Thursday, January 31, 2008

Consulate Visit

We got up this morning and had breakfast and then had to be in our room by 9. We actually didn't have to make a consulate visit. It is strange to us, but our guide went to the Consulate for everyone with our paperwork that we completed last night. We all just had to stay in our rooms from 9-12 and if there was a problem then they would call us. Thank goodness we didn't get a call meaning all paperwork was fine. So next is tomorrow at 2:45 Vince, Me, and Zoey go to the Consulate to pick up her Visa and then we are in the home stretch! We spent the afternoon shopping. We had such a great time walking around Guangzhou. Laine I have to tell you that we have had our laundry done at Home of Love and the girl in there asked how you all were and told me to tell you all Happy Chinese New Year. She thought it was so great that we were friends of you guys and talked about how beautiful your children and you were especially. They are all so sweet in there! We also had a great time in Jordans and in A Gift From China, which is a store that proceeds go to benefit orphanages in China. We have had a great time buying cutie pie clothes for Zoey and beautiful Chinese wear for Madison. And of course us grownups found some things for ourselves too. We of course, as you can see from the pictures found Starbucks, I had to have my frappucino fix. We are getting Zoey broken in early with the frapps! By the time she is 18months she'll be going into Target with Aunt Lee saying she has to have a Mocha like her big sister. We ate dinner again at Lucy's, which again was great. Be praying for everyone over here trying to travel home. It's been absolutely crazy at the airports because of the weather. We have confirmed our flight arrangements and hopefully won't have any problems. The snow here in China has caused major casualties and destruction of disastrous proportions, so please keep all of these people in your prayers. The army had to be dispatched to help feed people stuck on roadways for days at a time. We saw them out on the side of the highway shoveling the snow by hand on the way to Guangzhou. It has been a crazy winter storm and a great many of these people have NO HEAT, just like in the orphanages. After the week we had in Nanchang, it has been so wonderful to be here, even though it is still cold. Everyone is sooooooo nice and most speak English or at least enough to communicate much easier than in Nanchang. Lee, we found the Catholic Chapel, Our Lady of Lourdes. We didn't go to Mass but we did take pictures and wanted to share. Only one more day and we will be on our way. Vince and I are dying for some Milo's Tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday in Guangzhou

This is a picture of us with our guide in Nanchang, his name is Bruce. He was so awesome! We couldn't have survived in Nanchang without Bruce and our other guide LiPing. He is in Guangzhou with us, but Bruce stayed in Nanchang. Well after going to bed so late we got up and went to breakfast right before the buffet closed about 10:30. After breakfast we geared up and spent midmorning walking around the hotel. It was pouring down rain outside and surprise I have bronchitis, so we walked through the shops in the hotel. Around 1 we came back up to the room to get some things together before meeting at 2:30 to take Zoey for her medical appointment. While we did that Mom and Madison hit the shopping scene. At the medical appointment they took her picture for her Visa first. Then we went next door to see the ENT and other doctor to check her out. Well the chunk weighed in at a healthy 20lbs and everything else checked out perfectly. Once we got back to the hotel I had to go to do all of the consulate paperwork for tomorrow. We voted for me to do it because I had pretty much done all of the paperwork. I tell you what it is so nerve racking when you start doing all this paperwork. Every "t" had better be crossed and every "i" dotted. We got all of that done finally and then hit Lucy's for some dinner. I had a BLT and fries and it was the best ever!!!!! After that we did a little shopping. We got some PJ's for the girls and some dresses of course, and who could pass up "Sqeaky Shoes". Tomorrow we have to stay in our room from 9-12 while our facilitator takes our paperwork to the Consulate. If there is any problem they will call us, otherwise we go to the Consulate Friday afternoon to get Zoey's Visa and then on the plane Saturday morning. YIPEE! The pics are some randoms like Madison in the snow and us and our guide, and then some from Guangzhou when Mom and Madison ventured out today. And you Springvillians notice that I am representing with my Springville Tiger T-Shirt on! Oh and the horrible bus accident that happened, we weren't the only ones whose family's were concerned. Some of the other families with us has family calling their state offices trying to find out information too. Again thank you all for the prayers which led us here safely!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We made it Guangzhou

Sorry to keep you all waiting, I heard that some of you were worried about us being in an accident,but I am happy to say that it wasn't us. We made it to Guangzhou about 2:00 am and tried to go straight to bed. It is almost 10 in the morning now and we have just gotten up. The bus trip was very long, but all in all the babies did great. The plane trip will be a breeze compared to that. We have left the freezing rain and snow behind for pouring down rain and dreariness, but who cares we are still coming home on time! We go this afternoon for our medicals at the hospital and then tomorrow to the US Consulate. I'll try to post some pictures later. We are about to eat something and walk around the hotel some. Thanks for all the prayers, I know that is what got us here finally and safely!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ok- we are Bus?

