Mommy and daddy are coming for you!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We're HOME!!

Well we made it home finally, no thanks for United airlines. We were smooth sailing until we go to Chicago on our last leg home to St. Louis. Drew did wonderful on all the flights home and between layovers--quite an amazing feat, I might add!. So our flight home was delayed then cancelled, and we waited for another flight on stand-by status. Finally after much proddding, and begging we got our seat confirmation for the 9:30 pm. flight to STL. Ok remember folks, we arrived in Chicago that afternoon around 2 p.m. and our original flight was for 4:53 p.m. , however due to the cancellations, etc we finally left Chicago at 10 pm. Thursday night! We drove home, arriving around 3:30-4 a.m.! We looked like death warmed over... even Drew had baggage and dark circles under his eyes. So we began our journey home from Guangzhou that morning at 9:00a.m. China time, and it was still 4/10/08 when we got home U.S. time! Talk about time traveling.... Oh yes, 2 of our checked lugagge didn't make it to STL so they had to bring it down yesterday to us! And the kicker is, that United called my parents yesterday asking if they needed tickets to go home! WEll duh... they answered their home phone!!

So when we got home, there was balloons and a welcome home sign on our door for Drew. He got excited and actually knocked on the door to go in- not realizing that this was his new home. The first thing he asked for was to see the kitties, then he asked where the "woof woof' was! We also found signs on Riley and Drew's bedroom doors and a basket of candy and balloons for both on their beds. This was from our great friends Felisa, Jeremy, Chloe, and Sadie. Of course Drew wanted to open the candy then, but instead settled for opening up some of his new toys he found in his room! We finally got to bed after 4:30! We all passed out quickly.
As soon as Scott woke us up at 12:30, we had a continuous flow of visitors to Drew. Later that day, he finally got to meet his big brother Riley. They've gotten along so far famously! Yay!!!
Riley has really stepped up to the plate in helping and playing with Drew and sharing everything with him. He is a very sweet kid. He even slept in Drew's extra bed last night. For dinner last night, guess where we ate? I hate to admit it, but we went to the Chinese restaurant! (Like we hadn't had enough of this for the past 2 weeks-hahaha). So our Chinese friend Fawn was anxious to meet Drew and they talked alot in Mandarin of course. He counted to 38 in Chinese to her, then got bored. He told her he preferred to be called his new name Drew. We were very happy to hear this. She said she'd help in any way she could, which is quite comforting to know!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New things

So we've learned quite a bit from our trip to China as we've traveled to Beijing, Urumqi, and Guangzghou- 3 major cities. First, never drink the water here, not even in the hotel. We brush our teeth with bottled water. They don't serve you ice in drinks, you get cold or warm drinks/sodas. Coke is the major distributor here. The traffic here is beyond your imagination. They honk their horns constantly, bicyclers, buses, taxis, cars all just maneuver their way around each other within inches, with little concern for the others, including pedestrians. They park and drive on the sidewalks in some of the cities due to not enough parking or hardly any parking lots. You see these pedalers going down the street in busy traffic hauling tons of products or boxes on top of a bicycle! They must have good balance.... Squatty potties--first time to have to use these! They're just like going camping out in the woods and just using it in the bushes, except dirtier and stinkier. Everyone here thinks I (Kim) can speak Chinese. Most of the waitresses and vendors try to speak to me and ask questions. They find out quickly that i don't, some smile back, some snicker/laugh. Actually I'm beginning to wonder if Drew thinks I can speak a little Chinese too. He seems to say things to me in a lower voice and whispers in my ear alot. I just act like I understand-haha. They all ask where Drew is from and immediately ask how old he is, while commenting how tall/big he is.
The poverty here is also beyond your imagination. Even walking down the streets here, you can see people's laundry hanging out on the lines between the buildings. We had our laundry do the other day, so it could've been ours hanging out to dry!! No joke-haha. Scott says there's a lot of hoochie mamas walking around in China. They wear their tight jeans/pants and high heels and are busy talking and walking. It's pretty funny. At least here in Guangzghou, most of the people speak English, so that helps quite a bit. They really cater to visitors here in hotel too, which is nice.

Last day here in Guangzhou!

