Saturday, June 09, 2012

We're Home!

At 12:40PM CDT, Friday afternoon, June 8th, 2012, our little Andrew set his feet on US soil and became a US Citizen!  The flight from Hong Kong actually went very well - thank you so much for praying.  The kids took turns playing with my tablet, then slept a little, then played some more, ate some, slept some more, well you get the picture.  The battery on the tablet died about an hour outside of Chicago, which was about the time we had to put it up anyway - that tablet has been quite an asset on this trip ...

The now famous window at the Hong Kong Airport :>)

Waiting to board the plane in Hong Kong

Finally on board and ready to start the long journey to Chicago
By the time we goth through Customs and to our gate for the final leg of our journey to Atlanta, we only had about 30 minutes, so we indulged one last time and got the kids something to eat at McDonalds (let's just say the last meal on the plane was not one of their favorites ...).  They slept almost the whole way from Chicago to Atlanta, which was OK, but made bed time a little harder.

Lois' Mom, sister and brother-in-law were waiting for us when we got to the airport and my Dad and sister walked up to the baggage claim area just as we finished retrieving our last bag.  We are so thankful for our families and so excited that some of them were able to meet us at the airport and welcome us home.  My sister took pictures that I'll post later ...  It has been a wonderful 2 1/2 weeks, but we are very glad to be home.

Andrew wasn't at all excited about being confined to a car seat on the ride home, but he did OK.  After a brief stop so Grammy could welcome her new grandson home, we headed home.  Duchess was beyond excited to see her family once again - and Andrew seemed to take an instant liking to her (even though he was very afraid of the dogs at the park in Guiyang); another small miracle from our Father :>)  Andrew immediately spied the tricycle's in the garage and he and Hannah rode around the driveway for at least an hour (they needed to burn off some energy :>)  My Dad and sister were kind and gracious to stop by the store and pick up a few essentials to tie us over until we can make a family outing to the store :>)  Then it was bath time and bed time.

Andrew woke up at 2:30AM, and started crying - I think he was confused and disoriented.  Mama got him up and put him in the bed with us.  He finally went back to sleep around 4:30 and slept until 6:30 - not too bad for our first night home.  Hannah slept through the night ...

Today has been a good day.  We played outside this morning (it was really nice and cool). then played around the house most of the day.  We've been able to find things that Andrew will eat - and that's a good thing.  Our first few weeks home with Hannah were a real struggle trying to find things she would eat.

With each passing day we are learning what it means to be a family of four (well five, if you count Duchess, and she certainly has some adjustments to make as well :>)  We are constantly amazed at how well Andrew is doing, and we are so thankful for his foster parents who did such a good job preparing him for us and this time.  God is good!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Farewell from the Hong Kong Airport

We have successfully navigated Hong Kong and made it to our gate.  We should be boarding soon.  Thankfully our plane is here so we should be on time.  I think we are all ready to be home, just 20 more hours to go ...

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Hong Kong Day 14 - Farewell to China

Greetings from Hong Kong!  We made it here safe and sound, the kids are fast asleep and we are not far behind them; we have an early morning ahead of us ...

Before we left the Garden Hotel this morning, we asked our friend Wade if he would take a picture of us in front of the waterfall at the hotel - kind of our farewell picture.

The trip from Guangzhou would have been great, had our driver not been practicing for the Indy 500.  I am sure he was travelling well above the speed limit and he was weaving and bobbing through cars and trucks.  Unfortunately, all that weaving and bobbing got the best of Hannah and she was not able to hold onto breakfast (she has never had any trouble with motion sickness before), Lois had taken Dramamine and did OK, but definitely was not feeling her best.  Andrew, on the other hand sat in the backseat (with Lois) and scarfed animal crackers all the way to Hong Kong - I guess that answers the motion sickness question (at least for now).  I did OK and tried to console Hannah, keep a wet towel on her forehead, ...  She finally fell asleep about an hour from the Hotel ...  Once at the Hotel, she seemed to be fine ...  There is just no easy way to get home from Guangzhou with 2 kids and luggage - all the options have pros and cons.  We thought the van would be the best way, and it might have been, had we not had Dale Earnhardt, Jr for a driver ...

