Thursday, January 26, 2012

What NOT to Do!

I have discovered a few more NOT's in my life since my adventures in China began and have now ended.  Here's a few of the highlights:

1.  I will not eat anything with its head or eyes still attached (it can be either in China);
2.  I will not see a blue sky while in China;
3.  I will not drink tap water while in China:
4.  I will not take Chinese Tylenol ever again;
5.  I will not use a squattie;
6.  I will not stand outside the stall while Jo is using a squattie for the first time:
7.  I will not climb the Great Wall of China;
8.  I will not fall asleep on the airplane and discover my child asleep in the aisle; and
9.  I will not allow the dog around the baby's bum while changing her diaper.

Coming Home!

Today is day 5 of being home from China!  Princess Mia has fit into the household just fine.  She managed to find the only cupboard without a safety lock .... until this weekend that is.  Enjoy Ms. Tupperware Princess!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

My little angel her first night with her forever family.  Poor thing was exhausted with it all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gotcha Day! January 9, 2012

I have to say, Gotcha Day managed to beat any of my most wildest expectations!  I had a very strong feeling that my little angel girl would already be there waiting for her momma, and sure enough, she was!  She was all smiles and laughter when I picked her up in my arms.  Mia laughed and laughed the entire 3 hours we were there.  I was the first person through the door and when I spotted her, my heart absolutely melted.  How could I have lived without this sweet girl in my life?  She is truly a miracle and heaven sent from her namesake.  My grandmother, Mia would have been so proud of this moment and I know she was looking down from heaven with tears of joy in her eyes and love in her heart.  You see, before I left Utah to travel to Mia, Grams had sent me a huge sign.  Although she has been gone for over 14 years now, I discovered in my plastic bags, kept in the garage (a garage that was not even built when Grams passed), a ball of baby blue yarn along with a small piece of crotchet and my Grams' favorite blue knitting needle.  Grandma Mia was knitting a baby blanket and reminded me that she is always near).  I love you Grams and thank you for being a part of this very special day that will live in my heart forever.

Family Photo Day: January 17, 2011

Today was the traditionally family/group photo day here in Guangzhou where all the families line up for their individual and group photos.  It was a ball, but little Mia would have nothing to do with her headband!  Our group is wonderful and the babies are all beauties!  Photos below.

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Xinxiang Orphanage: January 11, 2012

The day in Zhengzhou began similar to the other days in Zhengzhou, very smoggy with an unnatural heaviness in the clogged up air.  The feeling is almost surreal when you step outside, bringing actual meaning to the saying, "you can cut the air with a knife."  You really could here.  I found my eyes stinging with the grittiness of the air.  Zhengzhou has been the least of my favorite places in China due to the polluted air and the mass of people that actually will run you over if you are not particularly careful.

Jo and I ventured out with our assistant guide, Vivian to Xinxiang Orphange while Carlton stayed at the hotel with little Mia.  She is still coughing and wheezing and I am worried her cold will turn to pnemonia.  She is an amazing little girl though.  Even though she is sick with a cold, she has the sunniest of dispositions.  She wakes us each morning with song.  My sunny angel girl in a city full of dust and smog.  I feel for the plight of the Chinese people here.  I could not imagine waking each day without seeing a blue sky or feeling the warmth of sun on your check.  I think it really makes the people here very resiliant.  Mia is a very, very strong child; both in will, spirit and constitution.  She has me smiling all the time.  Jo is now worried that I will return home and go to Court with a smile and baby talk on my lips.

The drive to Xinxiang was wonderous.  People, cars and creative housing all over.  Along the freeways, people living and conducting business out of their cars, store fronts, bicycles, scooters, and utter organized chaos. I'll admit I said a few prayers to let me arrive back to the hotel in one piece though.   My head is spinning thinking about it.  Vivian convinced the driver to stop at a storefront so I could purchase some formula for the orphanage babies.  I couldn't resist the cakes or suckers and had the store clerk scrambling to empty all of her sucker bins.  I am sure she though I was a crazy American lady with a sweet tooth.  We made a short detour to Mia's Finding Place on the corner of Heping Road in Xinxiang.  Xinxiang City was very beautiful.  It has the feel of a newer and younger populace.  The buildings were bright and clean and there was a wonderful park called the People's Park with appeared to encompass the entire block.  Mia was found on this very busy corner in front of the Women's Clinic, a birthing place for expectant mothers.  It was a peaceful moment for me to see where her parents left her, ....a place where she would be immediately found and brought into the hospital.  This sounds strange, leaving a 3 month old infant on a busy street corner, however, once you factor in the politics, laws and culture in China, it really brought me peace of mind that her biological parents cared for her deeply and I could almost feel their pain at leaving their precious daughter.

