Congratulations Michael and Ingrid!

Our friends Michael and Ingrid are in China right now and just met their baby girl yesterday.  Her name is Sadie Tree and she is from Guizhou Province, in the southwestern part of China.  She is so adorable.  Michael and Ingrid just checked in and things seem to be going well.  We are so happy for them and can’t wait to meet her!

Today is also our one year anniversary of the special day that we met Surae for the first time.  She has changed so much!!  Unfortunately, Surae is really sick today and we are at home recuperating.  Yesterday was her birthday too and we spent a good portion of it at the doctor’s office where she even had to get an x- ray.  Good thing she won’t remember this one!

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Visit to Atlanta

Last weekend, we took a trip down to Atlanta to hang out with friends and family.  Michael and I left work a little early on Friday and arrived at my brother’s house around 5ish and avoided the major part of work traffic.  Graham was especially excited as Chris had brought out several transformers from his collection for Graham to play with.  Surae warmed up to Chris really well too and loved playing with Ginger and Jack especially.  Friday night was Uncle Chris’s first babysitting experience with Graham and Surae.  Michael and I got Surae in bed and left Graham in the hands of Chris while Michael and I went out to catch a Stereolab show.  Graham was thrilled at the prospect of legos, transformers, and cartoons! 

 

The Stereolab show was a blast and our friends Chris W and Jerry were able to join us.  They played at the Variety Playhouse and I had never seen them before, so it was a really great experience.  At 11:30, Chris texted me to let me know Graham was finally in bed.  Yes, 11:30.  For a boy that normally goes to sleep at 8 at the latest, we knew we were in for some trouble the next day.

On Saturday, Graham and I went to a puppet show at the Center for Puppetry Arts.  They also had a Jim Henson exhibit going on in the museum area that was really cool.  The puppet show was great, but Graham was really tired from being up so late the night before.  After the show, we scooted on over to Chris and Tammy’s house.  We had a great dinner there along with our friends Chuck and Emily as well.  Good, good times and talk!

On Sunday, we met up  at a Dim Sum Restaurant with fellow China travel partners, Christine and Rob and their son and daughter Jeb and Ellie.  Surae and Ellie were both in the Fenyi Orphanage together, so seeing everyone again was so fun.  It’s wild to think that we travelled to get our girls almost a year ago. 

It was a great trip to Atlanta and I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Families with Children from China Dinner

This past Friday, we hosted the second Friday Families with Children from China dinner.  This is a smaller group of people with children from China that are 2 and under.  We meet once a month for dinner and rotate the host house.  It is a lot of fun and I think it is so beneficial for Surae to start the process of making connections with other children from China.  It is also a great way for Michael and I to meet other families who have had the same experiences and dealt with some of the same issues that we are dealing with.  Surae was velcroed to me for most of the party, but detached herself near the end in order to play with some of her new friends.  We are really lucky to have this group in our area!

Life in Fenyi

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Back when we received our referral in September, we sent a care package to Fenyi Social Welfare Institute.  We included 2 disposable cameras and when Surae was handed to us, the cameras were as well.  They came filled with an amazing wealth of information about her first year of life. She seems so well loved in these photos and for that I am so thankful.   Here are a few of the pictures of Surae with her friends (many of whom were in our adoption group in China) and nanny in Fenyi.

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Grace, Charlee, and Surae

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Natalie and Surae

Qing Ping Market

We are home although most people wouldn’t even be aware of that since I’ve been unable to even pick up the phone, but more on that in a second.  I wanted to do my last Guangzhou post with the pictures we had taken from Qing Ping Market which is right across the bridge from Shaiman Island in Guangzhou.   Qing Ping Market is a real locals market and not the type of place where you find souvenirs to take home from your trip.  Qing Ping is filled with all types of spices and creatures that the Chinese consume and some of them are quite questionable.  For instance, we saw buckets and buckets of scorpions that are cooked and eaten and canisters of roaches as well.  We also saw millions of dried seahorses and starfish.  Our guide told us about the Chinese philosophy of eating that really came to light in this market.  “The only thing without legs we don’t eat is the table.  The only thing in the water we don’t eat is the boat and the only thing in the air we don’t eat is the airplane.”  Here are some pictures that show you just how true that is!

Mushrooms 
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Snakes

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Starfish
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Roaches
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Scorpions
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Some kind of really brightly colored fruit.
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Here is Surae eating at a Guangzou Thai restaurant, the Cow and Bridge.  We are there several times and it was yummy.  I wonder if they bought their ingredients from Qing Ping Market!

