the one she was the closest to came in to the sleeping room to see her one more time.  It was very sweet.  We asked her name and got a picture eventually she had to leave, she was in tears walking away and I again had to struggle to hold it together.  I can't even imagine the hearts of these women that get so attached to these children and then have to either let them go or see them grow up in an institution.  They give big pieces of their hearts away to these kids it is the most touching thing I have ever seen.