Sunday, February 28, 2010

As if I don't have enough on my plate.  Did I mention that I've gone out the last 2 nights on EMS calls, that makes 3 times since I've been home.  All at night.

Any how I agreed to foster and socialize 4 baby bunnies for a rabbit shelter that is overloaded.  So when I asked who wants to go with me to pick them up, one of the twins said "yes", and also my daughter who is deaf wanted to go.  It was an hour drive up and an hour drive back.  I told the two to get in the car.  When I went to the car I only saw one of the twins in her booster seat, and couldn't see where my deaf daughter was.  So as I opened the door and asked  "Where IS...".  I looked, and she was sitting in the other booster seat!  Of course she didn't fit.  I explained that that was for little kids, not her.  She signed, "Ohhh."

So again dh is out numbered because 3 of the 4 are females...  That makes 11 females and three males in the house.

I guess we're attracting wildlife, because for the first time since we've lived here, (4.5 years) there is a possum right outside our window eating birdseed.

I will be taking a couple of days off from writing. It is hard to write at the moment, we are having great difficulty with finances right now. I'm feeling devastated.  We're not even sure where the mortgage payment will be coming from,etc.  I have no solutions to remedy the situation.  

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I know you have wondered how my other daughter is doing, since I have been sharing so many stories  about my daughter who is deaf.

That daughter is quiet, a bit shy, and carefully getting adjusted.  I know that she is sad about leaving her friends, and perhaps her family members that she hasn't seen or heard from in 4 years.  I asked her to write down her grandmother's name, her aunt's name and anything else she may remember.  Like perhaps where she used to live, any details.  I want to help her heal.  She does tear up when I speak about her Grandmother.  If I am really really lucky. I will be able to find her, or someone in the family and at least get some pictures.

Now, on the lighter side, I will leave you with a visual.  All the girls (and me) playing Go Fish, in Sign Language!  It was so much fun!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Let it snow!!!!!!!!

Snow chair, snow table & snow bunny on snow table

                                        Holding snow bunny

Thursday, February 25, 2010

P.S. from today's post - Just had to share this!

Everyone was just getting ready for bed, I was upstairs hurrying up the twins.  I suddenly heard this noise coming out of my deaf daughter's room, her door was closed.  I listened, and called the twins over to listen.  It was sort of a sing song voice singing high and low - Dah Dah Dah Dah, Dah Dah, Dah Dah, and on.  We all looked at each other, not having a clue what was going on.  All of a sudden her door flies open and there is my deaf daughter marching with a tiny pennant flag being swung back and forth and in her other hand a tiny megaphone, all from her Cheerleader Build-a-Bear.  And she was singing from her heart through that megaphone.  I thought that I was going to die, it was the funniest thing she has done yet.

OMG, I know if she wanted to be a cheerleader someday, she would do it!
I would like to thank everyone that gave me great suggestions regarding dealing with the cost of hearing aides.  The audiologist is contacting the manufacturer to see if they can get them at cost and she also offered to speak with the accounting department about a payment plan.  YEAH!

The reason we took three opinions regarding my daughter's age is because of uncertainness in nutrition, genes, etc, one reading wouldn't necessarily be accurate.  Taking the average of the three: x-ray reading - 12, Pediatrician - 11.5 - 12, and the Pediatric dentist - 11 - 11.5, we came up with 11.5 for her age.  But when we finally get her in deaf school, I will let them test her, and I trust them to make the appropriate decision.

More antics.  Last week I was downstairs and I hear this loud noise above me.  It was of a chair rolling back & forth on a wooden floor.  I listened, and listened and listened.  I couldn't quite understand why it was going on for so long.  I go upstairs and what do I see?  My deaf daughter sitting in the chair, shooting back and forth the room at top speed.  I stopped her and tried to explain that this was not a ride or toy and I showed her that it stays at the desk.  Case closed, or so I thought...  Two days ago i heard the noise again although it was a bit different this time.  I go upstairs and she is in her chair, again, going down the hall to her sister's room.  I turned her around made her go back to her room, placed the chair at the desk   I pulled the chair away from the desk and signed, "No".  I pushed it into the desk and signed "Yes".   I think she understands now...time will tell.

One would think, I would remember my experience when we adopted our older daughter 3.5 years ago..  I had walked into the bathroom after I told her to take a shower.  I peeked in and she was holding the shower head in a crouched position trying to wash herself.  I had to show her about putting it in the holder, how to stand under it, and how to wash standing up.  Several days ago I peaked in on my deaf daughter and darn if she wasn't doing that exact same thing!  So I showed HER what to do.   Isn't it amazing the things we take for granted?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The results are in...

A quick news flash for tonight..  As you all know I was a mad woman working at warp speed to get the paperwork done before my deaf daughter 'aged out'.  And you remember various frustrations that I ran into.

When we asked her what year she was born in she said that she didn't know.  We asked her what month and day was her birthday, she didn't know.  We asked her how old she was, she said that she didn't know but an adult at the orphanage said I was 14.

Well according to a bone x-ray, a Pediatrician, and a Pediatric dentist, my daughter is NOT 14, she is in fact 11.5 years old. So why were they trying to get rid of her?

