Thursday, November 29, 2007

Today is our last day in China, tomorrow we travel.

This morning we went to the markets. We visited the Chinese medicine market. One of my photos shows dried flies and centipedes. We also visited the pearl market as well as the clothing market. I should find the suitcase market to try and get all my new stuff home! The afternoon was spent completing the adoption process. We went to the American Consulate to receive Jayne's visa and other documents. There were many other families there with their new children. It is such an emotional journey. It is wonderful for me to spend time with other families who share the same passion for these children from China. I love China. I love the sights, the people and the culture.
Jaynie's behavior has pretty much gone down the tubes. Our language barrier seems to cause her some frustration. She is testing the limits, I will be glad to be home where she can see how the family operates, and how we interact with the other kids. It has been a great trip and I'm glad to be able to share it with Andrew.
But now the real journey begins... Blending a family, developing communications, and seeing how well two princesses can live under one roof. The evolution of a new rhythm, and finding the new balance.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shopping Bonanza!

This is my third trip to Guangzhou. Instead of visiting the Buddhist temple or the Chen Museum, which I've already seen, we asked our guide to take us to the toy market. It is 8 floors of wholesale toys. Great deals on everything.

In 2002 we had the privilege of having an exchange student from Hong Kong stay with us for the year. Zoe lived with our family and finished her senior year of high school. We've remained in contact and she still lives in the states. Today I was able to meet her mother for the first time.
She was accompanied by her sister and niece who speaks fluent english. They took us out for an authentic Cantonese lunch and to the Yuntai Gardens. Yuntai Gardens are beautifully manicured gardens. An oasis in a smoggy, busy city.
Mrs. Au noticed that Jaynie had a *strong personality* She spoke with her which we recorded. She told her she must mind her parents, that she is the boss of no one. She gave her firm but gentle advise, which I really appreciated. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Tomorrow we take the oath at the American Consulate and leave for home on Friday.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just in case anyone thought I'd skate through this unscathed...

Today Jaynie had a two hour tantrum. It started this morning. She wanted to watch Tom and Jerry but mom (me) wouldn't let her. We had her medical appointment and also a visa photo session scheduled. She started to cry, tears were rolling down her face. She let me hold her. I thought she was grieving, that finally reality was setting in. I had our guide ask her what the problem was. She told him her mom wouldn't let her watch the cat an mouse show. She bawled, she pouted, and tried to hide. Her visa picture took forever, she refused to smile. As we went to the medical appointment she wouldn't hold my hand. I took this opportunity to record on disc so I can tease her about her stellar behavior when she is older. Later on she forgot she was angry and played like her normal self.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Guilin, the Scenery, and Serenity

Today was sightseeing. Guilin has so many beautiful places to see. We cruised down the Li River. There is beautiful limestone hills and peaks surrounding the river. The river is crystal clear, like something in a National Geographic magazine. We watched the water buffalo along the shore and fishermen on bamboo rafts fishing with their cormorants. Our guide told us Chinese eat everything with two exceptions. The do not eat water buffalo, or the cormorants. When they die they are buried. Andrew asked her "do you eat rats"? She said "of course"! I'm glad he didn't interject a 13 year old's comments, he just left it at that. We also visited the flute caves. Beautiful caves with stalagmites and stalactites millions of years old. Our guide explained the Chinese government didn't even know about the caves until 1962. During WW11 the local people hid there from the Japanese army.
Jaynie played test the limits today. She did not win. To her credit it was a 4 hour boat ride and the bubbles I brought for her ran out the first 20 minutes. I wouldn't let her run and bother other people, she got mad at me. When we got off the boat she wouldn't hold my hand, she went to the guide instead. Later that night she got sick to her stomach. I tried to baby her, I can tell she is used to fending for herself. I made her comfortable as I could, fussed over her and tucked her in bed. I want her to know she doesn't have to be in charge anymore. Tomorrow we are off to Guangzhou, about an hour plane ride. I really wish we had more time in Guilin. Jaynie's hometown is the most interesting city I have ever been to. We are a little more than half way through our journey.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Guilin, the Orphanage, and my heart

