Friday, October 29, 2010

What a Difference A Few Weeks Makes

My pictures are in reverse order of what I wanted. I'm still not the best blogger. When we were in China, my friend, Kristin, blogged for me because blogspot is blocked in China. My blog was better and prettier when she blogged for me!
What a difference! The first day we got Cara, she wobbled around like a drunken sailor. She did not have the strength to roll to her stomach for me to put cream on her back after her bath. Now she jumps off the couch and rolls across the living room floor with her brother (see pic). She wouldn't nap or sleep unless she was lying on top of me (see pic). Now she will sleep in her own bed. She couldn't stand to have anything on her fingers. Now she digs guts out of pumpkins. It's amazing what encouragement and lots of attention and praise does for a child.
Like I've said before, we prepared for the worst and are still waiting for the other shoe to drop and it hasn't. She throws at least one temper tantrum a day, but it is usually brought about by a brother or sister encouraging her to do something she shouldn't, then telling her no. She is also 3, which is the land of temper tantrums. I see it as a positive sign, because if she didn't feel comfortable she wouldn't throw the tantrums.
We are still working on establishing boundaries. She LOVES Aunt D and Uncle D, and Grandma (Grandpa, but she calls him Grandma). She needs to learn that it's not OK to give kisses to whoever enters the front door. But we're working on it. She eats everything in sight except oatmeal and pudding. We are amazed by the fact that she thinks everything is, "YUMMY!"
She is starting to get some color in her cheeks from being outside. Tonight, J asked at dinner, "do you think she's flushed, has a fever?" I said no, it's fresh air coloring her cheeks. She loves to be outside and is starting to tolerate the dogs and cat. She even petted the cat today.
We still have some things to work on, but I am impressed with her progress. We have only been home one week. After our first week together, we changed hotels and went to Guangzhou. After our second week together, we flew home to Washington. I wonder if she thinks we'll be headed somewhere else tomorrow!? We hope she continues to settle in well and we think she's pretty fantastic!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Travel Day

This morning we got up at 4:45 am. We had to have our bags outside of our doors by 5:30 and be down at the 2nd floor lobby by 5:50 in order to leave for the airport. Our guide, Grace, went with us to the airport in order to make sure we didn't have any hang-ups at the airport check-in counter. No problems! We were off and on our way to Beijing.

Once we got to Beijing we had to recollect our luggage and go through security again in order to get into the international terminal. Who was the only one pulled to the side for the full pat down? That's right, me! The security lady was insisting I had matches and liquid in my purse. I told her I didn't have liquid and that I've never carried matches in my purse in my life. She didn't buy it until my purse was completely empty and ran through x-ray again. I was mildly annoyed, but it wasn't that big of a deal because we had a five hour layover. I had plenty of time for a pat down. Once in the international terminal, we sat down to wait for the 2 1/2 hours we had left until boarding time. However, right before boarding they got on the PA system and told us our flight would be delayed, but they didn't know for how long. Ugggghhhh!!! We proceded to wait another 2 hours and I finally sent B up to the counter to find out what was going on. He came back and said a volcano blew in Russia and we couldn't take off because of the ash. I told him to quit making things up and another guy came by and said, "no, that's the truth, they don't know when we will take off." In my mind I'm imagining another week in Beijing and starting to feel sick. Next thing you know they were calling us to board. The pilot had submitted an alternate travel route and it was accepted.

Talk about the longest flight of my life. Hainan Airlines has very little leg room, the seats don't recline but 2 or 3 inches, and their meals look like cat puke. I would never fly through them again. To top it all off, every time Cara would start to cry or get upset they would come ask me if I needed help. All of the kids on the plane were seated in the same area, so I am quite confident in saying that they didn't offer to help any other parent and there were other kids crying more than Cara. It was so irritating! I wanted to ask, "what are you going to do to help? Walk her around the plane? Do you have a toddler bed in the back?" I mean, seriously, what did they think they could do to help? I can see why some passengers go into airline rage. Those stewardesses were annoying!!!

