Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 20th: Willow Meets Her Nǎinai (Grandma Portée)

Today Willow went to Nǎinai's (Grandma Portée's) house for dinner. Grandma was thrilled to finally meet Willow who was her ususal determined, serious self when meeting someone new. But when Grandma offered her some Cherrios, they were instantly the best of friends!

After Willow wolfed down the Cherrios, her dinner and dessert, Grandma remarked that she had a "very healthly appetite" which warms the heart of every self-respecting Italian grandmother.

Willow and Grandma enjoyed their first meeting and are looking forward to many, many meals (as well as other outings) together!

April 18th-April 19th: Another Near All-Nighter

And we thought jet lag was bad!

Last night Willow decided that she wanted to party all night and was not happy that we did not want to join in. We put her to bed at about 9:30 pm; she was up again at 11:00 pm and refused to go back to sleep!

Since we've been back, we have tried to have her sleep in her crib but that was a lot to ask since she was used to sleeping with me after she climbed out of her crib in Nanjing. The first couple of nights, she would start crying as we came to the doorway of her room! The day before yesterday, we began putting her into the crib. She would sleep there for the first two hours (after a fuss, of course) then she would be up again, crying, so we would bring her back into bed with us. Well, last night nothing worked. Every time we made a move toward the crib or even our bed, she would start wailing all over again. Poor Michael had to go to work on Saturday and at 3:00 am decided to just go into the office since she would not let him get any sleep. Meanwhile, I was on duty and did everything possible to get her to sleep. Unfortunately, nothing worked; not even a bath (which was the last thing I expected to be doing at 2:30 am!) Talk about being helpless and frustrated. By 3:30 am, I was crying with her! She finally wore herself out at 4:00 am and fell asleep. A half hour later, I joined her in our bed.

I am almost afraid of what we will encounter tonight. I am sure that we will have this experience again but I hope that it doesn't happen for a long, long time!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

April 17th: Willow Meets Her Wáipò (Gran Marshall)

Today Willow finally met her wáipò, Gran Marshall. She was shy at first using her determined, serious look as a shield. Gran had a Raggedy Ann doll waiting for her as well as some great books and gradually, Willow warmed up to Gran. At one point, Willow reached up her tiny little hands indicating that she wanted Gran to pick her up and before long, Gran was helping her walk aroung the apartment!

Gran was so glad to finally be able to hold Willow in her arms and hug her after such a long wait.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Willow Update! 4/7/08

Look Mom! I Can Feed Myself!
(Note: Today's videos will not require a post-viewing chiropractic session.)

Testing a Pair of Squeaky Shoes
(Never thought I would agree to getting these but they do encourage her to walk.)

The Newest NJLHS Member!

Lunchtime Laughs & Giggles!
(Sorry about the food in her mouth. We are working on table manners.

Music Lessons

"Red Couch" Photo Session
Where the children are photographed in traditional Chinese dress
As well as with their parents
(For those who requested more pictures with Mom or us as a family, here you go!
We are still working on having this happen more often but Mom is real camera shy.)
All Nine Families & Their Newest Additions

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Willow Update!

Willow's 1st Plane Ride
(Traveling from Nanjing to Guangzhou)
Playing in the Park with the Roth Family
(Steve, Stacy & Sabria)

Willow Practising Walking
(Unfortunately, you will have to view it sideways)

Dressed Up for Visa Photos

Monday, April 7, 2008

March 30th: Greetings from China!

Greetings from China!
(How wonderful to be on terra firma again!)

Our first stop was a brief one in Beijing where we were to connect to the flight for Nanjing. The airport is beautiful and the people are friendly.

We managed to successfully exchange some US dollars for Chinese yuan and to find out from which gate the flight to Nanjing was leaving. Actually, it was leaving from a different terminal. After a 15 minute shuttle bus ride to another terminal, we were grateful that our baggage was checked through to Nanjing.

About 45 minutes before we were due to board, an announcement was made (which we did not understand) and everyone at the gate got up and started heading for the stairs. Fairly certain that this meant a gate change, we followed. At ground level was a shuttle bus to take us to the new gate. We took a right turn at the end of the terminal building and started heading out for the tarmac! Yes, we boarded on the tarmac. The last time I remember boarding a plane that way was in the PeoplesExpress era!

An hour and a half later and we were in Nanjing! So far so good; we are on time and looking forward to getting to the hotel for a good night's sleep and to be ready for "Get Willow!" day. I am not sure which of us said this (probably me) but we jinxed ourselves. While we had arrived in Nanjing without incident, our luggage did not! After reporting this to the baggage claims personnel, we were told that even though it had been checked through, we were supposed to have claimed it in Beijing and then re-checked it for the Nanjing leg of the journey. The Beijing airport was contacted, arrangements were made for the luggage to be placed on the 11:00 pm flight and then sent onto the hotel.

We had thought that we were to be met at the airport by our Nanjing facilitator but after taking care of the luggage debacle, we did not see anyone. Any where. The airport was deserted! So we found a cab and arrived at the hotel just seconds before a van pulled up with another family - Stacy and Steve Roth - who are here to pick up their daughter Sabria. Apparently, there was someone to meet us and they were waiting for us the whole time! With all parties now relieved to have found one another, we checked-in. The room was fabulous! A sitting/living room, a little "kitchenette" with a washer, refrigerator, safe, twin beds (hmmm...) and a little dose of reality staring us in the face: a crib!!!

The itinerary for the week (from the facilitator - I had nothing to do with it) told us that we needed to be downstairs in the lobby by 9:30 to go to the Jiangsu Provincal Civil Affairs office where we will "Get Willow!" So we had to have food, water, diapers, toys, clothing (for the Adoption Day photo) ready to bring with us. Unfortunately, all of that stuff is in the luggage will be on the 11:00 pm flight from Beijing to Nanjing! We cannot do anything until it arrives somewhere around 2:00 am.

Looks like another all nighter!

March 29th-March 30th: Travel Time - New Jersey to Nanjing

At 8:00 am, we were on our way to the airport.

On the ride there, we could not believe that we were still awake and charged up like energizer bunnies. We talked about just how surreal this whole experience is. It was hard to believe that in just two days, we two would now be three! We could not even begin to fathom the changes in our life.

The flight was long (14 hours) but fortunately we were tired enough to sleep through a good part of it. Then we ate, then we tried to read and fell asleep again. Then we ate again, tried to read again, fell asleep get the picture! During our waking hours, we noted the time remaining and watched the progress of the flight on the monitor just willing the plane to fly faster!

Finally, at 3:30 pm, we touched down in Beijing.

Friday, April 4, 2008

March 28th-March 29th: Getting Ready to Go

Well, we pulled an all-nighter tying up loose ends at home, getting packed and ready to go.

At 5:00 am with only 3 hours until the car service was to arrive, I said to Michael (with that edge to my voice which some of you might be familiar with), "I beginning to worry about being ready in time." He agreed and said he was too. Not a good sign!

But we did it! And with 30 minutes to spare.