Friday, Official Adoption Day

Trip Start Oct 25, 2005
Trip End Nov 10, 2005

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Friday, November 4, 2005

Happy Friday everyone!

Well, Mark and Chelsea are feeling better although they are both still sniffling. I am sort of sniffling myself, and I totally blame the smog for not helping any of us with our breathing!

Things are going well, better in fact than they were a couple days ago.

Amazingly, Hannah is a good sleeper. She sleeps through the night most nights. When she wakes up we put her into bed with us and she sleeps through. It is wonderful.

We went to the orphanages yesterday. Started on the bus at 8:00 am and did Anne and Kendall's orphanage at Dawu first. It was great getting out of the city. We all figure that the full day on a cramped bus with our babies was a prelude to next Thursday when we fly out of Beijing.

We saw all sorts of cool things on the way to Dawu. Firstly, there are no cars on the highway, which is brand spanking new and a toll highway. NOthing but crazy truck drivers with all sorts of interesting goods, including live pigs, Honda Odyssys and bamboo.

So I need Michael to help me out with this next bit. I got really excited cause I thought we were looking at water buffalo, but Anne thinks they are actually oxen and I think she is right. By the time I get home I expect Michael to have sent me web links to both water buffalo and oxen so I can determine what I am seeing. They are so cool! We have seen no signs of mechanizations in the fields. Mostly rice paddies, some fish ponds, couple of woodlots, and a few veggie plots.

Dawu is very small, it is a county of Xiaogan, there is only 62,000 peopole. The Social Welfare Institute is very small, not many children. We met the Director and Vice Director and also went to the finding spot where little Madeiline was placed. She was in front of a civil office, wrapped in a blanket and placed between four pillars to keep her out of the snow.

After that we went on to Xiagon. It is a huge city, about 5 million people, but after Wuhan it felt tiny.

We saw signs of poverty everywhere. People make do with very little and I think it has been a real eye opener as to what is going on in this part of China. There is incredible development everywhere, but so many peasants and farmers are living in tiny little sheds and just getting by. Took a few pictures.

Got to Xiagan (I keep spelling it with an O but it should be an A). Went to all of the finding places for our kids. Hannah was placed in front of a news paper office. It was a huge office with lots of people going back and forth. Got a few pictures of us with her. A civil affairs person was with us at all times. She was quite lovely. If we want to communicate with the orphanage or even possibly the foster parents we have to go through her. Her daughter came with us for part of the trip. She was doing her dance moves in the parking lot for Mark and Kendall, it was adorable.

We went to the orphanage and met with the Director and vice-Director and more authorities. The orphange was kind of what we expected. Children are only in the orphanage for the briefest of times before they go to foster care and they were only back in the orphanage for a week before we got them. I think the hardest parts was seeing the tiny little room where the five little cribs (half the size of our cribs) were all placed. That was where our girls hung out for a week. Nevertheless, the orphanages are doing the best they can. The Director said he was very pleased that we had come and that we had adopted Xiagan girls and asked us all to come back. There were photos of families from all over the world. Seventeen different countries have adopted from that orphange.

Today we had an official ceremony where we all got our adoption certificates, baby passports and a hand shake. YEAH! Most of the paperwork is done now. We have a little bit more to do today before we go to Beijing, one more medical, one more piece of paper and that should be it.

We met families from all over the US today at our adoption ceremony as they were also there to finalize the adoptions as well. It was cool to meet so many other families that have been going through the same process as us at the same time.

Oh man the humidity is terrible today. Feels like Hong Kong or Singapore! It poured on me, Chels, Anne, and Kendall as we were walking back from the mall for one last shopping trip before we hit Beijing.

It will be interesting to see how the plane trip goes tomorrow, only 2.5 hours this time around!

Will try and write more tomorrow!

Our rooms are stinking hot. It seems that the air conditioning is way different in this hotel. They think cold air is bad for us, so they are trying to melt us instead. Margaret got us all fans, thank god!

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