So today is our last day here in this hot, sweaty, humid place. Don't get me wrong, we've enjoyed some time here but we're all so ready to go home!! We decided not to go to the pearl market after all. Instead, we just went out walking and shopping again for last minute things. Comparing U.S. money to Yuan RMB, when you exchange $100 in US dollars, you get $694 in Yuan. So keeping that in mind, you can blow all that money pretty quickly even though things are really cheap here. The other night, the 5 of us ate for $40 equivalent to US $. When we went to the grocery store, my two bags cost $60 in Yuan, which is about $9 in US money! Sounds good, huh? Too bad groceries aren't that cheap at home... So anyway, we bought a small Chinese tea set, a t-shirt and scorpion necklace for Riley, some small pouch/purses, bracelets, chops for Riley and Drew which are basically stamps, the top is their Chinese zodiac sign, and the stamp below has a picture of a dragon, their American name, and it written in Chinese characters also. Everywhere you walk, the Chinese vendors want to offer you a "good deal", or a "good price for you only today." Scott is good at jewing them down on prices, he says I'm a sucker. Oh the best thing we found for Drew is a pharmacy. This local owner told us of a pharmacy down one of the streets around here. Yahoo!!! I should've asked earlier, I just didn't think to--duh. So anyway we found gauze and tape, and the store owner had small 2x2 sponges. I had tons of neosporin, but they took it from my luggage at the airport I guess. I still have a little bit though and plan on changing Drew's dressing later again this evening and tomorrow on the plane home. We had to go to the clinic here at the hotel again this morning for a dressing change (before we found thepharmacy). Drew was being tortured here everyday , esp for the last 2 days-- he just screamed and cried b/c the dressings they use are quite primitive. They look like from the 70s, and don't use any non-stick pads or Telfa!! So everything they put on it, dries and sticks to his raw skin- then they have to peel it all away again!! I feel soooo sorry and helpless to see him have to change the dressings there, it's like being tortured again and again. Soo our advice is to never give your child anything hot to drink... which you probably already knew this. I wasn't thinking and it was my first catastrophe as a new mom!! I could kick myself.... Also, never have to use Chinese medicine or seek medical treatment here!!!!!! I can't stress this enough!!

So right now, we've been packing and packing for tomorrow. We may need to buy another suitcase to fit everything in. Most people here do this, in order to make it home with all their new things. You can buy suitcases here for like $10-15. We have to go to the American Consulate in an hour and doing our swearing in testimony. Tonight, we will have a farewell dinner together with everyone in our adoption travel group of around 24 or so families I believe. Some of them I don't even know or have not met yet either.

The dinner at the Cantonese restaurant was excellent! Even better, Drew insisted on sitting on my lap the entire time (which made it harder for me to eat-haha). It was really great to see all the families with their newly adopted children. Everyone looked sooo happy and glad to be going home. We just met everyone in our group down in the playroom to say good-bye. With all the kids running around, at least it wasn't sad. They didn't realize that that was really good bye this time! Look out America, Drew is coming home!!! As soon as we land on U.S. soil in Chicago, Drew will be a U.S. citizen-yay!!!!!! Oh BTW, Drew can say " I love You" in English!!!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cruising down the river

Earlier this evening we had dinner and a cruise down the Pearl River. Drew really liked it. At dinner, he ate 4 small ears of corn-which is great to know, as we will have tons this summer at home. The buffet consisted of all different mystery meat and vegetable dishes. Most of it was not edible in my opinion. I had a fish meatball on my plate, and it smelled gross so of course I didn't eat it. The cookies and ice cream were the best food there. Actually the ice cream here in China is delicious! It is very creamy and rich. So back to the cruise, it was breezy and nice. The view was great on all sides, that part of the city is all lit up, including all the buildings, and the other boats, and the railing, etc. They really believe in using a lot of electricity for lights over here-haha. Well it is bedtime on Tuesday here and tomorrow is our last day here. We leave China Thursday morning (Wed. evening US time)!!! So tomorrow (Wed here) we are going to a pearl market shopping and later to the American Consulate to take an oath and get Drew's visa. We'll be busy all day long... whew. Well Drew keeps asking when we're leaving to go home, which is great and also about the kitties at our home. He wants to know why the big kitty has to take care of the little kitty. He then asked who is taking care of them now? He is soooo full of questions... it isn't funny!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Zoo outing