I leave you with that thought tonight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Fashion Police strikes!

 Ah Ha!  I decided to do a random check, and my deaf daughter not only had done the two layer thing on her legs, but had combined 4 layers of the weirdest combination of tops.  Really, different necklines, colors that couldn't possibly match, short and long sleeves, and a cami with a gauze layer under it all!

I decided to pick out new clothes.  I opened a drawer and ahhhhhhhhhh.  Some friends of mine had given her the most beautiful elegant dressy dresses, and they were balled up in her drawer!  OK, deep breath.  This is going to take some time to get her on the right track.

And I forgot to mention, when I walked into her room this morning her bedside lamp was on the floor.  I sought her out, brought her into the room, and asked if she had seen it on the floor.  It had obviously been knocked over in the night because a small pillow was where the lamp should have been.  She said yes. I said why didn't you pick it up?  She shrugged with a grin. (Counting, counting, breathing...)  I say if something falls you must pick it up.  Then I look around her room and papers were scattered on the floor, her bed wasn't made, clothes from yesterday were thrown on a chair and she had thrown laundry in her hamper that didn't have a bag in it because she had brought it downstairs to the washing machine days ago.  These are all things I have asked her to take care of every day that she has been home.  I wish I could make a "To Do' list up in Chinese so she could look at it every day.

This week I start the knock down drag out with the school system to get the proper resources for my girls.  I have already had this sort of situation 3 years ago with my other daughter.  And I have come to know the Director of Special Education is a pompous fool and a bully, who terrorizes his staff and cares only about the bottom line, not the children's welfare and education.  I personally know of two families that moved out of town because of him.  And I have spoken to the Head of Deaf and HOH for our state and even SHE has heard about him in the most negative ways.  

 I threw my gauntlet down this morning asking for PPTs.  So begins the battle...

Monday, February 22, 2010

The girls met their aunties today, and received two cuddly teddy bears which they didn't let go of for hours.

We tested my daughter's hearing today.  Now we finally have a clear picture of what we're dealing with.  She has profound hearing loss in both ears.  But there is a corner of hearing that will benefit greatly from hearing aides.  The audiologist was excited because she said that there was enough hearing for her to have speech therapy.  She will also be able to hear background noise.  My daughter is thrilled about getting hearing aides.  The good news is the kind that she needs to provide for the various frequencies that she hears is not the most expensive.  The not so good news is that each hearing aide costs $1,600, and she needs two of them.  Our insurance said that they won't pay for it and our state doesn't have any help either.  I would rather not postpone getting the hearing aides as they will be crucial in her learning English and American Sign Language.  Just getting back from China though, and needing to spend quite a bit more than planned or budgeted, I don't see how we can get them  right away.  It's another one of those money frustrations that life presents...     I would like to resolve this one soon for her sake.                  
And then there were the not so funny things like when we were walking across a road, we got to the other side and I turned around to check everyone was with me and right in the middle of the road my deaf daughter had crouched down to tie her shoe! What we take for granted...  Then I started to back out of my driveway, and I was going, I turned around and she was walking around (in my mini van)!

I'm afraid fashion is not on my deaf daughter's list of specialties.  The combinations that she comes up with would even make a punk dresser's eyes cross.  And if I let her, she would wear the same outfit 5 days in a row.

Did I mention that I didn't realize that both daughter's didn't know how to use a shower curtain?  I mean by putting the liner INSIDE the tub?  I was made aware of this, in China, when the bathroom flooded, and I do mean flooded.

A thought for all you adoptive parents, try to dig if you see a 'hint' that a question was uncomfortable.   Hopefully you will get  snippets of information about their past that might need extra attention in the healing process.  My deaf daughter made an offhand (get it, off hand? sign language?, oh never mind) comment, sort of air slapping her face. I pursued asking her about it and she said that she was just joking... Naw, I didn't think so.  So , I pursued it gently and came to find out a third grade math teacher physically abused her when she didn't know an answer, or got one wrong.  He would slap her face, pinch her cheek extremely hard or use a switch on her bottom.  All in front of the class.  If I ever meet this man I will personally rip his testicles off!  Now I know that there is a particular healing I must do.  Yesterday I found another.  She used to dance Chinese dance in a group for a year or two.  I asked her if she wanted to keep doing it.  She teared up and shook her head.  I asked what was making her sad, she said she didn't know.  I asked several questions and got the same answer, so I left it.  I will be re-visiting that in the near future.

So parents pursue those small signals, you never know where they might lead you...

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Today I will be adding little experiences that I forgot to tell you when they happened.  I will be adding throughout the day, before 'fade' time.

Here is the first one.  When we first got our daughter who is deaf, my older daughter took her into the bedroom to try on some of the clothes we brought for her.  Several minutes later she comes out of the room, saying, "She's wearing THREE layers."  I said "Well of course she is it's cold today."  "No you don't understand!  She took off her pants, and she still had something on, I think long underwear, then she took THEM off and there was ANOTHER LAYER!!!!  And they were pajamas!!!!!"  I exclaimed, "You're kidding?!"  "NO, come look."  I walked into the bedroom and lying on the bed were the 3 layers, when I signed, "Why", she signed, "Cold".  And she gave me a sheepish look with a lop sided grin.  It was too cute.  And since then I've had to check her, because she is still in the habit.  So I'm the layer police.  In fact she isn't sensitive to cold, it's just what she was used to doing since she grew up in the orphanage since age 2.

