Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Photos - Part 3

We're leaving, on a jet plane...
Here's Kaden as we leave for sunny, hot (but not humid!) California.

Not much to show for the actual flight. Because it was a night flight, they turned the lights down, and everybody pretended to sleep. Actually, Kaden got in about 8 hours of sleep, which was great, because it meant only about 3 hours of keeping him occupied after he woke up. He did great.

As we got home, this is what So.Cal. looked like:
That's downtown LA, all the way to the mountains. Who stole all our smog?!?

Whoever it was, thank you!

And what awaited us as we landed?
Lots of boys!

They were happy to see us, and totally excited to see their new little brother.
I think Kaden is going to like this...
Thanks to Alexis and Amador (and their kids Elijah & Angelina) for taking care of our kiddos while we were away, and bringing them to the airport, and thanks to Paul & Stacy (and new baby Jubilee) and Jay & Dee (and Elianah) for showing up as well. You are all so important to us.

Home!! For the first time.

Kaden is now an official Californian! In-N-Out fries!!
I wonder if you could order a Double-double "Fuzhou style"?

And now, a day and half after landing in America, Kaden went to his first ever Church service!

Finally, one anecdote:
During the church service, after the music, Kaden got bored, and as opposed to all the adults that this happens to, he let it be known that he was no longer interested in sitting there. So, off we went to walk to halls and wander until the service was over.

I spied a drinking fountain, and figured Kaden might want a drink, so I pointed him to it, and when we got there and I turned in on for him, he did the only thing he knew to do with running water and a basin - he put his hands under it to wash them!

I realized then that by growing up in a country where you don't drink the tap water, he had probably never seen a drinking fountain before, and certainly had never used one. I had to show him how to put your mouth up to the water and suck it in. The first few times, he blew instead of sucked.

Yes, an interesting, fun and wonderful adventure awaits us.

Thank you all again for your support for our family on this journey that is only now really getting started. More posts to come, and your ongoing prayers are more important than ever!

God's rich blessings upon you all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Photos - Part 2

Annette and Kaden looking out over the Pearl River. This is at a river-side walkway on Shamian Island. Off in the distance is one of the 400 gazillion high-rise apartments in Guangzhou. 

On the Monday we were in Guangzhou, we went to a tailor's shop to have some shirts for the boys, and a dress for Annette made from real Chinese silk. Here's Kaden being measured by the tailor. It is a team of husband and wife. How did they do?

Tah Dah!!
The lady is the wife half of the tailor team. The clothes are incredible, and by U.S. standards, incredibly cheap! If any of you going to China to adopt and want their contact info, let us know.

Here we are at the American Consulate offices to take care of the U.S. side of the adoption process. Cameras weren't allowed any further than this, so we took the photo and put away the camera. BTW: it's about 90 degrees inside this building at 8 a.m.  I definitely miss some things about China, but the weather is not one of them.

After this, our guide, Lilly, took us to an open-market street that was devoted to traditional Chinese medicine herbal treatments and products. I never found out what ailment dried lizard on a stick was used for, but I'm sure I don't have it. Really. I'm sure. I promise.

Hmmm. This man is using chopsticks to pick things up from this big bin. It must be something yummy, right?

Oh, uh, never mind. . .
Yes, they were alive. 

Later in the week, Lilly took us up five flights of stairs to the top floor of a building.
For . . . .


This was seriously delicious food! The place had no sign, no one spoke English, and the menu had no pictures. If not for our guide, Lilly (in the photo below), there is no way we would have ever gotten here. And, the food was about 1/3 the cost of most places we ate. The meal pictured in the bottom of the above photos was 3 entrees (two pictured), and cost 58 RMB (less than $10).

Thank you, Lilly!

All good things must come to an end, and thus, here we are at the Guangzhou airport.

The final installment to come . . .

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finally More Photos - Part 1

This will be a 3-part post, just to make sure none of them are too long, and won't load.

So, with running commentary from me, Steve, here we go:

Here we are in the lobby of the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. It looks nice, but it is NOISY! That waterfall made the lobby sound like the Log Ride at Knotts Berry Farm. Since the lobby was the only place to get wireless connection, we had to to FaceTime with the boys here, with lots of "what?" "could you repeat that?" "what about the cheesemakers?"

Here's another image from the island where our hotel was. Very green. Very Beautiful. VERY HOT & HUMID!!