We finally got to Seattle 2 1/2 hours late and had to go through immigration. Office Gomez walked us over to the counter and told us to wait until our name was called. We waited a bit, then he came back and opened our brown envelope and called us to the counter, he started reading the paperwork then told us he needed to go check on something so we just needed to "chillax." Yes, that's right, he said chillax. I thought only 7th graders used that term, but apparently it is also used by the Department of Homeland Security. He brought out another officer who told us that Cara's paperwork indicated she had type B TB. This means she is not contagious but needs to see a doctor to get it checked out in case it could become contagious. This was news to me. No one mentioned it at the clinic in Guangzhou. You would think it would be important information to have...Nevertheless, Cara's paperwork was stamped and we were off. Luggage had to be rescreened and sent from the international baggage claim to the regular baggage claim. We went to the main terminal, collected our luggage, and called the Masterpark guy. He came quickly and hauled us to our waiting car. The picture above is Cara's first steps on American soil as our newest little citizen!

We drove home from Seattle and were greeted by a "Welcome Home" sign made by A's BF and his mom. Grandma came to visit for awhile and Grandpa came after that. We are so glad to be home! Let the jet lag begin!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guangzhou Zoo

Today was our day to visit the Guangzhou Zoo. I was excited to go because I've seen lots of people's blogs who have visited the zoo and it looked like a lot of fun. If the pictures seem up close and personal, it's because we REALLY were that close to the animals; none of these pictures were zoomed in. The zoo was different from where we live. There are really great zoos in Seattle and Portland, but there is so much "habitat" that it's hard to find the animals sometimes. This zoo was about 50% habitat, 50% cages so it was a lot easier to see the animals.
Guangzhou has brought in another panda for the Asian Games. They normally only have one but now they have two. The panda exhibit was closed because they were fixing a fence so the pandas weren't out. Our guide, Maggie, told the people at the zoo that we were adoptive families coming to see the pandas, so the zookeepers allowed us to go inside and see the pandas. We sterilized our feet and a few of us at a time were allowed to go into the panda building to see the bears. We were probably 5 feet away from them. We could have reached out and touched them, but we didn't want to get in trouble.
After we got back from the zoo it was nap time. It took me 17 rounds of "Rock-a-bye Baby" to get Cara to sleep. She slept for 2 hours and then we went to the park. She just wanted to chase around today so we left pretty quickly and went back to the room to pack. Cara was dragging things out just about as fast as we were packing things up so it took longer than we would have liked. Then we went to dinner one last time at Lucy's. Lucy's isn't really all that great, but the other restaurant choices have baby pigeon, chicken feet, pig neck, ostrich intestines, etc. Lucy's is probably the safest bet so we've eaten there 3 times.
Now we are just finishing up packing and showering to leave tomorrow morning. We are checked out and need to meet in the lobby tomorrow morning at 5:50. Ses the picture of Cara on the bed with all of the brown envelopes? This is the documentation we need to carry on for her. We need the red adoption folder, the "brown envelope" for immigration, the medical records with her passport stapled to it because of her TB test, and her TB x-ray. That's a lot of stuff to carry on with 5 backpacks and a 3-year-old.
Tomorrow we fly to Beijing, have a 5-hour layover, fly to Seattle, then drive home. It will definitely be a long day, but I will be happy to go home. I won't blog tomorrow because of traveling, but I hope to blog sometime this weekend. I like to read people's travel blogs, but then it seems like everyone stops the minute they get home and I never get to see how it's going or how people's babies deal with the transition. I'm going to do my best to try to keep up with blogging.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Red Couch Photo

Today was Red Couch photo day. It is tradition for adoptive families that stay at the White Swan hotel to have a photo taken on the red couch. I have been planning this day for a long time (silly, I know). I wanted all of us in our WSU clothing for the Christmas card. Then I wanted Cara in a gold traditional Chinese dress. I've seen hundreds of red couch photos as I read everyone's blogs and I really wanted to get her a gold dress. She looks fantastic, don't you think?
All of the babies together on the couch was chaos! Crying and wiggling and bailing out of the photo. I thought we were just getting a photo of the babies adopted on this trip, but there were several siblings in the photo as well. There were actually 11 babies adopted in our travel group. The last photo is all of the families in front of the waterfall at the White Swan hotel.
Then we went upstairs for a nap. Cara slept for 2 hours. Then we headed out to find the pet market. We brought a map and everything and wandered all over, but never ended up finding the pet market. We were sweaty and tired so we grabbed something to eat and headed to the park again. Cara played on the slide again for a while and then we went back to the hotel. It's been a pretty uneventful day. Tomorrow we get to go to the zoo so that should be fun. The zoo and packing; I am ready to go home!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Consulate Appointment