The other snippet that I remember is when I was going to go out and do errands, my dh mentioned that I was and my deaf daughter signed, and if spoken it would have come out like this..."Mama DRIVES!!?????
Total astonishment.

I will think of more later.
Here are some pix I haven't posted yet

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yes I know, I missed yesterday.

I am sorry, but the day just got away from me, and when I finally sat down to write, I literally fell asleep at the keyboard.  Jet lag can be really annoying.

So as I prepare dinner, I will write in between.  Well, best laid plans...I wrote that last sentence 2.5 hours ago.  So, it's that fading time of night, I will try to write fast before I nod off.

As we first walked into the house, I signed to my daughter "This is....", and she was gone!  She ran into every room, turning on every light looking around quickly, then running upstairs and doing the same in each room.  There was a look of glee on her face.  Then she grabbed my other daughter's hand and dragged her from room to every room showing her everything, upstairs and down. It's as if they couldn't believe their eyes.

Then, in the kitchen,  there was the look of astonishment on their faces when I ran water from the tap and drank it.  They both decided to try it cautiously. 

As I said good night to my deaf daughter I noticed that she only got under the bed cover.  Remembering that in China we had Continental quilts, I showed that she needed to get under a sheet and blankets.  Her eyes widened and she scooted under the covers with squeals of delight.  She scooted so far down that I could barely see her face.  But from this face came radiant joy of all the coziness.  As I walked out of her room, I remembered that I better show my other daughter how to snuggle down.  She looked at me in amazement, as if I was fooling her.

That is all for now.  I am fading.

I'm starting to remember some things that I forgot to post in the past, so I will include those as I go along.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The reactions to the house are coming...

...but, we are still so jet lagged that when I finish doing everything I need to accomplish, I sit down to write and fall asleep sitting up.  I do promise though that I will write before the afternoon tomorrow.  Even if my errands and to do list aren't completed!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yes, we are home

I haven't written recently I'm sorry.  As the countdown to take-off time and day nears, time always seems to speed up, leaving you with no time at all.

My last post was your Friday, our Saturday.  So that night, which was New Years Eve night, Family Reunion Night, we had a traditional 8 course meal with Cong Cong and the Manager, his wife and child from where we were staying.  It was a wonderful meal, and a bit sad to realize it was our last night in China.

We got back to our apartment at around 8:30.  I got the twins in bed, the older girls lounged, and I finished packing all the bits and pieces which I thought that I had gotten most of 3 days ago.  But, oh nooooo, it took me to 1:00 am to complete it all.  But on the good side, at midnight, we were able to see fireworks celebrating the New Year.  Morning came way too soon.  We were woken up by drums and music, celebrating down at the river.

We had breakfast, said goodbye to Cong Cong, she took an earlier flight, then went to finish up packing and bring 7 suitcases to the van to leave.  As we said goodbye to the General Manager and his wife, we realized what good friends they were.  Their daughter was around the same age as the twins, and they had become fast friends.  Maybe they can visit us this summer.  We hope so.

The travel to the airport, getting on the first flight, to disembarking to get on the next flight to disembarking in the USA  went fairly well.  But things were ripe for further problems or delays, because after the medical information was sent to the Consulate, they had flagged it by stapling my daughter's passport to an important brown envelope that shouldn't be open until immigration...  Have you ever tried to convince an airline check-in person, security, another check-in person, more security people,  etc.  NOT to detach the passport?  And in English?  Then I was told at the Consulate to hand carry the xray, and show it at immigration.  Xrays are HUGE and floppy!  Upon carrying everything else , I need to carry and keep track of an Xray?!?  And NOT bend it, sit on it, lose it?  Truly a task of coordination.

Then in the Seoul airport, I started chatting with a US immigration officer, and he looked at her passport and pointed to the bottom of the page, and it said that she tested positive on her TB test (but the xray was clear).  Oh great, I thought.  Then he said I would have to follow up with the Dept. of Health?  What?  Why, if she's clear?  How long is this going to take?  So with dread we got on the airplane to the USA.

  As we got off the airplane, I told everyone to be prepared for a long wait.  So in order not to get stuck in a long line, I got the girls in the 'go' position and we ran for it when we got off.  Ta Da, we were second in line!.  Then it was our turn, gulp...  We went up to the officer.  He was rather elderly.  And I looked and listened and by cracky, I think he's Chinese!  They more we talked I realized that he was enjoying us, and I was thinking, "Oh please, let him make this easy for us..."  He asked, "Was one of my daughters 14?"  I said, "In 4 days she will be, that's why we went to China so quickly."  He says, "Well in the computer, it says she is already 14".  I replied, "Please take a look at her passport."    He studied it, looked at the computer and looked back again, did about 5 minutes of checking.  Five minutes can be very long time you know.  Then said, "The computer says she's 14, so she will need fingerprints and a photo done."   AHHHHHH, 7:30 on a Sunday night, where will I find all that and how long will it take and will we ever get home before morning?  (It's an hour and a half drive from the airport).  He then asks my daughter (Deaf) to place her fingers on a green electronic pad.  I show her once, then her thumb.  She doe the same for the other hand.  He then directs her attention to a camera in front of him. and takes a picture.  Wowy Zowy, this is SO great.  Two minutes, and it was all done.  Oh yeah!

