Monday, August 29, 2011

More firsts

Friday night Emmett had his first ride in a small airplane. We didn't exactly plan it that way, but he let us know what he wanted. Brian had a meeting out at the airport, so Brianna, Linnea, Emmett and I came out there when he was almost done with the meeting. We wandered around the airport, and showed him which plane was Daddy's. I had told him where we were going. He brought along his photo book we made for him of our family, which had photos of the airplane in it. He compared the photo in the book to the real thing, and apparently it passed. When Brian finished with his meeting, he came out to the hanger, and unlocked the plane. We were just going to let him sit in it; as Brian had no plans to fly. He hopped in the back, buckled up, and said, "Let's go!" (This continues to be his favorite phrase.) After some discussion, Brian agreed to take him up for 10 minutes. I told him he had to stay buckled, and he nodded his head. Brianna rode in front, and Linnea in the back with him. He squealed on take off, and talked excited Mandarin the whole flight! He had a blast, and I think was hoping to fly longer. 
First time in Daddy's airplane

wearing his headset!
right after landing
Saturday was John Deere's 100th anniversary celebration in Horicon, with a big parade, lots of food, bouncy houses for the kids, games, etc.  Emmett seemed to have a good time. Saturday afternoon I bought him a bigger bike (now 16") which he rides like a maniac!  His balance has improved dramatically in 2 weeks! 
Sunday we went hiking at Ledges Park, which has lots of rocks to climb on.  He was nervous/cautious, since he hadn't done that before, but wanted to keep going when it was time to go home!  He really is game to try most anything!  More later, it's supper time. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Home for 2 weeks

Emmett continues to amaze us with how quickly he is adapting to his new life.  It's hard to believe we hadn't met him yet 4 weeks ago!  We arrived home 2 weeks ago today.  (We are very glad we were able to go then, and not just be traveling home today!) 
Last week was very busy with our county fair, as the kids have many 4H projects that they entered.  They did reasonably well, but could tell on a few things that we had been gone more than 2 weeks just before the fair.  Brianna received a special merit (best finish award) for her woodworking project, an intartia cat.  Linnea received a special merit for her model of a solar system, which she had spent many hours creating!  Elena showed Merlin (one of our cats) and received a top blue in his category.  Many other ribbons were received too, but those were the best! 
Friday afternoon was ride day for us.  The girls each got wristbands, so they could go on unlimited rides.  I just bought a few tickets for Emmett, as I was sure he'd never ridden anything like that before.  All three girls went with him on the merry-go-round, since I was nervous about what he would do.  He smiled and seemed to understand what was happening.  He did get nervous when I got out of sight though.  After that Linnea went with him on some of the little kid rides.  He loved them all, and begged for more!  Before it was over he rode 1/2 of the grown up rides, squealing and grinning from ear to ear!  Wow!  I ended up buying him a wristband too, because he loved all the rides.  He begged to go on the really crazy ones, but I thought enough was enough for the first time.  For several days after that at home he asked to go back!  ("Mama, let's go, weeeee" with a circular motion in the air.) 
Saturday morning was cat judging.  It's not really a fun place, with 40+ cats in a room that don't want to be there, and are nervous anyway.  Brian decided to stay home with Emmett and Linnea, since an active little boy who squeals whenever he sees a cat really wouldn't help the atmosphere much.  Using google translate, I explained to Emmett that I was leaving for a little while, but Daddy and Linnea would stay with him and I would come back.  He happily waved goodbye.  However, Elena and Brianna forgot some things, so I returned home 1/2 hour later.  This time he cried when I went to leave again!  (A first).  I sat and cuddled him for about 20 minutes, then put him in Brian's arms with one of his favorite milk boxes from China and the ipad, with videos of him swimming in China.  He did fine.  It does show he is attaching well to us though! 
Sunday we had a family over whose son was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  We certainly feel for the family, since we well remember that day for us, over 9 years ago now.  Emmett didn't like sharing his family and home though, and was whiny and throwing fits several times while they were here.  One more thing for him to learn!  In between he did have a good time playing with their little guy, 6 years old. 
The rest of the week has been a little quieter.  Tuesday Emmett had his doctor appointment and received 4 shots.  He wasn't very happy about this.  I really want the shots to have a chance to start working before school starts though.  His leg was sore for a couple days afterwards, so he learned to take medicine.  Apparently medicine in China is very bitter, so he doesn't like it.  He really doesn't like liquid Motrin or Tylenol either though, but would take it with lots of encouragement.  I think he figured out it helped his leg feel better. 
Yesterday we visited his school for the first time.  We had skyped with a native Chinese speaker the night before, so we could explain what we were doing.  He was a little nervous, but seemed to enjoy playing in the classroom and on the playground.  Next Tuesday is open house, and Thursday is a short day for kindergarten, 1 1/2 hours, with only a few kids coming at a time.  His first full day won't be until Sept 6.  I'll go with him, and we'll stay as long as he tolerates.  He says he isn't scared to go as long as I am with him.  I really think he'll quickly get to love school, as he likes to be busy, and really soaks up learning!  There is another little boy in kindergarten (the other class) who was adopted from Vietnam 3 years ago.  I wonder if they will become best friends?
Emmett had another big first this week!  He learned to like ice cream!  We figured it would happen, since Brian and the girls eat lots of ice cream.  Whenever we've been going out for ice cream, both in China and here, I would get him french fries instead, since he loves those.  Well, Thursday afternoon we stopped for ice cream, and he refused his french fries.  He ate a good share of his sisters' cones, so I got him one.  We were amazed!
 Since then he eats Schwan's ice cream bars at bedtime!  He asked for one yesterday morning too, but accepted it when told they are only for bedtime.  Last night he got his own out before being told it was ok, so he definitely understood when it was ok to eat them! 
His english is expanding rapidly!  He comes out with 5-8 new words every day.  We are amazed at all he is learning.
He also had his first haircut this week.  We weren't sure how that was going to go.  We went and watched several men get their hair cut, then I asked Emmett if he wanted to go first, or Daddy.  I expected Brian to go first.  However, Emmett said he wanted to be frist, andhopped up there like a pro.  He is ticklish, so wiggled a little, but really did very well!  Clearly he knew what this was all about. 
Elena went to the dentist yesterday to get some sealants put on her teeth.  I told him where we were going, and he pointed to his teeth.  Clearly he has heard of a dentist before.  He then mimed getting teeth pulled!  I told him that wasn't going to happen to Elena.  He wanted to go in a watch, so we did.  He has his first dental appt in October, to give him a little more time to get acclimated to everything.  In one of our skype calls, I'm going to have someone ask him about his experience with a dentist, if any.  Hmm...
He is sleeping well every night, and doing well with food.  He'll try anything once, which is great!  He doesn't like cheese (no surprise, since they don't eat it over there) or any cheesy, creamy sauces.  He eats all vegies when cooked, loves meat, and eats rice and/or congee daily.  He loves that he can eat whenever he is hungry.  For the first week we wasted a lot of food, as he always wanted a lot of everything, but would fill up.  I think he's learned that there will always be more now, as he only asks for what he can eat.  He learns so fast! 
He continues to love to ride his bike; riding for over 1 1/2 miles Wednesday afternoon!  He enjoys swimming also, especially when it is really warm out.  The girls continue to be excellent big sisters!
All for now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Days at Home

