Thursday, December 29, 2005
Today we got a card from our friends the Whartons. Our daughters are the same age and they have been together in the orphanage their entire lives. The Whartons just returned from China about a week ahead of us. We were hoping we'd be traveling together but it just didn't work out that way.
Brinley is so excited about this card because it has a picture of her friend on it. She has been carrying it around and hugging it. I can't wait until they can see each other again in the future!
Whew!!! What a whirlwind! We have been home for about 6 days and we are still trying to find our "normal" lives again. Sleeping is getting much better!!!
Our flights home were long but everything went fine. When we arrived at the airport we were so happy to be greeted by many of our friends and our kids!!! Josh, Kristen and Keith were there along with my mom and Marty's parents. Many of our wonderful friends from church were also there! It was so good to see familiar faces! Brinley proudly walked down the long corridor to where everyone was waiting. She was wearing a shirt that said, "Little Miss America". She wasn't too sure about meeting everyone but quickly warmed up to her new sister and brothers and granny when we made it back home. Mom had a huge pot of homemade chicken soup waiting for us! What a wonderful sight! Oh, and sweet tea....with ICE!!!
Christmas is still pretty much a blur. We were all so tired but we were so happy to finally be home with our little sweetheart! Of course, it looked like Santa's toy sack exploded in our living room! We know you aren't supposed to overwhelm children when you bring them home.....but what can you do when it's Christmas???
You thought I was kidding about the explosion, huh???
At first, Brinley was afraid of our cat Chester. Now she has firmly established the fact that SHE is much higher on the totem pole than Chester and he runs away everytime he sees her. She yells "Cheshuh" and chases him everywhere! Poor Chester!
Brinley loves playing on the trampoline with her brothers. We are ordering a new net to go around it because she has absolutely no fear of it and will run to the edge and scare us to death. She thinks it's hilarious!
She rode the 4-wheeler with Daddy. At first, she liked it.
Until she couldn't see Mommy. Then it just wasn't as much fun and she let Daddy know right away!
It's much more fun riding on her new rocking horse that Uncle Bill made for her!
Granny Mae made her some Cheerios treats! YUMMY!!!! She loves them!
Dee made her some rice and ham for Christmas dinner! That was yummy, too!
Yesterday, Brinley went to her new pediatrician Dr. Rickenmann. What a wonderful doctor! Brinley weighs 25.5 lbs. She had to get 4 shots and Monday she has to go and have some blood drawn for lab tests just to be sure everything is okie dokie.
I just can't put into words how much we love Brinley. She fits perfectly into this family of silly kids and silly mommy and daddy. She loves music and bobs her little head up and down when she hears a tune she likes. Her favorite foods are fruits and veggies (no broccoli, please).
Stay tuned for more adventures with Brinley. Tomorrow we are going to the zoo! :)
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Whew! Today is our final day in Guangzhou! Tomorrow morning we will be heading off to Beijing...then on to Newark and then HOME to SOUTH CAROLINA!!!!
We are going out to do some shopping today to buy the last of the souveniers we want to bring home. We go to the consulate today at 2:40 to take our oath and finish up Brinley's adoption.
We'll probably order pizza again from Danny's Bagel! We've eaten food from there for two days and it has been really good. In fact, I like it better than the food at Lucy's which seems to be the favorite place to eat for most folks around here.
Brinley is doing great!!! She is such a sweetheart! We can't wait to get home so that all of you can meet her!
We'll try to post again tonight before we pack up everything!!!
LOTS OF LOVE TO ALL OF YOU!!!!
