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Join me in my ramblings about my life, my kids, the meaning of the universe, and adopting from China.

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Sunday, October 28

Signing off

I'm afraid this will be my last post from China. I have just found out that the Hotel charges the utterly ridiculous amount of 100RMB per DAY for internet access. DH has said no way, so you will all have to wait until we are back in Oz I'm afarid. I have posted todays pics on photobucket though, so check them out, and until I am back at home sweet home, zai jian.

Friday, October 26

Last post from Nanchang


Well, today we get Alice's passport and tomorrow morning we leave for Shanghai. Hurrah!! Another flight!! (sarcasm fully intended). Hopefully the baby distraction will stop me from losing the plot (and the Valium of course!) We have the babies' medicals done in Shanghai on Monday, visas are issued Thursday and we are booked to fly back to Oz on Saturday the 4th. As much as I am fascinated by China, it's people and it's culture, I must admit that the pollution and crowds are getting to me a bit. I am longing for a breath of fresh Tassie air, and to not have to drink bottled water all the time!

I will post again in a few days from Shanghai. Thanks to you all for your suggestions re: how to view the blog - I seem to have solved the problem for now. Until the weekend - zai jian.xxxx

Thursday, October 25

Thursday in Nanchang

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Hi guys. I sure hope that you are able to read these posts, as I still can't access my blog for some bizarre reason. Hey, I guess I am in China!! Today was an interesting one. After another full night's sleep (yay!!) we headed off to the Nanchang zoo. I must admit that it saddened me greatly. There was just one panda, kept in a glassed-in enclosure probably the size of the average lounge room. There was also a gorgeous sun bear in a similar enclosure, and his behaviour was very distressing - pacing back and forth continually, trying to get out I guess. There were lots of unusual birds, some old and tired looking Lions and a giraffe, but thankfully not much else.

After the zoo we came back to the Jin Feng (which is fantastic) and when DH and Alice were having their afternoon nap I decided to be adventurous and go to the huge market that I had already been to earlier in the week. I got the guy behind the desk at reception to write my destination on a card for the taxi driver, and off I went. I was a little concerned when I noticed that she headed off in the wrong direction, but thought that perhaps she was just taking a short cut. She then pulled up outside a huge department store and tried to get me out of the taxi. In my very poor Chinese (with the help of a phrase book) I attempted to tell her where I actually wanted to go. I thought she understood. I was wrong. After a 20 yuan taxi ride (which is a loooong way) she dumped me outside another department store in a part of the city I had never seen before. I decided to go in and have a look, but it really wasn't what I wanted, so tried to ask people (using the trusty phrase book) if they a) spoke English and b) could point me in the right direction to the market. The result - NO ONE spoke English (well, it is China) so I ended up hailing another cab back to the hotel. Tell you what, I felt like a stiff drink after that little adventure - Chinese drivers are all insane, and no=one takes any notice of the road rules. I decided to be brave and have the whole full-on China experience by sitting in the front seat for both rides. BIG mistake. I lost count of the number of near-death experiences we narrowly missed, not to mention the pedestrians and cyclists we almost mowed down. I was so very thankful when we pulled up at the hotel I almost kissed the cab driver.

Aside from the above adventure, we are all having a ball. Alice is the most delightful baby EVER!!! She sleeps 12 hours per night, has two naps during the day, laughs, giggles and pulls funny faces, and is saying 'mama'. She only cries when there is something wrong (tired, hungry, needing to fart) and is an absolute joy to have as our daughter. God has truly blessed us.

Must sign off for now - baby is asleep and I need to be too. Until next time, zai jian!

Wednesday, October 24

Nanchang Day Five

Hi All,

Sorry again for the short message, but I am just exhausted. Went to the People's Park in Nanchang today, which was lovely. Lots of old men playing Mahjong and doing tai chi. Had a two hour massage this afternoon whilst Alice was asleep, and we went out for a meal with some of our batch buddies this evening. None of the staff spoke English, so I am not sure what we ate but it tasted good!

Alice is blossoming with every passing hour. She has quite a little personality - we are getting lots of giggles and smiles, and she loves to be held and rocked. She really only gets grumpy when she is tired or hungry, and has slept right through every night that we have had her. What a blessing!!

Off to the zoo tomorrow to see Nanchang's only panda, which apparently has a reputation for being a bit of a lazy bones. Check out the photobucket site for today's pics.