Oh well, the adoption process is a journey and this was all part of our journey - one day we will look back at this and laugh about our trip to Hong Kong ...  We arrived at the Hotel around 2:00 and started looking into our options for the afternoon.  The kids were absolutely stir-crazy and needed to get out and burn off some energy, so we elected to go to Victoria Park.  I can HIGHLY recommend this park for families, particularly with children.  There are several well-stocked children's play areas scattered about the park with lots of different things for the kids to do - it was great and just what we needed.  We let Hannah and Andrew run around and slide and play until about 4:00 or so, then started the hunt for dinner.  Here are a couple of pictures.

There was a "model boat pool" next to the playground where men were racing really fast boats.  You can see the rooster tail from the boat in the top left - Andrew was mesmerized ...
We went to a huge mall, thinking maybe we'll find something there - but, alas, it was an upscale mall with only upscale food; not what we were looking for.  So, with time running out and not many options, we found ourselves, once again, at McDonalds, hopefully for the last time for a while, though we will still need to eat a quick meal in Chicago before boarding our plane to Atlanta ...

A couple of funny stories from today.  In the Taxi from the park to the mall, Hannah asked why I was sitting up front.  I told her someone needed to tell the driver where to go (or in our case, hand him a pre-written piece of paper with the name of the mall in Chinese :>) and also to pay him.  She, of course asked "Why", and I asked her if she had any money to pay him.  She of course said "No", to which the driver responded (in perfect English, mind you), "Then you will have to stay in my Taxi and clean up".  We all laughed (and were a bit surprised that he was following our conversation; in China, you never expect the local people to be able to understand you, I guess that is not the case in Hong Kong :>)  The other funny story is that I popped in one of the "Kung Fu Panda:  Legends of Awesomeness" DVDs, just to make sure it would work on the computer before the long ride tomorrow, and guess what?  It's all in English!  No Chinese voice over - there are Chinese sub-titles, but no Chinese audio.  I checked all of the DVDs we bought, and they are all the same.  Are you kidding me?  We bought DVDs in China and they don't have Chinese on them?  Who knew - it never even occurred to me to check the language on the DVDs ...  Oh well. Hannah has been watching cartoons in Chinese and still seems mesmerized by them, even though she can't understand them; hopefully, Andrew will feel the same way about English cartoons ...

And so there you have it.  Tomorrow we will say goodbye to Andrew's homeland (really we did that today, though I guess technically Hong Kong is now part of China).  It is sad and exciting all at the same time.  Lois told Andrew that we were going to fly on a plane tomorrow for a long time and go to America, and he seemed to understand - he was very well prepared by his Foster family and we are grateful for that.  I am sure there will be more grieving once we get home and the reality of no longer being in China sinks in - nothing will be familiar, the language, the faces, the smells, the sights, the sounds, ...  It is just mind-boggling to think of all the changes Andrew has been through in his short 4 years.

There have been a few bumps in the road the past two weeks, but mostly lots of great memories and most importantly, a new family of four has been born.  Thank you for following along, for praying and for encouraging us.  We would appreciate your continued prayers as we start our long journey home tomorrow (a little over 24 hours total).  Particularly for Hannah and Andrew (who does not like to wear seat belts, sigh ...)  That is a long, confining flight for a four year old used to running around all the time ...

We hope to keep this blog somewhat up-to-date, but I remember how hard it was to do that when we got home with Hannah; with two at home, who knows ...  But keep checking back, we'll eventually post something :>)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Guangzhou Day 13 - Last Day

Hey, me again :>)  Today was an interesting day, but aren't they all?  We went to Shamian Island to do some shopping, and of course have lunch at "Lucy's" (famous for it's western food in the adoption community - they serve sweet tea in huge mason jars :>)  The kids were done shopping after about 15 minutes, so we did what we could, then headed to the park and let them play on the play ground.  They had a lot of fun, and we learned that Andrew is quite adept at climbing, jumping, sliding, ...  Here are a few pictures.

