Sunday, January 31, 2010


Click Lily's picture and then travel logs. Tomorrow is Forever in our Arms Day

Saturday, January 30, 2010

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Message from Vicki:

Today was our free day but there was an opportunity to accompany another group to Shamian Island. We took the short bus ride over to the other side of town. Shamian Island is where we stayed during our last two adoptions. However, this year the island is under total renovation in preparation for the upcoming Asian Games in November. It was hard to recognize some of the buildings through all of the scaffolding and most of the streets and sidewalks were under repair or being repaved entirely. The video attached is from a park area where the locals go in the morning to practice Tai Chi, dance, sing and play "hackie sack" using these feathered shuttle cock. Kami and I got into the fun with one of the local vendors and then ended up shelling out about 20 RMB ($3) for one of the toys! Great sales program!! It was a lot of fun.

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Friday, January 29, 2010


We are posting at Click on Lily's picture and then on the left side go to travel logs. I am still working on a way to get around blogger. I can read your comments on blogger, I just cannot publish them. Thanks for all the words of encouragement and support. It means a lot to me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We are here!

We are having a little trouble connecting to both of our sites, so now I am trying to connect through e-mail. This means that I won't be able to see my post or the pictures that I send, or be able to put them in any order. We will be working on it but I just wanted to let everyone know that we made it here. The girls did great on the flight. We were in premium economy and there were only about 6 other people in our whole cabin. We made it through the customs checks and everything fine. I am not sure if they took our temperatures. They may have, but I am not sure when. The customs officials were all wearing masks. We found our bags and our guide, Lily, was there to meet us and get us back to our room which is unbelievable. The girls have a big suite and we are connected with a sitting room, a kitchen, a living room and then our room. Both rooms have huge showers and tubs. And we also have an office in our room. I am disappointed about the connections to the web site but that we can deal with. Lily our guide told us that "Lily" does know that we are coming to get her. We are going to meet some of the group at 1:00 for Dim Sum. We were given an itinerary and I will post it later but the most important item is that we meet Lily at the Civil Affairs Office at 2:30, February 1st. It has been pouring rain on and off today, but is actually warm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

15 minutes til we leave! Bags Packed!!!

Ready to Go!  So many more bags than the first time we went to China.  We were adopting Emma and it was just Mike and me.  We each had a suitcase and we each had a carryon!

Posting from Where?

I forgot, I think? To say that we will be trying to post from  Click on Lily's picture and then go to travel logs.  We will probably get some posts here as well and any video. So check both places.  Mom and Meghan have your ichat ready!!!!!!  We love you!!!

Today is the Day!

I don't know if I will have any more time to post.  Mike wants to pack my computer.  We are ready! Mike is showering the girls right now and then we will eat dinner and leave for the airport at 7:30.  Our flight leaves just before midnight.  Thank you all so much for the prayers, thoughts, good wishes.
Love Vicki

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

One More Day!

I am sorry that I don't have any pictures of today.  Really there was not anything to take pictures of.  My day consisted of running errands.

 I sent off the Quilt squares to make Lily's 100 Good Wishes Quilt.  I had to run home after that because I bought a new battery for my camera and for the last three days when I have gone to Target, I have forgotten to bring it back.  The salesperson assured me it would fit my camera and it didn't.  At least it is really easy to take things back there.  I can't believe that I forgot it for the third time, so I had to go back and get it.

I went to Wal-Mart to pick up pictures of the family so that we can show them to Lily and have Rebecca (our guide) tell her who everyone is.  I put together the pictures I have to bring to the Orphanage if we get to go.  If we don't get to go, I will give them to whomever brings Lily. There are two pictures of girls that were adopted as babies and there pictures today.  And then there are two pictures one of a boy and one of a girl that are there with Lily now.  The parents want me to give them a picture of their families.  The boy is 6 and will live only 45 minutes away. They have just received their pre-approval so it will be some time before they are home.  But I am excited that Lily will have someone so close that was a part of her life.

Mike took the girls to Chinese class and I picked them up and then it started raining again  My sister came over and played with the girls while I did a few computer things.  I am in daily communication with Karla at our agency now.   There is always some little thing to do or ask.  I e-mailed my forum group to let them know where we will be posting while in China.

We will be posting most of the travel logs to, since we are pretty sure we can post from China from that site.   You got to the site, click on Lily's picture and then click on travel logs.
 We will probably try to post any videos here.