Well actually 2 buses. They keep saying we tell driver safety first, but that's hard to believe when the roads are iced over. Anyway we are leaving at 1:00 in 2 buses to drive to Guangzhou. We have no idea how long this is going to take, we are definitely in for a LONGGGGGGGGG bus ride. The sun has peeked out a little bit so your prayers are working, now if it would just heat up and melt everything! Once we get to Guangxi (?) I think, they say it will take 6 hours to get to the White Swan, but who knows how long the ride will be to Guangxi, so keep us in your prayers. That 15 hour flight is sure sounding good right now!

IT's looking Grim!

So it's 10:55 in the morning and now the trains have stopped to Guangzhou, so we are literally stuck in Nanchang and they are supposed to get 4 more inches of snow tonight. Our guides are freaking out too, saying "this is very bad", thanks for the encouragement. At least we are in a hotel and have a bed and food. They are trying to get us on a bus to get to at least the next province, because it is much warmer. If we can just get out of Nanchang and then meet up with a train or something, but we have no clue. So basically if we can't get out in the next few days we don't know when we will be home. We have already tried to reschedule the US Consulate visit and there was some conflict there on their part. We are all just like, "I cannot believe this. Of all things to have worried about before the trip, getting snowed and iced in was not one of them." I can't believe now that I was actually stressing over the paperwork. In Vince's dispair he and Madison are going out to have a snowball fight. Me and Mom are just hanging out listening to our guides yell at people in Chinese over the phone across the hall. We'll keep you posted. If you don't see a post for a while hopefully we are in route somewhere that's warmer!

Still in Nanchang

So everything with our certificates and things was fixed no problem. We loaded up and headed to the airport at 2:30. We got their about 3:30 and the whole way there we fought iced roads. We sat at the airport until 6:30 and during that time found out that people had been sitting at the airport for 2 days waiting to fly to Guangzhou so any flights going there were loading these people that had been waiting. We had to sit at the airport for a certain amount of time before they would refund our plane tickets so we could then turn around and book train tickets, yes, I said TRAIN tickets. We came back to downtown Nanchang and are staying at a different hotel, but thank God we have a bed to sleep in. Tomorrow we leave around 3 in the afternoon we think, by train for a 12 hour train trip in sleeper cars to Guangzhou. We have to get special permission from the US Consulate to still make our appointments on Thursday. We have to have their medicals done before our Consulate appointment, so we are all praying that we can get the babies medicals done when we get to Guangzhou on Wednesday. Needless to say, it has been a VERY long day. And who would expect any differently when talking about us on a trip that China would have the worst freezing weather it's had in like 30 years. We told everyone at the airport that it's because they are traveling with us that this happened. We'll hopefully be posting on Wednesday night from the White Swan, but I probably won't get to post tomorrow. Pray for good weather on the train! All in all at least we still all like each other and are managing to laugh about everything. Tonight after getting to the hotel Zoey found her laugh and we have been cracking up at her while we play and tickle her. Madison, God love her, has been a trooper throughout this day too. She is so exhausted she actually didn't want to eat dinner, even dessert. They have some fabulous gas masks in the closets in our room that Vince was going to model for us but we were afraid to take them out of the boxes, hopefully we won't be needing those for anything tonight. Having all this happen today has really been humorous and none of us has really been to bothered by it. The babies have all been great. We were worried about traveling with them and they have all been so good, we're all much more worn out than they are. All of us adults only care about being able to leave to come home on Saturday! Pray that everything falls into place from here on out! Then we can see you on Saturday.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Waiting to leave Nanchang

It's Monday morning around 10:45 our time and we are just hanging out waiting to leave. Checkout is at 2:30 and then we will go to the airport. Our flight is not until around 6:00 so that should be great. Of course with traffic we'll probably be sitting on the bus for a while to get to the airport. We were relieved to hear last night that the White Swan in Guangzhou is not under quarantine anymore. There was a chicken pox outbreak there with some of the other travelers, but apparently it is all clear now. We heard from our coordinator a little bit ago, he called our room and asked us to look at our adoption certificate. Of course out of the three of our names, one of them is misspelled. We both looked at it that day and didn't realize that they had left a "z" out of Vince's last name. So now we are waiting to hear how much we are going to have to pay to correct it. I guess we didn't notice it because we are so used to people misspelling it, we pretty much accept any spelling. HaHa. Hopefully all will be corrected soon and we will be boarding that plane to Guangzhou. Only 5 more days until the Blaszczynski 4 hit Birmingham! YIPEE!

A day of laziness.....