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Yuntai Gardens and The Infamous Red Couch Pictures

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The group made its final big outing yesterday to Yuntai Gardens. What a gorgeous place! The city of Guangzou has really poured some money into these gardens. This is the Disneyland of Gardens. The Yuntai Garden is located at the foot of the Baiyun (White Cloud) Mountain. The weather was again absolutely spectacular and we had a great time.
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Michael especially loved the enormous ancient bonsai trees.
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There were lots of school kids there on field trips and they were adorable. A lot of the groups wear matching outfits and they again all wave and say hello in English. I loved seeing all the kids!
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After we returned from Yuntai, we prepared for the Red Couch Picture. This is a White Swan tradition. All of the families dress their babies up in traditional Chinese clothing, put them on a couch, and then the babies proceed to scream their heads off and pictures are taken. It’s a bit torturous, but the babies do look so cute when they all arrive dressed up. Surae did well and just seemed concerned for the other babies that were upset.

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This is the inside of the White Swan Hotel- Not too shabby!
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Chen Family Temple and Surae’s First Doctor’s Visit

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We are in Guangzhou now on our last leg of the trip and staying at the White Swan. The White Swan is on Shaiman Island which is a small island filled with lovely old mansions and pedestrian streets. What a wonderful change after having to play frogger to cross the street in the big cities! It is filled with baby shops catering to all the families here to adopt. The people are really friendly here as well and I really can’t speak kindly enough about the Chinese people. They have been so welcoming to us. Michael even has a special Chinese girlfriend who cuts him extra special deals on dresses and t-shirts. Just kidding!
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The day after arriving in Guangzhou, we headed out for the Chen Family Temple also known as the Guangdong Folk Art Museum. It was built in the 1890s and has nine halls and six courtyards. It had lots of great little shops and art to look at as well as being a beautiful place to visit. The weather was amazing as well, so it was a great day to be outside.
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People at the Chen Temple were as curious as ever about Surae and wanted to see our tag of explanation.
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Here is Surae with her friend from Fenyi, Natalie. She is Stepanie and Jubal’s new daughter and she is such a cutie pie!
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Surae had her first doctor’s visit with us today. They checked her height and weight, ear, nose, and throat, and checked her heartbeat. She did such a great job and didn’t cry at all. What a trooper!
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Street Life in Nanchang

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We have moved on to Guangzhou now which is fabulous, but before I start posting about that I wanted to post a few street scenes from Nanchang. I am of course behind in posts. Having a one year old will do that to you and on top of that Rui keeps us really busy with touring!
Rui made us tags to wear that tell about the adoption process and that we are from America and going to take good care of the babies. When people stop us on the street, we show them the tags and it helps immensely with the language barrier because some people are downright confused about why we are carting around a Chinese baby. People here are so supportive overall and give us the thumbs up or say thank you. The people here are wonderful.
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The only negative reactions we get are from people wanting us to put more clothes on Surae. They want the babies bundled up like Ralphie from a Christmas Story. Some of the older people will really get onto you about it and feel her clothes to see how thin they are. It is not that cold here at all, but we went ahead and bought this really thick blanket in Nanchang to try to make the Chinese elders happy. Here she is asleep in it.
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The school kids in Nanchang were really fascinated with us too. We ended up walking by their school one day just as it got out and they followed us around for a long time practicing their English. They had an English school book and they kept picking out phrases to try on us. It was too cute!
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Surae is still doing so well- So happy and content. She is a buddha baby!!
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Sightseeing in Nanchang

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The first two days in Nanchang were filled with paperwork, but for the last 3 we have been seeing all the sights of Nanchang. When you look at our window, it is extremely drab and dreary here. There has been a constant fog or smog since we arrived and the town is very industrial. But, then we hop in the bus with our group and our guide, Rui, takes us to the most beautiful temples. They are truly magnificent and unlike anything I have ever seen. The one we went to the first day you can actually see right out of our hotel window. It is called Shengjin Ja Pagoda. It was first built during the reign of Tianyou in the Tang Dynasty. It is the highest ancient building in the city and we climbed to the top.

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Rui also bought some incense for us at a local store and we burned some to symbolize our past, present, and future.

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The next day we headed out to Teng Wang Pavillion. The pavilion was built in A.D. 653. This was another beautiful pavillion which held a surprise at the top- a Chinese performance was taking place and it was fantastic. The women were wearing amazing costumes and the music was enchanting. Surae seemed to really enjoy it!
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People in Nanchang are really interested in Surae. We have a tag that Rui, our guide, gave us to wear that explains the adoption process that we can show people. They seem very appreciative overall although some people are upset that we don’t have more clothes on the babies. They want them bundled to the point of a heat rash!
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Today, we explored Xianghu Lake Park. This is a Daoist temple and was another beautiful sight. It is really, really windy today and chilly!
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Surae is still doing really, really well and her little personality is emerging more and more each day. She is starting to become more verbal and active. We can get her to laugh a lot now. She is really a sweet girl and only fusses when we put her down to sleep. Then, she calls out for her mama which breaks my heart. She must have been attached to someone in the orphanage which is a good thing! Photobucket
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Surae!

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Surae is doing wonderfully!  She has been the most easy going baby you could imagine and we are so thankful for her.  All of these years of waiting have soooo been worth every second.  I cannot wait to bring her home.  Here are a few shots of her getting used to us and us enjoying her.

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