Friday, November 19, 2010

Goodnight and Goodbye from China!!


Well it’s Friday night in China . The suitcases are packed and sitting by the door all ready for our 5:30 AM pick up. As I write this post my girls are asleep and I am not far behind. Our trip to China is coming to an end. What a trip it has been! I think we have experienced every emotion while here. As I leave tomorrow I will leave a little part of my heart here. This is where God hand picked our two daughters especially for us. For that I will always be grateful.


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As the plane door closes tomorrow morning this chapter of our life will be coming to an end. And a new chapter will begin when we land in Chicago . We will continue our life as a family of four but we will be living it in our own house and Kit’s new country. There will be good days and bad. There will be laughs and there will be tears. I am sure there will be arguments and misunderstandings. There will be hurt feelings and scraped knees. There will be struggles with the adjustments at hand. There will certainly be language barriers. Which I am sure will cause us all a bit of frustration.


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We will all get back to some sort of normalcy. Rich will go back to work. Lucy will go back to school and continue her ballet. Kit won’t be far behind. I will be back at the grocery story and paying the bills. I will be running errands and taking care of the house. There will be interruptions and things that we didn’t plan for. There will be exciting days and there will be mundane days. And most days will be somewhere in between. When we get back home life will go on as usual because that is what life does.


What will be different is we will have two daughters to love and to take care of. We will have two sets of little feet running through our house. We will hear two sweet voices laughing out loud. We will have two girls jumping in our bed in the morning. We will get two sets of hugs and two sets of kisses. We will be doubly blessed!! We will have the privilege of watching our girls grow up and become whoever they want to be. We will celebrate their accomplishments and encourage their dreams!!


What I look forward to the most will be watching the relationship between two sisters. As far as I am concerned – there is nothing better than the bond of a sibling - and I should know! Friends and acquaintances may come and go but siblings will be there forever. They will protect you and stick up for you, they will always have your back. They will make you laugh and they might make you cry. They will be there for you in good times and bad. They will know things about you that no one else knows and they will love to remind you of that. They will watch you grow up. They will witness all of your achievements as well as your mistakes – and they will love you no matter what. You share a history with your siblings like that of no one else. Lucy and Kit will share a special history. Not only are they sisters but they will always share the same beginnings. I hope that will be a comfort to them someday.


Not long after we get home Kit is going to meet her extended family. She has dozens of cousins, she has wonderful Aunts and Uncles and she has the two best Grandparents a girl could ask for. They have all loved her before they even met her. They will welcome her into our family like the have welcomed every other cousin, niece, nephew or grandchild. They will love her with all of their hearts and they will love her unconditionally and for that I am thankful! She will meet all of our wonderful friends and she will make friends of her own. She will be surrounded by people who along with us excitedly awaited her arrival.


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Kit has her whole life ahead of her. I can’t wait to see what is in store for her. To think that just three months ago I saw a little picture of a sweet little girl come across my computer screen. She was a beauty living in an Orphanage half way around the world – now she is our daughter and her future is filled with endless possibilities! Life is more than good and we are more than fortunate!


As I write my last post from half way around the world I want to thank everyone for your kind e-mails, your sweet messages, your well wishes and for all of your prayers. They meant the world to me and they made every day here a little bit better. Thanks so much to Diana for managing my Blog and publishing all of my posts. No one could have followed along with us had it not been for her help and kindness.


So tonight I will wish you my last Good night from China . The next time I post I will be home, sweet home!! Thanks for following along and getting a little peek into our time in China . I can’t for you to meet Kit in person - I guarantee you that you will love her as much as we do!


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Love -

Bridget

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Countdown Has Begun!!!


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Well I have to admit the countdown has begun. As much as I have loved our time in China - I am ready to come home!! 17 days is a long time to be away from anywhere. Plus I really miss Rich and so do the girls. We have met a few nice families since being at The White Swan. One family in particular who also adopted a four year old and brought along their ten year old daughter. The Mom is here alone while the Dad is at home with their other 3 children. We have had dinner with them the past three nights. I have enjoyed the adult conversation and the girls have had fun with one another. Unfortunatly they are leaving today as is everyone else I have met. We will receive Kit's passport this afternoon and we are "officially" set to go home.

