Monday, December 22, 2008

Dad's Turn

I have had a great time with the unofficial Blog. It is nice however to see Julie Blogging again and realize just how amazing this experience is and watch the joy in Julie's face as she tells our story. Last night we went out after the kids fell asleep Julie's parents are in an adjoining room so they listened for the kids. We just walked around stopping at Starbucks for me and 7 11 for Julie. We were both so tired and sore it wasn't much of a walk. The kids have been waking up at about 6:30 each morning and I have been taking them down for breakfast to give Julie a chance to sleep in a little while. It would never have worked last week I would have been a crazy man attempting to take both kids to breakfast. It is funny to watch them just sit and wait to get their food. The trick I have found is getting the exact same items on each plate. I found out this morning that Nathan loves eggs boiled or scrambled.

We did a family day out today we just strolled around the island and ate lunch at Lucy's. I had to go to the bank to exchange money and right before our number came up Nathan announced that he had to go to the bathroom so off we went. When we got back we were now 6th in line to get the cash. Julie in the mean time was in a panic trying to figure out where we had gone since it took us about an hour to get the cash. Tomorrow we are going to the Zoo and to the Embassy in the afternoon. Julie's parents have been a great help with the kids. They have been taking in the sites. Today they went to Pearl Market and Pat ended up buying a pearl necklace and then Jim told her he had bought one for her for Christmas. He's going to take the one he bought her back. You can't beat getting them local.

We are becoming a family

It seems like so long ago that we updated the website. We are enjoying Guangzhou (GZ) and the warm weather. Yesterday we went with a bunch of other CCAI families on a tour around GZ. We visited the Six Banyan Pagoda and arrived just in time to have the monk's perform a blessing on all of us with the kids. I have no idea what he was chanting but it was so moving. Emily kept asking why he was dropping water on everyone's head. Nathan had to have been in a temple before because he put his hands together to pray and bowed 3 times. After the blessing, there was a procession of monks playing drums as they entered the temple. Nathan was sitting in his stroller and put his hands together in prayer. It was so amazing!

Then we got back on the tour bus and that's when poor Emily completely LOST IT. She threw the worst fit I have ever seen and screamed so loud that our tour guide and everyone on the bus stopped talking...the place went completely quiet except Emily. Everyone turned and looked at us like "what are you doing to that poor child". I told them Emily was throwing a fit and apologized. I wanted be invisible. Emily has been so good for most of the trip and being 2 1/2 she just had enough. One thing with adopting Nathan, we have noticed just how much we have endulged Emily in a lot of ways...just like any other only child. Now with Nathan, things that she used to be able to get away with, or our ability to quickly redirect her has changed. We no longer have a single focus on her and the chance to catch her behavior before it escalates.

Nathan is such a mild mannered boy but is starting to come out of his "angel" phase. Still he is so well behaved and such a funny kid. He has a great sense of humor and even with my limited Chinese, we seem to communicate just fine. He and Emily are so funny together. If Emily is doing something he thinks she shouldn't, he says "mama..mei mei". Meaning hey Mom look what little sister is doing. It's just funny. They really play well together figuring they only met last week and have been in the same room 24/7 since. I am proud of our little family and can't wait to get home!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

From the Proud Dad

It is hard to know what to write since so much has happened in the past few days. I a proud of Emily she has been amazing. From the time we got to China until now she seems to have grown up right before our eyes. She seems to understand the importance of her role in this journey. Emily seems to already have a connection with Nathan if he starts crying she comes over to see if she can help and then comforts him. They are playing together and act like normal brothers and sisters which is sometimes good and sometimes interesting. Nathan's first kiss was for Emily. They were both sitting on my lap and he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. I am not sure who was more shocked Emily or me. The second day I was attacked by two toddlers and we got into a tickle fight. It was great to hear such deep laughter from those two. Nathan is attaching to both Julie and me. It is a great feeling to get that hug and realize that he is feeling safe and secure. I love watching him discover new things and how he reacts to them. He gets the biggest grin when he sees something new or figures something out. We took a bullet train from Tianjin to Beijing and he just got the biggest kick out of watching the countryside go by. He loved sliding on the marble floor of the train station...Julie wasn't thrilled at all since she was the one holding him at the time. That was pay back for the Great Wall since I had Emily sliding on the ice and it was me that was worried about falling on my backside. Nathan had a tough time when we got to Beijing. He is having trouble with adjusting to change. I was worried about the move to Guangzhou but he is now making the adjustment after one day. The sleeping arrangements were challenging last night we were all in a king bed so we could get a bigger room. We moved a mattress in from Julie's parents room so we should be able to get a good night sleep. Last night was the first night Emily slept all night which was great. It is amazing how well the family is growing together. I think about Gracie Cork and how well she adjusted and hoping before we got here we would be that lucky and we are.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Meet Nathan!!

