Now that we are home...

Now that we are home, I thought I'd say a few words about where we are, where Kylie is and where you all fit in the picture.

If you missed this post, be sure and read it first.  Having that groundwork will help you understand what we are going through and what we are trying to do.

Kylie is a very happy child.  But being so happy means everyone is her friend.  Especially if you are standing and we are not.  :)  She wants to be moving ALL.  THE.  TIME.  So if we are sitting down with her or if she is sitting anywhere and you are standing, she's going to want to come to you because you are more fun if you are up moving around.

This worked in our favor so far because it allowed me to accept help from Deanne and Jenna while in China so I didn't have to do it all.  But now that we are home, Steve and I need to work hard on bonding with her.  She needs to know everyone loves her, but she needs to know that Steve and I are more than just "nannies".  We have to establish ourselves as her Mommy and Daddy. 

Last night, Kylie didn't sleep well at all.  I'm sure that is partially due to the fact that her days and nights are mixed up.  She could still be on China time and we are all trying to get back on the right schedule, especially Jenna because she has to go to school on Monday.

So what does this mean for you?  Are we accepting visitors?  YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!  I have spent 2 weeks away from the best friends and family a girl could ask for and I'm thrilled if you want to come spend time with us.  We do ask that you call, text or email and ask if it's OK to come.  Please don't just drop in.  This is for a couple of reasons...we are also trying to get back on a sleep schedule which could mean a nap or two is in order.  Also, if you drop in just to see Kylie and she is asleep, then you wouldn't get to see her in action.  So just let us know if you want to drop by.  We'll tell you if it's OK.  And most times it will be.

When you are here, do not ask to hold Kylie.  We are trying to limit holding to just Steve, Jenna and I to facilitate bonding.  You can absolutely talk to her, call her name, take pictures, rub her back, head or hand and even pinch her cheeks (they are irresistible).  Try not to say "boo!" to her.  I know that sounds silly but you don't realize how much you say that to a baby until you are trying not to.  "Bu" in Mandarin means "no", so when you say "Boo!" to her, she thinks you are telling her "no".  As she learns English, that will resolve itself.  Also, try not to clap your hands to her.  This is what her nannies in the orphanage did when they wanted her to come to them.  So when you clap your hands, she thinks you are asking to pick her up.

And please don't take it personally if I don't answer the phone, immediately return an email or text or say it's not a good time for a visit!  It's NOT personal!  Oh, and if you haven't gotten a thank you note from me, I'd appreciate some grace.  I'm getting around to it!

So, enough of the don'ts, let's talk about the do's!

DO feel free to talk to Kylie and try to make her smile.  She's a happy baby and loves to smile.  She needs to know you are a friendly face.

DO text, email, call, comment on the blog or visit.  I have spent two weeks away from those I love most.  I welcome seeing you all.

DO remember that Jenna is also our child.  She also experienced two weeks without everything familiar, saw scary things in China, missed her friends, ate few familiar foods and missed home like crazy.  So many of you have gone the extra mile to make her feel special and I can't thank you enough!  Keep that up!

DO keep praying for us.  Your prayers literally carried us through this trip.  I can hardly believe we are on this side.  But we still need your prayers desperately.  So, please keep praying.  We are trying to adjust in a variety of ways. 

DO keep checking the blog!  I am going to catch up on my China posts.  I hope to put some video on here too. 

I can't tell you enough how much I appreciated the comments, emails, scriptures etc. that you sent while I was in China.  There is no way we could have made it those two weeks without your prayers and encouragement.  It was probably the hardest thing I'd ever done.  And we are still a work in progress.

I'm off to feed Kylie some dinner!  Wish us a more restful night tonight!


Coming Home Soon!!!

We are waiting to board our flight from Chicago to Nashville. It leaves at 4:50 and should land around 6:17pm in Nashville.

We welcome anyone who might wish to come to the airport to see us. We are so excited to be home!!

Kylie did great on the flight from Hong Kong and we are so thankful for your prayers.

One more short flight and drive home and we will be home for real! Sweet Kylie is already asleep again on Steve so pray she will get on a decent sleep schedule.


We are headed home!

We are waiting on the bellman to come up and take our suitcases to the van.  After a short ride, we will be at the Hong Kong airport and ready to head home.