Well the Consulate always has massive amounts of paper to go through.  So 15 minutes pass, then 25, finally, 30.  He says everyone else but me and the 2 new daughters could go get the luggage.

I start to think ahead and make contingency plans, and who can I call at 8:00 Sunday night?  He walks us across the massive hall, to a room and asked us to sit until our names were called.  We sit, and in front of me is a very high desk with uniformed officers behind it.  Here we go again.
My dh doesn't know where we are, again, or what's happening.  Will we be here overnight, again?  I started getting out my cell phone as one of my daughters names was called.  We walk up, there is a paper, I wait.  I start kidding with him about his pronunciation of her name to calm me and distract him.
He tells her to sign it.  She does and he waves us to sit down.  But before I do I kid with him saying that the next name is really tough to say.  He takes this as a challenge.   He calls out my other daughter's name, he says the first name perfectly but not the second one which begins with a 'Q'.  So I compliment him on the first one and taught him how to say the Q in Chinese and how not to forget it.  I said, "Remember Qingdao Beer.  It's really good, and you'll never forget 'Q'' agin."   He laughed and had her sign a paper.  OK it's been about 20 minutes and dh hasn't a clue where we are...  Just then he's says we can leave.  Wait, did I hear right. leave?  YES!!!!

We run out to the baggage area, all the luggage had been gotten and our driver was waiting.  No looking at the xray, nothing about the Health Dept., all the worry about nothing.  Sometimes 'nothing' is good. We drive home, pull into the driveway and there is a wonderful 'Welcome Home" sign on the garage door.  Then we walk in and there's welcome home balloons everywhere, and 5 party blowers, and 5 cardboard cylinders that pop out huge amounts of sparkly confetti everywhere.  And since it is Valentines Day, there was a huge plate of homemade Valentine cookies!  AND a Welcome Home banner around the kitchen, and a hand written sign that said Welcome Home and listed everyone's name.  I mean how welcome can you feel.  How wonderful.  We traveled for 24 hours door to door, but the last burst of energy was found to celebrate.

But don't they still just look exhausted?

Stay tuned for first reactions to seeing their new home and rooms...

Friday, February 12, 2010

A day...

So much happiness and sadness today. In 2004 we hosted a Chinese girl to attend American High School for a year. We became very close to her. Her Father visited us twice, the twins were 4 at the time and became very attached to him. They immediately went to him, sat on his lap and couldn't have enough of him. The next day that he came the girls got up early to wake him up and their energy was just frenetic. Driving to Nursery School, I asked,"Where is all this extra energy is coming from? Why so much attention to Shoo Shoo (Uncle in Chinese)" One answered quite
matter-of-factly, "Because he looks like our foster Father." I nearly drove off the road from surprise...

Well she arrived today with her Mother to visit us. They are from Qingdao. I had been telling her about coming and wanted to see her. In 2006 she had flown to Chengdu when I adopted our older daughter. She was very helpful in me understanding her better and making a connection. She also came that Christmas and stayed with us. Her Mom heard that she was coming to visit, and insisted on finally meeting us, since we had been so important in her daughter's life. The daughter, Cong Cong, calls me "Mom". And she has been part of our family ever since. So we have her and her Mom here, NINE people in this apartment! It is so great, I love it.

Earlier today when they arrived, we were just talking and I noticed one of my new daughters had her head down and wasn't responding to Cong Cong"s Mother. I looked over to her, and thought something was wrong. I came to her and saw she was crying. I got her up and took her to another room to ask what was making her sad. And at the same time I asked dh to call the Mom of her best friend (adopted several months ago) on Skype.
Luckily she was still up and I was able to get her best friend on line so they could talk, but not before she told me that she missed her friends, I got from the Mom the phone number of the orphanage that we could call. When she finished we called the orphanage and she was able to speak with her friends and her "Auntie'. After I asked her if she was a little bit happier. She said she was a lot happier. I explained that I understood that her first family is her friends and 'Auntie', and we are a new family. I said that I want to bring the two families together. We would stay in touch with her friends adopted in the States and the orphanage.

Today, I did the bang haircuts. The one daughter who cut her own bangs, and the daughter who had her bangs cut by her Auntie. We went to the hairdresser and feathered and chopped the bangs. Both girls were very pleased with the results.

After the haircuts we went to an open air market and bought fresh broccoli, carrots, garlic, ginger, green onions, Chinese celery, smoked tofu, red and yellow peppers, fresh wide rice noodles, and a few other things.. Right now we have, all my daughters, except the twins, Cong Cong and her Mom in the kitchen preparing the stir fry. There is a lot of laughter coming form the kitchen it is so fun to listen to. And frankly, it's rather great to sit here just writing!