And then there was lunch at Lucy's.  We have two very different eater's among us now and it is hard finding a place that will satisfy both of them.  Hannah was very content with her burger and fries, Andrew not so much (though the fries seemed to be OK).  Of course it didn't help that he had a minor melt down just before our food arrived ...  Hannah now prefers Western food to Asian food; Andrew, of course, heavily prefers Asian food and noodles of just about any kind seem to be a favorite.  Here are a few pictures from lunch.

After lunch we said goodbye to 2 families who headed out today, then put the kids down for a long-deserved nap.  After nap time, it was time for "you yong", that's swimming in Chinese :>)  Unfortunately, the children's pool is still closed, but we had fun in the "big" pool.  Andrew was definitely feeling more comfortable with his swim ring and with me today, as he was jumping unafraid from the side of the pool into my arms - Lois was able to catch a couple of them on video.

A very trusting position ...

About the only place Hannah would sit on her ring :>)  Though today, she did walk with mama up and down the first three stairs into the pool.  This is quite an improvement.
We finished the day having dinner with some (now) dear friends who only live about 30 minutes from us -  how amazing is that!  They have adopted an 18 month old little girl, and Andrew has really enjoyed being around her (and all the other little girls).  You may remember that he had a younger foster sister in his home, so he is really drawn to other little girls (and he calls them "mei mei", which is little sister in Chinese).  We hope to see more of the Grubbs once we get home.

Andrew is quite the singer; in fact he likes to sing almost as much as Hannah does.  He has a favorite song that he sings all the time; according to Molly, it is a fairly traditional Chinese children's song.  The difference is that Andrew is also a bit of a ham, so it was fairly easy for Mama to talk him into singing it while I took some video :>)  So I leave you with Andrew's rendition of his favorite song.

Tomorrow morning at 10:30, we start our journey home.  We will take a van to our hotel in Hong Kong (more expensive than the train, but *much* less hassle - and with 2 young ones in tow, we are all about less hassle these days).  Spend the afternoon in Hong Kong (or as much of the afternoon as the kids can take), then head to the airport on Friday morning for our 11:00 flight to Chicago.

It has been quite an amazing experience these past 2 weeks; watching Andrew begin to adjust to us and his new life is both exciting and humbling.  He is quite the trooper - I can't even imagine all that he must be feeling and trying to process.  He has left everything and everyone he has ever known and has willingly (OK, sometimes unwillingly) accepted us.  He is an amazing little boy and we are truly blessed to be called his parents.  Have a blessed day - and maybe say a quick prayer of thanks for your family :>)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Guangzhou Day 12 - Final Paperwork

Hello Everyone, David here.  Thank you so much for praying, I am definitely feeling better, I wouldn't say I was 100%, but then, chasing after 2 four-year olds can do that to you :>)

Today was the visit to the American Consulate General's office here in Guangzhou to take the "Oath" for Andrew and finalize his paperwork for his Visa.  Andrew had a slight meltdown on the way to the Consulate's office - we think it was a combination of waking him up early (from a very deep sleep), and some sibling rivalry (he didn't want to share Mama with Hannah this morning).  By the time we got to the Consulate's office he was better.  Everything went well, and we should have his Visa in hand tomorrow afternoon!  We weren't allowed to take camera's into the Consulate's office (or water bottles, sigh, we had just bought one that we had to throw away ...), which is too bad, because there was a chalk board for the children to play with and Hannah thoroughly enjoyed herself.  She was covered in chalk dust by the time we left (Mama did a quick clean-up job on her before the picture below was taken).  For the "Oath", they asked all the adoptive parents to stand and raise their right hand and then promise to abide by all US laws and to affirm that all of the statements both verbal and written in our paperwork were true.  After that, they called each family by name to come up to one of the designated windows to give them our Visa paperwork and sign yet another form.  Here are a couple of pictures from after our appointment:

The line outside the Consulate's office for Chinese Nationals trying to get a Visa into the US.
We got back to the hotel in time to skype the grandparents (we hadn't had time to do that the past 2 mornings, and they were going through withdrawals :>)  Then we headed out for an early lunch (we had breakfast at 6:30 this morning).  We had hoped to find a restaurant that sold dumplings, but could only find a place that had noodles.  Andrew ate his fill, Hannah, not so much, though she did eat some (with some coaxing and help).  We made our way back to the Hotel and all took much needed naps ...  After nap time we headed back to the pool again.  I'm sad to say the children's pool is still not open, but we had a lot of fun in the big pool.  Andrew is getting more confident and trusting of us as time goes on.  We bought swim rings for the kids yesterday, but neither Hannah nor Andrew trusted them or us enough to take them out into the big pool.  Today, Andrew was again tentative, but within a few minutes he slowly climbed down the steps and them let me hold him in the deeper water and finally walk around the pool holding him.  We gave him lots of encouragement and praise and he was really excited.  That would have been enough for us, but he climbed out of the pool and walked to the edge and just stood there.  I held out my arms and asked if he wanted to jump - and he did!  Right into my arms - giggling and laughing all the time.  After the first jump, he wanted to do it over and over again, which was fine with me :>)  Maybe I'll get tired of catching him one day, but not anytime soon :>)

This afternoon we dressed the kids in traditional Chinese clothes and then headed downstairs for a group picture in the lobby.  Many of you may remember this picture of Hannah in her Qi Pao 2 years ago:

Here she is today:

Our little girl is growing up ...  Here are a few more.

Andrew's favorite mode of transportation these days :>)
For dinner this evening, we enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Pearl River - the kids had a blast; Andrew, in particular was so excited to be going on a boat ride.  I tried to get a video of him clenching his fists and shaking all over, but I was just a tad slow and missed it - maybe next time ...  Here are some pictures from our cruise.
So excited to be on a boat!  (there is glass between him and the water :>)

That's the Canton Tower in the background, all lit up ...
Mama's done, and so are the kids :>)
So, that was our day.  The kids are now sleeping and we'll be joining them soon.  I'll have to re-cap the zoo some other time ...  Tomorrow morning we head to Shamian Island for some shopping (that used to be the island that all adoptive families stayed on, because the Consulate's office and the medical office used to be there - that has all changed now ...).  Some of the families here with us will be heading out tomorrow, the rest of us leave on Thursday.  It's hard to believe Andrew has been with us over a week now.  Each day he is becoming more trusting and comfortable with us - as I mentioned earlier, the sibling rivalry kind of hit a new level today.  We all have much to learn in the coming days, weeks. months and years ...  Thank you again for your prayers, comments and encouragement, they mean a lot to us!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Guangzhou Day 11 - Short Edition

Hey everyone.  This is going to be a short post.  We had a good time at the zoo today, and will post pictures later.  We are going to bed early because we have to leave the hotel at 7:50 in the morning to go to the American Consulate.  I (Lois) wanted to take a moment to ask you to pray for David.  He isn't feeling very well.  His tummy is not right and he has a scratchy throat.  He does not have a fever however.  Please pray that he will feel better in the morning and that all of us will stay well.  We know that your prayers have made a difference during our stay here and we are trusting God to take care of us.  Thank you so much for praying with us.

Gotcha Day Videos!

Hello all, David here.  I never got around to posting our Gotcha day videos, so I thought I would do that while the kids nap.  Here is Andrew's grand entrance into the Civil Affairs office in Guiyang.

And this is just a few moments later with Lois breaking the ice with stickers.  That is his foster mom and dad in the background, and Molly (Lois' friend) to the left in the purple top.

After finishing all of the paperwork, we headed back to the hotel for a little while before heading out for dinner.  This was taken at the hotel - playing with the beach ball in the room.

The next day we needed to complete more paperwork back at the civil affairs office.  Hannah and Andrew found a small wheel chair in the office and Hannah was pushing Andrew around in it.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Guangzou Day 10 - It's shoe time!

