Monday, September 29, 2008

The End and The Beginning

I can't believe that this is our last post from China. We leave early in the morning and will spend the next 24 hours in airports and airplanes. But we are coming home! This trip has been full of emotions. We came here to meet a little girl, not knowing what to expect. And yet, she came to us with open arms, accepting us as her family. She is more than we could ever have hoped for. She is sweet and beautiful and funny. We give God all of the glory and thank Him for hearing and answering our prayers. We have also felt the prayers of our family and friends. Thank you for your prayers. God has also sustained me during these two weeks of a homesick feeling I never want to experience again!

A little more about Cate... We have a spicy little girl on our hands! I am so thankful that she was cared for with such love at her orphanage, but I don't think she was ever told "no". So... we are experiencing a battle of the wills. This will just be a process. She is still learning to love us and trust us, and she has a Daddy and two brothers to get to know and love.

Thank you again so much for your support and love and prayers.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

At the Zoo

This morning we went to the Guangzhou zoo. It was a nice zoo and felt good to walk around. The weather is very warm here, but it was nice and shady there. They had one panda and it was walking around. Sophie was able to feed the monkeys. It was so funny because the man put food on Sophie's head and the monkey climbed up her shoulders to get it! There was one part of the zoo where you could pay to have your picture taken with a rabbit, a bird or a dog. It was kind of sad. They also had raccoons in cages. We told Helen that we saw those in the road every day! Cate and I are getting ready to go to the Consulate. Everything went great with our paperwork this morning and I am very thankful. I am so anxious to get home. I don't think it can get here fast enough!

Strolling around Guangzhou

Judy and I worked on our paperwork after breakfast this morning and it went great. It didn't take as long as I thought it would and it seems as if everything is in order. We didn't have anything else planned for today so we just played at the playground and visited a couple more shops. We're pretty sure we have everything we need and need to call it quits! We do have to pack it in our suitcases! In the morning we will go to the zoo while Judy goes to our Consulate appointment. Tomorrow afternoon, we go to take our oath and then Cate can come home with us. Tuesday will be spent packing and getting ready to come home. We are so ready!

Friday, September 26, 2008

First day in Guangzhou and Cate's medical exam

Cate is wishing these adults would go to work and let her play!
Cate loves to have her picture taken! Sophie is a great big sister!

Inside the White Swan hotel

We really like Shamian Island! It is the nicest place we have been on our trip. The White Swan hotel is very nice. It's so nice to see so many other American families. We have had two meals today that tasted like they should! This morning we went to Cate's medical exam and had her visa picture taken. Everything went very well. She was very cooperative. Cate weighs 28 pounds. We then did some shopping which we thoroughly enjoyed! I bought a stroller which has already come in handy, and she enjoys riding. She lost her princess cell phone that she loved in Hefei, so we found one today, but it has the most annoying sounds and we will "lose" it before the plane ride home! We came across a park with play equiptment and Sophie was so excited to play, but it was overrun with adults! It was so funny so I had to post a picture! Tomorrow morning, Judy will come to our room and help me prepare all of the paperwork for Monday's Consulate appointment. We are counting down the days to home!

We're in Guangzhou

We don't have any pictures of us in Guangzhou yet because we are just getting settled into our room and it's late. The White Swan Hotel is very nice. We will go to Cate's medical exam in the morning and then look around the island. On Sunday, we will go over all of our paperwork for Cate's visa and Monday is the Consulate appointment. Tuesday will be a free day, and I would give anything to come home a day early! I am so homesick, and am trying really hard to enjoy our time here, but the truth, is, I just want to be home with my husband and boys. Cate continues to amaze us with how well she has adjusted. She knows we are her family. While we can't understand anything she says, and she jabbers all of the time, we usually know what she wants and needs. She is a very fast learner. She is very strong willed, very independent, and very adorable. I can't wait to get her home. Here are a few pictures from this morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Adoption Day

Cate is doing great. She is a smart, funny, sweet little girl. She is full of energy! Although, poor thing, we have pretty much been confined to our room here. Today Jane took us back to the Civil Affairs office where we finished our paperwork here in Hefei. Everything went very smoothly. We will leave here tomorrow at 2:00 for Guangzhou. We are ready. We do know that Cate is scared of water. She will not even go near the fountain in the lobby. Today, Jane helped me give her a bath and talked her through it. I was very grateful. We will definitely have to work on this because our family loves the water! Here are some pictures from today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Pictures

Introducing....... Cate!!!!!!

I know all you really want is pictures, but a little about our morning. Frank met us at 9:00 and took us to the Civil Affairs office where we would meet Cate and the orphanage director. They were not there when we got there, so we were looking out onto the street to see if we might see them drive up. But when we looked around, Cate was walking in the door with the orphanage director, a beautiful and kind woman. She told Cate who we were and Sophie showed her some things we brought. She loved it all and took to Sophie very quickly! I had a lot of papers to sign and Mom was taking pictures. Our first thoughts, Cate is beautiful and very tiny. Very tiny. I think a 2T, maybe a 3T if we're lucky! She is very curious and scared of nothing so far. She never cried. Not once. When the orphanage director was leaving, she walked away with her, but then came back to us. Thank you for the prayers. We have really felt them.

