Saturday, August 25, 2012

Arrived in Beijing!

Ahhh...we finally arrive in Beijing! All of the other  families flew United and all had a 6 to 7 hour delay as well. Everyone was exhausted but happy to be in their hotel.
View from our hotel room.

Nick making himself at home. Thank goodness we brought along his DVD player! It was a like having a little piece of home.

This is George. He was our Tour Guide from our Adoption Agency, CCAI. He was our life line through out the trip.

This was our very first ricshaw ride in old Beijing. It was a bit scary at times because the road ways did not seem to fit everyone, but it always seemed to work! We saw some very lovely scenery on the way. The ricshaw drivers smoked or either fanned them selves while the drove/pedeled!

George explaining the reasoning of door markers in front of homes. I heard nothing. I was so busy looking around, recovering from jet lag, making sure Nick did not pick up something from the street and making sure my hubby did not wonder off on his own taking pictures.

We were aloud to tour a typical old Beijing home. The owner of the home was an artist and allowed us to tour his home and studio. It was very cool!

This was a photo of the family's court yard. You can see the other adoption families looking around...can you find Teddy taking pictures?

Nick and the other kids are checking out the pet grasshopper sitting outside the enterence of their home. I'm sure it had something to do with good luck, but the kids just thought it was neat to see him up close and listen to him. He was REALLY noisy!


This is inside one of the bedrooms.

This was inside the art studio. He did beautiful work!

 This is Nick with his new friend, Lily! She was adopted from China almost 3 years ago, and now her parents are back to adopt a sister for her! Her and Nick had matched energy! Watch out China!

We took a tour of a silk mill which was very interesting! Bought Riley a silk dress for her to wear when she's older. Ted has LOTS of photos, so I hope to add more later.

George took us to an authentic Chinese Restaurant, and ordered some yummy food for was something that was considered safe eating for us tourists.

We visited Tienanmen Square, but by this time everyone was completely exhausted!!! It was a vast open space. The pictures here show a not so crowded area, but once we got closer there were too many people to take a picture. Plus, it was unbelievably HOT! The kids were so tired. It was well past nap time, and everyone was worried about heat exhaustion that we all asked our guide if we could cut it short.

Friday, August 24, 2012

FIRST PART: Leaving the U.S. and arriving in Beijing

We started out with a delayed fight at Dulles Airport! Ugh. But we made the best of it and went on a tour of the Aviation Museum.
Waiting for the bus...

With a platypus!

Nick and Ted walking into the museum. Notice the red and white stripe shirt on Nick? I highly recommend this for travel...anything bright and easily noticeable. I was always able to find him quickly in a crowd.

My two best boys!

Ted with his camera!

Yes! This place is HUGE!

Nick standing next to a mini United plane.

Back to Dulles Airport with still some time to waste. One of the store clerks told of a secret way to our gate! We laughed and thought she was kidding, but this was what it looked like! We only saw air flight crews and airport staff!

Nick's view out his window. We flew in daylight for the entire 14 hour flight! Amazing, right?

Our friendly neighbor! The flight was filled with numerous families...thank goodness!

Finally Posting!!!

Hello Everyone!!!

Tomorrow will be a week since we've been home from China with our Riley! I can hardly believe it! I feel so bad that I have not updated my blog before this, but this thing called "jet lag" has really hit us HARD! Especially the kids. Last night was the first good nights sleep we've all had in a very long time.

Riley is an absolute sweetheart! She seems to be a morning baby! Right now she's sitting next to me while I'm typing and wants to be on my lap or typing as well. She is as light as a feather and a tiny girl. Right now she's 23 months and wearing a size 12 month clothing. She's a busy girl, and smiles when she knows she should not do something, well she's smiling most of the time. You should see her two dimples when she smiles! We're in love!

Nick is a terrific big brother! He's ALWAYS watching out for Riley. There has been a lot of changes for him. A very long trip with a huge time change, a new sibling, he's not going to daycare/preschool (not seeing his friends everyday!) and now staying home with me! Wow. That's a lot of change for a 4 year old...but he is adjusting. We have some surprises for him waiting when we're back on track!

