Saturday, June 30, 2007

Doctors and Pearls

First of all - I am sorry that I am a day late - that means I will post twice today - Once for Saturday and later for Sunday. I could not access the internet last night.

The girls had their medical exams on Saturday and they were all very good. Lucy was especially good - none of it bothered her. From an American's standpoint I would say the exam was pretty baseline. In the first station they checked the girls ears and throats as well as their hearing. The next station they were weighed, measured and had their temperature taken. They then had their chests and hearts listened to. Missy Lucy tipped the scales at 19 pounds - good healthy girl. After the medical exam which didn't take very long we were free to do what we wanted. We stopped in several of the stores. There are so many nice shops here - we love the city. There is a store right next to the hotel where all of the woman know Lucy. I thought it was so cute until I started thinking about it and came to the conclusion that the nicer they are to the baby the more money mom and dad will spend in their store - capitalism at its best!

We came back to the hotel and Lucy took a short nap. Later in the afternoon the group went to The Pearl and Jade market. It was very fun and Lucy seemed to enjoy it. She loves baubles! We bought her something to put away for her until she is older. We came back to the hotel and then had a fun evening with our new friends Tim and Wendy and their daughter Quincy. We all went out to dinner and had a really fun time. The girls were good at the restaurant. We had to make one more stop after dinner to pick up our laundry at the store next door. Right when we walked in everyone yelled Lucy's name - it made me laugh and I thought it was cute but I refrained from purchasing anything. The girls were ready for bed when we came home.

One of the babies in our group had to go to the hospital last night - she actually had to go to three hospitals until they were able to help her. She was dehydrated and diagnosed with malnutrition and some sort of infection. I feel so bad for her mom and dad they said it was very scary. She was put on IV's and they are trying to get her back to the States one day ahead of us. She is a little peanut - she needs to get home and see an American physician. We are so grateful that Lucy is healthy!!!

Well another great day with our girl. She gets funnier by the day. She figured out how to pull her bow out of her hair and she learned out to pull off her shoes. Neither of these things made me happy - especially the bow as it is her signature style. Oh well that's okay.

Hope you are all well. I'll post todays (Sunday's) post later on. Hopw you are enjoying your weekend!

Love -

Bridget, Rich and Lucy

Friday, June 29, 2007

Have Passport Will Travel

That's my girl - she had her passport for three hours and then boarded a plane! Well it was our last day in Nanchang. We were somewhat glad to leave as we are ready for new surroundings. Nanchang is a big city - but a bit on the edge. If you were to walk around by yourself at night you might not feel that safe. Also you must realize that due to Lucy's sleep schedule we have alot of down time - translated to alot of time sitting in our hotel room. So it will be nice to at least have a new room to hang out in.

Our guides went and picked up all of the girls passports. It was the first day that Lucy was a bit fussy, and I thought we had the perfect girl! She is perfect she was just a bit fussy. Which I must say we are not used to. Rich took her for a walk and it calmed her down a bit. She took a short nap and then we took her for another walk. We did a little shopping and she fell asleep in her stroller. When she woke up it was time to meet the group in the lobby. All present and accounted for so it was time to leave for the airport. We bid farewell to Mary our Nanchang guide - which was somewhat sad as she helped us through the entire process from the time we arrived. All 49 of us checked in at the airport- which wasn't too bad. Lucy was now ready to board her first flight. We boarded the plane and she was ready to go. I had a middle seat and Rich had the aisle - so there was a gentleman seated to my right. Well I have learned that I was given the right daughter for a number of reasons - but one of them being she is so nosy. Everywhere we go she looks around and doesn't want to miss a thing. She also wants to make sure that everyone knows she is there (nothing like her mom:)) When we are on the bus she puts her hand on the window and looks out of it for the entire trip. When we go to the restaurant for a meal she always gets the waitress attention. When she is on the elevator she touches anyone's face that she can reach. She listens to other people's conversations and she always screams louder than any of the other babies to make sure someone is listening to her. Once we boarded the plane she would not leave the guy next to us alone. He was reading the safety manual and she grabbed it from his hands, he worked on his computer and she tried to press the keys, he got his meal and she grabbed his napkin. Luckily he was nice and went along with her antics. She fell asleep half way through the flight and woke up happy as could be. So hopefully this was a precursor to our flight home - although the flight home will be about 8-9 times longer. Hope someone nice is sitting next to us!

