Parker's slide home!
Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Noodles will also keep me occupied on long flights!
23 hours after beginning the trek home we landed safely on U.S. soil and Claire became an American Citizen! We dragged our behinds off the plane, got through customs and headed straight for immigration where we turned in our super-secret-sealed-brown-envelope given to us at the American Consulate in Guangzhou. This envelope must make it into the immigration officer's hands unopened. Then we had to go get our checked bags....again, and recheck them for the next flight! Boy, did we get tired of hauling those bags around. We made it to the terminal in time to find out, that our flight was delayed! At 9:15 we boarded our last flight. Claire passed out 10 minutes before boarding and slept until we touched down in Charleston! Not a peep out of her until then.
Walking with Papa!
Today, we took Claire to the doctor to have her checked since I had put her on the antibiotics in China. She still has a full blown ear infection so we put her on stronger antibiotics. She did not even flinch when then nurse pricked her finger. This evening we took her to Moe's for dinner and out to the boy's baseball game. She did wonderfully and even fell asleep in Papa Stroud's arms. Overall, I would say she has had a good first day at home. And, she let Isabel play with her, push her in the cart at Walmart, brush her hair and sit beside her in the car. Isabel is quite the little mama! The boys just try to make her smile and disappear if she needs a diaper change!
Love my new push car!
My first baseball game with my Papa!
Flirting with one of the players!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Since this is a small Island, we have been in most of the stores and haggled our way into some pretty good deals on a few things. We have even gotten to know some of the local shop owners and workers and have cut up quite a bit with them. So, we revisited our favorites today for a few last minute deals and laughs! I don't know who has more fun haggling, Paul or the shop keepers!
Paul with Angel in one of our favorite shops
A happy girl!
Well, the bags are packed, again! Luggage pickup is at 5:45AM so I better get to bed! Please pray for us because the next two days are not going to be the most pleasant. We will spend the next 30 hours in transit! Sounds like a fun time! The next time you hear from me, Claire will officially be a citizen of the United States of America!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Then we got this shot!
There's our happy girl!
This evening we went to our Farewell dinner. This was at a Cantonese restaurant across from our hotel. After last night's dinner, I was a little concerned that we would have to order pizza again....but, it turned out alright. This restaurant, like many here in China, served numerous dishes on a lazy Susan. The dishes were all new to us, except for the rice, and were very edible. Okay, most were! Anyway, we did not go hungry!
After dinner, Claire had her bath, which she has grown to enjoy....as long as Daddy is in the tub with her! She does not enjoy bedtime though. She has a hard time settling down. We give her a bath and put lotion on and Daddy reads books and sings softly. But, when we first turn down the lights and put her on the bed she screams. Then she will crawl around on her bed and try to get on ours. When that doesn't work, she will do all sorts of cute things to try to get our attention hoping we will let her out of her bed. I have been doing the "Super Nanny" on her! I put her down and walk away. When she crawls out I put her back and walk away. Of course we are still right there in the room, there isn't anyplace else we could go! After about the 20th time of crawling off the roll-away onto our bed she will give up and go to sleep! Once she is asleep she stays on the roll-away but she still cries out in her sleep off and on. This, I think, is part of the grieving process. She still misses her foster family and probably will for quite some time.
The good news of the day is that our CHI coordinator told all the families that their paperwork passed the review by the American Consulate! I had stayed in my room from 10am until 11am in case there were any questions that needed to be answered, while Elsie, the coordinator, was presenting our paperwork for Claire's visa. We have also confirmed our flights home so, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, tomorrow is our last day in Guangzhou! I'm a little sad, but mostly ready to get home to my other children and all the family waiting for us on the other side of the world. Oh, and my soft bed...................as much as I enjoy sleeping on a concrete slab, I'm ready for my mattress and pillows!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Today was the famous medical day for the babies. All the children must have a cursory medical exam in order to get their visas. We walked down the street to a clinic here on Shamian Island for this. As you can see in this picture, Claire LOVED it!
The exam itself involved three stations. All the parents we taken into a central room, given the paperwork for their child and told to get into each line and then turn in the paperwork when you were done. Claire lost it the minute the nurse put her on the scale at the first station. This picture is of the dreaded height measurement! Then we went onto the ENT room where she had her hearing checked-a squeaky toy was squeezed behind her and she turned her head, hearing check over! Then they looked in her ears and down her throat. I guess we passed. We were given our paperwork and sent to the next station. The last station tripped us up. By the time we got to the doctor she had fallen asleep in my arms so I laid her on the table and he checked her heart and then began to undress her. It was good that she was asleep for this because this child will freak out when you undress her! The first thing he did was take her shoes and socks off. He took one look at her feet and stopped. He checked her records and looked at her feet again, checked her records and back to the feet. Then he moved on and did a quick check of the rest of the body and back to her feet. I knew what the problem was, her diagnosis doesn't say "club feet" it just says post operative spinal meningocele (spina bifida). Club feet are typical with the type of spina bifida she has but her feet are only mentioned once in her entire record and it was by the doctor that discharged her after her spina bifida surgery. At this point our translator happened to walk in the room and the doctor spoke to him for a minute. Then Simon, the translator, looked at me and said, "the doctor says her feet are deformed"......DUH! Well, apparently the doctor didn't think we knew that because it was not in the record. I assured him that we knew that and that it was not a problem. Simon spoke to the doctor and the then told us the doctor just has to update her medical before he sends it to the Consulate. Finally, we were released! I was so relieved!
