Saturday, July 14, 2007
Remember I am posting on the Cannon Fishbowl so please follow us there. This was my second trip with two different agencies. The first my mom went and there were 2 other families. The second, I was all alone. My first agency was the best. I loved them and I think it was because of the guide in China that was the icing on the cake. The second agency was okay. Since I did all of the paperwork for Maddie's adoption I knew what I was doing so I didn't need any hand holding. The in-country stuff was the biggest beef I have with them. The guide was not that great and so many things happened that it wasn't an enjoyable trip. I know that I was there to complete the adoption and that was my main focus, but I wish I could have seen more and done more. I didn't eat at any local restaurants because I wasn't that brave to go on my own. I'm so glad that Sophie did so well. She was amazing. She adapted so well and we didn't have any problems. I think that really helped alot. So here it is. Here are some tips that I would like to pass along for those of you traveling soon.
1. Your guide is the most important person during this trip. Make sure you have a good one. Ask around and see if other families have had this same guide. I recommend my first agency to everyone who ask me about adopting because 1. they were great, but 2. Nelson was awesome!
2. Be flexible. As you may have read we had a lot of twist and turns along our journey. No hotel van, no hotel reservation, no flight reservation, passport procedure change, no flight reservation to Guangzhou and rushing to get everything done. Again it was a good thing that Sophie did so well because I don't think we could have made it during the trip.
3. I traveled with a check in suitcase, roll on suitcase and a backpack. I did fine lugging it all around with Sophie. I have had my suitcase lost way too many times now and always bring 2 suitcases. On the way over in my check in suitcase I filled it with gifts, Sophies clothes and things I knew I wasn't going to use on the way back. On the way home I filled that big suitcase with all of the stuff I bought and some clothes. I did alot of shopping :). I checked both suitcases on the way home.
4. Traveling with a group is great. You have support and some one to talk to. I had nobody this last trip. I'm glad I got to bond with Sophie and it was great doing what I wanted to when I wanted to, but I really missed having other families to talk to.
5. Skype and laptop. I can not say enough about these two things. If you bring nothing else, bring a laptop. It is your link to home. It is your boredom killer. I was able to listen to radio stations from home and keep up with the news. I was also able to blog. It was free in province both times, but the White Swann charged 100RMB per day. Skype - I just can't say enough about it! I was able to call home, my parents, my mother-in-law and whoever else I wanted to. The computer to land line rates were great. I came home with credit and I talked alot.
6. Gifts - Everyone tells you, but don't stress out about gifts. I brought too many. I brought enough for 5 nannies, 1 director and the notary. I gave the nannies travel size anti bacterial gel, hand lotion, deodorant and a bag of jelly bellies. I gave the director and the notary the gel, lotion, deodorant, jelly bellies and a hat. Nobody opened them in front of me.
7. Pictures - Take lots and lots of pictures (which you can download on your laptop). I wish I had taken more video, but I just couldn't with Sophie. I also didn't get any video or pictures of our gotcha moment. That I hate. I will never forget seeing her for the first time though.
8. Clothes - You don't need alot. I brought 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of pants and 5 shirts for me. I washed some in our room. Tide has a these new little packets of powder that you can use to wash your clothes. For Sophie I brought more, but her clothes were small and I could roll them. I brought different things in 24months to 3T. They all fit her. She is small.
9. Sense of humor - You are going to need it. Things happen out of your control and having a sense of humor really helps.
The thing I have learned from these 2 trips is that you always have to be prepared for anything. International adoption is not for the faint hearted. Things happen. Your child may be a lot sicker when you get him/her. They may not bond with you immediately. They may have some delays that you weren't prepared for. Fees and procedures may change at any time without notice. There are so many ups and downs in the adoption world. I am so glad that we have been blessed with these 2 beautiful girls. Giving birth to my son was incredible, but seeing these girls change from the moment we got them is just as incredible.