Our flight leaves at 11:10am Hong Kong time.  As of now, it's on time.  There are a few last minute prayer requests...

Kylie is in a great mood this morning.  Pray this continues through the flight and that her ears do not hurt.  Pray this for Jenna, Deanne and I too.

Pray that our flight really does leave on time.

Pray that our flight is uneventful and that we all stay calm on the flight.

Pray that our flight to Nashville from Chicago is a good one and ON TIME.


We are almost home!!!

On the way home....

We are getting ready to get on a van for a 3 hour ride to Hong Kong.  We will then stay one night in Hong Kong and board an 11am flight there bound for Chicago!  There is no way to say how excited we all are to be coming home finally!  This has been the longest trip and I'm so ready to be home with Steve and my friends.

If you have emailed me, texted me or tried to Skype me and couldn't reach me, please believe it is not personal.  I have barely had time to blog, much less Skype, checked facebook etc.  But believe me when I say I am missing each and every one of you.  The emails with scriptures, positive thoughts and prayers have helped more than you know.

If I can be so bold as to ask...please pray very hard for our trip home.  Kylie is a good baby but she likes to be up and about.  Sitting on a plane for 14 hours has the potential to be miserable.  Pray for our safety, our sanity, our health and that Kylie's ears will not bother her.  Cleft babies are known for having ear infections until they get tubes, so please pray that her ears will not hurt on the plane.

It's going to be a long day tomorrow and I'm going to need all the prayers I can get.  It will be 10pm Wednesday night US time when we leave Hong Kong.  We will land in Nashville (barring any delays) at 6:17pm Thursday night.  We welcome anyone and everyone to come see us in.  I'll be a blubbering mess I'm sure.  I can't wait to see your faces.



China-Day...Oh whatever!

I have no idea what day it is half the time here or what day I'm supposed to be blogging about.  I will tell you the days have gotten faster and I love it much more here in Guangzhou. 

I will tell you that miracle of all miracles, despite the orphanage instructions to put Kylie on her back to sleep, she sleeps very soundly on her tummy.  We put her down last night on her tummy and she was asleep in seconds.  She went down about 9:30 and slept without a peep until almost 7am!!  PRAISE!  We all needed that rest!  So keep those prayers coming!  They are working.

Yesterday's post was about the orphanage.  That brings us up to Thursday of last week.  Unfortunately, it was rainy all day on Thursday.  Since we'd had a long day on Wednesday, we didn't start our city tour of Nanjing (the capital city of Kylie's province, Jiangsu) until later in the day.  Despite the rain, we went anyway.

The city wall goes around Nanjing and I'm sure there's a lot of other interesting stuff about it, but the rain really kicked up and it was freezing, so I didn't get much of what our guide was seeing.
So, just because I don't have anything more interesting about this day to say, I'm leaving you with the picture above of Kylie.  This was taken later, but she is such a happy baby.

Also, several of you have asked about how Jenna is doing.  I worried a lot about her on the long fight to Beijing, but she was WONDERFUL.  Never fussed or argued or complained.  And she has been way better than I could EVER ask for while here.  She stays close to me all the time (it's very crowded here) and she is SUCH a huge help.  She totes Kylie or her stuff her fair share and she is way more patient than I even am!  I have not for one milli-second regretted bringing her.  It was the best decision ever.  I'm so glad she's here.  In fact, my favorite time of day is about to happen...SLEEP!  We have a tiny bed, but we snuggle up together and it makes me less home sick.

More to come...


Finally a real update

I finally have a few minutes to get on here and keep going with what's going on with us rather than whining about how hard it is.  :)  It IS hard.  Last night wasn't great, but it was slightly better.  I got a few hours rest.  We keep trying different things so maybe we'll figure something out.

