Sunday, January 16, 2005

Back Home in Guangzhou

Well back home in Guangzhou. Sorry to keep everyone waiting for news. It’s been tough to balance all the needs of parenting, adopting and traveling. Plus, given the added challenge of being cast back into the dark ages of 26-6 dial in made any blogging and extra challenge.

So much has happened since I last wrote. I’ll start with a Marina update and then I’ll back up a bit and give you the broad brush of Nanchang.

Well Marina is doing well. She seems totally comfortable with us. She wakes up happy morning is really her best time right now. This AM she got up and wandered around the room. Unpacking things from the suitcase, smiling, giggling (a little) and playing with all children’s favorite toys stacking cups, medicine bottles and remote controls. She generally wakes up has a bottle then at breakfast does a little grazing. She’s a big eater. I’m trying to hold her back a bit because she’s got such a pot belly but now its not the time for a crash diet. I’m just glad she’s not a waif. Then she’d like a nap at 10 and then one in the afternoon say 2:30 but we’re usually out and about for some of that time so she catches them when she gets them. She’s a bit fussy in the room but when have babies ever loved hotel rooms. Hey, I don’t like being in the room either. Overall she’s really easy and cheery but I must say I can see she’s looking forward to a mommy and I’m sure if she had her way at this point she wishes I’d marry a nice Chinese girl (Ah well Marina, that’s not happening). She’s very comfortable with strangers and is happy to go and visit with others thought she does love the China Team girls. There is one girl on the Team Tammy who must look like her foster mother because everytime we see her Marina cries. I try to avoid Tammy.

Who is the China Team, you ask? Well, this whole adoption trip is facilitated by this group run by USAA (US Asian Affairs) and it’s a funny combination of tour group and adoption group. So we have this team of primarily girls who are here to help get where we need to when we need to and help to facilitate all the paperwork and transisitons. So there’s always someone around to help hold a baby or pull a stroller out of the bus or whatever. I’ll tell you it comes in handy when you’re traveling alone with two kids. Rhea has been great, so helpful, but she’s just can’t carry everything. So sometimes it’s nice to have an extra pair or hands available.

I’ll go back to the orphanage visit. That was Thursday. We left early 8 or 9 it was almost a 2 hr drive and really good roads. Much of them looked new. There was one section that was just miles and miles of this brand new road lined with trees and bushes and then you came up to this brand new town. It was definitely one of those party planned places. Someone in Beijing just decided they needed a town there for some reason and poof there’s a town.

When we arrived it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere. We had at this point turned off the main road and driven through some pretty sketchy little town. I’ve got a couple of good pictures. Then we pull up to this small complex of say 6 or 8 apartment buildings. There is even a hotel of sorts. We are lead back to the orphanage which is is a couple of floors of one of the buildings and brought up to see the children. This orphanage is basically just for the “good babies” someone called it a clearing house. All the kids there were under 1 and slated for international adoption.
On one level it was better than I expected it was clean. The kids seemed well fed. But there were no toys there was just 16 kids all sitting on these little push potties or in walkers with a few in cribs just lieing there. Waiting, waiting for nothing. They were just sitting there waiting to be fed or to put to bed. It was sad and somewhat surreal. There were maybe 2 caregivers to the room for the 16. The director said that there were 60 babies total in the orphanage and 16 caretakers. Now it wasn’t clear to me if there were 16 per shift or 16 total. From what I saw I would say 16 total.

One of the parents had brought handmade dolls to give the kids. And Rhea and some of the other children passed them out to the babies. It was really sweet. You could see many of the kids really playing with them. I kept thinking what an amazing thing for Rhea to be doing. I’m sure she can’t fully grasp it all. I know I can’t

After that we drove back to the Hotel and just hung out for a couple of hours. Rhea and I ventured out for a bit before dinner. I was looking for some old Party posters but I got sent to a place where they sell stamps, china post. But as with all of these things having a destination or errand is really just and excuse to get out and see the world. So after a brief run through China Post we walked thru the nearby park where everyone was very interested in the three of us. People want to have they’re pictures taken with Rhea or old ladies would ask us about Marina and Rhea. But since we don’t speak Chinese we’re sort of at a loss. Rhea has learned the words for big sister and little sister so we say je je and me me (sorry bad transliteration) but they get the idea and think it’s great.

Sorry guys I’m whipped. I’m going to have to save the trip to Fengcheng to see Marina’s hometown and abandonment spot till tomorrow. We had a rough couple of days and I need my sleep. I was sick, real sick, night before last, then we were stuck in the Nanchang Airport for 5 hrs and didn’t get in until midnight. Then today Rhea wasn’t feeling well. Poor thing she’s been such a trooper. I don’t know how I could have done this without her.

Enjoy some pictures. (If I can get to them. I did something weird to iphoto and now I can’t access them, arrg, they are there I just cant get iphoto open the library) Anyway, I’ll post again tomorrow life is normalizing. We’ve got a medical check-up in the AM and US visa pictures then I think it’s just a bit of touring and we have the afternoon off.


p.s. so much for more photos I’ve got to re-import my photos. Perhaps tomorrow. If it’s not one thing it’s another


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