Monday, yesterday we went to the zoo. Boy was it hot!! Those poor animals...I was expecting worse conditions for them, but it wasn't as bad as I thought for some. Drew wanted to see the tigers first. He kept asking where were the tigers? We have a local guide who also contracts out/ works with our adoption agency CHI, her name is Rebecca. She speaks Cantonese, which is spoken here in Guangzhou and Hong Kong mostly, and also speaks Mandarin. She is one no-fuss lady. She puts Drew in his place quick! (Scott really appreciates this no-nonsense type of personality). She told Drew to stop asking her stupid questions, (basically to hear himself talk or to get attention with silly questions). He said he understood this-so he quit. He asked about the lions we saw, she told him that the male lion has more hair around his head and the female doesn't. He then asked , why on humans do females have more hair than males do on their heads-(just the opposite)? She said this was a very good question and smart question esp for his age. She said he is very smart and his mind is always processing information, she said he will be a very good smart student in school. (We sure hope so)! So, at the zoo, we saw lions, tigers, leopards, monkeys, bears, deer, sheep, kangaroos, giraffes and a few other small animals. This place wasn't that big so it didnt' take that long to walk through it all. Thank goodness, because we were all ready to get on the bus with air conditioning!! They ordered Papa John's pizza for us to be delivered to our hotel room when we got back for lunch. We were so tired after getting back, we took a long nap the rest of the afternoon. We finally got back out of our room, that evening and went shopping. The clothes here are pretty cheap, esp if you can bargain with the locals too. You can buy men's polo shirts for like $14 US dollars which is close to $100 RMB/Yuan. These shops have all kinds of Chinese souvenirs-of course targeted at American tourists.

Drew was trying to teach Scott and me some Chinese this morning when he woke up. He would say something and Scott would try to repeat it, Drew would just laugh and laugh. I'm sure he thought we were retarded in trying to speak Chinese...LOL. Drew is picking up English really really easy. He basically repeats everything we ask him to say in English. It's sooo cute to hear him!! He asked Rebecca when we were walking back into the hotel yesterday, how long we were staying here and when were we leaving to go home? Isn't that great!!??? Yesterday we had to take him to get his dressing changed again and the nurse got onto me for taking the bandage off (it was sticking to his skin) before we got there. Drew wouldn't let it just air out, he wanted it covered again and his shorts back on. Scott thinks Drew keeps thinking someone will take his things away from him so he is careful to keep some of them to himself and/or hidden such as toys, etc. So anyway we have to keep giving him antibiotic, it's strawberry flavored and he doesn't like it. He will drink it down though with a little bribing of a piece of gum. He's gotten used to that pretty quickly. The hotel gives out these Barbie dolls with American barbies holding a Chinese baby, which was put in our room the other day. Drew wanted it and Scott told him no. Of course I didn't care either way as I'm sure Drew has no idea that there's a difference between some girls/boys toys,etc. He just sees them as new toys and he probably has never had much to call his own anyway. So he stashed it away in the suitcase for future reference I guess.
Oh BTW, Drew decided at the zoo that he wanted to crawl into Vivi's stroller, I guess he got a little lazy walking. So this is why you see him in a stroller that he can barely fit into in the picture above! haha
Well at 3:00 we're all meeting down in the lobby for pictures. These should be really good I hope. I'll share them with you soon I promise! We're all going on a dinner cruise later this evening too here on the Pear River. This should be fun and very scenic.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