OK, where was I???  Oh yeah, according to China, she is definitely ours.  We signed those papers on Tuesday.  Wednesday in Nanjing, we went to visit the orphanage.  We went by van and it was 4 hours there, but she slept about 1/2 of the way there.  The orphanage was nice, but so freezing cold.
The orphanage is run by Half The Sky Foundation which is marvelous in what it does to help orphanage staff and children.  It was clear that Kylie was loved VERY much by the orphanage staff.
I really didn't want them to take her from me, but I wanted to get photos and they were just so loving to her.  Plus, as you have learned, I've thrown all the bonding stuff out the window while I'm here.  I'm in survival mode (thanks to SO many of you who commented and said it was OK to be).  Here is the room she spent much of her time in.
We did find out that Kylie was in foster care from mid-November to just a few days before we arrived.  Her foster mom had just left the orphanage when we arrived, so the director called for her to come back.  Kylie clearly loved this woman and this woman loved her.
Here is Kylie with her foster sister.  This child is about 2 years old and has no special need.  I never understood why she is not up for adoption yet, but I would love to be able to bring her home.  But, that is likely not in the cards for us.  I pray she will find her forever family someday soon.
We were able to take pictures of some other children waiting on their adoptive families.  If you are one of those moms, hang tight, I'll get you the pics.  I know how precious those were to me so we got both pics and videos.

After we did a short tour of the orphanage, they took us for snacks. After snacks, we went to lunch with the orphanage staff.  There was tons of food...WEIRD food.  Blow fish, octopus, chicken, rice, and other things I can't remember right now.  It took about 2 hours and there were tons of people there.  There were no high chairs (there is a lack of them in this entire country it seems) and so the orphanage nannies held her the entire time we were eating (or in my case, NOT eating) and fed her all sorts of food.  Imagine our surprise since they told us she was only on formula!  We have learned quickly that not all the information we received is accurate. 

Anyway, we could not get out of there fast enough.  We were not able to go to her finding place because it was another 90 minutes from where the orphanage was.  We do know that the place she was found was a restaurant in the countryside and she was most likely left because of her cleft and that her mom could not afford to have it repaired.

It was another long drive back to the hotel but Kylie slept some of the way.  We were very glad to get back!


A quick update

This update is going to be quick because I need to get out and get some lunch.  I have barely eaten a meal since we got here.

We are now in Guangzhou and have done the first part of making Kylie ours forever.  I promise I will get some blogs up...maybe this afternoon.

The night after my last post was better.  She whimpered several times in the night but I learned that I could just reach through the slats on my bed and pat her and she'd go right back to sleep.  I think we got about 7 hours of sleep. 

Then yesterday, we left the hotel at 2pm and boarded the plane to Guangzhou.  That flight wasn't too bad.  She cried just a bit.  But by the time we landed, got through the airport, retrieved our luggage, walked 9 miles to our bus, picked up a bunch of other families, got to the hotel and checked in, it was way past her bedtime, past her eating time etc.  She had already fallen asleep but I changed her clothes, her diaper and fed her a bottle.

Then the real fun began.  She screamed off and on the ENTIRE NIGHT.  Now she will not be put down EVER.  We borrowed a stroller from the hotel this morning and she screamed bloody murder.  It appears that for her to sleep we'll have to take shifts holding her.  She won't lay down in bed with me and the beds here are not nearly big enough.

There were tons of emails and comments from my last post and I can't tell you how much they help.  I have allowed Deanne (my sister in law) to help.  In fact, she got up almost every time last night to try and get Kylie back to sleep.

I'm not as exhausted, but I sure am ready for the hard part to be over (and yes, I know we are only at the beginning).

More later...I promise.


This is hard.

I'm sorry I've missed a day or two of posting.  Quite frankly this journey has turned hard and I'm exhausted.

We got up very early yesterday to visit the orphanage.  It is about 4 hours away, so we had to meet our guide downstairs at 7am.  I haven't been eating much because honestly, I simply don't care for the food.  Plus, our hotel doesn't have many baby high chairs, so I am constantly trying to wrangle a wiggling baby while eating.  It's my new weight loss plan.

For bonding reasons, I am supposed to be the only one meeting her needs such as picking her up while she's crying, feeding her, changing her etc.  That is all well and good, but when you don't have your spouse here, it's absolutely exhausting.  I'll do a separate post about the orphanage visit and what we did today (Thursday), which wasn't much, but this post, I want to talk about what is going on with us here.  I definitely need your prayers.

Kylie is a very smart and happy child.  It is clear from the reaction of the orphanage staff to her that she was very well liked and cared for.  I also found out that in mid-November, they sent her to foster care so she would have more direct care after her lip surgery.  She was with a foster family until just a few days before we came to get her.

Because Kylie is so happy and everyone loved her, she will go to anyone at all.  Anyone that is standing up or moving around.  She is in constant motion.  I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not.  She literally does not sit still EVER.  When you are the only one able to care for her, this gets old really quick.

