Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 5 and 6 and almost on the way home!

Guangzhou Day 5 – Wednesday Nov 4th
It’s the day that Nora takes the Oath to give up her Chinese citizenship and become an American Citizen. Technically she wouldn’t actually be an American until her feet touch American soil in Newark on Friday afternoon when we go through customs. The only thing we can bring to this afternoon’s ceremony is a diaper bag and my passport, no cameras allowed. It’s too bad; I think this is a big deal and it would be nice for the children to have something to remember the day when their life changed forever.
We gathered after dinner to celebrate Nora’s belated 1st birthday. I forgot to take a photo of the cake I bought at the bakery down the street, but it was delicious.

Guangzhou Day 6 – Thursday Nov 5th
Today is our last full day in China. Its 2pm here and midnight your time, with daylight savings time Mpls is 14 hours behind China. Nora is down for her nap and I just started to pack for our long day of travel we have tomorrow. We need to leave the hotel at 7:20am to take our 10am flight to Beijing. Then we take at 5pm flight from Beijing to Newark and then Newark to Mpls arriving at 10:15pm Friday.

Today we walked to the Island to pick up the laundry and finished up a few last purchases. We also went to the White Swan to shoot a few Red Couch photos. Sorry I’m not writing too much but my computer is really working slow since last night and I’m wondering if it too has caught a strange bug in China.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Nora!!!

Guangzhou Day 4 – Tuesday Nov 3rd

Happy Birthday Nora!!!

Not only is it Nora’s 1st birthday but it was also the day of her appointment with the American Consulate. The funny thing about the Consulate Appointment is that she is not present for it. The guide takes all the documents and forms and submits them to consulate staff. I needed to be by the phone for about an hour this morning just in case there were any questions but nothing other than that. We just got the call and there were no questions so now we just go there tomorrow afternoon for her to give her oath (I hope they understand baby-babble) to become an American citizen.

One of Jodi and Keith’s twins still has the stomach bug and now Jodi is not feeling well. Since we don’t have any more sightseeing trips scheduled, I took it easy and just went for a walk to the Island after Nora got up from her nap. I’ve been feeling fine for the most part, but I just have had a little motion sickness since the flights over here. At first I thought it was being on the 30th floor in Changsha but it’s continued in Guangzhou and we’re only on the 9th floor.
Hopefully Jodi and Keith’s family will be feeling better tomorrow and we’ll have a little birthday celebration for Nora.

Here are a few more photos of Shamian Island. It’s totally different than any other part of China that I’ve seen.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guangzhou Day 3 – Monday Nov 2rd

Guangzhou Day 3 – Monday Nov 2rd
Today Nora and I started the day with a walk to Shamian Island seeking good light for photos and a cup of Starbucks coffee for me. The coffee in the room is instant (ok for one cup but not enough for the day by far), and to order a cup of coffee at the Hotel café it’s 38 Yuan (about $5.70). Yesterday’s breakfast buffet was around 188 Yuan (about $27) so I really won’t be doing that too often. My Starbuck’s medium Café Latte was 26 Yuan so around $3. Before the trip I made this little cheat-sheet to help me convert Yuan to US Dollars without having to do the math.

Yesterday when we went to the Carrefour Supermarket I also pickup up yogurt, crackers, and peanut butter and so along with a Cliff bar that I brought along, Nora and I had a nice little breakfast in our room before our walk to the Island. Side note for anyone traveling, Cliff and Luna Bars pack much better than a typical breakfast bar because they’re so dense, you just can’t crush them.

I don’t think Nora had really been feed that much solid food; according to the instruction sheet that came from the orphanage she was just drinking a thick sludge of formula and rice cereal. She really didn’t seem to understand that a spoon needed to go into her mouth at first. With Isabel I kept her on exactly what she had been fed at the orphanage. I can tell I’m a lot more comfortable Mom this time around; Nora’s enjoying baby food, yogurt, rice noodles, steamed eggs, rice congee, rice, crackers, etc…

One of Jodi and Keith’s twins got a stomach bug last night so she’s taking it easy today which meant that it was just Keith, Katelyn, Nora and I went to visit the Six Banyan Trees Temple. It’s a Buddhist Temple that we also visited during Isabel’s adoption trip. However unlike the last visit, which was last day of Chinese New Year and one of the busiest days of the year at the Temple, today it was quiet, peaceful and very beautiful. The nine story tower is a replacement of the original, but is still around 300 years old.
We were all treated to a blessing from one of the monks.

