Saturday, August 21, 2010

Settling In

Wow..where have the past two weeks gone? We arrived home in the middle of the night from one long day of traveling. We really didn't have any major hiccups (except running through the Beijing Airport (which included customs). Ended up having five minutes to spare! Border Patrol/Immigration at LAX was a bit interesting. We waited almost an hour in a room filled with illegal immigrants. They managed to screw up our paperwork and we received a S.S/ card with Jace's Chinese name. Now we have to wait to get all of our paperwork back and go to our local SS office and apply for a new one. URGH!!

Eli and my parents made there way to our house around 4pm. We couldn't stop hugging him and giving him kisses...we missed our wild boy. Eli looked so big and dark (the boy lived outside the entire 18 days he was there). He even jumped in the pool a few times (he had to check out his wet excited!). Eli was shocked to see little man Jace playing on the floor. They have come a long way in two weeks. Just like many siblings, we have our toy wars! Jace loves to follow and copy every move Eli does...its hilarious. My parents adore their new grandson. My dad must have played outside with Jace for two hours.

Jace could really do without Benelli (our dog). Even though he will now tolerate Benelli, that wasn't the case for the first week. If Benelli was on the deck, Jace would walk all the way around the couch so he didn't have to walk by the screen door.

Sleeping was quite interesting during the first week we were home. Jace ended up sleeping with his light on (refused to only have his nightlight on). Knock on wood, he seems to be in a routine now. He loves to eat...fruit, veggies, noodles, rice, oatmeal, etc.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pack Up the Bags, We're Headed Home!

Wow! It feel great to write this last post in China...nothing against China, but being gone for 15 days is a long time. Jace has no idea what he has in store for him at his new home with his forever family...a brother, toys, his own bedroom, drink water from the faucet, oh my! Eli is going to be bouncing off the walls after spending time away from his home for two weeks.

Jace has grown so much in the past week. He is able to pull up his own pants, put on a shirt (we have to help with the sleeves), put on his shoes and velcro's each pair, puts caps in a bottle and takes them out, feeds himself and many more little things. He is so calm and doesn't let much bother him. He even went with me down to the lobby (let Rob stayed in the room) to order pizza! One of the first things on my need to find list is underwear. I searched on the internet and was only able to find 3T...he needs 2T. Any suggestions where to find 2T unders would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you friends and family for your emails, kind words and encouragement while we were on our journey to our forever family. Nana, Papa, and Uncle Joe thanks for spending the last 16 days with Eli. We know he can be a handful! Faith and Justin thanks for stocking our fridge with items we need to get through a couple of days..the thought of not having to run out for fresh milk is priceless. Amanda, thanks for keeping our blog up to date. Without your willingness, our friends and family wouldn't have been able to follow along. Ashley and Brandon thanks for keeping Benelli at your house. It was great not to worry about our dog stuck in the heat.

Our next post will gladly be made from the comforts of our home. We will definitely include a picture of our new forever family!

Rob, Andrea (Ann), Eli and Jace Crosby

The Stars and Stripes...A Beautiful Sight

Thursday was our day to go to the U.S. Consulate for last piece of paperwork to sign and the swearing-in ceremony. The drive to the Consulate took about 45 minutes...the traffic here is crazy plus they have just repaved the streets and haven't put in the white lines. I really don't think the white lines would make a difference. The cars just weave in and out, not really looking for other vehicles...sure madness for most US citizens. Finally, our little van made it to the Consulate. Going up the six sets of escalators, knowing we were getting closer just made my heart beat faster. Then, I saw the American flag, something I think we may take for granted. Man, did it feel great to walk past the flag. A million thoughts were racing through my head...all of the soldiers that are serving various places, our vets who have defended our country, but above all, our freedom. Something that isn't found naturally in China. I can't imagine being a farmer my whole life and then one day the government tells you that your land will turn into condo's but they will give you jobs as taxi drivers. UNREAL! So, filled with many emotions, it was great to be in a room full of American families, all of knowing the reams of paperwork we have filled out, the money we have saved for this amazing adventure but no one needed to talk about that. We were celebrating the fact that we have been blessed to have our sweet ones in ours arms. Everyone sharing stories of their past two weeks, letting others know where they are from...strangers, united by the love of adoption. For this is the end of all the paperwork; the I-797, LOA, Article 5, DS230, TA (adoption terms are like special education terms...a dime a dozen). It has been a long and difficult path to motherhood but it is great to say that I am extremely glorified to be a family of four, mom to two boys, and a wife of an amazing husband. It is bitter sweet to almost have our journey to China end but it will be great to have our life resume back in the states!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Last Load of Laundry