We made it to Guangzhou and it is a beautiful city. We can't wait to see it tomorrow. We all have to meet in the lobby at 8:00am and take all of the girls for their medical exams - that should be fun. After the medical exam the rest of the day is ours. The hotel where we are staying is beautiful - it is huge and totally filled with American couples and Chinese babies. The US Consulate is housed in this city, therefore, every American adopting a baby has to end their trip here. It should be a nice ending to a wonderful trip.

Lucy is fast asleep and I am not far behind. Enjoy your Friday and know that we are thinking about you. Until tomorrow Take Care.

We miss you!

Love -

Bridget, Rich and Lucy

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Sweetest Girl

Perhaps by the heading of this post you would believe it was about Lucy - it is actually referring to a little girl we met today. Today we went to a village outside the city of Nanchang. As I stated in an earlier post Nanchang is a small city by China standards - 4 million people. By American standards it is a big city - full of cars, traffic, people and smog. Of the 1.4 billion people who live in China only 30 percent live in a "city" the other 70 percent live in villages. Tourists would not be allowed to visit a village on their own. We went as a group with our adoption agency and our guide. In this province 100% of the girls who are in orphanages are from a village. It was quite an awakening to see how those in the villages live. We were only 15 minutes from the city but a world away. When we entered the village everything changed before your eyes. We were now on dirt roads and in an area that seemed years behind the times. Our driver parked the bus and the kids from the village came running out. I suppose they knew that the visitors on the bus might have gifts for them. When we came out they all swarmed around us. Rich and Perry (another guy in our group) had so many packs of NBA trading cards. Another couple had a huge bag of candy. The kids swarmed to us like bees to honey. Everyone handed out what they had and the chaos subsided. We then started touring the village. The people we met were so kind and lovely. They were happy to see us and show us where they lived. They loved all of the girls.

There was the prettiest little girl in a pink shirt who came up to me and said, "hi, hello". She seemed quite proud of herself for knowing the English language - I was impressed. She held Lucy's hand and spoke so soft and sweet to her. She walked with us along the way. She was so sweet and kind. At one point she smiled at Lucy and pulled something out of her pocket - she gave Lucy a rock candy sucker wrapped in cellophane. I wondered where it came from . Unbeknownst to me, one of the people in our group had sent a bag of candy to the village prior to our visit - in the bag were rock candy suckers. This sweet little girl gave Lucy the sucker that someone had given to her. I thought it was the sweetest thing I've ever seen. Here was this young girl who probably had very little and was sharing what she had to someone she had just met - it was so touching. I can only hope that someday Lucy follows the same example. Rich had an extra pack of cards in his pocket - we gave the sweet girl the entire pack. She thanked us and hugged Lucy goodbye. She continued waving to us until we pulled away. I will always remember this sweet little girl and her act of kindness.

I'm so happy that we were able to visit the village. Had Lucy not been left for adoption this is the kind of village she would have grown up in. Had that been the case, from what I witnessed today I know she would have been loved and happy as all of the children seemed to be. They live in a world far from the one we live in but they are sweet, kind and oh so thoughtful. Clearly their parents have taught them well.

We had a great day today. Jiangxi province (where we currently are) is the porcelain capital of China. We visited a porcelain shop which had some beautiful tea sets, place settings and figurines.
For dinner this evening our gruop went to a very large and nice restaurant where we feasted on a wonderful chinese buffet; total cost 25 Yuan per person or about $3.
The girls get their passports tomorrow so that they can take their first plane ride in the afternoon. We leave for Guangzhou around 5:00pm for the final leg of our journey. I am looking forward to new surroundings and being one step closer to coming home.

Have a great Thursday! We miss you!
Until tomorrow - Take Care.

Love -

Bridget, Rich and Lucy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lego My Baby

It seems to be customary here for the Chinese (especially the elderly) to stop Non-Asians who have Asian babies and pat the baby on the head and then take the baby from your hands. They talk to the baby,walk around with them, hand them back to you, in Chinese say, "lucky baby" and then give you the thumbs up sign. Okay I luckily knew of this custom prior to this week. Had I not I would be in a Chinese jail for assault and battery. I mean we have waited for over two years for the Chinese to give us our baby and now they just want to grab her back. I'm sorry it seems a bit odd. I let it go as I am trying to be a polite American. I would have taken a picture, but thought it better to have both hands free to grab back Lucy if need be. This freaked out alot of people in our group. You look around and see all of these seemingly sweet seniors - then they grab your baby and you have your doubts. Oh well everything turned out okay.

Today the group went on a tour of the Teng Wang Pavilion. It was a beautiful pavilion surrounded by gorgeous gardens. It would have been a much more enjoyable experience had it not been so so hot. There were quite a few people in the group who cut out early and went back to the hotel due to heat. We stuck it out but Lucy fell asleep. We came back to the hotel to cool off and let Lucy take her nap.

