We have arrived in Guangzhou! All I can say is that this hotel is a lot cleaner and bigger than our other room in Nanchang! I was breathing a sigh of relief! Both of the kids did fine on the plane. We kept smiling at them to let them know that everything was ok. Lillian Xiang (sounds like Song) loved that she was given a drink and a little snack on the plane. She thought the tray was really cool, watched the TV and even reclined her seat. Alex, on the other hand, was stuck like glue to Steven, was not too terribly happy and he saved his food box from the plane. The things Steven didn’t eat, Alex put in his box and kept. He had to have it. So, here we are juggling two kids, 5 suitcases, 6 carry-ons and a food box all the way through the airport… Even though they are 3 and 4, they are very much emotionally still infants. Lillian Xiang Xiang must have a bottle at night and Alex wants to be held and carried everywhere.
Yesterday, we have a few hours to waste and the kids were getting restless so we took a walk. I wish I was able to get more pictures. Until you have been here, it is hard to explain the sights and sounds of China. Many areas have beautiful parks and I took pictures of a park with a tower that we walked around at for an hour. Beautiful architecture and statues. Many of the older folks hang out and play cards as you can see in the pavillion. One man was playing racquetball with his grandson. We noticed that a lot of people hang out their meat — ducks, sausage, etc. on the balcony to dry along with their laundry. When we are walking we are stared at and followed. If one person is brave enough to approach us and talk to us, several will approach us as well (as you can see in the slideshow above). One lady stopped me and told me I needed to put “two clothes” on the kids that they were not covered enough. It was 68 degrees and they had a full set of clothes on plus a coat! And in Lillian Xiang Xiang’s case, she had her vest on under that as well! Vivian also had a crowd, you can see the photos above they were touching her hair and looking at her. By this point the novelty had worn off and she was trying to hide behind Steven.
Both of the kids are very smart. Especially Lillian. She is a trip. When we are walking down the sidewalk she will wave and tell everyone hello. They will say something to her and she pops off something back and they just laugh. I wonder what she is saying… Lillian likes to be held a lot. Even though she is very smart and very independent, in a lot of other ways she is still a baby. My brave baby. I have had to get a stroller because she is too heavy to lug around. Alex is light. He is skinny. Lillian is a chunk…a full solid chunk. She has a big belly too. Its cute.
This morning we had to go for both kids’ medical examination for entry into the U.S. They have to check them out and make sure they do not have any communicable diseases, etc. Alex was fine. The doctor who examined Lillian was so kind. He told me a couple things that I did not know and for her privacy (since this is a blog and I never know how long it will live on…) I will not post it here, so I will see a doctor when I get home. There were a couple other things I knew already and was not surprised, he just confirmed my suspicions. Three doctors came in to look at her. The medical exam clinic was a MAD HOUSE! I have never seen anything like it. There were at least 30 families there with 1 and sometimes, like in our case, 2 kids. They were screaming and crying. Our guide did not tell us what to do, so we were kind of standing around looking for her. Doctors, nurses and various other people were running around in different directions. What was that show…ER…I think it was where the phone was ringing, people were running around, doctors were running two and fro with charts…yeah, that was what it was like plus the sound of 30 kids crying in unison. We had to undress them fully. Finally, we figured out what we needed to do and went around to the various stations and left. Both kids had to do a TB test since they were over 2 years old. Lillian was fine with hers. She reminds me of Vivian in so many ways. Vivian would watch them draw blood when she was that age…blech!!!!! Alex had a hissy fit. He scratched his TB spot until it bled and screamed.
We have also found out that institutionalized orphan poop REALLY stinks. UGH! Since I am the oldest of 5, pullups, diapers, poopy accidents and such do not bother me. Throw up…I don’t care. BUT the SMELL really bothers me. GAG. They both are really good about going to the bathroom or telling us. But sometimes Lillian Xiang Xiang blabbers on and I don’t catch the Chinese word for poop and she goes. Alex was sick for a couple days too. One day one had to go, followed by the other and the house cleaning lady was trying to straighten our room, she opened the window and hung her head out of it. After my eyes quit stinging and I pulled up their pants and sent them to play, I went and hung my head out the window too! Only people who have adopted can relate….(Kayla…Karen…). I have learned that smearing toothpaste under your nose before heading to the bathroom with them really works in keeping the smell from getting to you. Steven was like UH-UH! OH NO! He cannot handle that at all. He was trying to not throw up. I know that is probably too much detail, but it is all very much a part of the process. So, here is the REAL side of adoption.
Ok, so now for the list of new things I learned:
1. Small trash bags are GREAT stinky pullup disposals and are great for odor control in a small tiny room with no airflow.
2. Medicine is no where to be found. BRING YOUR OWN. (Which I did, but have run out and it is not good)
3. You can ask a Chinese national a direct question and they will not answer it directly. They will most likely suggest something else, even if you ask them for something specific THREE or FOUR times!
4. Calling China costs $4 (do you remember Lillian Xiang Xiang making a call? It was on our hotel bill when we checked out.
5. Grocery stores are set up with no rhyme or reason. You can make circles for an hour and still not find what you need all the while people are looking at you like you are stupid.
6. Reusable snack bags (bought some from Renessa Fowlkes adoption fundraiser) with the velcro closures are the most awesomest thing in the whole wide world. I have put snacks in them for when we have to go for appointments, they have been helpful on the long bus rides or if one of the kids does not eat any food at the restaurant, I know that I have something along that they will eat. I have also used it to carry back leftovers. There is no such thing as to go containers. If a restaurant does have them, they charge you for them (which is fine. It is only .50 or so a container), but most restaurants do not have them.
7. Both kids love french fries. We are eating McDonalds TONIGHT!
8. Soft cloth shoes are not the best thing to wear in a 2 story grocery store with carts that not only roll vertical but horizontal (OUCH!). My toes were rolled over at least 3 times today. It HURT!
9. I need to set my alarm to get up and have at least 3 cups of coffee before dealing with Lillian Xiang Xiang in the morning. She is too happy by far.
Today was really hard for all of us. Last week we were too busy trying to make the kids feel welcome and dealing with all of the crying and such. Now that they are a little more acclimated to us, Steven and I are grouchy. We are trying hard not to be. This morning was so confusing and we could not figure out what was going on or what we were supposed to be doing that it made us grumpy…that and the kids, when they are ready to eat, they want it NOW. I can’t get dressed fast enough and when we go down to breakfast, Steven and I are busy feeding the kids so we are not eating much. By the time we get the kids fed, the bus is leaving…today they were waiting on us and that made me feel bad…it was just not a good day. Both of the kids are sleeping right now while Steven is with Kelly our guide doing our U.S. Consulate paperwork. I did all of the adoption paperwork for the Civil Affairs office last week so I sent him to do this paperwork. Also, I had one kid on each side of me asleep and really did not want to move. They are less grumpy if I can get them down for a nap. They also sleep better at night. Previously they were going to bed at 7:30 and waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. After 3 days of that I was wiped out. After they would go to bed, I would wash clothes out in the tub or blog, getting in to bed at 10 and then having a happy face in mine at 4…that was getting old.
Well, off to McDonalds. I have several pictures of our plane ride and some of this morning but they are on my phone. For some reason, this hotel will not allow us to use our phones on the wifi. We have tried and tried. You have to have a passcode and we have only been successful in getting the computer hooked up. Maybe Steven will figure it out or there may be wifi at McDonalds and we will upload some to Facebook then. I am ready to come home!!!!!!!
Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers!!!