Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama

"Sweet home Alabama where the skies are so blue, Sweet Home Alabama I'm coming home to you..."
In the last 2 weeks Addie has travelled to 6 cities on 3 flights and a train covering over 10,000 miles and is finally home. It's hard to believe we have been together for 2 weeks now. It has been an amazing journey for all of us. We are all trying to adjust to the long flights and the time change. Addie continues to do well. The 23 hours in airports and airplanes on top of the 13 hour time difference has taken its toll on her though. She is waking up about 2:30 am and is ready to go, then she wants to sleep during the day. I think it will just take a little time for her to adjust. The time change has been hard on all of us. Last night when she woke up Ann and I were already awake. Since we were all up we thought it was a good time to have some apple pie, thats what you are supposed to do when your baby wakes up, right. My mom would be glad to know Addie loved her pie. After we were done Addie and I moved to the couch where we fell asleep about 3:30 and then woke up about 5:30 when Lyndsay and Landon came down. Both said they had already been up for a while. Landon said he had come down, but went back to his room when he saw me and Addie asleep.
We are thankful to all of are friends who prayed for us as we travelled to bring Addie home. We have seen the hand of God at work each step of the way. Even though this is the end of this chapter of bringing Addie home. It is only the beginning of another as we begin our life together as a family. Thanks to my sister Amanda who updated the blog for us while we were gone. We emailed the pictures and information back to her and she posted it for us.  Here are a few more pictures and the video of Addie's gotcha day.

Dragon Boat Cruise

Landon and his new friend Joshua.

Lyndsay and Mckenna

Addie and JoJo

JoJo fixing Lyndsay's hair

JoJo quickly had an audience

Addie's first swim

Our crazy ride down the mountain on a golf cart!

There are even Alabama fans in China.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Doctor

We have finally arrived in Guangzhou, the last leg of our trip.  
Yesterday we did not have a lot on the agenda, just to get Addie's passport and fly out.  Seemed like an easy enough day.  I was able to take my first and only run here in Nanchang. It was pretty good, the streets were a little crazier here though.  Our guide was supposed to pick up Addie's passport and bring it to the hotel when she picked us up to head to the airport.  She got there at 3pm and said her passport was not ready so we needed to go to the passport office and pick it up.  Our flight was at 5:30 so we had a little time.  We ended up waiting about 45 minutes at the office, while there we found out our flight had been delayed an hour because of the weather where it was coming from.  This was good since we were going to be cutting it close.  The flight ended up being almost 3 hours late.  The flight went very well though.  Addie was restless at first, but did well.  She fell asleep right before we landed.  Hopefully she will do this well on our flight home.  We found our guide and she took us to the hotel.  It was around 11:30pm by the time we got to our room and got the kids in bed.  Maybe we can catch on some of the sleep tonight.

Today was our visit to the doctor.  We really were not sure what to expect.  It was definitely different than a doctors visit at home.  When we got there our guides filled out our paperwork. The place was packed with people.  We had three different doctors to see.  Here they don't call you back one at a time, you just go to the door and wait in line.  It was definitely interesting. While we were there we saw another couple, the Woodall's, who are also from Athens.  We didn't really get a chance to speak besides saying hello.  Addie fell asleep right before we got started.  She slept through most of the first check as they listened to her heart and took some basic measurements.  She woke up when we laid her down so they could check her flexibility, she was not happy.  She was fine when they were done, but we had to lay her down to weigh and measure her at the next room and she screamed some more.  I thought the last one was going to be okay until they put the tongue depressor in her mouth.  All together she did well, but she was ready for it to be done. 

We went downstairs to wait on one of the other family's in our group and she was quickly smiling again.  Thankfully we had no shots or blood work today.  I was a little worried about how that would go.  I'm sure we will have plenty of that when we get home. 

