Monday, August 10, 2009

Changsha and Guanzhou, and Emma's First Birthday Celebration!

Backtracking a little...this was the Dolton Hotel in Changsha where we would have to spend 5 days in her Province of Hunan while waiting on paperwork to go through. There was one bellmen that was so funny. He smiled so hard and so happy to see us. They all knew why we were there.
Leaving Beijing to Changsha. What an experience. Worst flight I've ever been on, yuck!
But we are so excited and anxious as we know the next day we will meet Emma...
Changsha airport...Changsha isn't as big as Beijing or other bigger cities, it was only 4 million!!!!
Susan, our guide from our agency, who is a God send, got us all ready to just walk in and go straight to our rooms!


Just thinking back over the trip looking at the pictures and so glad again to be home. We were there mainly for adopting Emma and not to see sights, so anything that was not related to the adoption, we kind of did based on how Emma was doing. The group of families from our agency with us were 5 others, so we would all pile into a bus or a van, no car seats or seat belts either with our new little ones with traffic and driving worse than NY or Boston. And just as hot as here...90s, 100s, very high humidity, but they rarely use A/C. And they had our floor regulated so as not to bring the temp down too low for the babies.

This is a day we decided to not to do the museum, but go for a country drive and see a family and their farm. We all wanted to go because this would be a similar area of where Emma was probably born and would have lived in if her family could have paid the fines to keep her.
This is part of their house...
Very sweet couple, and very happy to have us stop by...
This is their living room...
Their kitchen...
They were so excited, they went into their garden and cut up fresh watermelon for us. Delicious. Usually you do not eat any fruit outside of the hotels, but our guide said it would be okay. We also didn't want to be rude.
They have a couple of pigs, or hogs!
Part of their garden...
Reminded me of being in Dad's garden...they were so proud...
We stopped here for one of our nightly dinners together with all of the families...
All of the food we had was delicious. Just wonderful. The only thing I did not like was that it was swimming in oil. Susan made sure to order things that we would be okay with and not some of the local foods like chickens with the heads on, scorpions, and some of the other unusual foods the locals eat...
They did seat us near the stage for a performance later, but the babies usually have about a 20 minute window. It was so hot walking inside here, that I sweat more inside than outside. They turned the air on just for us!!! OMG!!! And so many people come up to you and they all want to hold her. Hello! I don't know them, Emma doesn't know them. They are Chinese, I'm American...we've only had her a few days at this point, and she's learning that we're her parents...I don't think so! Still a little cautious of even people now that we're home wanting to hold her. There is a bond, but we need to make sure she knows we're her parents and to feel safe...so not too crazy about anyone wanting to hold her.
Emma was very fussy...we each had to take turns walking around with her...those teeth are getting to her, and oh...IT'S HOT!!!
To make things easier for this outing, Dennis stayed in the hotel with Emma, and I went to the Embroidery Museum. Wasn't on the list for us to do, but most of us were interested because Hunan is known for their Embroidery...so glad I went...
These are not paintings, but all embroidery...little stitches!
Looked around the shop, but our guide had told us to wait to buy anything until we get to Guangzhou, because of the deals there. Beijing and Changsha had very nice things...like these embroidery pieces that were about 9x9 were $400 US dollars each! Gorgeous though. Looks exactly the same as the front!
This is all embroidery!
And here's where they stitch...they do keep this area cool!
They use silk threads and some pieces take a year to finish...


For the very wealthy. We also had seen how they make cloisonné in Beijing, and thought about buying something very nice there too...but a very small 7" vase was $400!

While at the Embroidery Museum, I did buy a beautiful silk shawl with embroidery on it that was $60 US dollars...I got that and a little Mandarin purse for Emma for when she turns 16. I thought she would look so nice going to a dance with that.
She's a handful! Back at the hotel with DaDa...
This is the hotel in Guangzhou, the White Swan, well known among other adopters as the place to stay. There's another hotel just as nice though. Emma did not like this crib at all and would not go in it. So the sleeping was getting worse. We had gotten a little better while in Changsha, but this first night here, she was up every 3 hours screaming!!!!
Our guide said it would be safe for us to walk around the village, but not to venture any further. Once we were here, we couldn't all go together to Walmart or a big grocery store...way too crowded...this was a bigger city. So Dennis took a list and went. The taste of Oreos and a chocolate candy bar tasted so good! We were also glad we had brought lots of snacks! And the Starbucks here tasted like the real thing. Beijing's Starbucks tasted different.
About 24 hours after meeting Emma and making her ours, I'd say she and I had formed a bond. She would not go to Dennis at all. Finally, after she got used to him, the bond started to form. She'd look at our faces, then finally start touching our faces and then that was it...

A little of what's going on now at home...we celebrated her 1 year birthday on Saturday! She reached an even happier state...couldn't believe how much she was smiling and laughing!!!
Laid out some of the things for my sisters and brother-in-law to see about her. The bottle to the left was her bottle at the orphanage, we have pictures of her crib, where she was found, and the orphanage, her finding ad, they also made a stamp with her name to give to us, her original clothes she was found in sealed, and a report with pictures of her from the day she was found until 11 months. That report was totally different from the information we got about her before. For instance. The one before said she was quiet and gentle and shy around strangers. On this one it said she was outgoing. On the other one it said she was soothed by taking her to the playroom, on this one it said to hold her and speak encouraging words.

The little blue outfit to the right is the one she was wearing when we met her. I didn't wash it and put it in a baggie. Have her foot print from when she was just a few days old and now from when we went to the Civil Affairs.

I still cannot get over how healthy she is and how good she is doing. We went to the pediatrician here on Friday and she was amazed, having seen other babies from China and other countries...everything on the list for a 12 month old to be able to do, she could do. She was also mimicking the doctor! She was just so excited to see how well she is. All of that is credit to the Chenzhou orphanage for how well they took care of her for her first 13 months of her life. It's still frustrating to wonder specifically how things were, but we are very lucky to have not had any problems with her health.
She almost looks like a two year old here. I barely got that clip in her hair...she can't stand anything in her hair, but just look at that smile!
The cake came out much better than we could have imagined!
She was getting fussy and was still crying when I put her smash cake in front her, so I had to start her off and put some in her mouth...that frown quickly turned to a smile and she dug in!

She had such a happy day!!! We all just could not get over how happy she is and her laughing is hysterical. I'm lucky to get this up, but eventually, I'll have to post video.

Her teething is pretty bad. The pediatrician said her gums are swollen and inflamed, so she gave us a prescription. It's still very hard to get her to take a nap, getting a little better with getting her to bed at night. Everything other families tell us and the Nanny books are great, but they to a certain point they don't apply to a child that has spent the first 13 months of her life in an orphanage. It's been tough. We're exhausted. She still wants to be held pretty much all the time, and for you to play with her. Trying to teach her to hold and cuddle a stuffed animal. But other than that, she is doing great. So great, we decided to go ahead and schedule the party/shower for her the end of the month. We just were not sure how she would be. Hopefully, we'll have a much better schedule by that time...here's hoping!

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1 comment:

  1. oh YAY! Happy Birthday Emma! So glad you're all home & she's healthy & doing so great!! i used to put clean damp washcloths into bags in the freezer for a while (till slushy not rock frozen) & give them to Mimi to mush on her sore gums- that seemed to helped a lot- hope that RX helps her right away! {{HUGS ALL}} -gabbe

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