Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Greetings from Guangzhou

Anybody catch the number of that bus? Which bus? The one that ran me over...

I think this is the first of many things Sydney will be kind enough to share with me, and I appreciate the sentiment (really, I do!). This virus, however, can go away with my blessings. It acts like it wants to hang on and get a free ride to the States, but hopefully I'll be able to shake it off before that.

Anyway, you didn't come all the way to this site to listen to me moan about a sore throat and a fever. Let's get to the good stuff, like how we got to Guangzhou and what we've been up to since.

One more side note first - as some of you may have noticed, the site was down for the better part of a day, and you have my father-in-law to thank for it being back up at this point. Hopefully that won't happen again, but kudos to Bill for being willing to do some trouble-shooting without having me on the phone to talk him through anything...

So, on Tuesday morning, we travelled to the Police Station in Nanchang with the group and received Sydney's Chinese passport which allows her to travel. She is still a Chinese citizen, but the Chinese government views the adoption as complete and will now allow her to travel (as a Chinese citizen.) Her US immigration visa, which we will get from the US Consulate here in Guangzhou, will grant her citizenship as soon as we set foot on US soil on the 12th. Then (per my understanding) we will be able to file for a new birth certificate, SSN, and US passport. But back to Nanchang...

After receiving her passport, we checked out of the Jiangxi Hotel and trekked to the airport to catch our short flight to Guangzhou. Sydney was amazing during the flight, and treated the whole thing as a fun playtime. Mom and Grandma entertained and fed her and had a grand time. (Dad kept his eyes closed as much as possible and contributed as close to nothing to the group effort as can be imagined.) Arriving in Guangzhou, we were met by Grace, our agency's Guangzhou representative, and driven to the hotel. While en route, we learned about our itinerary for the next few days. Well, some of us did. Others stared straight ahead and tried to figure out what planet they were on...

Grace also took our orders from a place called Danny's Bagel (hey, take-out American food!) such that it would be delivered to our rooms shortly after we got checked in and received our luggage. I should add that CCAI's reps do a phenomenal job of dealing with logistics such as the luggage. As a result, we have been able to focus on other things and have had greatly reduced stress levels. Danny's Bagel is a place we (Amy and I) read about over a year ago from others who have traveled this road in the past. I could go on about it, but the bottom line is that it was a nice change of fare, and I was able to get my first green salad during my stay in China. Not that they haven't had fresh vegetables in other places, but you have to consider the water they are washed with, as the tap water in China is not safe to drink. Most of the vegetables we have had have been stir-fried, and most of the food we had in Nanchang was generally oily if not simply fried. A nice crisp salad was a wonderful change for yours truly.

Soon after dinner we put Sydney to bed. As Amy has said, this girl can SLEEP! She slept from 8pm to 8:30am last night, and might have gone longer if we hadn't needed to get out the door to an appointment. That appointment was to have her Visa photo taken and have her physical done at a nearby clinic. Again she did well and charmed the clinic staff, as did all the babies.

After this process, we spent a good part of the day shopping and/or sleeping (I won't name names...) until it was time to take the famous "Red Couch Photo." This is a tradition that has been going for who-knows-how-long, wherein each family and each group sits on the Red Couch in the White Swan's lobby and poses for a photo. Amy will include these photos in her post, though there may be better group photos. We'll do some sharing with the group later.

Rollin also spent an hour filling out the paperwork and putting together the package required for the US Consulate. Grace will deliver these packages to the Consulate in the morning, and we should receive Sydney's visa on the 11th before we leave Guangzhou for Hong Kong.

That's mostly logistical stuff, and that has been just about my level of involvement lately. I can honestly say that we would have been sunk without Deb to help out during our illness (Sydney's, mine, and Amy's too, though she was not knocked as flat as I seem to have been). Amy will try to post later tonight (our time) with some of her observations, but I will add a few of mine regarding this daughter God has blessed us with:

She has been sleeping fitfully the last few nights. Whether because of her illness or the medicines being given to her to help her recover, I don't know. But I know it is a heart-wrenching thing to hear her cry out in her sleep. Fortunately she manages to go back to sleep within a few minutes, though a few times she has needed someone to hold her and calm her down until she drops off. She still does not care one bit for being set down by herself for any length of time unless you can distract her to keep her from noticing. It is a funny thing to have a daughter that always wants to be cuddled, given her parents' personalities. Amy and I both love to relax and be cozy and cuddly. It might seem easy to give in to that desire to be held and always hold her and comfort her, but we know that she needs to get comfortable enough with us and with her surroundings that she can play by herself and not be held every moment. However, that is in the long term, and in the short term we want to make sure she grows to know we love her and won't set her down and leave her. That balance is an interesting thing, and will take a lot of prayer and love to achieve.

She also is not making much attempt to feed herself yet. She loves to play with Cherios, and loves to be fed Cherios, but has no desire to take the piece in her hand and put it in her mouth. That probably speaks to how she was fed in the orphanage, but it will be fun to see her grow and catch up in these small developmental stages. Amy reports that she did try to put a piece of cereal in her mouth on the plane, but it got derailed along the way, so that only sort-of counts...

She also does not try to crawl when you put her on her belly. Her preferred reaction is to scream and wail, although we have observed her getting mad enough to flip herself over in her crib before falling asleep. Her legs are strong enough to go through the motions of walking if she is holding on to you, but she seems to have no desire to actually get around. That too will be fun to see, though I know all too well that once they start to be mobile, it goes to a whole new level of effort and watchfulness.

She is, at the bottom of it all, a lovable little girl, whom we loved before we held her, and who will be our daughter forever. I am amazed that such a wonderful and delicate creation such as Sydney has been granted to us to shepherd and raise.


Carla Raley said...

So good to hear the updates. I do feel for you, with being sick, and trying to focus on all of Sydney's needs. It is a difficult task to balance sometimes, but Im sure that you are doing a great job of being parents. The love just spills over into the updates. May God bless you all and keep you safe (and help you get well soon).

Love to all!

Mona Leo said...

You two certainly know how to make a strong woman tear up! What wonderful experiences you are having, even with illness weighing you down. I pray for complete recovery for everyone before you board that big bird this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing thoughts and photos. You have many faithful participants back here who are already in love with Sydney, and I count myself blessed to be one of them. Can't wait to meet her! Love and blessings!!!