Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
When Jacob starts "pinging" (what I call walking around the house and getting into trouble) I try to just have him help me do what I am doing. He is always going around shutting doors, picking up things, and fixing things that are out of place. I love that! He is a "HELPER" and I had him help me make some cookies. He is just like our other kids and thinks that helping is licking the spoon!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Here is our first family photo! I know- it took a long time. We went to Line Creek and used the timer on the camera. So you know what that means? Yes, Jen pushes the button and runs to her place. 3-4 times this happens and the family get a big kick out of seeing Mommy run back and forth. Anyway, we did not get any great photos - but it is hard to get 7 people smiling and looking in the same direction.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
There are so many things to be thankful for! All the preparations that I did- reading lots of adoption books - had me all set for a variety of possible things we might face adopting a toddler from another country. I think Jacob may have some issues with how much food he eats (he doesn't seem to know when to quit), but he will try ANYTHING and seems to enjoy just about EVERYTHING! His eating is a blessing. Jacob's coping method seems to be LAUGHTER. He tries to laugh his way out of things. His laughter is a blessing. Now, Jacob is three years old and with the age comes the tantrums. He can pitch a fit (esp. when you take him out of the pool and he is not ready to go) like any other three year old. He has a good set of lungs and can hit that level of intensity that pierces you to the bone - BUT - like most kids, he gets over it and is smiling 5 minutes later. That is a blessing. Jacob is now getting to sleep on his own w/o me in the room. He accepts nap time and bedtime w/o much whine. That is a blessing. Jacob is brave! The other day I saw him give our big dog Sandy a kiss on the head. I watched him swim around the pool (with is tube swim suit on) yesterday with not a care in the world. He experimented with jumping into MaMa's arms and pushing off the side with his legs. I also watched him explore the backyard all alone this morning. His bravery is a blessing. Jacob seems to know what prayer is and enjoys our time of praying before dinner and evening prayers. I have observed him eagerly hold family members hands, keep his eyes closed (I peeked ), and say a hearty AMEN. That is a blessing. Jacob demands attention throughout the day and seeks interaction with the family. He often chooses to play the "kissing game". He comes up to someone and kisses them and expects a kiss back. Sometimes it is a quite sit on your lap game or it can be a "chase me" game. We are so blessed that Jacob accepts affection and willing gives it to all of the family. That is such a blessing. How bless we are by our new son. Praise to God the Father for all his many blessings!!!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
We have had a week of just hanging out as a family. Ric went right back to work and the kids and I have been playing and introducing Jacob to the library, the golf cart, the park, dog walking, rides in the car, our dog Sandy, and meals at the table with the family. He is taking a nap during the afternoon and sleeping through the night. He has recovered from the virus he had and seems to be feeling great! He is great at imitating our words and I can tell he is going to pick up the language very fast.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The in-flight service on both legs was pleasant, but I think I was spoiled by the China Southern flight attendants and the Customer Service Reps at the NWA counter in Hong Kong. The only downside is that they use the 747 on the ATL-NRT route so there is no individual entertainment system . The result was that I got to watch the same episodes of ‘MadMen ‘ (twice) and ‘The New Old Christine’ (three times). Side note: Wasn’t “Christine” the Steven King story about the possessed car? How did it end up with ‘Elaine’ from Seinfeld?
Ranting about Atlanta Airport:
Getting through immigration/customs then rechecking your bags, going through TSA and getting out of Atlanta Airport SUCKS...Ok I said it. I am sorry for everyone I offended and I imagine Jen will make me pull this down once she reads it, but it really is terrible. By far the worst airport experience that I had was the last one in the good ole USA. Why? Let me enumerate. (If you don't want to hear the rant go past the numbered parts)
1. We were told by CCAI (and I believe the US Consulate in Guangzhou) to go through the NON-US Traveler lane at passport control. This slows you up a ton as there is a requirement for all non-US folks to fingerprint, etc. No big deal, but the agent at the US told us (after we waited in line) that we should have gone through the US Citizen line...Note to follow on travelers.