Today was the day of our Consulate Appointment. We didn't go; our guides went for us but we had to stay in our room from 10:30 to 11:30 in case there were any questions. One of our guides, Grace, called us around 11:00 and said, "Good news! No questions, you are free to leave your room." We went shopping for a little while until we needed to leave to go to the consulate and take the oath. We also took Cara to the park behind Lucy's. She loved it! I'm not sure she's ever been down a slide before, but today she must have gone down the slide 50 times. Seriously, 50 times!

We went back to Jenny's and bought four more pairs of squeaky shoes and two silk dresses. If you are making a trip to Guangzhou in the near future, go to Jenny's. She is not a high pressure sales person and her prices are the best. Cara fell asleep on the way back to the hotel room so J walked with her around the White Swan grounds while we went up to the room and got ready for the consulate appointment.

We all met down on the 1st floor to go to the consulate and take the oath. Today there were 35 families going to the consulate. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the consulate from the White Swan hotel. We all went up into the room and waited until our appointment at 3:30. A lady came out and spoke to us for a few minutes before she had us take the oath. She told us that 67% of adoptions from China so far this year were special needs. She also told us that 1/3 of US adoptions are from China. We took the oath and then sat back down and waited to be called to a window to sign our final adoption form. After that, we headed back to the hotel. On the way, Cara threw a colossal tantrum on the bus (her 2nd of the day). She was pinching, spitting, and hitting her sister, which is not allowed. She was MAD!!!! The fit continued back up into the hotel room. We just sat on the bed and let her lay on the floor and kick and scream and hit the floor. She needs to learn that tantrums don't get you what you want in the Funk house.

After her tantrum, we went back to Jenny's to buy some gifts. Jenny loves us, probably because we have spent a lot of money in her store! ;) She gave Cara a small Chinese flag and a plastic tiara. She marched around waving her flag in her squeaky shoes wearing her tiara. She was quite a sight, I must say. She had quite an audience. We ate at Lucy's again for dinner and she marched back to the hotel afterward waving her flag and wearing her tiara. She is a spirited, funny little thing. She will keep us on our toes for sure!

Pearl Market

Today we took a trip to the Pearl Market. We took the hotel shuttle to the market area and our guides took us to reputable stores for pearls and jade. I bought a strand of pearls and the ladies in the store made Cara a pearl bracelet to wear for her baptism. I also bought several gifts for family and friends at home. We went to the jade store, but I think the prices were about equal to the jade we saw yesterday and yesterday the selection was quite a bit better so we didn't buy any more. We spent some time walking by some shops but didn't buy anything else.

Then we spent some time back in the hotel room until it was time to leave to go back to the medical clinic and have Cara's TB test read. I just knew her test was going to be positive, which would require a chest x-ray. We walked to the clinic and stood in line with the rest of the children in our travel group. Some of the children were crying because they remembered the shots from 2 days earlier and were afraid they were getting more shots. All of the other children had negative TB test results except Cara. Her mark where she received the skin test was 1 centimeter. If the mark is less than 1 centimeter the test is considered negative. One centimeter or larger requires a chest x-ray. I was worried she would cry because she doesn't like her clothes taken off unless she hears the bath water running. Her dad took her in for the x-ray and she was fine; no crying or anything. I few minutes later the doctor said her x-ray was negative and she was free to go. Thank goodness!!!

