"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." -----Martin Luther King, Jr.
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet,regardless of time, place, or circumstance.The thread may stretch or tangle,but it will never break."
- ancient Chinese belief

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pics from the Great Wall


After leaving the Great Wall, we had lunch and went to the Summer Palace. It was very beautiful but would have helped if we had done our homework. It would have been much more interesting if we knew anything about it, but we didn't. And still don't.
Between the heat, humidity, CROWDS, insomnia and post Wall exhaustion, I just wanted to get back to our hotel room. But, we pushed our way through the Palace and now we can say we've seen it.
On the ride back, we sat in a ton of traffic. Like 5:00 on a Friday in Atlanta traffic. We asked why it was so busy and found out that each car is allowed to drive 3 days per work week (determined by your liscence plate number). This is to control the mass amounts of traffic on workdays. On weekends, however, anyone can drive anywhere so it is always very busy on Saturdays and Sundays. Interesting...
It was on this ride back to our hotel when David asked me, "are you ready to meet your daughter?"!! :) Oh yes, I'm ready! Only two more "sleeps"! We meet Junie on Monday!!!!!!!!!!
Tomorrow, we take a 2:00 flight to Guangzhou and check into the Garden Hotel which will be our home away from home for the next 2 weeks.
More tomorrow from Guangzhou.

The Great Wall

Well, another day down before we get our Junie.
I started this day exceptionally early, 2:00 A.M. to be exact. When I woke up, I felt like it must be close to morning so turned on my flashlight and started reading. After a while I checked my watch and was surprised to see that it was actually the middle of the night still. I was unable to get back to sleep and David woke up just a little while after me. So, forgive me once again if this is incoherent!
We also woke this morning to see that my email address was hijacked (sorry to you ALL in my address book!) and David spent tons of time trying to get the spyware on the laptop and fix it. We've already had a lot of trouble with it since we've been here and I'm just hoping it holds up till Gotcha Day so we can Skype with the kids- with Junie.
We met our guide, Ivy, in the lobby at 9:00 and drove 1 1/2 hours to the Great Wall (Mutianyu area). The entire way there we kept commenting on the sky and how it looked like it was just going to pour buckets and that we wouldn't be able to see much of anything at the Great Wall. BUT, when we got there, it cleared up a bit and was just fine.
We decided to walk up and tobaggan down. We had NO idea how intense the climb would be, my quads were shaking by the time we got up to the top and we were both sweating buckets. But, HOLY MOLY was it worth it! I simply do not have the words for the Great Wall. The only word is indescribable. We walked and walked and each and every vista was just more breathtaking than the next. I took a gazillion pictures but the sky was a little grey and the pictures simply cannot do it justice.
After a while, we took the tobaggan down. Another experience I will never forget as it was so unique and so so fun! David was behind me and told me at one point to "get a little extreme" as we could control our speed and he wanted to go faster. When it started going, it got fast and I felt the experience was going by me too fast. It is hard to tobaggan down the mountain away from the Great Wall of China at an extreme speed while appreciating the beauty at the same time. I was torn! But I finally surrendured to my need for speed- and it was so fun!.

Friday, July 30, 2010

day 1, part 3

on a lighter note, a few interesting things we saw/noticed today...
men roll up their shirts to try to beat the heat resulting in man belly shirts.  i hope this does NOT catch on in the states!
lots of split pants and naked baby buns to be seen everywhere.
2 little boys peeing on a tree on the side of a BUSY street outside of our hotel. 
a dad holding a baby under her arms out in the air as the mom wiped her poopy butt!
some men eating shirtless in restaurants.
people sleeping on the streets of the Hutong, on little cots.  Pretty sure not homeless, just napping outside on the ground.  I'm sure it's cooler outside than inside!
Oh, in the Hutong, several homes share a toilet at the end of the street as these old homes don't have bathrooms.
A mom washing her daughter's hair on the side of the road with a big bowl full of water.
and, two things that made me oh so sad.  one that will be in my memory forever. 
Tomorrow we will go to the Great Wall.  If it's like today, we won't be able to see too far so we hope it clears up.
I really really tried to take it all in today and live in the moment.  However, aside from my time at Half the Sky, all I could think about was getting to Guangzhou and getting Junie!  Just a few more days...

Day 1, part 2

Our computer is on the blink.  It has been randomly deleting as I type, so am writing this in parts.  Please start at the bottom and read up if you want to read in order...
So, after Hutong, we had the most amazing oppurtunity to visit the Half the Sky China Care Center here in Beijing.  HTS is an organization that provides for orphans in the form of nanny training, hospital and surgical treatment, preschool education, and more.  (You can read about them at HalftheSky.org)  We were met there by Helena and the Medical Director (her name escapes me, sorry!).  They were both so kind and gave us a tour of the entire facility.  The facility here in Beijing cares for orphans before and after surgery and provides "family care" for many orphans too.  Family care was 1 nanny that lives with 3 children at a time.  She has her own "apartment" within the facility with a bed, and cribs for each child. 
We visited many children with varying medical conditions, from Downs Syndrome to major heart conditions.  Many came right up to us and let us pick them up, tickle and love on them.  A very few were not so sure of us.  We saw teeny tiny very sick newborns and children up to 4 years old.  A little boy with a bone and muscle condition who tried and succeeded in standing up for us.  I knew this was a big deal when the nannies grabbed the camera and cheered for him.  He was SO proud of himself. 
Some children had just arrived and were awaiting their surgeries.  Some were actually going back to their orphanage today.
So many precious children.  Every one needing and deserving a family.  David told me before going that I couldn't fall in love with one and try to adopt again.  I didn't.  I fell in love with EVERY one of them.  I wish I could find a home for every one of them.  A doctor to perform every surgery, no matter how complicated. 
I will never ever forget this experience or those precious faces of the children waiting...