Anyway, my plan and goal is to give you our story, our adventure, in parts! It will be easier on me while running after two little ones.

We have a MILLION photos, but right now I'm just selecting a few highlights of our trip...from my camera only. We hope to eventually have a slide show for everyone.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Home Sweet Home...almost!

We just received a call from was so good to hear her voice again! They arrived safely in D.C. tonight. It was a long flight, but it went well. The kids slept most of the way. Michelle & Ted are exhausted and feel a little sick from the flight (they were in the back of the plane and felt turbulence most of the time), but they are sooooo glad to be back in America again.

They're settling in at their hotel for the night, and tomorrow they'll head back to home sweet home. ♥ I'm super excited to finally meet Riley and hear all about their trip!

Thank you all for following along on their journey to China and for all your prayers! I'm sure Michelle will have lots to share on her blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. ☺


Thursday, August 16, 2012

United States, here we come!

Michelle's last email from China:
Hello All,
Welp, today is the last day before we leave! We need to be checked out tomorrow morning and on the van to the airport by 8:30 am...that's easier said then done with two kids and a husband! LOL! I must say that we are ALL really ready to come home. Lots of packing to do. We have just enough clothing to get us home.
We will be flying from Guangzhou at 11:00 AM on Friday to Beijing, and then catch a flight back to the US at 6:25 pm. This should be interesting because the kids will sleep...hopefully...but then we'll arrive at the hotel in D.C. around 7 pm Friday night. It should be interesting figuring out sleeping. 
I better get going. Nick's belly is bothering him now, so I better get him well asap.
Love you all!!
With the time difference, it will actually be tonight at 11:00pm (our time) that they will be taking off for Beijing. Once they arrive in Beijing, their flight will be leaving for the U.S. at 6:25am (our time).

Please pray for a safe trip home! Can't wait until they get back to the United States! =)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Feeling Better...

An update from Michelle:
Hello All,
Finally, I think I can say that I feel better! Still not up to running up a flight of steps or anything, but much better then I have been. Funny, I felt really bad up until about 9:30, and then suddenly felt better.
Anyway, we had to get up super early this morning in order to be on the bus for the US Consulate appt at 8 am. Everything went well...and FAST! Now we're waiting for Riley's visa to be completed and returned with her passport tomorrow (Thurs.) at 4 pm, so we can leave on Friday. I'm SO looking forward to coming home, dreading the two flights to get from here to Beijing and then from Beijing airport back to D.C.!
Riley napped of in the bus ride a bit, but that was it. I tried to lay them down to sleep for their naps, but no go today. Early bedtime tonight! Riley has been sleeping much better. Each day we're seeing more and more of her personality. I'm sure it's very frustrating for her not being able to communicate. She has a rash on one side of her face that hasn't been going away. She was clear when she came to us, but got it the next day...must be an allergy to something.
Well, no naps, so I guess we're off to the pool. First time going in since I'm better. Hope all goes well. ;0)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Counting Down the Days...