2. After you go through the immigration line...they point you to a little room where you take your sealed brown envelope. Cool...I get it they have a process. However, you show up in the room and everyone is seated at a desk, there are no written instructions and after standing around wondering if I was in the right office the guy behind the keyboard looks up and says...leave the envelope in the bin and have a seat....No "Welcome fellow citizen and weary traveler", No "How can I help you?"...this guy obviously never did any time at Chik-Fil-A or China Southern Airlines. Finally sometime down the road the guy pulls our documents. Doesn't say anything...just hands us Jacob’s passport and says, "You can go." Now, I am perhaps a bit of a guy who likes some ceremony, but I would have loved it if he said. "Congratulations, your son is now a citizen of the greatest republic on the planet and in the history of the world.." But no...After being up for about 24 hours at this point this irritated me a touch.
3. Claiming your bags at E concourse to go through customs and then re-checking them to pick them up at bag claim #1. This must have seemed like a good idea to someone at the time...But I have to say that this is the dumbest, slowest works program that I have ever seen. Again, my point of view was somewhat slanted after being awake for more than 24 hours, but please...If you have never had to do this process before the signage, workflow and 'helpful agents' make this rube goldberg process all but indecipherable. When you add that to the hour + that it took for our bags to make it from the recheck point to carousel #1 you must really say that America's busiest airport is poorly designed and equipped for international travel. Travel through Beijing and Hong Kong was easier by a factor of 10.
4. Going back through TSA to transit the airport so you can get out...OK, OK, I get it that security is a big deal. However, the process is begging for a redesign. Somewhere around here, we were asking each other how many times and ways we could be inspected. The only cool thing is that no matter how long this process took...it really didn't matter because our bags took so long to get from E concourse to baggage claim.
5. Finally we made it a bit harder on ourselves because we forgot that we had thrown in some apples for the journey. The cool little beagle at immigration reminded us and we had to go through the agricultural inspection...Another x-ray of the bags...Laughing by this point.
Ok...the ranting is over...if you skipped ahead you were probably smart.
Blessings in the Fridge:
We were blessed on arrival to our home to find meals in the freezer provided by the McBryde's and the folks in our Church. What a way to bring our focus back on how blessed we are. Many thanks to Tiffany, Eric, the Cornerstone Sunday School class, our church family at Carriage Lane and our other dear friends and fellow believers.
Finally, I have to publically thank my in-laws for taking care of so many things while we were gone, not the least of which was our precious children and our 'dennis the menace' dog.
I am sure we will post some more pics and video of Gotcha Day. Thanks to everyone for the prayers, skype calls, love, meals, support, emails and friendship.
We are truly blessed, and Jacob is now home with the family that God planned for him before the beginning of time.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Note to fellow travellers. If you are just laying over in HK you probably don't need to change USD (dollars) to HKD. However, in an effort to use the cash we had set aside I paid cash for the room. The bad news is that the exchange rate that they used was 7.1 and I think that the peg is around 7.6 so I got ripped off. Bottom line is that you are better off to use the credit card.
Also nothing but great things to say about the Northwest Airlines service. A uniformed Customer Service Agent met us at the self service check in kiosk...understood that we were an adoption and held our hands through the check in. Wow...one thing that the Chinese folks we have dealt with understand is customer service. Many US companies could learn a lot from being here.
Well, all for now...we board the flight for the way home. Layover in Narita. I will post there hopefully.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We had our appointment with the US Consulate in Guangzhou. No issues. It was all very anti-climactic as we reviewed the documents then stood and swore that we had filled everything out accurately, to the best of our ability and honestly. Then the official told us we were done and could leave. The longest part of the event was the trip to the adoption affairs office and back.
We returned to the hotel, finished packing, skyped with the kids (thanks Carrie) and went to bed.
We are now checking out then heading to Hong Kong on the first step of our return trip.
Thanks for the prayers.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Ok…so I think I figured it out. I have to post the pictures first…then post the notes so that you can read the notes and look at the pictures.
Notes on the photos.
Laundry: There is no normal coin operated type of laundry. So we take our laundry out to one of the souvenir shops. I know it doesn’t make sense..but when in China.
Waiting for the phone call: The group was sitting around in the halls waiting for the “all clear” call from our consulate paperwork. You do a lot of sitting around waiting for paperwork in this process. This is just the icing on the cake.
Jacob and JT. Both of these little guys came from the same orphanage and Phillip Hayden…they had a bond on Gotcha day and that still goes on.