Nora’s been a real joy. She got a great laugh and is generally good natured, although I’ve seen some hints of a spicy temper. Girls from both Hunan and Chongqing are said to be spicy girls. Two spicy girls in one house could mean trouble for Mom.
Tomorrow (Tuesday Nov 3rd) is both Nora’s 1st Birthday and her appointment with the American Consulate. On Wednesday she takes the oath to become an American citizen. This little girl has a busy week ahead.

Guangzhou Day 2 - Nov 1

Guangzhou Day 2 – Nov 1
Today was a sightseeing day so after a very expensive breakfast (the buffet is not included in my hotel package) we all boarded a van to the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum. I had been there before on Isabel’s adoption trip but Keith and Jodi had not and I enjoyed the architecture the last time so we decided to go there.
It was as beautiful and peaceful (if you get there early enough) as before. One really nice benefit to only having 2 families in a travel group (and flexible guide) is that we have some choices on what we want to see and do.

After the museum we stopped at a Carrefour Supermarket for diapers, baby food, formula and other stuff. I really enjoy wandering around and looking at the products (ie Lay’s chips with Beef flavor); it’s really one of my favorite things to do.

Next stop we went to the wholesale Pearl Market. I bought Isabel, Nora and myself nice stud earrings. The girls won’t get them until they’re 12 or 13 but I thought it would be a nice thing to get them (and me). I also got some other sparkly things. Needless to say I’m shopping a lot more than I did in 2006.

In the evening we walked back to Shamian Island for dinner at Lucy’s, a main stay for many families visiting Guangzhou. Lucy serves both Chinese and American menu. As a mentioned before to get to the Island you need to walk about 3 city blocks to the pedestrian bridge.
And those city blocks offer yet another view of China. The three blocks between our hotel and the bridge to the Island is called the Qin Ping Dong Medicine and Pet Market. We’ve all been told that in China they eat dogs etc… well from what I can tell they must be dressing them with spiderman costumes and giving them little cozy houses before deciding to have Fido for dinner.

The pet market makes up about half of the three block market and the medicine part makes up the balance. This little girl was going home with 2 pet squirrels.

I’ve seen kittens, puppies, hamsters, squirrels, turtles, and fish. With all the accessory items needed for a very happy pet including the above mentioned dog and cat beds, dress up clothes and wide selection of foods.

The medicine market is made up of mostly died stuff that frankly I don’t want to know what it is. I could identify mushrooms but there are also dried snake, what looked like tiger paw and that’s just enough for me to know.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Guangzhou Day 1

Guangzhou Day 1 – Oct 31

Both Nora and I are very happy to be in Guangzhou starting our last week in China. The weather in Guangzhou is hot and humid. I’m just guessing, but it feels like the mid 80’s but it’s very, very humid.

We have met up with our travel group which is one other family from Shakopee MN; Jodi and Keith and their girls (twin 5 year olds adopted in 2005 and their newest family member Kira, age 2, from Inner Mongolia). We will do all our sightseeing and adoption appointments together. They’re a super family and I’m really enjoying their company.
We started the day off with a 9am appointment with the US Medical Exam for Adopted Children. The appointment was on the Shamian Island, a 15 min walk from our hotel. The island has become the beacon for every American family traveling to China for adoption, it is the last part of a journey which nowadays may have started four or more years ago. The Shamian Island was the former location of the American Consulate in charge of processing the Chinese children being adopted by Americans.

The Consulate moved downtown before Isabel’s adoption in 2006, but the businesses that developed to serve the adoption community still remain; the anchor is the White Swan Hotel. The island reminds me of Charleston or Georgetown with their French architectural influences.

Various regions in China’s past have been occupied by the French, British, and Japanese. For Isabel’s adoption we stayed at the White Swan but decided this time to venture off the Island to experience a little bit more of real China. Off the Island was also cheaper and since we’re here during the City’s biggest convention of the year, hotel prices are about double the standard rates.

The Medical Exam was cursory at best, squeak a toy and the baby can hear, measure the head, check the heart beat, weight and height; parents need to acknowledge any special needs in writing. Since my wait began so long ago, Nora was grandfathered in under older guidelines and so she did not get any shots (that will be taken care of the week after we get back at Southdale Peds) and since she is under the age of 2 she is not required to have a TB screening either. One family I talked to at the exam was adopting a little girl same age as Nora with an unpaired cleft palate (no surgery yet) the examining physician found no cleft in the palate at all. I have heard this for heart conditions as well. A baby gets on a special needs list and there is no special need.
After the medical exam and a quick half hour of document preparation back at the hotel, we all head back to the Island for shopping and just walking around to see what’s changed since we were both there last. One of our 1st stops was the Starbuck's Coffee. LOVE the Starbuck!!!

