We took our oath at the Consulate this morning at the same time as the Wessons and the Allens. The Bergs and the Urichs left for Hong Kong this afternoon.
Tomorrow afternoon, we get Ani's visa and Saturday head home. Woo-hoo!
She fell asleep on me while we walked down to the Lemon House Vietnamese restaurant. We had a bottle ready as soon as she woke & in her sleepy stupor she forgot to hold on to it. (Letting me give her the bottle without a hand on it herself is like trusting the job to somebody else. It's what we mommies do, wee one.)
I got to chat a long time with the kids this morning. Thanks, FaceTime. They squabbled just like I was there!
Today was touring a temple I have forgotten the name of and then a visit to Shamian Island. (Pix on Flickr.)
We got a traditional Chinese dress for both Ani & Zoe and a painting of their name. So we are all souvenired up.
We met a mom that has two Chinese children with albinism.
When we got back to the hotel, I said "there's our German!"
He may not be German. He could be Scandinavian. I'm no good with accents, but he's nice and we've seen him in the elevator twice.
That's fun about being in an International city: the Italian place is owned & operated by an Italian. Frenchmen in the elevator, Spainards at breakfast and numerous travelers of undetermined descent. Collect them all!
Got a picture with the dog statue just because we did with Zoe.
As we give Ani bottles and change her diapers and carry her around in the Ergo, we've realized the bonding is easier. These are things we did we the boys. She feels like ours.
Zoe was four. We didn't get to do these things with her.
"It's like Ani won't get a choice," I told Kris. She won't remember China. Only us.
But Zoe had to choose us. To become a Catoe.
Being here again brings me a wholly new appreciation for what Zoe had to go through to join our family. She is pretty amazing.
I am not good at using chop sticks. But I managed to eat an entire meal with them at the Shanxi noodle house yesterday. (Forks were not an option.)
And if using a Western toilet with a little person strapped to your chest is difficult, imagine using an Eastern one. But I managed.
Have I mentioned that Ani is discovering the freedom to explore her surroundings comes with limits? She doesn't like that part as much.
Just part of the package, dear one!
We ventured further from the hotel today to the Trust Mart in search of diapers (Aeon only had a huge pack in Ani's size) and stuff for the kids. They are doing so well with us being gone; we wanted to be sure to have gifts in hand upon our return.
I don't know if they'll like what we got, but each kid gets a bag. "Your parents ditched you for sixteen days to go get your sister. Here's a goodie bag!"
On the way out of the store, we saw Larry Allen. (They're with a different agency but are another Huainan family adopting at the same time. What a small world!)
The kids ask to see Ani on every call. I think they can see her coming out of her shell.
Tonight is the boat cruise and we begged off again. Tomorrow, more touring. My leg muscles are totally getting a great workout on this trip.
Three more fancy breakfasts. (I've decided to not include Saturday in my countdown since we'll be en route by then and getting closer to home.)
The bath last night did not go so well. Hopefully somebody still has a baby tub I can borrow.
But she's getting a real nap today! Since it was a free day, we were back to the room in time to put her in the crib.
Most days, she falls asleep in the Ergo and then won't rest any more later. It makes her wily at night, but doubles as protection from prying eyes.
We get a lot of stares. But if she is asleep and I cover her head or she keeps her face pressed to my chest, less so. Fine by me. I can spend less energy on protective mom mode.
(I'm fine with curious. But sometimes, it is mean-spirited, y'know?)
Hmm. Maybe takeout dinner from the Italian place again. That was pretty good.
Waiting in the lobby for our group this morning, one of the Garden's attendants offered to take our photo. Sure. They really are nice here.
The morning was for pearl & jade shopping. Since we did that last time, instead we wandered until we found the clothing store. They still had some of the same things we got for Zoe! (Three years and no merch turnover? Huh.)
Next was the Cantonese Folk Art Museum. Hey, Ani, remember the time you fell asleep everywhere in China?
