Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas and After!

Mia and Anna don't understand what Christmas is about but will have a better understanding next year. They received a few gifts from family and friends and attended church. They do well in church even though they don't understand what is going on. They attend church with us each week and we will start teaching them about God. They are learning more English each day and will start school on January 8th.
The girls are still in the process of attaching and bonding to us as parents. They are confused on who are family members and who are friends. We do take time to explain when hugging is appropriate and when it is not. Hugging and kissing the dentist's assistant is not appropriate. Of all people, go figure! We are very lucky that both girls like to hug and kiss and are very affectionate. The eat well and are not picky eaters. They happily go to bed at 8:00 and sleep until 7:00-8:00am. Mia will go to sleep on her back and wake up in the same position. Anna will have all her blankets twisted and turned around on her bed. She must be very active at night as she is during the day. While Mia is more easy going, Anna is active and intense.
We took the girls to our favorite Chinese restaurant and they met our favorite waitress, Winnie. She welcomed the girls and they told her that they loved us. The girls went crazy over the food. They each had two large plate full of food. The one thing they loved the most was the sticky rice. We have made pot stickers, fried rice, lots of different noodles, but no plain rice at home for them. Now we know! They passed up the fried rice and the fried noodles. Anna got the oysters on the shell and told the oysters how much she loved them. I hope they gained about three pounds each just from this one visit!
The girls are doing well and we hope they are happy. We really truly blessed!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mia and Anna Receive a Package from Aunt Denise.

Mia and Anna received their first package! And what a package! The gifts were packed in a copy paper box. Yes, it was that big. When we opened it without them in the room, we were amazed at all that it contained. The girls were having a lot of upsetting moments because of doctor visits, dentists, blood drawn for testing, etc. Having all this to do, the thoughtful gift from Aunt Denise was both welcomed and exciting. We explained who it was from and showed them their Aunt Denise's picture on the computer. They seemed to have forgotten that when they opened it and thanked us! We then explained to them again who it was from and they were thanking their Aunt Denise. Denise, if you hear "thank you Denise ayi", they are saying Aunt Denise in Chinese. They loved everything in their gift bags. They haven't "unpacked" their gift bags yet. They even put a few more of their other things in it. They did color their little purses and when a friend from church came over they put the hair clips in her hair and stickers on her hand. Did I mention that this friend was over 80 years old. I told them that I will help them with their scrapbooks. We have a lot of photos that we can put in them already. Some of the pictures are from when they were still at the orphanage. We sent disposable cameras to the orphanages and they sent these back with us. They are going to be thrilled once they have their scrapbooks started! We can't thank you enough Denise, so I will let the girls do that. Here is the video we took of them and I have also included a few photos!

Mia, Aunt Denise, and Anna

New shirt!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Baba!

It amazes us how much English Anna knows. She can sing a few songs in English, such as, Old McDonald Had a Farm and Happy Birthday. We told the girls that it was Baba's birthday and had shown them his birthday cake. Since we have only been home a few days, I didn't have time to really prepare for his birthday. Needless to say it was pretty lame except for the part where the girls sang "Happy Birthday" to Baba. What a surprise when Anna understood what she was to do when the cake came out. She has such a raspy voice. We saw a video of her when she was about six years old and we thought she had a cold because of her deep, raspy voice. Not so. Mia also tried to follow Anna's lead and sang some of it in English as well. So here is the video.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

We're Home!