Thank you for following along on this crazy journey. Remember you can continue to follow us at the Cannon Fishbowl.
May you all have quick referrals, healthy children and remember that not everything is perfect.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
A summary of Sophie
It has been an amazing week here. Sophie has really blossomed. She is getting a lot more comfortable around everybody. She is learning so much. Her favorite sentence is one her sister taught her. It is "I'm in jail". She will go around saying it all the time. She went to the doctor on Monday. She weighs 27.8lbs and is 2 1/4 ft tall. All her blood work came back normal and she is completely healthy. We have an orthopedic appointment on 6/4 so we will find out more about her spine and ribs. I won't be updating here since Sophie is a part of our family now. Please follow our family at the Cannon Fishbowl. Here is a video I did of Sophie's first week home.
My last post on this site will be about our adoption experience with this agency. I'm still trying to formulate what I want to say.
My last post on this site will be about our adoption experience with this agency. I'm still trying to formulate what I want to say.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Two weeks since Gotcha Day
Saturday, May 19, 2007
We are home!
We are home and it feels so good! Sophie did great on the flights. She cried for a little bit from Tokyo to Detroit, but it was because she was tired and couldn't get comfortable. She also threw her first fit. She wanted the window shade up, but it had to be down. At one point she woke up crying and I couldn't calm her down. I opened the shade and she was fine. When we got home we were met at the gate by Terry, Edie and Jadean. It was great to see some friendly, familiar faces. We then went to meet daddy, Maddie and Brandon. Well daddy, Maddie and granddaddy were there instead. I wish I had my camera ready. Maddie saw us and came running. I thought she was coming to me. She wanted her sister. She smothered Sophie with affection. Sophie did great on the ride home in the car seat. It was Maddie who cried. She wanted Sophie to play with her and Sophie didn't want to play. We got home to a slew of family. Thanks to my mom for the wonderful Mexican dinner. After everyone left we tried to get calmed down. We sat on the couch for a few minutes and then daddy went to put Maddie to bed. Sophie was still a little wired. She and I then went to go lay in our bed and she finally fell asleep. She woke up about 2:30 or 3 crying, but then went to sleep and slept until Maddie came in poking her awake.
So far Maddie has been a great sister. She gets her feelings hurt if Sophie doesn't want to play, but we are working on that. Today they went out and played in their cars. It was great to see them together. Maddie wouldn't look at the camera so I didn't get any good pictures of her.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Last post from Guangzhou
Well it's that time! I am making our last post from Guangzhou. Our bags half to be outside the door by 5am and we have to meet our guide by 5:30am. Our flight leaves here at 8:20 and we should arrive home at 5:27pm. I am ready. I am even ready for the long flight because I know it will lead us home. I hope Sophie does well on the flight. I'm sure she will. Here are a few pictures from our last day here. She likes to put things next to her head while she's taking pictures. I think she thinks she has to model them.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Guess I wore her out today
What a great day!
I accomplished all of the shopping that I wanted to get done today. We also were approved for our visa! Tomorrow at 2:40 we leave to go to the US Consulate for our swearing in and then receive the children's visas. I can't wait. I am so ready to get home and see my family. I am so ready to get home and have them meet Sophie. She is the most wonderful little creature I know. She has such a sweet little personality and all of you are going to love her. She is so funny! I can't wait for you to see her dimple up close. I got her pictures developed from the orphanage today. I was worried about them going thru the XRAY machines at the airport. They are so cute. It looks like they took them on the day they were leaving. There is an older girl in a lot of the pictures with her. I'm not sure who it is, but she seemed to care about Sophie alot. When I get home I will load the pictures from the CD and share a few. Here are a few pictures from today. We opted out of going site seeing around Guangzhou. I know that they would have gone to the Chen Family museum and to the Temple and I really didn't want to go. I enjoyed my time walking around the island. Sophie really seemed to enjoy it as well. It is very hot here. It is just like at home during the summer. Hot and humid! Sophie got a little taste of it today. Tonight for dinner we had Lucy's. It was pretty good. Well that's about it for tonight. One last post tomorrow and then we are on our way home!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
We are here
If you couldn't tell from my last post, we are in Guangzhou. It is such a relief to be here. Let me tell you about our day yesterday.