Things are going remarkably well considering all it could be, but jet lag is hard!  Especially with a child who has no idea why he is awake and hungry in the middle of the night!  Anyway, apart from that, we're doing well.  Emmett has adapted very well.  He immediately recognized his own bed, and has slept there every night except the first night we were home.  (He slept with Elena the first night).  He started out waking up at 1:15 for the day, and actually slept until 6:30 this morning!  If he wakes in the night (occasionally once) I just lie down in his room with him for a bit and he goes back to sleep.  He is quickly figuring out what things are ok to play with, and what things to leave alone.  I am amazed at how quickly he is catching on to things!  He learned how to ride a bike Monday morning!  He loves to ride his bike now.  It's been a very busy week, since our county fair is on.  We're been there the last 3 days to turn in projects and get them judged.  He is tolerating that quite well.  He still likes to be carried, so I'm getting stronger arms. 
Brian went back to work Monday am, and Emmett was awake to see him off.  We skyped with my parents shortly afterward, and their visitors explained to him that daddy was going to work, and would be back.  We went to visit Brian at lunch time.  Tuesday am he waved goodbye contentedly, but at lunch time got his shoes on and said, "Let's go."  We can't go to John Deere every day, so we got busy doing something else instead. 
Linnea goes to cello practice every morning, and he minds that worse than Brian going to work.  Today he accepted it and told her goodbye, but previous days he has gotten upset when we leave there without her.  She went to a birthday party Tuesday afternoon, and he didn't want to leave her there either!  He asked for her every 20-30 minutes for the 3 hours she was gone.  When we went to pick her up, he ran across the park screaming her name!  She heard him and came running, and got a big hug.  It was precious to all watching!  Several other parents were amazed, especially knowing Emmett has only been with our family just over 2 weeks. 
He enjoys the swimming pool, and is getting braver.  Soon I'll give him a "learning vest" that he'll wear on his chest to help him float.  So far he clings to us or stays by the steps.  I think he is close to getting enough confidence to strike out a little more on his own with the vest.  He loves to ride the lawn tractor with Brian!  I've told him that only daddy drives the tractor, so he doesn't beg me for rides all day!
He has done very well in meeting so far.  Sunday he kept himself busy and hardly made any noise.  He slept through Tues evening gospel meeting.  He has figured out where the crayons and markers are, and spends some time doing that.  He does enjoy watching his Chinese music DVD's.  I imagine it is comforting to hear his language.  We have skyped twice this week with people who speak his language as natives or very well, and he chats for a bit, then goes off to play, stating, "bye-bye!"  Overall we are quite amazed!  Next week will be calmer, as the fair will be over.  We'll be able to spend most of the time at home, and get more of an idea where he is developmentally and academically.  His gross motor skills are better than I had expected.  He can write his numbers 1-9, and is working on Emmett.  He can write his name in Chinese characters.  He is learning to count backwards by operating the microwave.  He continues to love to push buttons, and quickly learns to operate things.  I was hoping he wouldn't figure out the garage door opener soon, but of course that didn't take long.
Our social worker came for a visit Monday evening.  She was amazed at how attached he is to the family already.  While she was here he decided he was hungry.  He got a bowl out of the dishwasher, the Cheerios out of the pantry, milk out of the frig, and brought it all to the table.  She says it's like he's been here for months already instead of a few days.  We are very lucky!
All for now, thanks for thinking of us!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