First of all we ALL slept good last night. It was the first night since we left home that Vince and I didn't wake up at 2 in the morning. We actually slept until 7 and we had gone to bed at 9. We didn't have any schedule today so we've just kind of milled around. After breakfast we came back up to the room and checked the blog comments, which again we loved reading, thanks you guys for keeping them coming. We decided to put Zoey on the floor and let her play to see how she would do. It's been so unbelievable to see how much she has changed in the last 5 days. The first 48 hours we had her she had kind of a blank look about her, she do the things that a 7 month old should do. She wouldn't reach for things, I tried to get her to play with some toys and she would scream, etc. Well, yesterday afternoon she really took off with the toys, but we learned that only one at a time is what works best right now. This morning when on the floor we were so amazed at the things she was doing. She would actually sit for about a minute before starting to fall to the side or back. She almost rolled over, and was actually trying to push herself with her feet to reach a toy when on her stomach. It just takes your breath away when you realize how much interaction with these babies just heaves them forward in development in no time. The first few days she wanted to be walked to go to sleep, now I have to rock her to get her to sleep, which I actually love. It only takes about 5 minutes to get her down, but that has always been my favorite part, when they snuggle that sweet head up under your chin and you can hear them breathing so peacefully. I just melt. Thats my time and I am so thankful that both of my girls wanted me at that time. I will always cherish that quiet sluggly time! Also, Madison changed her first diaper this morning. She did a great job, even though she didn't exactly like it, but it wasn't a poopy diaper, she was relieved about that. After a nap and after playtime we ventured back to the market this morning. Then this afternoon we went to Pizza Hut again for a late lunch. We sat down and ordered our pizza and had about finished eating when we really took notice of the people sitting next to us. They were eating pizza too, but after close examination we realized that something on top of their pizza was moving. Yes, I said MOVING. We don't know what it was because the only way to talk to the wait staff is by pointing to pictures, but it looked like some kind of fish or tenticles. Vince tried to get some video of it, but it didn't really turn out well. It was so bizarre, maybe it was fish lips? Then tonight we went downstairs for the free buffet and the hostess said they were full and we should come back later, not that there was a wait and it would be a few minutes, but "come back later". So we just fed Zoey in the room, we weren't hungry anyway. It's just been such an interesting cultural experience these last few days. I don't know what I was expecting from China, but it has surpassed all I thought it would be in many different ways. I am ready to come home but wouldn't trade these days for anything. Tomorrow morning we meet at 11 for all the babies passports. Then at 3 we are off to the airport to depart for Guangzhou. YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tour Day in Nanchang

We got up this morning and met in the lobby at 9:30 for a day of touring. It froze last night and everything was a sheet of ice, but this is China so onto the bus we go, just bundle up. We first went to a Buddhist Temple which was very interesting. The painting on the walls and ceilings was amazing and the statues were incredible. Madison was so funny, she said, " So did this guy used to live here or what is this?" It was so funny. So there I am trying to explain that some people worship Buddha and not making any sense. Outside the entrances there were these huge pot/trough things were people came and burned incense, the smell was stronger than any I've ever smelled. The people were all very nice and welcoming. One of the largest Buddha's was 16 tons, but hollow on the inside our guide said, if not it would over 100 tons. There were lots of large branches down in the courtyards because of the ice and there was a lady there singing some song while she picked up and moved the branches. Something about it was so calming in a way after the bustle of this city being so crazy. After this temple we went on to another "tower" our guide called it, a pagoda. Again it was very interesting, not as ornate or dazzling. It was very iced over so we all had to be careful not to kill ourselves, yes, you all know I am talking about myself particularly. This pagoda did have a very big tower that most of the men climbed. I didn't even attempt to cross over the threshold. Vince said the steps were incredibly steep, more like a ladder. After this historical cite seeing tour, they took us to a local porcelain store. The items were beautiful and most very expensive. Some the vases were unbelievably huge, and cost over $1000. We found some beautiful porcelain chopsticks to save for Zoey and a few other things. We then came back to the hotel and decided to venture out in the sleet to Pizza Hut and oh was the pizza worth it. It was freezing by the time we got back to the hotel. We all rested and thawed out. Around 6:00 we were to meet at a restaurant on the 9th floor for a formal Chinese dinner. Our guide explained that none of the food was "not normal", we wouldn't be eating dog or anything like that. Well, some of it was "not normal" to say the least, but we all tried some of most of it. I for one tried the Fish Lips, and let me tell you I am NOT a better person for it. I could definitely lived my days without that taste! YUCK! We also had beef, shrimp, chicken, eggplant, fish, and some veggies. It was a very huge spread of food and even though the food was not to our liking it was a wonderful presentation. Zoey made it through a bath tonight without screaming. I got in with her this time and she had a ball splashing around. This afternoon she had the best time playing on the bed with Madison. She just stared at her and giggled and has been smiley and giggly all afternoon. We have one more day here and then it's off to Guangzhou. The bridge to the airport was closed today because of ice, pray that we don't have any travel problems to delay our trip home. All in all the trip is going by faster and even though it has been a difficult time at some points, it has been well worth it and I am glad we've gotten to experience the sights, sounds, smells, foods, and life of where our daughter is from. It will be wonderful to share it with her when she is older. She is in Vince's lap cooing away right now and it's just so precious to hear her little babbling voice!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Good Morning