This afternoon our agency helped all of the families get our paperwork ready for our consulate appointments.  Our appointment is Tuesday morning at 8am.  A little sad that we are not able to take pictures at Addie's oath taking.  The consulate does not allow cameras in their office.  I understand the purpose, but it would be nice to have a picture of that. 
We are looking forward celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow.  Always exciting when there is a new addition for Mother's Day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Day at the Park

Today we visited a local park here in Nanchang.  It was a beautiful day for the park.  The rain was gone and it was a nice sunny day.  It was actually a little cooler  than the past few days. The weather here is similar to home, hot and humid.  I guess that is one thing that will not be an adjustment for Addie.  It was a very large park and there was lots to do and see.  The park was pretty busy with people doing various things.  We saw people practicing Tai Chi, ballroom dancing, and some type of martial arts.  

They had a small obstacle course/playground that Lyndsay and Landon loved.  I think their favorite was the zip line.  Addie smiled and laughed as she watched them play.  I'm sure she will be joining them on the playground at home soon. 

As we were walking through the park the kids got attention from lots of people.  As they were playing several people were taking their photograph.  At home that would worry me, but here they are so curious and many have never seen blonde hair and fair skin.  

We also get some attention because Addie doesn't look like us.  Many are curious as to why she looks different.  Our guide usually explains she is ours and we adopted her.  Today Ann had someone ask for her picture for the first time.  We were walking through the park and a couple of women wanted a picture with her.
After the park we visited a few porcelain shops.  This area is know for its porcelain.  We learned a little about the differences and the quality of porcelain.  Addie was given a porcelain tea set from her orphanage and a large cup at the civil affairs office.  We picked up a couple of things for us today.  We wanted to have something that was original to her area.  
Addie fell asleep at the end of the shopping and we had our first melt down.  She woke up on our way to the hotel.  We got back and had a little lunch, then Ann was going to put her down for a nap.  I took Lyndsay and Landon for a walk.  We went next door and had ice cream and wandered around.  We came back an hour and a half later and Ann said she had cried the entire time.  She has fussed and cried some, but usually just to get attention(not that she is lacking for any) or to get what she wants and usually with no tears.  Today we saw her first tears.  We're not really sure what the problem was, maybe she was just really tired.  She also seems to be teething so that could be part of it.  She is asleep now, so hopefully we will be good tomorrow.
While here in Jiangxi we have mostly eaten at the hotel, a couple of times we had pizza or McDonald's.  Mostly because it has been easier to just eat here after going wherever.  The food at the hotel is pretty good.  It is a mix of western and Asian.  I never thought I would have noodles or pork dumplings for breakfast and a few things I'm not really sure what they were. We have been wanting to get out and try some local food so tonight our guide took us to a local restaurant.  I'm always a little unsure when you walk in and can pick out your dinner from an aquarium.  They had turtles, eels, stingray, a couple of dozen fish and various animals.  They didn't have menus, they had dishes prepared and you chose what you wanted.  I wish I had gotten a picture of it, it would make more sense to see it.  We went with sweet and sour pork, rice, fried noodles, shrimp, bean sprouts, and fried eggplant(not breaded like we at home).  The meal was so good.  Our guide said Jiangxi is known for being hot, they have hot weather and hot food.  The noodles and shrimp were pretty spicy. The rest was a bit milder.  The eggplant was great, not what I'm used to, but it was delicious.  We finished with this coconut milk cream puff. 

I think we all had a lot of fun today, but we are all ready for bed.  After a bath Addie fell asleep quickly.  Our guide will pick up Addie's passport in the morning.  We then travel to Guangzhou tomorrow(Friday) at about 5pm, about 4am at home.  This is our last stop and where Addie will become a citizen of the U.S.A.  The flight is only an hour and a half so hopefully Addie will do well.  Saturday will be a visit to the medical clinic for Addie.  I'm not sure what all they will do, but I'm not really looking forward to that.  It's a little sad to leave her province, but we look forward to Guangzhou.  Thanks to all who continue to pray for us.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Yesterday we just took it easy.  In the morning our guide took us to a local shopping center to get a few items we needed.  We really just needed shoes and a few things for Addie.  We also just wanted to pick up some snacks and things for Lyndsay and Landon.  It is always interesting to see markets or stores in other places.  This place was pretty modern, but there were still some differences.  In the meat section they had many live animals; turtles, fish, eel, and a few things I wasn't sure what they were.  The bakery was really nice.  We picked up some fresh bread and some type of doughnut like things.  
After shopping it was getting close to lunch time and there happened to be a McDonald's next door.  We decided to stop there for lunch.  The menu was not quite as big as it is at home.  With your meals you could choose fries or corn for your side.  We got fries, I wish had gotten the corn just to see what it tasted like. 

