Flight Details

Some of you in Blog land have as for our flight schedule so here you go.  The Chicago leg to Jackson is the most important:

Our flights from Chicago

Sat, 22 CO1080 CHICAGO, IL 8:00 AM to HOUSTON, TX 10:37 AM
Sat, 22 CO4955 T HOUSTON, TX 1:00 PM to JACKSON, MS 2:30 PM

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Good Day Today, Even Better Tomorrow

Hello All,

Today was a wonderful day.  We were waiting for the boys visas to be issued so we went to a Safari Park in Guangzhou (read zoo).  It was a very nice zoo full of pandas.  10 to be exact.  Never seen so many in one place.  We even got to see a couple of animals I have never seen before, but I won’t bore you with that.  The D-man did get to feed the Giraffes which in and of itself is pretty cool.  When we returned to the hotel we got the visas and then proceeded to pack.  Dear Lord, that is a lot of packing.   Tomorrow is the day we start our return home to Madison, MS from China.  We will first fly from Here-Guangzhou to Beijing then hit the flight from There to Chicago.  The flight will be over 12 hours.  I would like as much prayer as those of you in blog land can muster with two toddlers.  We will stay the night in Chicago as suggested from friend who has been through the Chinese adoption process twice.  Then on Saturday we will make our flight will be make it to Jackson at 2:30 from Houston.  We are so ready to be home.  See you soon.  We left as 3, we return as 5.

-Bill

More Waiting and Finally the Appointment

Yesterday started out as whole bunch of nothing.  It did give us an opportunity to get some more bonding time in.  Little Z is beginning to like his dad a little more unless he really wants something that I won’t give him.  At that point, it is “Where’s my mommy?”  He’s definitely got more playful and gigglely (not sure if that’s a word).  When we first we interacting with him, you could see in his eyes that he was calculating and attempting to figure this all out.  He’s comfortable and realizes that he is not going to lose us.  E was always pretty much cool with everything as long as he could see me.

Couple of neat observations to note:  whatever you are eating or drinking, that’s what they want to eat or drink.  Never give them french fries first, or you’ll never get them to eat anything else for that matter.  Z has a chipmunk/squirrel thing that he does.  He will eat a whole bunch then chew a little, and store it in his cheeks.  This works fine if he swallows occasionally, but most of the time he gets too much and has to spit it out.  Ewwwe!!  The younger E can tell you when he needs to go to the bathroom.  Pretty cool considering he is less than two years old, huh?

We took some group pictures and a family picture.  We hit the silk market so we all had outfits for the picture.  After that we went back to the room for a little R& R.  Mrs. Strawbridge will be happy to see that D was working intently on his homework.

Later that evening we had dinner at a manchurian restaurant.  Interesting flavors there that I have never experienced.  There was a dish called mapo tofu (I think that was what it was called) that had a pretty good kick to it.  We have decided that we must learn how to make it and I’m not a fan of tofu. 

Today, we finally had THE APPOINTMENT.  The appointment with our US Consulate for the boys.  It involves taking an oath affirming that all the information that we have provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge.  We then walk up to a teller type counter with the children so that the children can be matched up to their passports.  Couple of pages to sign and it is done.  We also had to pay a fee times two.  Remember with double the children, you get double the fees.  It was for their travel visa, but once they hit American soil they will become naturalized American citizens.  At least that is how I understand it.  We had a little mini interview with the adoption officer since we were under the Non-Hague rules.  “Who was your adoption agency? Were they helpful? Were all fees disclosed?” were among some of the questions that they asked.  Sorry no pictures to depict this wonderful event.  The consulate was adament that no electronics of any kind were allowed on the premises.  I would it assume it was for security purposes.  According to our guides, our boys visas should be ready tomorrow for the journey back the following day.  Bout time! 

-Bill

Out and About in Guangzhou

This was a less hectic day.  No big appointments, no meetings, no paperwork, etc.  We just got out and looked around.  We didn’t necessarily have a choice.  We are still waiting on the big appointment with the American Consultate.  At that appointment we will take an oath, sign a couple of documents, and tell our governement that we will take care of these children in the best possible way.  Of all the trouble to get here, it should only take about 15 minutes, or rather 30 minutes.  Remember, everything is double here for us. 2 boys equals double the paperwork, double the orphanage fees, double the visa fees, double the trouble.  🙂 Oh, sorry, I let my doubles get away from me.

Back to the day.  The only “big thing” we had was the reading of Z’s TB test.  The fact he still had to have a another after less than two weeks still blows my mind.  Can’t reuse those results can you?  Nah…, that would make sense.  Let’s torcher the boy one more by sticking a needle just under he skin.

From there we went to the pearl market.  There we got D is very own real pearl.  He has been such help to us here, we felt that we should get him a real treasure of the trip.  He’s still a picture hound.  Chinese girls tell him he’s cute.  The wait staff in restaurants tell him he’s handsome.  The “talk” will come early with the one. 

On our return from the pearl market, we went through the food markets. We saw everything you could imagine.  We saw a couple of things you couldn’t imagine.  Live animals of all varieties were in cages, or aquariums.  There was even buckets of scorpions from small to large.  What they would use them for I have no idea.  PETA would definitely get their panties in a twist over some of the stuff we saw.   Hmmm… Anyhow, it was very neat.  We found a couple of nice shops to patronize and then got a cab back to the hotel.

We had dinner that evening in a Chinese, Japanese style restaurant – makes my head hurt just thinking about that one.  Food was great and the service was excellent.  It was like we were the only ones in the restaurant.  Close to the end of dinner an older gentleman and his business buddy sat down next to us.  He was looking over at us and then proceeded to ask questions in Spanish.  I was like “hey I can communicate with this guy!”  We spoke for a little while back and forth til we were about to leave.  As we got up, they were placing their order with the waiter.  The question was asked how would you like your steak cooked?  The gentlemen didn’t understand what they were asking.  The waiter looked over at me with a pleading face saying, “help me.”  I translated a little and the proper steak was ordered.  It was a fun day.  The next day looks to be a big bunch of nothing but wait for the appointment.  joy!