Today we went to the Orphanage. Our driver was a little confused on the direction but Jaynie, told him which way. We weren't allowed to take photos of the children inside the building. We met with director and the care providers. We had blankets to donate and they were appreciated. When I met the Foster Mom, I asked her for any advice or guidance she could give me concerning Jiang Heng Fang (Jaynie). She said she was very talented in dance and reading. I told her through our guide, that I felt the Jiang Heng Fang was a wonderful girl with excellent character. I also said that I held them in great esteem for the parenting and guidance she had been given. I promised to send them updates about Jaynie. As we were leaving the foster mom brought over the younger foster sister to say goodbye. Jaynie was so excited to see her, and asked "are you cold"? Then she asked "who will take care of you after I'm gone"? The foster mom told her "don't worry I'll take care of her". As we left the little foster sister cried and reached for Jaynie. Jaynie didn't cry but my eyes welled up and I wiped away the tears .

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Images from Nanning

This is our last day in Nanning. Tomorrow we board the bus and head to Guilin, the city where Jaynie is from. We went shopping at a mall to buy some new clothes for Jaynie. Andrew was horrified to see a mother holding a baby with split pants over a potted plant. The baby and was relieving himself. It made me chuckle. I'm glad my thirteen year old gets to experience different cultures first hand!
We went to Green Mountain today. It houses a Buddhist Temple and a very lovely Pagoda. An older Monk struck up a conversation with Jaynie. I asked, through our guide, if I could take their picture together, but he declined. I was also asked not to take pictures of the Buddhist Statues.
I had given Jaynie some coins to carry in her pocket. Our driver joked with her and said he would carry her bags for money. She replied that "I have sixty cents in my pocket and I will give you ten cents". Her math skills have really surprised me!
I'm very excited to go to Guilin. If anyone has seen 'Big Bird goes to China' (a classic!) that is where it was filmed.
Thanksgiving on the road to Guilin, more soon...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blessings continue...

Today the adoption was final. We met with Civil Affairs Officers and promised that we would take care of her as our own, not abuse or abandon her. She told them she was happy with her new family and liked her new brother too. The director of the orphanage gave me her reports from Half the Sky. Half the Sky is a program started by an adoptive mom.
The motto is "Providing love and hope in China's orphanages." Jaynie participated in the pre-school progam. We looked at it together. A collection of about 50 pages complete with pictures. She chattered about everyone and named all the children. She beamed when she showed me her work. On the ride back to the hotel her eyes welled with tears, she did not want me to see. Our daughter is a very brave little girl! We walked down to the "Peoples Park" and enjoyed feeding the fish. A great day for all, I even found a rare stash of diet coke!
I'm still pinching myself to see if I'm dreaming. Our last adoption my kid was throwing toys about the playroom instead of playing with them. During that adoption and even later I thought I scream if I heard one more person say "looks like you've got your hands full". This trip I had prepared myself for more of the same kind of difficulties. To my delight this adoption with Jaynie is whole different ballgame!
Tomorrow our guide is taking us sightseeing. Thursday we leave for Guilin.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Today we met Jaynie Lin. We arrived at the civil affairs office about five minutes before they did. She bopped-in, strolled over, and gave me a big kiss on the cheek. She said "hello mama".
I had sent three letters with pictures beforehand. She had all the pictures that I had sent and told me who everyone was in the pictures. The director told us that she was very talented at dance and asked me if we could help develop that talent. Jaynie then did a little dance for us. We cheered! Other babies were screaming, Jaynie was just playing with the bubbles that I'd brought her, and was getting to know Andrew, her brother. I showed her computer pictures of her friends that had been adopted. She got excited when she saw images of Mary and Mandy . She asked the guide if they lived close by, no sign of grief or trauma yet.