Since we don't have a table large enough, we will sit in front of the TV, (which is an extremely rare event that we allow), and eat dinner watching The Enforcer, which is incredibly funny with Chinese sub titles. So it will be a wonderful night for one and all.

The past week has been in the high 70's, yesterday was 85 and very humid, today is 54 and very windy. I'm SO glad that I packed all the warm clothes at the bottom of everyone's suitcase. Since the next few days will also be in the 50's I will have to dig - again, to fish out appropriate clothes. So much for planning ahead.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

one more time

Alright I remember a few things that I wrote... It was about the list that I needed to complete while here. It buy souvenirs for the twins to give to friends and teachers, underwear, socks, shoes, tops, pants, cds, headbands, books for the new daughters.

Now my original email was quite longer than this. I was saying that the list had finally been completed, but there were several stories that were really interesting... hmm, well if I remember them, I'll let you know.

Our deaf daughter has quite the sense of humor. I was trying to explain to her and the other new daughter that the oldest daughter was blind in one eye. So my deaf daughter got her attention and signed, :"You're blind in the right eye?" My daughter nodded. And she answered, "That's O.K. I'm deaf." Then yesterday I came into her room with my hand on my chin trying to remember why I had gone there. So she put her hand on her chin and started stroking it then quickly held up her pointer finger with an, "Ah ha" look on her face as if to say..."Hmm, now what was I...OH YES now I know!" Totally imitating me. Then, the other morning she decided that her bangs were too long, so before I got up, she had wacked off her bangs into an arch around her face. A visit to a hairdresser is now on the to do list.

Chinese New Year is in a few days and the city is buzzing with activity and red and gold colors everywhere. Today we went to the flower street that only happens for 3 days and only in Southern China. What a cacophony of smells, sounds and people. You really felt the excitement of the the coming celebration. It was truly amazing.


I wrote a whole new blog yesterday and it has disappeared completely!  And since it WAS yesterday, I have no idea what I wrote...Darn! 

I am going out now to the Flower Market which is set up especially for the New Year celebration.  It should be wonderful.  I'll try to remember what I wrote and come back and update.  Unless this has all been a senior moment...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We shopped, and then we dropped...

Sorry for skipping a day. We left at 10:30 in the morning and didn't get home until 8:00. Most of the time we were walking. We had a wonderful guide who took us to areas to shop where everything was inexpensive.

I came over with a list of shopping that we needed to accomplish, which I thought would never get done, but to my surprise it is almost completed. Let me see, this is how the list goes; I wanted my older daughter and two new ones to pick out all the books in Chines that they wanted and cds. We found a seven story book store and set them loose. Hmmm, that was a mistake. Eighteen books and 12 cds later we left the store into a torrential downpour, with only two umbrellas. So the umbrella people took turns walking over each one to an underground passage. Of course the twins and the older daughter thought their Papa was moving too slow and raced ahead of him and got soaked.

Did I mention that every time we go somewhere we need two taxis? Which is not always easy to do. So I got the first taxi with 4 of the girls and dh stayed behind with elder daughter to catch another taxi. It took us about 20 minutes to get home. As I walk in the door my phone rings, it's dh, no taxi! Oops. Finally after 20 more minutes he got a taxi, yeah!

Oh yes, back to the list. The list covered underwear, socks, shoes, tops, pants, sweaters, souvenirs the twins wanted to get as gifts and several different fabrics for their sewing teacher who has been so kind. Sounds easy? Ah no. But as of yesterday we completed the list. We probably covered over 50 shops and walked about 4 or 5 miles. Everyone slept very well. We did have a sad moment when my deaf daughter just started crying. It took a lot of my attempts of signing and my daughters writing in Chinese to understand her pain. Finally we understood that she missed her school and two special friends. Darn! No one told me about her friends, I could have done something for her in Beijing when we were there. I will now contact the guide that we had to contact the orphanage representative to see what we can do to keep them in touch with each other.

We are now off for a traditional dinner with the General Manager of the apartment complex. We can't wait. Ah, no cooking.. I love this.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I do appreciate everyone's support who has tuned in to our story. So I am going to share a neat inside secret I just found out about today. Most of you know that when you're in China, you are blocked from any blogs, Face Book and My Space. The Chinese government does not allow access to any of these sites. That is hard for those of us in China wanting to keep in touch with friends and families at home.

I have found an access page that leads to all closed sites. Yes it is true, just go to this site and there's a place for you to type in the address and away you go! So now if you would like to write comments I am able to read them. Today I was able to catch up all the comments written in the past. Thank you each and every one for your thoughts, prayers and caring. It does mean a lot to me.

The web site is:
Really that's all you need.

