Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wednesday, July 1 - The Amazing Indoor Playground

Sarah called us in our hotel room yesterday afternoon to see how we were doing and if we needed anything and she asked if we'd like to do anything this morning because she was free and would have use of a van since all the other families have already left or are getting ready to leave.  I said, "sure!" because we figured anything would give us something to do and get us out of the hotel for awhile.  She asked if we wanted to try to find a playground or something for TongJie, and if we wanted one that was indoors, so that sounded even better.  So, this morning we met her at 9:30 in the hotel lobby and we went in a van to a mall here in Guangzhou that has an amazing kids' area.  It was like a kid's dream come true, especially for TongJie, who has been kind of cooped up in hotels for the past week or so.  There were big huge slides, trampolines, a ball area where you could shoot foam balls out of cannons, lots of climbing structures, and just all sorts of cool stuff.  TongJie loved it!  Ezekiel was not fond of the bright lights and loud noises, and he didn't really want to get down and try to walk, so me and Jeff took turns holding him in an area that was not as bright.  He did enjoy bouncing on the trampoline a little bit in our arms, so we did that with him when there weren't other kids on the trampoline.  It was a very fun morning!

We got back to our hotel room around noon and had oatmeal for lunch and I put Ezekiel down for a nap.  It's nice that our hotel room has a living area and then a bedroom and bathroom that can be closed off with a door.  That makes it nice for when Ezekiel is sleeping and the rest of us want to be up doing stuff.  He's a pretty sound sleeper too, which is also nice.  TongJie and Jeff were going to go do something, but TongJie fell asleep on the floor in the living room.  He must be worn out from all that playing and climbing this morning!

There is another family that is here now that we haven't met yet.  They have their consulate appointment next week like we do, so we'll get to spend time with them.  We will meet them tomorrow.  They are here in Guangzhou already because their child is from this province (Guangdong Province) so they will be here the whole time, instead of spending the first part of their stay in another city like we did in Jinan.  We were originally scheduled to have Ezekiel's medical exam on Saturday, but Sarah said we can just go ahead and do it tomorrow since the clinic won't be as busy on a Thursday and the other family will be ready tomorrow so we can all go together.

After the boys wake up, we're going back to the Trust Mart because we need more baby formula.  We're going through it faster than I expected, since that's all Ezekiel is eating (well, with rice cereal mixed in).  We'll probably go swimming again too, and then find something to eat for dinner.  Eating at restaurants is starting to get old, but so is eating soup and oatmeal in our hotel room.  It will be nice to be able to prepare and cook our own meals when we get home.  We went to that same noodle place again last night and I just got one vegetable roll, Jeff got the same thing, and we got a different kind of noodle soup for TongJie.  It was about $5 in US money, and it was a lot of food.  We can't get a meal for all of us for $5 at home, even at a restaurant like McDonald's, and this food was way better than McDonald's.  So, even eating at restaurants isn't that bad I guess.

We have nine more days here after today, so we're over halfway done!  I thought I'd be feeling a lot more stressed and anxious to get home by this point, but so far it's going pretty well.  We'll see how we're feeling after a few more days though, ha ha.  Having been here before has really helped us this time around.  We know more of what to expect in China and with the adoption process, plus this time around we're not brand new parents.  Having TongJie with us is making it a lot easier too in many ways, and definitely a lot more fun!  I can't imagine how anxious I'd be feeling right now if we had had to leave him at home.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tuesday, June 30 - A day with nothing to do

All the other Wacap families had their visa appointments at the consulate this morning, except for the one family that already had theirs yesterday and are getting ready to leave tomorrow.  So we're on our own today, and probably will be for the next few days.  That just means there's no outings with the guides, but we can still go out and do whatever we want.  It's a little limiting though when the weather is so hot, we don't know our way around that well, we don't speak the language, and we have a child who doesn't do well in the sun!  We're still having fun though.  The last couple of mornings we've had breakfast in the outside seating area and that has worked much better since we're usually the only ones out there and it's a lot more open for one of us to walk around with Ezekiel.  It's better than feeling like we're bothering people when Ezekiel gets fussy, plus the weather is nice when we're there before 7:00 and TongJie likes to be able to see the koi fish pond.  We went for a walk this morning and got drenched in sweat, and then went to the swimming pool.  