After Lucy awoke from her nap we decided to explore the city on our own - us on foot Lucy in her stroller. It was somewhat strange as everyone stares at you. Some of the stares don't feel very comforting. Lots of people touched the bow in Lucy's hair and in broken English said, "pretty". We walked for quite a bit in an open air market area- Great people watching. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a grocery store. It was pretty nice. We picked up a few things (all packaged) and then made our way back to our room. We went to dinner at one of the hotel restaurants - which serves a buffet - Lucy's favorite. We hung out with some of the other families in our group and then all went back to our rooms as the girls were getting tired.

We had another great day with Lucy. She is starting to love her bath almost as much as she loves her meals. She is always happy and almost always smiling. She laughs out loud. Speaking of loud - she is. Whenever you say hi to her she yells something back that almost sounds like hi. If she thinks you're not listening to her she yells a little louder. I laugh everytime she does it. Everyone in the group gets quite a kick out of her. We are crazy about her!!!

I better get to sleep as tomorrow we have a sightseeing tour of the countryside. We are looking forward to that. We will get the girls passports on Friday and then fly to Guanzhou later that afternoon.

Until tomorrow - take care and as always thanks for your sweet messages and kind words. It is so fun to hear from all of you as it makes us feel like we aren't so far from home!

Good morning to you and goodnight to me!

Love -

Bridget, Rich and Lucy

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tian'anmen Square, Great Wall, Wal-Mart

Okay so our sightseeing has taken a bit of a turn. Today we all loaded the bus and went to

Wal-Mart - that's right Wal-Mart. We went so people could stock up on things they either needed or forgot. Most people including myself are keeping their girls on Chinese formula until we return to the states - easier on their tummies (and on us I suppose). They sell the formula at Wal-Mart - so off we went. Well if you think you've seen some things at Wal-Mart in the states - you haven't seen anything. The first floor was comparable to an American store - but the second floor or food/grocery store had some things in there that I don't ever need to see or smell again. It was quite an experience.

Lucy had a few firsts today. We heard her first belly laugh - and it was the cutest thing ever. She took her first stroller ride - which she enjoyed, and she went to her first birthday party. One of the babies in the group turned one today. Our guides arranged a birthday party/dinner at a local restaurant. It was so good. All of the parents had lots to eat - they serve everything family style so you are able to try lots of different things- it was all very tasty. At the end they brought out a big birthday cake with 15 candles on it one for each of the girls -it was very cute. Everyone had a good time. I ate cake but Rich though it a bad idea to give Lucy a bite - I'm sure she would have loved it. She loves everything else - she was born in the year of the dog but from the way she eats I think she should have been born in the year of the pig (I mean that in an endearing way of course). Everyone gets a kick out of watching her eat. Some of the little girls eat nothing - which is a little sad. Not our girl - bring it on and she will try it.

It was another great day with Lucy. We can't believe what a happy, happy girl she is. She wakes up in the morning and after her nap with a smile on her face. She laughs and plays all day. We know that she is tired when she gets a little fussy. Then she starts scratching the back of her head and neck and we know that she is ready to go to sleep. We feel so fortunate that everything is turning out this way. I guess we were prepared for the worse case and it seems like we are getting the best. (I just knocked on wood).

Lucy's sound asleep and Rich is making a phone call for work. I'm going to go read for awhile and then call it a night. I hope you all have a great Tuesday!!

Until tomorrow - take care and know that we are thinking about you. Thanks for all of your sweet messages - we love reading them.

Love -

B, Rich and Lucy

Monday, June 25, 2007

She's Officially Ours!

The day after you receive your daughter you actually complete the paperwork to officially adopt them. As a group we had to go to three different Government agencies this morning in order to complete the paperwork. The first appointment was at 8:30. We all loaded in and out of the bus numerous times with the girls. Imagine having to go to three Government offices in th US in one morning. The buildings and the employees are pretty much the same as those at home the only difference is you would need it to be 98 degrees, 100% humidity, have 15 babies between 7 -12 months and have no airconditioning in any of the buildings. Not so fun. The girls were all troopers. Lucy never cried once. We swore over and over again that we would never harm her or abandon her, we then promised to provide her education and healthcare. After it is all said and done you get "The Red Book" Which is your official document stating that she is yours. Lucy was worn out after the process and fell asleep on Rich's shoulders.