Cristina xx

Tuesday, October 23

Tuesady in Nanchang

All is going well. Alice is an absolute delight. We have had lots of smiles, giggles and kisses to day, and finally a poop!!! I braved thestreets of Nanchang today whilst DH and DD slept. Wow - what an eye-opener.It is smoggy, dirty, full of very funky smells and so many people. I just love it - it is so very different from my tiny little town of 25 000! Anyway, must go and hit the sack as Alice is asleep and I need to be. Thanks again for all your lovely messages,and keep checking out the photos!!

Photos

If anyone is interested, I have set up a photobucket album dedicated to our China journey. Simply go to www.photobucket.com Login is inchinaforalice, password is jessie2005 Click on 'my album' and there are plenty of snapshots to enjoy (except handover day 'cos I can't get them to download onto the computer!)

Cristina xx

Monday, October 22

Day two with Alice Xiao Ying!!


Had a great night - Alice finally went to sleep at about nine, and slept through until 7.30. DH wasn't quite so lucky. He made the fatal error of eating Japanese sashimi (raw fish) for lunch yesterday and spent the whole night being violently ill. Alice is just the sweetest little soul. She chats away to herself, responds to her name (Ying Ying) and is generally a happy little camper. She is eating and drinking well, and when she wakes form her nap we are going to venture out to Walmart to pick up a few supplies.

China has just blown my mind completely. The noise, the people, the traffic, the pollution, the chaotic nature of everything. I am just loving it!! The taxi rides have been a little scary, but I am getting used to near death experiences now.

Must go before my cherub wakes from her nap. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

Cristina xx

Sunday, October 21

Introducing our new daughter


Too tired to write much, today has been one of the best of my life. Alice is gorgeous, calm, talkative and tiny. Had a few tears before bed time but now asleep in our bed (not sure where we will sleep!) Will post again when I have recovered from this amazing, awesome and overwhelmingly emotional day.

Cristina xx

Today is the Day

In a little over eight hours, I will be holding my new daughter for the first time. After almost three years of waiting, I can hardly believe that this moment has arrived. I feel excited, thrilled, nervous and a good whack of terrified. DH is still sleeping but I of course am just too darn wound up. We are off to the huge Nanchang market today to indulge in a little retail therapy, then we meet in the hotel lobby at 3pm to travel to the civil affairs office to meet our babies. We visited the Feng Cheng orphanage yesterday, and spoke with the assistant director. She said that the foster parents would bring the girls to the orphanage this morning, then they would travel the hour or so by bus to reach Nanchang, where we finally meet. Please pray that all goes as well as can be expected. I will (hopefully) post some pics in the next day or so. Until then, zai jian from smoggy China!!

Cristina xx

Saturday, October 20

Day Two In Nanchang



What an experience we are having in China. It is filthy, noisy, loud and I LOVE IT!!!!! We have sampled food at several local restaurants, which has been fabulous, and today we took a rather hair-raisng minivan ride to Alice's home town of Feng Cheng. DH spent most of the return trip with his eyes firmly closed as it was terrifying. Feng Cheng itself is a relatively poor city of about 1.2 million people. WE were fortunate enough to be able to visit Alice's finding place, and the orphanage. Although we were not allowed inside the orphanage, we did take some pictures and talked to the assistant director. We returned from Feng Cheng at lunch time, and after that visited a huge market where we bargained fiercely. We are currently waiting for our kids to phone, and at 6pm we are off to have our last dinner as a batch without our babies. Wow. It seems so very surreal. Hope to be able to post again soon, but I won't make any promises!!

Friday, October 19

Culture Shock




We spent a few hours this morning wandering the streets of Shanghai, looking like complete idiots as we gawped at everything. It is just so foreign to anything we have ever known. The traffic is just horrific - there seem to be no road rules, and crossing roads puts your life in grave danger!! We left the Holiday Inn at noon, and had a much more pleasant drive to the domestic airport for our flight to Nanchang. Only a few near misses this time! For some reason, at every security check point my bag has been causing me problems, and I have been searched a few times. Must look like a terrorist...
The flight to Nanchang was (thankfully) non-eventful and our guide, Evelyn, met us at the airport. She is just lovely, and speaks English very well. Our hotel, the Jin Feng, is great, and it was fabulous to meet up with our batch buddies again. We all went out for an evening meal and caused quite a stir in the local restaurant - I am not sure they have seen quite so many foreigners together a the one time before. On our way back to the hotel, we saw a man knocked off his bike by a car, and the car driver promptly got out and abused the cyclist!!

China is an awesome place. I feel so honoured to be here, We are going to Feng Cheng tomorrow, where Alice is from, and hope to visit her finding place. I have included a couple of pics from our travels so far - I particularly like the one of DH eating an eel sandwich! Until next time, zai jian!