-Bill

A Glorious Day in China

If you recall from our previous post about our quest to find a strollers for the boys.  Oh and by the way they are solid.  I don’t remember D feeling so heavy at this age 5 years ago.  Maybe I getting to old … Maybe my memory’s fading … Maybe I’m losing my mind, … and why I am talking to myself right now.  Back to my fleeting thoughts.  On our quest to find strollers, we found a church and that’s where our day began.  As promised to our Chinese friends, we went to church.  They had a service at 11:00 which was both in English and Mandarian.  It was wonderful.  The delightful lady that invited us yesterday brought us some more water until a pretty, yet controlling lady told her to stop.  Apparently, it not appropriate to bring visitors water to drink during the service.  There must be a controlling lady in every church, no matter the country or continent.  I sat and listened for a little, but my little tornado, E had enough setting still and wanted to walk outside for a stroll.  Lori, D and E had a delightful time inside.  Eventually, D came out and joined us.  It was great to see believers halfway across the world with little or no restriction ( none that we saw) on how they may worship.  The rest of the day was a relaxing bonding day of strolling around til about 4:30 for a paperwork appointment.  We finished off the day with a pool visit and Papa John’s pizza.  God  has been watching over us thoughout this process.  It still has a little longer to go.  🙂

Bill

The Exam

The was the day of the big exam.  Really it was just a formality.  They checked the boys height, weight, temperature, and hearing.  They looked over our existing medical information that we had on them.  Asking questions, such as “Does he poo well?”  And we’re thinking to ourselves “Well yeah I guess so I have only had him for about 4 days.  :-)” We fell back on “Yes, he poos pretty good.”  Then came the physical exam with a lot poking and proding which neither of them were happy about.  Oh, and Bro. Z had the added benefit of having yet another TB test since he is over two by 3 and half weeks.  Bit unnecessary if you ask me since they already did the test in Zhengzhou. 

Next a little shopping was in order.  This area reminded us of New Orleans in the French Quarter.  They even have a section of it called French Quarter.  But I digress, as we may have mentioned, we bought these strap on carriers to carry the boys.  Great in concept, not so much in the long term especially for one’s back.  We were on a stroller hunt and were told that we would be able to find them in the shops in the area.  We were desperate for them.  We felt like we were lost for a little while.  We thought we would try to ask the locals where we could find the strollers.  The individuals we met were members of a local church, a Christian church, just up the street.  Although we couldn’t understand a word they said and they couldn’t understand us.  We met each other on equal terms — Children of God.  They brought us safe water to drink and told us about their church which caters to the “traveler”.  They gave us some info about the services and we told them we would be back.  They directed us to the stores and we were set.  Strollers to two boys – check, new luggage to replace the “garbage bag” – check, church for Sunday — check.  Life is good.

-Bill

Air Travel with Toddlers

Short title of this expose’ is “Air Travel with Toddlers” Long title “Air Travel with Toddlers: Why the Heck would Anyone Do It.  Putting it simply, air travel with a toddler is crazy.  Air travel with a two toddlers is just plain stupid, but everyone should experience just the same.  It was a rough two hours for daddy and E.  Mommy, D, and the Z-man seemed to handle it pretty well.  E was super fussy.  No position for him was comfortable and when he would settle down, he’d bump his ankle on the armrest and go ballistic.  When the flight attendent brought the meal to us he calmed down.  I got him a cup of milk and we proceeded to eat.  This was going well.  He decided he wanted to control the spoon, which means I am now ready play in my food and potentially sling it everywhere.  Daddy was not having that.  Now the tug of war begins of the spoon.  Daddy one, E zero.  Suddenly the food box is in the wrong place and it must be moved.  Remember the milk, well now its all over my right leg and the left leg of the nice Nigerian man sitting next to me.  The man was remarkably calm about the whole thing, but daddy was about to lose it.  Once I was able to get the food away, it then became a struggle of wills.  It is strong with this little grasshopper.  An announcement overhead let me know that this will be over in about 20 minutes.  In the final 10 minutes the little bugger decided he had had enough and fell asleep.  It was nice, a little late, but nice.  It all felt like a routine from “Bill Cosby – Himself” entitled “Jeffery”. 

Anyhow, after the plane landed, we gathered the children and stuff and made our way to the baggage claim.  We found all of the luggage and loaded them them on to a cart or rather carts.  We’re talking about 5 people’s luggage here.  After we got out of the baggage claim area, we noticed a smell.  Not a diaper smell, but a foul one regardless.  It was coming from D’s bay.  Some of you maybe thinking, “Ok, what animal or thing” did he sneak into his bag without telling mommy and daddy.”  In reality it was garbage.  Somehow, some garbage fell on or was dropped on D’s bag.  We had our guide call the airline about it.  They told him that since we left the baggage claim area, they wouldn’t do anything about it.  And I was supposed to know this how.  Heck, we didn’t notice it til the wind from outside blew in to help identify the culprit.

Goodbye airport next stop the hotel.  Little battles from the airplane continued in the bus.  Bro. Z was doing just fine.  My little tornado, Z, not so much, but hey plane rides and toddlers don’t mix well.  Some would say it went well.  Lots of information was given to us on that busride to process.  We arrive at the China Hotel.  Its a real nice place.  Guess what, there is a 24 hour McDonald’s right next door.  Whooohooo!  Room was nice with two cribs waiting on us.  Must sleep…Zzzzz

Bill

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