Sunday, November 6, 2005

Rylee's 'One'derful Party

Yesterday, we celebrated Rylee's 1st birthday. We figure it is never too late to have a party! Rylee had a blast and especially enjoyed her cake and ice cream. Presents were first this year as we knew a trip straight to the bathtub would follow the cake. She didn't quite know what to do with the cake when we set it before her. As you can see, it did not take long to figure it all out. I wonder what goes on in her little mind..."These people strip me naked, sing a bunch of mubble jumble to me, put this chunk of red and black stuff in front of me, and then clap while I smear it all over my body...Hmmm...." Rylee got the hang of opening the presents and like all children loved the large boxes just as much.

Rylee continues to transition to us and the house. She is beginning to explore the cabinets and is finding all kinds of neat things on the floor. She is eating very well and sleeping through the night. We are working on her taking a early afternoon nap, that is somewhat slow going. This week we will really work into a routine as Mike is going back to work full-time and I will go back to driving Morgan to and from school. I think once our routine is set, we will all be in great shape -- Now that I think of it, I don't think our routine will every be really set as the holidays are approaching and so is Morgan's basketball season. Oh well, a routine from drop off to pick up time will be better than nothing!

Thursday, November 3, 2005

We are home!

We did make it home! Life changed dramatically once we set foot on American soil. We are all going through quite an period of adjustment. Thankfully, each day is getting better! Rylee has been through a lot of changes and is gradually adapting to them all. She has been sleeping through the night now for 4 nights and is beginning to take a nap here and there. Once we returned home, all she did was cry and she would not let me put her down! Wow! What a change that was from China. She is now playing and feeling more secure by herself as long as I am within eye sight. The car and a car seat was a new thing for her as well - She did not like the car seat and would cry from the moment we put her in until the time we arrived to our destination and took her out. Now, she pouts for just a moment and is quiet, for the most part, until we get where we are going. She loves to be out shopping and in the public (unless it is lunchtime - mistake for the day). As you can see, there have been many adjustments, but she is slowly easing into the changes. I think once we are on a "regular" schedule she will be even more comfortable, secure, confident, etc.

Yesterday, she had her first check-up with the doctor that specializes in international adoptions. Rylee weighs 17 lbs. 14 oz. and is 28.5 inches long. She is petite, but boy does she love to eat! The doctor gave us the okay to feed her whole milk, yogurt, eggs, peanut butter, etc. Rylee wants nothing to do with baby food so, we have jumped to table food. Today, she ate a whole jr. burger from Wendy's with a few french fries and animal crackers. After all that, she was asking for more. She is able to sign "more" for us now. Back to the doctor visit... She is in great health. We do have some bloodwork that has been sent to the lab and are waiting for her TB test to be read tomorrow. Developmentally, she is doing fine - probably still a slight delay, but nothing of concern. For those of you that have seen a few pictures where her eye is turned in, it is an angle illusion that has something to do with the bridge of her nose being wider. The doctor gave us her lingo for it "Pseudoesotropia". We will return to this doctor in May for a 6 month follow-up visit.

Mike and I are beginning to get our sleep cycles adjusted. I can not keep my eyes open past 9. I think he and I have changed roles - He is now the night owl and I am now the one that can't function past 9. Hopefully, it will all turn around in the next week. Morgan is doing great and is going to do a presentation with Mike today for his class. He loves coming home to see Rylee and we are so thankful for his gentle spirit! Yesterday, after asking him about his day, he asked how Rylee's doctor's appointment had gone and if she was okay. What a sweet boy!
Well, I am going to close here...We are home! I will post again soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Last post from China

Well, tonight is our last night...Our afternoon was spent at the US Consulate waiting to take our oath. Basically, the oath was just affirming that all of the paperwork we submitted was true to the best of our knowledge. Once we land in Chicago and Rylee's passport is stamped, she will be an American. After our appointment, guess what we ate for dinner....Chinese? Nope - We had Vietnamese food. Vietnamese, Chinese, it is all the same to us at this point. We also had an opportunity to take a group photo of our travel group. The picture of the big crowd is the group from our agency that we have traveled with. I think we had a total of 16 adoptions. The first picture is of all the girls/moms that received children from the Suichuan Welfare Institute. There were a total of 5 girls - all have the name Long Wen ___. Hmmm...Notice anything about our lil' darling compared to the others? :o) Best go as we have to have our bags out ready for the bell men. Check back as we will continue to do posting even after we return...Homecoming, 1st birthday party, etc. Good night!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Last Day in China!

