Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tired Of Us Already

We are taking the boys to daycare while Maggie adjusts to life at home. Yesterday morning as I was getting the boys ready, Jack asked if he was going to stay with Dixie, his daycare provider like the boys had while we were in China. My voice oozing with comfort, I told him that no, we were going to pick him up that evening. After all, we are done with our China adventures. "No!" he cried. "You need to go to China and adopt another brother and sister!"

Well, I really don't think that's going to happen but it was cute and a little sad that he insisted we needed to leave the country when I thought he was concerned that we wouldn't pick him up that evening.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

China Adoption Travel Tips

Lion at Victoria's Peak, Hong Kong

It's an exciting time for the remaining families in my Yahoo China Adoption group. Several are scheduled to leave for China this week! Last week, the others received matches for their beautiful children. I'm so excited for them. These are some tips I'd like to share with those who may still be planning their trip.

1. If you can afford to, bring extra money. With the US economy being in the tank, we owed more money for the orphanage fee. Also, our guides wanted us to tip bus drivers and even the hotel staff in Guangzhou, including housekeeping. Originally, we were told that tipping wasn't necessary. Also, tours are extra (of course), so that will factor into what you spend.

2. If your entry port isn't Beijing, leave a few days earlier (if you can afford it.) I wish we had done this. The sights we saw in Hong Kong, excluding Victoria's Peak, were not that exciting, definitely not the beginning I had imagined for our trip. I can't believe we flew all the way to China and didn't see the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square or the Forbidden City.  

3. If you're single or the only person of a couple traveling, please bring a support person. You're going to need it. There was a person in our group who came by herself and I know it was a struggle for her to manage her child and everything else that was going on - luggage, etc. Sometimes it really does take a village. Mike and I were blessed to have three people on our team. My mom was an amazing help.

4. If you have two rooms and you "think" you have late-day check-outs for both rooms, double check. In Guangzhou, mom received a call in the early afternoon "reminding" her that she needed to check out of the room or be charged an extra day. That information was never shared with us prior to the trip. All of a sudden, we were scrambling to more everything from mom's room into our room. That was some extra craziness we didn't need on the day we left for Hong Kong.

5. Bring a small packet or two of formula with you on Gotcha Day. We had some Enfamil packs but they were at the hotel because we thought we would be given formula that morning. We discovered that the last time Maggie had been fed that day was at 6:30 in the morning. We received her between 10:30 and 11. Although I thought promotional material for our agency said they provided the baby with their first can of formula, this was not the case. Right after our Gotcha moment, we took a trip to a local super market to buy formula. However, Maggie was heavily crying before we reached the hotel because she was so hungry.

6. Our agency promised that staff provides water at each stop, so at each city. We received this at two of our stops, the first in Hong Kong after I commented how thirsty we were. If I hadn't said something, we probably would not have been offered this. In Changsha, our guide said she had never heard of this policy. So, I e-mailed our agency. In Guangzhou, water was waiting for us on the bus when we arrived. If the guides don't have water when you meet them, ask about it. If they act confused, e-mail the agency. I get upset when agencies/companies promise things and don't deliver. Hopefully, the next family who stays in Hunan will get everything that is promised to them.  

7. If you are in a taxi and get hit by a vehicle, don't be upset if the taxi drivers orders you out of the cab and away from the scene right away. This happened to Mike and one of our adoptive parent friends. Mike learned from a friend who is from China that if the two had been at the scene when the police arrived, they may have had to stay in the country longer for the investigation, legal process. What had been considered rude bheavior was really a time saver.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na

It's Batman and his sidekick, Tiger.
The Tiger outfit Liam's birth family bought fits him perfectly. He just needs a tail. :)
Batman Jackie, the fierce defender.
His loyal buddy.
And little Boo who may be a ladybug if the oufit grandma bought fits for Halloween. Otherwise, she'll just have to be a precious baby girl.

So The Story Goes...

Liam loves technology and just about everything else he shouldn't have his hands on. He especially loves phones. Tonight, Liam got a hold of our phone. We grabbed it from him before he dialed the White House or 911. It was a time to bring up the important 911 subject with Jack.

Me: "Jack, you call 911 when you need to get a hold of a police officer, ambulance or fire truck."
Jack patiently listening.
Me: "So, if mommy falls, is sick..."
Jack: "Or is dead."

Uh, what?

Me: "Why would mommy be dead?"
Jack: "Because you spank my butt too much."

Okay, so I do spank him sometimes although I prefer to use that as a last ditch effort. For example, when I've entered his and Liam's room three times during nap time to tell him to stop hitting the wall with his feet so he and his brother can go to sleep. Usually, tone of voice or timeout is the preferred choice of discipline. We did a lot of timeout yesterday.

So, here begs the question, where do we go for therapy now that the Oprah show is gone? :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pictures from Gotcha Day

Look at my baby girl - so tiny!
A wee bit emotional - I'd been waiting for this moment for a long time.
Yep - we're in love.
Checking us out.

A Welcome Home Gift

When we returned to our house on Thursday, we had to sift through tons of mail (lots of junk) that we had put on delivery hold while we were gone. But there was also a package from Fisher Price. Hmm...Mike said he knew what it was but I wasn't convinced. Perhaps I had ordered something before we left and somehow forgotten about it?

Before we left for China, I wrote Mattel and asked if there was a way I could purchase the "Going Home" Barbie. This Barbie features a Caucasian mommy with Asian baby. Adoptive parents used to received this set when they stayed at the White Swan hotel in Guangzhou. However, the hotel is being renovated so we did not get to stay there during our trip. I was very sad when I learned this. The White Swan and "Going Home" Barbie are a regular part of the China adoption process. I wanted Maggie to have a doll set that resembled our relationship.

Imagine my surprise when I opened up the box and found this. Thank you Mattel/Fisher Price!

Hanging in there

Saturday night/Sunday morning was the first time since the trip that I woke up and realized right off the bat that I was not waking up in a hotel. Now if I could just get Maggie to sleep through the night. She has been up 3, 4? times already. I'm so tired, I lose count. She always manages to take a doo doo around midnight. She wanted to sleep through it tonight but I knew it would be massive so I got her up and changed her diaper.

Wow - my blog has become all about sleep and poopy diapers. Nice.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jet Lagged

Wow - this jet lag and missing out on sleep over a 24 hour period is rough. Plus, Maggie has her days and nights confused. After all, she took naps on the plane, but we didn't get that much rest. I still wake up sometimes and wonder which hotel we're in, then it slowly dawns on me that we are in our own comfortable (and soft!) beds.

Watching and listening to Mike wake up can be quite comical. I guess he's a deeper sleeper than me. Last night, he asked where the light was. Tonight, after I asked him to make a bottle, he said, "I was going to go to the bathroom. I guess I'll go downstairs." (We only have one level.) Then I had to direct him towards the bedroom door so he could find the kitchen. He still managed to stumble into the door. Once he saw our hallway, it dawned on him where he was. I waited until he left the room before I burst out laughing.

I still can't believe we're home. Jack was pretty excited when we picked up the boys. Liam was a bit confused. It was heart breaking. There was no way I could fully prepare a 14 month old for our long trip. I hear even Jack had his moments. Once we arrived home, I think it started clicking for Liam who we were and where we were. He started checking out all their toys. We kept both boys home from daycare today so we could spend it as a family. Liam came more out of his shell. Mike said he even saw Liam give Maggie a hug. Of course, Liam also lightly hit Maggie's face one time. Mostly though, he pats her head and feels her face like a blind person feels an object for the first time.

If I keep waking up at 3 in the morning, I will eventually start posting pictures of our trip!