We flew out of Guangzhou to Shanghai leaving the hotel at 6:15 in the morning. We had everything packed up the night before and just transferred our pajamas to our carry-ons in case we had to stay over night in Detroit. We had a couple hour wait in Guangzhou before getting to Shanghai. We had a long layover in Shanghai lasting about 6 hours. Anna had a total melt down over a piece of candy no bigger than a small jelly bean! I had purchased a small box of candy for each of the girls so they had something to keep them happy. Anna goes through her candy faster than Mia. Even though Anna still had some left she asked Mia for some of hers. Mia told her no and the yelling, screaming, finger pointing was on. I had to hold her down to try and get her under control. We had a few people come over and it wasn't long before we caught the attention of the local police. Once Mia explained what happened, they were all smiling but still standing around watching. I love being the center of a freak show! Where was Phil you ask? He went to find a restroom. He said he could hear her yelling from across the airport. Nice. Yes, she has a set of lungs and isn't afraid to use them. Once we got on our flight, both girls fell asleep and slept on and off. We didn't expect that! Mia's eyes would light up whenever she saw the tray with food and drinks coming! That had to be her highlight. Anna's was playing this stupid game on the back of each seat. This particular game would lock up that system and so she went through two of them. I didn't get to enjoy movies or anything. Our connection in Detroit was 1hr 20 minutes. That meant getting through customs, immigration, baggage claim, baggage check, and bathroom break. We made it with three minutes to spare! Once we got to the Peoria Airport we were greeted by Ruthi and Claude and all eight of their beautiful and thoughtful daughters! We love you and thank you for the warm welcome and ride home!!! All your advice has paid off and we have the girls home! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We stopped at McDonald's on the way home. Once we got home it was very simple, we ate, got baths, and went to bed! Anna and Mia have made such a production in the hotel each night on where they were going to get to sleep. They had to have lights on and mama next to them in bed. Once they saw their rooms and their beds it was nothing but squeals and I love you's! They both jumped into their own beds, Mia with the lights on and Anna with them off. Go figure! No mama, no baba! (Thank goodness). We will see how the other nights go!! We did show the girls where all the food was and they were in disbelief! Trust me, we don't have anymore than any one else, but to them a full fridge, cabinets, and freezer just sent them into squeals of delight. What a sight! Glad to be home!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mia and Anna's Friends in the States!

Today, Wednesday December 5, was the girls consulate appointment. We really had a nice officer who called us first and then help with Anna's little snafu. We were able to take care of it right then and left shortly after arriving. The girls were up early so they were a bit tired and grouchy so we came back to the hotel for some rest. They are doing much better now. It seems like when we are with the guide, the girls start complaining about the plane ride, the little arguments they had earlier between each other, and then they feed off each other. It is a shouting match from the back seat of the car with Mama in between. No fun at all. Once they are away from our guide it is all smooth sailing!
We have two of Mia's friends who live in the States that we said she could talk to once we are home. She was a little confused about her friend who came her a few years back that she doesn't speak Chinese anymore so we will have an interpreter. Her other friend came to the States a few months ago.
Anna was told today that her very best friend, Sherry, was also adopted in the States and she will get to call and talk to her once we are home. Sherry was also adopted just a few months ago. The girls talk about what they will do when they are home. I just hope they don't have any melt downs while we are at the airport. We can only ask for more prayers that they are not afraid and will enjoy the airplane ride. We all need to be home to help make this adjustment. We did stock up on Chinese food, including hot sauce, but Anna doesn't like anything hot. Mia keeps ordering the hamburger with cheese and fries. They told us that Anna's favorite food is fried rice but she always turns it down. People have commented on how well adjusted they are with us already. We feel very comfortable with them and I think they are as comfortable with us. I am amazed that they both let me bath them and wash their hair for them on day 1. They willing wear the clothes we brought them except for the bell bottoms that we had for Mia. Apparently she hates bell bottoms and prefers straight legged pants. We'll learn! 

Our view from the hotel room!

Eating at Lucy's and shopping.

The girl's TB test came back good. They can come home as schedule! The girls are getting along and becoming close friends. They found out yesterday that they both came from orphanages and we picked them up within a few days of each other. They have their little spats but with "google translate" we can explain to them what we would like for them to do. To use kind words, no hitting, and we still need to explain to Anna not to hug and kiss on Mia when she really doesn't want her to. Anna can be a bit forceful! Learning boundaries will be a work in progress well after we are home.
We have been doing a little more exploring the last few days. The other evening we decided to go to McDonald's for dinner. We walked about a mile or more it seemed. There were thousands of people in the streets and at least that many at McDonald's. No place to sit so we went outside to one of the tables from another restaurant. One of the waiters came up to Phil and told him we couldn't sit here unless we order something. Phil told him unless he was able to physically pick him up and move him that he was staying right here. The waiter asked Phil if he had ordered something earlier and Phil said yes. This is just another example of "saving face" in China.
We went back to the market area the next day with the Poole's and our guide, Richard. He took us to experience the squid, octopus, fish balls, and chicken on a stick. The girls had chicken and I passed. We saw an area that had pets for sale. Lots of kittens, puppies, and hamsters. Just like home. Mia asked if she could have a puppy when we get home. I left that one to Baba! Anna is really partial to kittens!
We went for dinner at Lucy's last night and Mia ordered the cheeseburger and fries. It is amazing what these two will eat. Anna had a rice dish that was really huge and so she split her portion in half and asked if she could just eat half. We said yes. She did eat what she said she was going to. The girls really like sharing their food. They will even share their food with other dinners (little  kids). It will be a while before we venture out in restaurants at home! I'm not sure what other parents would think of a strange child feeding their kids. Here are a few pics from the last few days. Thank you again for all your prayers. We just really want to be home.
Anna eating McDonald's