To My Third Grade Friends

Thank you for all of the notes. I really enjoyed reading them. I hope you are having fun at school. What kind of tests have you been taking? We are having a good time in China. We get Cate today, and we are very excited. I miss seeing you. I can't wait to see y'all. The plane ride was long. At the pool we have to wear a swim cap. I would not let mama take a picture of me! We will show you pictures of Cate soon. Love Sophie

What a wonderful suprise for us to wake up to! The e-mails and comments on our blog are the best part of our day. This morning we sat in tears reading all of the sweet wishes. Thank you all very much. This is our BIG DAY!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

We made it to Hefei!

I don't have any pictures today. We woke up at 5am to get to the airport for our 7:50 flight to Hefei. The flight went very well, but the airport was a different story. Our luggage was stacked on a cart outside and we just had to fight for it! But we got it, and our guide Frank was waiting for us. Hefei looks much different from Beijing, still many high rise buildings because Hefei is the capital of Anhui, but very poor. It makes me sad. Our hotel is the Holiday Inn and it is very nice. Sophie is looking forward to trying out the pool. It is hot and humid here and very smoggy.
Kristin, you were right, China is 12 hours ahead. We love reading everyones comments from home. We will be meeting our guide at 9 am to get Cate. We are nervous but excited. We miss home very much. As soon as we have Cate, we will post some pictures. Please keep us in your prayers.

The Forbidden City

Sophie with one of the performers at the acrobat show
It was amazing to see what they could do with their bodies! We really enjoyed the show!

We leave Beijing at 6:00 a.m. for Hefei. We have had some very full days and have seen a lot, but we are ready to leave. I am very homesick and miss my family at home. We are looking forward to meeting Cate in two short days.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Great Wall, Jade, and Cloissone

Sophie was born in the year of the dragon, so she is pointing to a dragon. Rion, you are an ox and Pressley you are a snake. Cate is the chicken. I am a mouse!

Mimi and Sophie at the Great Wall

Here we are at the entrance

A jade ship that took 5 years to make!

Polishing jade

Sunday was a big day for us! Christina picked us up at 9:00. The Great Wall was about 2 hours away, and we stopped at a Jade factory on the way there. It was amazing how they made bracelets, and sculptures from jade. It was an overcast and smoggy day, and rained after we left the Great Wall but thankfully we were able to enjoy every minute we were there! It was nice and cool and we climbed thousands of steps! The view was gorgeous. I had seen so many pictures and so many families there but couldn't believe we were actually there! On the way home, we stopped at a Cloissone factory and watched them start out with a copper vase and transform it into a beautiful piece of art. We also ate lunch there. Christina ordered for us but couldn't eat with us, so when the food came out, we couldn't exactly identify what a couple of dishes were. And while we completely trust Christina, we hoped they didn't bring out the wrong thing. One plate was full of what looked like noodles, only a lot fatter, which made them look exactly like worms. The taste was good but we were just too leary to eat much. So when Christina came back, she told us it was pork! We would have eaten more knowing what it was!

We also stopped at a Tea House and sampled several types of tea and she told us what they were used for and how to drink it. Again, we were too tired for supper and went to bed early. We had a fun, full day. Thank you again for the comments and emails. It means so much hearing from our friends and family.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


This was part of the silk making process. It was very neat. We watched them take the silkworm out and pull it apart. The bowl has the silkworms in it. Ask Mimi about the silk ties. They would not let her leave and when she finally did she was a nervous wreck! (She wanted to buy a couple of silk ties but the starting price was about $150. They kept telling her but it is pure silk. Mimi said she understood but they were gifts and she couldn't pay that much. They said how much will you pay and Mimi said $10. They said no way! After 20 heated minutes Mimi spent $10!
Mimi bargaining for some pearls-these lady's were very nice and helpful and it was a fun experience. That is Christina beside her. Sophie is in the background- so many places would just give her things and said "gift". Here, they gave her some chopsticks.
Beautiful Chinese lanterns decorating the streets.
Mimi and Sophie at the Chinese restaurant Christina took us to. It was very good!

It was so funny yesterday- the Chinese people can not believe that Sophie is 8 years old. They say she is too tall to be 8 . It started at breakfast- our breakfast is included but they wanted me to pay for Sophie-I couldn't understand them and they couldn't understand me but Christina said that they called her and said that there was a teenager with us, not a little girl. Christina told them no, she is only 8- So funny. Then at the pearl market, everyone would ask how old she was and when she would say 8, they couldn't believe it!