Then we did some shopping. I saw a little girl with cute shoes on and asked her mom where she got them. She said, "Emma's" and told me how to get there. Emma's store is a little hole in the wall and it was crammed with moms buying squeaky shoes. I saw one mom buy 8 pair. It was hot and the wait was long and wouldn't you know it, they didn't have anything I wanted in Cara's size. So we went down the block toward Jenny's store. On the way we were acosted by Maggie, Emma's sister. We went to her store and I thought she would never let us leave! We escaped when she went to look for a shoe size and went next door to Jenny's. We bought Cara one pair of squeaky shoes at Jenny's and she was actually cheaper than Maggie and Emma. Tomorrow I think I'll go back to Jenny's to buy more shoes. They are leather with good rubber soles and I think they were under $4 a pair. Who can resist that kind of deal? Especially when they squeak on top of it!!!

Then we went to a couple of other stores to buy some traditional Chinese silk dresses for Cara. We bought a white one for her baptism and a gold one for the red couch photo. J, A, and B aren't to sure about the gold dress, but I think it will look good. She's going to have to go shoeless for the photo, though. It's hard to find shoes to match a gold dress for a 3-year-old.

On the way to the medical clinic I took a couple of pictures of the school children outside for their excercises. Aren't they cute? Tomorrow is our consulate appointment, but we don't go to that. Our guides go and we need to stay in our room in case they have any questions. We go to the consulate at 2:15 tomorrow afternoon to take the oath. Four more days and we get to go home. I am so ready!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Medical Exam

This morning we met in the lobby to go get visa pictures taken and medical exams. The picture of Cara on the chair was for her visa. She looks scared. She is scared. This is a lot of change for anyone in a parents new scenery, airplane ride, new language, new food, etc. not to mention the fact that she's 3 years old.

After the visa picture we walked to the center for medical exams. There are 3 rooms plus vaccinations. In the first room the children get weighed and measured. Cara weights 14 kg (a little over 30 lbs) and is 90 cm (almost 36 in) tall. In the next room a nurse listened to her heart, then wanted to check her entire body. That scared Cara. She only likes clothes off for her bath. In the next room her vision and hearing were checked. The nurse said she has a lot of ear wax. We'll have to take care of that when we get home. Then it was on to vaccinations. The United States requires children to be fully vaccinated before they enter the country. This can require the children to have to get many shots all at one time. Cara was one of the lucky ones; she only had to get 3 shots plus her TB skin test. There were other babies, smaller babies, that had to get 6 shots! We all felt awful when she got her shots. She was so upset and crying her little heart out!

After that we went to find Starbucks. I know, I will not be winning Mother of the Year for letting my 3-year-old sip a Caramel Latte, but isn't she cute? Side note, her ladybug outfit belonged to A when she was 3! Right now she's napping, which she didn't want to do. She hasn't been napping well for the last few days because we've been on the go. We need to get her back on a schedule. While she slept the hotel staff brought her Barbie. Mattel gives adoptive families who stay at the White Swan a "Going Home" Barbie as a gift. I will post pics of her Barbie tomorrow.

Other news: Guangzhou is better than Shanghai, in my opinion. The air is clearer and there's more color. Shanghai is clean (people even scrub the subway floors on their hands and knees) but gray. And it's a wall of people everywhere. I had a headache most of the time because of all the pollution. No headache for me in Guangzhou! The White Swan Hotel is beautiful and the breakfast buffet is huge! Anything you could want to eat is there.

Cara news: It's funny, other people post that their child would say, "bu ya!" which means no or don't. Cara says, "Bu ya, bu ya, bu ya, bu ya, bu ya!" She also says, "Me la!" which means, "Mine!" Typical 3 year old. The orphanage says she is shy, quiet and obedient. She's only quiet when she's around a crowd of people. In the hotel room she's noisy and funny and likes to play.

Tomorrow we will take a tour of the city. It should be pretty fun.

Traveling to Guangzhou

The smog in Guangzhou...

I'm a day behind on blogging because of travel yesterday. We spent most of the morning packing, walked to a corner market to buy snacks, and waited for Denise to bring us the last bit of Cara's paperwork. She spent some time playing paper dolls and really enjoyed those. Look at the picture that looks either blurry or super foggy. It's not-that's the smog in Shanghai. I've told John several times it would probably be healthier to pick up a smoking habit than breathe this air.