This is the third time in the last 4 hours I've started this post!  Hopefully I can complete it, or at least get enough to be worth posting!   Sorry we haven't updated in a while.  The last few days were pretty busy.  Wednesday we hung around the hotel trying to keep occupied until Emmett's visa was ready (4:30pm).  It was raining, so we couldn't be outdoors much.  Previously we've let the kids play in the rain and get soaked, but not such a good idea on the day we are traveling!  Emmett isn't used to being in rain, and goes back and forth between Brian and I under a tree, and the girls out in the rain.  He's pretty open to new experiences though!  Anyway, we managed to while away the time with some new indoor activities, though Emmett doesn't stay doing any one thing very long, until it was time to go.  Thankfully the paperwork was done on time.  We picked it up and headed for the train station, to Hong Kong.  I admit was a little nervous going through immigration, but we sailed through without problems!  Now I feel like he is really ours! 

Emmett had done very well on the airplane and in the van, so we anticipated the train would go well.  Silly us.  He sat for the first 1/2 hour, then was all over the place:  in the aisles, in the seat of the people ahead of us, yelling, etc.  He wasn't mad, just busy!!!  Anyway, we survived.  We took a bus from the train station to the airport, then the hotel shuttle to the hotel.  We didn't arrive at the hotel until 11pm!  Everyone was exhausted!  We all slept well.  We were up Thursday am to take the bus back to the TST area of Kowloon, to meet Shona and Hele.  Emmett is very intrigued that we know people everywhere that know his name and speak his language.  He will be disappointed in the US!

 We had lunch with them, and took the ferry across to Hong Kong Island.  Emmett enjoyed them, being his usual teasing self.  He told Shona that she couldn't go to the bathroom in McDonalds, because there was a dog in it.  When she went anyway, he ran over to Hele and told her that he had fooled Shona.  He keeps life interesting!  Shona and Hele put us on in a bus to the Stanley market, then returned to their usual schedule.  The bus ride to Stanley was interesting!  Very narrow roads, double decker bus, and lots of twists and turns.  Those drivers earn their money!

This was taken from the side window of the middle of the bus!

Saw lots of beautiful scenery!  We wandered around there for a bit, then took a bus back to TST.  We found a children's playground on Middle road (very nice!), and the kids played there for an hour.  Emmett is cautious, but willing to try most anything he sees his sisters do.  They had a blast, and got rid of some energy!  We hit TGI Friday's for supper, then took the bus back to the airport, then shuttle to the hotel.  We need to be on the 7am shuttle to leave in the am, so hit the sack early!