Hi from Shanghai!!!

We can hardly believe it, but we are actually in China, in the completely amazing city of Shanghai. I survived the 12 hour journey on the flying tube of death very well (thanks to all who were praying for me) and we arrived in Shanghai at 6pm. All I can say is WOW!!!! The bus ride from the airport was possibly the scariest hour and a half of my life. They have no seat belts in minivans, and apparently there are no road rules either. The pushiest driver wins. There were quite a few occasions when DH and I thought that we were not going to make it to the hotel!! But, thankfully we did and the Holiday Inn Vista is fabulous. We were upgraded to a 'sweeter room' (Chinglish for suite) and we are having a very luxurious time. Ordered in some gorgeous local food for dinner, and had a most satisfying eight hour sleep. We are planning on having a bit of an explore this morning around the city (well, a small part of it) before another scary minivan ride to the airport at 12 noon for our flight to Nanchang. It all feels so surreal - to be here in China, and to be meeting our precious Alice in only two sleeps. Bring it on!!! Zai jian until next time.

Cristina xxx

Wednesday, October 17

Leaving in Twelve Hours


I'm not sure if I want to throw up or faint. In twelve hours time I will be airborne (ugh) and on my way to Melbourne. We stay overnight at the Hilton (very yummy!) which is linked to the airport by a walkway. Just as well, since we need to be at the departures gate by 5am on Thursday. We then fly to Sydney, hop onto our airbus 330 and spend 10 hours of sheer unrelenting terror (well, I do anyway) bound for Shanghai. We arrive in Shanghai at six on Thursday evening, and stay overnight at the Holiday Inn. Friday at 2pm we fly to Nanchang (oh great, another flight...) and on Sunday October 21st 2007 we will finally get to meet our sweet little Alice. My heart is just overflowing at the prospect of finally holding her in my arms. Only four more sleeps, and our family will be complete.
So for now, farewell my Loyal Readers. I will post as soon as I can. If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for me so I can get onto the aeroplane without losing the plot completely. Blessings to you all,

Cristina xxxx

Monday, October 15

Feeling teary today...

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I have just realised exactly how much I am going to miss my DD and DS when I leave on Wednesday. We have never been apart for this long before - our longest separation was back in June this year when Grandma and Grandad took the lucky ducks to Hong Kong. But that was for 11 days. This is going to be 19. Wow. I have been so focused on all the organisation and preparation for the adoption and travel arrangements, that I haven't really given any thought to my two gorgeous kids whom I am leaving behind. DD is really not keen on us going - she has said to me on several occasions that she really wants her new little sister, but just wishes that we didn't have to go away for so long to collect her. DS, true to form, won't have thought too much about it, but when it comes time for us to leave on Wednesday he will be one very sad little dude. I have bought Grandma a phone card so that we can talk most days, and we will email as well, but I will miss their hugs, quirky little personalities and goodnight kisses. Must head off now and have a bit of a cry....

Sunday, October 14

Three sleeps!

I can hardly believe it. This time next week, I will be waking up in Nanchang, China, and preparing for one of the biggest days of my life. I will be meeting my daughter, Alice Xiao Ying. I must admit, now it is so close it all seems a little surreal, and a bit Warhol-esque. Every time I do something now, I realise that it will be the last time before we leave -last morning at church. last lunch at my mum's, last grocery shop, last garbage night etc etc. After two years and ten months of waiting for our daughter, to be this close is just incredible.
To my lovely friend Fiona, whom I know hangs out here pretty regularly - thank you so much for Alice's beautiful gift! I simply cannot wait to introduce you to my new little girl. And once again, thanks to all of you who have left your comments and good wishes - I really appreciate them and find your encouragement and excitement truly humbling.
Zai jian for today!!

Friday, October 12

Five sleeps and counting!!

I can hardly believe that this time next week I will be in Shanghai, getting ready to board a plane to Nanchang, the capital of Alice's home province of Jiangxi. OH. MY. GOODNESS. If I think too hard about it, I start to get completely terrified! I am a walking contradiction at the moment - ecstatic one minute, terrified the next, and scared out of my wits after that. As the moment of truth approaches, I am finding myself thinking more and more about Alice's birth parents, and her foster parents. I can only inagine how hard it must be for them. For Alice's parents - that they felt they had to give her away in order for her to have a better life, and for Alice's foster parents, who will soon be relinquishing the child they have nourished, cared for and loved for the past nine months. I have so much admiration for these people who take babies into their homes, care for them like their own children, all the while knowing that one day they will have to give them up. I am so very hopeful that we will either be able to meet Alice's foster parents at handover, or track them down somehow (I know this can be done through several organisations based in China). I would love to be able to personally thank them for caring for our sweet girl in those early, formative months.