After lunch we headed back to the hotel.  Shortly after we got back it began to rain.  Ann stayed in the room and put Addie down for a nap, and I took Lyndsay and Landon to the pool for a while.  At the pool we were informed that  you had to have a swim cap to get in the pool.  Thankfully they had some we could borrow. Neither of the kids were really fond of that idea, but I think we still had a great time at the pool. 

Today it is still raining.  The rain was not too bad this morning so we went to a local pavilion or pagoda. 

It was pretty interesting to see.  It was nice because we could be inside and out of the rain for the most part.  Inside it had scenes painted from different time periods.  It also had some tools, art, sculptures and miscellaneous artifacts.  It was a nice outing for a rainy day. Hopefully it will stop raining tonight and we can make it to the park tomorrow.  It is supposed to be a small replica of Tienanmen Square.
The last couple of days we have had some great time bonding as a family.  It is so amazing the way God brought Addie into our family and almost instantly she seems to feel at home.  She already calls Ann Mama(which actually translates the same into Mandarin).  She usually wants Ann when she gets tired.  So far she is sleeping really well.  She sleeps 9 hours or so at night, and usually has about a 2 hour nap in the day.  We are still trying to figure out what she likes to eat.  She takes a bottle, and we know she likes Cheerios. 

We are praising God for his goodness and mercy!  We are thankful that he brought Addie into our family.  We are continuing to pray about the next week, as we finish out our time here and then fly to Guangzhou.  In Guangzhou we have the consulate visit and doctors visits for Addie. We are also praying about the long flight home and then the transition into new foods, a new time zone, and pretty much everything.  We praise God for what he has done and continue to trust that he will take care of things. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's Official!!!!

Well today we are no longer a family of 4, we are officially a family of 5!
We started the morning with a walk to the Civil Affairs office, where they photographed Addie. The traffic and the roads here seem a little crazier than Beijing.  We were with our guide and we would just walk out into the street in front of cars.  When we got there we had to sit Addie in a chair for her picture and she was not happy.  She has been so good for the camera, but not this morning.  We finally got her calm so they could take her picture.  Next, they had to take a picture of Addie, Ann, and me for the official adoption certificate.  We then waited a few minutes and we had an interview with someone.  While waiting we noticed they had posted "The Foreign Adoption Process for Jiangxi", I thought it was funny they translated the title, but they did not translate the actual steps in the process.  Hopefully we got it right.  In the interview they asked a handful of questions and we had to sign paperwork and then we were done.  It took just a little over an hour for this part of the process. 

We walked back to the hotel.  We had a few hours so we put Addie down for her nap.  She was able to get in a good 2 hour nap.  Later in the afternoon we had to go out to finish all of our paperwork. The first stop was at the notary office.  There it was similar to the morning, he asked a few questions we signed some papers and were on our way.  Next we headed to apply for her passport.  This was pretty quick because we had already filled out this paperwork the night before.  They took her picture and our guide gave them some paperwork and we were done.  When we walked out it was official, we are now a family 5!
Our paperwork here in her province is now done.  We just have to wait for her passport and we are on our way.  If the weather is nice the next couple of days we will have some time to sight see in her province.  The weather does not look promising at this point.  Tomorrow they are forecasting heavy rain that will continue through Wednesday.  Hopefully it will only rain for part of the day.

We are all doing well so far.  Addie slept through the night and is doing great.  I think we are finally adjusting to the time change.  Lyndsay and Landon both are great with Addie.  It has been a great couple of days together.  Thanks for praying for us.