The list is getting smaller and we are ready.  We know that God has led us to this point in time.  It was not what we expected our lives to be like at our ages, but we are obedient to God's plan for our lives.  And we would not trade the hugs, kisses, the excitement when one of us comes home after only being away one hour, special moments for the things that we would be doing if we did not have small children at this point in our lives.  I know that I keep saying that we are excited and nervous, but those are the two words that describe it best.

Tomorrow will be a day of just finishing up small things like making sure the dishwasher is empty, the refrigerator is cleaned out, the water to the washing machine turned off, the thermostat turned off etc.  I also plan to take a moment when the girls are at school and get a pedicure.

Ready to go in 2006 to pick up Emma

Ready to go in 2007 to get Meilynn.  We took the whole family.  Kami met us in China from Barcelona.

Tomorrow a new picture!  Good Night

Monday, January 25, 2010


WHEW!  I  have been so busy!  I have finally completed almost all of my packing.  When I weighed my suitcase today it weighed 60 pounds!!!!  So I had to add another suitcase so we wouldn't go over the weight limit of 50 pounds.  Emma and Meilynn are sharing a suitcase and I have Lily's things in a smaller one.  Mike will have one and mine was so heavy because I am carrying the traveling pharmacy, office supply, shampoos etc, laundry, snacks, female products, and so on!  The girls are seeking a lot of attention due to the fact that I have not been able to give them the normal amount.  And you know what that means. They are getting the attention they want by misbehaving.  My room was a mess during the packing, but now it is almost back to normal.  Here is a glimpse of the mess.

The other day we got the Fed Ex that brought our paperwork for our trip.  We had not seen our Travel Approval yet,   so we were thrilled to have another picture of our Lily as a baby.  I rotated the picture, but for some reason it did not do it here.

Today I finished the packing, and got together all of the "audio-visual" things.  Cameras, video, different cables, chargers etc.  

I also got my quilt squares all together and I plan on sending them off tomorrow.

I had the girls do their valentines so they could leave them on Wednesday for their class.

I put copies of our passports in our suitcases.

I did run out to buy a few things that I missed the other day.

I am really tired and need to get into bed.  There is so much to say, but I need to go to bed.  On the Lily's Orphanage Yahoo Group a family that had adopted several years ago took a vacation in China and visited Yangjiang where Lily is from.  They paint a pretty bleak picture.  Which makes me happy that we are going to get her now.  I don't know if she even knows about us or if they are preparing her.  Some orphanages do a great job of this and some don't.  Here is a little of what the family wrote about Yangjiang.

We went to Yangjiang SWI on the Saturday, when the guide arrived. It had been very touch and go that we would be allowed to visit at all, so we were happy that it happened. We were not however met by the director, but by a woman who was familiar to me from photos (not Ayi Tan, who has retired. I think the same woman travelled with my daughter and another girl to Guangzhou when we adopted. I will forward her name when I can find the email from the guide. Apologies. I was not sure why the Director did not come. We were met at the gate, and it was very quiet. The orphanage is located in an outer area, and in a older part of town, well off the commercial strip. 

It is hard to quantify these things, but I guess I can say there were no shocks. It was smaller than I expected, in a more occluded part of town. We were not allowed inside the rooms, which was very disappointing. Our guide had been to YJ once before. She said that overall it was not one of the more welcoming, open places. I felt that too. The woman who met us was quite pleasant, chatty, but could not really answer my questions. The outer area was empty and clean. Bleak would be my word. I tried to look inside and saw a couple of toddlers in the room that I identified as my daughters from other photos. It was dark in the rooms. When we were leaving I looked into the areas where the clothes were being washed. It was dark and cold. The woman who showed us around said they had about 100 children, but there was no evidence of that at all. She told me that they did not foster. She said there were few (no) babies. She said that most of the children had disabilities. There were a small group of older children outside, smiling, shy, while we were there. Our daughter spend the whole time trying to talk to them (in English and a few words of mandarin) and teach them paper scissors rock. It was awful to see them there. 

No one said they recognised xxxxxx, and she did not recognise anyone clearly. She said she remembered things, but I am not sure. She was happy to leave. My son (9) was of the opinion that it was 'not too bad'. Like us, he was just trying to get through it. 

It was not a place that celebrated our daughter's return in the way that I might have expected had I not read what others had said and also taken on board our guides words. For our daughter, this was okay. In fact, I was glad at the time that she was 'lightly present' and had to float about it a little to get through it.

When we left we walked along the road for some time and came to the park which backs onto the orphanage, called Beishan Park. On my daughters finding ad at least two other children were abandoned there. It is a very busy 'square' with gates, opposite the police station. It was easy to see why children might be left there to be quickly found. 