Monday, December 19, 2005
We went to a special exam room for adoptive parents and children. Several doctors and nurses were in the room at different exam stations. Brinley's first stop was the Medical and Surgical area. In this area they checked her heart, looked at her feet and took a peek under her diaper. This may have been the area where they listen to the lungs, but that wasn't necessary as Brinley was using her's to their maximum capacity!!! She did not like the medical exam one little bit. Next stop on the superhighway of health was the Weight and Height check. Brinley weighed in at just under 25 pounds. Her height, however, is still unknown because we missed the results in all the crying and wiggling. But all is not lost since this information is in the sealed envelope which Daniel will personally deliver to the consulate at 9:00am on 12/21/2005. Just trying to add a bit of international intrigue to this posting. If you haven't figured it out by now, this is Marty posting again tonight. Sharon is putting Brinley to bed. Meanwhile back at the exam room Brinley has moved on the ENT ( Ear, Nose, and Throat) room. This room was a breeze compared to the others. Sharon was able to hold Brinley on her lap during the exam. That was the end of the road for us. The older children also took a vision test and color blind test. I checked Brice's vision while we were waiting and I'm glad to say he passed with flying colors. I guess we just need to work on his hearing, but that seems to work just fine when he wants it to. Come to think of it, that's the same thing Sharon says about me some times - must be a guy thing.
After the medical exam we were free to roam the streets of Guangzhou on our own. We checked out a few more shops and had lunch at Lucy's Cafe.
Tonight we ordered in pizza and lasagna from Danny's Bagel. It was quite good and very reasonably priced.
Okay, that's all for me tonight. Brinley is asleep and we are tired as well. Sharon and I are still waking up at 4:00am no matter what time we go to bed. Some of the other parents are going through the same thing. Brice however has adjusted well. He's just as hard to wake up here as he is at home!
This is a message I wrote to our friends in the Children's House group about our visit to the orphanage.
We took Brinley to the orphanage yesterday and she did great....although her nanny and I both had a meltdown. Her nanny is so young and she has cared for Brinley ever since she has been at the SWI. When she saw Brinley she pushed the baby she was holding into the arms of another nanny and came running to her. I handed her over because I could tell that her heart was breaking and it meant so much to her to see her again. She hugged her and took her into the room with many cribs and she held her close and cried. Then she had one of the other nannies take some pictures of her holding her sweet Wei Ya. I cried and cried. It broke my heart. I know Brinley must be the first child she has had to give up after caring for. We took several pictures together with her and she handed Brinley back over to me and squeezed my hand and walked away. When we came back by the room, she was still crying and so was I. I have to say that she has done such a wonderful job with Brinley. She is sweet and loving. Of course, she is a 2 year old so she acts like any other 2 year old ..... but she has been loved.......and that is so wonderful to know. We owe this young girl so very much for all of the love she has given to our sweet little one. Brinley did fine through the visit and didn't cry at all. She was glad to see everyone but she was fine leaving with us. Would we visit the orphanage again??? YES!!! Yes, we would. If she had been grieving hard, we may not have but we felt like everything would be okay if we went and we are so glad that we did.
On the trip to the orphanage we saw the homes of the people in the area. There were children picking through trash beside the water and it was so sad to see so many doing without so much. In the orphanage it was overwhelming to know that these children didn't have families. Brinley and all of the children in this orphanage are very fortunate to have such great care. We have met other families whose children were not given the care they deserved and they are having to overcome the obstacles that the neglect has put in their way. All of these children deserve to have a family and until they do, they deserve to be loved and cared for.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Today was our first full day in Guangzhou. The breakfast buffet at the White Swan is very good. Eat a late breakfast and you won't need any lunch! After breakfast we struck out down the street and shopped a little. We also found the gymnastics park. It's a playground, but it also has exercise equipment for the adults. Brice and I tried a couple pieces out ourselves.
At 2:00pm we met with our guide, Daniel, to fill out our paperwork. I think it was also a parenting test! We met in the lobby and then went to the children's playroom to sit (or should I say kneel at one of the kiddie tables to complete all the important documents that must be just right). Children are running by and knocking off papers as toys are flying by! It was quite an experience.
After the stress test, we had a dinner cruise on the Pearl River. The lights were pretty, but the food was only so so. As we went on the boat, one of our group bought a flower from a little boy selling them on the sidewalk. Harmless enough right - wrong! As we were leaving the little boy latched onto this fellow's leg and would not let go. That 's him in the picture with the little boy locked onto his leg. Our guide had to come back from the bus and peel the little boy off of his leg. As the commercial says: Bus ride to river cruise - 20 Yuan, Flower from street vendor - 10 Yuan, Street vendor boy attached to adoptive parent's leg - PRICELESS!!!