We are heading home tomorrow morning. We will fly from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. Then, we will fly from Hong Kong to Chicago. From Chicago to Lexington. It will be a very long day, but we are so excited to be coming home! Our flight leaves Hong Kong tomorrow at 12:45 in the afternoon (12:45 am EST). We have enjoyed the time in China and have learned so much and yet we look forward to so many of the comforts of home: real maple syrup, fluffy beds (beds here are like sleeping on ironing boards), using tap water to brush our teeth and as drinking water, good ole' home cooking, etc. The pictures above were taken this morning. Tonight, we will try to post pictures of all the Suichuan girls and a group photo. See you soon!

Hanging Ten

Hanging ten - Am I dating myself? Is that a 70's term or what? Of course, I was born in the very late 70's. ;o) Okay, can anyone guess what is different about these pictures? Yep, Mike has made his way from behind the camera. Yippeee! Today, we decided to just hang out and opted out of the trip to the Guangzhou Zoo. I know, we did not see the panda bears...I am sure we can find some zoo in the US with pandas. It was the first day the entire trip that we did anything we wanted. We spent the day enjoying the hotel and it's activities. Morgan did homework with help from Rylee. He also spent some time in the afternoon at the pool. It was a great day and much needed! Tomorrow is our last appointment. We will head to the US Consulate to take our oath. Not sure what exactly the oath is, but hey I guess we will find out when we get there :o) Til' tomorrow...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Energizer Bunny

Still going...Nothing outlasts the Energizer bunny except maybe this travel group...Today, we began the day with a devotional time. It was a very touching experience as the guides sang and several people from our group spoke. Then, we went shopping again. This time, we went to a wholesale baby market. Not too much there of interest to us. You would not believe this place...It was very overwhelming - little stores in a big warehouse...not much room to walk...merchandise coming and going...Too much for me! We have gotten Rylee some squeaky shoes - something that adoptive families cannot resist bringing home for the babies. They are little shoes with squeakers in the heel so, when the baby walks, the shoes squeak. Very cute! The other outing was one that Morgan and Mike went on which was to the countryside/working fields. This seems to have made an impact on Morgan. There was a little girl in particular that he seems to be concerned about. She is the one in the pictures. In the pictures is her home as well. When the mom saw that they were taking pictures of her daughter, she went into the house and put on a knit vest - We are assuming so that she would look nice for the pictures. Brings tears to my eyes every time I see the pictures or think about it. How blessed we are to have the freedoms and comforts we have! You can never imagine how this trip has totally changed each of us -- we have seen and heard so many things that have forever changed our perspective. Rylee and Mike are beginning to bond. She is becoming much more comfortable with him and is allowing him to hold her. Today, while he and Morgan were gone, she continuously pointed to his picture in her baby photo album. We even think she said "Dadda" earlier. We continue to learn more about her each day. She loves sleeping with a blanket and gets it near her mouth and does some sort of sucking thing. She extremely happy and exuberant during meal times. And, she loves to bounce. Tomorrow, our guides will go to the US Consulate with our paperwork. Other than that, we will just "hang out" - I think we are skipping a last minute trip to the zoo. We have thoroughly enjoyed hearing from everyone. Words can not express our gratitude to everyone for their thoughts, prayers, support, and words of encouragement! Goodnight from Guangzhou - We will post new pictures of Rylee tomorrow.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


