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09/30/2011

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Very quick recap:
Delay leaving Hong Kong due to typhoon.  Couldn't land in Newark after an hour or so of circling, so we spent the afternoon on the tarmac in Syracuse.  Finally made it to Newark and it took about three hours to go from disembarking to finding our gate to board a plane that was delayed three hours, only to have them make a boarding call minutes before the original flight time-every cell phone was out on the concourse as people called their rides and told them they were unexpectedly arriving on time.  My husband had already left to do some running around, so we couldn't reach him until our arrival and the airport is an hour and a half away.  But we made it.  Safely.

Eva slept a good deal of time on the plane, played some video games, watched a few cartoons.  Was sick once.  Sick again on the ride home from the airport.  Not uncommon for her when traveling.  She slept until about 2:30 this afternoon and is up now while her brother has crashed for the night.

Eva is thrilled to have a father and wasted no time getting to know him.  Would love to share pictures but in my sleep-deprived state I've managed to misplace the camera somewhere between afternoon and evening (I've had about 36 hours sleep in the past two weeks, so the sleep-deprived comment is no joke!)

She took to Aidan immediately.  Don't know how much of that is her being used to have "brothers" and "sisters" at the orphanage-her class here made a picture book for her of all of the members and the adults, and as Aidan pointed to each person and named them, she renamed them goger (I don't know how to spell it, but that's what brother sounds like), jie jie, or mei mei (I don't know how she decided that some girls were big sisters and others were little sisters). 

Eva is thrilled to find that she has a swingset right outside the door and she's already madly in love with Mangus, our youngest dog (who all of the kids love).  She tries to boss him around and make him sit on the courch with her.

Aidan asked when we were going to teach Eva to speak English, and I said every time we talk, so here are the two of them playing together earlier-he identified every letter and every number on the blocks and she repeated the words to him.
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The difference in size between the two is extreme.  Remember, he is eight weeks younger than she is.  I took them to the grocery store this afternoon and they sat on a bench waiting for me to check out.  They looked to be about three years apart in age.  Aidan is expected to be between 6'3" and 6'4" when grown and she is...not :)
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Today we packed our bags.  Somehow I lost the gift to our first daughter between Guiyang and here so I'm off to shop for her again. 

Before going out, I let Eva call Wu Yi.  They spoke for a few minutes, had a hard time communicating across their new language barrier, but Eva's smile could have lit up the room.  Now she is furiously packing her stuff-wonder if she thinks we're on our way to Idaho?  Yes, she does; she just grabbed my hand and told me to come with her to see Wu Yi.  Then she started pounding my leg, insisting that we go and see her now.  I tried to explain the whole plane/fei ji thing and that Wu Yi was going to bed where she was, but she doesn't understand (or want to).  Here are some pictures of the big event. 
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The phone is a China Mobile phone that I rented from Panda Phone, so I'll be turning it in at the desk today; it doesn't work in Hong Kong.  We check out in the afternoon and then have about an hour to kill before our guide returns with our brown envelope.  Then it's off on a three hour van drive to Hong Kong and tomorrow we fly home.  The return flight is shorter-25 hours with layovers instead of the 29-1/2 that our flight over was.  Better, but
 
 
Last night we took the dinner cruise on the Pearl River.  Another boat was coming in as we were embarking and our guide told us that last Monday Nicolas Cage was here and rented that entire boat; sounded like it was quite a big deal.

Anyway, the cruise pictures aren't the greatest, but I've posted a few.  Hard to take pictures in the dark while moving :)
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Today we had our US Consulate appointment which is so anti-climactic, especially now that we are a Hague country.  I really couldn't believe how little fanfare there is now.  We went through security, sat in the hot airless room waiting to be called by someone behind the glass windows, and before being called a voice on the PA asked us all to stand and take an oath of honesty, promising that our paperwork was true to the best of our knowledge and then explaining what would happen next.  Then the PA turned off, we sat dow, and waited some more.