An update from Michelle....
Hello All,
Still feeling under the weather here. My stomach still cannot handle too much food...especially Chinese food. I'm living off of saltine crackers and toast. We even have a Starbucks right here at the hotel...wish I could appreciate it.
I'm hoping Riley and Nick aren't getting sick as well. Nick has been complaining about his belly and won't eat much, and Riley seems really fussy and had several very messy diapers today.
Last night we went on the Pearl River Cruise with all the other families. It was drizzling, but the sites were beautiful. Ted got a lot of nice shots of the buildings all lite up. Riley seemed to have a good time and wanted to run around with the older kids. Yes, you can imagine, playtime on a boat is NOT too relaxing.
It is really a different type of adoption compared to Nick. I'm sure living in China makes a huge difference, but wow, Riley can really throw a tantrum!!! The other families are on their 2nd adoptions and said that their first child was much like Riley...full of energy and tantrums often, but now they have the easy transitions. It can be physically exhausting trying to save her from her tantrums. I'm afraid she'll really hurt herself. I think if she was a baby it would be easy to control her, but she has alot of strength for a tiny girl. She will not sit in a high chair or stroller, and will only allow me to hold her. I'm faltered but ready for her warm up to Ted.
Today I will need to go and prepare paperwork while Ted watches the kids. Should be interesting. Tomorrow we're off for the Consulate appt to get Riley's visa. This is the big and final step to get Riley back home. Then Thursday we get some paperwork back and start packing up to finally leave on Friday. Please pray for low rains so we have NO delays.
Our last stop is visually beautiful, but I never could imagine all the millions of smells and scents around us!!! People smoke like crazy here, and every elevator smells of some sort of air freshener....well, actually every room smells like something different. Our clothing came back with an unbelievably STRONG smell. Outside air is very difficult to breath in, which is why almost everyone in our group has a cold. I'll be surprised if we don't all end up with asthma by the time we get off our last plane! It's totally nuts!
Welp, better go. Ted and Nick should be coming back some from swimming. I'm here with Riley while she naps. I'm actually looking forward to leaving the room on my own for a bit to do the paperwork. Might even take a walk around the hotel for a little! Shhh, don't tell Teddy!
Miss you all!
Michelle & family

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ready to go home!!

I so feel for Michelle & Ted...and look forward to when they arrive safely home in Lancaster!

Michelle's recent email:
Hi All,
Welp, I think I'm starting to feel a little bit better. At least I don't feel like I'm going to throw up all the time. Still not feeling 100%. Riley had a really tough time sleeping last night. She was thrashing around all night. At one time, every 12 seconds she would arch her back and fling her feet. None of us slept. I'm so ready to go home.
Nick has been great! Of course I'm always concerned when he says his belly hurts because of fear of him getting sick. Teddy has only wondered off a few times so far...the guides are aware of him so as to keep an eye out for him. Everyone laughs.
We're a bit separated from everyone at this hotel. All the other families are on a separate floor, no one is near each other. I don't really like that part, because we're all doing different things instead of doing them together. Maybe that is good because everyone is ready to go home.
All most everyone has been sick with the stomach flu has a chest cold...probably because of the terrible air.
This morning we took Riley for her visa photo and physical. She had tantrums several times. She will throw herself backwards, and I'm concerned she will hit her head on something. Threw my back/hip out trying to hold onto her. She throws tantrums occasionally, but I think this may have been because she was in another doctor's office. Ugh, probably bad memories.
Storming for most of the afternoon here. Very hot and humid. Just caught a glimpse of the weather report and saw a possible typhoon on the way to Hong Kong!!!! HK is about 3 hours away from us. Please pray our flights are not delayed or canceled.
We haven't been going on any of the tours because of feeling lousy, so I'm hoping we can go on the Pearl River Tour tonight to see all the river lights. They serve dinner and take you on a tour of the river while looking at the beautiful river...many good reviews from others. It's a lot of work going out because Riley is a handful. Nick is able to get her attention, but now she is wanting everything that he has. OH, the fun. The agency told us not to bring many toys because the children will not be interested, but that is not her case. We need to get her toys, especially for the flight home. Yikes.
This is a very interesting experience that's for sure! Can't wait to get home and get to know Riley more!!! Right now she's either happy or not happy. I'm the only one that can hold her. I'm really looking forward when she will warm up to Ted soon. I think there was only ONE man in the entire orphanage, so no wonder she thinks Ted is odd. This sure is no vacation, but I'm so happy we're in a lovely hotel with nice transportation!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Arrived in Guangzhou