Yesterday evening we went to the outdoor play area that's here at our hotel next to the swimming pool.  It was really hot but TongJie still played on the little playground.  His hair was so sweaty it literally looked like he had just taken a bath.  Unfortunately, Ezekiel hates being in the stroller that we checked out from the hotel, but TongJie likes going in it.  I don't think the first few car trips are going to be fun with having to strap Ezekiel into a car seat.

We have been sad to hear about the fires back home in Wenatchee.  My parents have been keeping us updated, but it's hard to be away from home when we know that some of our friends are being affected by all of this.  We hope everyone is staying safe!

Monday, June 29 - a few more photos

We can see the swimming pool from our window, so I took a picture of Jeff and TongJie when they were down there one time, plus a few other photos of things we've been up to.

Monday, June 29 - Shamian Island

We went to Shamian Island this morning with the other families and our guide Elsie.  It's not technically an island, but is separated from the main part of Guanzhou by a canal.  It is a tourist attraction because the buildings are European influenced, so it looks a lot different than most of what we've been seeing.  There are a lot of little shops to buy souvenirs, so we did some shopping, but we also spent a lot of time at the playground there.  It was hot, of course, but TongJie still had fun playing and Ezekiel walked around a little, holding one of our hands.  He still hates his sunglasses, but he will sometimes tolerate a hat without too much crying.  We don't really have a choice with the hat - crying or no crying, he has to wear it if we're in the sun since we can't put sunscreen on the top of his head.  Sunglasses are more for his comfort, so if he doesn't want to wear them we don't worry about it.  We got back to our room around 1:00 and Ezekiel has been napping.

Yesterday afternoon, we all went to the pool and it was really fun.  We'll probably be going every day.  Even Ezekiel was okay with being in the water with one of us holding him.  He did not want to walk in the kiddie pool though.  The pool is an outdoor pool but it's completely shaded by the tall buildings much of the time.  We can see the pool from our window, so we can just look out to see how crowded it is and how much of it is in the shade.  After swimming, we walked around to find somewhere for dinner.  We've eaten at KFC two times since we've been in China, and Pizza Hut once (not too bad, since we've been here a week now), and we didn't really want to eat fast food but we didn't know how to find local places that would be good or where we could figure out how to order.  As we were walking, we passed by a little noodle place and decided to stop there to see if they had a menu with pictures we could point to.  They gave us a menu, and Jeff found some beef noodles, TongJie wanted noodle soup so we got him a noodle soup with won tons, and I saw something that said vegetable roll that I wanted to try.  The vegetable roll was only 6 yuan, which is like 1 US dollar, so we decided to order two of those because we figured they must be pretty small.  It was only the equivalent of about 7 US dollars for our whole meal, and it ended up being a lot of food!  The vegetable rolls were huge, so we should have just got one!  It was really good though, so I guess we did pretty well with finding a place to eat, and we'll probably go back there again.  We managed to eat most of the vegetable rolls between the three of us, and TongJie loved his soup but it was way too much.  Luckily we had an empty container with a lid, so we put the rest of the noodles in there and took them back to our room, ha ha.  Ezekiel is very different than TongJie was with eating - TongJie loved everything, and still does for the most part.  Ezekiel only wants to drink formula from his bottle.  Luckily, the orphanage gave us a bottle, and we've been using it pretty much all the time (washing it in boiling water in between uses), because he doesn't even like the bottles that we brought from home.  We've been trying to get him to eat other stuff, but I don't think he was really exposed to it and he is not interested at all.  We've had some success with Gerber Puffs, but that doesn't really help him much nutritionally.  So we've just been giving him lots of bottles of formula and mixing rice cereal in.  Sometimes we've also added some apple juice (we can't find prune or pear juice here) because he has been constipated a little bit, a problem that TongJie has never had.  We keep trying with the food (soft, mashed fruits, egg, rice, noodles, yogurt, anything we can think of . . .) but he is not at all interested.  He's obviously not under fed, so we're not too worried about it.  Speaking of Ezekiel not being underfed, he is a big baby, as you may be able to tell from the pictures!  He is 16 months old and weighs about 23 pounds, so I guess that's pretty average by US standards, but for a baby from an orphanage in China, it seemed big to us!  Some of the people have been telling us that people from the Shandong Province are generally taller than the average in China, so I guess that might be part of it.  Our guide Cindy in Jinan told me that TongJie is smaller "because he's from the south' - she said it like it was common knowledge, but I'd never heard that before.

