Monthly Archives: January 2007

She’s here!!!!

Well, it is 10:00 at night here and both Lili and Thom are fast asleep.  It was quite a day.  We arrived at the SWI building at about 4:30 and as we came into the big room where we were to meet our babies, people were leaving with their new babies.  In the room, there were others who had already gotten their babies.  The whole room was overwhelming with people running backward and forward and babies crying.  Her name was called in Chinese and we showed our passports and our invitation and then she was in my arms.  It was the most overwhelming feeling and all I could was just hold her and hug her.  We were one of the first couples to get our baby and so as you can imagine there was not much time for us to take pictures but I have included a couple here from a little afterwards. Actually, I just tried to upload them and it is not working and it is too late at night to be trying to figure it out.  Hopefully, Thom will be able to blog in the morning.

Anyhow, after getting Lili we settled down with her and just gazed at her and at first she seemed all right with this and then she started to cry.  We tried feeding her but that only worked for a few minutes and then she rejected the bottle so we tried to make one with hot water.  Also, rejected.  Thom finally thought of taking her into the hallway away from everyone and she calmed down somewhat at least enough to try to take us in and figure us out.  She would every once in a while give one of us a look like I don’t know you and then start crying again.  The chaos in the room continued and we were called into to have our family picture done and then to have an interview and sign some paperwork. Then we were already to go back to the hotel.  Lili fell asleep the minute the bus started to move but woke up the minute it stopped. But to also add to the chaos, on the way over to get our babies we had decided to switch hotels so we went back to our original hotel and packed up all our belongings and got back on the bus. This was a new experience for us because Lili had decided that everything was fine as long as she was in constant motion.  I strapped on the baby bjorn (incorrectly, I later figured out) and we packed up.  Everyone was ready to go in a suprisingly short period of time and we moved to our new hotel.  By the time, we got to our room it was after 7:15pm.  Dinner was at 7:30.  Needless to say we were not there on time.  We undressed Lili down to 1 layer of clothing on the top and 2 on the bottom since she was going to be inside and brought her down to dinner.  What a different baby food made.  I thought she would not want to go into the highchair since she was still insisting on constant motion but she showed no reluctance and began to eat cheerios which she had rejected earlier.  She seemed to really enjoy any food except the watermelon and even enjoyed the highchair itself.  She tended to lilt to one side but this did not bother her and she opened her mouth up like a little bird for the noodles and then sucked the egg custard right off the spoon.  By the end of her first meal with us, she had smiled multiple times and kept regarding Thom with these big eyes that seemed to say “Ok, I think you are someone I like.” Poor Thom now appears to live with 2 people who get cranky when they are hungry but I’m sure he’ll adapt.

She appeared very tired as did we all so we brought her up to her room and Thom got her ready for bed.  She cried for a while while getting ready for bed but eventually found her fingers and wrapped her arm around her new lamb blanket and consoled herself.  I then read her Goodnight Moon and we put her down in her bed.  She just watched us move around the room but seemed quite content to lay there and she eventually fell asleep sometime around 9:00-9:15 pm.  She seems to be doing pretty well so far and is sleeping through Thom’s snoring which is a plus for her.  I just keep staring at her in her crib.  She is the most beautiful baby and right now she is lying in on her back as though she is getting ready to make a snow angel.  I can’t wait to see how her personality continues to come out over the next few days.

That’s all for now.  I am going to try and get some sleep now.  Hopefully, Thom will be able to upload some pictures tomorrow.

In Jiang Xi

We’ve arrived at the hotel, figured out how the safe works, gotten our luggage and pulled the pillow out of the crib. Now we’re waiting to leave for the SWI (Social Welfare Institute) HQ in 30 minutes. Catherine is bouncing off the walls and I’m the cool, calm and collected one. (at least I get to say I am since I’m writing the blog).

Lili Crib


Thank you for all of your support and comments. They are much appreciated. -t

L – 45 minutes and counting.

I’m just waiting on a Lady….

While “Waiting” is an excellent novel, by the author Ha Jin that should be on everyone’s reading list, it more accurately describes what we are doing. We have about 8 hours until we get Lili. I’ve picked up a wicked case of sinus congestion and drainage which means I can’t sleep well and therefore Catherine can’t sleep well either because my snoring wakes her up. Or I could just be restless because the day we’ve been waiting for so long, is finally here.

But let’s catch everybody up with our day yesterday. We went to see the Summer Palace yesterday. A spectacular building on a massive man-made lake made even more astonishing when you realize it was created with shovels and picks and no machines.

But before we went there guess what we did first? Let’s say it together…..Factory Store. This time it was a pearl factory store, with some absolutely beautiful pearl necklaces, pearl facial cream for wrinkles, etc. They actually have the fresh water oysters in the store complete with turtles and goldfish. The store guide opened one up to reveal about 20-30 small little pearls, irregular in shape or color and fairly small they would have been destined for facial cream if the families weren’t given them as an optional souvenir. The pearls can grow quite large and some of the jewelry was quite beautiful, but unfortunately the prices also matched that beauty.


We went to the summer palace next after being given explicit instructions, by our guide Candy (seen above holding garfield on a stick) to stay with the group and not to stop or talk to the vendors hawking $3 coach purses, Gucci bags, Northface jackets for $20 (I was tempted) and endless sellers of postcards. Apparently in the past people have been targeted by the sellers and pick pocketed by accomplices. Not too mention once the money comes out of the pocket, the vendors realize they have a live one and they swarm. We witnessed a few of the swarms and it wasn’t pretty.