The air conditioning was cold, the drinks were delicious, and for an hour we sat and chatted and pretended that we were at the Excelsior and Grand just sipping a iced latte on a hot day. Jodi and Keith were as ready for Guangzhou as I had been.
After a while Keith took their older girls back to the hotel for a nap and Jodi, Kira, Nora and I went shopping, shopping, shopping. It was wonderful. After a few hours of shopping (Nora napped for 2 out of the 3 in a stroller) we made our way back to the hotel across the freeway, via a pedestrian bridge, that separates the neighborhood between our hotel and the Island. Both on the way to the Island and the way back people just stop to help us carry the strollers up and down the stairs. I have found the people of Guangzhou to be incredibly gracious and kind.

After our return, we regrouped to find some dinner. At the entrance to our hotel we turned left just to see what was there and found another world. We had wondered why this very nice 4 star hotel was in this very narrow-street Chinese neighborhood and now we knew. The back side of the Hotel is adjacent to Shang Xia Jiu Pedestrian Shopping Street. I haven’t Googled it yet but it is amazing and I’m sure you could find more information on the web. Block after block of stores and restaurants. We haven’t checked it out during the day yet but at night it was like Time Square only bigger and longer. We walked and ate and walked some more. Nora experienced her 1st McDonald’s french fry! The stores were so crowded that we just turned around and headed back out to the street to walk and watch some more.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Changsha Day 6 – Friday Oct 30th

Changsha Day 6 – Friday Oct 30th
We’re still getting up about 5:30am each morning. I don’t know what that’s all about but I think we’re both getting enough sleep so it’s okay. Since we move on to Guangzhou this evening we don’t have anything planned for the day other than the packing and preparation for this evening’s flight. It should only last about an hour, but of course you need to be at the airport early etc…

Nora didn’t take a cat nap this morning (since she wasn’t in the carrier) so even though it’s only 11am she’s had her lunch and is now down for a midday nap. Since I have nothing new to share as far as sightseeing I figure I can tell you about some little tidbits and include a few more photos from earlier this week.

One of the things I don’t remember from the last time I was in China what all the car honking (does the others from Group 88 remember that?). It seems to me that the approach that most drivers in Changsha are taking is “I need to be heard and seen by everyone I pass”. The drivers basically have their finger/thumb on the horn the whole time you’re in the car and every car they pass gets a little beep. Some a longer blast if the other driver is looking a bit more dangerous. And they can get their cars in to the tightest spaces; it’s amazing. The observations from the other day’s Museum visit with queuing seem to extend to automobile driving as well. During the drive in from the airport last weekend it was 11pm and not only did the driver honk at each car he passed on the freeway but also flashed his headlights too. From Chongqing (Isabel’s hometown) I remember the sound of the blasting music from the public square near our hotel, this time it will be the constant din of horns (from the 30th floor) 24/7. There also seems to be very few rules for driving.

There are a lot of people in Changsha, although it is not considered a huge city for China, only about 7 million people live here. From what I’ve seen people get around in the following manner: walk, bike, scooters, cars (taxis, hired cars, personal vehicle) and buses. There are major streets (four lanes each way divided by a boulevard) and smaller streets and then alleys that have small shops and business. But there is also what I would call large sidewalk on the major streets and that is where the people walk. but the scooters are also allowed on the sidewalks. The scooter’s dodge in and out of traffic and can either drive on the streets with the cars and buses or sidewalks with the people walking. Also the scooters are all electric; they make no noise at all (but of course all you hear when you’re out there is the honking of the horns). So if you’re crossing the street, you have to watch out for a huge wave of scooters coming right at you.

According to Mamie the guide, Changsha has outlawed any new scooters, there are just too many. So if want a scooter you have to find someone that has a permit you can buy as well as buy the scooter. Similar to Taxi medallions (sp?).
The one other thing that I’ll remember from my week at the Dolton Hotel in Changsha is the incredibly hard bed. I can’t explain to you how hard this bed is and I like a firm bed to begin with, but this is crazy hard. I know that in the summer it is not uncommon for the temperature to be around 107F so maybe they think a harder bed is cooler, but my goodness! Thankfully I sleep on my back.