Friday am we were all up and to the airport.  Good thing we were early, as the lines were long!  We finally reached our gate about 10 minutes before boarding!  We anticipated (again, silly us) that Emmett would enjoy the plane ride back to the US because he'd have his own personal screen with movies and games.  He is a big button pusher, and loves all electronics.  However, he wouldn't let anyone help him, and the only thing he could figure out on his own was how to call the stewardess!  Yikes!  All considering he did well, but took the ingenuity of all of us.  He did enjoy the Ipad, and moved from lap to lap checking out what others were playing/watching/doing.  About half way through the flight he settled in Brian's lap and watched a movie with him, sharing the earphones.  He did sleep the last 3 hours, so that helped (out of 15!). 
The flight was one of the more interesting we've been on in a while!  About half way through (7 1/2 hours into it) the flight attendants paged "all medical personnel to the front please."  That's a good way to raise my blood pressure when I know we're over the ocean near Russia and have nowhere to land.  Anyway, a man had collapsed in the bathroom and was lying on the floor passed out.  A cardiologist and I responded.  (Boy was I glad to see him!).  The man's blood pressure was really low, and as soon as we got him flat on the floor with his legs elevated his BP came up and he started talking.  To make a long story short, sounds like he was dehydrated.  We kept him on the floor for a while, made him drink lots, and finally put him in his seat (with help) in first class, which has seats that lay flat.  We told him to drink more, and not to get up without help.  We had a big discussion with the crew about whether we needed to divert anywhere, and decided for many reasons that he would be ok.  (This all took about 45 minutes).  We went back to our seats.  Emmett was glad to see me (he wasn't sure what to think when i disappeared so quickly).  He grabbed my hand, and clearly wanted to go with me somewhere.  I'm sure he thought I had discovered something fun to do.  So, we walked up and down the airplane some, though he was clearly hoping for more.  Anyway, we headed back to our seats.
About an hour later, here came the same page again.  It was the same man, who collapsed again after walking to the bathroom by himself.   This time we kept him on the floor, and instructed him not to get up!  When he needed the restroom again the flight attendant came to get me, and I made him crawl there and back.  Doing that, his blood pressure stayed stable and he didn't pass out.  Whew!!!  About an hour later they came and got me again.  He crawled to the bathroom, but opened the bathroom door standing up, and collapsed into the flight attendant's arms.  I was right there, so we got him on the floor again.  This time, the medical advisers from the ground wanted an IV in him.  Thankfully we were only 1 1/2 hours from Detroit at this point, or we would have had to land elsewhere.  Anyway, I stayed with him for a while, monitoring the IV, and went back to the family for landing.  Brian and the kids did really well with me disappearing for long lengths of time.  The EMS met the plane, and took the man off first.  They asked me and the doctor to talk to the EMS, as well as give a written report.  So we did this while everyone else waited.  Finally we got off, and were able to go through customs immigration (2 different places for us and Emmett), security again, and barely make our plane to Madison.  Boy were we glad to be home last night!  Needless to say, every one's sleep schedule is all confused!  Emmett got up at 1:15 this am, so we're all up except Brian.  Started laundry, etc.  I'll probably post less frequently now, but will keep you updated on his progress at home.  Thanks for following our journey! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Consulate visit

We had our appointment at the American Consulate this morning.  After a passport check and security screening, we were admitted to the area that processes adoptions and other American citizen matters.  There were about 15 adoptive families there.  We all jointly took an oath that all of our paperwork was correct, then were called up one family at a time to go over all the paperwork one last time, sign our immigration form for Emmett, and finalize everything.  Now we just wait for his visa to be issued, hopefully tomorrow, so we can start our journey homeward!  We are planning to take the train to Hong Kong tomorrow evening, spend a day there, and head home Friday.  For some reason the plane tickets home were much more expensive on Thursday than Friday.  We will be meeting up with some people in Hong Kong, so will enjoy our time there I'm sure. 
We ate lunch at Starbucks today.  Emmett wasn't too impressed with the offerings there, but did eat 1/2 of a chicken ceasar wrap.  We went swimming this afternoon, even in the rain.  We were able to be in the pool about an hour, but had to get out when it started thundering.  Later this afternoon we explored the hotel more, and found a play area with a slide and a couple of swings.  The area (rooftop) also has a pond with a bridge, some fish, and a waterfall.  It was a peaceful place to be for an hour or so.  Emmett enjoys swinging and sliding.  He will enjoy our backyard!  He is learning more english, and more about our family.  We were throwing pool toys in the pool this afternoon, which was a blast.  Then I made motorboat noises as we went to get them.  However, he threw his silly putty in the pond this afternoon, and it sank.  Bye-bye silly putty!  We just told him it was gone, and he accepted that.  He is testing boundaries, but rarely in a defiant way.  He'll start something he isn't sure about doing, and will look at me out of the corner of his eye to see my reaction.  If I shake my head no, he'll usually stop after a minute or two.  He was defiant once in the pool a couple days ago, trying to get into the deep end.  I know he didn't understand it was deep there, as the rest of us went there, but he scared us.  He went there again, in spite of my "no", so got a "time-in."  Kids from orphanages are frequently left along for punishment or just because, so time-outs aren't recommended.  The message is to be that the activity isn't appropriate, but the child isn't being rejected.  So, I got him out of the pool and held him on my lap for a few minutes.  He didn't like that much, trying to pinch and wiggle away.  After a few minutes I let him go, pointed at the shallow end, and he went that way.  We never had a problem again!  I had someone explain to him later that it was too deep in that end, and mommy and daddy couldn't keep him up there.  He really is a very reasonable kid!  We are very pleased that he is our son! 
Currently all the kids are playing hide and seek in the hotel room again.  Dad plays too at times, but I only get called of there is a problem!  Apparently he has figured out who the disciplinarian is, as I am the one he asks about things or tattles to.  Interesting!  (Not that Brian doesn't discipline, just seems like it is me more often.)  Goodnight all... though it is early morning for you.  3 more days!