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We were unable to get a flight home on Friday so we will be leaving early Saturday morning. Now let me say as excited as I am to come home I almost break out in hives just thinking about the flight!! Not because I have an actual fear of flying I don't mind flying - I suddenly developed a fear of flying with two four year olds - one being quite the spitfire!!! When we flew here we had a direct flight from Chicago to Hong Kong. It was long but it was easy. Going home is a little different story. We have an 8:00am flight (which means a 5:30 am pickup) which is three hours from Guangzhou to Beijing. We then have about a 3 hour layover in Beijing. We then have about a 10 hour flight if I calculated it correctly to San Fancisco. We then have a 2 hour layover in San Francisco which should actually go by quickly as this is where we will go through immigration. we then have a mere 4 hour flight to Chicago! So it will only take 24 and 1/2 hours from the time we leave our hotel until we land in Chicago! Sounds fun huh?? So anytime on Saturday if you think you are having a bad day - just think of me and I am sure you will feel better:) Okay I don't want to sound like a complainer or a martyr. We have had nothing but a great trip - so if the flight home is the only bad part I guess I am pretty lucky!!

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We had a fun day. We took a walk to the riverfront and saw all of the beautiful flowers. We watched the boats for a long time and then we ate a snack! On our way back we walked through the area where we love watching the morning exercises. They were just finishing up and they older people were getting on their way. Lucy looks at all of the excercise equipment everyday and has been dying to try it. Since the equipment was empty I let she and Kit have at it!!! They had a ball and they tried everything!!

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On the way home we walked by a restaurant that had a large Santa Claus outside - he was playing the saxaphone by the way! When we walked by Lucy said, "Is that Santa Claus?" I answered, "Yes". She then said, "Don't the people inChina know it is not even Thanksgiving yet?"

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So once again - Good Night from China!!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Interesting Visit to the Market!

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This morning Lucia took us to a local outdoor Medicine Market and Pet Market - seems like an odd combination to me. It was another beautiful day so I was excited to be outside with the girls. We walked through the market as Lucia explained to me what all of the "medicines" were. Many were herbs, there were mushrooms, dried fish bellies and I am not sure what else. There were so many booths and they were filled to the brim with medicines. Lucia explained to me about the various herbs and what there medicinal purposes were. It was very interseting - but lets just say I will continue to visit my local pharmacy when I am sick. The second part of the market is filled with pets. There were countless fish that the girls just loved. Kit told us via Lucia what her favorite color fish were. Lucy told her that "Baba" would take her to the pet store when we get home and she could pick out whatever fish she wants! There were more turtles than I have ever seen, lots of cats, dogs, bunnies, hamsters, gerbils and a few snakes- eekkk! There were birds in cages and dog clothes by the score!! It was something to see.

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Kit touched everything she saw - Lucy not so much. Every time Kit touched a cage, an animal or anything else - Lucy was quick to open her purse, pull out her Purel, hand it to Kit and tell her to wash her hands!! Oh my little neat one! At one point we walked up to a cage that housed 4 tiny puppies. They were all sleeping. Kit stood at their cage staring at them for a minute and then out of no where she lifted her purse over her head and banged it on the top of the cage as hard as she could- at the same time she yelled something in Chinese with much force. Lucia's eyes got big as she put her handed over her mouth and began to laugh. I asked what was so funny. She explained to me what Kit yelled out was, "Wake up - don't be lazy - don't be lazy!!!!" Seriously - I hope she never catches me taking a nap. She proceeded to do this everytime we passed a cage of sleeping animals. Not to worry - we told her she couldn't use her purse as a weapon! So she just yelled and told the animals not to be lazy!! I think I would laugh all day if I could really understand what she was saying!

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In addition to making sure Kit has clean, sanitized hands. Lucy is teaching her to cover her mouth when she coughs or sneezes. It drives her crazy when she doesn't. She is also teaching her how to "sit like a little lady". Whenever she sits on a couch or a chair Lucy reminds her to cross her legs. She also pulls down her dress when it hikes up after she climbs up on the chair or couch! She tells Kit that no one wants to see her undies! Kit should be ready for Emily Post by the time we get home!!
Well until tomorrow - Good Night from China!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Oath is Complete!