Our little fam (minus little man Eli...soon little one, soon) just got back from dropping off a few last minute items of laundry over on the island. It is a short 20 minute walk but it isn't simply a walk in the park. You go through five different sections of street fair people selling their goods. As said in previous posts, there is a little over everything: animals, fish tanks, dried plants used for medicinal purposes, etc. Getting a little punchy, I wondered how many birds I could free from their cages before being attacked. Rob said he would count the birds for me....what about having my back??? For those of you that know me, I would never do something like that...but I couldn't help but wonder! So over the bridge we went to make our way to the island when we were stopped by a young man on a bike wearing a Cleveland sheet. He said he wanted to practice his English on us (gotta love an honest person). He would have loved to run into my brothers as wanted to talk sports. When asked his name, he told us James aka Lebron James! He is a true fan of Lebron. He was whipping out sport facts left and right. The rest of our adventure was pretty calm. Jace managed to stay awake (probably because he has mastered the art of waving) for the entire trip. He is now taking his daily nap.
Getting home is definitely on our minds. My mom was saying that Eli was looking at the pictures on our blog and wondered where Uncle Mike and Aunt Lynda were (he is having a lot of fun bugging Unc Joe). He is in for a surprise Sunday! Tears are in my eyes just knowing how close we are to having the four of us together!! Rob and I predict Eli and Jace are coming to have some altercations to work through. If Jace doesn't want something, he doesn't have any problem letting it be known. Two strong-willed children ought to keep us in line.
Jace now can sign: more, eat, done, and play. We tried to get him to sign more milk but didn't want anything to do with the milk sign. Yesterday we spent some time in the pool. He was hesitate about the floatie we had brought for him but with a couple of tries, he decided it wasn't so bad...even smiled on several occasions!
Last night, we found a McDonalds for supper. We also ran across this big display for the Asian Games which starts in 100 days. Then last night on tv, they had a huge special celebrating that it is only 100 days until the games. It is crazy to go around to the different buildings and see signs that say, "As of May 7th, the Government has ordered complete remodeling of this building." This is going to be a brand new city in 100 days.
Our guide told us that we have to go to the Embassy today (not Friday) for our swearing ceremony. Friday night we get our visa, and Saturday at 4pm we begin our journey home. One family that we met had their ceremony yesterday. Fourteen years is that aging out year for kiddos to be eligible to adopt. There were two families adopting two 13 years old kids at their ceremony. There was also a family there that was adopting their 7th child.

Biding Time

Ah yes! We are in the stages of waiting. We have our consulate appointment this morning. This is when our guide goes to the consulate to finalize all of our paperwork. We have to stay in our room just in case something doesn't match up. It's one of the times when you don't want the phone to ring between 10:00am and 11:30am. If everything is kosher, she will call around 12:30pm letting us know that everything is in order. After that, we have our Swearing Ceremony at The Embassy on Friday...then it's time to head home! We are eager to get to Los Angles (one of our connectors) to enjoy a COLD Diet Coke. The closest thing they have to Diet Coke is Coke Zero....just not the same but it works for now. The little store outside our hotel is where we buy all of our beverages...some days drinks cost 2 yuan and other days 4 yuan...interesting scenario.
The past few days have been low key. Monday, we went to get Jace's TB test checked out at the same place he got his physical. Another hurdle cleared. The rest of the day was spent hangin' in the hotel as I was not feeling the greatest (hence the reason for no posts). Thankfully for the meds we have been taking, I was only down for one day. Jace didn't mind playing and hanging one bit. He and Daddy love to have tickle time. Jace will put his face inside the sheets as if he is hiding. That is Rob's clue to find him. Jace laughs and laughs!! Put him in the tub with his stacking cups and animals and he'll play for twenty-thirty minutes. While playing in the tub, he will sing and adorable! When it comes to nap time, he'll fall asleep within five minutes...something we are not used to. He still loves to be Rob's shadow.
Tuesday was another low key day. We did make a trip over to the Island. I wanted to check out the White Swan (where we stayed last time) to see if anything had changed. I was surprised to see no one in the playroom, which was always packed last time. We didn't even run into many couple with their newly adopted children (before you could barely walk through the lobby because of so many strollers). It must be a combination of the economy and the construction. We did meet a couple from Minnesota that is here until a week from Friday. Their daughter was in an orphanage around here so they went to Beijing first and now they're here (we skipped Beijing, went directly to Hohhot and now we are here). They looked like they were already to go home...its going to be a long journey for them. When we here last time, Rob thought it would be hilarious to have a shirt made that said MADE IN CHINA. Low and behold, when we were walking around the island, we found some shirts that had that saying. We had to buy one for each of the boys. Some may be offended, but we find it purely in good fun.
I need to make a few quick announcements before closing for the day: Faith, one of these days I will remember to put your email address in my computer. There is a book at our house that I need to have you look in to retrieve our United Airline Frequent Flier Numbers. Mommy's Group A couple people have sent messages that they can't get on our blog...can you send our a message giving our address: Thanks! Hope all is well with everyone. I have the song The Final Countdown (by Warrant I believe..hey now, gotta love the big hair 80's bands) in my head for the past few days!