So enough about the Red Book - lets move on to Lucy. She is so sweet and good- we can hardly believe it. She went to bed last night at 7:30 and woke up this morning at 6:00. And that was probably only because we were standing over her crib staring at her. I feed her a bottle and she sucked it down. We later went down to the breakfast buffet - and can she eat! Which didn't really surprise us as she is about twice the size as the other girls - not kidding. She ate 2 little muffins, a plate of rice and eggs and some hot conshee (which is like oatmeal). She loves to play with us and she smiles readily. I can't believe she just met us and already seems so comfortable. I'm so glad though, because we were afraid that she might be sad and scared. She is crazy about her dad - which is so cute. Rich is crazy about her as well.

Well that's it for today. Hope all's well.

Love -

B, Rich and Lucy

Sunday, June 24, 2007

We've Got our Lucy!!!!!!!

I have been up since 4:00 and Rich has been up since 5:00. We packed our bags this morning and left the hotel in Beijing at 8:30. We boarded our flight to Nanchung on our final destination to finally meet our sweet Lucy. We landed in Nanchung( a small city by Chinese standards only 4 million people) at 1:30pm - it was soooo hot 95 degrees. We boarded the bus and headed to our hotel. We all went to our rooms and got ready. At 4:30 we loaded the bus again and drove for about 20 minutes to the Adoption Center. When we got off the bus there were people everywhere with babies. Groups from various agencies come in all throughout the day. We took the elevator to the 26th floor and the chaos began. I thought it would be a very organized activity. There were so many babies in the room when we entered. We all ran around trying to identify our baby. Some people in our group recognized their daughters but they were not allowed to get them until the "paperwork" part began. I ran around like a crazy lady trying to find our Lucy. It was so emotional - needless to say not only was I a crazy lady - but a crying crazy lady. Well we didn't see Lucy. In our travel group there are 15 families. The babies in our group were from 4 orphanages. 10 of the babies were from the same orphanage, 2 were from one orphanage and 2 were from another orphange - little Miss Lucy was the only one from her orphanage. Everyone was getting their babies but us!!! I was now in panick mode - that is until the sweetest little thing walked in the door in the arms of her orphanage director. Rich and I knew it was our Lucy. Just like our girl to have to make a fashionably late entrance. I was shaking - she was just as we pictured her. They had to find our paperwork and then we had to present our passports. Then that wonderful orphanage director handed us the sweetest little girl we had ever seen. She was dressed in a green dress and little green jelly sandals- so funny. She took to us right away and never cried. We met the orphanage director and he answered our questions. He gave us a little gift for Lucy. We finally had our girl!!!!!!!! I don't even remember the next few minutes. Everyone was walking around with their girls then we were told to leave. What?!!! I was suppossed to have all of this documented on film - video and digital. My documentation did not go as planned - but who cares we left with the swetest little girl in the world. She fell asleep on the bus ride home. We came back to the hotel and she woke up. We gave her her first bath (ever) they only wash them down. They were all very dirty. She loved her bath. She was unsure at first but she ended up liking it. We then put her in her pj's and of course I had to get a bow in her hair. Okay it looked sooo cute. She cleans up well. We played in the room with her for awhile and she loves her dad!!! Everytime he walked away she flung her head to find him. We had to go downstairs and complete some paperwork. I filled out all of the paperwork and Rich held his little girl - she fell asleep in his arms. She is fast asleep in her crib as I write this message. We can't stop staring at her or pinching ourselves to make sure it's real. Well it is real, and she was worth every minute that we waited for her. We love her so much!!!!! We can't wait for her to meet all of you!!!! Until tomorrow - have a great day and Take Care!

Love -

Rich, Bridget and Lucy!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Great Wall

Today is our last day in Beijing. We finally met all of the families in our adoption group. We all went on a tour today. First we went to The Forbidden City- which was built 1406-1420 by 1,000,000 laborers and home of emperors, servants,concubines & enuchs till 1925.

We then went to The Great Wall. It was incredible. It really does take your breath away. I climbed to the the very top. I was the only one in our group who made it to the top- as you can see my competitiveness carries over half way across the world - he-he. It really was amazing once you got to the top. It was much easier walking down the wall then it was walking up!

Well tonight is our last night waiting for Lucy. We finally get to meet our sweet girl tomorrow. We fly out of Beijing at 10:50 and arrive in Nanchung at 1:00pm. We then get settled into our hotel and get ready for our meeting. We will take a 20 minute bus ride to the Orphange Center and then we all receive our girls at 5:00om!!!! We can hardly believe it. I'm not sure how well I will sleep tonight - but I am certain that tomorrow will be one of the happiest days of our lives. I will keep you all posted after we get settled down with Lucy. You will all be sleeping when we meet her but by the time you wake up I will try to post some pictures.