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Today we went to The American Consulate and did the swearing in ceremony for Kit. Which means we are one step closer to coming home. All we need now is Kit's Visa which our guide will pick up Thursday afternoon.That is the last "official" business we have in China! The girls explored our new surroundings today. They love watching the Coy fish in the pond in the lobby. Miss Kit decided she might try to jump in the pond! After me yelling no and running after her she just laughed out loud. We then went and walked around the lobby. There is artwork and huge jade sculptures located throughout the lobby. Each piece has a red velvet rope around it as to keep people out. Well guess who ran under every rope and then yelled "Ha" as she looked me in the face. We have a serious rascal on our hands. Lucy gets nervous whenever she pulls one of her antics.She just looks at her and shakes her head. We are seeing a funny side of the little girl who we were told was very shy and quiet. I am not sure who they were describing.

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A couple of funny things. Whenever we get out a treat, sticker books, crayons or anything else. Lucy always says, "Kit can pick first since she is the guest". I wonder what she is going to think of "The Guest" who never leaves. Our quiet, shy girl Kit loves to talk loud especially when she is speaking in English. Her new thing is every morning on our way to breakfast she says (in a loud voice) to anyone and everyone she sees, "Good Morning". This continues in the elevator and in the restaraunt. This morning for a few hours we were serenaded to "Happy Birthday". She sang it over and over and over again!!! Wish I would have gotten it on video.Well until tomorrow - Good night from China!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Park and a Shiner!!

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Today was a pretty uneventful day. Rich left early this morning and the girls and I checked into our new hotel. Prior to checking in Lucia took us to a huge park. I loved walking through it and watching all the people. There were tons of elderly people doing their moning exercises, there were dance lessons going on, a violin concert, lots of badmitton and singing, card playing and the Chinese version of hacky sack (only being played by all senior citizens). I remember parks like this from the last time we were here adopting Lucy. I think this is one of my favorite things to see here! There was a mini amusement park and a huge playground for the girls. The girls played on the playground for hours!! Kit is fearless and climbed up everything and jumped off of everything. She was on the swing when for one second I turned my head and she fell off and got a black eye!! I couldn't believe it! She cried so hard but after I held her for awhile she told Lucia that it didn't hurt anymore! She then went off and climbed up a plastic rock wall.

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Last night she was lying in bed "reading" a magazine that was on the night stand. She was flipping through the pages and all of a sudden she yelled "Mama" and signaled me to come over. I had no idea what she wanted. She was all excited though. when I got to where she was sitting the page was opened to an advertisement for a retaraunt in the hotel. There was a picture of a couple sitting at a table eating dinner. She pointed to it and said, "Mama and Baba" . I guess I could see how she could mistake the people in the picture for Rich and I. The woman had blonde hair and was drinking a glass of wine:) The man had brown hair and was eating - I guess that is how she pictures Mama and Baba. It was pretty funny! Well that is about it from here today. We have our Consulate Appointment tomorrow afternoon. After that we are basically just waiting for Kit's visa and all of our "official" business will be complete!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Day at the Zoo!

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Today was another warm day and we spent just about every minute outside. Lucia took us all to the zoo today. We went at about 9:30 this morning to beat the crowds. The girls enjoyed it. Both of them told us that their favorite animal was the Panda Bear! As always they ran and ran. We went out for a nice lunch. We came back to the hotel for awhile and the girls took a long nap while Rich and I packed our suitcases. Rich leaves early tomorrow morning and the girls and I are moving to The White Swan. We are staying in a nice hotel right now - but I think The White Swan will be a little more kid friendly. Which translates into it will be easier for me to be there by myself with Lucy and Kit.

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Yesterday we went to The Folk Art Museum. It was really interesting. Unfortunatly it was really crowded. Everything is crowded due to The Asian Games. Guangzhou already has 15,000,000 people living here - throw in The Asian Games and I have no idea how many people are here right now - but everyplace seems very crowded!!! Speaking of The Asian Games - the opening ceremonies were on Friday night - much to our surprise we were able to see all of the fireworks display from our hotel bedroom window! The girls as well as us loved it!