Lois here.  David is out buying bottled water for our trip to the zoo tomorrow and instant noodles so that we can have lunch in the room after the zoo.  (We simply can't go to Old McDonalds again.)  So I get to start a post about today.  David will probably finish it.

It was another busy day.  Okay, so we are choosing to stay busy.  Busy children become tired children and tired children sleep.  It also keeps them from being bored.  Bored children moan and complain and find things to do that get them into trouble.  The kinds slept until 7:00 this morning!  We weren't scheduled to leave until 10:00; so, we took our time getting ready and going to breakfast this morning.  After breakfast, we walked through the garden outside the dining room.  There is a waterfall and large pond with lots of fish.  We walked through looking at the fish and watching a man cleaning the bottom of the pond.  David wants me to be sure to mention that Andrew wandered off the path and onto the grass and as he did he managed to find (and step in) the only pile of duck or goose (or some kind of fowl) droppings anywhere to be seen.  And yes, it was fowl because I had to find a way to clean it off.  Ahh, the joys of raising a boy have only just begun :>)

Here fishy, fishy, fishy ...

After getting everybody cleaned up and decent, we went to the shopping mall.  What was the first thing in our shopping list?  Shoes, of course.  We let each of the children pick up a pair of dress shoes.

Not quite as many shoes as 2 years ago

Then we went to the CD and DVD store.  We often here Andrew singing some songs that Molly told us were Chinese folk songs; so, we bought a CD of Chinese folk songs.  Then we let the kids pick out some movies.  Andrew got the first season of the TV series "Kung Fu Panda:  Legends of Awesomeness," and Hannah got "Tangled."  We also picked up "Beauty and the Beast" and "Cars."  Andrew was sad that we wouldn't let him watch "Kung Fu Panda" right away, and wouldn't let us put it in the bag.  He held onto it for quite a while and only lost interest after getting a happy meal toy. 

I'm sure that you have guessed by now that we had Old McDonald's for lunch again today.  We were desperate.  The children were beginning to melt down (Hannah crying and Andrew moaning), and although there were lots of places to eat around the mall, we weren't sure if the children would eat any of it; so, we went to the place that we knew would satisfy them both.  Andrew got a hamburger this time, and ate some of the patty, but only a bite or two of the bun.  We really enjoyed the French fries.  He has started feeding me and letting me feed him.  Last night it was roasted peanuts.  Today it was French fries and ketchup.  It was a nice little bonding experience, but I hope we don't have to eat McDonalds again for a while.  We shopped some more after lunch and bought some other items including Chinese outfits for the kids, Spider Man Pj's and a shirt for Andrew, and a few gifts before returning to the hotel.  After letting the kids have a short nap, we took them out to play in the kiddie pool.  Andrew was so excited, and when he is excited, (and he gets excited a lot over lots of little things) he squeals with delight, squinches his eyes together, balls up his fists in front of him and shakes all over.  It is really cute to watch.  He was squealing and shaking as we got to the pool.  They had fun, but the water was cold!  A couple of times I asked Andrew if he was cold.  He told me no even as he stood shivering.  Hannah, who has never willingly gotten in the water before, went in without any trouble.  The kids had a great time playing with Papa and others who joined us in the pool.  Although both kids got scared after slipping and going under a time or two, they stayed in and played until we made them get out.  We need to see about swimming lessons for both of them when we get home ...

After swimming, we got ready and went out to eat with three other families that are here with us.  It was a fun time of fellowship at a very nice Chinese restaurant.  Andrew ate and ate a lot.  Hannah just picked at her food (she said her tummy hurt, but she seems to be OK now).

It has been a delightful day, and looking back over it and thinking about my family makes me want to squeal with delight, squinch my eyes together, ball up my fists and shake all over!  Thank you God, for my family.  I am so blessed!  And thank you all for you prayers. 