Michelle, Ted, Nick & Riley arrived safely in Guangzhou on Saturday. I'll share Michelle's recent email:
The hotel here is the best of all hotels....absolutely beautiful! I doubt I'll ever stay in a nicer one. This is good because I'll need to stay in my room for awhile. I'm sick now. Ugh. I ate the same as everyone else, so I think it may be a flu or something. I took my meds, so hoping I'll feel better. Tough carrying a little one when my belly hurts.
The flight over was a nightmare. It was super hot. the kids were grumpy. Our flight gate was changed at the last minute, and then delayed. We finally boarded the plane and had another delay due to heavy rain. This was a super small plane too! Kids were screaming...not ours too often. Chinese folks were super angry, and wanted off the plane...well I think that's what they wanted, or they just needed the door open. So, they opened the plane door and people looked outside. THEN Riley had a total melt down while Nick slept soundly. I just looked at everyone and smiled.
Right now I'm resting in the hotel room, and will go to the kids play room soon.
Tomorrow we go for Riley's visa photo and physical.
Love you all,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Update from Zhengzhou

We received an update from Michelle, and she joked that "the honeymoon is over!" Some of the people in their group got very sick, and they're not sure if it was a virus or if it was from the food they ate. Ted is not feel well. Poor guy!
I'll let Michelle share the rest in her own words:
Ted needed some Sprite and crackers, from the convenience store across the street, but that's easier said then done. I called our guide to ask if she'd walk with me to the store. You'd understand if you saw how crazy it is to cross a street!!! I should take a video of it! Nick insisted on going with me. So, Riley stayed with Ted. Oh my. We left with her crying...poor girl...poor Teddy. I sort of joked with Nick...wonder if Riley is still crying as we were walking into the lobby of the hotel. Just as we stepped in front of the elevator the doors opened and there was Teddy holding a little hyper-ventilating little girl! She didn't stop crying once.
The night was a bit rough. Riley woke up crying, and seemed to wake up every 5 minutes after that. I had to have my hands on her at all times in order for her to sleep. I can only imagine how rough of a day she had going to visit the orphanage and then her new mama leaving her. Yikes.
We are ALL anxious to move onto the next town asap. It feels like we've been here for weeks!!! Today was the first day we really felt like we could venture outside because of the breeze and slightly cooler air, so we went to a park to walk around with another family. They had a kid's amusement rides, which we allowed the kids to try out. The rides lasted forever!!!! I went on the last ride with Nick, and I actually had to tell the guy to stop the ride after 15 minutes! There are only so many times i can go around in a circle!!! Poor Teddy couldn't even his belly was still on the mend.
Riley rode in the stroller for about 15 minutes which gave my arms a rest. I have her in a baby-body carrier most of the time, but that can be very hot much of the time. None of the babies are holding on much...not yet, but this is "normal". It makes it very hard on our arms to constantly hold them up...and the moms are the only ones that are able to hold them. We're ALL very physically sore and tired.
Guangzhou is our next and last city. I've been told by many that this is a much more Americanized city, and we'll be staying in an area with some more regular foods...I hope so. We will be leaving our hotel tomorrow morning...I think that's Saturday...around 10 am. I probably will not be able to email then. The flight will take about 2 hours. So far it's not so bad going through customs and security here...not as bad as our TSA. Those guys are no sense of humor. The China folks at least smile! ;-)
Hope eveyrone is doing well! Thanks so much for your messages! Wow! You should see all the cool photos we have! Teddy has been having a blast!
Love you all,
Michelle...Ted, Nick & Riley

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2nd Day with Riley...