Here are a few more tid-bits about our little one:

He loves to hand you everything he, papers, slippers, books, etc.
Sings and sings when he is going potty on the toilet.
Loves to be chased (he is a good runner)
Enjoys riding in the backpack (points to it on several occasions, as if to say "let's go"
Likes stuff to be in order (he will put his shoes right in line with ours)
Can sign "more" and "eat"
Seems to be understanding a lot of English
When he is almost full, he will pick our the peas in his rice.
After only watching a couple episodes of The Wiggles, he already remembers most of the hand motions...another Wiggle Fan!
Loves to look at his "Who loves baby?" book.
Bananas and watermelon...yum yum!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Busy Day in the City

Our day began with a trip to the Folk Arts Museum which is 100 year old. One of the pictures is a man that paints using just the sides of his hands and his nails. The paintings are gorgeous. We also were able to see another person that was creating a painting on the inside of a tiny bottle. The entire city is getting ready for the Asian Games in November so everything is under construction making it difficult to get around town at times. We have a fabulous driver that handles the traffic with ease. Riding in the Chinese bus allows everyone to enjoy the sights. Did you know that an elephants trunk that points back to his/her body means good luck? The reason being is that the good luck comes out of the trunk and back to you (if facing back to the elephant). Pretty crazy!
Next on the agenda was the government store. They have higher quality tea sets, china dishes, chess sets, porcelain vases, clothes (actually saw a kids shirt that said Made in China but we were tired of shopping by that point) and lots of other goodies. For the boys, we purchased a chess set, a very durable tea set, and a brick scroll that has the Great Wall etched into the brick. The other family that we went with had a lot of difficulty finding a complete china dining set making our stay a tad too long. Jace was the smartest of all as he slept through all of it! We then headed back to the hotel and Jace continued to sleep for another two hours...long nap today!
Our guide stopped by to grab my paperwork that I got from Jace's orphanage so she can translate it for excited to see what it says. I hope she is able to spend the night with her family tonight...she is a very busy lady! After Jace woke up, we walked to Shamien Island to pick up our laundry and purchase some fun little items for our Christmas tree. I think I only have one more shopping trip to the island and I have had all the shopping I need (crazy for me to actually say that!) Rob best describes our walk over to the island like this: It is something you would see watching Anthony Bordain...scorpions on a stick, starfish, seahorses, etc. The shops next to our hotel is like the day after Christmas shopping times 100! It is insane to see all of the people walking around and buying items in the stores. We enjoyed dinner at Lucy's where Rob had steak, Jace had noodles with eggflower soup, and I had a hamburger....delicious! The rest of our night consisted of walking around the beautiful Shamien Island. We are having a very adventurous glad all of us are continuing to stay healthy. The weather continues to be hot (96 degrees with a ridiculous percentage of humidity) but everyone endures the heat and walks around with beads of sweat.
Jace continues to love riding in the backpack. He is getting really good at using the sign for more (have we said how much he LOVES to eat??). He is using his signature move (we call it the PanYu aka stiff arm) less and less. We are trying to teach him the sign for all done or finished along with eat. He loves to play with his Toy Story Woody doll which has a pull string and allows him to say various sayings. He will put Woody's arm in the pocket and "feed" himself. I love the fact that he enjoys looking at books (yes, a teacher's kiddo loves to read)! All of us sit around and play silly games with his stacking cups. He cracks up when Rob puts a cup on his head and it falls into his lap. You can probably tell by the pictures that he is still very attached to Rob. He did let me get him out of his crib, help him get ready for the bathroom, and get his clothes on!! He feeds himself so good....yogurt is a hoot as it is a thick liquid. Another favorite for him is milk that has pineapple chunks. He isn't going to know what to do when we get to eat at home every night...something we are very excited for. Another day brings a great day of attachment and bonding. I no longer fear the first day that Rob has to go back to work for Jace allows me to help him throughout the day.
Our agenda for tomorrow is very light. We have to have Jace's TB test reviewed and then the rest of the day we are free. We do want to go back to the Chinese restaurant so we are going to ask Helen to translate what we want to order.