We are in Guangzhou and absolutely love our new hotel (see pictures). The change of scenery is a blessing beyond explanation at this point! Today, we went for Rylee's medical exam. I guess the CDC will not allow her to enter the country without the exam. There was a whole area specifically for adopted children. According to them, Rylee weighs 19 lbs. She did great during the exam and did not fuss a bit. I guess she got a clean bill of health and has been approved to travel as we did not hear otherwise. This morning, we also got her picture taken for her visa. From there, we went to Lucy's Bar and Grill for some American food. It tasted so good! We also went shopping. Oh, Mike just shared with me that on the tv station that Morgan is watching (must be Hong Kong station as it is in english), Survivor Guatemala is on tonight at 9. I am in heaven!!! Back to shopping, we did a little shopping. So many neat things, but so many things we would never use - In addition, they like to barter. I hate doing that! Just tell me the price and I will decide whether or not I want to buy it. Oh, I lasted 10 days without having to use a squat pot (if you are not sure what they are, I will gladly send you a photo)...What an experience. It had been many years since I had to use one...Memories...:o) For those that are dying for more photos, here they are:

Catch Up

Well, we missed a day posting and I haven't heard the end of it...Morgan and I were "under the weather" yesterday and I used my "free time" to take a nap. Let's see...Yesterday, our outing was to the Nanchang police station to receive our children's passports. From there, we went out for lunch...Guess what we ate - CHINESE FOOD! I don't think we will be eating chinese food for a long time after we return home...Actually, I know we won't!!! Last night, we flew from Nanchang to Guangzhou. It is in Guangzhou that we will complete the last of our paperwork at the US Consulate. We arrived at our hotel at midnight. It was so great to move on to another place as we were really, really needing a change of scenery! Rylee is doing well - the first picture is of her pouting as Mike is trying to let me take a nap. So, she is in his care - not real thrilled with him. Looks like we will be "bridling a spirit" when she settles in and adjusts to us, her new home, etc. She is a sharp little cookie and she tickles us to death!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I forgot to post the most exciting news...RYLEE POOPED! Yes, you read that right I said she pooped and not that she is pooped. We were so excited! I woke up this morning and asked Mike if he smelled what I smelled...He wasn't sure. We were becoming a bit concerned - I didn't constipate her afterall! Yippeee! Sorry if that was too much information for some.

We completed the 2 hour paperwork marathon, not that we have not put in enough hours by now. She is officially ours, but we just can't leave the country with her. Mike is ready to get on a plane now as he is trying to coax her into accepting some Cheerios from him and she is crying. Many times he will look at her and she will turn away as if to snub him...Poor guy is trying so hard to be patient and not get his feelings hurt. Right now, she is playing games with him - he hands her a Cheerio, she takes it, puts her head down into the bed, begins saying "mmmmm....", then will not put it into her mouth until he begins to close up the box. Didn't take him long, the box is now being put up. Best go and fix something for dinner...Top Ramen, oatmeal, hmmm... so many choices! :o)

Emperors for the Day!

Today our excursion was to the Tengwang Pavilion which is a very short walk from our hotel. It was there that we became emperors for the day. Picture did not come out very well as we had another family take it with our camera. We are not quite sure what the significance of the pavilion was, but hey it was pretty! Will research it and get back with you :o) Not sure how to spell pavilion either - I absolutely hate not having a dictionary! Once again, the local people gathered around to see/inspect Rylee. They are very curious and just stand around staring and chattering. Once we are stopped, then a crowd gathers. Rylee does not seem to be bothered by the attention and the people touching her. We just smile and let them look. When we go out, we keep Rylee covered as the Chinese people in this province layer their clothing despite the temperature. Many families have been stopped and told that their baby needs more clothes. So, we just put that pink sweatshirt over her and a blanket for her legs as her pants creep up in the hip hammock. She is unaffected by the layers of clothing. From the pavilion, we ate in a local Chinese restaurant...Yes, back to more chinese food. This was the best place that we have eaten at up to this point. This afternoon, we will fill out more paperwork for the consulate in Guangzhou and then pack/prepare for our departure tomorrow. We look forward to leaving Nanchang and to a new hotel!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wild Hair, Wild Child

Well, we went to Pizza Hut tonight and I ate more than pizza (my words). One trip to Pizza Hut and Rylee is quickly growing into her hair...Oh my goodness! She let loose - grabbing everything, climbing around, pounding the table, etc. Would have helped to have a high chair, but she had the pleasure of my lap since she won't go to Mike. We are quickly beginning to think that the nannies spoiled her - she puffs out her bottom lip if she doesn't get her way. Morgan has an ear infection. Thankfully, the nurse/adoptive mom brought an otoscope. Unfortunately, we only have Zithromax which is not an ideal antibiotic for an ear infections. We are hoping it will take care of it as we have many flights ahead of us! Whew, things can changed on a dime! Good night from China.

