Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just Another Day in China

As much progress as we seemed to have by the end of yesterday, we started from square one this AM. Sydney doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, although she did let me carry her for a little bit. She only wants Mike. We went for a stroller ride thinking that would help, but she just seems so sad. It is getting harder and harder to see her like this. We were able to get a few decent pics for today’s post, though. Evan just had to have her picture taken with the 'dolls' in the window.

We applied for her Chinese passport this afternoon, and then Mike took Evan to the freezing cold pool. I stayed in the room with Sydney where she cried and got really mad while I held her. After 30 minutes of torture for the both of us. I put her on the bed and sat next to her. This seemed to be more acceptable to her until I kissed her shoulder. So, we loaded up in the stroller and headed to the pool. When we came back, we spent some time bonding with Cheerios and stacking cups. As we were playing a few different games with her, we got her to say 'baba' which is dad in Chinese. It is no surprise that eventhough the orphanage said she can say mama, she would not.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

McConnell Family Outing

The shoes Sydney came with (sounds like she's a Barbie) were too small, so we went out in search of some that fit this evening. Mission accomplished! We also found an outfit that fits (of all the clothes we brought, only 2 fit) for $3 - so we bought 1 in pink and 1 in blue. On our way back, we stopped at McDonald's for dinner. Evan really enjoyed teaching Sydney how to eat chicken nuggets and fries. Sydney went to town on those nuggets. She had chicken in one hand and fries in the other. She would alternate feeding herself very quickly. We came back to the room and had some success in making her laugh - finally.
We took her to the pool earlier in the day, but the water was so cold she and I just walked around and watched Evan in the pool.

It's Official - She's Ours!

We started out the day Skyping with family and then headed down to the hotel breakfast buffet. It is awesome. Our new favorite fruit is called dragonfruit. The inside looks like white kiwi and tastes similar but not as strong. We met our guide David and headed back to the Civil Affairs office to make this adoption official. While there Evan started getting jealous because she felt left out. She stays right on top of Sydney, so Sydney sometimes pushes her away or cries. Evan feels like Sydney doesn’t like her. She was fine by the time we left the building, though.
Our next stop was the supermarket to get a stroller, diapers and snacks. Since we aren’t able to stick around the hotel all the time, we’ve decided to keep Sydney in diapers and complete her potty training when we get home. She stayed dry last night after drinking quite a bit of water laced with Miralax. We elected to buy sour cream and onion Pringles instead of the tomato, BBQ chicken, shrimp or seaweed ones. Evan found a treat – chicken feet! At least they were packaged!
We ate lunch with our awesome guide at a local restaurant and had some great dishes. I think we ordered 7 dishes for less than $26. That’s a far cry from our $130 buffet dinner last night or our $145 laundry bill!! We walked back to the hotel and let Sydney ride in her stroller. She must like all the bumps on the sidewalk because she was all smiles the whole time.
She relaxed a little more around us today and is becoming a little more expressive. Hopefully she will really open up within the next few days.

Getting Settled In

We decided to stay in the hotel for dinner so we could try the buffet. We wanted to see what Sydney would eat. I’m proud to report that we have not found a single thing she will not eat. Although she can feed herself, she is not doing that right now. She is definitely grieving, but she will eat as long as we will feed her. She ate potato skins, watermelon, dragonfruit, broccoli, cauliflower, pizza, doughnuts, mango ice cream, chocolate ice cream, rice, congee, and the list goes on and on.
She didn’t quite like her bath, but sharing it with Evan made it a little better, I think. She fell asleep in Evan’s bed. We moved her to her crib, and she did not move until morning. All three of us checked on her several times during the night, but she slept from 9 pm until almost 7 am. Evan had been up since 5 am just waiting by the crib patiently for her to wake up.

More Gotcha Day

Here are a few more Gotcha Day pics. When we got back to the room and started playing with Sydney, she began to relax a little. We got a few smiles, one giggle and a stream of babble we couldn’t understand. Evan has been waiting so long to take the picture of her lifetime – everyone on daddy’s shoulders. I snapped it just before Sydney started to cry and demanded to be let down. Evan wanted to let her try her favorite snacks - chocolate and Pringles. She loved them both. She is such a pretty little girl but seems so sad. I cannot imagine what must be going through her head. I’m just glad she won’t remember any of this before too long.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gotcha Day At Last!

We walked into the Civil Affairs office around 2:30 pm and found a lot of people with crying babies. Evan never cried, so I was hoping Sydney wouldn't either. I cannot imagine how scared these little ones are being handed off to strangers and sent home with them. Anyway, we were ushered into a private office to wait. Mike walked around to take video and pictures of everyone. I think we saw Sydney at the same time (I was peering through the blinds searching for her). They brought her in, handed her to me, and she started crying almost uncontrollably immediately! Poor little thing! I had to take care of some paperwork, so Mike and Evan were finally able to console her. When her nanny came back in, she didn't even cry.

She is still in diapers at night and drinks 2 bottles a day with regular table food. She's wearing about 18 month clothes and is smaller than I thought she would be. Evan loves her - as do we. She was quite apprehensive but has begun warming up. We've even gotten some smiles and a laugh or two. She loves toys, especially bright, loud ones. We found that she loves Honey Nut Cheerios as she ate all the ones we took with us. Her nanny said that she loves anything sweet. Like mother, like daughter.

We have so much to do, so we'll post more later.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finally, Some Pictures!!!

Mike and Melissa were finally able to send me some pictures from their first few days! In just a few hours they will be picking up Sydney. I will post those pictures as soon as I get them!!

