Eric and Laura's long journey to adopt our daughter - a precious little girl from China who has been thought about and longed for with excitement since August 2004, before she was even conceived!
( we hold her little soul in our hearts until we meet .
Hurry on over the Sea !!! )
Here she is ready to come home, how cute is that? Laura is a bit concerned that they are over weight, but Im sure with all the prayers covering them that they will be fine. How exciting, we will be seeing them tomorrow!!
From the Left: Laura, Alyssa...Li-Na...Evi...(Mum - Julie) Violet The last group photo
From Laura:Well our journey is finally coming to an end! It is so strange to be at the end of a trip that we have waited for 3 years to take. Eric and I have had an amazing time in Guangzhou and cannnot wait to return again oneday when Li-Na is older. It has been the most amazing journey for our lives ever!!. Leaving as the 2 of us and then coming home as as the 3 of us! Adoption is just the best!! What a privilige to be invited to be parents and handed such a beautiful little girl. We have had Li-Na in our lives 10 full days now and already she is just an integral part of us. Today we have had all had good fun with lots of playing and laughing and giggling. She just adores the both of us and loves to check where where we both are... best position is of course when we are on both sides of her!! Our packing is almost finalised , a few more items to add this evening.We will be leaving at 06h00 to get to the airport and then chasing the day as it progresses across to the UK where we arrive at Norwich at 21h25. We are looking forward to being at home again, but as I told Julia ... it is to me, the beginning of the end of my precious time with Li-Na before getting back to the reality of life and work. I have so enjoyed just being a Mum and all my thoughts purely on her bottles , food and her sleeps etc... she really has been a full time job. I have just slept this afternoon for 2 hours while Eric played with her. I think it is all catcing up with now!Eric and I went left Shaiman Island this morning for a last wander on the outskirts of Guangzhou proper .... the real China with the tiny streetside shops, basins/ bottles and bags full of various fish, animals, fungi, and wierd "stuff"....what a different world she is leaving. The sights and sounds all so different. The people , their perceptions and ethics all so different to ours. China is truely a foreign land to us and we cannot judge what we see.I still feel sad that we are taking Li-Na away from her homeland, but we can only believe that her life will be full of opportunity now, and that she will return oneday and understand. It has been an eye opener seeing older children adopted, many with special needs ,and I managed to speak to some of the adoptive parents about their histories as known. Life has been tough for many of them. I was so glad Mom and Di were here with us in the first days of Li-Na's adoption. She also loved having all the attention. Li-Na stared hard at Mom through the bus window as she drove off. It was so sad ... We can't wait for her to meet my side of the family again soon. Now she has the Chapman Clan to meet, and all her new Adoptive Family in Buxton/ Norwich and Aylsham.I am so looking forward to you all meeting her. She is such a cutie!!! ( Well a bit grissley at present ! ) I will end off now. It is sad to be closing the chapter of " The Journey" now... but time we started our next .... " Living with Li-Na" :)We are off now for our final wander around and a last meal at Lucy's. ... Yes I am ashamed to admit that normal food has been a great bonus here in amongst all the changes to our life !! :) See you all Sooooon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! here's hoping the plane trip won't be to much of a nightmare !Love Laura
26/09/07 A lovely family photo. Laura says she is ready to come home now. Although, she has mixed feelings, as coming home means the countdown to her returning back to work and leaving her beautiful baby, something she doesnt feel ready for yet. But, she is looking forward to being surrounded by their home comforts and people who love them and getting Li-Na into a routine. A very happy, although rightfully shattered mommy with her angel in her arms. Li-Na has been keeping them awake the last few nights, being rather unsettled and not easily comforted. Laura thinks this could be due to her teething, combined with late nights and little routine as well as a new diet with different foods.
Three generations. Laura's mum went home today and it was a sad occasion. Laura was grateful for her help and will miss her a lot.
A last photo together.
Li-Na having a good giggle with her daddy. She loves to be thrown up into the air.
Riding on her dads shoulders. Li-Na loves to explore her daddy's face and pull his hair while she rides on his shoulders.
Isnt this just precious?
Granny with her beautiful granddaughter.
Exploring Grandma's face.
Laura just loving showing off her brag book to some onlookers, while feeding Li-Na.
Laura and Eric arrive back on Friday night and we are so excited to finally meet this little princess. Hurry on over the sea little Li-Na :-)
The whole family with Aunty Diane in the Victory Hotel. Trying to reach the camera, a lovely close up of our Li-Na princess.
Getting herself up on all fours, it wont be long before she is crawling. Go Li-Na go!!