Sights & Sounds

This morning our excursion was to People's Park. What a great experience! I now know why the Chinese are healthier and less overweight. This park was so peaceful and we are thrilled that we had the opportunity to experience it. From our understanding, many of the cities here have such a place. There were people doing Tai Chi or similar exercises, people gathered together playing some sort of game, people playing badminton (sp? no dictionary here), people strolling, a man playing a violin, etc. There was also a play area, for lack of a better word, for adults. It looked like community park equipment in the US, but was for the adults to exercise on: gliders for your legs, stretching equipment, etc. ( I will try to post pictures of it in a photo album tonight). It was at People's Park that we met Lenny (picture with Morgan). He stopped and talked to us and spoke very good english. He asked us many questions about why we were here and why we were adopting, occupations, etc. It was a great experience to talk to a local person. We asked Lenny how the people feel and he got very uncomfortable. In addition, it seemed like he did not know much about the process. So, we do not know how much they know about the issue. It was a great opportunity to share with him why we have chosen to adopt and we assured him that we would be giving Rylee all the opportunities that we can possibly offer her. In addition, we told him how thankful we are to his people for allowing us to make our family what it is today. Okay, enough - tearing up :o) From there we went to McDonald's! Yippeee! We know the feeling of the people on Survivor when they are given opportunities to get food rewards. We are not quite to the point where we would strip down naked for peanut butter and chocolate (previous season), but it tasted soooo good! We are headed off to Pizza Hut tonight..WooHoo two "American" meals in one day. Then, off to a fountain in the newer section of Nanchang. We are beginning to realize that Rylee might have a stubborn streak. Today, she has refused water from me, but is taking it from Morgan. Mike said that one time she took it from him and then looked over at me as if to say "Ha!". Oh my...I might have to eat some words!

PS Rylee thinks McDonald's french fries are pretty cool!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Miss Rylee

3am again...Guess who is awake and who is sleeping...Thank goodness for the internet. It is quiet and I do not need to turn on a light. Thought I would fill everyone in a bit on our little Rylee. She is doing great (comparatively) with the transition. She likes for me to hold her and touch her. I am doing all of the feeding, bathing, diapering, putting her to bed, etc and she does not make a fuss. Have you noticed that Mike is not in any of the pictures recently? Well, there is a reason...She is not taking to him much right now. That is completely normal at this stage of the game and many families are experiencing that - Mike is fine with that and is just thankful that she has bonded with one of us. Her attachment to him will come with time. Rylee adores Morgan and looks to him for entertainment. He is the one that gets her laughing and smiling. Mike and I aren't quite as successful. As far as her development, we anticipate a walker pretty soon. She is crawling, standing up on the side of the bed, moving along the side of the bed, stands without support (we have to get her into position), will take a couple of steps from the bed to a table. Her fine motor skills are growing more and more. The first day, we gave her Cheerios at the restaurant and she would just hold them in her fingers. If they were left in a pile on the table in front of her, she would dip for them like a duck going underwater. Now, we spread them out and she is feeding herself. She loves to eat. So far, we have fed her steamed eggs (local restaurant thing), white rice, banana, banana bread, french fries, and a few other little items. I think I may have constipated her, however...She has opened her mouth wide enough to count teeth and there are 8. She has a great personality and is fairly easy going. Sorry, to all those that were wishing a little "cracker jack", "spit fire", and whatever other names you all used, on us. ;o) I am sure she has yet to show all of her true colors though. She will play by herself and with Morgan/I. She is a great sleeper. You just put her in bed and she will go to sleep or move around until she falls to sleep. When she wakes up, she stands in her crib and looks at you until you wake up or will do her gymnastic routines. She prefers to fall asleep with her face smashed into the pillow or comforter - scares me to death. She is a joy and we feel so blessed!

Side notes (Things I have meant to post and not gotten to, questions you all have asked in emails, etc)

The orphanage director gave us pictures of Rylee in the orphanage (can't see much of the environment, however), a picture of the place where she was abandoned (bookstore), and a map showing the locations of both the orphanage and location of the bookstore. They also gave us a little keepsake (pillow thing) with soil and coins from her province.