Group Photos and the cruise…somewhat self explanatory.
Sorry for the lack of posts.
It seems that as we get less busy it is harder to post!?!? There is the occasional work to try to get on the computer because someone else wants to read email, compose posts or sort through pictures. Also, it seems when we are in the room we are either trying to get Jacob to sleep or get him up for the next event. No more excuses!
Key health updates:
Thanks for the prayers. Rachel is feeling better. We waited about 24 hours, then decided to give her the Cipro and we don’t know if it was the Cipro, the yogurt or time, but she is able to go out and about and seems to be much better. She has eaten many things that Jen or I haven’t so it was hard to pin down what was the culprit. However, I would recommend if you go to Lucy’s that you eat things well done and not get any of the items with fresh veggies (lettuce/tomato etc)….not sure but the club sandwich there is one of the likely culprits…Many of us ate at the Tai place and no one else was sick so I think that is out. Again, not sure.
Jacob: No fever and the only thing still going is a cough that is pretty productive, it has not gone away despite the course of antibiotics (at least we think they were antibiotics?) Anyway, as far as we can tell he is good to travel. We believe the second fever spike was likely due to the shot series. A bunch of the kids were down hard for about 36 hours post shots. He is jumping around, playing tickle, laughing, and doing all the things that adventurous 3 year olds do. Once again we unplugged the bedside phone to keep him from calling out and have to tell him no a million times to keep him from pushing the buttons on the james bond style night stand. For some reason all of the hotels that we have stayed at have these buttons on the night stand that control everything in the room. Once he figured out that he could push those buttons and turn on and off the lights, tv, etc the game was on. Now the game is to wake up and push the buttons in the middle of the night. Bottom line is that he appears to be fine now.
Summary: So far so good.
As far as the Chinese government is concerned we are done, and have been for a few days. We are now in the part of the process where we wait for the US government. We finished all of the health aspects and today our guide/rep from CCAI took our paperwork to the consulate. So we are told to wait in our room from 10:30 till we are called and told that our paperwork is good to go. One of the families in our group has already had a bit of an issue due to multiple moves during the process (he is in the military). So far, we have not heard anything and we believe that all of our stuff is good to go. There have been other folks in our group who have had problems because they did not initially say in the body of their homestudy that they were open to older children or special needs. We believe that that has all been ironed out, but the process seems somewhat opaque to me so I sit in the room waiting for the call.
Since we arrived in Guangzhou we have toured a Buddhist temple, the Chen house, and gone on a night time cruise up and down the Pearl River. We waived off on the trip to the pearl market because we had no desire for pearl doodles (or dollars to spend on said named doodles). We have spent time shopping on the island for friends and family, but haven’t spent a whole lot of time in Guangzhou city shopping…or as Jen would say shop-ING! This is probably because Ric has about a 40-50 minute tolerance for shop-ING before his eyes roll back in his head, his mouth starts foaming and he starts resembling Linda Blair…not to mention keeping 3 year old hands off of all manner of breakable trinkets and doodles.
So far we have tried the Subway, the Tai restaurant (name?...it is the only one on the island), Lucys, The Deli Shop (which is a funny name for a place that doesn’t provide any real deli sandwiches), the Starbucks ( an iced mocha latte was a real treat no matter how girly of a drink it may be).
We walked to the Italian place, but got there to early in the evening. (The open at 5:30).
Anyway…we just got the call…Our paperwork is all good to go. We need to sign the hague paperwork at 1245 then the tomorrow take the oath.
All for now.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Yesterday wasn’t all that eventful. We toured Guangzhou and even learned a little Cantonese (that I promptly forgot). Guangzhou has always been Guangzhou, but the English used to call it Canton so the 3 letter code for the airport is still CAN. Anyway, since we can now see the older posts and figure out what photo’s didn’t make it through we thought we would put those up….we will later blog about yesterday and put those photos up. Including the one with my not so technically great handstand. (Hey..I was nervous, you think that sweat was all from the backpack and 100 degree heat?)
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Here are some pictures from the trip from Zhengzhou to Guangzhou and a couple from the physical exam…lots of shots.
Sorry that I can’t really put them in with captions…it is one of the limits of trying to post via email. However, we can now view the blog using a proxy vpn.