Monday, August 8, 2011


We started our day (after breakfast) by taking a bus to Shamian island, where the medical clinic is.  That place was insane today!  Thankfully, we didn't have to be there long.  There was a huge line at the TB room, but it isn't the Chinese way to patiently stand in line and wait their turn.  We let our guides push us to the front, and were out of there in a few minutes.  Jeanette and Michelle were along with us.  Shamian island has quite a bit of green space to run in, lots of statues, and many shops and restaurants.  We picked up some clothes for Emmett, and a couple things for the girls.  We bought Emmett a native outfit that we will get photos taken in, then keep for him always.  We had a nice morning just wandering and shopping.  It definitely is steamy here! 

We had a quick lunch at a deli, then returned to our hotel.  The ladies and the grandparents had a rest then went out for coffee.  We took our tribe to a local park.  It is just down the street from the hotel.  However, you have to cross under the street to get there.  That sounds pretty intuitive, but if you think so you haven't traveled in China.  We experienced the same thing in Nanjing.  There is a whole separate world below the streets!  It's a complete maze down there!  We came up 4 different places before finally getting the one we needed to get to the park!  It was cooling down in anticipation of the coming rain, so wasn't a bad walk.  There were statues of bighorn sheep, which intrigued Emmett.  We watched a little Chinese girl getting her photo taken.  She was posing in a way that inspired imitation.  We let our 4 take turns going out on the rock she was standing on in the water, and getting their photos taken.  Emmett is a ham!  It started raining while we were in the park.  Emmett is clearly not used to being out in the rain.  He drags us under a tree or something else close by.  His sisters love to play in the rain though, and he can't quite figure that out.  He would go out with them in the rain, then return to us in shelter; back and forth several times.  In the end he was as wet as they were!  We arrived back at the hotel dripping wet, but happy.  The kids all showered, and Emmett hopped in the tub.  I had brought some small water squirter toys, that were a big hit in the tub!  He played in there for an hour!

For supper last night we took the metro 2 stops (again a different experience that in the US.  Once you find the metro and figure out which train you need; no problem.  We came out to a large shopping area with many restaurants.  We ate Cantonese food for supper, which was very good.  We shopped for some more clothes for Emmett.  I didn't bring much, because we didn't know what size he would be.  We also bought a computer program for Chinese kids to learn English, and some CD's of songs in Chinese, and stories in Chinese and English.  Emmett loves music!  Grandma has some children's songs on her ipod on Mandarin, and he loves that!  It was an interesting day!  We learned more about Emmett's fear of police.  We must have been in the underground at shift change during the afternoon, as we saw many groups of police moving around.  Each time Emmett would come running up to me and want to be held.  He would whisper in my ear something (clearly about he police), and let me carry him for a while (unusual).  This occurred several times.  Last night when we were walking around we saw an armored car with guards holding machine guns.  The poor little guy just about came apart!  He had a terrified expression on his face, turned pale, and was visibly shaking!  We gave him lots of hugs, and Michelle tried to reassure him.  He kept asking who the man with the gun was going to shoot, whither he would shoot a "good man" or not.  Michelle tried to explain he was guarding money, but I'm not sure how much of that he understood.  It was very sad to see him so scared!  Hopefully we can decrease that fear as time goes on.  All for now; kids are up ready for breakfast!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another day!

