Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Joshua Day!

Waiting in the lobby of the hotel, anxious to walk over to the Civil Affairs Office building, I thought about the day we received Kai. I remember how BIG she was, and how active she was, but most especially how happy she was. I kept preparing myself for the worst this time, for there's no way we could end up with 2 "smiling, happy, Buddha babies" (this was the term Marie used for Kai 5 years ago)! As we rode up the elevator, I became short of breath, and I could feel my heart racing. There were only 3 families this trip, as opposed to 13 the last time, so I knew it would be less chaotic in the Civil Affairs Office. What I didn't realize was that it was still going to take a long time to get my baby, because the hand-off of the babies was long and drawn out, allowing the new parents to ask questions of the nanny, through our guide. Our turn was last! While we waited we kept trying to get Joshua's attention, waving at him and saying Ni Hao. The same thing happened with him as with Kai; He was active and looking around everywhere, moving his glance quickly to all the unfamiliar things in this room, but when he finally made eye contact with me he stopped and stared, and then smiled at me. Just as with Kai, I think he somehow knew who I was. I believe in this long red thread that the Chinese say connect souls. I believe my children were destined to be mine

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Arriving in Chongqing

Days ago, when we received our travel itinerary we were disappointed that the CCAI representative that would be with us all week in Chongqing would not be Marie, the same guide we had 5 years ago. We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted at the CQ airport by her! Though she would not be our rep this week, she welcomed us with hugs and rode the bus with us over to the hotel. I was very sad to see her go. She took such good care of us the last time!

Our guide for the week, Eva, took us on a tour around the hotel area. This is the most populated city in all of China... home to over 30 million people, so the crowded streets make NYC seem small. A couple of times we had to remind Eva to slow down because some of the families traveling with us have kids with them and had trouble keeping up. We went all through the downtown square, where she pointed out McDonald's, KFC, and even Starbucks! She said that Chongqing is growing so fast that they have to create a new city map every 3 months. I know that Starbucks was NOT there 5 years ago... this I would have known! We walked through an underground mall, which was a nice reprieve from the heat. The gocery market was similar to the one we visited before in CQ - lots of interesting sights and smells. The local "massage center" was pointed out, which I DO plan on taking advantage of this time! And there is a community pool in this underground mall, which we do NOT plan on swimming in! Easy access up to the hotel will make this mall a very convenient amenity for us this week! But don't count on us buying any of the chicken feet, rabbits, or pig snout that we saw in the market!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We Are in China!

We arrived in Beijing at 2:40 pm today, which was 2:40 am to our bodies and minds. We almost went into panic mode at the airport because we couldn't find our driver... we searched the crowd of signs for our name for a good 25 minutes before we finally found him! He wove us through the streets of Beijing, beeping every 2 minutes and swerving to avoid many accidents. Joel reminded me that the lines on the streets here are merely suggestions! We got very little sleep during the last 22 hours, so we completely crashed once we checked into our hotel. After our nap we ventured out to a restaurant we were told had an English menu. The tofu and pickled eggs I ordered was delivered to our table at least 20 minutes before Joel's fried pork. In the states it is customary for wait staff to deliver everyone's food at once, however, often we get limp and/or cold meals that have been sitting under a heat lamp waiting for the rest of the table's meal to be ready... I can't say our way is better! We would head to Joshua's hometown the next morning, so though we decided not to arrive earlier in the week for touring, we tried to at least do a little touring of our own of downtown. The last time we visited Beijing we toured The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, Tienamen Square, and many temples and gardens of old China... quite the contrast to this modern, booming downtown area. We walked around soaking in the sights (and smells, yuck) until 11 or so, and then decided we better try to get some rest for our trip to Chongqing.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Visas have been applied for.. almost time to schedule flights!

Another milestone reached: I sent our applications for Chinese visas today. I had to pay extra to expedite it because I'm a little late in the timeline, no surprise to those of you who know me well! So hopefully we will get our visas and travel approval around the same time and be ready to schedule flights! I will try my best to schedule a flight into Charlotte that arrives at a good time for people to meet us there. When we returned home with Kai, it was a Friday afternoon, and there were over 50 people there greeting us. It was absolutely awesome, and so special to see so many people welcoming Kai into the family and into the community. Afterwards I realized that several people would have been there if they knew it was an open invitation, so this time I'm extending it to everyone I know! I'm a huge advocate of adoption, and I am not very private about my feelings toward the subject. I am so lucky to have so many friends and family members who embrace our children, both biological and adopted. We just watched the video of Kai's homecoming a few weeks ago. The love and emotion in that airport is unbelievable and overwhelming, and an experience everyone should witness at least one time in their life. Adoption is a beautiful, beautiful thing!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Big Brother is Waiting

Eli is very excited about his baby brother, Joshua. I don't think he totally gets it, but he loves babies in general and gets very excited when we look at pictures of Joshua or talk about him coming home. One of our travel group friends from our first trip to China sent us a a small mylar balloon on which she had Joshua's referral picture printed. When we first received it both Kai and Eli were excited and fought over it. We finally put it in Joshua's new room, on his dresser, but it didn't stay there long. Little Eli likes to carry it around the house all day long, every day, and it has even made a few trips in the car with us. He loves saying, "Baby Jah-ooh-uh" with pauses inbetween each syllable. I love that they are exactly a year apart and share the same birthday. It will hopefully give them a special bond quite different from the Chinese bond Joshua will share with his sister.

Waiting... AGAIN!!!

And the wait goes on... this time we're waiting for travel approval from China. I've been going nuts for the last 4 days checking my e-mail and my agency website every 20 minutes or less, sometimes rushing home from being out and about! I don't remember the wait for travel approval being this long with Kai. And you would think that these updated pictures would help me get through this wait... but it actually just makes it worse. It validates that Joshua is getting older and bigger, and I can't stand the thought of him being motherless any longer.

We did get some preliminary information today stating that we would more than likely get travel approval within the next few days, and be traveling on the July 14th or July 21st. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it turns out to be the 14th for two reasons. 1) I will be away from my kids an extra week if we don't go until the 21st due to a family reunion they will be attending with my family, and 2) I can't wait to have my baby boy in my arms!