A Few Thoughts from Evan

We are only a few hours away from getting our Sydney, so I thought it would be great to interview Evan. She is so excited! Me? I'm quite nervous. I don't remember being this nervous with Evan. (My friend Kim will post a video here as soon as she gets it.)


Once again we got up around 4:30 am because of jet lag. Our group of 5 families split up at the airport, each of us going to a different province. Although we sat on the plane for an hour before taking off, we had a pretty good flight. Three hours doesn’t seem like much of a flight anymore. In fact, Evan asked if it would be tomorrow before we landed.
David, our guide, told us that the orphanage in Dongguan receives a tremendous amount of public and governmental support. This area used to be very poor, but the past several years it has become a mecca for companies like Nike, Toyota and Honda; therefore, they are becoming a fairly wealthy city. The orphanage is very good with well-qualified staff and excellent medical care. We will have our Gotcha Day moment at 2:30 pm Monday.
Evan is so excited she can hardly stand it! We walked around the hotel to try to ‘burn some energy’. We ate in the hotel at a Chinese version of a food court. It was really nice, though. I had noodles with chili sauce (spicy!), Mike had great sweet and sour pork, and Evan had excellent rice noodles with beef.
There are so many people here! Guangzhou alone has a population of 15 million people. I think David said the whole province has a population of 50 million. One thing is certain in China - you are NEVER alone!

The Great Wall of China

Our last stop on Saturday was the Great Wall. I made the mistake of looking down the steep, steep stairs behind me and got scared. I could just see myself tripping or losing my balance and rolling down all the way to the bottom! That would NOT make for a very good Gotcha Day. So, I turned around, carefully grasped the handrail, and made my way back down. Evan and Mike ended up going very high! They would have continued, but Evan started coughing so badly from the smog. She stayed yards ahead of the rest and was so disappointed when she had to come back down. Others in the group said she was leader - no one could keep up with her.
We ended the night doing paperwork and packing for an early departure to Guangzhou!!!!

Olympic Park and the Cloisonne Factory

The Olympic Park was pretty cool. We saw the Bird’s Nest which is absolutely huge! There were all kinds of vendors peddling their wares. Some take no for an answer, while some just keep adding more worthless merchandise to sweeten the deal. I am so used to Evan being the center of attention when we go places, but here she is just like everyone else. I was the one asked to pose in pictures with complete strangers!
The Cloisonne factory was one of our favorites when we came 5 years ago, and it was still just as amazing. There is a store attached that sells all kinds of ‘touristy’ things. The jade pieces are awesome!

The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square

Jet lag is a funny thing. As dead tired as I was last night, I woke up at midnight feeling ready to get up. I made myself stay in bed and doze for a while. Evan woke up around 3 am and tried hard to go back to sleep, but in the end we let her play her DS and stay quiet. We all got up about 4:30 am – even Mike!

After a great breakfast, we were off to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Olympic Park, Cloisonne factory and the Great Wall. What a great but exhausting day! We think the sun was shining but couldn’t tell because the smog is so thick. We had a nice stroll through the Forbidden City and across the street to Tiananmen Square. Evan and Macy have formed such a bond and played the whole time. They adore each other. We all got to rub the knobs on one of the huge doors for good luck. (Have you seen the Karate Kid, yet?) We got almost to the other side of the Forbidden City, and then the military came in and started forcing everyone out of the area. Apparently some important official was coming through. We learned the real meaning of a Chinese Fire Drill. There had to have been several hundred people funneling through a fairly narrow area.

Safe and Sound in Beijing

I bet you thought we had disappeared!!! We have been having server issues, so we can't send emails - which is how I'd planned on posting to our blog. I hope to get that fixed today (Monday). I did find a way to post, but I cannot upload pics. But, here is what we've doing....

After our experience in Dallas, we had a smooth trip the rest of the way. We met up with another family from our agency during our layover in San Francisco with a little 20 month old girl named Macey. She and Evan hit it off! Evan and I did a little shopping – what more do you need than Godiva, Ghirardelli and fresh sourdough?? That helped to keep us occupied.
The flight from San Francisco was 11 hours and 22 minutes. I had to psyche myself into believing I could do it because the last time I got motion sickness the last half of the flights. We enjoyed watching ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, had lunch and a snack, and snoozed off and on. About 6 hours into the flight, I gave Evan a Dramamine to help her spend the rest of her time comfortably. That was the biggest mistake I think I have EVER made as a mother! It did not take effect immediately, but for the next 5 hours, Mike and I would have to watch her thrashing around and waking periodically to scream and cry. Mike stood or squatted almost all that time.
We woke her up about 45 minutes before we were to land and she was just fine. She talked about how she was excited to be going home and wondering if the people in China would remember her. I assured her that if they didn’t remember her, once they met her this time they would never forget her!
We finally made it to the hotel around 6pm. Evan and I left Mike in the room to go to bed while we went downstairs to eat. We had fried rice, Spaghetti Bolognese and a $5 can of 7 Up. We were in bed by 8:30 pm for some much needed sleep!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lost Bags?

We made the 50 minute flight to Dallas with a few turbulence. Evan
settled in and took a nice nap - which is a good sign of things to
come. We made our way to baggage claim where we waited and waited and
waited. We started to envision a quick shopping trip in order to get
everything we needed fearing our luggage was lost.
After waiting an hour, they realized there was a problem with the
conveyor belt. Finally, we were off to check in and enjoy dinner with
Sent from my iPhone

And We're Off....

Well, to Dallas anyway. We actually leave tomorrow for China.
Somehow we were able to pack for 4 people for 2 weeks in 3 suitcases
all well under 44 lbs! That feels weird to refer to us as a family of