Xinxiang Social Welfare Institute (Mia's Orphanage):  Was surrounded by what appeared to be pinion pine trees and stately gates.  There was an old feeling to the buildings but with care to brighten the place up with cartoon pictures down the covered outside corridors.  We first met with the orphanage director who was a very lovely woman.  I very much admired her for knowing Yu Ting and she affectionately referred to her as "Ting Ting."  This was a "hands on" woman, not just the figure head to the orphanage.   We chatted with her, as much as Vivian could translate and I really felt an immense gratitude towards her  and what she had accomplished with so many young lives in her hands.  I felt like I could converse with her for hours without a lag.  The director asked me many questions about myself and already knew what I did for an occupation.  She wanted to know about the weather in Utah and what kind of house Mia would live in.  She seemed very happy that Mia was going to live in a big house in the mountains with her new momma, and asked that I send her updates on little Mia.

Don't get me wrong, the Orphanage is not like a happy daycare, it is a sad run down place, very much in need of its new building.   Yet the director and her staff, the nannies for the babies and children, really made enormous efforts to make the areas as sunny and enriching as possible.  You could see the love the nannies had for the babies and they were very proud to show you around the orphanage areas where Gracie's Room/First Hugs had been established.  They proudly showed me the plaque in honor of the same as I snapped photo after photo of the babies and their surroundings.  Even the light fixtures had cartoon characters stamped on them for when the babies would lie down on their backs.  These are very caring, loving women.

I would caution a visit to the orphanage unless you really feel very compelled to see the place where your child spent his/her early years.  It is not an easy place to visit.  I felt prepared in some ways, maybe by the daily hours of blogging, internet searches and communications I had with other families and the director and assistant director of Gracie's Room.  I will forever have Xinxiang Orphanage impressed on my mind and the babies I was gratiously allowed to visit there.  I feel overwhelmed with the enormity of the undertaking these women go through daily to keep things running smoothly and to provide love an care for each of these very precious children.  I discovered that most of the nannies were very shy women.  I had to coax several for their pictures and especially Mia's nanny.  She finally agreed to a photo when I said it was for Ting Ting.  I received a very wide grinned smile in return and a nice pose for the camera.  I visited each baby in his/her crib as it was nap time when we arrived.  Some of the babies were peacefully sleeping, and many others were very curious to see the two foreign women, once with blond hair.  I'm sure the nannies were thinking we had interrupted nap time!

I will forever be indebted to the women of Xinxiang for taking such loving care of my angel girl for the first two years of her life, and for all the other babies and children of the orphanage in which these children depend on for their daily sustenance, enrichment and love.  I hope to accept the offer of the director one day, and to revisit the new Xinxiang Orphanage and in some small way, try to help make a difference for the children and devoted women there.  (The Photos of Xinxiang SWI are posted below).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Meeting Mia Yu Ting!

Hooray!  Got the blog to work finally!  In just a few more hours, 5 to be exact, we will head to the Registration office in Zhengzhou to meet little Mia for the very first time!  I am tingling with excitement.  Been wide awake since 3:30 a.m.!   I can't wait to meet her and finally give her the million kisses I've been saving up just for her.  Our Guide, Yisha told us that it is likely that we will be the first family to receive our child since Xinxiang Orphanage usually arrives first.  I'm so happy and nervous at the same time, I don't know which one I'll stick with!  I'm just plan giddy with happiness.

For future reference for those having the same difficulty I did in getting the wireless internet to work, use pptp protocol versus openvpn.  Too techie for me,  but google pptp and it will walk you through.

I will post some pics from our adventure in Beijing the last few days.  Little Mia ones to happen SOON!!!!

It also sounds like we may be able to visit Mia's orphanage in the next few days.  Yisha will ask the orphanage official today about arranging.  Jane, Kelly and Jennifer... it's looking pretty positive thus far that I will be able to visit with your angel girls!  I'll try to figure out the yahoo group postings for pictures for you, but if not, please send me your private email addresses again (I-pad not working here), or authorize posting on my blog for now, whichever you prefer.

Enjoy our cold adventures in Beijing. Enjoy the air in Beijing while you can!  Picking up a "smokers cough" in Zhengzhou and I don't smoke!  Air quality in and out of hotel is horrific.  My p.j.'s smell of cigarette smoke as it apparently is "imbeded" in the bedding in my non-smoking room.

Signing out for now from Zhengzhou

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No Internet Wireless in Beijing!

Sorry everyone-- There is no wireless internet at our hotel in Beijing. I would love to post some pics, etc. Will figure out in a few hours when we leave for Zhengzhou. Here i am on my Iphone which has had no troubles! Go figure! Love China so far. People are VERY nice. Food...not so much. We are freezing our touchees off. 19 degrees here during the day. I am so thankful for feet & hand warmers! I promise some posts & pics some tomorrow. I hear the internet problems will solve themselves when get to Zhengzhou. The countdown is a day and a half for meeting little Mia! I'm feeling like a nervous new momma!

Signing out from Beijing!