The tags we have been wearing around our neck state the name of our agency and why we are here (both in english and chinese). They also have a few bible verses on them.

Mike is unable to access any of his bible study websites (for Sunday School prep) as they are blocked.

We will post again tonight...Gonna try and go get a few more minutes of sleep.

Walmart Excursion

Our big excitement for the day was an excursion to Walmart to purchase formula and cereal for the babies. What a crazy place! Imagine going into your local Walmart the week before Christmas and finding that the labels are written in some language you can not read and the items have been rearranged all over the store. And, when you act out what you are looking for the people giving you a big smile and nodding their heads. At the same time, people are nudging their friends, whispering into their ear, and then looking over at you. Others are looking at you with concern. Yet others, are trying to discreetly follow you around the store. We found most everything we needed and quickly proceeded out of the store. Before doing so, we had to figure out exactly what we owed. The people in line were giggling and standing on their tip-toes to get a good look. The trip exhausted us, but that is okay...We left with sandwich bread (sold in packs of 9), formula, cereal, water (can't use the tap water here except to shower), cough medicine (Morgan is doing his nighttime coughing thing), Chapstick (very dry air or dehydration because of lack of water in our room), PEPSI, and candy from China for Morgan's classmates and friends back home. The Walmart was two stories so, we rode on an escalator with our baskets to get to the second/first floor. Pretty cool! It was a funny experience that we will never forget! We came back to the hotel for the best pb & j sandwiches that we have ever eaten. We are excited about tomorrow as we get to go to Pizza Hut - first chain restaurant we will have eaten since being in China...Can you tell, we are not eating much. I have already kicked off my diet and am sure I have lost several pounds.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Finally! A Family of Four!

It is official! In the eyes of the Chinese government, Rylee is officially our daughter! Today was a day filled with lots of emotions!! In the morning, we completed our final paperwork and in the midst of all of the final documentation, we thought that we were not receiving Rylee, but rather another child as her picture on the document did not match others. But God is good and it is her! (Remember the birth mark on her hand? Isn't it just like God to use a mark that some would see as a blemish, to confirm this was his child for us?) We were able to confirm that this was the child God had promised us it was by the birthmark on her left hand.

OK, so back to the good stuff.....We left at 11:30 to meet our babies (18 babies for 18 families....what an adventure). Luckily, we were the first family in our group to meet our child (Mike didn't see it as quite so lucky as he did not feel prepared with either the video camera or the digital camera). As you can tell by the pix, I think he did just fine. Rylee was less than thrilled - I think it was in response to my emotional breakdown. It took her awhile to calm down - Mike came through and got her to relax. Although it was sad to see her cry, it was good as she knows how to cry, and to see how attached she had become to her caregivers. Many of the other children in the group were fairly stone faced and we have not heard a peep out of them. During the transition, the women that handed her over to us came over to her with tears and tried to explain to her "Mama, Dadda, brother". They left crying. Well, we asked who these women were and they told us workers at the Civil Affairs office. When we returned for our 3 hour paperwork marathon, they were actively seeking us out. Once they found us, they checked on Rylee. They seemed pleased. Well, it just did not add up for us why they kept looking for us. Mike was relentless in tracking down our guide to help us find out who they were, as we just sensed that there was more to this story than just workers in the civil affairs office. Mike was able to speak to the women through our guide/translator, and come to find out, they work in the orphanage that Rylee lived in. They were not her nannies, but they did say that they were close to Rylee and knew her very well. They left crying and got us going again...We have taken our oath that we will provide her a good, loving home and all the opportunities available and received our adoption certificate. So, it is official, she is a Reagle!

P.S. Before we were able to get this posted, as promised our guide brought the director of the orphanage and several of the workers by our room. We had one last chance to ask them questions, and they had one last chance to hold and hug on her. Needless to say this was both an extremely happy yet extremely sad time for us. It was comforting to us to know that she feels safe with us as she did not cry this time when they left. Good Night!

Oh.. did you want to see pictures?