Over the next couple of days, all the other Wacap families that we met here will be leaving.  The one family with the daughter from the same orphanage as Ezekiel had their visa appointment at the consulate this morning, and the other three families have theirs tomorrow morning.  Ours is July 7, so we still have a week before our appointment.  After the consulate appointment, the child's visa is supposed to be ready the following afternoon/evening, and then the family can leave.  However, there have been some delays recently due to issues with the visa system (I believe it's worldwide, not just in China), so they have been recommending that families stay an extra day beyond what they normally would, just in case the visa isn't ready.  That's why we're not scheduled to leave till July 10.  The guides have said that everyone has gotten their visas on schedule the last two weeks, so we're hoping it continues that way!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sunday, June 28 - At the Museum

We met up with four other families from Wacap (our adoption agency) that are here in Guangzhou for their visa appointments this week.  We went in a bus, with our guide Elsie, to a museum from 9:30 to about noon.  One of the families has a daughter that they adopted from the same orphanage as Ezekiel, so it was fun to meet them in person!  I'd already talked to them on a Facebook group, so it sort of felt like we knew each other already.  They have been here in China since June 12, so they are really ready to go home later this week!  They're in the same boat as us, like I talked about yesterday, with needing to stay longer for the passport processing.  The other three families have been in China for about a week (since about the same time that we got here) but they will be leaving this week.  So we'll probably get to tag along with any sightseeing excursions that are going on first with this group, and then next week there will be a new group of families from Wacap that we can tag along with.  Anyway, we went to the museum and it was actually pretty fun.  It's fun to have TongJie along, especially since he's old enough now to be interested in stuff like that.  We saw the historical part of the museum first, and that was pretty neat.  TongJie was sure that there would be trains at this museum, but I kept telling him I didn't think we would see any.  We did not see any trains, but there was one old photograph that had train tracks in it, so that was enough to make him happy.  Next we went to the natural science part of the museum and that was really cool.  TongJie was wishing that his cousin Levi was there because Levi is really into animals and rocks and things and there were lots of cool displays.  By the time we got through that section, it was getting close to lunch time and many of the kids (including Ezekiel) were beginning to lose it.  We took a little break so kids could go to the bathroom and get snacks, and then went on to the pottery section, which may have been neat if Ezekiel wasn't crying and everybody wasn't tired and hungry, but as it was, we could have done without seeing the pottery.  Both TongJie and Ezekiel fell asleep on the way back to the hotel, then we put Ezekiel into his crib for a nap and the rest of us had lunch and TongJie is playing more or less quietly.  We're planning to go to the good old Trust Mart (kind of like Walmart) in a little while, and then go swimming with all of us together.  TongJie and Jeff checked out the pool already this morning before our museum excursion and they said it's really fun!  Jeff says it's way more kid-friendly than the pool at our last hotel, so I'm predicting we'll probably be spending a lot of time there over the next several days.