We went to the orphanage today and received Nathan. They brought him into the office and they said "ta shi mama" (she is mommy) and pointed to me. He came and calmly sat on my lap and looked at me. He is SO TINY!! He is only maybe an inch taller than Emily and only weighs a little more. He is so quiet. He understands Chinese from our guide but cannot clearly be understood when he speaks Chinese. Yesterday when it was time for his nap, he cried himself to sleep while I rocked him and sang the Two Tigers Song. Turns out the only song I know by heart is one of his favorites! He finally fell asleep after 20 minutes fully clothed complete with his socks on. I managed to take his socks off when he fell asleep but as soon as he woke up he cried to have them put back on.

We are so proud of Emily. When they first brought in Nathan, Emily said "Oh, there's Nathan!" She went right up to him and wanted to play with him. Grandma and Grandpa gave him a little Magnadoodle. Emily went up to him and showed him how to use it and then how to swipe the picture clear. AMAZING. Yesterday afternoon they kinda got into a little shoving match because Emily touched his car (his comfort object) and he shoved her. Just a little not hard at all but that got Emily's stubborn side up and she threw a fit. We are so glad she came with us to meet her brother. I had major doubts earlier in the trip but now I am so thankful that they have this time together.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We're going to meet Nathan tomorrow!!

Just a quick update since it's almost midnight and we have to leave our hotel at 7am tomorrow morning to catch the "bullet" train to Tianjin. The high speed train takes about 30 minutes to get to Tianjin compared to the bus that would take 2hours. When we arrive in Tianjin we'll check into our hotel and then go to the orphanage at 10am to get Nathan. I am really beginning to get nervous! It's just hard to wrap my head around it at this point. We'll post pics ASAP tomorrow evening.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Great Wall

Yesterday we met other CCAI families including Hillary who works at CCAI and had helped us throughout Emily's adoption. Quite a few families are adopting their second child and most of them are older children. So it's been nice talking with them! Somehow we arrived one day later than all of the other CCAI we missed Tianamen Square tour. Our guide is arranging a personal tour for us today. All the other families are flying out today to their adoptive child's province. We are taking the bullet train to Tianjin tomorrow.

Here we are at The Great Wall. Jim, Emily and I only went to the first tower since the whole path was pure ice! Mom and Dad made it to the second tower. One couple acutally made it all the way to the top! We decided that next time we come back for the Heritage tour...we are coming in MAY!! WE FROZE!! It's pretty amazing to see the wall in person and to try and figure out how they built it and how they hauled all the stone up the steep hills!

After the Great Wall, we went to lunch as a group and defrosted a little. After lunch we went to see the Flying Acrobats Show. It was very good! Emily loved watching the acrobats jump off of spring boards and fly into the air. She was clapping and smiling...until she passed out from sheer exhaustion halfway through the show. I think Jim fell asleep too! It was a long day. This trip has been so different than Emily's trip. It's almost like we are spectators this time instead of being in the moment like we were last time. I still can't believe we're really here. It sounds stupid but at the acrobatics show I suddenly realized that the acrobats were Chinese!! DUH!! We are trying to prepare for tomorrow and getting Nathan but we are just trying to survive through today.

We have arrived!

After spending the night in Newark, we boarded the plane for Beijing. The flight wasn't too bad. Emily slept for the first 3 hours and the last 2 hours of the flight. She did a great job sitting there for 12 hours!! The portable DVD player was a blessing to have! Here she is sleeping like an angel 2 hours before we landed. Poor thing was so upset when we landed and had to wake her up. She has been such a trooper...I feel so bad about her lack of solid sleep. Jim and I also are running on a lack of sleep but hopefully we'll catch up tonight.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

As the packing continues...

I think we are pretty much packed. I don't think anything else will fit...I was half tempted to sit Emily down on top of our suitcases so I could zip them shut! Actually, we do have a little room left in Jim's/Emily's suitcase. Now I need to clean the house and finish wrapping a few Christmas presents...then I'm going to sit down with a cold beer! At this point, I am over the whole preparing phase and am in the LET'S GET ON THE PLANE ALREADY phase!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Trip Itinerary

We got our Final Travel Itinerary today.
Here it is:
12/10 Leave Denver for Newark.
Stay over night in New Jersey.
12/11 Fly to Beijing.
12/12 Arrive in Beijing.Go to the Holiday Inn
12/13 Tour Beijing with other CCAI families.
12/14 Optional tour

12/15 Take the train from Beijing to Tianjin. Recieve Nathan today! YEAH!!
12/16 Go to the Registration Office to do adoption
registration & notarization.
12/17 Rest, relax, and take the train back to Beijing. Go
to the Holiday Inn
12/18 Optional City Tour

12/19 Leave Beijing for Guangzhou. Go to the Victory Hotel.
12/20 Nathan's photo and physical done this morning.
12/21 Free day in Guangzhou enjoy!

12/22 Consulate appointment.
12/23 Go to U.S. Consulate for the oath.
12/24 Depart Guangzhou for Hong Kong Depart Hong Kong for San Francisco.

Stay overnight in San Francisco.
12/25 Fly to Denver MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One Week Left

As the countdown continues I am running around shopping like a mad woman...three trips to Target in the last two days! (I think my car knows the way there on it's own). I just got updated measurements on Nathan yesterday. He now weighs 37.5 pounds and is 39" tall! We didn't get a picture though :( My friend Stacy's little boy just turned four and he is about the same size as Nathan. Stacy was so kind in giving as a bag of Ray's clothes. So nice to be able to bring some of them with us in case the 4T stuff is too big. Nathan's a big boy...that is if the measurements are accurate. They were a little off with Emily's measurements we we got her...she was a little lighter. The weather in Beijing has been hovering at 35 degrees with the weather in GZ around 72 degrees. So I think I've got enough warm clothes for Beijing and I thought I'd just layer him and Emily. That's as far as I've gotten with packing. Nothing in the suitcase yet but stacked all on Nathan's bed.

Emily and I have been having interesting conversations lately. She's been asking me to tell her the story about how she got the small scar on her arm (curling iron burn). She LOVES it when I begin..."When you were a little baby...". You should see her face light up. Today Emily and I were driving around trying to get her to nap (I should say I was trying to get her to nap...she had other things in mind) when she asked me to tell her the story about her adoption. We've never really discussed it before and I think all the talk about adopting Nathan brought it to her attention. So I began "When you were a little baby you lived in China like Nathan..." She listened the first time I told her the toddler version and then she added things to the story as I retold it. It was one of those times you wish you had it on tape! She is such an amazing little girl! It made me realize that while I was running around trying to get ready for Nathan and our trip, I had a little girl absorbing everything that's been going on around her. I need to cherish these last few days with Emily and whatever I get done around the house is less important.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We're Heading to China

After waiting a little over a year to met Nathan, we will finally see him on Monday, December 15th! We just got our Travel Approval and our Consulate appointments confirmed yesterday. Jim was stressing out yesterday while making our flight he is fine. I on the other hand am just plain freaking out! All of a sudden it really hit me that we are finally going to get our son. So funny how we've had all of this time and now I feel we don't have enough time to prepare.
We are right in the middle of transitioning Emily into a "big girl" bed. She just moved to a new room and we just got home from a week in Florida. This sounds like I am complaining...which I am's just the fear talking. Frankly I am so unsure of myself at this point. I know in my heart Nathan is our's just the whole trip to China and all of that impacting Emily on top of meeting her older brother. This is so different then our adoption trip to get Emily. I know it's fear and anxiety talking at this point.