First full day in Guangzhou

So today was our first real day here. Good grief, it's HOT and HUMID here! The weather was dry and just warm in Urumqi so quite a difference. Everything is green and lush here, the trees, grass, flowers, and plants are just beautiful. It looks so tropical and pretty. We are sweating our tails off here. Elsie, our guide is from this city. She said that this city has a population of close to 12 million people!!! Can you imagine? We're staying at the White Swan Hotel ..... very nice and scenic. The back of it is just glass windows and it's view is breathtaking out on the Pearl River. The breakfast is served on the first floor and with the river view. Felisa, I had dumplings today for the first time here in China and they were sooo delicioius! There's soo many shops on the lower level too. This surrounding area and shopping is targeted to tourists, especially adoptive families moreso. Everywhere you look around inside and out, you see all these families with their Chinese babies or kids-- no joke. It's kinda crazy...
There's a waterfall and a large pond with koi fish inside the lower level too that's just beautiful too. Earlier today, we had to take our kids to get their medical exams done. This only consisted of their height, weight, ENT exam, and physical exam lasting only a few minutes. I got pics of it all. Drew weighed 20 kgs and was 111 cm tall. He's so much taller than most the kids around here we've seen! He's going to be big....
We did a little shopping today too. There's these shops everywhere with tons of Chinese things. Most of them have an American name title and do laundry too, which is lots cheaper than laundry at the hotels. We had lunch at Lucy's which serves all American food! Yum... first restaurant with normal real food and iced tea. (We've only had coke or water since we've been here). Last night and tonight we ate at this nice Thai restaurant that was to die for! Very good!
We had Elsie show us where to buy groceries. WEll this was quite a walk away and we saw the very poor locals selling their roots, spices, and LIVE animals in tubs, cages, etc. I took pics of dried seahorses, shrimp, deer hooves/legs, snake skins, among other things. The live animals consisted of turtles, chickens, rabbits, scorpions-lots of them, fish, eels, snakes, crawfish, and other things I can't remember. This was the first time I've seen cats anywhere in China... they were sitting around the shops, supposedly as pets... So at this grocery store, it was like walking into a sauna-- it was not air conditioned and just opened up out into the street. However, I did find deodorant, the old roll on kind. I got Drew some drinks, snacks, and flip flops. He loves these dried seaweed things--looks like beef jerky but only green and crunchy. They smell and taste gross. He likes the chips too , which aren't bad if you get the right kind. He ate the pear immediately after finding it in the bag too. He also thanked me for buying all the things he likes. He now says "thank you", "bye bye", "see you later", in English as well as counts. He understands most of what we say and tell him to do. He picks up so very fast. Elsie made fun of me for only buying 1... guess she was right. Drew definitely is used to eating weird things... he ate this gross very fishy whole fish dish last night and it reeked severely. He ate lamb kabobs one day and devoured them. He is finally getting an appetite here in the last few days--thank goodness. Well tomorrow we're supposed to be going to the zoo-- that should be an adventure. I hate to think of those poor animals... where's PETA when you need them???

Drew's airplane adventure

Yesterday, we flew here to Guangzhou, which took close to 4 hours. Drew had a very unfortunate accident. After he woke up from a nap, he got a cup of hot tea. Well this tea was scalding hot and he was holding it and blowing on it. He spilled this on his lap and started screaming of course. Scott was sitting next to him and pulled his pants down to see his leg. I scrambled for my first aid baggie I brought, which of course ended up not being near enough of what we needed. I took Drew to the bathroom and was shocked to see that his left thigh had 2nd degree burn which covered the entire width of his leg and down into his inner thigh. The skin was all gone and that which was left was blistering up! It was a ghastly sight to see. He was just standing there in the bathroom crying and I was getting papertowels wet to cover it. I opened the door and started yelling for Elsie our guide to help. She was excellent and told the attendants that we needed first aid supplies. Well there were none to be found as far as first aid. They tried to give us some kind of oily looking salve to put on him, which looked like yellow gel. Of course I didn't trust this. I asked for ice and it took a few minutes for them to understand why we wanted ice... duh!! I was really afraid that they wouldn't give us any. So we sat holding an ice bag to his leg and trying to soothe him as best as we could. We still had 50 min. left to fly!
This was no fun! I started crying just b/c he was so upset and I knew he was in pain. He kept telling Elsie that it hurt and asking when it would go away. Scott asked me why I was crying. I couldn't help it though. None of us had any children's pain reliever with us, it was all in our checked luggage so we had to wait until we got those to get him some Motrin or anything. Thank goodness he had stopped crying by the time we landed. He asked for his friend (Tonito) Zhu Zhu
and of course his parents brought him to us and he stood in the seat infront of us and held Drew's hand through the opening. It was soooooo heartbreaking and cute at the same time to see his friend comfort him. The night before Drew helped Tonito climb up a slide several times and now it was his turn to return the favor. So the good thing is that there was an inhouse doctor and first aid clinic here at the hotel we're staying in. He saw them here and got it debrided and cleaned/dressed. He cried a little at first but quit quickly. He told Elsie that he was a good boy and didn't cry. We told him that he was sooo tough! They gave us vitamins and antibiotics for him too. We had to go back today for a drsg change, it actually had seeped through it and the drsg was falling off by then. Drew was such a trooper, he didn't flinch or cry today. Last night, Drew started acting like he had a hard time walking with it, but he was only playing and milking it for all it was worth! haha He just laughed and laughed. Tonight when we put his pjs on, his drsg was already seeping through. He's glad he doesn't have to take a bath at least since this happened. He will have quite a scar from this I'm sure though.