Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The City Wall

We didn't make it to The Great Wall of China so today we went to see the Xi'an City Wall....not as "great", but it will have to do. The wall is 10 miles long and goes around the city of Xi'an. It was built 600 years ago to protect Xi'an from enemies before the Chinese Provinces were unified. There's a moat on the outside of the wall and four original gates to get in and out of the city. The gates would open at dawn and close at dusk.

We toured the South Gate of the City Wall.

Will's favorite attraction was the "toilet" sign. We see these signs everywhere instead of Rest Room signs. ....Yes, Griffin, I made him wear the pink plaid shorts:)

We also went to a Buddhist Temple. It was very interesting.

After the tours we went to Pizza Hut to get some American food and then just hung around the hotel room and played with Will. The photo below is Will sitting on the blanket that Mary (Mom's club girl) crocheted for him. It looked like it was a lot of work and took a very long time. Thanks Mary, it's beautiful and Will loves it!

Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors were very amazing. These terracotta statues were burried with the emporers tomb to protect him in his afterlife. They were just recently discovered by a farmer and continue to be unburried and pieces put back together to this day.

Before we went to the Terracotta Museum, we went to the Terracotta Workshop, where replica terracotta statues are hand made. We wanted to buy a large statue for our porch, but the cost, plus shipping was very expensive, so we settled for a few smaller statues for the bookshelf.

Will was frightened of the large statues. I guess they looked a little too real! He finally decided to ride in his stroller for a while today so I didn't have to carry him the whole arms and back have definitely been getting a good workout! As you will see from the photo below (Annie, our guide), most Chinese women carry umbrellas to shield their skin from the sun. They want their skin to stay as light as possible. You will even find lots a "whitening" cream in most stores to try and make their skin look even lighter. It's very interesting to see what "beauty" looks like in different cultures.

After a long day of sight seeing, we decided to eat dinner at the hotel restaurant and go to sleep early. Kyle and Will were asleep by 7:30 and I will be there by 10:30 (hopefully).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Star Fish Foster Home

This morning we gave Will his first bath and then went to the Super Market and did a little shopping.

In the afternoon we went to visit Amanda and Will's nannies at the Chinese Star Fish Foster Care Home. I think this is the only place in China you can adopt "spoiled" children. Between the volunteers and the nannies, the kids get constant attention. I'm sure it still doesn't compare to having a family and being able to grow up in The States, but it really is a wonderful place. Will was a little hesitant to go back at first. When they opened the door, he stood in the doorway and waved, but wouldn't go in. Then he saw his main caretaker and went to her right away. He then started hugging all the kids and playing. He had so much fun!

I also learned today that Will is not as delayed in his language as I thought. He speaks lots of Chinese words...I just didn't know he was actually saying words. He understands in English because the volunteers speak English and the kids watch American cartoons. He also understands in Chinese because all the nannies are Chinese and Amanda spoke to him in English and Chinese. But because he was mostly around the nannies, he learned to speak from them.

I know this post was short, but I'm exhausted! Will is constantly "on the go". I'll post again tomorrow after we visit the Terracotta Warriors. Thanks for all the great comments!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Adoption is Official

This morning Will woke up a little sad, wondering where Amanda was. He would grab me by the hand and walk me over to the door, point to the door and say "mama". When I picked him up, he would just lay his head on my shoulder and cry this little sad cry. After about 30 minutes, we were able to get him to play with his toys and interact with us. A few hours later, he was calling me "mama". When anybody tries to hold him, he puts his arms out to me and says "mama". If I'm holding him and someone puts their arms out to him, he just shakes his head "no".

He is so sweet and still so rough. He is "all boy". He wants to climb everything, crawl under chairs and tables, and knock down the stackable cups. I was throwing Griffin's blow up basketball in the room today and it was so cute, the harder I threw it against the ceiling, the harder he laughed.

Today we went back to the Civil Affairs Office to make the adoption official. We had to go through a brief interview, fill out more paperwork and pay our legal fees. We then received the Official Adoption Registration! It was hard to keep Will from running all over the office while we were there. He is so curious about everything. He's very delayed in his speech, but we can tell he is so smart. He sees us do something one time and then does it himself. He communicates with us by pointing to something or showing us something. Also, he understands very well. We can say "put your shoes on" and he will go and find his shoes, sit down and try to put them on.

We tried to take him swimming today, but he wanted no part of it! It was the first time he has ever seen a pool before so I think he will like it in time.

The photos above are from the Civil Affairs Office. The photo below is Kyle and his new friend from the Super Market.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sweet Will

At 6:00PM today we finally met our little Will. He cried very hard and did not want to leave Amanda (Star Fish Foster Care). Amanda and one of the volunteers came back to the hotel with us and he then calmed down and we were able to play with him. Tomorrow morning we go back to the Civil Affairs Office to make the Adoption official. Hopefully Will will not be too sad when he sees that Amanda is not here when he wakes up. He is so cute and so loving! He loves Cheerios, gold fish, books, music...and shoes! We're not sure, but we think he may be left-handed like his Dad.