My husband and I had thought before we travelled back to China that we would like to stay longer in our daughters home town. We had planned to travel to the Silk Road Museum 40 min away, which is supposed to be amazing. But to tell the truth, it was a difficult town for us all and I was pleased to leave. It felt like a very tough place to make a living. That is much more evident than in Guangzhou. 
It had been a long trip there to YJ, and we had a very cold hotel on a relentless thoroughfare, and our children were tired of travelling and the noise and chaos the street was stress enough without the obvious issues of returning to the orphanage. 

The visit laid the groundwork for our families' understanding of the reality of our daughter's first years. Her experience now has a shared reality for us all, and it has given us an emotional base for communicating with her about what she went through in the first years of her life and how that affects us all. We also have the pictures of her mother, father and brother and of her, with us, which matters to her immensely. 

There has been so much questioning in the last year or two around international adoption. I now feel with utter conviction that at nearly three, my daughter did not have a good future in the Yangjiang SW1. I simply wish she had not had to spend so long there. I know from her anger that she had been very afraid there, no matter how clean and functional it was. 

On the issue of fundraising, I asked our guide to communicate the groups desire to fundraise. She offered up that it was no good giving toys. Some families bring toys, she explained, but they never get given to the kids because they are too dangerous as the children might swallow them or whatever. I presume the supervision is not considered good enough to allow toys. It seemed too difficult to pursue the idea of different kinds of toys. Large balls? There was no signs of play at all in the place. I asked if they needed anything. She said no, they had all they needed. Which is I am sure her just being pollite. But she did say that their washing machine had been bought through fundraising, and that the best thing would be to allow them to purchase what they need, and they would provide receipts and pictures. Which seems the best idea. 

Such a sad account.  It left me very sad.

On a lighter note Emma continues to say some of the cutest things and I don't want to forget them.

The other day I made French Toast for both of the girls for the first time.
  I asked Emma, "Do you like the french toast?"
She replied,   "I like it but not as much."
Then I said,  "You don't like it?
and she said, "Yes, but not as much as candy"

Then a little later she told me she had a dream.  Here is her conversations.

I had a dream.  i dreamed about the little mermaid.  i dreamed she brought me little mermaid cloths,  a treasure bag, something to make your hair turn red and something to make you big, and she brought me a bra. 

My little girl is in a hurry to grow up. She always talks about how she cannot wait to be grown up so she can choose her own clothes.  (What she means by this, is that everyday she wants to wear a skirt, tights, and  "up-sleeves", and although we live in California, it does get cold here)  The first thing she does when we get home from anywhere is change into a skirt and short sleeves.  I forsee trouble in the teenage years.

Oh, and in response to Lily's best friend, yes, we do know who is adopting her and they should be going just after the Chinese New Year.  They do not live close, but I hope we can let the girls stay in touch.  I have been in contact with her Mother.

Good night!  Good night Lily, we will soon have you in our arms!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Four More Days!

I had every intention of getting my shopping done today and my personal packing.  I did get some things done that needed to be done, but I did not get to my packing.  I had several coupons to use that were going to expire and they were not just percents off they were worth money, so I didn't want them to go to waste.  I had $30 at The Children's place so I bought the girls a couple of play skirts and shirts for summer and two hats for our trip to China if it is cold in Guilin.  I have decided not to buy anymore for Lily until I do know her true size.

We got three skirts and two shirts and I only paid $6.00.  (The Hello Kitty Skirts and shirts were not part of this deal)

I went to Gymboree to spend my Gymbucks that were going to expire tomorrow, but I couldn't find anything that I really liked and the girls were more interested in watching the little t.v. then trying on.  The Gymboree clothes run so big, I really need to try them on.  Even the 3T's can be too big on them unless they have the adjustable waist.  So after spending way to much time getting frustrated with them, I decided that I would just order on-line when I got home.

I had a $10.00 certificate for Macy's and I like to buy pants there so I bought a pair of black pants.  By the time I was ready to start trying on jeans, the girls had really had their fill of shopping.  They needed to go to the bathroom again, which is no easy feat.  Because they are so short, I still have to lift them on to the potty and I have to lift them to wash their hands.  Try doing that holding three coats, a purse, and bags.  After attempting a few more stores, I was ready to give up.  I got in the car and my best friend and her adult daughter called and offered to help.  I met them at the mall closer to our house and Samantha (Julie's daughter) took the girls to the Disney Store while I tried on jeans.  I was able to find some really quick without my little monkey's.  Samantha offered to take them home while her Mom and I went shopping for little gifts to take to the kids at the orphanage.  I didn't want to bring them candy since a lot of the pictures that I have found of Lily were of her with a sucker in her mouth.  I am afraid what her teeth might be like.  We were really fortunate with Emma and Meilynn's teeth, but I am not sure of the dental health of Lily's.  We were able to get quite a few little gifts for the kids we hope to meet at the orphanage.

