September 8, 2007

Home

Yes, I know it took us over two weeks to make a new post! Sorry about that. We've just been very, very busy. I've been swamped with work and Kaili needs a lot of Louisa's time.

It really feels great to be home. Kaili loves our dog Rupert and our cat Aberdeen. They love her back, both of them are receiving a little less attention from us, but some extra attention from Kaili. She is still learning how to pet them gently, but luckily they aren't very discerning. Rupert and Kaili have an extra-special relationship... she doles out food to him while eating, when we're distracted. Our cat Mila will observe Kaili only from a distace, but doesn't seem upset by the change.

Getting Kaili's eating and sleeping schedule to work has been a challenge. We still don't have it quite figured out. Some days she won't nap, and some nights she gets less than the ideal amount of sleep, waking several times. This is partly due to her adjusting to her new home (she's only been here 17 days), and partly to us figuring out exactly what works for her. We're still learning to read her needs.

So, not getting enough sleep (and being a toddler) has led to some temper tantrums. But nothing unusual, from what we can gather from other parents. Much of the time she is happy and sociable, exploring wherever and whatever she can. Her balance is improving, it won't be long before she can walk unaided.

She loves to visit her Grandma, Grandad, Uncle Matthew, Aunt Clare, Aunt Megan, Great Uncle Mike, Great Aunt Sue, and cousin Amy. My sister Erika and her husband Lanny also visited from Canmore. Lanny made an incredible dinner for us. She has also spent some time with our friends Mackenzie and Drew (photo below).

Kaili has a dry sense of humour (raised eyebrows or a smirk are common responses to silliness). She will outright laugh on some occasions, usually for over-the-top slapstick. Running into a wall and falling down sometimes does the trick. She loves eating meat and any starchy foods, although we seem to have her eating green beans pretty well too.

To everyone who has sent cards, emails or called... thank you! We hope Kaili will have met all of you before long. We'll try to post more real soon. Thanks for all your patience!

- j.












August 22, 2007

Day 14 - Goodbye China

Wednesday we went to yet another market. We didn't buy much but the rest of the group wanted to go, so what the heck. The bargaining is exhausting, but can be fun. Scored some excellent outfits for Kaili at the equivalent of $6 each. I'm sure Louisa won't miss the refrain, "Hey lady, cheap price, many colours!".

In the evening we went to our final good-bye dinner. Yulin, our agency director, organized it. There was a magician, an dancer whose masks would change at a wave of his fan, and a cake with enough explosive power for military use.

As you can see Kaili is getting pretty cosy with her friend Erik. We've decided on an arranged marriage with him... at least we know his parents are nice.

This will be our last post before coming home. We arrive tonight!

- j.




Days 12 and 13

Monday Kaili had her medical check-up, and we did some shopping at a huge indoor market. So no exciting photos from that.

On Tuesday we went to the Great Wall. The section we went to is the most well-known: Badaling Great Wall. It was hot and very crowded. Louisa and Kaili chilled in the shade, I walked the wall for an hour. It just keeps going and going. Unbelievable views. Very steep in parts... some areas are flat ramps, others have steps. The steps are all different heights, which makes it a bit treacherous, especially when going downhill. The steps are so worn in places that they have big semicircular curves worn out from them, just from people walking.

The views are so spectacular because they didn't really build the great wall in a straight line. They placed the connected towers on strategic high points.

- j.



August 19, 2007

Day 11

Today we went to Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City. Both were staggeringly massive and filled with people. It was very hot today, so it was a bit of a slog at times. But I'm really glad we went. This is really an incredible opportunity that won't happen again, at least not anytime soon.

For those of you who don't know: we are traveling with our group of adoptive parents, all of whom have new children. Our group is almost 50 people. So we have a big air conditioned bus that drives us to our destinations. We look like (and are) the quintessential tourists. They are all fantastic people, we've become good friends with some. We get the strangest looks from local people and Chinese tourists. Many of them ask to take our picture.

The Forbidden City was first built in the Ming Dynasty and is 1 kilometre long. Courtyards and halls that go on and on and on. We can't really figure out why they needed so many large featureless paved areas... but the imperial court of the Ming and Qing Dynasties was very ritualized. They really only lived in the north end, where the gardens are. This is the part we enjoyed.

Kaili has been an absolute trooper the past couple of days. She can cope with the heat better than we can. It's been great to see her personality emerge as we spend more time with her. She prefers to save goofing around for when she's alone with us. When we're out she likes to observe and explore. She is getting better at walking (still with one of us holding her hands). She allows us to put her in a stroller. And she lets dad carry her for long distances.

She expresses astonishment by holding her palms up and saying 'Ah?' like a question, with raised eyebrows. When in front of a mirror she opens her mouth wide and examines her teeth while making a gutteral 'Arrrrrrrrrrgggh'. When taking a drink she makes a satisfied, exaggerated 'Ahhhh' after some sips. She calls us Baba and Mama.

Thanks to everyone who posted comments!

- j.





Day 10

Saturday we went to the Beijing Zoo in the morning. We only had enough time there to see the Panda bears, because we were going to the Summer Palace in the afternoon.

The Pandas were cute, but kind of boring. They just slept the whole time. The Summer Palace was amazing. This was a royal summer home since the Jin dynasty. It is most associated with Empress Cixi, who used funds meant for the royal navy to rebuild it... twice (after being overrun by foreign armies). This is really more of a large estate than a palace. There are parks, a man-made lake, bridges and many buildings. It's huge and beautiful. We took a boat across the lake.

As you can see, the 'Beijing haze' helps some photos, but hinders most. You have to bee pretty close to a building in order for it to have any contrast in the photo!














Day 9

Friday we left Nanchang in the early afternoon. So we didn't do much that day. We walked around a bit. See how swanky the hotel was that we were at? The best part was the name: 'Galactic Peace International Hotel'. Here is a photo of the sign, in case you don't believe me. Live long and prosper.

Kaili had a total freak out on the two hour plane ride to Beijing. We're thinking it was probably the air pressure was hurting her ears? Hope the 11 hour flight from Beijing to Vancouver will be okay!




August 16, 2007

Day 8











Today we visited a nearby village with our guide Cindy. It was illuminating to see how people live outside of the city. They have very small homes, and work their own plots of land. They grow many things, but rice is a major crop. Looks to be a hard life. However, everyone we met looked very happy. The quiet was definately a plus over the noisy city of Nanchang.

Many people came out of their homes to meet us. Cindy translated one woman's loud shout as 'hey come see the foreigners!'. They were all very friendly and curious as to why we had Chinese children. Most people in China seem unaware of the existence of foreigners adopting from China, or even the existence of abandoned children in orphanages.

We also went to see the place Kaili was found when she was just 2 days old. The photo of Louisa and Kaili surrounded by market stalls is the approximate spot. This was really special. I took a little video of the area, maybe we'll share that when we return.

Kaili is gaining confidence by the minute. When in the mood, she now likes to be held upside down by me. She also enjoys cruising around the room (always holding on to a wall or table for support). She laughs and smiles a lot more. She is still a champion sleeper and eater too.

We keep thinking about how lucky we are.

Tomorrow we head back to Beijing for our final week. Kaili and Louisa send their love!

- j.