Once we were called to the window, our paperwork was stamped, sorted, stapled, and we were given a few copies to give to our guide who will pick up our brown envelope tomorrow and then we will present the envelope to immigration on arriving in the States.

That's it.  She's now ours.  There was more ceremony and celebration at China's Civil Affairs Office when they said she was ours.  At least we had our photo taken with the two country flags and representatives of the orphanage.  Probably the high point of today was when she threw up all over the floor of the lobby.

But, the end result is the end result. 

Here is a picture of the Westin Hotel where the consulate is located (you can't have electronics inside the waiting area).
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We went swimming for an hour or so, much to Eva's delight, and then she took a 45 minute bath, talking to herself and repeatedly grooming her hair.  She tried to dress it up herself afterwards but finally let Little Baby give her a hand.  Guess she will follow in the family tradition and let it grow to her waist or below-wherever it decides to stop-because she really likes having it done, and she dislikes it when Little Baby puts her own hair back in a ponytail; she wants it loose.  Here are the results of the two girls' handiwork.  (Oh, and Eva chose the outfit herself-pink top, orange socks, and purple pants-April G. would be so proud of her fashion sense!)
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When we applied to adopt Eva she was two months short of her sixth birthday and her referral said that she was a shy child attached mostly to one caregiver.  What we have now is a 7-1/2 year old who is not shy or attached primarily to one person.

This age is a difficult one for adoption.  Seven year olds are all about schedules, time management, perfection, finishing what they begin, and independence.  Six is still needy and eight is more open emotionally. 

Eva is a happy girl and sweet 90% of the time.  However, she is a little manager and she is also a little manipulator.  There are times when I ask for her hand and she runs to Little Baby, Samantha (our traveling companion), or our guide and grabs their hand, then smirks at me.  Not going to happen.  The girls will make her go to me.  The guide is temporary and Eva looooves to talk, so I allow that, but I don't let her play games with me.  Have already been there, done that, with Little Baby, always playing her father against me, and she is our biological child.

So I am trying to respect the natural boundaries of a seven year old and the fact that Eva's intelligence seems to be off the richter scale (last night in the van she said to the girls, "you are a monkey" with absolutely no accent whatsoever) while still making it clear that I am the mommy.  She seems to appreciate my role most when it is bedtime and when we're doing something new like swimming-she raved to the guide about how mommy taught her to swim and as soon as we got home last night she pointed up (the pool is on the roof) and made breast stroke motions.

In summary, I guess I just can't wait to get home and start our new normal!  I just wanted to post honestly because so many people post only the honeymoon stuff and then when it isn't a honeymoon 100% of the time, those parents feel alone and inadequate.

I'll leave you with images of our precocious little girl writing and the results of her writing-she loves to write!
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Eva's TB test results required just one quick glance-she hardly even has a mark left.  Then it was off the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees.  I love those trees; here on the island when the wind whistles over the cobblestones and brick and ruffles the leaves, carrying humidity with it...ahhh.  The temple was nice, but not that different from the one on the mountain in Guiyang, except that pictures were allowed inside the temple here, the monks were  moving about, and there was a statue of a famous Chinese poet which Little Baby got a kick out of.  We returned, had lunch at Subway, and then took Eva to the pool-now that her TB test has been read, she can go swimming.  The orphanage ladies told me that she had never been, but boy did she love it!  Now she knows why I wouldn't let her wear that ruffly pink thing she kept pulling out of the suitcase before now, too!
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This next picture is not a pose.  The girl was jumping up and down and screeching with laughter, she was so happy!
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We arrived early.  The pool is closed until 2:00 and it is on the rooftop of the East Wing (which is another building) and we are staying in the West Wing.  So here is a kaleidoscope of pictures of Eva while waiting.
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We spent the day at Chimelong Safari Park today.  We took the "train", then walked the safari park.  Eva loved some of the animals, loved the souvenir shops, and especially enjoyed the merry-go-round, but we came to the rides late in our time there and she wanted to try out the planes, too.  A family from Illinois is staying in our hotel, uses the same adoption agency, and have adopted a six year old boy, so we went together.  Here are a few shots of our time at the park. 