Tomorrow we go back to the clinic to have Andrew's TB test checked (I can't even find where they injected him, which is a good thing :>), and then, we will go to the zoo.  Have a blessed day of worship!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Guangzhou Day 9 - 2 steps forward, 1 step backward

Another day is almost done here, well it is done for the kids, they are fast asleep and we will be joining them soon ,,,

Thank you all for your prayers, the medical exam for Andrew was quite amazing.  We piled on a bus this morning with 4 other Lifeline families all with young girls (less than 2 years old).  Unbeknownst to me, Lois decided it was probably better to give Andrew advanced warning that we were headed to see the doctor.  When we got to the building and the bus stopped, Andrew jumped out of his seat and headed to the door; he never once showed any fear.  He did everything the doctors asked of him and never once seemed to be afraid.  When it came time for the TB test, he turned his arm over and handed it to the nurse, like he knew what was about to happen and it was no big deal.  He didn't even wince when they stuck him - watched the whole thing.  Then he showed everyone his arm (he was quite proud of himself, and so were we :>)  But there is more to this story (keep reading ...).  Here are a couple of pictures from this morning.

The medical offices have moved off Shamian Island into bright and clean new offices in the city.

Open wide and say "Ahhhh"
After the medical visit we came back to the Hotel and decided to treat the kids to some real western food - Old McDonalds (as Hannah affectionately calls it).  For better or worse, there is one just across the side street from our Hotel ...  Hannah, of course, was happy to see something familiar, and Andrew loves any chance to eat french fries, no matter where they come from ... On one of those humorous side notes, I took Andrew up to the counter to show him pictures in hopes he would give me some inkling of an idea of what he liked.  As is now common, he pointed to everything on the menu, sigh ...  I finally was able to coax him to make one choice, and he settled on Chicken McNuggets, an orange-like drink (non-carbonated, kind of Tang-like) and of course the french fries (he pointed to them more than once).  For Hannah, I got her the standard hamburger, though I didn't know how to tell them to make it plain - so we got to scrape off the ketchup and mustard :>)  The humorous part is that Hannah does not like the bread, just the hamburger patty, so we dutifully removed the patty and set the bread aside.  As we were getting Andrews food out for him, he started pointing and jabbering about Hannah's hamburger.  We tried to explain that he had chosen the nuggets and needed to eat those.  Finally, Lois offered a piece of Hannah's burger to see if that is what he wanted, and he shook his head no.  OK, what do you want?  Are you ready?  He wanted the de-hamburgerized buns!  And he ate most of it.  Now, how is that for being efficient - Hannah eats the hamburger, Andrew eats the empty buns :>)  He also ate some of his nuggets and most of his french fries, for those of you that may be horrified at the fact we let him eat the empty hamburger buns ...  Hey, at this point, we are just happy to see them both eat lunch :>)

We came back to the hotel and put the kids down for a nap.  After nap time is when things got "interesting" (this is the rest of the story from above).  At times, Andrew can be quite a conundrum.  He slept hard and didn't want to wake up.  After getting him out of bed and holding him for a few minutes, he laid down on the floor and just kind of stared off into space.  Lois finally coaxed him into the bathroom to change clothes, but couldn't get him to change his shirt, so she told him that was OK and then walked out of the bathroom to do something else.  All of a sudden, Andrew started howling and crying and screaming and kicking his feet while laying on the floor.  This was more than a temper tantrum - I haven't heard him scream and howl like this before; it was pretty gut-wrenching.  This is the 4th  time this has happened, but this was by far the worst, and lasted for about 45 minutes to an hour.  He finally calmed down, stopped crying and came and watched TV with Hannah.  Of course, by this time, Hannah was crying because she didn't know what was going on ...  Lois was able to calm Hannah down and then offered to take them both to the play room, where all was well again (I was off doing paperwork for Andrew's Visa in another part of the Hotel with the Lifeline staff).  We still believe this is all part of his grieving process - it's almost as if he is able to hold it together most of the time, until something happens that triggers these powerful emotions and they just all come flooding out.  All we can do is love him and pray for him as he works though all of these emotions; we covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment as well ...