It's about 5:30 in the morning and of course us Americans are wide awake, Zoey is asleep like a rock. You guys are killing me with your comments. I've been sitting here bawling my eyes out reading them. And Joseph I have gotten all your comments, what's up with Buffalo NY? Last night I sat with Zoey on my legs, where I was laying down and she was sitting on my stomach with her back against my legs so she could face me and she just played for a good 45 minutes. It was so amazing to watch her. In just these few days she has changed so much. She is not sitting up but getting closer and holding her head up great. She is playing with simple things, like socks and her feet. She would rather have those things than any toys we brought her and it's easy to see how those toys would be overwhelming after not being able to hold onto or grab things because of being swaddled so tightly in her basket. She would just coo and babble at the sock or her toes and she finally pooped on her own, twice, thank the Lord! It's amazing how much that makes life better. One thing we still are working on is not screaming when laying down to change her diaper. I figure it because she associates being layed down with being left alone in her bed/basket for hours. She will cry and then start this kind of humming sound, a self soothing sound and it breaks my heart. We finally had a breakthrough last night with that and I was able to get her on her back for a diaper change with no crying. I just have loved the last two night of cradling her and giving her her bottle. She looks up into my eyes and grabs my finger, I just absolutely melt. We just love her so much. Looking at her all this time of waiting just fades away. Thank you God for such an incredible blessing.

Friday to remember

Well, this will probably be a long post because it has been a long day. First I have to say that yesterday and last night were great. Zoey slept and so did I finally. This morning we got up and had breakfast and then met at 8:30 for the bus ride to Poyang County SWI (social welfare institute). Driving in China is NOTHING like driving in the US. For one thing there are no road rules. It's every man for himself, seriously. I can't look out the window in traffic because it is so scary. So on the way to the orphanage we drove a long two lane road through unbelievable landscapes and economic situations. What we would see as abandoned hovels are actually homes and stores. There were rice patties everywhere you looked, chickens, ducks, and a few cows. People walking everywhere, clotheslines with clothes on them in places that you wouldn't expect anyone to live. There was an accident on one of the bridges on our way there and traffic was stopped, when we made it by there was literally a huge piece of the side of the bridge railing missing, a helmet, blood on the road, and no ambulance, some police leaving the scene and that's it. We wondered if anyone went below into the water to retrieve whomever might have gone over the edge. After a 3 hour ride we arrived at the orphanage. It was very nice and clean. The workers were more than hospitable and gave us all kinds of fruits and hot water to drink in a lovely room with hard wood furniture. They were very kind to answer all of our questions. If we ever wondered why our children had on so many layers of clothing the answer was given to us as soon as we walked up. The doorways are all open with no doors, there is no heating and the buildings are stone. It was absolutely FREEZING. We could see our breath in the welcome room. They permitted us to walk through the rooms where the babies were and actually see them in their beds. They actually don't sleep in beds they are all in baskets and completely swaddled in a million blankets. All you could see were their little faces. One baby was only 3 days old. One started to cry while we were there and no nanny came over to calm it, Mom actually leaned down and patted it. It was absolutely the most heart wrenching thing I've ever been through. I couldn't walk all the way through. It was good to see where Zoey has spent her first 7 months of life. And it was very obvious how much the nannies and workers cared for the children, they cried when we left. It was very clean though and at least she was found and had some shelter and care. We are very appreciative for that. After the orphanage, the director and staff took us all to lunch at local restaurant. It was one of the more interesting experiences of my life. We had all kinds of local favorites for lunch including some spicy kind of what looked like miniature green beans, mushrooms, noodles, fish with head on it, pork and sticky rice balls, dumplings, fruit, egg soup, chicken including the feet fried, Chinese beer, and rice wine liquor. After the meal the whole staff at the restaurant wanted their pictures made with all of us and several of the men took pictures with Madison. She was definitely the star of the bunch. Bless her heart, she was such a good sport about it, they even wanted to pick her up. She also was a trooper when it came to going to the bathroom and it was a squat potty (a hole in the ground). The workers and the director were all very kind and we had a really enjoyable experience. Zoey has been such a treat today, giving us lots of smiles, coos, and laughing hysterically. It's been a very long, emotional, but wonderful day.