Live Scorpions (for breakfast?)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day at Dexter's, Medical, and Shopping!

What a great time with the Dexter family on Friday night. Pat, Stacy, Joy, Grace, and Hope were so very sweet! Anna and Mia really enjoyed themselves. When we were leaving they asked us if we could come back tomorrow. The girls had a great time talking to them in their own language. Joy and I had a good talk with the girls. I was able to ask them questions and they felt very comfortable talking to her. I really needed to know if Mia had started her period so I would be better able to provide for her. Guys, if you are reading this then skip to the next paragraph. Mia said she had never heard of it but Anna said she had heard of it. Joy proceeded to explain to them about monthly bleeding and having to use the bathroom. Anna said she understood and said she bled once here on her arm. Then Anna said that she knew, you go to the bathroom, turn on the light, go potty, flush, turn off the light. I am not sure what got lost in the translation but I did get my original question answered. That one will go down in the books. I then asked Joy to explain to the girls that we love them and will take care of them. We care about their safety so they need to hold our hand and stay with us. We don't want them talking to strangers. Anna said you shouldn't talk to anybody except for Mama and Baba. Anna remembered that conversation for about three minutes. She hasn't stopped talking to strangers! The airport will be fun! Seven hour layover in Shanghai - it doesn't get much better than that!
Phil and I really enjoyed the spaghetti dinner. We ate so much and both agreed it was the best spaghetti we have ever had. The sauce was rich and the noodles were perfect, not too mushy and not too hard. The salad was beautiful! I haven't had any lettuce since I have been to China so this was a huge treat! We also had garlic bread and then to top if off they served chocolate chip cookies! This is a big deal because of the small ovens and stoves that are in China. Thank you so much Pat, Stacy, Joy and girls. We all felt at home and the girls really had a great time! Thank you!
We spent Saturday morning with the girls at medical. While we were there, Phil noticed a woman who looked familiar and asked her if she was Sandy Bishop. She was a little amazed and said yes. Then he explained that we are on the same FB group and remembered her. She said she also knew who we were. This world is so small. How many people can go 7,000 miles and then recognize someone from back home. The girls did great with shots and TB tests! They were a little scared but we did get through it quickly. Once we were finished with medical we went back to the hotel and our guide, Richard, went over our paperwork for our final appointment here in China. We will meet with the Consulate on December 5 and then all will be finished here in China. What a journey!!! We never thought we would be seeing this day with all the bumps in the road along the way.
After our paperwork we met up with Noah, Amy, and Bryan Poole and Amy's sweet, sweet mother from Illinois. You have to laugh when you think about two families from Illinois meeting up in China. Noah is such a sweet, quiet, and precious little guy. He has the most infectious smile with the cutest dimples! We couldn't believe how well he used chopsticks. We tried the pigeon, sweet and sour pork, and beef with vegetables. They also serve it with rice and noodles. Anna loved the pigeon and had three large pieces. This girl can eat chicken wings and only leave the bone. She will even eat the grisel. Our girls were in rare form (and you can't blame them much after their medical). They were uncooperative at times and pouting. Once we got back to the hotel and relaxed they were much more like themselves! You have to keep wondering what is going through their minds? Here are a few photos of our time here so far. We will have more exciting photos tomorrow after visiting Safari Park.

Impress with the music coming from the Piano. Great little Pianists!

She thinks she can play!

Pat, Joy, and girls! Can you guess who their favorites were?
Joy and Mia. (Mia wanted her photo with Joy by herself)

The Poole's with their little guy, Noah with his chopsticks!

Anna eating with chopsticks

Mia eating with chopsticks