I gave up on figuring out my email. My yahoo email is working just fine. The address is

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We're Here

We finally made it to our Hotel in Xi'an at about 11:30 PM Saturday night (11:30 AM Saturday morning, Cincinnati time). We're still trying to figure out our email. For some reason we are not able to send. I think it has something to do with the server??? Later, I'll try to just open a yahoo or Gmail account and see if it works that way.

Our flights were very long, but no major problems. The flight from Chicago to Beijing was very bumpy. I had motion sickness for the first time. The coolest thing about the flight was that we flew North up over Canada and over the North Pole and down over Siberia and Russia. We could see sheet ice for hours from our window! I meant to tell Griffin this on the phone last night. I know he will think that's very cool!!!

Our guide, Annie, met us last night at the airport. It took about an hour to get to our hotel from the airport. The way people drive is SO CRAZY! They just switch lanes right in front of other cars, turn into traffic and go the wrong direction. Basically it's just a "free for all". Cars drive on sidewalks to pass traffic and people cross the street right in front of cars. The weird thing is that nobody gets angry or has road rage. Also, at major intersections, military guys stand on the corner. Annie, our guide, is very nice. She told us a lot of interesting things about the city of Xi'an. It's one of the oldest cities in China, about 5,000 years old. Later this week we'll visit a Temple, the Terracotta Warriors and a few other historic sites.

The hotel we're staying out is very nice (photo below). I think it's funny that we get complimentary slippers instead of a robe that you might get in the U.S.A. They have a complimentary breakfast buffet every morning. This morning we had toast, fried eggs, yogurt, fried noodles, fruit (oranges and bananas) and coffee. Kyle tried some sausage, but said it tasted really weird. All the meat looked a little strange, so I didn't attempt to try any. I did try some cantaloupe and watermelon, though. I was told not to eat fruit that you couldn't peel, but I couldn't help myself. I think I'll survive! They also have fried rice, spicy cheese soup, different types of bread and rolls, these preserved pickled eggs, aged cabbage and a few other things. Obviously, we stayed away from this stuff. The fried noodles are my favorite. I could eat them for every meal!!!!

Kyle woke up early and walked around the streets to check stuff out. He said there are brand new buildings right next to buildings that are 1,000 years old. You can see bikes and three wheeled motorcycles everywhere. They are still having small aftershocks from the earthquake in May. Just Friday they had a 3.0 aftershock. People who live in high-rises will camp out in the streets. They are still afraid to sleep inside. Kyle said "even the dogs look Chinese". Also, people write their phone numbers on the sidewalk outside there homes in paint...just thought that was interesting.

We are meeting our guide at 5:30PM today to go to the Civil Affairs Office to pick up Will. We will sign a paper to get temporary custody for 24 hours. Then, tomorrow, we will go back to the Civil Affairs Office and make the adoption official.

Right now we are going to go explore the city some more. Kyle is watching Chinese cartoons and is getting impatient. There is so much to see, so we don't want to spend too much time in the hotel.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Journey Begins Tomorrow

It's finally time! Our journey to China to bring home Will starts at 5:00AM tomorrow morning when we leave for the Airport. I think we're ready, with the exception of some final packing. Karli and Griffin are so excited to be finally getting their little brother. Will has no idea what a great big brother and sister he will have! I'm sure they will completely spoil him!

Amanda from Star Fish sent me an email yesterday saying that Will started with infections in both eyes. We're hoping it's better by the time we get him (Sunday), but we are bringing antibiotics and an eye ointment just in case.

I think I'm getting less stressed out and more nervous about the trip! The next time I post we should be in China!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gotcha Day

Today we learned that our "Gotcha Day", the day we will receive our son, will be Sunday, July 27. We'll stay in Xi'an for 6 nights and then travel to Guangzhou on Friday, August 1, where we will stay 5 nights. We'll actually be in Guangzhou for Will's 2nd Birthday!
"Don't cry Will, we'll be there in two weeks!"
He's actually crying and reaching for Amanda at Star Fish....which is a great sign of attachment! This picture shows us that he is being taken care of...his needs are being met. (Either that or he's mad about the pink blanket and the girly animals) :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Travel Is Confirmed

It's official! We're leaving Friday, July 25 at 7:43AM. We fly from Cincinnati to Chicago, Chicago to Beijing, then from Beijing to Xi'an. It should take about 24 hours to get there because we have a 5 hour layover in Chicago and a 3 hour layover in Beijing. But because Xi'an is 13 hours ahead of us, it will be 8:00PM, Saturday, July 26 in Xi'an when we get there. My plan is to stay awake the entire 24 hours....that's how I'm going to beat the jet lag. :)