Last night and Day 1

So, I am feeling slightly more "with it" than I was last night although now that it's 8:30 p.m., I'm starting to get a little zany again. Bear with me...
We landed last night in Beijing around 11:10 and went through customs easily. Our guide, Ivy, was waiting for us with a sign reading "David Gruskin". She is very sweet and friendly. We were met outside by heat and humidity that felt like a brick wall, even at midnight! Taxi to our hotel took about 40 minutes. Luckily, we both fell asleep easily and slept until 7 this am. Much better than when we went to Japan last summer and we were up at 5 am!
We met our guide at 9:30 this morning and went to Tianenmen Square and Forbidde
n City. It looked like it was going to rain this morning but now we both just think it's really really bad smog! If I am able to get any pix on here, that is what it really looks like, not just camera or human error! Everything looks grey and you can't see very far ahead. yuck! It was very hot, very humid and very, very, very crowded. David held up exceptionally well considering he hates crowds more than anyone on the planet.

We then went to Hutong area via rickshaw. We went to a family's house to have lunch that they prepared just for us. David summed it up perfectly when he said, "if I'm not wretching in the streets in an hour, this is a really cool experience". So far, we're not wretching, so thumbs up.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We're here!

After many many hours of travel (I can't count how many), we are here in Beijing.  Our flights were fine and smooth travels all the way.
It is 12:50 a.m. and we will be picked up tomorrow at 9:30 to tour Tianenmen (sp?) square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Hutong area.  I can't even think about it.  I really love to travel and see new places but right now all I can think about is JUNIE!
I am thinking about my boys and missing them already!
More tomorrow and hopefully it will be more coherent!
love to all!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

out of the mouths of babes...

Michael asked me the other day: "Mommy, what do you think will be Junie's favorite change?"

An insightful question, I thought, and fairly easy to answer. "I think she will like to have a Mommy to rock her to sleep every night and brothers to play with all the time."

Michael replies, "I think she will like the unlimited amounts of candy."

Is something going on around here that I don't know about?!?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In One Week...

We are heading to China!

In 7 days we will be boarding an airplane to China (drink, please!).

In 12 days I will hold my daughter in my arms.

Surreal? You bet. I cannot believe it. My heart is ready. My brain is still having a hard time adjusting. I can tell by the fact that it will not rest long enough for me to sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Every night I wake up, fully awake, at 1-ish. Check my emails for an update on Junie that I've been waiting on since July 6th. Nothing. Check my favorite blogs. Check on people in China right now, adding to their family through adoption. Witness the miracles going on. It is, and always has been, so fascinating to me. Then I tell myself, "that will finally be you. very very soon". Then, for some reason, I cannot fall back to sleep. :)

Our Itinerary in China:

7/28: Board that huge machine that is somehow supposed to stay suspended in the air until we reach Beijing (with a layover in Tokyo- I LOVE JAPAN!)

7/29: Arrive in Beijing at 11:10 P.M.. Although the flight is not actually 24 hours or longer, the time change will make us lose a day.

7/30: Touring the Great Wall (Mutianyu) and Summer Palace

7/31: Tour Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City and Hutong Tour

8/1: Fly from Beijing to Guangzhou. Check in at Garden Hotel.

8/2: GOTCHA DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8/3: Proceed adoption registration at Civil Administration Bureau.
Take picture with our child.

8/4: Applying for passport. Interview. Sign adoption registration.

8/5: Free Day. Sightseeing around Guangzhou and Shamian Island. (Shopping!)

8/6: Local sightseeing (probably zoo).

8/7: Take pictures for visa application. Physical exam.

8/8: Local sightseeing. Visit Yuntai Park. Finish Visa application forms.

8/9: Receive Junie's passport, adoption registration card, birth decree, adoption decree and abandonment decree.

8/10: Local sightseeing (Liu Hua Hu Lake)

8/11: Consulate appointment (we actually don't go to this. our guide goes and we stand by at hotel in case they are in need of any documents)

8/12: Local sightseeing (Six Banyan Temple). "Swearing ceremony" (I hope she doesn't already know cuss words!).

8/13: Pick up Junie's Visa. Take a train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, 6:20 pm.

8/14: Fly Hong Kong to Detroit to Atlanta. Smother our boys with hugs and kisses. Introduce them to their new sister. Cry. Hug. Begin our life as a family of SIX!

Again, I don't know why I'm not sleeping! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010


TA!!!!!!!!!!! TA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our TA is at the agency. We will have a consulate date of 8/4 or 8/10. We will know within the next few days our definite plans.

But one thing is for sure... within 3 weeks (at the most) our little girl will be in our arms!

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

It's 4:59 and I'm awake. Have been for hours.

Waiting, waiting, waiting on TA.

It was supposed to be here last Tuesday. Should be here today sometime. Hoping for a CA date of 8/4 because 8/3 is already filled. If 8/4 is full now too, it will push us back to 8/10. Funny how 6 days can seem like an eternity. Like when you were a child waiting for your birthday.

IF we get that CA date of 8/4, it means we will leave on 7/21 for China. That's NEXT WEEK!

Also hoping for an update on Hai Qiong. I sent another package (a camera, candy for the nannies and a letter with lots of questions) last week.

Keeping my fingers crossed...