She is already laughing with us and went right to sleep tonight. She seems to be very healthy. Rylee is able to crawl and is pulling up and standing up against things. Sweet dreams!

Big Day!

Had a couple of minutes this morning so, figured I would update you...Mike is downstairs right now handling some of the pre-paperwork and fees. It is a relief to finally be handing off all of this money that we have been carrying around in money belts. Morgan is dressed and ready to go! We will go to the Office of Civil Affairs this morning and then return again later this afternoon to work on the necessary paperwork. They anticipate that the return visit will take about hours. Nanchang seems to be very different from Beijing. Have not left the hotel yet and have not seen much in the light of day - our hotel window opens up onto an apartment complex. Leaving the Beijing airport was just as interesting as going into customs. The man taking our tickets prior to security seemed very sharp with me and snapped at me to stand behind the counter - I had stepped aside slightly to let Mike get in next to me. During security, they found all our bottled water and opened everyone of them up to smell - looking for amonia, alcohol, not sure... It has been eventful :o) Until later...Still weighing whether or not we should post pictures of Rylee or make you all wait...

A message from Morgan: Today we get Rylee and I am excited about getting her. And I can't wait to see her. It is fun here. My legs are tired.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Okay, I guess there was internet congestion last night. Had everything posted in a matter of minutes this morning. I have been up since 3 am. Morgan and Mike slept in til a few moments ago. Off to Nanchang tonight - keep your fingers crossed that the new hotel has a converter with a three prong attachment. If not, we will not have access to our laptop/internet.

Amazing Race Family Addition or Adoption from China

Okay, we are not sure where our adoption application went - China or CBS (network of the Amazing Race). This has been absolutely crazy! Today we went to the Beijing International Christian Fellowship-Amazing Experience. Morgan was able to take his first Lord's Supper today. First time and in a country such as China - Pretty cool! Before entering, you must show your passport as Chinese nationals are not allowed to attend. So, our guides were required to stay outside. Mike spoke with a man at the church and he explained that the underground Christian church is thriving. We will explain more at a later time. From church, we went to Tiannamen (sp?) Square and the Forbidden City. That was a crazy experience. It was here that Morgan became a superstar. Many, many people stopped and asked to take pictures with him - kids, women, and men. Not sure what he really thought, but he was polite and gave them all his big cheesy grin. The Forbidden City went on and on and on ...we have never walked so much in our life. I think someone said that we had walked nearly 10 miles today - another family has been wearing a pedometer. Yesterday, she clocked us at about 5 miles. The kids are keeping up and still going strong! I will post a picture of the kids (not all are in the picture). Traffic is interesting as you will see as well. A visit to a pearl (freshwater) shop was our last stop in Beijing before heading to the airport. We flew from Beijing to Nanchang where we will stay until Friday night. Tomorrow is the big day and will be quite emotional - Look what was waiting for us in our hotel room when we checked in a few moments ago. Look for pictures tomorrow!

Day 1

Ni Hao! Sorry about the lack of pictures...We can't get them to load for some reason. That doesn't mean that we won't get them up later. Tonight, I am too tired and have tried five times - we will try again once it settles down and we have time in our hotel room. Today, we began the day at 7:30 am with a trip to a Jade factory. From there, we went to Great Wall. It was much more packed with people than any pictures show! This was a great thrill for Morgan! He and Mike climbed to the first tower. At the top, some teenage girls took pictures with Morgan and had a bit of a conversation. He loved the wall and was so proud of how high he climbed. From the wall, we went to a shopping area and restaurant. We have pictures that we will post later of the delious dishes - fish head and all...Morgan and I just ate rice and savored some Coca Cola! We made our way to the Forbidden City, but ended up detouring to the Summer Palace because of the time and the hours of operation at the Forbidden City. We walked and walked at the Summer Palace to ride a marble boat. Once we got there, we found out it was not operating because of a lack of water...So, we walked and walked some more! Then, we crashed in on the home of an American doctor living with his family in Beijing. There, we had barbecue. It was a marathon day, but good to experience the sights, sounds, and smells. There are a little over 14 children with our group and they are all troopers! Tomorrow, it is off to an International Church, Forbidden City, and the airport to fly out to our respective provinces. Another long day in store! Good night from Beijing!