Now to share an incredible moment that truly brought tears to my eyes. It was late, about 7:00, we were tired from a long day, and soaked from a pounding rain storm. We had just finished buying Chinese books and cds in this massive 7 story book store when we stopped to eat. It was a Japanese sushi place that had you sit at a counter and a moving conveyor belt constantly was whisking all sorts of sushi by you. All you had to do is reach out and grab what you wanted. It was fun and we ate massive amounts. As we walked through a department store to go out and catch a cab, we passed the piano section. A young man was playing Pachabel's Cannon in D.
I told everyone to stay and I grabbed my Deaf daughter's hand and pulled her around the rope right up to the piano being played. I took both of her hands and put them on the top of the piano, and she watched his fingers as he played. All of a sudden her face broke out in this wondrous look of amazement, glee and disbelief. She was 'hearing' music for the first time! As I watched her face I felt a lump in my throat and tears came to my eyes. It was so incredible to see her face glow. I opened a new door for her to experience. It was one of those moments when time stood still. All I can say is 'Wow'.

And so I shall end tonight's entry on this high note.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


To all you parents out there... Here's a dilemma. One of twins lost her tooth tonight, and she still believes in the Tooth Fairy. Normally I have this beautiful paper with real flowers in it, and I type in green script font. Can't do it here and, I wasn't sure if we had any quarters..

Now where can I find paper that they haven't seen, and a special color pen so it doesn't look like it came form us. By the way it's 8:30 at night, and we're in a hotel/apartment. Gotta get creative...

So I took a pad out of my purse that had a subtle flower background and cut the decorative top and bottom off that my daughter would recognize. I found a red pen in my office supplies and got to work. The paper was in a circle and I tried to write in a handwriting that wasn't mine.

"Ni Hao,
I am the Chinese Tooth Fairy. It was too far for your Fairy to fly.
She say give you this".

(and I found 2 State quarters that I know she didn't have) Thank goodness for loose change.

Update on living with 5 girls

I am amazed how the relationships are working out so far with all the girls. Although I am fully aware that once home and settled in, there will be conflicts and testings.

But, I have never had this feeling of 'family' before. Yes I had the twins and older daughter, but they are still working out their relationship and it's been 3.5 years. My older daughter had a really rough time in the orphanage, and it has been hard for her to trust, feel, grasp concepts of applying common sense, prioritizing and self love, (among many other things). Although she has come a very long way. So with her it has always been to pick your battles, teach her in small amounts, and appreciate when she is light and happy. With the twins, they had huge abandonment issues that manifested into one having very low self esteem and the other totally shut down and giving the appearance that everything is fine. She wouldn't cry, I had to give her permission. I'm now teaching her how to use words to express her hurts, her anger and her fears.

Right now I have 5 girls helping each other, sharing and caring, watching out for each other, and playing and laughing. Wow, this is so amazing. I always felt that this is what family is all about but I have never experienced it before. Harmony is a great thing! I do realize that it doesn't stay like this all the time, but this does feel so good!

My dh keeps saying and shaking his head..."Five girls...five girls..." But I actually think he is enjoying it more than he thought!

So now the newspaper articles are everywhere about my daughter searching for her birth family. I translated some using the Google translator, and have found out so much information. It's like a jig saw puzzle being put together, including the Father's age when she was born, the name they gave her, what she was wearing when found, AND her age! I emailed the reporter today with more questions and ideas to locate the person who said that he was the Father. I hope we can have some conclusive info before we leave.

We received an incredible amount of information about our daughter form Luoyang. The information is, her parents name, how each one died, her Grandmother's name and the letter from her Grandmother giving her rights over to the orphanage. With my facilitator I was able to question her what she remembers, because she was about 9 years old at the time. Well, slowly the tears came as she remembered the hurt and confusion of why these people came and took her away. I was able to tell her the reasons for her Grandmother's choice and how it was made out of love. The Grandmother was old and sickly and didn't have the money to continue her care. I made sure that she understood, so perhaps the healing could start. With her tears falling, I held her in my arms so she knew I understood and cared. And that I wouldn't be going away.

I think between the two of them this was just the first of many tears to come.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

short and simple

Since my last post was so long I thought I would just do pictures for this one...

My "Girls"

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm famous in China!

Before I get to part 2 of the saga, I must tell you what happened today.  I'm telling you events a little out of order, but I'm sure that you will catch up.

Well, yes we have number 2 daughter, more on that later.  Well, we walked into the Civil Affairs office for daughter #2's paperwork to get her officially adopted, and the woman in charge looked at me and said,   "I know you."  Well I have had that a lot of that said over the years, either they think I'm Meryl Streep or, that blonde actress in "Bothers & Sisters".  So I assumed that.  She said, "Your picture is on the largest internet site and in the newspapers, you're looking for the parents for your older daughter, right?"  Yes, that's right.  Apparently the interview I did with a reporter here has hit every site and newspaper in China.  They googled it to show me, and many different sites came up with the story!.