Anyway, we had a super early morning yesterday and a grand total of 8 hours in the van to and from the orphanage.  Much to my dismay and against my wishes and better judgment, the orphanage staff took Kylie, fed her and loved on her.  It was distressing, but very quickly I learned that I had to chill out about it.  The orphanage staff was very hospitable and served us a huge feast most of which none of us would even try.  (I will do a post on that I promise).  Anyway, despite the fact that we were all exhausted yesterday, I put Kylie down at 8pm and she was awake at 1am for a bottle.  She took that very well but when I put her back down, she would cry.  After about an hour of this, I was absolutely exhausted.  I was up from 1 until about 5am after getting very little sleep the night before.

And when I am exhausted to that point, it isn't pretty.  I spent most of the morning crying.  Every time someone was nice, I started to cry.  Finally I decided that even though I was not following all the books on bonding, I was going to have to have some  help.  At 5am, Deanne got up and took Kylie from me (who was sleeping soundly) and let me sleep about an hour.  After breakfast, we didn't have plans so we came back up to the room where Deanne took her again and I got maybe 2 or 2 1/2 hours of nap.

Tonight, I'm exhausted again and dread the night ahead.  We have the morning free tomorrow and we leave at 2pm to head to the airport to go to Guangzhou.  We have one more week in China and I cannot wait to get back home where the people I love are, everywhere you go doesn't smell like cigarette smoke and everyone speaks my language.

I have always said that adoption is not for the faint hearted.  The waits are horrible.  And while I was waiting, I would have given anything to be here getting Kylie.  But the long waits are nothing compared to this.  This journey is so many times sensationalized.  You have Gotcha Day with all it's excitement and then the signing of the papers and all that entails.  You do occasionally see the hard parts with grieving, but the exhaustion is nearly unbearable.

Well, I have a crying baby wanting a bottle.  More to come...


It's Official...She's Ours!

...At least from the viewpoint of China, she is!

Yesterday, I signed a bunch of papers taking custody and temporary guardianship of Kylie.  Today, we went back to the same Civil Affairs office.

Before we left, I fed Kylie from some of the breakfast buffet at the hotel...
She had some watermelon, hash brown, yogurt and applesauce, which she seemed to like.  Then it was back upstairs to grab our stuff for the trip to finalize the adoption from the Chinese side of things.
This is me putting my thumb print on all the documents.  They asked me questions like how old I was (and yes, I never can remember and had to count on my fingers!), what my job was, why I wanted to adopt from China, did I know she was special needs and did I still want to adopt her.  It was all I could do to choke back the tears and answer, "yes, of course!"

I even had to put Kylie's hand print on the papers.
In about an hour (most of which was waiting), it was over.  And she is officially ours.

After we returned, we took about a 45 minute rest and then we dropped off some laundry to be done and then our guide took us to another Chinese restaurant.  The chicken we got was really good, but do you notice anything odd?
Kylie is about to wake up from her nap and then we are meeting friends for dinner!

The first 24 hours....

Kylie is napping, but should be waking soon.  However, I wanted to give an update on how the first 24 hours has gone.

Kylie is a very happy girl.  I finally had the chance to look at the CD of photos the orphanage gave us and there are so many of her smiling even from her earliest days there. 

Kylie is also a very active baby.  Which means, she is ALWAYS moving, playing, looking etc.  This is great except it's hard to sit at a restaurant and eat because she gets tired of being in one place for too long.  And it's also hard because while Deanne and Jenna can help, they are limited to what they can do.

Kylie took her first bottle about 6pm last night and it took her forever.  However, if truth be told, I probably wasn't using the cleft bottle to it's fullest potential.  Since she has a cleft palate, she has to chew the nipple of the bottle.  The cleft bottles are soft and can be squeezed to help get the liquid out.  She worked really hard but only ended up eating about 2 oz.  She went right to sleep when 8pm rolled around.  I stayed up checking emails and blogging since they said she usually takes a 10pm bottle.  By 10 when she hadn't woken up, I figured I'd better get some sleep.  She finally woke up at midnight.  I fed her a bottle which she took all of and she fell back asleep, albeit about 90 minutes later.

