Wednesday Update

Li Zhong and Deb - Nanchang, TuesdayEach day brings big steps. Monday was an early start, which was really hard after such a tough evening on Sunday (“gotcha day”). We had early appointments at three different government offices to get the paperwork started for Li Zhong’s travel visa and to finalize the adoption. She did great, however. She was up early on her own, which helped even if she wasn’t really rested. She ate well — she loves fruit (which helps in lots of ways, if you know what I mean!) and she loves riding in the bus. By the time we left the last set of appointments and got back to our hotel a little after noon, she was well past her point of no return and she went into meltdown mode as soon as we were back in our room. And the meltdown lasted pretty much until 9pm when she collapsed exhausted. A tough afternoon on all of us.

She did sleep most of the night, though, waking once to briefly take a bottle and then sleeping until almost 8am.

Tuesday was much more relaxing, with nothing specific planned in the morning other than a quick checkup with a doctor here in the hotel room — she is completely healthy. The doctor did comment with a laugh on her cheeks and her thighs (she is by far the heaviest of all of the girls in our group). Li Zhong and Ian - Nanchang, TuesdayThere’s a temple and pagoda with their entrance to the grounds about a block from our hotel, so we walked down there in the morning. Li seems to like being outside and the temple grounds are fenced, so they are much more peaceful than the bustling city around us. Lots to look at and see and she really did enjoy being out. Ian and I climbed to the top story of the pagoda (he got some pix I will post at some point) — imagine 10 stories of ladders to get to the top (and then back down)… an amazing view of the city around us.

In the afternoon, most of our group went to Peoples’ Park, a huge park here in Nanchang. Fish ponds, paths, lots and lots of people out enjoying a grey but not rainy day. Ian attracted quite a crowd while he was juggling his soccer ball, between being pretty good with the ball and being blond and blue-eyed. Our group attracted lots of attention with our bunch of girls. The people of China are amazing: they are so open and friendly and curious, and their reaction when they find out why we have these little girls is touching. They are so excited for these little girls, it is hard to explain.

The park has a pond where they will zip you inside an inflated ball about 2 meters in diameter and then send you out on the pond. You have to try to stand up in the ball and sort of run inside it to make the ball move around on the water. It is hilarious to watch. More photos of Ian coming on that one, too…

Again, Li just loved being outside and watching things going on around her…

Evening was tough again, though, as she started screaming pretty much as soon as we were back in the hotel and didn’t let up until she collapsed around 9pm. She did sleep pretty well, though, waking up around 4am when she drained two whole bottles in about two minutes, and then slept until about 7:30.

Li woke up pretty happy, had a bit to eat and drink and was content to sit on the bed playing and looking at books while we got ready to go eat breakfast — which is a huge change from the past couple of days where she has been very clingy, demanding to be constantly held (Deb and I refer to this as the Chinese weightlifting program, as we are both exhausted from this by the end of the day, as she is a solid 24 pounds and very strong!). Along with a couple other families, we caught taxis to go to a local market (Evelyn, our local rep, wrote out directions in Mandarin to give to the drivers to get us there and back again).  Traffic here is unbelievable — I will write more on that at some point, too — but we made it. The market is a huge building backed with little bitty stalls where people sell stuff. Again, the girls got lots of attention and the people were friendly, curious, and amazing in their reactions when they found out why we have them…

Li Zhong - Nanchang, WednesdayThe afternoon was very low key. Li was perfectly content again to sit on the bed and just play and is becoming much more verbal — both good signs. She is also much more willing to be held by any of the three of us, which is again a good sign (and a welcome relief for my aching arms and back!). She really did have a great day, she’s eating and drinking, pooping — all the things we love in babies. She’s smiling more, she’s ticklish, she gives kisses. The only bad part today was the pre-bed meltdown, which again was an hour of uninterrupted screaming…

Li is beautiful, strong, healthy, curious, becoming much more verbal, clearly becoming much more secure in her relationships with all three of us. She is also very strong willed, and each day so far she has clearly been happier. She is very attentive, and is very coordinated. And yes, those cheeks are every bit as big as they look in the pictures, maybe bigger — she has three sets of dimples.

Each day of this phase of our journey has shown big changes… and there’s more to come.

We Survived “Gotcha” Day

Li Zhong at the end of Gotcha DayWe did in fact survive “gotcha” day. Most of the little girls were late, as they were stuck in traffic on their way into Nanchang. So we waited. After three-plus years, what’s another 45 minutes? First four showed up, then the remaining five. As they came in, we could hear one of them screaming. Not crying. Screaming. That would be our Li Zhong.

That picture, taken a few minutes after 9pm, represents the only time since we were handed her by one of the orphanage workers that she wasn’t screaming. She just finally wore herself out after almost four hours of pretty much non-stop crying. I’m not sure who in that picture is more tired.

We couldn’t get her to eat anything, so I’m sure she is going to wake up starving. We’ve got an early start tomorrow with appointments at several of the government officials to get the paperwork for her visa started, then a trip to Wal-Mart — yes, that store, even in Nanchang — for baby supplies.

So, for all of you out there reading this, keep us in our prayers… the next few days are definitely going to be hard on all of us. Having said that, though, it is moments like these that both give us hope and make it all worth it.

Nanchang

We made it to Nanchang and to our hotel here. The hotel is very nice, much nicer and newer than our hotel in Hong Kong. Very low clouds, very grey, very rainy… and I’m very sure you don’t want to hear about the hotel. We have a meeting at 3pm with our group and our local agency rep, Evelyn, and then all of the babies in our group are being brought here to the hotel at 5pm. I’ll write more later.

Made it to Hong Kong

We’ve made it as far as Hong Kong, arriving around 8am this morning — it is Friday evening as I write this. The combination of the almost-16-hour plane ride from LA and the time change has left us pretty wiped out. We felt pretty decent until about an hour ago — late afternoon — when all of us just sort of ran out of gas.

After we got checked into our hotel this morning, we got out for a bit of a walk, which felt wonderful after spending so much time cooped up in airplanes yesterday. We’ll do a bit of sightseeing tomorrow (Saturday for us), and then take it easy and rest. We’ll get a pretty early start on Sunday, with our flight from Hong Kong to Nanchang in the morning and then we meet our daughter at some point in the afternoon.

Travel Day

Later today, we’ll get on a plane that will take us to a plane that will take us to a plane that will take us to a plane that will take us to a plane to our little girl. We’re (mostly) packed, as rested as could be expected, more than excited, and ready.

We’ll try to post at least occasionally over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned…