Monday, October 31, 2011

Going To Gansu

Today is the day!  We meet Shelby upon arrival to our hotel in Lanzhou, Gansu.  We packed (again) the evening before, went to breakfast, and hit the road early to make sure we arrived at the airport in time.
That morning there was dense fog all over the city and it appeared once we got to the airport that our flight was still on time.  So we made ourselves a bit too comfortable when they announced that our flight would indeed be delayed due to fog.  Okay so what's an hour or two!  I kept telling myself that just because the fog seemed to hug the ground and wasn't dissipating.  So we waited and waited until about 4 1/2 hours later they boarded the plane.  I must say the airline was very accommodating and gave out food to all the passengers with bottled water.  Actually I didn't mind the wait, since I was now running on empty myself and felt like I needed a nap, but who could sleep!  I kept thinking about my little girl, will she run away, push me, smile.  Did she eat?  Was she changed?  Who was with her and did they know how to take care of her defect?  I knew we were not allowed to meet the foster family so the baby was coming to meet us at our hotel with some orphanage directors.  I was sure they would take good care, but again after traveling half way around the world, this minor delay started me on a roller coaster of emotions.  We also had no way of contacting anyone in Lanzhou, however I believe the travel agency did let them know about our delay.

Well finally we boarded and flew the 3 hour flight to Lanzhou.  We were met by a wonderful escort Kaige, in fact she had been with Holt a long time and ran the foster care program in Wu Wei County.  I could tell we would be in good hands with her kind, soft voice and reassuring answers to my many questions.

So here we go!  Off to the hotel to meet our baby girl.  This is the part where I have no photos of our first meeting because we took video this time around.  We entered the doors to the hotel and were met by a 32 inch smiling little girl, all dressed in pink!  She took one look at us and ran back to the officials sitting on the couches.  I smiled and we all sort of relieved to see her move so fast!

Everyone was exhausted, mainly the baby.  The ride from her Provincial city to Lanzhou was almost 6 hours so I could tell everyone wanted to sign the paperwork and get to bed.

This was the most difficult part of our journey.  The "hand off" literally took place in our hotel room, where the baby was handed to me, screaming for her "momma" or foster mother the entire time.  It was very hot in the room and Shelby was soaking wet from perspiration.  I proceeded to change her, thinking I was prepared to do it alone, but needed a second hand.  Dani was busy with officials and paperwork and then I started to sob myself.  I looked down at this tiny, thin toddler, with her bladder exposed outside her tummy and every time I touched her she yelled "ouch" and grabbed her ears.  She kept on screaming and yelling for her foster mother and all I kept thinking was, just get the medicated dressings on her and wrap her up.  The officials left the room and Kaige stayed to help calm her, but Shelby continued to sob, all the while, pushing me away and refusing to make eye contact.  This was absolutely heart wrenching to see a small child so upset, in pain and confused.  I knew the transition would be hard, but until you actually experience it, you have no idea how hard it was going to be.  Even Dani looked down, trying to console our new daughter, but she also pushed him away.  Both of us were almost in tears after three hours of sobbing.  Then eventually she cried herself to sleep.

Then I looked around the room and found Kira in the corner also sobbing to herself.  So I lost it again, bent down to pick her up and just held ever so tight.  Kira had no idea what was happening and when I asked her why she was crying, she wanted to know why she was crying for her "momma".  I guess she may have thought we were taking her away from her real biological parents and from a toddlers point of view that's so real.  I reassured her that she was crying for the lady who cared for her till we came.  I also told her that all older women are called "Momma" in China.  She seemed to understand and then we all climbed into bed and fell asleep, completely exhausted!

The next morning we met Kaige and went to the Civil Affairs Office where the official notarization of the many copies of adoption paperwork were completed.  Both Kira and Shelby seemed indifferent about the entire thing, but at least Shelby managed to calm down.  That second day was a flurry of activity so Shelby really didn't seem to mind being with us.  We hoped she was turning the corner here but again, realized she would continue to grieve for her foster family as long as it took.  It's hard to watch, but even harder knowing you simply have to give her time and even some space.

On October 31, 2011,  Miss Shelby Emmalin officially became our daughter!

And so we headed back to our Hotel, very happy that another orphan of China had found her way to her Forever Family!

We so love you Shelby and know that time will heal your little heart!

Even in this photo you can see the big difference a day makes:))

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bejing Day 2

Today was  a particularly moving day as we had made arrangements to meet up in Bejing with the young woman who was our escort for Kira's adoption in 2008.  Her name is Leah and she will always hold a special place in my heart for all the things she did for us during our journey to Kira.  I sort of tell people that during the adoption, your escort is analogous to a "midwife" helping you through the ups and downs of the transitional phase after the hand off.  Leah and I managed to email occasionally and when we told her we were coming back to China, well, we knew we would have to meet up again!

We went to lunch at a favorite local restaurant and then took the subway to the Bejing Zoo.

While at the Zoo, I told Leah I'd love to get some photos of her (guess I knew a photo op when I saw it).  She agreed and well as you can see she's beautiful and I was able to process this within minutes upon arriving to our hotel.

We had a wonderful time meeting again.  Just as I did 4 years ago when we parted at the airport, I got all teary eyed and then spent the rest of the trip looking for eligible bachlers for her lol.  Guess that's the Mom in me!

We love you Leah!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Destination Bejing

I had full intentions of blogging from China only to find out I had no access to google blogger.  It was some what of a blessing in a way to not be on the computer as this journey was mentally and physically exhausting for us all.  Since I decided to carry my camera, I thought I would let the photographs speak for themselves.