In the photo with the man carrying bags on a pole across his shoulders, if you look closely just to the left of the garbage can on the sidewalk there's a child that just finished peeing. I've seen it a couple of time in the park too.. just pull down the pants and go.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Changsha Day 5 – Thursday Oct 29th

We were up early again about 5:30am. I caught up on a couple of emails and in fact caught Chris Dettling still in the office from the night before your time. It’s nice to think that at some point I’m still close enough to get a small exchange in real time.

First things first, Nora pooped this morning and just now again as she was getting up from her afternoon nap. Thank you God.

After walking down to the Wacko Market for bottled water, Mamie met us in the hotel’s lobby for today’s sightseeing tour. The first stop was Martyr’s Park that was adjacent to the Provincial Museum that we went to yesterday. The "Martyrs" to which the park refers, are the soldiers that died during the civil war. (Mamie’s term) I think it would be what we’d think of as the last revolution.

Martyr’s Park is the Central Park of Changsha. It was beautiful and it appears that many neighborhood people go there to hangout throughout the day. We saw a lot of grandparents with grandbabies, others that were exercising, dancing, playing music both singularly and in more organized groups, it wasn’t uncommon to see two groups playing music within feet of each other. There was also antiquated amusement park.

Mamie had prepared me for Nora and I being a bit of an oddity, but I have to say that Nora got many more stares than I did. That something that I think we’ll have a lifetime of getting use to.
Next stop was the embroidery factory; really it seemed more like a retail outlet with a few workers there to show off the process. The work was amazing but the prices were just too much to think about buying anything. On top of which, I’d have to get it home (already framed) in one piece. I’m already worried about the luggage factor with Nora in tow now too. I didn’t want to add framed art to that problem.

Tomorrow evening we move on to Guangzhou but we have nothing planned til check out at 4pm. I’ll write more about the car honking and the incredibly hard bed.

Changsha Day 4

Changsha Day 4 – Wednesday Oct 28th

I have to admit to being very lonely on this trip and I really would be lost without my computer and the internet. That said at the end of the week when I move on to Guangzhou; I don’t think my room comes with unlimited free internet that I have here in Changsha. I may upgrade my room just for that…
I’m writing this a day later because of the “problem”.
The day started with a trip to the Hunan Provincial Museum. There were huge lines to get in this place and with the guide’s help, were able to bypass half of the line wait but not all. The Chinese people as a whole are not a population of good line queue-ers (is that a word?). Many will cut in front, push, rush, etc… It’s something to get use to here and then appreciate when we’re back home.

The mad lineup was to view a well preserved 2000 year old corpse (which I enjoyed looking at the relics but passed on looking at the body). It was a very nice Museum but so crowded. People would rush up to a display case and then snap a photo and move on… kind of interesting. Then we walked into other areas of the building and there were one or two other people in the entire area.
We ended the morning with lunch in the hotel. During lunch I noticed a family that had been at the notary office the day before; they were just leaving with their new daughter just as we got there. We had a chance to chat and I got their room number to try to connect later. But do I know what it’s like to be the only white face in a room. It’s a good reminder for all of us white parents of minority children. To walk in their shoes for a while... I hope I can remember that feeling in the future.