Having a 21-month-old baby is not what we expected, but in ways it's nice. She is very cuddly.
We'll need to find our baby gates when we get home. We've forgotten so much about the baby stage!
Had some strangers take photos of her today. And one older couple asking about her hair. (There was gesturing.)
I need a chart to keep track of all the other families. Where they are from, etc.
Together, we celebrate the little milestones. "He walked all the way from the room to the elevator!" "She didn't cry on the way to breakfast!"
It's been a busy day in Guangzhou. Ani had her medical appointment (she did NOT enjoy having her head measured).
It's so different on this trip to be with so many other families. We're a posse of little people. Some first time adopters, some first time parents.
A lot of paperwork this afternoon. I stumped Miko, our guide. She fielded all sorts of questions about how to get to Hong Kong, where to buy jade and silks. I want to know where I can get a flat iron.
(Mine at home was the wrong voltage. Kris can dry it pretty flat with only a brush, but the humidity in this city...) so the dudes are like "yay, Starbucks!" And some of the moms are like "jewelry!" And I am "gah, my hair." Marrying a stylist ruins you.
Ani has already been ruined by the Garden Hotel. The moment I got her out of the Ergo last night and plopped her on the bed, she smiled. Didn't want to sleep. And this morning, she paused on her bottle the lobby. I think she wanted to admire the scenery.
She was very inquisitive on the plane here. She cried a lot, but never all out. (The Bergs were four or so rows back and said they only heard her once.) I got a good look at her gums.
"Hey, that tooth came through!"
Good balance: Zoe told us this morning that she has a loose tooth for Daddy to pull when we come home.
At the supermarket today, I saw Hello Kitty Pocky. I've got to find some toys for the kids.
ETA: who can find a flat iron in China in less than an hour armed only with a map and the pinyin? Magic Kris.
In the middle of the night, Ani began to cry. The crib is collapsible and she'd gotten wedged. Kris took her out and just made a pallet on the floor for her.
By morning, she had scooted of onto the carpet. This made me smile.
Zoe fell off the bed one night in Hefei, but she was sleeping so soundly on the floor that I just covered her up and left her there. Now a night on the floor in-province is something my girls will have in both of their tales.
While Zoe's orphanage was rural, the one Ani was in is rather posh. But both have a field of trees across the street, painted white halfway up the trunk to ward off worms.
And the nannies at both prepared our girls by getting them up early to be bathed and dressed in clean new clothes. So different and yet similar.
(Even down to the Christmas song that played while we had lunch at McDonald's on Wednesday.)
In Hefei, the hotel was hosting something that filled the lobby with officials, making it uncomfortable to be foreigners. Here, it is the military. Today is the last day the hotel is open to the public. Uniforms everywhere!
We leave the hotel soon and fly at 4:30. Your first plane ride, Ani!
It rained last night, clearing away the smog just in time for our visit to the Great Wall. The Bergs went on their last trip, so they were old pros.
Heidi purchased "cable car" tickets for us since we had kids to carry up. You guys, I don't think "cable car" is the right term. It was a ski lift. I kept my eyes closed the whole way up.
Ani cried for the whole ride from the hotel to the wall, so we were kinda worn out before all the climbing even began. But it was a beautiful day, and hey -- Great Wall!
We need a shirt for Ani that says "I had my diaper changed on the Great Wall."
Lunch was some amazing Chinese food that didn't kill me. And Ani was pretty chill for the ride back.
Kris agreed to bring home some glasses for people & when we went to get those, he visited a place the Bergs told him about for headphones. He bargained like a pro I'm told.
We messed up this morning by giving Ani a bottle with her medicine on an empty stomach and Kris ended up covered in vomit on the elevator. I got back to the room saying "so I sent a quick email and uploaded a couple photos..." And then I noticed Ani was in the crib in only a diaper and heard the tale.
Time to start packing up the room. GZ, here we come!