31 December 2008

New Years Day

Wee Willow got her picture taken today at the police station (not sure why it is at the station?), for her Visa (a whole bunch of us were at the station together, which is fun ... to see all the children who are being adopted). Of course, Willow is the sweetest (only kidding ... sort of). Anyway, that was actually the last item of the day. Before, our guide Sara (pictured with me, below) took "us", i.e., Chris, shopping to several enormous bookstores (and yes, we bought some beautiful books on China and some amazingly-illustrated childrens books). We saw some archeological sites (ancient gates, i.e., entryways, to villages for several time-periods dating back to several hundred years BC). We had lunch at Starbucks (see, the individually hand-colored coffee cups stacked like a Holiday tree). We have also included a photo of the front of our hotel.

Willow is getting more comfortable with us; and, she is crying now and again (especially when we switch-off, to take turns holding her). She is so precious; it is hard to describe. She started out sleeping on a board in a crib (no mattress), but look at her below (especially last few pictures). She's a darling button. It makes us remember how darling the boys were--Jeremy, Matthew, and Gregory (well, they still are!). Willow is an auntie to Jeremy's two young sons, Nicholas and Tyler. We hope you and yours have a blessed new year (all 365 days).

30 December 2008

Little smiles now and again ....

Although she is still somewhat shut down, she spends a lot of time just watching us (quietly). Every once in a while I can get her to smile too (small smiles; no laughing yet). But, for now we are just trying to cuddle, feed, and hold her so she comes to know that she can trust us and that we will not leave her.

Last Evening and Today's Events (12/29 + 12/30)

The picture here was taken before bed last evening. But we do want to share that she slept until 8:00 a.m. (and I had to wake her so we could have breakfast and meet our guide). Today included an appointment with the People Republic of China Civil Affairs Office (where we officially became a family yesterday, when we received Willow)--the purpose of today's appointment was to officially be given permission to adopt Willow, after answering a series of important questions. Not that you care ... but ... Willow has some gunky post-nasal drip/sinus infection, but not in her lungs. We took her to a very nice doctor, from Singapore, who prescribed an expectorant and some prescription creme for some bites and rash on her side. By the way, she weighs just over 20 lbs. On the way home the contents of her tummy were projected all over us and Teddy; Teddy and clothing were covered (Teddy, in turn, had to be rushed to the laundry-doctor). The peanut is once again sleeping soundly. I got a great look at her palate today, while she was crying :) Looks very healthy and pink, to us. She is able to suck on the bottle quite nicely, and isn't fussy about the nipple type. This is good, because at the orphange she fed from a special bottle for cleft-affected babies.

29 December 2008

Goodnight. All is good in the world.
We have already made many friends on our "hall" ... all of whom have been so helpful (they all have their little one's already). Thank you to them, and all of you, for your support and love along the way.
More pictures tomorrow :)

We are back "home"
Back in the taxi (heading to Carrefour a French store which is the equivalent of a Chinese "Target"). It feels so good to hold her and comfort her. She makes really great eye contact (but isn't crazy about Pink Teddy yet!)

I waited a minute until I reached for her (yes, she is crying ....)

The orphanage personnel are leading her to us (to show us that she can walk). They are very proud of her for this. She is already starting to cry ...

What We Have Been Waiting For ...

Here is a picture of us on our way to the Chinese Civil Affairs Office, where we will be handed Willow Chun Qi. Okay, we won't bore you with too much text. We have a daughter, and she is perfect and lovely. She cried/shrieked for about 5-10 minutes, but then got very calm (i.e., sort of shut down). This will be no shock to those of you familiar with adoption ... though it can be sort of scary. She is VERY alert, but sort of limp (also typical for the first few days or so). The GREAT news is that she doesn't appear to have a cleft palate (just bilateral clefting of the lips and gum). This will likely mean fewer surgeries, etc. We took her shopping for "her" type of orphanage formula (Chris wore her in the Ergo carrier), and she was happy just to look around. She took a bottle, but still wouldn't go to sleep ... she passed out about 6 or 7 pm (but we'll probably wake her around 10 for another bottle). Till tomorrow, enjoy the pictures (below).

28 December 2008

Tomorrow is the Big Day

We just arrived in the city of Guangzhou, in the province of Guangdong (The Little One's province). We are staying at the Victory Hotel, in an area known as Shamian Island.

Tomorrow is the BIG day. Spent the last hour trying to negotiate Google's Chinese website ... to get to the U.S. version of blogger so I could start posting some fun pictures (see below).

Here are some photos of some of the interesting elements of Shanghai that we passed on a short tour before our driver took us to Suzhou. The first reminded me of the Citicorp Building in NYC, the second is called the Oriental Pearl, and the third is of an older area of Shanghai known as The Bund.

Coincidentally, on the table of the study of this lovely home was a book on Ansel Adams. Also waiting for us was a wonderful meal.
This is Joy, who met us at the airport. Joy works for the friends we are visiting in the Shanghai area (Suzhou is the name of the town where Sage, Jialing (and their daughter Bonnee), and Echo live; we will go there tomorrow). Tonight we are staying in Shanghai, in a private development owned by Sage and Jialing. The house is simply amazing, and we are so grateful to our wonderful friends for making our entry into China so welcoming and joyous (no pun intended).
Arrival in Shanghai (baggage claim area) after about 20+ grueling hours on the plane (without sleep). I have also decided that this will be the start of a game I will play with The Little One called "where is teddy? (you can play along too).

Days 1, 2, and 3: Meryl + Chris' Amazing Adventure

I am going to attempt to post a bunch of images (and short descriptions) to give you a taste of our first few days in China (I am not proficient at this blogging program yet, so bear with me). Here "we" are, sitting in the boarding area (in the Minneapolis-St.Paul airport) waiting to be called for our Northwest flight to Seattle, the first leg of our journey. This is your first introduction to "pink teddy", who I just finished creating for The Little One a couple of days ago (she is pink chenille).

26 December 2008

We Are Here. Safe, Sound, and Loving China

Check back in a little while for pictures. Just wanted to let you all know we are here (and are finally in a location with internet access). Went to a Chinese wedding reception last night; now heading for breakfast and to shop for The Little One (with a Chinese friend who makes her home in both Los Angeles and Suzhou).

Meryl, Chris, and Pink Teddy

18 December 2008

Meet BOB. My new best friend.
This week I also had some fun at REI. My friends in the Sierra Nevada made it possible for me to acquire a very special stroller: one that can traverse trails, and even some snow. I delude myself that I will be out with the two dogs and Willow almost every day ! Here's a picture of my SUV (sport utility stroller). Note the tires ... 16" of pure traction. I also purchased a rain shield and cordura "console" (which holds baby bottles, beverages, and dog treats).

Looking to the heavens as a pair. Flying home as a family.

Still preparing for our trip (3 related appointments today ... including travel vaccination, a meet-and-greet with a pediatrician (that I feel really good about), and an appointment with a orthopaedic surgeon (orthodonist who also is trained to work on tiny patients). We will bring some special tape to China; the idea is to put it across Willow's cleft, to begin to move her lips and columella into place for surgery. This ought to be a trick, with a toddler who doesn't know us. We will, of course, go slowly.