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Miss Kit continues to do well. Yesterday she went head to head with Rich and Rich won!! There were lots of tears. I'm not quite sure if they were sad tears or mad tears! As I have mentioned before she is very stubborn. She wants to do everything by herself. For the past few days she says a word that sounds like. "Wah Lah" she says it loud and stern! Today I finally asked Lucia what it meant. She heard Kit say it and laughed and said it means, "I can do it myself!" Well yesterday she wanted to do a lot by herself that she shouldn't have - hence the showdown with her Dad. On the way home from the museum she refused to sit by Rich, hold his hand or even look at him. when she woke from her nap Rich asked if they could be friends again - she said okay and gave him a kiss!

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She continues to surprise us with things she knows. Yesterday and today she got out a handfull of Cheerios, came over to me, put them in my hand and then counted them in English. So far she has counted to 21!! This morning Lucy was cleaning up their mess and started singing, "Clean Up, Clean up everybody clean up" - Guess who chimed in and knew all the words! It cracks me up to hear her speak English. She talks non-stop. Maybe not as much as Lucy - (who does?) but talks alot. Mostly in Chinese. I so wish I knew what she was saying. She has no trouble letting us know what she wants and she seems to understand us somehow.

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Well that's it for now!! Hope everyone has a nice Sunday! To my friends in Minneapolis - hope you are enjoying your winter wonderland:)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Visit I will Never Forget!

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This post is a day late - due to to some technical difficulties. I am back on line and happy to share the story from yesterday. It is a long post - but one filled with lots of surprises.

On Friday I had the opportunity to visit Kit's orphanage. Rich and I decided I would go alone as we did not want to bring Kit thinking it would confuse her. She is getting along great with Rich so he and the girls stayed at the hotel for a fun father daughter day. Our guide Lucia picked me up at 9:30 and we were on our way to Shenzhen. Shenzhen is a big city right in between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. It is a very prosperous city filled with countless factories. It is a big city that is thriving in a country where there is a lot of poverty.

Once I decided to make the trip to the orphanage I must admit I was quite nervous and even somewhat apprehensive. I wondered what would I see and what would I learn. As an adoptive parent there are things we are never going to know about our children. Questions never to be answered. I felt I owed it to Kit as well as to myself and Rich to see where our daughter was living for the past 4 years of her life. This was something I had been given the opportunity to do and regardless of what I saw or learned it is something I needed to do. So off we went. When we finally found the orphanage we were greeted at the entrance by two young woman. One of them was a director and the other was the interpreter. I recognized the interpreter from the pictures we received from Kit's birthday party. They welcomed us and escorted us into the building. I must admit even as we were walking in I still had my fears and doubts about making this trip. We first went to the common area that was very nice. Again I recognized this area from Kit's birthday party pictures. Next we went to the clinic area of the orphange. They actually have an on site clinic staffed with doctors, nurses and aids. There is a teaching hospital right down the street. The clinic was large and very well equipped as well as immaculate. I saw children being treated while we were there.


The next area we visited was the school. I knew from the updates that we received on Kit that she was attending school daily. I was not sure what school consisted of in an orphanage. Well let me tell you I was blown away. I could have closed my eyes and been in any very nice pre-school in the Unitred States. Kit's orphanage participates in a progra called The Sunshine Academy which is an orginization that is run by Americans. It was started by a woman from California who adopted a daughter from China. The classroom looks just like Lucy's classroom. There was a weather chart, a calendar, a chart with all of the kids names and who was the "helper" for the week. There were pictures of big birthday cakes for each month which would have the names of whatever child had a birthay that partcular month. There was an alphabet chart, numbers and everything else that you would expect to find in an American classroom. Each of the children are given an American name for school. Each table has the names on them where they sit each day. Kit's American name was Bette!!! Which I must say just cracked me! Her projects were hanging all over the room . They pointed them each out to me and with each one I felt the pride of a parent looking at their child's school work. All of the children were taught English - which makes sense after hearing all of Kit's English words she has shared with us. I met her teacher Miss Laura - who grinned from ear to ear when she spoke of Zheng Zheng (Kit). She told me what a bright girl she was and what an excellent listener she was in class. She said she was very meticulous and worked very hard on all of her school projects. She told me that class will never be the same without Zheng Zheng. I can't tell you how happy that made me. Lucia told me that she had never seen anything like this. she said the school would rival any private Kindergarten in China!