Nora and I got quite a bit of attention. She was asleep in the carrier for most of it and I think some people were trying to figure out if she was Chinese or American.
So were done with lunch and nap time. Typically that’s when I write the blog entry. But nap time didn’t last too long. Nora sleep for a maybe 30 mins and woke up crying. When the girl’s got to go she needs to go (we’re talking poop) but that didn’t happen Monday (that I know of) or Tuesday and now it’s Wednesday and it crisis time. She’s working and working and nothing. This goes on for hours (I had HBO on and it was 2 movies long).
At that point I emailed Jodi Swenson, she and her family are in Inner Mongolia (I’ll be hanging with them in Guangzhou). Jodi’s on my time which is very helpful at 6:00pm and 5am back in the states. She’s a Mom of now 3 girls and did she have any recommendations? Right after e-mailing, I’m digging around in all the little bags of medical stuff I brought and find a few Pedi-Lax melt strips. I gave Nora a half dose and hope for the best (takes 6 to 12 hours). Nora takes her bottle after I force it on her (remember she’s not happy with her bottle at all) but she needs liquids. Around 8:30 she settling down, so I get her to sleep but I know we’ll be up again soon. I think I went to sleep around 9:30 after reading a little.
At 12:30 am Nora is up and is in so much pain. It’s a problem that I’ve never had to deal with before. And what can I do to make it better? I just held her and tried to get her in a good position but she was just beyond comfort. Bless Mamie, our guide, I called her and she called the hotel Medical Office but they were closed. Then she called back and said that she would come over with a home remedy from her Mom.
It’s 1am. Of course, as it always happens, by the time she arrived Nora was able to get a little out and had settled back down in her crib. This morning Nora woke up and I got her to take the better part of a bottle, but little or no food.
The home remedy you ask? A little sliver of soap covered with cooking oil. She had brought it along but thankfully Nora had taken care of it herself with the help of Pedi-Lax.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Changsha Day 3 - October 27th
We just got back from making Nora an official Metzdorff!
We stopped at a baby store for supplies and along with the diapers and formula I found a couple more pairs of shoes and a nice little sweater.
The sizes are crazy so I'm having a hard time finding shoes for Isabel. The shoes selection in China is truly amazing compared to the U.S. After we got back, Mamie my guide, had arranged for the hotel staff to bring a birthday cake up to the room and sing Happy Birthday to me. It was a very nice treat and the cake was delicious (White cake with oranges in the whipped cream frosting).
Nora is taking a nap. The first few hours yesterday Nora was pretty sad but she really perked up in the afternoon. We spent the afternoon and evening playing with toys. I actually taught her "How Big" (I forgot to mention that in yesterday's post). She's very chatty and will fit right in with Isabel and Mom. But then bed time was approaching and I was getting nervous.
With Isabel we tried putting her in the crib in China and she cried and cried. It was months after we were home that I could set her in her crib awake without her throwing a complete fit. Her whole adoption trip she slept on blankets on the floor with a pillow on either side so she couldn't roll into anything. Isabel also always fell asleep during her bottle and I just put her in her "floor crib" and we were done until she woke up a few hours later and we walked and walked and walked or at home we rocked. Needless to say Isabel was not a good sleeper. She is now, but it took three years to get there. So this was the point where I was getting nervous...
What would Nora be like for sleeping and the crib? Initially my game plan was the following; give her a bottle and she'll get all baby drunk and put her in the crib and we're done. The only hitch is that she is not wanting her bottle. I don't know if it's because it doesn't look like her bottle at the orphanage or what? I tried the bottle at noon yesterday and she drank a little, but not much. Last night she wanted none of it. I found out today that at the orphanage she was rarely given anything but bottles with a thick mixture of formula and cereal. So since I had given her a steamed egg and baby food carrots she wasn't hungry and she didn't want her bottle.
Evening was approaching… I got her ready for bed, she started getting cranky around 7pm so I thought, let's just try to put her in the crib and see what happens. To say I was shocked was an understatement, she was happy in the crib, she babbled for a few minutes and went right to sleep. This is the stuff of urban legends. She woke up around midnight and I just changed her diaper (per the instruction from the orphanage) and put her back in the crib and she went back to sleep quickly and slept until about 6 this morning. Put a child in the crib and the child goes to sleep... who knew there was such a thing?
Let's just hope it continues....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meeting Nora

Changsha Day 2

Today I met Miss Binglaing. When we arrived at the Civil Affairs office she had already been crying since leaving the orphanage over an hour before. Her nanny wasn't able to come to meet us so an administrative person who Binglaing didn't know brought her to Changsha. That upset her so that by the time we showed up she was really cried out and just whimpered for hours.

I began holding her at about 10 am and finally saw a first smile at 12:45pm. She wasn't having anything to do with a nap so we walked down to the Friendship department store (don't let the name fool you it's very high end).

The girl needs a pair of shoes so we found two that we liked and that weren't too expensive.

She didn't much care for the shopping and started to really cry so we walked back and she fell asleep in my arms for about 30 minutes. After her little nap and a bottle she's doing much better and is sitting on the bed playing with toys and talking to me as I write this. She is quite chatty and will fit in very well with her big sister. By the way Isabel, Nora loves the photo album and points and stares at your picture.

Tomorrow we go back to Civil Affairs to finalize the adoption and we're going to some sort of baby store that should have formula etc...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Changsha Day 1

Changsha Day 1 – Sunday October 25, 2009
Pre Arrival
I arrived in Changsha late last night. I missed my connecting flight in Beijing due to a couple of problems. First we were an hour and an half late arriving, then I mistakenly took the wrong checked bag (same model, same color, same color name tag) and it took about 30 minutes to return it and get my bag. Then I had to get me and all my luggage to the other terminal which was about 15 minutes away by bus and then go through the check-in lines again and by the time that all happened it was 10 minutes before the flight was going to take off and they won’t let me board.