Statue of American couple with their adopted daughter, complete with cameras and videos.
Li-Na not willing to give up her spoon.
Yesterday they went to see a temple and a government shopping center. Today they went to visit a Jade and Pearl market and then Laura and her mom went shopping for 4 hours while daddy babysat. Laura says Li-Na's feeding has been a bit erratic during the day and that they are feeling a bit tired today as Li-Na had an unsettled night last night.
She is a very happy, content baby, and she is gaining strength in her legs, moving herself around, turning over and managing to move herself around although she is not quite crawling yet. Laura says she cant wait to come home and she has had enough of hotel living now.
She looks so happy in the water, is she going to be a fish like our Amy-Li too??
Hello everyone. Firstly I am saying a big Thankyou to Julia for writing up my news on the blog site every day after we have a telephone chat for updates. Eric and I were dismayed when we arrived to find that it is impossible to get onto blogsites from China at present. ( ?? why ?? )Fortunately Julia has 'saved the day'.Well....needless to say, I am totally in love with my georgeous baby! She is so sweet and a real beauty! The Chinese people even tell me so and tonight I had a lady taking photos of just her!! So that warmed my heart even more. Eric and I are managing well with her and she seems happy and settled after 72 hours now. ( in fact she was settled virtually the by the same evening after we got her.) One crying episode the first afternooon (which I sent a photo of to Julia), resulted in a quick crisis management call back with practical advice and hey presto!! Happy baby since then, only cries briefly if she needs a bottle. This is the first evening when I feel I have had a moment to sit at the computer and type. It has been non-stop since we arrived with happy exciting but exhausting days. As you know, the day before we became Parents to little Li-Na, we re-did our Wedding Photos!! What a fantastic way to start our adoption, by celebrating "Just the Two of Us" before our little girl entered our lives at 4pm the next day!! We decided to join in the modern Chinese culture of having Wedding Photos taken for the express purpose of displaying in a fancy Album ...nothing to do with being married, but it is assumed the couple is married or intend to get married at some stage. I can therefore say ,we had a fantastic Wedding Day that matched all my little girl dreams with puffy dresses , trains and romantic poses , as well as as being a model in a professional studio. I had such fun...and I think Eric did too despite his initial misgivings!
Today I left Li-Na (unintentially for so long) for 4 hours with her Daddy, Mom and Diane in order to choose the photos and negotiate prices etc...all quite a rigmarole in China, as anything 'out the box' is difficult for them to deal with... ie: I was their first Western woman who had done this, as well as coming from the UK, and so they just could't comprehend why I wanted to change the set package on offer and refuse the additional huge enlarged photo beautifully framed and a smaller picture frame. To Eric's disgust we still have to go back tomorrow to choose our best 50 for a fantastic album and will get a CD with all 140 pics! :) ... it was hard to not choose them all ...honest!! :)
Despite this abscence from my precious Li-Na ,she had been fine but was apparently starting to get restless and miserable by the time I arrived back and it warmed my heart so much to know that it was ME she needed. :) She settled immmediately when I took her , and she drank her bottle down that they had been struggling with. I was really chuffed! She is bonding so well with both of us and it is so obvious how happy she is, the way she squeals with delight to have a Mommy and a Daddy!
As far as our adoption and transition period is going, we are having very few problems...just the occaisional bottle or food problem which varies daily and we sort out by trial and error. She is so good, and such a sweet little angle. A little minature person with beautiful eyes . She has come to us with a few scars , bites and bumps from her time in the Welfare Institute which demonstrates to me that care was not optimal in her little life so far. She has no hair on the back of head indicating long hours spent lying on her back on a hard cot with no mattress.- which is standard in China. I believe she was in a room of about 20 babies and 2 day carers / 1 night carer. There were another 2 rooms similar and 2 'floating carers' between the 3 rooms. Poor little mite...she has had the least problems since arrival.
I have been acting as the group Doctor trying to sort out eruptions of boils on 2 other infants heads at the back ( Li-Na has scarring from an old one in the same position) , rashes , bites and distraught, exhausted new Mums's. Thankgoodness I was a nurse and midwife before, because I have been able to help a lot, and give advice without them taking offence. I must say it has been draining on me more than I was aware, as last night Li-Na slept the whole night through and I was awake the whole night stressing about all the various medical and attachment issues going on around me with everyone else !! We were fine!!
Anyway..today seems better. Things improving all round. I have had some success with 2 families sharing one bottle of antibiotic and the children now have boils just waiting to erupt..but then at least they will start healing. The one family's attachment difficulties improved by spending some time today away from the group. Adoption is just such a scary event and so individual...one really just has to play it by ear.