Hannah and Andrew have both discovered my Android Tablet and want to play on it all the time now.  I have downloaded some preschool games and activities, and they just can't get enough.  Here they are just before we headed out to dinner.

Tonight we went out to dinner with our whole group (5 families in all, but one didn't join us this evening) to a Malaysian restaurant across from the Hotel.  Here is our group ordering dinner.

Well, that was our day - in general moving forward, but with all kinds of twists and turns along the way.

Tomorrow we get to go shopping - I'm thinking shoes will be involved :>)  Let us know how you are doing, we love getting comments and emails!  We love you all, thanks for praying.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Guiyang/Guangzhou Day 8

We have arrived safe and sound in Guangzhou and are now settling in to the Garden Hotel.  It's nice to be back in a somewhat familiar setting (we were here 2 years ago with Hannah, though I doubt she remembers any of that time).  We were telling Hannah on the way to the Hotel that some of her most "famous" pictures were taken here :>)

We did enjoy our time in Guiyang and the Hotel and staff there were really very accommodating.

There is something that I meant to mention on Wednesday - it was Hannah's "Gotcha" day.  Two years ago, on 5/28/2010, we met Hannah at the Gloria Hotel in Nanchang - she was not a happy camper, and it took her quite a while to start warming up to us.  She eventually did, and we can't imagine life without her - we love you Hannah!

I thought I would back up one day and show you a few pictures from yesterday's trip to Anshun.

Passing the time with stickers
And more stickers ...
Outside the gate of Andrew's Orphanage.

The bus station where Andrew was found

The waiting hall inside the bus station
Inside the bus station
It was a pretty emotional trip for all of us, but mostly for Andrew.  He was able to see a few of the workers at the orphanage, who came out to see him; we are hopeful that this will provide some closure for Andrew going forward.  Apparently, Andrew was quite the charmer and knew just about everyone at the Orphanage; we've already seen evidence of his charming ways, but we'll save that for another post ...

I mentioned this morning that we went to the park after we got back to help release some energy, and I thought you might enjoy seeing some of those pictures as well :>)  Don't know if you can tell, but Andrew is sporting some new shoes - what is it about China and shoes?

After running errands this morning (post office and souvenir shop), we fixed some instant noodles in the room so the kids could take a nap before we had to leave for the airport.

And for those that are wondering, here is a picture of our room at the Novotel.

Pretty spacious as far as Hotels in China go ...

Our guide in Guiyang was Michael, and I can't say enough good things about him.  He was a tremendous help and took very good care of us, making sure we knew where to eat, where the parks were, where WalMart was, ...  Here we are with him just before leaving the Novotel for the airport.

We arrived at the airport around 3:30 and passed some time at the KFC before heading to our gate (I know, I said we were done with KFC, but it was really the only option ...).  Andrew was almost beside himself with excitement at being able to ride in an airplane - he squealed with delight when we pulled into the airport, and was a little dejected when we got to the gate 30 minutes early and he couldn't get on the airplane yet ...  Once on the plane, he really wanted to see out of the window, and the only way to do that was to sit in Mama's lap.  So Lois dutifully put the seat belt around him and her and he was completely enthralled :>)  I didn't have my camera handy, but I did have my cell phone, so I snapped a few quick pictures of us on the plane.
Hannah reading the newspaper on the plane :>)
Mmmm, tasty chicken with rice :>)
I don't know if you can tell or not, but Andrew has a fork in one hand and a spoon in the other and he was definitely chowing down ...  His cleft palate hasn't slowed him down one bit (he can also use a straw, which is pretty amazing to me ...).  We may be eating rice for a while once we get home ...

So, I think we are now caught up.  Tomorrow is the medical exam which will include a TB test - not looking forward to that.  You may or may not remember Hannah's take on the whole medical exam - it wasn't pleasant ...  She screamed from the moment we took her out of the stroller until we put her back in it - I remember it like it was yesterday :>)  She has come such a long way since then ...

Until tomorrow ...