(for those of you who don't know Chimelong, they have more than one park-last time in Guangzhou I asked if we could go to the water park, but we didn't, so maybe on our heritage tour we will get there)
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When we got back to the hotel, Eva used up all of her bubbles that we bought within the first hour.  Here she is out on the balcony enjoying herself.
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Eva's medical exam was today.  At every station she asked if she was getting a shot and each time the answer was no, so then she was a happy little camper.  Until the TB test, of course.  Then she yanked on her arm and slouched her body and did everything any other seven year old does when faced with a shot they don't want.  As soon as it was over, she was fine.

She passed the vision test with no problem.  Her hip scars were evaluated and determined to likely be the result of diapers that were too tight-they are awful and look like the result of incisions.  Her feet were operated on a couple of years ago so she has scars from that, but they don't look half as bad as the ones on her hips.
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Our driver in Guiyang wanted to have a special ceremony for us so we stopped on the way to the airport and let five pigeons go free and fly away home.  Eva got a kick out of it but didn't hold a bird.  I grew up with animals and have done my fair share of catching chickens, but Little Baby was not too sure how to keep both wings in check when she was first given a bird to hold.  The pigeons did me the favor of circling overhead several times so that I could get a shot of them in action.
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This is the four of us with our driver.  Eva called him Brother and talked the man's ear off every time she saw him.  He adored her, as did Richard.  My husband will have his hands full!

Here is a collection of shots from our bird-freeing event:
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Here are the pigeons, obliging us with several sweeps overhead so I could get a shot of them in-flight.

 
 
We will be flying out this evening for Guangzhou.  Thanks to everyone for your comments here and on my Shutterfly account.  Tomorrow I hope to upload some gorgeous photos from the Tian He Scenic Pool, the monastery and temple at the monkey park and, of course, our new little cutie.
 
 
Still trying to get the photos to download, but here is the scoop so far:
Eva is happy, healthy, everything that you would expect of a seven year old.  She has a funny, friendly personality and she will try to manipulate with a big smile but it never works and the funny thing is that I can tell it never has, since she redirects immediately after you call her on it.  Just testing, I guess.  She is generous to a fault, sharing everything that she has with us.  She has not cried.  Hoping that eventually we'll see something, but I think that the orphanage prepared her well for our coming and I know that she asked them when we were going to get there.  She did go to the telephone three times after coming to the hotel, expecting to call Wu Yi right there and then.

Jolene, the director and nanny gave me a pair of embroidered cloth pajamas for Wu Yi-I'll send them to you when we get back.  They teared up when told that she has learned a lot of English and is doing well.  They teared up more when they heard that her first surgery had been done.  Then they got even more happy/sad when they learned that Eva's feet could still be fixed.  Apparently surgery was attempted at one point and not successful.  I asked some details yesterday about it so that I could share what I know with our surgeon, but they were definitely under the impression that she was too old for it to be successful now, so they were thrilled to hear that wasn't the case.

We really like Guiyang, at least as much as anyone can like hotel-living in a foreign land.  We are at the Trade Point which is in the center of town.  There are sky walks to get to just about anything and on the first day our guide, Richard, walked us to the supermarket and showed us all the restaurants along the way so that we could venture out on our own without worrying about where to go.  He was unexpectedly put with another family from GB so his time has had to be divided between us (his agency had been told they weren't coming, then they came, and their guide is working in another city).  This afternoon we will go to Qian Lang Park a/k/a The Monkey Park.

Okay, thanks to the Business Center worker I now have photos downloaded but it has taken forever, so I'm going to have to leave you with a link to my shutterfly account and will just update these posts with pictures later/add detail to the shutterfly account later.  Sorry it's such a pain!  Hope all of you are well.

http://chinadreams.shutterfly.com