Saturday, June 27 - Made it to Guangzhou

Today was another long day!  We checked out of our hotel at 9:40 and rode in a van to the Jinan airport, checked our baggage, went through security, and waited for a long time . . . our flight was delayed, so we had to wait about an hour longer to board.  The kids were getting very restless by the time we got on the plane, but they both did really well on the flight, so that's an encouraging sign for our long flight home in a couple weeks.  Ezekiel actually slept most of the way and TongJie played with his cars most of the time.  The flight was only 2.5 hours so it wasn't bad, plus we got a meal.  I'm not sure if it was lunch or dinner, it was right in between.  We got off the plane in Guangzhou and were greeted with uncomfortably hot weather.  It was also sunny, which we haven't seen since we left Wenatchee.  After we got our bags, we met up with our guide for Guangzhou, who turned out to be the same guide we had last time, Sarah.  On our itinerary, it said we'd have someone else, but we were pleasantly surprised to see Sarah.  We will actually have Sarah and Elsie, who we also had last time.  Sarah remembered us right away.  Actually, she already knew it was us because she had recognized our names.  I think she remembered TongJie mostly, and she said as soon as she saw him she could tell it was him because he still has the same eyes.  By the time we got checked in to our hotel it was 5:30, so we spent the evening unpacking our stuff (we're going to be here awhile!) and eating dinner in our room.  TongJie was exhausted and went to be really early.  I layed down with him on the bed until he fell asleep around 7:00.  Then we got Ezekiel to bed and he was asleep by 8:00.  TongJie is excited for the swimming pool here, so we'll check it out tomorrow afternoon or evening.  We're going on a sightseeing excursion at 9:30 tomorrow morning with some other families from Wacap.  I think it's to some museum, but we're just looking forward to seeing other families - Sarah said it will be inside, so that will be good for Ezekiel.  We were the only family in Jinan, and here in Guangzhou we're in kind of a unique situation because we're going to be here for such a long time.  The other families who are here right now are going to be finishing up their adoption processes at the beginning of the week and then going home midweek or so, but we're staying till July 10.  The reason that we're here for such a long time is because the province that Ezekiel is from, the Shandong Province, has different rules about applying for passports and it takes longer to get a passport.  Most of the orphanages in the Shandong Province have been willing to take the child and pre-apply for the passport so it's ready for the family when they get there, but the orphanage in Liaocheng has not been willing to do that, maybe because they don't have enough staff to be able to, we don't really know why.  Anyway, it just means that we have several extra days of just waiting for Ezekiel's passport, since we can't apply for his visa until he has a passport.  When we were here three years ago, we were in China for just under two weeks total, and that included a day and a half of sightseeing in Beijing before we even went to TongJie's province.  This time, we'll be here for almost three weeks, which seems significantly longer, especially when you're in a foreign country with a new child.  :)

Ezekiel has started to show a little interest in walking while holding someone's hand.  At first, he just was not interested at all, but now that he's getting to know us a little better he's getting braver.  He still prefers to crawl.  He does a funny thing where he bats a toy (or any object he can find) out in front of him along the floor and then crawls after it.  We realized that he uses it sort of as a blind person would use a cane, so he can tell if it's a safe place to crawl.  Pretty smart.  If the toy hits something, he knows to be careful because there's something there.  It also tells him if there's a change in the surface of the floor, like if it goes from carpet to wood.  If he doesn't have an object to slide out in front of him, he will usually just sit down and not attempt to crawl anywhere.  I imagine that when he becomes familiar with a place (like our house) he'll probably be a lot more comfortable moving around.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday, June 26 - Daming Lake

Today is our last day in Jinan, then we'll fly down to Guangzhou midday tomorrow for the remainder of our time in China, which is going to be a long time still!  Today has been going much better than yesterday though.  We went to Daming Lake this morning.  It's a lake with a park that goes all the way around the outside of it.  It's really pretty and there's lots to see and do - way more than what we had time for.  There is a small man-made island in the middle of the lake and we went in a boat to the island.  TongJie enjoyed the boat ride a lot!  In the main part of the park (not on the island) there is an amusement park with rides.  We told TongJie he could choose one ride to go on, and he picked a kiddie roller coaster and I went on it with him.  He chose the car that looked like a train engine to ride in, and it was the one right in the front.  He took his job of "driving" the roller coaster very seriously, it was pretty cute!  Ezekiel is not a fan of being outside in the brightness, so he spent the time with Jeff in the front pack.  We lathered him up with sunscreen on all of the parts of him that were exposed and had him wear his hood on his head.  He doesn't like wearing hats or hoods but he kept it on okay.  Unfortunately, he HATES the sunglasses we brought for him, which is too bad because I think they'd make him a lot more comfortable outside.  We'll keep trying every once in awhile, and he may change his mind someday, especially when he gets a little older and can understand better.