We had a great day today!  This morning after breakfast we had a gathering in our room, which was very special.  The theme was adoption and family, and was very meaningful!  One of the teachers here explained to Emmett that we were going to have a class, and he needed to sit quietly like his sisters.  Up until now he hasn't sat unless on the airplane, and isn't quiet unless asleep.  However, he nodded and agreed, and played quietly with some new toys while we had our time together.  We were all so impressed!  We wandered out for lunch, but it was beastly hot!  We enjoyed an afternoon at the pool, a quiet supper with all in our room, and went to McDonalds for ice cream before bed.  Emmett doesn't like anything cold, so refuses to try ice cream.  He does love french fries though, so that was his treat! 
We are learning more about his personality every day!  He and Brian, Michelle, and the kids played hide and seek today.  It was cute!  He was really into it, telling Michelle that a "ghost" was hiding, and going to get him.  We got out his adoption book to show Jeanette, and she went though it with him again.  She asked about going to school, and he told her he was scared.  Our friend in Nanjing had talked about it with him, and he told her "school was bad, and I'm not going;" but had refused to say more.  Today he told Michelle that he had been told if he didn't behave at school the police would come and get him, so he was scared of school.  We told him that in our country the police don't do that, and he wanted to know why it was different.  I couldn't tell him why, just that it wasn't the same.  I'm not sure he really believed me!  He continued to say he was scared of school, so I told him (through Michelle) that I would go to school with him for a while until he felt safe.  I already have permission from the school to do this, so that was a safe promise.  We are very grateful to know why he doesn't want to go to school, and to be able to share with him that it is different in our country.  I will share that information with the school as well, and talk to our DARE officer.  We are just scratching the surface learning about him!  This will be so much easier when we speak the same language!  He is picking up English words very quickly!  His favorite currently is "let's go."  He knows that means we are leaving, and loves to go places!  He has learned, "oops, uh-oh, shoes, bye-bye, hello, OK, good morning, mommy, banana (usually means Brianna), gentle" and some others I've forgotten.  We've also learned some mandarin words and phrases.  He loves to swim, so we've learned that one.  He loves airplanes as well, so we all know how to say that!  He lights up when he sees his swim suit!  He also loves to sing.  Michelle, Jeanette, and grandma have been singing some children's songs in Mandarin with him.  He knows quite a few of them!  He was playing pretend this afternoon, and lined his sisters up in front of the dresser in grandma and grandpa's room, and used his small flashlight for a candle.  He sang happy birthday in Mandarin, which we recognized, as it is the same tune, then surprised us all and sang it in English!  He is a very bright little boy!  He still loves his "baba" best (Brian), but doesn't reject any of us.   
Tomorrow we go back to the medical office to get his TB test read, then get to spend a few hours with all of us on Shamian island.  It looks like a fun place to explore!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Moving on to Guangzhou

Thursday after our orphanage visit a friend from Iowa came to our hotel.  She has been in China for many years teaching.  She speaks the language fluently.  Needless to say, Emmett was intrigued by this American lady that could speak his language so well!  Through her we learned more about his personality.  He is a big tease!  He was teasing her at various times about the food she was eating, things she was saying, etc.  His expression was definitely mischievous, but we didn't know what he was saying.  He notices everything!  He is also a big caretaker.  He won't eat until everyone else has food.  When offered a snack, he will offer some to everyone else first.  He continues to be active, but is settling down a little more every day.
Friday afternoon we flew from Nanjing to Guangzhou, where the American consulate is.  I was nervous about his first plane ride, as he doesn't sit still very long at a time!  There are no seat belts here, so when we are driving in the van he is free to roam and change seats.  I had the guide explain to him that he needed to sit in his chair on the airplane, and he nodded his head.  He was very excited to see all the airplanes at the airport, and watched contentedly out the window for a while as we waited for our flight.  Some airport workers were interested in him, and asking him many questions.  We of course didn't understand any of this, but were watching.  At one point he pointed to me and said, "Mama" and to Brian, "Baba."  Finally he got out his adoption book (book of photos we had sent ahead of time with our family information) and showed it to them.  Wish I knew exactly what was said!  When the airplane took off he was so excited; he was grinning from ear to ear!  He very much enjoyed the plane ride! 