She slept for an hour and woke up crying again, so I changed her (though she wasn't wet) and then after a while, laid her back in her crib.  It appeared she was up for the day, but I wasn't, so I slid my hand through the crib slats and fell asleep with her holding my finger.  I honestly don't know when she fell asleep.

She slept until about 6:30 even though 6 is her waking time.  I got her  up, let her play with Jenna while I made her bottle and gave her about 1/2 of it.  We Skyped with some family and then headed downstairs for breakfast.  I fed her some watermelon which she was OK with, along with tiny bits of hashbrown, some yogurt and applesauce.  We had to meet our guide at 8:45am in the lobby and so I gave her the rest of her bottle on the van to the Civil Affairs office, which she finished and promptly fell asleep.

She slept about an hour and then woke up for the van ride back to the hotel.  I gave her more applesauce and put her down for a nap about 1:00 but she didn't go to sleep until about 1:30.  Again, I fell asleep with my hand through the slats of the crib and her holding my finger long before she did.

I'll post another blog about what we have done today, but wanted to get this one up before she wakes up.

Since there's not been a picture in this post, I'll leave you with a few from the orphanage CD from her earlier days.


What we have waited for...

I know you all have been waiting for a post and I apologize it took me so long to get one up, but things have been...BUSY!  I know you are most interested in pictures and I promise I'll get them up but I want to journal and remember as much as I can about this day.

This morning, we all slept in and skyped with our families etc.  We made it down to breakfast about 8:30 and met my friend Audrey.  Audrey is here with her 18 year old daughter and mother in law!  I was so glad to see a "familiar" face!  They were getting their precious at 10:30 from another orphanage.  So we chatted a while and then went our separate ways.

We basically just hung around the hotel for a while waiting for time to pass.  We each did a little video for Kylie and took pics as our last few moments in our lives as we knew them.

We skyped with our families some more and then finally it was time.  We headed down to the hotel lobby a little early to wait.  We got down there just in time to see our guide already there.  I gave her a crash course in using my camera (which she didn't need) and we loaded up in the van.

We got to the civil affairs office about 1:35 and they weren't due there until at least 2pm.  The office was a very cold (in temp and looks) building.
Our friends Katarina and Steve arrived.  Their son is in the same orphanage as Kylie.  Since they live in Chicago, they are on all the same flights with us, thought not in the same hotel.  We had to wait in the lobby since the doors weren't yet unlocked to the Civil Affairs office that is used for adoption.
There were several families there waiting on their children.  3 were from Kylie's orphanage and the others from other orphanages in Jiangsu.  All of a sudden, there were women walking up with babies and both myself and our guide Nancy was trying to figure out which was her!
Kylie was actually the 2nd baby coming in.  As soon as Nancy confirmed this was the right orphanage staff, I handed her my camera and well....I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story...

No, she's not crying...she is smiling.  Not only smiling but laughing and kicking and moving all around.
But yes, I AM crying...and Jenna is happy as can be!! 
This is my friend Katarina and her son from Kylie's orphanage.  The two boys wore yellow, the girl wore red. These outfits are traditional Chinese dress.
We finally got to sit down after standing for what seemed like forever.  There was an older child with her new parents who was having a very difficult time.  She was crying the entire time they were there.  Kylie was very concerned about that child and kept looking at her with a worried look on her face!
Here I am, signing all the papers.  And Kylie is still looking at the crying child. 
This is the "family picture".  The "real"picture is taken with just the parents and child, but our guide was so good to make sure Jenna was included on a few. 
This is the orphanage director (next to me), Ms. Chang (I think) and then Kylie's nanny next to Jenna.
In the van and on our way back to the hotel.  We did make a quick pit stop to buy formula and rice cereal. 
Here we are...back at the hotel.  Kylie loves her nesting cups and I was signing more papers for tomorrow.

We played and got to know each other the rest of the afternoon.  I have a CD of photos and a baby book the orphanage put together for me.  It was so sweet!  I haven't even had time to look at the CD yet and it might be a while.  Kylie took about 2 ounces of a bottle, which is way less than what she is used to.  But given what has gone on in her short life, I guess that is to be understood. 8pm is her bedtime and then they said sometimes she takes a 10pm bottle.  She went right to sleep at 8pm and now we are waiting to see if she is going to wake up.  I'm starting to get tired, so I'm going to lay down now, knowing I might be up in just a few minutes.

Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers.  I can honestly say they were felt and I could not have imagined this day would go any better.  I know the worst/hardest is probably yet to come, but so far, it's been so much easier than I thought.

I hope to post more later.  Until then, keep those prayers coming!


From Beijing to Nanjing...

So, we woke up this morning to a surprise in Beijing this morning...
Yep.  That's snow.  All winter long, I waited for snow at home and I ended up having to come 1/2 way around the world to get it!  It wasn't really on the roads, but it was very beautiful on our trip along to the airport. 

Trying to get checked out of the hotel was a fiasco.  I called for someone to help with our luggage and they brought up 2 bottles of water instead.  I guess somehow the word "luggage" didn't translate the way I thought it would.  Then, I had to put a deposit down on the room...which was fine...we only used part of it and got the rest back.  The problem was I was so tired and jet lagged when we got to the room, I had no idea where my receipt was.  Luckily, our fabulous guide, Gloria, got the money back for me.  I did end up finding the receipt in my luggage when I got to our next destination.

Speaking of our next destination...
We made it!  We got checked in and through security in plenty of time.  We even boarded in a timely manner.  However, due to some kind of maintenance on the runway, we sat on the plan about an hour before taking off.  Somehow we made up time and was only about 30 minutes late.  Our guide, Nancy, was waiting for us.  She is older and very soft spoken, but very kind and knowledgeable.

We had about a 40 minute ride to our hotel which, admittedly, looked a little scary on the outside, but woooweee on the inside...
Something I learned about China before I left is that it is fairly uncommon to have 2 beds in a hotel room.  We did have two in Beijing but the hotel was one of the few that offered it.  In this hotel, the Mandarin Garden, there are two rooms with two beds.  We have one of them.  Check it out....
Yes, we are on the executive floor!  So needless to say, this room is way better than the last one!  You have to scan your room key on the elevator to get to this floor. 
And this is our view.  The night life is VERY active outside our window.  Of course, we are 10 floors up, so it's not too bad.

After we got here, we went to the convenience store to get some bottled water.  I've read about some interesting snacks in China and here's the one I snapped a picture of in the store.
Mmmm....prawn flavored chips.  No.  I did NOT get them. 

So, that's about it for what has gone on today.  We really just took some time to settle into this hotel, unpack a few things and relax.  Our guide took us to a Chinese restaurant down the street from our hotel.  It was nice and better than that Chinese food we had in Beijing, I gotta be honest...I can't wait to have some Mexican food and some pizza when I get back!

As for our plans tomorrow....it's the big day!  I have asked a hundred questions about tomorrow.  Here is what I know.  We will meet our guide downstairs in the hotel lobby about 1:30pm.  We'll drive to the Civil Affairs office in Nanjing where we will get Kylie about 2pm.  For all of you on central time, that will be about 1am on Monday morning.  :)

I'll spend a few minutes there doing paperwork, getting a family picture made and then we'll head to a supermarket where we can get formula or whatever else we might need for her.  Then the rest of the day will be here in the hotel room getting to know Kylie. 

That's what I know for now.  Pray for Kylie and for all of us as the day we have waited for arrives!

I will post here just as soon as I can!


Beijing Day 2

Today was freezing cold.  We thought it was supposed to be a high of 58 today, but it was not nearly that warm!

Our first stop was at the jade factory.  We learned all about the different kinds of jade and even saw some things being made from it.
The jade is very beautiful and I really enjoyed looking at all the lovely things.  I even bought me and Jenna something.  If you can see the round balls in this picture they are called the Happy Family Balls.  They start from a square piece of jade and then are carved one inside the other so in the end there are 3-4 balls in each other to represent the family generations.
I would have loved to have had a jade bracelet or other piece of jewelry, but despite jade being quite inexpensive here, it was still more than I wanted to spend seeing that I have so much time left to go on this trip.

After the jade factory was the Great Wall.  I was very disappointed that it was so cold and foggy because it made climbing nearly impossible.  Not to mention the sheer number of people on the wall made me very nervous.
But we did climb quite a ways and now we can say we did it.  But in the end, I was frozen and just wanted to get down without tumbling down.  :)

From there, we went to lunch at another Chinese restaurant.  I didn't get a picture of this one, but it was much like the other.  The food here was better we thought.  And we talked our guide, Gloria into eating with us.