That's all for now. Brinley has her medical exam tomorrow so we may have more adventures to post!
Saturday, December 17, 2005
We are posting from the White Swan in Guangzhou! We've made it past the halfway mark and are now on the home stretch!
Our time in Guilin was very nice. We both wish we could have spent another day or so there. Our guide was Annie. She was fantastic! Brice got along great with our driver and now has some cool tricks to show his classmates went he gets home.
Brinley has become very attached to Sharon and is acting more like a two year old every day. She smiles and laughs and plays more and more with Brice. She has picked up some English - hello, oh my, and some other words. She is such a sweet little girl!
She's learning more about us and we are learning about her. She doesn't like some foods so we are trying different things. So far the top items are fruits, vegetables, and a yogurt drink.
Last night we went to Lucy's Bar and Cafe. The food was great - fish and chips and cheeseburgers! Brinley had cucumbers and mixed vegetables! Maybe we should all start eating like her!
I'll let Sharon post about the trip to the orpahanage in Guilin. We could tell that the workers really did care a great deal for the children. We passed out candy and went to several of the rooms.
As I said before, Sharon is the writer. I'm more of a bag carrier! I would like to thank everyone for keeping us in your prayers as we make this trip. It has been a great experience and one that will have an impact on us for the rest of our lives. Please continue to pray for us as we head for home at the end of the week.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
..........yep. That's right! I had the fabulous opportunity to make an unscheduled stop at the NanNing Publice Hospital. I woke up yesterday morning around 2. I really, really didn't feel good. Marty called Roger around 6 and he came and took me to the hospital. Roger said, "No worries. Happens, many, many times." So, off we went with my passport and a wad of Chinese currency in my pocket. When we got there, Roger went up to a little desk and told them that I was sick and we needed to leave on the train in 2 hours. He paid the registration fee at a little window in the same room. They gave him a receipt and we went back to the desk. A very nice young nurse motioned for me to sit on a little stool beside the desk. She took my blood pressure. She gave Roger a little book and another piece of paper and we went around a corner to a little cubicle where a man was sitting at a desk. The man didn't even look at me but asked Roger a lot of questions. He wrote me two prescriptions and told Roger that if we weren't leaving, he would put me on an IV for fluids. We then went back out to the same room we'd originally been in and went to another window where Roger rang a doorbell and a very sleepy young man came out and filled the prescription. We were there for about 15 minutes total and the grand total for my visit including 2 prescriptions was 42 yuan or $5.25 US.
We made it to our train on time and the four and a half hour ride was very nice, even though I felt like mud. The scenery was both beautiful and saddening at the same time. There were mostly businessmen in the car we were in. They played cards and talked on their cell phones. Toward the end of the trip, some of them started talking to Brice and they were talking about Brinley because they would motion towards their faces and they were looking at her. Everyone was very nice. It was odd that t he man sitting in my line of view was a Chinese businessman but he reminded me very much of my dad in the way he would nod and laugh.
Today we are getting ready to go to visit Brinley's orphanage. We think she is going to do fine. She is very attached to me and she will usually go to Marty without hesitation unless she is very tired. Brinley has learned her first English word and she says it with lots of enthusiasm. HELLO!!!! When she sees someone looking at her she will say in a loud little voice HELLO!
After our visit to the orphanage we are going to Seven Star Park. Our new guide is Annie and she probably thinks I am a troll because I don't think she understood that I was very sick yesterday when we got here. Hopefully today will be much better!
We are getting ready to go to breakfast now. Lots of love and big hugs to everyone! We miss all of you and are very ready to come home. We leave here tomorrow and fly to Guangzhou. We will be there until 12/23 and then we can come HOME!!!! The White Swan Hotel in Gunagzhou is mainly used by adoptive parents so it will be nice to see some other families we have met along the way and through the internet when we get there.