Monday, October 22, 2012

The First Month Home

We are moving forward in all things.  The kids started Chinese school first, as it is held in our church, Fresno Chinese Gospel Church.  We know the people well and it was easiest to start there.  We also started the after school tutor and all around helper person, Pam.  Yes, this is my sister-in-law and good friend who happens to be very invested in our children. 

We were pregnant together 20 years ago, and our children have been raised together.  We are doing our adoptions together, Keith and I just finished earlier.  I can not help but feel this is God working.  She is DTC waiting for word on her LID for Blossom from Harmony House.  I am holding Blossom  in the pictures of August 25, 2012 More about Blossom later. 

Going on, the kids just finished two full weeks of school.  Bobby is in the third grade and doing very well.  Kylie Gail is in kindergarten and has slowly come around.  She is very attached to Keith and wants him with her all the time.  He is going back to work this next week, so we transitioned to me taking her to school and dropping her off.  We will be doing an IEP, with accommodations, for both of the kids because of their medical needs. 

We also made the trip to our primary doctor this week.  Both kids will have referrals and specialists for various needs.  We are lucky to have a great doctor and she is worth the wait.  We have requested the same doctors as the ones who see Lilly Rose.  Neurologist is Dr. Isabello Artacho, the nicest guy on earth and Dr. Kaji, urologist, from Children's Hospital of Central California.

I will post some pictures later, as my Laptop is now broken and I am too busy to get it fixed before we go to Stanford for Lilly's Surgery.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The First week home Sept 16-24th

  Our first day home and we slept through church, but made it to the weekly Chinese school program.  We signed the kids up and bought their books.  We also learned that Bobby speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and another dialect  of local language.   In fact it was kind of cute, his question to the teachers was, "Why do I need to learn Chinese?  I speak 3 kinds of Chinese already!  Well, of course, we hope that he will be able to retain his language ability. 

We are going to stay low and close to home for the next month.  It will be a couple of weeks before we will start the kids in school.  We will get our new routine going and hang on.

The kids are smart, talk constantly, and need a lot of time to play hard.  Our house is quite loud now.  We are praying for a smooth transition for us all. Especially the older boys who feel invaded.

Back to work for me where there is piles of paperwork.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Trip Home

We left for home on Sept 15th at 9:30 am and arrived home 29 hours later.  Keith and I both slept about 4 hours on the plane and the kids slept 8 or 9. We flew from Guangzhou to Seoul then to LA.   Once we landed, it took about 90 minutes in the airport to go through customs them immigration.  We called the bus to the parking lot, then sat and waited another 20 minutes.  Nothing was so sweet as the sight of our car.  The drive home took forever and was complicated by tiredness and the kids not being on the same pee pee schedule.  Ha Ha.  When we arrived our wonderful sister-in-law, nieces and nephew had prepared a wonderful surprise for us. 

Pam has also prepared a bowl of popcorn and had cold Diet Pepsi in the fridge.  There is no better way to say  " I love You" at that moment than to give me that cold Pepsi.  In fact, Pam had actually prepared 3 total  meals for our first 3 days home and placed them in our fridge.  What a friend!  Thank You so much Pam.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Last Day in Guangzhou and Reflection on the China Economy

The Last day in Guangzhou was just a matter of getting ready to leave and relaxing.  I did not take a single picture.  So I thought I would reflect on appearance of China a bit.  The greatest reality of China was how much things had changed in 5 years.  We have the unique situation of having visited the same 3 cities that we were in 5 years ago.  The traffic is horrible, but the driving is better.  Though still absurd by our standards.  The people appear more modern both in dress and behavior.  The buildings continue to be more modern and there are fewer dilapidated structures among the new buildings.  The culture is fast and rather self oriented, unless one is in a 5 stare Hotel.  The first 3 stories of buildings are usually businesses.  Above that are wast opened windows with underwear hanging to dry.  If you do not look up, you would never guess.

Our guide explained to us that Guangzhou is the largest exporter of garments (clothes) in the world.  There are hundreds of large factories in the area.  Eight or nine years ago Guangzhou was 8 million people, it is now 24 Million people.  There are 30,000 people employed at the Nike plant alone.
So, this is also why there are so many foreigners. They have come to take advantage of the low cost labor.  We spoke to people from Syria, Yemen, and the Netherlands, all doing business in China.   The face of China's Cities is changing.

 The cost of living has tripled along with the population.  With growth comes inflation.  One of the things that the government did was to pay the farmers to sell their land to make way for business.  In exchange, the farmers were given property in the large apartment complexes.  They now rent these properties, at vastly elevated rents, more than tripling their rental income in comparison to their farming income.  Good deal for them.