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Next we visited the Rec room where the kids do activities including dance and gymnastics. When I enetered the room there on the wall was the Largest Apple Smart Board I have ever seen! There were 4 boys in the room who all came up to me and said "Hello". They asked me if I liked Hip Hop? I said yes and they all got very excited. They grabbed the remote, pointed it at The Smart Board and a hip hop video came on. Then all in unison they began to dance a well rehearsed and well choreographed hip hop song!!! I couldn't stop smiling as one was cuter than the next! When their performance was over I clapped as loud as I could and gave them all the "Thumbs up". Each one said to me in English, "Thank You". Not only were they talented they were very polite. I was told by the director that when a child excels in something, whether it be dance, gymnastics art, etc. they are recognized and they then get extra lessons to help foster their talent.


After the hip hop performance I went to see Kit's room. I couldn't take pictures because it was nap time and the children were sleeping. I was able to go in the room an I saw Kit's bed. Her bed was big and covered in very nice bedding, she had two fluffy pillows. She shared the room with about 19 other children. The beds were spaced apart just as they would be if you were sharing a room with a sibling. Although there were 20 beds! Off of the bedroom was a nice bathroom with showers, a bathtub, sinks and toilets, there was a little area outside of the bathroom with housed cubbies that held towels and shower shoes. I was able to visit the dining area, the baby area (they were all so sweet) which was on the second floor, the playground, the basketball court (official size) and the courtyard. Each area was nicer than the next. Everything was spotless!! The outdoor areas were landscaped beautifully - with boxwoods and flowers and lots of palm trees.


After visiting all of the areas I was invited to lunch in the staff dining room. The lunch was delicious and everyone fussed over me. They were filling my plate, getting me tea and water and sharing stories with me about Kit as well as the orphanage. They told me that Kit was so sweet to all of the children especially those younger than she. They said she was "nurturing" Taking the little ones under her wing. They said she was quiet and lovely and loved to get hugs. They went on and on and I couldn't get enough . they went on to tell me that each weekend they would take all of the children out on adventures. They went to the zoo, the park, the playground, a lake. They went to the grocery store and they would take walks around the neighborhood. They told me that weekends were fun and they tried to make them special for the kids.


When I left the two woman who I had spent the morning with each gave me the tightest hug - one of them hugged me twice. The interpreter said to me that they would miss Zheng Zheng everday. She told me that they loved her and always had and now they are sad for themselves that she will no longer be there but happy for her to have a family and happy for us to have such a special girl! Now if that didn't bring a tear to me eye I don't know what would.


As we drove away I was filled with emotion. I of course was sad for the beautiful children that I had met that day. I was sad that they have yet to find a family. I was even sadder to think that some of them may never find a family. If I could have I would have brought each and every one of them home with me. But what I do know is that they are in a good place. They are being well taken care of and from all everything I witnessed they are being loved. I realize it is nothing like the love a family but it is love none the less. And that is what we all need.


As Kit's mom I left with a sense of peace and a sense of calm. I actually got to see where she was living these past four years. This is the place where she hit many milestones. One's that I will never see. Her first steps, her first words, her first laugh. I know that this is a place where she was also sad and upset - and I couldn't be there to comfort her. This place was her home and it holds her first four years of life and history. I could chose to be sad that I wasn't there for that or I could chose to be happy that I not only was given the opportunity to see it but left at peace knowing in my heart of hearts that she was well loved and well taken care of- and for that I will forever be grateful!!! When I came back to the hotel I gave her an extra hug and an extra kiss. When she went to bed I held her tight and told her how much she was loved - not only by me but by many. It was a good day!
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