They said I needed to go back to the main terminal (15 min bus ride again) with all my luggage (3 bags) and have Continental exchange my ticket since it was a delayed arrival issue. So I went back and Continental was closed and won’t be back till midday Sunday. I have to admit I started to cry at that point. I had been up for 28 hours at that point with couple of hours of napping but I was drained. The language barrier is tough sometime. It was nice that I was able to call Tu, the Chinese women that works with my agency, and have her just reassure me it would all be fine. She talked with an information desk person to figure out a plan and in the end I just paid for another flight to get out of Beijing a little later that night. I’m hoping that my travel agent is able to get me a reimbursement.

Changsha is pronounced Chung Sha. I was met at the airport by Mamie, my guide while I’m in Changsha. I think I’m going to see if Tu can arrange for some help getting Nora and I to our connecting flight in Beijing on the way home. I just cannot image having three bags and Nora and doing what I needed to do last night. I guess the only good thing is that it will be on the front end of the trip and not the back end.

The Dolton Hotel is very nice. I was up early this morning and went for a walk down to the market.

The neighborhood is very interesting and colorful. Here are a few photos I took on my way to find diapers.

The scooter must be all electric because they’re so quiet. It funny in the US the bicycles are on the street; in Changsha the motor scooters cross the streets with the walkers.

Today is a day to recover (I’m still feeling a bit woozy) and to get ready to meet Nora tomorrow morning (10 am my time // Monday 9pm Mpls time).

It’s around noon here and I have nothing to do. I haven’t had so much time on my hands for a very long time so I think I’m going to see about a pedicure and foot massage this afternoon. I’ll bring the camera just in case.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

those gray roots again...

My to-do list says that this morning I should be taking care of that one inch of gray at my hairline but instead I'm drinking coffee and thinking about tonight, it will be the 1st and last time I will be completely alone in my house. No tripping over the dogs, no Isabel asking one question after another without really even stopping to listen to my response to the last question.

Last night I had a moment of thinking, what am I doing? I don't want things to change... I don't want to leave home... I don't want to be half way around the world from Isabel who has been my world for over 3 years (but it feels like forever). Does anyone else get this feeling a day or so before going on vacation or trip? It's like I experience the homesickness before even leaving home.

But I've always gone... it's always a great trip (well maybe they haven't all been great but alway good), and I like change.

So I just need to take a deep breath and jump......

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snow in Oct - A Nice Day for Museum Visit

Yesterday was a nice day for hanging out in a Museum considering we woke up to 30 degree temps and new snow on the ground again -- It was October 11th!!!

It felt like Thanksgiving was two weeks away and not Halloween!

MIA had a family day so we made the most of cold day in October... here are a few shots that our friends from Target took of us. We are lucky to be the home of Target Corp; they are generous sponsors of a lot of fun, free events.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nora Sighting!

Today I connected, via a Yahoo Group for families with children from the Yiyang SWI, with a women name Doris who was allowed to visit the orphanage yesterday and she saw Nora. The orphanage just moved in August to a new building and so here is the old building and the new building. Doris and her party were not allowed to take photos of the children or the nannys but reported that Nora was wearing a pink t-shirt and was sitting up alone and playing. It sounded like the new building is very nice and clean, unfortunately Nora lived in the old building from November of 2008 until just last month.

How would you feel if you were the only white person in the room?

The last time when I was getting ready to bring Isabel home I spent a lot of time reading about China past and present. How did China and the Chinese people get to a place where they left baby girls (and other - what they may consider - imperfect babies) in public places to be found (hopefully) and care for in institutions?

I knew that at some point in future I would have to tell Isabel that her birth mother left her in a park. I'm not saying this will be easy, I've started bits of that conversation as she has questions even now at 4 1/2. It is what it is and I can't change her story. But I don't want it to be a huge surprise when she 12 year old.

This time getting ready for Nora, I've been checking out blogs and yahoo boards with more and more frequency and an interesting thread that has come up was "do we as parents of interracial adopted kids include other races in lives?" How fair is it for them to feel like they are the only minority in the room for 99% of their lives. Or worst (in my opinion) their identity is white-by- association. So when they go off into the world with out their family beside them (college, jobs, etc) they could lose a big part of their white identity. The world sees them differently from how they see themselves. There is white privilege in this world that we white people don't see; we just expect to be treated in a certain way and we are. It's not something we earn.

I came across this "NPR Explores Trans-racial Adoption"

Very interesting perspective on a really hard subject.

More to think about.......

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I found this out and about and just love it!