This morning we went for his medical exam to get his visa to enter the USA.  Prior to that we had to get another photo taken.  While we waited for the photos to develop, we looked around the store.  He went to the toy shelf and started loading up his arms with trains and airplanes.  I told him "one," in Chinese, and he looked at me very sadly, and said, "Jiejie."  That means older sister.  He had 4 trains in his hands, and wanted one for him and one for each sister!  I felt so bad!  Needless to say, we bought 4 trains! 
The medical exam went pretty well.  It wasn't too busy when we got there, but was crazy full of people by the time we left.  We were sure glad we went early!  The doctor wasn't very gentle with him, but he handled it fairly well.  Brian was able to hold him the whole time.  He didn't need any shots, just a TB test. 

Now we are back at our hotel.  We are very privileged to have a friend from China that we met in Chengdu last summer come and spent a few days with us!  She has helped us learn more about Emmett as well.  I'm  heading off to a paperwork meeting with our adoption agency staff, so this will be it for now.  Greetings to all!  Thanks for following along on our journey!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Orphanage visit

Well, today was quite a day!  Emmett woke up at 5:15 am, so our day started early!  (He now knows he has two names, Emmett and Haixing, and he said it is fine).  After breakfast we met our guide in the lobby, and drove to the orphanage.  It took about 1 1/2 hours.  We were able to see more Chinese countryside than I've ever seen before.  It is very lush and green here, though still very smoggy.  Our guide explained to Emmett before we left that we were just going to visit and bring gifts for his friends, but that he was going to come home with us.  He nodded his head.  When we got there, he was smiling and pointing to everything.  The director greeted us at the door, and lead us up to her office.  Emmett did look a little nervous when she told him to follow her.  He grabbed his sisters' hands and turned around to make sure we were following him.  They had a snack of watermelon and grapes prepared for us.  We visited there with the orphanage director and a director of a different part of the institution.  The Social Welfare Institute has buildings for orphans, the disabled, and a nursing home.  Haixing gave both directors kisses.  Director Zhang told Haixing to show us around.  We first went up the third floor, where several nannies were waiting to greet him.  They came out of a room where roughly 20 older infants/toddlers were laying on the floor.  One was sitting up.  Likely some were special needs.  Only one was crying, but there was nothing for stimulation.  It was difficult to see.  The whole place was spotlessly clean though!  After visiting with the nannies for a bit, Emmett showed us his bed, which is a crib in a room that is a sea of cribs.  Hard to believe he still slept in a crib at 5!  We finished our tour by going to the first floor, to what appeared to be a school room.  We know Emmett was walked to a public school every day, so we are guessing the children here didn't go to school.  They were all special needs kids.  When we were there they were eating lunch.  Emmett quickly pointed out his 2 best friends, and wanted to take a photo of them.  The director said we couldn't take photos in there, so he took them out in the hall for a photo.  He handed fruit snacks around to all.  We had brought several gifts to the orphanage, diapers, formula, toys, a few clothes, and some drink boxes.  Emmett went with the nannies to unload those gifts, and was very happy to give them to his former home. 
We then had lunch in the VIP dining room.  It was very nice, and much more food than 20 people could eat!  I ate octopus for the first time.  Small ones with heads still on(!).  The food was delicious, and Emmett ate a huge amount.  The director seated herself next to him, and continued offering him food and feeding him throughout the meal.  I could tell she was making the most out of her last meal with Haixing!  Many people stopped in to say hello.  We heard many times that he was the orphanage favorite!  When it was time to go our guide asked him if he had anything to say to the director.  He said, "Goodbye, see you later."  As we got in the van he blew her a kiss and left smiling.  It was very touching that he trusts us already!  It was a great experince, though very emotional for the parents and grandparents!
A few of the nannys that  cared for Emmett Haixing

Emmett Haixing showed us his bed

Emmett Haixing took this picture of his two best friends

The entrance to the building where he lived

Emmett took this picture of Director Zhang

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting to know our son

We are very greatful for our girls especially these last couple of days.  We have a very high energy son, who is also very full of nervous energy currently (appropriately, as his whole world has been rocked), and keeps us busy.  He loves his sisters, and they take turns keeping up with him.  He loves to swim, so we've been in the pool every day.  We appreciate grandma and grandpa also; who are taking photos and video of this experience.  You can thank them too, as you wouldn't have many pictures to look at without them!  Haixing is enjoying them too, but clearly knows who his parents are. 

We toured a park and lake yesterday morning, which was great!  We need to keep Haixing busy!  It was a very nice day; relatively cool, and the park was beautiful!  We went for a boat ride.  We're learning that we have a mechanical son!  He quickly learned how to turn the motor on and off, and put it in reverse! 
We brought matching AOPA hats for Emmett and baba (dad), and brought them out last night.  Emmett seems to like his, and immediately saluted and went through some military moves!  It was cute!  We're wondering where he learned that, and what he is thinking! 