Who would have guessed that I would walk into the Zhengzhou Civil Affairs office and be recognized because I was in the news!?  Small world.
Here is one of the sites:

OK, Part 2.  We got to the airport to check in.  We hand in our passports and I say we're getting my daughter's passport sent to us because we needed to leave before it was ready because we needed to fly out to adopt another daughter.  She looked at me, I pulled out the Certificate of adoption in the red plastic holder and handed it to them.  She looked at, called someone over, who in turn called a supervisor over who in turn called someone in a uniform over.  Of course in between getting each new person, there was a 5-10 minute discussion.  They then said, you have to go to the police and get a picture ID.  I said, "No, she is my daughter, she is now part of an American family, and that certificate should be enough."  More discussion, for 8 minutes.  At this time, my heart started to sink, I felt that this was about to become an enormous issue.  I got my phone out and dialed my facilitator/guide.  I explained to him, he said the certificate has always been accepted in the past, so I handed the phone over to the airline people  so he could speak with them and explain.  A heated exchange took place and the phone was handed back to me, and he said, go to security and get a photo ID, apparently they've just changed the rule over night, and they no longer accept the certificate, it has to be a passport or ID card.

So, I tell my husband, I look at my daughter and signal her to come with me. (She is deaf and she has no idea what's going on, but by the look on my face she must have know something was wrong.)The supervisor led us at mach speed down hallways, through throngs of people and luggage, and around corners.  We arrive at security and she curtly signals us to stay outside the office.  There's a line.  So she seeks out high level officers and proceeds to speak with them for about 10 minutes. Mean while I look at my daughter's face and it is clouding up. I look up in my dictionary and showed her the word 'protect' and signed, "Mama will protect you."  She slowly nodded.  I felt my heart sink, this was not going well, the departure time was creeping closer, and I had no idea where my husband and 3 other children were and what they've been told.

The supervisor rapidly walks away from the security police and says, "No, they won't give you an ID."  I looked at her flabbergasted and said,"I am not leaving my daughter behind, or my family and we MUST get this flight, another adoption is counting on it!"  She told me to call my guide again, I did and handed her the phone.  She spoke a few words, gave me the phone, which was already disconnected, and took off like a bullet in another direction.  I grabbed my daughter's hand and pulled her along.  She was not doing well, her face had the strangest look on it.  Again we're whipping around corners, dodging people. 

Finally we stop in front of a windowed office.  I see it's a place to do copies, FAX, & make phone calls.  She rapid fires Chinese to the person behind the counter then asks me to call my guide again, (and from that point on she keeps my phone and calls him herself, AND answers my phone).  I start to run through my mind possible scenarios that are occurring since no one at this point has bothered to fill me in.  By now an hour has passed since we walked up to the counter to check in.  I glance over to see how my daughter is doing and there's tears pouring down her cheeks.  I rush up to her and hold her.  What could she be thinking?  It's all her fault?, They're going to send me back to the orphanage?, I'll never be adopted?, I'm scared?  What ever it was made me angry.  I looked up another word in my dictionary and signed, "Mama will not leave you."  Up to that point I had not said much, followed along and was quite polite and cooperative.  Now my daughter was upset, and I'm angry, NOBODY upsets one of my children and gets away with it!

She's on MY phone talking, I step in front of her about 6 inches from her face and give her a look she can't ignore. She gets off the phone and finally tells me what's happening.  MY guide is trying to get hold of the Orphanage Director to FAX a copy of her registration card.  Only that will get her a picture ID and only a picture ID will get her on the plane.  We wait and wait, one hour and a half has passed at that point.  I ask her has anyone told my family what is happening?  She said yes.  Mean while I give my daughter another hug and hold her close.  The supervisor motions me to again follow her.  A couple of yards away, she motions us into the airlines VIP area to sit down.  Then someone brings my family there as well.  I look at the time, we are not going to make the flight.  I go to the supervisor and say that I want my luggage off the plane and brought to me now!

As my family is brought in I tell them  what's happening, I tell my twins to give their sister a hug because she is scared.  The moment one of them put their arms around her she burst into sobs.  My heart was breaking.  We've now been at the airport for two an  a half hours.

Finally the FAX come through. I asked the supervisor when is the next flight that we can get on?  She checked.  No available flights on any airlines until tomorrow at 3:00.  I had my guide call his boss for her to try....she found nothing.  Now, I feel so much is falling apart.  If we can't get to Zhengzhou, then we will have only ONE day to do all the adoption papers!  And we can't stay later because we have the TB tests in Guangzhou to do.  My mind is racing, what is my plan of action to circumvent disaster?  Then my guide calls and says since all he flights are booked, I should take the train.  I said, "Are you serious?  I have 6 people and 7 pieces of luggage and 3 of them are very heavy.  It is physically impossible for us to take a train."  He said "Well then, you won't be able to adopt your other daughter then, you won't get there in time and you have to keep your CA."  I exploded, "Don't be ridiculous that's a lot of rubbish.  You know that isn't true.  Now find a solution for me now!  You should have known that I needed something for in order to get on the plane!"  

My daughter is still upset, it's getting late, the girls are hungry, and I'm getting a headache.  He kept insisting I should take the train.  I told him that I have travelled around Europe by train and I know what is involved and it would be impossible for us to manage the luggage, let alone find a place for it and us. (I found out later it would have been a 10 hour plus train ride).  

Then the supervisor came up, and I said, OK, we will just sleep here in the VIP area, because we have no place to go, so I think you need to really see if there is a solution that you haven't looked at yet.  She said that we couldn't sleep there because the room closes at 10:00.  She said she was sorry and couldn't do any more...