We checked out of our hotel room around 1:30 and went to the airport. Cara had her first few bites of a Subway sandwich. Notice the look of distaste on her face...needless to say she will probably NOT be a spokesperson for Subway. Our flight ended up being delayed, then they switched our gate so we had to hurry to another location to board the plane. Cara did pretty well on the flight until right before we landed. Then she wanted her seatbelt off and started to fuss. She kept fussing and fussing until the plane hit the ground pretty fast and with a hard bump! That shut her up.

We had to wait another 30 minutes on the plane before they let us off. Then we waited and waited and waited for almost an hour to get our luggage. I noticed the sign which read, "Beggage Claim." Maybe if we begged for our suitcases we would have gotten them sooner! ;)

One of our new guides, Maggie, met us and helped us get on the shuttle to the White Swan hotel. She had to stay at the airport, though, because she was still waiting for another flight to come in. We traveled about 40 minutes to the hotel and I was already feeling better. Guangzhou is not as smoggy and it's beautiful here! Our hotel if fabulous and right on the river. I could stare out the window all day and watch the boats. When we got to the hotel our other guide, Grace, helped us check in and ordered a Papa John's pizza for us. I swore I would eat Chinese food the whole time I was in China in order to get the full experience, but let me tell you, that pizza was GOOD! Cara, however, likes pizza about as much as she likes Subway.

We have 2 rooms here next to each other but they're not connected. The kids have their own room for the first time ever and I think they were a little nervous about it. Cara won't sleep in the toddler bed in our room so I slept with her and J slept alone. We ended up finally going to be around 11:30 pm. Tomorrow is Cara's medical appointment. We'll see how many shots she needs before she can leave China.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Visit to Yu Garden

Today we planned to visit Yu Garden, which was built during the Ming Dynasty. However, it was pouring rain again this morning so we stayed in until around noon. We broke out the crayons and the Hello Kitty color book and Cara spent quite a bit of time coloring. She would take out a crayon, scribble a bit, then put it back and take out another one. She made sure she used every one. After a while, we went back to the sports and rec floor of the hotel so she could run around a bit. There are separate rooms for boxing, weightlifting, volleyball, gymnastics, etc and they all have high ceilings and echo. No one was in any of them so she chased around and laughed and hollered all she wanted.

We finally left for the garden and did a bit of sight seeing in the shops around the garden. The place was packed! People were everywhere. We stood in line for steamed buns at a stand which supposedly has the best steamed buns in Shanghai. There was a long line and it probably took a half hour to 45 minutes to get to the front. By the time we got to the front of the line all the pork were gone; they only had pork and crab together. J is allergic to crab, so that kind of put a damper on the whole thing. After tasting the buns, I don't think they were the best I've had in Shanghai. We didn't even eat them all.

After we ate, we went to the garden, which was also very crowded. Cara wanted out of the Ergo, which we didn't dare do because she could've gotten lost in all the people. It was interesting and Denise, our guide, is very knowledgeable about the garden, but it was hard to enjoy or see it with all the people.

After visiting the garden we went to a few more shops. We got a few things, but are waiting to do the majority of our shopping in Guangzhou. It was getting late and time for people to head home from work so the metro was very crowded. All of the pushing and shoving; I'm amazed more people don't fall down. It was a relief to be back to the hotel and have a little dinner.

Tomorrow we leave for Guangzhou. I am excited to see what the next leg of our trip brings. I hope Cara does well on the plane and is OK with the transition. I will miss Denise. She's been great. I wish she could go with us to Guangzhou.

Additional note for all of my Ugg-loving friends: There is a clothing show going on in our hotel. A whole floor of little rooms of different designers selling their merchandise. A bought Uggs (real ones) for $42! They are triple that price at Nordstrom! Needless to say, she was excited. I wish they had them in Cara's size.