Mostly pens, pencils, notepads, playing cards and paper to write on.  I hope we get to go there.  I have pictures to bring to the Director from some of the people that have adopted from Yangjiang SWI.  There are also three children that I hope to take pictures of for their waiting parents.  I would like to take Lily to buy something for her best friend who will be adopted next month.

I also bought a few gifts for the host family that will be hosting us for Chinese New Year in their home.  I asked Michael at Always and Forever (They are our tour agency.  We used them for our last trip also and they are wonderful) if there were any cultural things we needed to know and what to wear.  He said to avoid wearing white or black.  He told us not to give a clock as a gift because clock in Chinese sounds like the character "termination" or "death".  I am very excited to get to celebrate Chinese New Year in China.

Our guide for our post-tour is an adoptive mother herself.  Her daughter is 8 or 9 so I bought her an American Girl Magazine, and some basic workbook type books to  practice writing her letters in English.  While I was at Barnes and Nobel I found two books which I think will be good for me.  One is the Connected Child and the other is, I Love You Rituals.  It has a lot of activities to build bonds of unconditional love.  A lot of the things are fingerplays that encourage touching, playing, and caring.  On the back of the book there are two rhymes and it asks, "Which rhyme would you rather share with your child?

There was an old Lady                              A wonderful woman
who lived in a shoe.                                    lived in a shoe.
She had so many children,                         She had so many children,
she didn't know what to do.                     She knew exactly what to do.
She fed the some broth                         She held them, she rocked them,
without any bread,                                 and tucked them in bed.
And whipped them all soundly          "I love you, I love you,"
and sent them to bed.                            is what she said.

The back says "I love you rituals offers more than seventy delightful rhymes and games that send the message of unconditional love and enhance children's social, emotional, and school success."

I think that this book will be a good place for Lily and me to start to bond.

I also found two books that I thought would be good for Emma and Meilynn on the plane.  One is,"Feeling Angry" and the other is , "Needing Attention".  I expect them to go through both of these emotions once the realize they have to share me with Lily.

My good friend Julie and Samantha also offered to take the girls to see a Christian based play of Cinderella tomorrow after we go to Church so I can get more accomplished. I am so lucky to have friends that care about Lily and know this is the way that they can help me to get to her.

 I really am not a very organized person.  My brain has been very scattered the last couple of days.  I jsut keep making lists and try to check things off.  Meilynn is better from whatever she had.  My new list tonight is:
Find Meilynn's Ladybug Hairband (its missing)
Send my Quilt squares off by Tuesday
Organize the girl's bathroom so that there are places for three instead of two.
Sew the button on Meilynn's slipper.
Think of the questions I want to ask the SWI about Lily and her six years living there.  If anyone wants to help with this one I would appreciate it.
Make a list of things that I want the guide/translator to tell Lily.  This is very important to me since she speaks a dialect of Cantonese and I don't know if anyone will be able to talk with her once we get home.  I know we can act out many things and point to pictures, but I want to convey things that are more feelings.  That we will be her parents always.  That we will take care of her and keep her safe.  That we know she might become frustrated with not being able to talk to us, but that she will learn and we will be patient with her.  Please help me with this list also.  I think it is the most important.
Pack my things.
Send pictures from my computer to get printed of our extended family, house, etc.  Basically the same pictures that we sent to her just in case they did not give them to her.

Thank you all so much for caring.  And to my special friends waiting for TA still,  I have you in my thoughts constantly.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Leaving in 5 days!

The packing has begun! Lily's suitcase

Emma went to pre-school this morning but Meilynn stayed home.  I think she just has a cold and sore throat.  She was in a good mood today and didn't have a fever, but I thought it best she stayed home since her resistance might be low and I don't want her picking up anything else.

We are having really crazy weather for California.  We have had rain all week and this morning there was even snow falling.  It wasn't sticking but it was falling.

Mike had some work to do at home so he watched Meilynn while I went to take Emma to school.  This is the first time she has gone to school without Meilynn.  She started saying she didn't want to go and that she didn't like school. (She loves school)  I knew once she got there she would be fine and she was. Her teacher even brought in snow for her to feel.  It had snowed at her house and it did stick.