What this all means to US?  The prices are going up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Consulate Appointment

We we not allowed to take pictures inside the consulate.  But, we did take a few pictures on the outside.  The appointment it's self was a long wait for a few questions and a long look at our kids.
There were a few toys for the kids and it was not unpleasant.  I mean after all this was the final step to the adoption and nothing else is importan,t if we can not bring the kids home to the United States.

The Conners
The Nielsons
Our Guide, Simon, with the kids

More Swimming Sept 12th

We spent quite a bit of time relaxing and swimming today.  I was disappointed that so much time has been "down time"  in this adoption trip.  We have busy kids and staying kooped up in the hotel room creates boredom.  So, out they go...... 

Just floating around.


The Pearl River Boat Cruise Sept. 11

The classic Pearl River Boat Cruise Is better than it was 5 years ago, so I am glad we went again.  They say the food is not so good, but it could have been worse.  The kids loved it.  Lilly is not in the pictures much, as she was visiting another family on the ship and playing with their child. 



Monday, September 17, 2012

The Zoo Sept. 10

Our day at The Zoo was Hot.                

But we made it to the Panda enclosure just at feeding time, so they were moving around.
The monkeys were lively, too.                


Shopping and our Group Picture September 9, 2012

Spent some time shopping today.  We have purchased some inexpensive pearls for the girls and made them into necklaces and bracelets, with a pair of earrings for later when they get their ears pierced.  We purchased a necklace for Bobby with a jade goat, the year of his birth.  Nick has purchased a few things for himself.  We had already purchased a jade necklace in Chongqing, so we are trying to stay on budget.    

We also took our Group picture today.  The best shot was taken with the 8mp camera on my phone.
                                         One of just the kids.  Four families, 6 kids


Then a trip to KFC for dinner
Right next to the Trust Mart

So, we picked up some more water.
Such good stick men!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sept. 8th 2012 Medical Exams and the tower


The medical exam was really crowded today and the kids really just wanted to run around.  I can not blame them.  They were weighed and measured.  We we not surprised to hear that Bobby weighs 50pounds.  He has been eating a lot.  We believe he has never been to an "all you can eat" breakfast bar.  Ha Ha.  He has a lot of energy and needs to run it off.  So, the calories will come in handy for him  :)  Both kids had their TB test and neither cried.  I am so glad. 
We then went around the area of town and looked at some of the new construction in Guangzhou.  A city of 14 million people.  They hosted the 2008 Asian Olympics.  In the process of preparing for the games, the government gave all the farmers a property in exchange for their farms.  Now the Farmers are land lords to some of the most expensive real estate in China.
This is the Opera House
This is the Library

This is the second tallest tower in the World.  The tallest is in De far

This was the bathroom with vender's selling Sodas etc.  Well at least they recognise the need for the facility


Kylie Gail and Bobby have loved our touring,  They always has a comment, or a thousand about each area. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept 7, 2012 Taken care of Business

We have decided not to visit the orphanage today.  When we received Bobby, the nanny suggested that it may not be a good idea. She felt he had become too distraught and the visit may trigger him again.  We made this same decision with Kylie Gail's orphanage for the same reasons last week.  But, with further discussion we decided to wait until Thursday night and have the guide discuss the idea of a visit with him.  Given that he is 8 and not 5, we thought a few days would make a difference.  So, he was asked and said he did not want to go back to say goodbye.  This leaves us with a free day!

We went out to run errands.  Starting with a trip to one of only 3 medical equipment pharmacies in Guangzhou.  We bought a rubber tip for Keith's cane, and I checked out the prices for equipment, just for fun.  The shocker was that the prices were similar to Fresno!  30 USD for a folding cane.

Here is a pic of the kids as we wait for the bus driver.  They were so  patient.

We then went looking for a hardware store.  Evidently this is not a common concept in China.  Ha Ha.  Kylie Gails' braces are loosing screws and falling apart.  The Kiddo is probably not used to walking so much.  We found it and fixed the braces.. 
We then got dropped off at the park down the road from our hotel.  The plan was a couple of hours of run time for the kids.  This lasted about 35 minutes.......
Then it began to rain
It rained
and rained
and rained for about 45min.

Finally the rain broke and we were able to walk back to the hotel.
Note to self:  Take umbrellas next time.

August 6, 2012 Sight Seeing.

                                                  This is how our day started.
                                          How many kids can get stuffed into a single bed?


We visited the Chen Ancestral Hall 
 Built between 1888 and 1893.
The entry way
On the left is the female and on the right is the male


Made out of sandalwood, with amazing detailed carving.

It was really HOT today.  We all look very melted.
The girl on the left is the daughter of a family in our travel group: Emma Joy, Lilly Rose, Keith, Bobby, Kylie Gail and Nicolas 
 Such detailed carving!

Alter for  the sacrifice of animals 
The building has been turned into a folk art museum.
This is Painting by the use of the hand and not a brush.

These two pictures are posted for our son, Caleb who is an artist.