After lunch, we went to tour the Hutongs on a rickshaw.  Hutongs are little narrow alley-type neighborhoods in Beijing.   It is a very historical part of Beijing and so many of them were torn down before the country realized what an important part of history they were.  We got to enter into the home of a woman who lives in one.  I wanted to take pictures, but didn't want to invade her privacy too much.

The rickshaw ride was quite interesting.  It was cold and it was crazy with the cards, other rickshaws, pedestrians and other vehicles trying to share these narrow alley/roads.

We stopped to tour a museum/historical home of the wife of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen who was very much a revolutionary in China. 

Once we were done with the rickshaw tour, it was back to the hotel.  I talked Deanne and Jenna into venturing out on our on for dinner.  Plus, we really wanted to see the night market.
This is where you can find Chinese delicacies such as starfish, snake, scorpions and sea horses.  I didn't have the nerve to take pictures but Deanne got some video.  I'll upload it for you later.  :)

Then it was on to scout out dinner.  This is where we ended up...
PIZZA HUT!  And it was delish!  A little piece of home!

And now we are off to bed as we have to be up early in the morning.  We have a 10:45am flight to Nanjing tomorrow.  Then the countdown is really on to get Kylie!  Up until now, it's seemed almost like a little vacation.  Now, it's feeling for real!

I'll leave you with one last special picture for my good friend, Elizabeth Yancey...
Fancy Yancey in China!

OK folks, the Tylenol PM is kicking in.  My next post will be from Kylie's province Jiangsu!


Beijing Day 1 Continued...

Our day is staring a little earlier today than yesterday, so while Deanne is getting ready, I'm gonna finish this post for you die hard blog readers.  :)

After Tienamen Square and the Forbidden City, which was a LOT of walking, we went to lunch.  We went to a little local restaurant and they served us several dishes.
We had duck, sweet n sour pork, cooked cabbage and chicken.  Of course there was rice as well.  It was pretty good.  Jenna didn't eat much but she was so tense from Tianemen Square that I think she just wasn't hungry.

After we left lunch, we headed for the Temple of Heaven.
The place where we are standing is supposed to be the sacred place where the Emperor stood when he prayed to the god of heaven.  Not sure if that's our God or not, but we thought it was pretty good.
After the Temple of Heaven, it was off to the Silk Factory which we all probably enjoyed more than anything.
From a single cocoon, they can get a solid strand of silk.  It was an amazing process to see.  We ended up buying Jenna an outfit from there, but that was it.  There's so much more to see that I didn't want to spend too much here in Beijing.

After that, we stopped by a convenience store to grab some bottled water and coke (hello Diet Coke!) and headed back to the hotel to rest.

For dinner, we took a taxi (that was an adventure in itself!) down to another hotel to meet my online friend Christine and her family for dinner.  That was pretty much the highlight of my day!  We've been chatting online for some time and it was the best to be able to meet her in real life.  We have so much in common!  She's a working mom, has two sons, one of which is Jenna's age, is adopting a girl Kylie's age and who has cleft lip/palate (lip repaired).  It's just amazing how God can bring folks together.  I was a dork and took my camera but didn't get a picture.  :(

I did meet a couple other adoptive families from Rumor Queen....and one couple who is getting a son from Kylie's orphanage and who lives in Chicago.  So we are literally going with them all the way through China together.

OK, time to get ready for the great wall!  I can't wait!  Be sure and check Jenna's blog shortly...she's about to do one too!


It's 9pm here and we are exhausted, but I know how I hate to be waiting on a blog and them not to post, so it's going to be a super quick overview...

Gloria our fabulous guide!
The Chinese are infatuated with blonde, white people.  They will stop and ask to have pictures with you.  We figured this would happen, but it was no more than 7-8 minutes and Jenna was quite freaked out.  This is her fake smile.  Our guide shooed them away after this and Jenna hung on to me for dear life all around Tienamen Square.
And here we are...Tienamen Square with Chairman Mao in the background.  There were TONS of people here.
The Forbidden City.  And I'm getting tired, so only 3 more to go... (I was tired at this point in the tour too!)  But the rest of the day will have to wait till tomorrow.  I'm sleepy...the Benedryl is kicking in and I'm the only one up.

We had a busy day and am looking forward to another busy day tomorrow!