I had a few more errands to run.  My watch had stopped so I went to get the battery changed.  I ran in to Wal Mart to get a few things and then I was home to start my packing.  Today my goal was to finish the girls packing.  I had intended to pack all three girls things in one suitcase, but that didn't happen.  I always pack to much!  I put all of their clothes in ziplocks with the socks or tights and hair things that go with the outfit.  I then labeled each bag.  I packed all of their toiletries and then packed their backpacks for the plane.  I decided to bring the rolling ones for the girls since they handle those better than the kind you wear on the back.  For Lily I brought the backpack that we bought for her.  Since I wouldn't be able to fit a rolling one in her suitcase she will have the kind you wear on your back.  I filled them up with things to do on the plane.

Just have to add snacks and these are ready to go!

Emma and Meilynn's suitcase.

If you don't have one of these it is a must if you travel a lot.  I just hook it on my suitcase and lift it up and it tells me the weight.

Lily also got her first piece of mail.  It was a quilt square from my friend Ann.  I am trying to get all of the quilt squares together to send off to get the quilt made, but I don't know if I will have time before we go.  I may try to do it tomorrow.

I also got all the bedding for the bunk beds laid out for my sister in case the beds come while we are gone.  I really want them to be up when we get home, so Lily doesn't have to move.

We got a fed-ex from our agency today with the province paperwork and the consulate paperwork and we were able to decide on the type of room we would need for our family.  We had a great set up at the White Swan on our last trip.  We had a king room with a sitting room in between another room which had two queen beds in it.  We are trying to get a similar arrangement since there will be six of us.

Tomorrow I hope to go shopping to spend my gym bucks since they will expire on Sunday.  Hopefully the rain will have stopped.  Mike is going away for the weekend so I am solo.  I am feeling good about what we have accomplished in a short amount of time.  I hope to pack my things tomorrow, but I need to buy new pants.  Nothing fits and it is good this time.  On my first two adoptions I gained weight as if I was having a baby.  I have been going to Lindora and have lost over 40 pounds so I need some new pants.

Meilynn told my Mom she was afraid to go to China.  My Mom asked her why she was afraid?  Meilynn told her because she was afraid she would drink the water when I gave her a bath and washed her hair.  I guess they do listen to me.  I am trying to prepare them for everything.  They don't really like for people to touch them that they do not know, but I remember in China when we were bringing Emma home and were at the airport.  A woman just came up and kissed Emma on the lips.  I know that wouldn't go over very well at all now.

Time to get a few more things done before bed.  The days are going by fast and soon it will be Lily's Forever in Our Arms Day.  I appreciate all of the prayers and nice thoughts coming my way.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leaving in 6 days!

I am finally not running around like a chicken with my head cut off!  But I still have not packed.  I still have to do the normal activities that we do every day, so today was gymnastics.  It is pouring rain here in California like I have never seen before.  So it makes the errand running  interesting for  us who are not used to this much rain.  After gymnastics we ran to the pharmacy to pick up our prescriptions for travel.   I picked up three antibiotics for the girls and pink- eye, drops.  I saw those three little bottles lined up and one had Lily's name on it!  I will soon be the mother of 5 daughters!

Here is our little travel  pharmacy.

After that I went to Barnes and Nobel to get a Cantonese phrase book and to look for a street map of Guangzhou.  While I was there, I found a picture dictionary for Lily.  We can use it in China and here to learn English.  I like it for her because it has everyday pictures and it is not geared for babies.  It is actually geared towards adults, but it is one of the most comprehensive picture dictionaries that I have found.

Here are a few sample pages.  This is the one on underwater creatures.

This is one on a farmers market with fruits and vegetables.

Then Daddy went for a haircut and took the girls for a trim while Mommy continued on with errands.  Meilynn getting her hair trimmed.

Emma getting her trimmed by Eddie.  He cuts Mike's hair and we were actually in the same English class in 10th grade.

I went on to get Lily a toiletry bag and some other little items for activities on the plane.  When I got home I took one look at Meilynn and knew she was sick.  Her cheeks were very flushed.  I took her temp and sure enough, it was 102.  So now we need prayers that she gets better fast and does not repeat what happened to her last year when she had the febrile seizure.  Also, that the rest of us do not get whatever she is beginning to get.  Also that I can sleep without lists of things running through my head of things I need to do.

It's not so bad to be sick when you have a sister to keep you company!

And finally here is a picture of the Hotel we will be staying at.  It is the Garden Hotel.  Our first adoption we stayed at the Victory.  The second, The White Swan, which for us was by far better than the Victory.   So now we will get the opportunity to experience a new neighborhood in Guangzhou.