I just wanted to share some of Michelle's recent email about how things are going. It's so sweet to hear how Nick and Riley are interacting with each other. And wait until you read what Nick said to Michelle about will melt your heart. =)
Welp, we made it through the first day without too many issues! So far Riley seems like a really, really good sleeper, but that may be just due to the exhaustion she may feel from being placed with this huge white family! Ted has been the one feeding her so to help with bonding, but that didn't last too long. She only wants to be held by me and will not go in the stroller or high chair.
Riley is very quiet around Ted, but I hear this is very typical. She is very withdrawn when we leave our hotel room. Maybe she fears of what may be next? She is a totally different child in the hotel room, especially when it's only Nick and I! She swings her arms around and acts silly, and she loves to play games. She was chewing on a crayon and knew she should not do it, but made a game out of it. Later she approached Nick and tickled HIM! They rolled around on the floor and she would laugh and laugh!
It is super, super hot and humid here! And our next stop will be even worse! The men walked to Walmart this morning which is about 4 (long) blocks away from the hotel. I say "long" because they need to cross the street 3 times which is the craziest feat ever!!! But so far it seems safe if you stick with the pack of people and scooters. Oh, yeah...Walmart is NOT at all like our Walmart!
It is wonderful to have a free day with no place to go. Tomorrow we're suppose to go visit Riley's orphanage in the morning, but do not have anything that we must do in the afternoon. We really do not have the energy to go, but feel we need to see it. We found out that it's not the Maria's Big House of Hope orphanage, but a sister orphanage. Still a very, very nice orphanage with a lot of American influence.
This morning before Riley woke up Nick came over to the bed and hugged me. He said "Thank you so much for letting me come along to China to get my sister. I would have been very sad if I stayed at home and could not have been in China to see her. She's so cute, isn't she? I really love her." No, I'm not kidding you...he was very clear and wanted to be sure to tell me before Riley woke up. I guess he over heard our conversations about debating whether to take him or not. It's not easy entertaining Nick at times, especially since he's so excited about everything, but I can see in his actions and Riley's that it was a good move.
Riley is pretty tiny. I'm glad I did bring along her 18 month clothing. I'm sure some of the 12-18 mo. clothing at home will be perfect. She's having a tough time drinking from any of the cups, bottles or sippy cups that I have. She keeps dripping when she drinks. Eating is okay. She is very much like an infant in her eating, which is partly due to her lip and palate, but is doing some things that is very age appropriate or even above. I'm so happy for her little dimples!   
Welp, I better get back. We all slept about 10 hours last night...more then we ever have, and Nick did not want to take a nap. Hope everyone is doing well! 
Michelle & family

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Day We've All Been Waiting For...

I was ecstatic to find an email with pictures in my inbox this morning, and couldn't wait to share the following with you:

Meeting Riley

The Happy Family

I'll let Michelle share about their special day in her own words:

Hello Everyone!

I just snuck down to the lobby to email you all while the 3 kids sleep! Ha! Riley is a real sweetheart!!! The orphanage either called her Ray-Ray or Riley.

When we arrived at the registration office Riley was the first child waiting for us. There was a small built man standing on the steps waiting for us. We didn't even have a chance to walk into the building! She looked so big when we saw her, but now looking at her i think she looked so small because of the man holding her! haha

She was very nervous, and felt like a limp noodle holding her. Though when I tried to set her down she would hold on. Nick was totally over the moon!!! He was doting over her constantly, and was trying to do everything possible to make her comfortable.

We mailed her a gift months ago, and the man from the orphanage returned it to us. The photo book of us looked like it was very used, so she must have looked at it often. She held onto it tightly, and did not want to let it out of her sight.

The orphanage also prepared a beautiful album of her life there, and it has a message written in Chinese in the front. Our guide will translate for us later.

Nick and Riley sat together on the bus back to the hotel. Nick stood up once time, and Riley patted his seat with her hand showing that she wanted him to sit back down with her. SO CUTE! Later she wanted me to hold her and I think she was very sleepy.

We got back to the motel, and the guide stopped in to see how everything was going. Nick and Riley were sitting on the chair together watching Nick's DVD player. She must have saw something that she liked and yelled "Mama" and looked at me referring to the DVD!!! We all laughed, and could not believe she was referring to me as MAMA already. Someone at the orphanage must have really prepared her.

Later Ted went to a near by Chinese restaurant to get her rice and dumplings for her lunch...and ours too. Nick and I stayed back with Riley. They sat together and Nick got her to laugh for the first time!!! She has the most amazing dimples!!! Nick could not have been more proud of himself knowing he was able to make her laugh. Nick also insisted on feeding her the rice. But then Teddy was finally able to slide in and feed her, which is great for bonding and trust.

She doesn't seem to be able to drink out of our children's cups, and not sure if it's due to her lip or not. Ted will go to Walmart with the group for supplies and will get the things we need.