After a 13 hour flight from JFK and 6380 miles away from NJ, we arrived safely in Bejing.  It was so exciting to be back there and I felt the anticipation starting to gain momentum.  Although exhausted, we all couldn't really sleep and just took a quick nap and then went down to the breakfast buffet (the best meal of the day).  Our Hotel was downtown this time so you could feel the hustle and bustle of this huge city.  The only thing that really annoyed me was the constant beeping of car horns and for those of you who have been to any big city in China, you know what I mean.  I find it funny in some ways that that sound was also once a way of how Americans drove here in the states, especially on the highways and byways along the east coast.  I also found it somewhat interesting that when you were in a car, taxi or bus going anywhere in Bejing, if you opened the window, you could literally touch the vehicle next to you.  As Dani kept saying "these drivers go from 8 lanes to 2 and don't even seem to look".  That's probably why we stayed close to the sidewalks and avoided crossing the streets!

First object of the day, food!

We were elated to go back to China, especially since we found out we would be traveling with a family whom we met nearly four years ago when we adopted Kira.  I thought this would be a great time to share some of Kira's heritage with her as well as introduce her to other adopted children from her birth country.   I am not sure how much she will remember of this trip, but I am sure that bringing her along played a huge role in the bonding process between Shelby and her new family.

Bejing Day 1

The big climb up the Great Wall of China!  I was so excited to go on this trek, only thing, no one mentioned "don't wear clogs".  Who knew it wasn't the steep climb up but the hike down that would have me sliding forward in my shoes and hanging on to the railing (if I could get to one) for dear life.  I had to laugh at myself because I sat down and watched hundreds of people climbing, even running up and down the steep grade.  It was exhilarating to be at one of the Wonders of the World.  Our guide was a hoot and gave us a brief history lesson and then we were on our own.  We toured with another family, whom we came to adore and Kira just wouldn't leave them alone.  She was so happy to play with other children and I was so relieved to see her in her element of play.

There were thousands of people climbing the wall, including many locals and school children.

Kira and her new family of friends talking to some Military Students.  The students all wanted photos taken with this blonde haired family!  They were very friendly and seemed to enjoy engaging in  easy conversation.

Our Fabulous Tour Guide Arthur

Kira's new pal.  The real way to climb the Great Wall.

We were all hanging on here on this incline up the other side of the wall.

This sweet lady kept me company while I proceeded to sit down for an hour's break.  Then I thought wow, she has walked at least 2 miles straight up this wall and probably does it as a daily routine.  She didn't speak any english, nor did I speak any Chinese dialect, but we managed to share some laughs and a lot of head nodding!

After a very long hike and meeting some amazing people, our fine Chariot awaited to take us back to our hotel.  What fun this day had been.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Okay so I admit I "bring everything but the kitchen sink" when I have to travel, even if it's for two nights, so imagine a compulsive ADHD mother going overseas for two weeks!  Where do I even begin and what should I bring, not so much for me but for Kira and her new sister. Also the new weight limits for luggage since we last traveled really had me narrow things down.   But after two days of packing and un-packing  I just can not control my excitement and emotions thinking that we are less than 23 hours from departure to China!  So how can I concentrate on what I need to bring:))  Guess I should have started this two weeks ago.  Anyway it's sort of fun to realize how organized I can be when I try to put my mind to it.

I am taking the necessities:  toys for babes, disinfectant wipes, cold remedies, antibiotics (both Kira and I have sinus infections), gifts for orphanage and directors and the list of lists of documents we must bring.  Then there are the tot snacks, Mom snacks and Franki Valli (Jersey Boys) CD's and Kira's favorite TV shows, her blankie and favorite sweatshirt.

We also packed a boat load of chocolate candy and twizzlers, so I can't complain that I didn't bring the right clothes, enough shirts or my instant Via Starbucks.  I took my good friend Natalie's advice and brought Easy Mac for Kira since she thinks it is a food staple around here.

I have so wanted to re-do the blog and catch up but just didn't have the time.  I am hoping we'll be able to blog or post photos from China.  Those of you who want to email, please do as I know we can easily email and Skype.

Next post will hopefully be from Bejing!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Spicy Girl

It has been way to long since I've updated this blog but I have been so busy with Kira and preparing the house for our newest addition, I couldn't sit down, nor think about what I wanted to intelligently write about. But before we leave for China I wanted to post some photos from this summer.  My girl has grown and changed into the most precious little girl with a spunky, humorous and affectionate personality.  I am still in total awe of Kira's love and adoration for her Daddy and I.  She currently loves school, has a big crush on her male gymnastics coach and can not wait to start reading.  She beats me at angry birds and well, she also knows how to shop online.  I know, not the brightest move on my part, but one day I sat her down where she spent and hour or so adding mini-boden to her shopping cart!  It's very funny to see her coordinate outfits!

How I love this child!

This summer she learned how to swim (thankfully) and her best stroke was "The Butterfly".   She also started to learn to write and expressed an interest in art (it's all over the house, the walls, herself, the table and the occasional coloring book) yep, my girl wants to be an artist, a Princess and a Mommy (in no particular order).

Kira's expressions are so funny!

So while there is much to still do before the morning I thought I would post some of our memorable photos from mid-summer up to recently.  

We're coming Shelby Emmalin, hang in there baby girl.  We love you!

© Hunan Spice
CoffeeShop Designs