Also, please see pic of how Cara sleeps in bed. I am sharing the bed with her. Bed sizes are smaller in China; a little bit larger than a twin. This is why I am getting very little sleep! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Busy Day

Today we planned to do a bit of sight seeing, but it was pouring rain in the morning. We walked around the hotel for a bit and played in the room until around 11:00 am. Then we took the metro to the Barbie store, which was high on A's list of things to see in Shanghai. Six floors of Barbie! There was a neon pink escalator and a winding staircase with clear boxes all the way up to the fifth floor. Every few boxes there was a box with a Barbie in it dressed in a hot pink outfit. The inside of the elevator looked like a hot pink curtain. I would LOOOOOOVE to be able to post pictures of it, but guess who forgot the camera? That's right, A! The very person who wanted to go to the Barbie store in the first place! She ended up buying the 2009 and 2010 Shanghai Barbies to take home.

After that we went to the underground children's market. Yes, it's underground and its HUGE and filled with every kind of children's toy, shoes, and clothes you could imagine. That's where Cara finally got her purse! She wears it everywhere now. I didn't really buy anything else because I thought it was kind of expensive. A lot of it I could buy cheaper in the states. After the market we went back to the metro station and B bought Cara a Hi Bao doll. It's the doll that represents the Shanghai Expo. He paid a little over $2.00 and she loves that thing, too.

I had a killer headache, so we went back to the room to rest a little before dinner. The smog and pollution makes my head hurt so bad I practically feel like passing out. I hope it's not like this in Guangzhou. We went to a different restaurant for dinner, but it wasn't as good as the place we ate the last two nights. Those are the pics of Cara eating noodles. She's crazy for them! Then we went back to the room where we're playing now before bed.

The picture of the lanterns was from last night. We went to Old Shanghai, which is right by the Magnolia Theater where we saw the Chinese Acrobat show. The show was very good and I recommend it to anyone going to visit Shanghai. The market was fun. It was filled with lots of little shops and restaurants and went on forever. Cara had her first taste of strawberry ice cream there. Chinese people don't really like cold food, so she would make a horrible face when she tasted the ice cream, but then she wanted more.

Cara is a girly-girl. She likes purses, bows, and cell phones. If her bow gets a little crooked she wants it fixed. I didn't bring nail polish because I thought she was too little, but I think she would love to have her nails painted. She is nuts about her dad and definately prefers him over anyone else. She is talking a lot more, but usually just does it in the hotel room. Denise, our guide, made us a Chinese language cheat sheet so we have quite a few important phrases to use with her. She loves hide and go seek and could play it for hours if we let her. She eats just about anything and is happy most of the time.

Tomorrow we will visit a Chinese garden, but I think that's it. I'm starting to get tired and am ready for the next leg of our journey.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adoption Day

Today was Cara's actual adoption day. She got dressed up in her little dress for her adoption picture. In one of the pics shes showing off with big sister's pink purse. We have to find this kid a purse! I must say, she thought she was hot stuff today with her pink Chuck's and her bow. It was pretty funny.

She slept well last night. She went to sleep around 9:00 pm and woke up this morning at 6:30 am. She hasn't cried since yesterday when she saw her nanny leave. I'm quite surprised. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop; it's been too easy so far.

This morning we went upstairs to the notary office, which is on the third floor of the hotel. We had to double-check the spellings on all of our paperwork in order for it to be processed. Most of you know our last name is Funk. They did misspell Cara's new last name as a four-letter, not-so-nice word! Needless to say, I had them correct it, but I did take a picture of the first version! Didn't really feel like that photo should make the blog, though! ;) The notary official asked us why we wanted to adopt a Chinese daughter and asked what we thought of her. Of course, we said she's perfect! We then had to put our thumbprint in red ink over our signature and Cara had to put her thumbprint on the paperwork as well. We then headed to the next room to take the oath where we promised to love and care for her as if she were a biological child and to never mistreat or abandon her. We had a family picture taken and then left to go to the other notary office about 40 minutes across town.