We had lunch in our hotel room of packaged soups we brought from home, then later Jeff took TongJie swimming and we thought Ezekiel might nap, but he did not.  He's been great at sleeping so far - much better than TongJie was!  We hope that continues to be a trend :)  Ezekiel has really taken a liking to Jeff.  It's not like he hates me or anything, but he definitely prefers Daddy.  Later we're going to the store to get some more formula and we'll probably try to walk around for a little while.  The weather here in Jinan has been pretty nice - overcast and humid, but not too hot.  Yesterday it rained, but we weren't outside much.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday, June 25 - Civil Affairs Office, and Liaocheng

This was a long and stressful day!  We knew it would be, because we did all this before when we adopted TongJie, so we were prepared for the stress and we did a pretty good job of taking everything in stride I think.  We started at the Civil Affairs Office and completed the formal adoption, so we're now officially the parents of Ezekiel ZeYou!  Then we went to the notary, and then it was time to travel to Liaocheng, which is about an hour and a half away, to apply for Ezekiel's passport.  When we did this with TongJie in 2012, we went from Hangzhou to Wenzhou by train, which was about 4 hours each way, and it was a pretty miserable trip with him crying most of the time on the train.  This time we went in a van, it was a much shorter drive, and Ezekiel slept a lot of the time.  Once at the police station, the passport application process went much smoother than we expected (whew!).  It wasn't too crowded, which was nice, especially when it came time to take Ezekiel's photo.  We knew this was going to be stressful, because we'd heard a lot of "horror stories" from other families who have adopted children from China with albinism.  Apparently many of the passport photo takers in China don't know how to take passport-worthy photos of people that don't have dark hair, because the blond/white hair is reported to be "too bright" and requires a lot of extra attention.  With Ezekiel, the hair didn't seem to present much of an issue, but the difficulty was with getting him looking at the camera with his eyes open.  They must have tried at least 20 photos, with a break in the middle to let some other people get a quick photo taken because a line was beginning to accumulate.  Poor Ezekiel - the light hurts his eyes, and every time he looked, there was a blinding flash right in his eyes, so of course he didn't want to keep opening his eyes and looking.  Also, they were trying to hold things up near the camera to catch his attention, but he can't see that far away, so of course he was not interested.  Finally, Cindy turned on some music on her cell phone and that caught his attention long enough that they could snap an acceptable photo.  We got to go to Ezekiel's orphanage before heading back to Jinan.  It was good to be able to look at the place where Ezekiel spent the beginning of his life.  This orphanage, although clean and tidy, did not seem to be as well-to-do as TongJie's was.  Ezekiel seemed to be in kind of a daze the whole time, so it was hard to tell what he thought about everything.  TongJie had a great time in the orphanage, checking out all the rooms they showed us on the "tour" and playing with the toys.  We had been worried that TongJie might have a difficult time going to the orphanage but it didn't seem to bother him in the least.  He did a pretty good job all day today, until we got back into our hotel room around 6:00 and he finally just kind of lost it - both kids were screaming and crying at the top of their lungs.  TongJie was grieving the loss of being the only child, and Ezekiel was confused and grieving the loss of his only home and family that he's known in his short life so far.  We're hoping it will get better after a few days, but really today wasn't too bad, all things considered. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday, June 24 - Ezekiel Ze You!

This will be quick because we have a lot going on, but I wanted to post a few photos of Ezekiel!  They called him "You You" (pronounced Yo Yo) at the orphanage, so we've been kind of calling him that since it's what he's used to.  He seems to be doing pretty well so far, but we'll see how the next few days go.  TongJie has been great, but it's definitely going to be a big change for him to no longer be the only one. 

Ezekiel has albinism, which means he is albino and lacking the pigment in his skin, eyes, and hair.  That's why he has blond hair.  The orphanage caregivers who brought him told us that they usually keep the children's hair short, but they have been keeping ZeYou's hair long because they want him to look like a foreigner.  I'm posting a few pictures and hopefully will post more soon.  He's super cute!  He is not really walking yet, but crawls a lot and can pull himself up.  He is 16 months old.  Tomorrow we have a long day - we do all the important adoption paperwork at the civil affairs office, and then travel to Liaocheng to apply for his passport and perhaps get a chance to see the orphanage.  It will be about 8:30-5:00 to do all of that stuff Cindy says.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday, June 23 - In Jinan