I am so glad my Mom and Diane have been here as it has been nice to have a little family in the Lounge of our suite at night etc...and generally all doting on Li-Na. She has kept them entertained all afternoon crawling naked on a plastic table cloth, weeing a couple of times, and generally having a lovely time stretching and enjoying her freedom. Her favourite toy today has been her Nappy sack ( with clean nappy inside ). She just loves scrunching the thin blue plastic crackly bag with her hands. :-)
We went to the Silk Market today and I have ordered a dress and 2 tops in Chinese style to be made for me to collect on Tuesday. I so hope they turn out well. At one stage I was being measured and had to go with the tailor ... Mum had to then finish the bottle I was giving Li-Na when I was called away...and by the time I got back she was arching her back and NOT a happy bunny after her bottle was finished. As soon as I held her she quietened immediately. I know this is so obvious to people who have had their own children ... but in an adoptive situation this is very important to us as we are wanting to build an attachemnt with the child. So yes...I was ecstatic!! Whilst at the Silk Market a Chinese lady came up to us to ask about why I had a Chinese baby! She is a Sculptress and apparently works / lives part ime in CapeTown, South Africa. She was facinated by our adoption story and was thanking us for adopting her, so I was able to show my "brag book" with everything explained in photos and Mandarin to her in order to show her husband who did not speak English. She was so pleased when I replied that I was the lucky one to have been granted permission form China to adopt her! She now has more knowledge and can't wait to tell her friends. Situations like this are common, where when one lives in a country and the local people are unaware of the internal isssues , in this case abandonment of so many little girls".
We went to the restaurant 'Lucy's' again tonight as we wanted to have knives and forks and a quick reliable meal. It was enjoyable, I enjoyed a G&T , singing along to the crooning music and playing with our baby who was fighting sleep. She eventually dropped off and Eric held her in the hammock while we all strolled in the perfect evening temperature along a park/ restaurant area along the edge of the Pearl River with lots of brightly lit up restaurant boats going up and down. All the high rise buildings over the water were lit up, Laser-light shows were happening, buildings were lit up with chnging patterns and images of the upcoming Olympic Mascots etc. We sat and had a Mango Icecream, listened to more lovely music with such variety and then walked the short distance home. It was lovely. Hopefully tonight I will sleep. We are only sending a couple of pics tonight as very late..............
19/09/07 What difference in this baby over the last 48 hours. Her personality is peeping through and lots more giggles were enjoyed to day by her mom and dad. Just look at that cute little smile! Yippee! I love playing with my mom and dad! Playtime is proving a big hit and Li-Na especially loves her rattles.
Some on the floor in the nude tummy time.
Li-Na loves to explore her mommy's face (especially her nostrils, ha, ha). She was moving around, turning over, lifting up her body and Laura used this lovely time to massage her baby and practice some baby SMART moves.
Daddy having fun with his little girl, who has found her voice and loves to giggle and gurggle.
It was off to Thai restuarant for supper tonight, with dad having a turn to carry Li-Na in the carrier. She once again slept all the way through their meal. Cheers says Eric with a watermelon and Lemon healthy drink.
Some of the different foods they are trying out.
Li-Na woke up at 2am for a bottle. Her cot is next to their bed and she then started to play with her mom, squeeling with delight whenever Laura looked at her, then looking away and turning towards her mom with a huge big smile and lots of excitement before she eventually fell back to sleep. Laura sounds so excited and so in love with her baby when she discribes their interactions, it is lovely to hear.
Today they had their first poo to deal with and it turned into a bit of a ceremony with a big preparation before the nappy was changed and much excitement and even the odd photo.
Today they had to go and get passports sorted out, which just means more waiting and paperwork. Unfortunately Li-Na fell asleep just before she was due to have her photo taken and so they woke her up and she was propped up on a little chair for the photo and then Laura said she started wailing. Poor baby. At this point Laura jumped into "assertive mommy mode" and got between the camera and Li-Na and refused to let them take a photo of her baby who was distressed, she picked Li-Na up and told the guide they would just have to take the photo another time as it just was not worth upsetting her little girl who needed her sleep and did not appreciate having it disturbed.
The next 4 days are going to be free days for sightseeing and quality family time.
06/12/2006: Eric and Laura have been married for 4 years and have had a wonderful time together sharing life and travelling to exciting destinations. During this time we have made the exciting decision to adopt from China. What a life changing experience it has been, a journey where we have met so many new and treasured friends. We are still travelling along the Time-Line, but the end is in sight where our new family starts.