Today we go visit his orphanage, to bring some gifts and get some insight into his life before us.  It should be an interesting expericence!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Emmett is officially a Lerwick today!

Emmett slept pretty well last night.  He woke up once in the night, and was able to communicate that he needed the bathroom.  Our first night with a 5 year old we just met, who doesn't speak our languange, actually went better than I thought.  He had fun playing with thegirls, but settled down well at bedtime.  He ate well at breakfast this morning, experimenting with different types of food.  He doesn't seem to be a picky eater at all! 

At 9:30 we left for the office of foreign adoptions to finalize the adoption.  He was a little nervous when we arrived there; I'm sure he had some mixed feelings from yesterday at the same office.  He played with his sisters while Brian and I were interviewed and did the final paperwork.  Then the orphanage director came to give us some final paperwork we needed from them.  We were wondering how it would go when he saw her again.  He hardly even looked at her, and returned to playing with the girls.  She wanted a hug when she left, but it was a one-sided hug.  He wanted to be with us!  It was difficult for her, but wonderful for us!

We will go visit the orphanage on Thursday, and will get to have lunch there!  Tomorrow we will go to a local lake with a park for some local culture and exercise!  Emmett Haixing is a very energetic little boy!  Our guide, Nancy, has been a huge help to us!  She will be with us every day until we leave for Guangzhou. 

After lunch, we headed for the pool.  This was a new experience for Emmett Haixing!  The director told us he had never been in a pool before.  He was very concerned about getting his trunks wet and when he saw baba get his wet, he decided it was ok.  The water was cool so it took him a while to adjust.  His favorite thing to do was splash his sisters!  When it was time to get out he was suprised at the water draining out of his trunks and that became a game to do over and over again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A family of 6

 Emmett Haixing is ours!  He and his nanny and orphanage director were waiting for us at the office handling foreign adoptions when we arrived at 3pm.  We were standing outside the glass door just looking at him, when he looked up and saw us.  His face lit up!  It was very precious!  He had his photo book we had made for him, and most things we have sent!  He brought out his book and looked at the photos with us.  Brian and the girls played with him with a model airplane we brought along (same as Brian's real airplane), while I talked to the nanny and the orphanage director. 

That was my big chance to find out as much possible about our new son!  Emmett was quiet at times, but mostly bubbly and interactive with the kids especially!  There was another couple there meeting their son for the first time, who is a year younger than Emmett.  Their son was very quiet and not interacting at all.  We were very happy for our energetic outgoing son!  We had a family photo taken for the Chinese adoption record, then the nanny and orphanage director said their goodbyes.  We could clearly see they were attached to him, and he to them.  He cried and got very upset when they left.  He tried to run after them.  Brian picked him up and held him.  Thankfully we were done with paperwork, so could leave quickly.  He sat between Brian and Brianna in the van on the way back to the hotel.  He was pretty sober at first, but started playing with stickers some.  When we returned to the hotel he was more settled, walking to the elevator holding his sisters' hands.  Within an hour he was playing with the girls and giggling.  Those giggles are priceless to us!  We had our first supper together, and learned he isn't picky and enjoys eating!!! 

We went for a walk after supper, and got lots of stares.  Some people seemed to understand what was happening, and smiled; others just looked puzzled.  Now we are heading to bed.  We'll see how that goes!  Overall this day has gone very well!!!!  

Anxious Waiting......

One more hour before going to the Civil Affairs office to meet Emmett in person! Everyone is excited but deep down there is fear and anxiety.

Most everyone was able to sleep in this morning and a big breakfast.  The food was presented at many different islands so everytime we went back for something, someone found something the others hadn't seen.  By Saturday we will have it all figured out!

The girls wanted to swim and we were told the pool was in the basement.  When we took the elevator to the basement, we found a man sleeping on a couch and he quickly told us the pool wasn't  open.  Reception told us it would open at 2pm.  Maury went down another way and asked  in the lobby where the pool was and the assistant manager told him she would have someone open it up for us.  The girls had a great time swimming and were able to burn off some extra energy.

Interesting signs at the pool!

We met our Nanjing guide (also named Nancy) for a quick tour of the neighborhood where we found a grocery store and a bank.  Nancy pointed out where the Pizza Hut and Starbucks were located!

Brianna and Linnea passing the time with the iPad