Isn't there any hope of rescue from our plight in this damp inferno?!
Oh, wait!! What is this????

Yes, there was a Starbucks on Shamian Island, and they became very familiar with the phrase "Iced black tea, no syrup (sugar)"

Yep, when it comes to the ladies, I still got it!  Although that one on the left seems to be playing hard to get...

Guangzhou at night. The multi-colored building in the back is an office tower for CCTV, the Chinese cable company. It has synchronized lights on the outside, so it's like a giant Pink Floyd concert prop.

Kaden and Daddy video chatting with the big brothers back home.

I'd mentioned this on an earlier post, but here is a photo of the total earthly possessions that Kaden had when we got him. The only thing that we got back from the care package we sent to him was the shirt. That is one well-travelled shirt! Made in China, shipped to the U.S., bought and shipped back to China, then flown back to the U.S. It should have had a boomerang on it.

More in the next post...

We're home! . . . and REALLY late on posting more photos!!

Steve here - We're home, and I have a bunch of photos to post, and will be posting them later today (maybe tonight).

Sorry for the delay!

Bad Steve.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An overdue update

Greetings from Guangzhou!
It's been a bit of an adjustment here - no in-room WiFi, for one thing!
So, we have to post and Skype from the sitting area in the lobby of our hotel.

Kaden had his physical exam, and passed just fine. Kudos to our guide, Lilly, who got us to the clinic 3 minutes before a huge crush of adopting families showed up. We were in and out in 15 minutes, while the folks behind us were looking at a loooooooooong wait.

The next big thing for us is a meeting at the U.S. Consulate on Wednesday, and then home on Thursday night. WooHoo!

So, enough writing, here are a few photos!

The view from our hotel room:

Kaden passing the "are you cute enough to be adopted?" test:

Shiamen Island, where our hotel is located.


A shirt they are selling in lots of shops on the island. I don't know if they mean this as a compliment, or not. . .

Daddy and son at the Temple of Six Banyan Trees.

Yummy noodles!

Swimming at the hotel pool. This is only Kaden's fourth time in a pool - truly, just about everything is a new adventure for him.

Are words needed for this one?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Huangsha Ave,Guangzhou,China

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Photos!

Good morning from Fuzhou!
We're getting ready for breakfast, so I am just going to post some photos with a little note here and there.
Today we go to a famous temple, and some more shopping.


Kaden eating noodles and some kind of shellfish that looked like a two-headed slug.

In an historic district known as 3 Lanes and 7 Alleys.

Heaven! Look at what Annette is holding!
Imagine: Ice! In a drink!!

A traditional Chinese pharmacy - before they told me not to take photos!

The ancient Chinese tradition of Angry Birds.

Kaden and his buddy. They both liked Starbucks too!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tongpan Rd,Fuzhou,China

Kaden update 8/16

We are doing great!! We have the cutest, more adorable boy in China!! It is so amazing to see the world through the eyes of a child who has never experienced much outside the walls of an orphanage.

Bedtime last night was so precious! The first night that Kaden was with us he only slept about 4-5 hours. He was so tired last night that he was "punch drunk" and it was absolutely hilarious! He was starting to play with his food, was chattering like crazy and laughing a bunch, couldn't sit still for anything, and making the most hilarious faces. When we got to the room, we got him in his jammies & he brushed his teeth. I also got ready for bed since I was exhausted from very little sleep for several days. I climbed into bed and motioned for him to come lay beside me. He grabbed his blanket, hopped up into bed, and snuggled up next to me. After laying there for a few minutes, he turned his face towards mine, smiled really big, and moved in even closer for a tighter snuggle! Sure made this mamma's heart happy!

This morning as I was drying my hair he came in to watch me. I bent down to look into his eyes and he leaned over and kissed my cheek. We have the most precious little man!!

We went to a place called Panda World today. It was fun to see the 3 pandas that they had, along with some Red Panda's which they call lesser pandas, and a few other types of bears. The mini zoo was not what we are used to, but it was neat to see one of the caretakers actually inside the habitat grooming & feeding the panda - something we don't get to see in th US.

After Panda World we went to 2 of the huge local malls (they are across the street from each other) so that Kaden could have some fun kid time. He rode his first merry go round and a spinning balloon type kid ride. Don't know how dizzy Kaden felt but this momma was sure dizzy after that fast, crazy, spinning ride. It made me remember that I'm not a kid anymore. The mall across the street had a great play area with some sand and lots of toys. Kaden & Daddy had a wonderful time playing in the sand together.