She was very sleepy after eating and nIck and her shared a bed. She feel asleep very quickly but had to keep her eyes on me until she finally slept. Which gave me the time to sneak away and write to you all. WIll probably not have time to do this later. We will have a busy day tomorrow. I need to go fill out paperwork at 3 pm while Ted watches..."the kids" Sounds crazy.

Ted has some really good pics on his camera, but I can only use mine for now.
Love you all,
Michelle & family

We are thrilled beyond words about the new addition to our family! These photos brought tears to our eyes and smiles to our faces. It's an amazing and precious moment! =)

Note: You can click on the photos to enlarge them.
They're worth a thousand words, aren't they?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Arrived in Zhengzhou

We've received an email from the other side of the world! =) I'll share Michelle's recent email below:
Sorry, it's been taking me so long to reply and give updates. First, we've been exhausted beyond belief!!! We were on tours all over Beijing. All of the families were exhausted, and most of us fell asleep on the bus back to the hotel.

We've been chatting with the other families and everyone has been waking at 2 am to 3 am, not getting back to sleep. Must be the jet lag.

We've had really bad internet reception, but some how we were charged for $125 for internet usage at our last hotel! Urrr...we would have fought it, but we were leaving for our plane.

I've been waking with panic attacks at night...wondering if I forgot anything. All the other families experiencing the same.

Today we flew from Beijing to ZHENGZHOU! The flight was a bit rocky, but knew it wouldn't crash because the King of Cambonia was on our plane! Ha

Crazy, but I actually felt much more relaxed in Zhengzhou--not sure why yet. The hotel is absolutely beautiful! That really helps! The city looks pretty nice so far. Lots of green everywhere, not as intimidating as Beijing.

This afternoon we went over all the details of the upcoming paperwork, and what to expect. LOTS of details to complete. We came back to our room and found a crib in it!!! Talk about reality.

9:30 we will get to met Riley! Or at least some time in the morning. A few of us need to travel to our child's hometown to complete the passport. This will be a very interesting week!

I can barely keep my eyes open for the last several hours...barely can handle it. We're going to bed at 7:30...just can't stay awake. I hope to keep you informed as asoon as I can, but internet is heels to come buy right now. Plus, we will be busy non-stop. WIll try to update asap!

Love you all,
Michelle and all!

In another email, Michelle said that the Great Wall was amazing, but very, very hot. Nick loved climbing the wall. In fact, they had to stop him from continueing. Everyone was taking photos of him, and had to touch him. He didn't like that so much. But he really loved climbing, and everyone was amazed at his ability to do it for a 4 year old. He was the only kid who could tolerate it.

Everyone is very nice, and they like all the people in their group. All the kids like the breakfast foods, but not much of anything else.

I am so excited to hear about Michelle, Ted & Nick meeting Riley tomorrow. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything! =)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Our China Adventure Begins...

This is Ashley (Michelle's sister) writing. I'm filling in for her while they're away. =)  

The adventure has begun! On Tuesday night, July 31st, Michelle, Ted & Nick drove to Washington D.C. where they stayed overnight for their departure the next day. Their flight was scheduled to take off at 12:19PM, but was delayed almost seven hours!

Their plane left sometime around 7PM Wednesday night, and they arrived safely in Beijing sometime around 9AM (our time) on Thursday--but in China, it was actually 9:00PM. There's a 12-hour time difference.

Michelle said that Nick did really well on the plane considering. He slept a lot, although they didn't. There were lots of other kids on the plane, and the one family traveling with them has a 5-year-old girl, so that'll be great for Nick to have a playmate.

I think jet lag has set in - Michelle said they're very exhausted, and have a very difficult time sleeping. All the other families feel the same.

Today (which is actually Friday in China), they have all day tours, which is really suggested. Michelle said their guide is really terrific. And tomorrow, they'll get to see the Great Wall. Imagine!

Michelle said "this is like another planet!"

I'll keep you posted. =)