Calligraphy  Walkwaydetail 

An older gentleman performs a graceful style of calligraphy, called grass style (or it might be running style) which is similar to cursive in western writing. Next to that is a detail on the covered walkway next to the lake that must go on for a mile or two and every beam is covered like these.

It is a really beautiful setting with a lot of history, a good portion of it bad – the destruction of the buildings multiple times by US, British, et al, armies in the 19th and 20th centuries; the wasting of the people’s money on a marble boat instead of spending the money on the real ships needed to protect the country from said foreign armies. Basically except for the artisans who made it, no one comes off looking that great. It really is beautiful though with tons of little details and paintings, so your eye always has something pleasing to see no matter where you are looking.

Candy led us on on a tour explaining some of the history and significance of what we were seeing but as you might imagine Catherine and I while trying to be obedient began to chafe. Once we were set free to walk around for 30 minutes, we immediately went were we weren’t supposed to go and found some beautiful quiet areas away from the madding crowd.


After the tour we had another good meal and drove back to the hotel. While Beijing has more bicycles than a tour de france video, it seems to have even more cars, if that’s possible. So a simple drive of a few miles can take hours, and it did. But it gave me the chance to snap a few photos of street life as seen from a bus. Below is your basic Beijing beer truck, with the tasty Tsing Tao beer for about 39 cents a 20 oz bottle or 3 Yuan. No nasty diesel fumes just clean refreshing ice-cold beer.


We went to the shopping district a few blocks from our hotel and finally found the crush of the crowds we’d been expecting to see. One thing we discovered, and it’s something I fully support, is “food on a stick”. Basically if it’s edible, it’s on a stick. Corn on the cob, hotdogs, candied strawberries and pineapple (which I think looks tasty – sugared fruit – what could be better), chicken, pork, and our favorite food on a stick sighting was the “Squid on a Stick” – essentially whole calamari grilled to a tasty-looking perfection. Alas we didn’t sample any of the above items deciding discretion was the better part of valor because who wants to risk getting a really nasty stomach bug the day before you finally meet your daughter. Catherine doesn’t see the charm in the sugar-syrup coated fruit on a stick. You can tell me your opinions. As for me, there’s always next week to try the tastiest looking items.



A few local contestants in the daily game of Human Frogger. Surprisingly no one ever seems to lose.


Time to close the computer and check out of the room and fly to Nanchang, Jiang xi province. It’s 8:15 am Monday morning here in Beijing and we should have Lili around 4:30 or so. Catherine can’t stop moving around she’s so excited and I might be just a little excited as well. -t

L – 8 hours and counting

It’s called the Great wall for a reason…

Today was our first day with the rest of the families from our adoption agency. We hopped on the our buses for an exciting day touring and our tour guide, Yong Fan, or Candy as she told us to call her, told us our first stop was a….Jade Factory Outlet Store? Seriously we went to the Jade Factory and had a very nice tour as well as an opportunity to buy lots of interesting jade items including Jade globes, jade pillows, jade sculptures and silk scarves. I don’t know why they were selling silk scarves and bolts of silk fabric, but they were.



After the Jade factory it was only a short drive to the Great Wall. And it was truly Great with a capitol G or is it capital G.

 GreatWall View

I won’t into all the facts and figures, that’s what wikipedia is for. But here are our some of our observations. First of all, footwear choices among some tourists makes you wonder if: A – some people like pain or B – some people are obviously clueless.

HeelsHiking   Graffitti

Yes that woman is hiking to the top of the great wall in a skirt and heels. She wasn’t alone, we saw several women who were victims of fashion, including one nice Belarussian lady who made it to the top, about twice as fast as we did. You can also see from the picture the worn steps from all the people clinging to the handrail trying to seek any help as they struggle through the wind and the cold to make it to the top, regardless of the pain, sweat and heavy breathing. Following up on an earlier observation, yes there apparently is Graffitti in China, it just appears to be somewhat less in your face than most tags in the U.S.

After much struggle, we finally made it to the top, although Catherine seemed concerned enough about me to take my camera. I think she just wanted to take a picture of me drenched in sweat, hunched over the safety rail just trying to draw a breath. And I’m not even a smoker. The number of people who were climbing today while smoking wearing only light coats and no gloves in the sub-freezing weather was apalling. The wind chill must have been O degrees up on the mountain, especially at the top. The picture below was taken before the going got really tough.


After summiting the wall, we sped back down en route to the tour bus trying not to trip over the the bazillion steps of different heights from 1 inch to 12 inches. We were of course the absolute last persons onto the bus and went from there to a nice lunch at a combo restaurant/friendship store. Once again after lunch we were politely told we’d have about 30 minutes to shop in the store. This seems to be an ongoing theme. Of course unlike the rest of China the factory and friendship stores have fixed prices, so things can seem a little, or a lot expensive depending on your viewpoint. We went from there and drove by the Oylmic village, in case you were unaware, Beijing is hosting the 2008 summer games. The National stadium shown below is nicknamed “Bird’s Nest”.  


Our next step was an acrobatic’s show where we watched people perform feats of balance and strength, some of which were probably unnatural and I’m sure there must be painkillers involved because bodies just shouldn’t bend like that. Here we have some lions balancing on a ball, walking across a teter-totter board.


After another great meal, which you may guess was tasty, we were able to have a drink with Catherine’s cousin Bill.


He was in town on business as part of a whirlwind trip to India, China and Germany. We were able to share some stories about China, home renovation and parenting over a few beers. A great end to a great day. Tomorrow we’ll visit the summer palace and I don’t know where else. Goodnight. -t

L – 1 1/2 Days