On the Pearl River
Eating my noodles!
Our travel group
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Eating her lunch on the plane like a big girl!
The plane ride turned out to be the highlight of the day. Claire loved sitting in her own seat between me and Paul and she loved eating her lunch on the tray table. But, she fell asleep at the end of the flight and we had to wake her up, which did not make her day! Of course, she wanted Paul and of course, he needed to get the luggage so she was not a happy camper. We had a late flight so we were just getting checked into the hotel when we needed to meet up with the travel group for our group dinner. It was great to be back with our friends from Beijing and so wonderful to see all the new additions to each family. Claire was in a terrible mood and refused to eat anything at dinner. But the meal was a delicious Thai dinner. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and went straight to bed! Like I said, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! At least she has been sleeping better!
A miserable girl at the end of our horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day!
Today she woke up with fever again so we went ahead and started her on antibiotics. Three days of fever is long enough! She has been miserable. After our breakfast bar, we headed out with our group to a museum/park for the morning. I loved being around all the other families and getting to see all the personalities of the new children! Claire was still not feeling well but she wasn't as fussy as yesterday and she even got excited about being outside. The only nap she got was in a carrier that we borrowed and Paul wore. After the museum/park, our group went to the Pearl and Jade market and then back the hotel. About 4:00 we had a new baby on our hands! Same Claire, different personality! She suddenly perked up. She smiled, laughed, began doing simple signs and pointing to let us know what she wanted and best of all, let me play with her and hold her without a tantrum! Just when we thought it couldn't get better, she surprised us again...she started walking!! She pulled up on the side of the bed and cruised right around it! Poor thing, she is standing on the top of her right foot but she CAN stand and she CAN walk, and that is so amazing!
Group photo: Londa with Katie, Karla with Mia and Me with Claire!
Friday, May 16, 2008
THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT CLAIRE:
- She hates to take a bath!
- She smells all her food before she eats it!
- Just because she ate something yesterday, does not mean she will ever eat it again!
- She loves her shoes, her jacket, her socks.
- She does not like to be undressed or even to have any skin showing.
- She prefers to have her hair in her eyes and if you brush it away, she will pull it back.
- She does not like messy hands.
- She Loves to color.
- She LOVES to be outside.
- She is most definitely DADDY'S GIRL!
Not feeling too great
Tomorrow we leave Tianjin to go to Guangzhou. Our flight leaves at 12:45 and we arrive about 3 hours later. This will be our dress rehearsal to see how Claire does on a plane. Of course it doesn't matter, we still have to put on one for 13 hours to get her home, like it or not! So far, she does great in a taxi and on the subway. One of the other children from Tianjin got car sick when her family would go to the appointments. The child was four and had probably never been in a moving vehicle.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The good news is that she slept a little better last night, the bad news is that today was a big grieving day for little Claire. The poor thing is missing her foster family and she is just so sad. We have been able to distract her sometimes but other times she just cries and there is nothing we can do. When our guide picked us up this morning she brought with her a small diary that the orphanage had given her. First the nannies and then Claire's foster mom kept this diary and Jessie translated it for us. It is obvious that her foster family loved her very much. In the diary, the mom talks about how happy Tong was when her Dad came home each night and that she learned to call her dad before her mom! Essentially, she has always been a Daddy's girl!
Notice that in many of the pictures we take, Claire is wearing her jacket. This is not because it is cold here but because she insists on having it on at all times and zipped all the way up. It is a good thing we brought leggings for her because she also wants something on her legs at all times or she will try to cover them with a blanket and she cries if you take her socks off. Actually, she cries if you take her shoes off but will stop once you put them away where she can't see them. She won't stop if you take her socks off! She will whine and try to cover her feet with something! I know that Chinese mothers cover their children in layers and keep them bundled year round, so she may be so accustomed to being covered that she feels cold even when it is not...or, it is just ingrained in her that she must be covered. The other day, in the restaurant, she was sweating but she would not let me take her jacket off.
Oh, I forgot, another thing that Robert shared with us yesterday, is that we are mispronouncing Claire's Chinese name! Oops! The Kang part is not pronounced like kangaroo but like Kong. So, Wei Kang Tong sounds like "Way Kong Tong". How sad would it be for her to grow up mispronouncing her own name! Thank you, Robert for correcting us!!