We checked out of our hotel yesterday at noon and went to the train station.  We met our guide, Cindy, at the train station.  It's nice to have a guide now!  Especially at the train station, since we wouldn't have known where to go to pick up our tickets or anything like that.  Cindy was actually our guide in Beijing when we were here three years ago - she was our guide when we toured the Great Wall and some other sightseeing in Beijing.  After Jeff told her that we remembered her from then, she thought about it for awhile and then said, "Oh yes!  I remember your wife!" (I guess I must be pretty memorable, ha ha!) She thought it was really neat that we brought TongJie, and she kept saying what a good boy he is.  We'll see what she thinks after a few more days with us . . . he really is doing great right now, but we don't know what to expect after we get Ezekiel.  The train station was really crowded and hot, and we had to wait for almost 2 hours for our train.  The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival was just ending, so Cindy said there were more travelers than usual in Beijing because of that.  There was no place to sit down, so we put all of our luggage down and sat on the floor where some other people were sitting on the floor.  We sat there for about 30 minutes until an official from the station came and told everybody they had to stand up.  So we had to stand for the rest of the time.  Poor TongJie was so tired and hot - it was the middle of the night in the US and our bodies still aren't quite adjusted to the time.  He had been looking forward to riding the train for so long, and he just wanted to get on the train - he did a pretty good job of waiting though.  The train ride itself was neat.  The train went almost 300 km/hour (around 180 mph), so it was fun to see everything going by really fast!  Cindy came on the train with us because she is going to be our guide here in Jinan.  She helped us get checked in to our hotel and then we were on our own for the rest of the evening.  Our hotel is really fancy!  We walked to KFC for dinner because it was close by and we could figure out how to order stuff without needing a guide.  Then we came back to our hotel room and it was only 6:00 or so, so we didn't want to go to bed yet (even though we were all exhausted!) so Jeff took TongJie to check out the swimming pool and I stayed in the room.  Jeff said the swimming pool isn't really meant for kids and there was a whole list of things that are prohibited (splashing, jumping, yelling, etc), but TongJie still did a really good job remembering to be quiet even though he was so excited.  You have to wear swimming caps at the pool, which we had known about so we brought some from home.  Jeff said there were also some older ladies there at the pool swimming laps.  Not sure what they thought about a big white guy and a really excited Chinese kid wearing a life jacket, ha ha!  We were all in bed and asleep before 8:00 and we all slept pretty well, so hopefully we're getting adjusted to the time difference by now.

We're supposed to get Ezekiel ZeYou here in our hotel at 2:00 this afternoon.  So, this morning we got up and got ready for the day and then had breakfast at 7:00.  The breakfast buffet is so fancy!  I took a picture of TongJie's breakfast this morning.  Right now, TongJie is watching Chinese cartoons on TV and Jeff is working out in the fitness room.  When Jeff gets back, we're going to walk around and go to a store to get a jug of water.  I've been boiling water in our room and then waiting for it to cool and refilling our water bottles.  We're so excited to get Ezekiel, and also nervous.  We're really wondering how TongJie will do over the next few days and weeks with becoming a big brother.  We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers, especially for TongJie's little heart right now, and for Ezekiel too, of course!  We'll post pictures when we can of us getting Ezekiel.  The pictures right now are of TongJie's breakfast, my dinner last night at KFC, and a couple from the train.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A walk in Beijing

We have some extra time before we have to get ready to go to the train station, so I figured I could post some pictures of Beijing while we're waiting.  TongJie is watching Chinese cartoons on TV in our hotel room right now.  We had breakfast this morning, and TongJie was so impressed that they had rice and noodles for breakfast!  He had noodle soup, rice, a tea egg (he's had tea eggs before at Chinese new year and loves them - they're hard boiled eggs soaked in soy sauce), a spring roll, and fruit.  Afterwards, he said that the fruit was his favorite :) 

In our hotel is a display case outside of a gift shop, and there was a large stuffed panda on display.  TongJie has a favorite stuffed animal that is a panda he named "Sister," I think after Sister Bear from the Berenstain Bears.  Anyway, when he saw the large panda in the display case, he immediately wanted to go up to our room to get Sister so she could meet her "dad."  ha ha!  So we got Sister and introduced her to the big panda, and then she came with us when we went for a walk around some of the nearby streets.  It's smoggy here in Beijing but the weather is really nice right now other than that.  It's not too hot, so we tried to enjoy being able to walk around in the pleasant weather today since we know it will be really hot and uncomfortable when we get down to Guangzhou.