It started off at 5:30 with breakfast at 6. Our guide was due at 7 and to my relief he showed up on time. Yes he was still wearing the same outfit :). Now that I'm gone he can move on to another outfit. It really is no deal that he was wearing the same outfit, I just thought it was funny and adds to the absurdity of our trip. We got to the airport at about 7:50 for an 8:40 departure. Guess what? They couldn't find my reservation. I knew it. They finally found it and off we went thru security. Our gate was the very last one and what do you know, they were boarding. We had just made it. Sophie was a dream on the flight. She was so well behaved. Then the plane came in for a landing. We got off and at first I was a little confused. It didn't look like Guangzhou. Well I got to the baggage area and found out it wasn't Guangzhou. We had a change of planes that my guide failed to mention. That was my departing gift I assume. So we got on the right flight to Guangzhou and Sophie was still good until right before we landed. She really needed to go to the bathroom. I kept trying to explain we couldn't go yet, but she kept saying it over and over again. I had put a pullup on her so I was prepared. She held it until we got to baggage claim and then we found the nearest restroom. We were met by another guy. This one seemed prepared. We had to wait for another family to come in. We waited about 15-20 minutes and then we were off. It was going to be very busy. We got to the White Swann at about 4 and had to run to go to the medical clinic because they closed at 5. We stopped and had their pictures taken. There are a total of 3 families. 2 single moms traveling with either children or their sister and then me traveling by myself. So it's a group of women with one little boy thrown in the mix. Sophie cried and screamed at the medical. She did not want to see the doctor. They were all laughing and talking to her. She would fuss at them and they would just laugh. The same doctor who was there with Maddie also did Sophie's exam. We then went back to our room for a few minutes because we were supposed to meet at 6:30 for paperwork. We did all of the paperwork which took about 2 hours to make sure everything was complete and correct. Sophie and I then went out to find some dinner, drop some pictures off for etchings and then came back to the room. She was asleep by about 9:30 and I followed very shortly. It has been a long day.
I want to thank everyone for their continued prayers and especially for the prayers about the passport. I found out when I was talking to the other family how imperative it was to get the passport on Monday. This family had some delays arriving to China. They didn't get to apply for the passport until Friday like us. The only difference was, their agency rep was keeping them up with the situation. Apparently if there was any delay in the getting the passport on Monday and we were not able to leave on Tuesday, than our consulate appointment would have been delayed. We could have begged to have an appointment on 5/17, but if that didn't happen than we would have had to stay here for 2 weeks until the next available opening. That is why I say thank you for the prayers. I guess if I had known this, I would have been a basket case. I'm glad everything worked out.
Right now we are in our room waiting for our guide to go to the consulate at 11am. Once she/he (they've changed a couple of times already) calls and gives us the all clear, than we can leave the room. I've already gone to a couple of places, but I want to go some more.
Sophie had just a little meltdown on the busride from the airport to the hotel, but I am sure it was because she was tired and hot. She fell asleep for just a few minutes. She was very shy around the new families at first, but has really opened up. She is such a little hoot. She loves exploring the room and thank goodness she loves riding her stroller. I don't think I could carry her around Guangzhou much longer.
I dropped off her camera from the orphanage to get developed and I should have them back today. It stinks my CD doesn't work on the laptop or else I would upload some of those. I can't wait to see them. Also go check out Asher's blog. Isn't he just the cutest?
Well sorry so long. I will write more about our day today tonight. I am anxious about the consulate because than I will know for sure we are truly going home! Oh, I've also lost 6lbs.... yeah!