Until tomorrow take care!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Busy Day in Beijing

Today was our second day in Beijing. We went on a guided tour with our adoption agency and the group of families who have already arrived. We left the hotel at 8:30 and came back at 6:30. We began our tour with a visit to The Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven is a temple and park where the emperors offered sacrifices. It still contains the temple and it is a beautiful park like setting that is geared to the senior citizens of Beijing. It is a social area where they all gather. There is an exercise area where some of them come with their grandchildren. There are areas where they sing, dance, play cards and dominoes and much more. It was so interesting to wander around and see them all enjoying themselves. During our visit several Asian tourists stood next to Rich to get their picture taken with him because "he is sooo tall" - made me laugh.

Next we took a tour of Hutong. Hutong is a very old area of Beijing where families live in minimal standards within very close quarters. We took the tour via rickshaws winding in and out of very narrow alley ways. While there we visited a Kindergarten which is a school for 2-5 year olds. They are dropped off on Monday and picked up on Friday - much different than our kindergarten. We also visited a Senior Center where people live 3 to a room - a very small room. They were all happy to see us.

We then ate a traditional family lunch in someones home. It was quite tasty. After that we visited the Bell Tower and The Drum Tower. We learned quite a bit about the area from our guide.

We later went to a traditional Chinese acrobatic show. It was amazing. Not something that I thought I would be crazy about but it was so great. We had a busy and interesting day. We are getting ready to go grab a bite to eat and then call it a night.

Two days until we meet Lucy!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

We Made It!

We made it to China! The flights were long but uneventful. We checked into our hotel at about 10:00 PM and were asleep by 11:00. We basically lost Wednesday. We woke up feeling well rested. We left our hotel at 9:00am and went on a self guided tour of Beijing. The city is amazing. It is so big and there are so many people. Not so surprising considering the population is 14 million people. I have never seen so many bikes in all my life. Although many people ride bikes, it is very, very smoggy here. The smog is so thick that you cannot see very far in front of you. Today it was quite hot and very humid, but it did not keep us from exploring the city. We started our day with a visit to Tian An Men Square. It was quite interesting. Here we were in the middle of the square we had observed over and over again on television. There were Chinese Army everywhere. We were very limited as to what areas we could actually enter. In order to get into the middle of the square you had to go underground. All of the streets were surrounded by gates.
After our Tian An Men Square visit we took a cab to The Summer Palace. It was beautiful! There was alot of ground to cover. We walked alot and climbed more stairs than I want to count. We took a boat ride around the large lake that surrounds the palace. I'm so glad we were able to spend an afternoon at the palace - it was quite lovely.

We did a little shopping after that and then returned to our hotel at 6:00. We had a full day and really enjoyed all of our stops along the way.

3 Days until we meet Lucy!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We're on our way!

Well we are leaving today and we are actually ready! I worked out my packing problems - well at least for right now. The luggage restrictions in China are different than those in the US. We have two in China flights. The weight restrictions and the number of bags that you can check and carry on are 1 carry on per person and 1 checked bag (40 lb weight restriction). We have one extra small bag and our checked bags might be a "little' over the weight. Oh well we will cross that bridge when we get to it. For now we can leave the US!

Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and messages - we really appreciate them.

Next time I post we will be in China!!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Our last night eating dinner with a fork (for a while)

So it's the night before we leave. I decided we needed to have a good American meal before we left. Maggie, Molly and Conor came over and we b-b-q'd. Rich grilled brats and burgers and we had corn on the cob. Oh so good - I don't think we will be having that meal for a couple of weeks. Anyway we had a great meal and a fun night. It is now almost 10:30 and I haven't finished packing - eekk. Why do I wait until the eleventh hour? Oh well I'm sure I will be up late and wake up early. It will all get done. My fork is in the dishwasher - Bring on the chopsticks we're ready for China (well almost ready).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Learning to Speak Chinese - Or Not

Okay so today I have been working on my Chinese. I've been listening to a DVD and reading a language aid book. Well I have proven to be as good at Chinese as I am at any other language that I have tried to learn - not so good. The only thing that I have accomplished is butchering the language beyond recognition. So I guess foreign languages as well as foreign accents aren't my forte - hey mate.

Note to anyone else who will be travelling to China - try to learn the language prior to two days before leaving on your trip. I think I will be using the card in the picture for the majority of the trip - that along with a polite smile might get me somewhere.