Made it to Beijing!

Hi everybody!  It's 6:30 am in Beijing and we made it here last night.  TongJie did great on the long flight and even in the Beijing airport going through customs and picking up baggage after being rudely awoken in the middle of the night.  By the time we met the driver who drove us to the hotel (about 45 minute drive) and got checked into our hotel room, it was around 9:30 pm on Monday night, so we pretty much just went straight to bed.  We tried our best to sleep all night, and did pretty well.  This morning, we're getting ready to go to the breakfast buffet at the hotel (TongJie is going to LOVE the breakfast buffets here, well, all of the food actually) and then we'll probably walk around for awhile before we leave for the train station at noon.  We will catch the train at 2:30 for Jinan, and then we'll be there till Saturday.

We have two twin size beds in our hotel room here in Beijing, and last night TongJie was sleeping in the bed with me.  He slept pretty well, but woke up a few times and each time he woke up, the first thing he said was, "Mama, when this day is done do we get to go on the bullet train?"  He is very excited for the train!  

If you followed our blog last time we were in China, you probably remember that we couldn't access Blogger to update our blog, so we used a way of emailing the message to our blog and attaching photos to the email. I hope it still works because that's what I'm trying to do today. (Maybe someone like my parents or Melonie can email us to let  us know if it seems like it's working :-D  ) We can only attach 4 photos at a time and they seem to appear in random order.  Also, we can't access the comments but feel free to leave comments (if you can) and it will be fun to see all of them when we get home in a few weeks!  Tomorrow is the day we get Ezekiel and we're all very excited!  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Here we go!

Hi everybody, we're getting ready to leave soon and we're all very excited!  We're flying out of Seattle tomorrow (Sunday) evening, and arriving in Beijing on Monday evening.  The flight is about 12 hours.  We'll stay in Beijing overnight and then take the train to Jinan on Tuesday morning.  Jinan is the capital of the Shandong province and we'll be in Jinan for several days.  We meet Ezekiel on Wednesday.  The next time you see a post from us, we should be in China!

Here's a picture of TongJie helping with the packing earlier today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Our New Adventure

If you haven't heard, we have some very exciting news: Jeff, TongJie and I are traveling to China to adopt our newest family member, Ezekiel ZeYou!  Ezekiel is 16 months old and we can't wait to meet him.  We're leaving for China this Sunday, June 21, which also happens to be Father's Day.  So the next few days will be spent packing, finishing up last-minute things around the house, and all the things that you generally do when you're preparing for a two and a half week trip to a foreign country with a four year old and a new one year old.  I'd love to post a few photos of Ezekiel, but I can't quite yet because he's still not officially our son.  We are planning to update the blog during our trip, so if you're following, you'll see some photos pretty soon!

In the meantime, we wanted to let you all know about the fun fundraiser we're doing to help us with the last of our expenses of the adoption.  Most of you have probably already heard about this (more than once!) but in case you haven't, we're putting together a puzzle to be displayed in TongJie & Ezekiel's room.  This puzzle is special because the back of it is filled with names of friends and family who have donated money to help us bring Ezekiel home!  When it's finished, we will frame it between two pieces of glass so all the names can be seen.  We are asking for a suggested donation of $10 to sponsor a puzzle piece if you'd like to add your name to Ezekiel's puzzle.  We are so, so appreciative of all our generous friends and family who have donated so far!  As you can see from the photo, it's really coming along!  When it's all said and done, we plan to use the remaining unsponsored pieces to write Bible verses or sayings on and maybe draw some fun little pictures so we can get it framed soon.  So . . . if you'd like to sponsor a piece or two, let us know and we'll reserve them for you.  You can send us a check if you'd like (send us an email if you want our address), or if you want to donate by PayPal you can use our email address: jcsandberg04@yahoo.com  Thanks everybody!  It's not very fun asking for money, but it sure has been a fun project to see the puzzle come together little by little.  I can't wait to be able to see the back of it!

That's it for now, but stay tuned and we'll let you know how things are going along the way!