So I started calling all the cell numbers for the adoption agency's President, Managers, etc.  The first two didn't answer.  It was 5:00 am, but you would think id they gave out their numbers for emergencies they at least would keep their phones handy.  The third try I reached someone, and they said that they would handle everything including trying to hurry up the paperwork and getting my next daughter the necessary paperwork so that we wouldn't go through this again and find us a hotel.  Oh goody, I thought, now at almost 8:00 pm, we need to find a shuttle to a hotel, what hotel?  Then unpack for one night for four kids to find p.j. s and a new set of clothes for the following day.  The guide called and said he booked some rooms and the shuttle will come and pick us up.  

I then went and tried to find the supervisor to get her to book us on the 3:00 flight the next day.  SInce I didn't get her name that took about a half hour to find her.  I felt like I was on a treadmill.  My daughter had calmed down, and the other girls were tired and hungry.

So, shuttle, hotel, room, eat, bed.  Go to airport the next day.  We check in, again, but this time with the paper from the orphanage.  Everything was going fine UNTIL it came to my daughter's paperwork.  No they won't accept it!  I felt my stomach lurch, my ears started to burn, and I just said, we were told by security yesterday that this WAS acceptable!  Nope, they didn't care.  So my daughter and I were dragged back to the security office where the airline supervisor (a different one) explained the situation, again.  They talked shook their heads, mumbled, etc.  Remember yesterday they wouldn't take the adoption certificate?  I pulled it out anyhow and they looked at it.  Right I thought, I'm calling my guide, again, and get him to explain it all over again to different security people.  I handed the security people the phone, and they talked.....

I don't even know what I was feeling at this point.  I cared more for my daughter not to get upset again, so I kept signing, "everything is OK". 
Finally he got off the phone, grunted in my direction and had my daughter sit for a photo. Success!  And you know why?  Because of the adoption certificate, which didn't work the day before. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

We got to Zengzhou at 7:30 pm. met my second daughter, and finished all the paperwork the next day.  I sit now in the airport ready to fly to Guangzhou.  Of course the flight was delayed 2 hours, so we'll get to the hotel around midnight.  And oh, by the way, they almost wouldn't let daughter #1 through security, because they didn't want to accept Beijing's Security's ID pass with two of their stamps and her photo.  Go figure...

My novelette is over.  Thank you for reading.

Part 1

First let me say that I'm sorry that I left you all hanging.  Also if you leave comments, I cannot read them as China blocks all blogs.  So all I am doing is sending emails to the blog, hoping that they show up.
The day started with clues of what was to come…  The day before we went to Civil Affairs to start the paperwork.  The woman was fairly cooperative. My guide asked her when would the paperwork be finished, and she said she would let him know.  He called later that day and she said maybe later, she has an appointment.  He called at the end of the day and she said to stop calling, that she'd call him in the morning when to come. 
Well, he told us to be ready at 8:45 and be ready for the call.  An hour passed and I said did you tell her that we have to leave today to go to Zhengzhou for another adoption and then fly to Guangzhou two days later?  If we don't make our Consulate appointment on the 10th, we will have to stay here an extra 2 weeks before we can get another appointment.  We can't afford that.
He said he did tell her.  I said to call her and make it happen now, we cannot afford to have the schedule changed.  He didn't seem to understand, and thought that we could just make another appointment.  I said NO! it doesn't work that way.  We are very lucky to have gotten this CA, I worked very hard for it and WE'RE NOT CHANGING ANYTHING!  I explained again why the timing was so crucial.  I pushed hard enough for him to finally call his supervisor.  Next thing I know we're on our way.  We get there and guess what?  She's not there, she had a day off and never told my guide that she wouldn't be there to finish processing the paperwork.  She led him to believe that the paperwork was being worked on by her.
You know if I hadn't pushed to make a call and rattle some cages, we could have been sitting there all day waiting and getting incredibly behind.  Because on that day we still had to go to the Notary's office and the Passport office.  Well, someone else there was talked into the final processing of the papers. Then off to the Notary, then to Passport.  Our schedule was so tight that we couldn't even wait for the passport. The guide was picking it up 4 days later and mailing it to Guangzhou. 
The rest of the day went fairly well.  We even got to the airport early…  That is when the day went south.  I finally understand from first hand experience the intense ownership the Communist government wants over each and very citizen.  Total control.
So this entry does not become too long, I will continue the saga and finale tomorrow, but I will leave you with a beautiful picture of our new daughter.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An indescribable day of horrendous problems & angst

I hate to say tune in tomorrow, but I am too wasted and numb to go into the details of today. Tomorrow I will tell all. Sorry to leave you hanging...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where do I start..

We went to Civil Affairs to do the paperwork. I held my breath hoping everything was there including the TA and money. I think I forgot to mention that the other day they knew nothing about the TA coming from CCAA so when the orphanage person and the facilitator both got on their phones, I held my breath. After several minutes and phone calls they found the TA, whew...

Here we are on the way to Civil Affairs with our facilitator 'George'.