We ordered some lunch to go from a restaurant in the mall so that we could take it back to our room to eat. It was by far some of the best food we have eaten, and we have had lots of great food here already.

After we ate, Kaden put his shoes on, grabbed the stroller, pushed it to the door and said something in Chinese like "come on let's go for a walk." needless to say, we couldn't resist, so we headed out for another walk to the island park just outside our hotel.

Our guide told us today that hand, foot, mouth disease is going around the orphanage, so we will not be able to visit the orphanage after all. :( It makes me very sad, but God knows what is best for our little man. So instead of going to the orphanage tomorrow, we will be going to an aquarium and then on to an historic area called 3 Lanes and 7 Alleys to do some shopping, and then back to the mall for Kaden to play some more.

On the home front, our sweet Hayden is sick with an earache, sore throat & fever. Alexis took him in to the doctor this morning & she said that he has a virus. So, he is resting quite a bit and taking it easy. I talked with him briefly this morning & he was doing much better - his ear isn't hurting anymore & he hadn't had a fever since he woke up. Hopefully he'll be better in the next day or so. Please keep him in your prayers and also pray that no one else in the house gets sick - especially since there are 6 kiddos all under one roof until we return home. Alexis and her hubby Amador are doing an amazing job! Please keep them in your prayers too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tongpan Rd,Fuzhou,China

Kaden Update 8/15

We got Kaden yesterday around 3:30pm China time. He was a bit shy & scared at first, which is what we expected. Once we were able to bring him up to our room, he slowly warmed up and within a few hours was a typical 5 year old - playing & running around. He was really wired last night and stayed up until about 11:45pm at which point I had to hold him & rock back and forth in a chair until he finally relaxed enough to fall asleep. He slept until about 5am which is about the time Steve & I were waking up anyways.

We got ready, ate breakfast, and met our guide, Helen. She took us to the civil affairs office & the notary's office to finish signing papers for the Chinese side of the adoption. The 2 caretakers from the orphanage that brought Kaden to us were also at the civil affairs office. He was happy to see them, but did not try to go to them at all - he just held my hand and sat with me. Our guide has an assistant named Phoebe who was at the notary's office when we arrived today. She helped us out a lot yesterday when Kaden was having a hard time adjusting. When he saw her at the office today, he called for her and went running to give her a big hug. It's really sweet to see how loving he is!

We are hanging out at the hotel for a bit before heading out to the beautiful lake park near our hotel. It is extremely hot & humid here- even worse than Tennessee. So you can't really be outside for too long before it's hard to breathe & you start sweating like crazy.

We're going to a place called Panda World tomorrow and possibly to an indoor playground. On Wednesday we will take the bullet train to Kaden's orphanage for a tour. On Thursday we'll be visiting some Buddist Temples in the area. We'll also be squeezing in some shopping over the next 3 days. On Friday afternoon the police will bring Kaden's passport and we will then head to the airport to travel to Guangzhou to finalize the rest of the adoption.

We'll update when we can through email & our blog. We cannot use facebook in China so any updates you see on there are from my friend Stacy.

Off to cuddle our newest little treasure!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tongpan Rd,Fuzhou,China

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More photos

Our first moment with Kaden. I know this is out of order, but I forgot to post this one earlier. What you see him in is the only clothes he came with - a shirt, shorts (no undies!), and sandals. He also had a small shopping bag with 4 milk/yogurt boxes, 4 other yogurt treats, a small jar of ginger candy, and 3 pieces of broken toys. Those were the total worldly possessions of this beautiful little boy.

Now, back to more recent photos:


This is at Panda World - this particular Panda is 30 years old. This would be 120 for you and I.

Annette and Kaden on a carousel at a shopping mall.

Kaden's first time swimming! I didn't realize that he had never been into a full sized swimming pool before. I took him to the edge, started walking him down the steps and he loved it until we got to water up to his waist. I don't think he had ever experienced buoyancy before, and he did NOT like the feeling!! We spent the next 45 minutes slowly working him down the steps - sitting at each one for a long time until trying to move down to the next one. By the time we had to leave and eat dinner, he was standing in water up to his chest, and loving it!

More adventures today - I will try to post more photos either late today, or early tomorrow. It's 5:45 am China time.

Blessing to you all!

- Steve

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tongpan Rd,Fuzhou,China