At that notary office we just signed another paper and they gave us Cara's shot record. The orphanage director said, "She's yours now." and that was it. Next we went to see Cara's finding spot. The address was 311 Tianmu Rd, which doesn't really exist. There is a big plaza there with shops and it's right in front of the Shanghai Train Station. We took pictures of the plaza and of J and I under the road sign. It's a very busy area. I would like to believe that Cara's birth mom thought she would be found quickly there. I can't imagine leaving a 15 month old child with pneumonia in the middle of a busy plaza. I'm glad I've never been in a position to have to make that kind of choice, but on the other hand, I'm so very thankful she did.

Next we went to the silk factory and learned how silk thread and comforters are made. It was interesting, but I sort of felt like the whole reason we were supposed to go was to give us the hard sell on buying a comforter. They are pretty expensive, and quite frankly, I already have a comforter. There were fancy Chinese dolls in the store. Cara pointed to one and said, "I want that one!" in Mandarin, so of course, her daddy bought it for her. She conked out on the way home right after she said she wasn't sleepy. She's resting now and tonight we will go see the Chinese acrobat show and do a little shopping.

For those of you waiting to go to Shanghai, Cara was very well-prepared for her adoption. She has seen the photo book we sent to her many times and can name everyone in the pictures. The scale in our room is broken so I don't know if her weight is accurate from her paperwork, but she's as solid as a rock! She is a good eater, but doesn't gorge herself. She tells us when she's full. There has been some questions recently on the Adopt Shanghai Yahoo group about the accuracy of age. She looks and acts 3 to me, which is what her paperwork says. So far things are going very well!

Monday, October 11, 2010

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
-Agatha Christie

Gotcha Day!

This morning we met Denise down in the lobby to go get Cara. We met her at a little before 9:00 am, so it was right in the middle of morning traffic. We wove in and out of traffic and were inches from other cars as we headed to the hotel where we were to meet Cara.

We were brought to a conference room to fill out paperwork prior to receiving our daughter. We filled out and signed several pieces of paper. One was information about us, one was a guardianship paper for the next 24 hours until the adoption is finalized, there were a few others, but I'm not sure what they were. I was shaking so hard I could barely sign them! There were three other couples in the room waiting for their children as well.

The children arrived as we were filling out the paperwork. They would not let them in the room until we were done, but our guide, Denise brought B out where the children were, so he got to meet her first. B says he has film of her singing and dancing out in the hall, so that will be fun to watch. B got to bring her into the conference room. What an awesome big brother. They are friends already! Cara came right up to us and knew who we were. I wish the picture wasn't so blurry of her meeting us for the first time.

She liked her dolly from Aunt D and LOVED the strawberry/banana Gerber Puffs. She was thirsty and wanted water right away. She is very sweaty, but that is because of her heart condition. What a little ham! She is flirty and likes to smile and play. The orphanage director gave us a bag with diapers, formula, a book with pictures of Cara, a DVD on her orphanage, and a chop with her name. Cara also had the things we sent to her in her care package. She definately know those things are hers because she points to them and says, "Mine!" in Chinese. Cara's nanny was there so we got a picture with her.

When we left, Cara spotted her nanny out in the hall and that's when she started to cry. She cried for a little bit, but once we got out in the car she was fine. We gave her a toy Kai Lan telephone and she played with that all they way to the grocery store. We bought some water, diapers, and snacks. We pretty much just walked down the aisles and whatever she pointed to we threw in the basket. She wanted some puff things that looked like oyster crackers, crackers, and hard candy. Then we went across the street to buy bananas. She REALLY wanted apples. She will be surprised. When this kid gets home she'll have apples coming out of her ears!

We got back to the hotel and she ate a packet of crackers and almost two bananas. She really loves to draw on the magnadoodle and play ball with B. We changed her and put her down for a nap in her crib. She played with the doll quietly for about 45 minutes and is sleeping now. She looks amazing sleeping there so peacefully. I can't believe she's mine.

We learned some things about her today from Denise and the orphanage staff. Cara was born in the year of the pig, but it was also the year of the golden pig, which only occurs every 60 years. Apparently that is very special and there were a lot of babies born in 2007. We also found out the true meaning of her name. "Ao" is for the Olympics. "Huan" is for the Olympic rings. The orphanage hopes she will always show the spirit of the Olympic Games. She is indeed a very special girl and I feel so honored to be her mom.