I must head off now and have a look at the list for today. I have crossed off one thing already- a trip to the dentist - and I have also bought a book to read on the plane. Now off to tidy out DS's wardrobe. Be afraid, be very afraid......

Tuesday, October 9

An Amazing Story


I want to share with you the story of how the Red Thread of Chinese adoption has wound itself around our family and our precious Alice. Not too long after receiving our allocation, I joined the Yahoo group for families who have adopted from Feng Cheng, the city where Alice is from. I sent an introductory email to the group, saying who we were, and that we had just been allocated Feng Xiao Ying. The next day I received an email (in my 'Junk' folder!!) from a woman named Christina (no coincidence - the Red Thread!) in the USA. She introduced herself and said that she had been waiting for my email. What??? She then went on to say that for the past eight months, she had been sponsoring Alice through a Christian organisation that works in Chinese orphanages. This means that since she was fostered at two days old, Alice has had access to regular medical checkups, top quality baby formula, and regular reports. Just yesterday, I received in the mail the three reports (with photos) that Christina has received as Alice's sponsor. The photos are different to her referral ones, and show her aged 2.5, 5.5 and 8.5 months. She has changed so much! So thank you to my new friend Christina in Georgia, for her kindness and generosity in sharing this early part of Alice's life with us. I feel so very blessed that the Red Thread (and of course God) has led us to having so much wonderful extra information about our darling daughter. Only eight sleeps now until we leave - WHOOHOO!! By the way - the photo at the top is my beautiful daughter aged eight and a half months. I am SOOOOO in love....

Saturday, October 6

Feeling much better


Thank goodness I seem to have killed the virus threatening to overtake me yesterday. The cure? A nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon and a good night's sleep! I have woken to a glorious Saturday morning, only 11 days away from the trip of a lifetime. And I was also very excited to realise that tonight we put our clocks forward an hour for daylight savings!! Why so excited, you may ask?? Because that is one less hour I have to wait for my precious girl.... Hope you all have a great weekend, and to my November buddies who are still waiting on their news - my heart goes out to you, and I pray you will get some answers once the CCAA re-opens on Monday.
Zai jian.

PS - just had to put Alice's picture in again to remind you how utterly GORGEOUS she is!!

Friday, October 5

I AM NOT GETTING SICK

NO way. Uh-uh, cannot be done, I WILL NOT ALLOW IT!!! I woke this morning feeling absolutely gross - then promptly went back to sleep until 10am, something completely unheard of since BC (before children). It's not really surprising, considering everyone else in the family has been snotting and blowing for a fortnight now, but I REFUSE TO GET SICK. I shall ignore the pounding headache, stuffy nose, sore throat and urge to sleep for about a week. I have upped my zinc dosage, doubled my immuno-defence vitamins, and have drunk about a litre of OJ just this morning. Only 12 days until we leave, and I simply must be well for that!!

Tuesday, October 2

Time is flying!


Wow Loyal Readers - many apologies for leaving it so very long between posts. The pre-travel organisational nightmare has been consuming me somewhat, but I think that I am almost there. Our NTT's (TA's) arrived with the Department in Hobart last Friday, and should be landing on my doorstep today, which is VERY exciting!!! This finally means that all is well, all is approved and we have the OK to go ahead with Alice's adoption, direct from the Big Kahuna at the CCAA. So in two weeks and six days we will do just that. I am just so excited I can barely think. My brain has well and truly been taken over by all things baby, and has, as a result, turned to mush.
Not too much else to report from Down Under aside from the insanity of getting ready to travel O/S and collect our sweet babe. I had confirmation today that Alice's care package has arrived at the SWI (orphanage) and I assume will be passed on to her foster family from there. I find it amazing to think that at this very moment she may be looking through the photo album that we sent, glimpsing our faces for the very first time. Wow....
I had an appointment last week with a local GP who is an adoptive dad of three IA children - Korea, Thailand and China. He is just lovely, and even though his books are full, he has agreed to take Alice on as a patient. I figure it will be great to be able to see a doctor who is clued up on attachment, co-sleeping, and all manner of other issues related to adopting children from O/S.
I must now head off to the girls' bedroom. I did a spot of rearranging yesterday and now have to go through the multitudes of pink little girl clothes to sort into sizes and put away all the 'too big for now' stuff. hardly an onerous task!! I will try VERY hard not to leave it so long between post next time...

PS- Our NTT just arrived!!! YAY!!!!