Friday, April 20, 2007

Eleven Months Old and One Week Home

Hannah is eleven months old today. It is hard to believe that we have had her almost 3 weeks already. Time is flying. She has 7 teeth, and is getting her eighth. When we met her, she only had 4 teeth!

Happy girl!!

I'm going to eat my tiger!

Here is a list of what Hannah can do:
She can pull herself to a standing position.
She can take a step or two holding on to something.
She can sit by herself.
She can crawl forward and backward.
She can say "Dada".
She can say "Mama".
She can say "Bubbub" (brother).
She calls her bottle "Abba"
She recognizes her English name.
She can dance.
She can clap.
She can melt your heart with her smile.
She can make kissy noises and fishy mouth.
She can bite!
She waves bye-bye, with her hand facing herself.
She can hold her own bottle - and prefers it that way.
She can eat Cheerios all by herself.
She prefers regular people food to baby food, and is still fed by Mom with a spoon for the most part.
She can pitch a big fit :) ( I think even the neighbors can testify to that.)

Hannah prefers Dad to Mom. She absolutely lights up when she sees him. She really loves her brothers too. Don't get me wrong, Mom is pretty good, too, but she sees Mom all day...

On Monday, Keith and the boys went back to work and school. It has been a difficult week getting back into the routine ( how much routine can you have with a baby in the house, anyway?). Hannah does not like to be left alone, at all, ever. Although, today she did not cry too much when I took a potty break and left her sight for a minute or two. That is quite an improvement. She is taking several naps a day and sleeps though the night. I'm not sure if the number of naps has more to do with jet lag, the cold that she still has, or her "normal" routine. We are still getting to know her.

I thank God for Hannah and her beginning to adjust to her new life. She is no longer scared of the dogs, and likes it when they come up to her (doggy kisses are still yuck, though). She will reach out and pet the cat, who surprisingly likes to be near her. She seems to be more comfortable at home every day. I know that it has been difficult on her with so many changes over the past few weeks, and we pray that she will continue to be more comfortable with her new family and her new home.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Frist trip to church

For the second night in a row, Hannah has slept all night. It almost seems as if there is no jet lag with her. Babies are so amazing!!

Hannah has survived her first visit to church. She endured thousands of ooh and aahs, hundreds of cheek pinchings, and many back pattings and hugs! Seriously, we are so thankful for our church family and friends. Withouth their support and prayers, we KNOW this would have been so much more difficult. Hannah took it all with ease. Here are a few pics of Hannah in her church finery. She even managed to leave the bow in her hair all morning...definately a new record!!

First Day at Home

Hannah has survived her first day at home. She is still afraid of the dogs, but she has warmed up to the cat. Not that the cat has warmed up to her, though...

She had her first outing to the grocery store and to the local department store. Seems that we couldn't find the baby fingernail clippers and they were badly needed.

Jeremiah got her on the floor with Keith's OU hat. Here are some of his pictures. Enjoy!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

We are home, exhausted, stinky, in need of a shower, but home! More later, after the nap!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Going Home

We have Hannah's visa, and are leaving for home today. Thank you God, for a wonderful, exciting , beautiful trip. We are so thankful that everything came together and we are getting to take home our beauriful daughter. We will not be leaving Beijing, China until 2AM tomorrow, but I doubt that I will be posting by then.

Vivian, our fearless leader.

Hannah having a pre-flight meal.

David trying not to have his photo taken.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

German Consulate Appointment Day

Today, the other 2 families left. It is a bittersweet moment. We are all ready to go home and settle in to our new lives, yet we have formed an indescribable bond with the other families. Our daughters will forever be orphanage sisters. Let there be no doubt that there are reunions down the road for our group.

The German Consulate appointment went very quickly, no pictures there either. We can pick up her visa in the morning.
We took some pictures around the hotel and then we spent the day shopping leisurely around the island. Some things here are much like home, but many things are different.
David next to a jade pagoda. For only $15,000, you can have one, too. (A pagoda, not a David - he is priceless)
The jade ship in the lobby. There are MANY elaborate jade carvings all over the hotel.
A Chinese day care - looks like home.
However the freash meat market on the street does NOT remind me of home. In the very large white bucket next to the live worms is a tank of live snakes. Yum!!
This afternoon, we went with another family from our adoption agency to the downtown electronics market. You could buy anything there including black market movies. We steered clear of those, but David did manage to buy a new set of earbuds. I'm not sure what everyone is thinking in this photo...see what happens when you don't say "Cheese!"?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Red Couch Picture and Consulate Appointment

Last night, all the families got together in our room for a pizza dinner. The babies got a chance to play together. Each of them was in a good mood, and they really enjoyed getting together. Mia had been holding a Snickers wrapper all afternoon, and it captured the attention of every baby in the room. There were many times that Snickers wrapper changed hands. I'm not sure who eneded up with it in the end, but it was a source of many moments of entertainment.

It's a Snickers free-for-all!

Hannah says, "I got it!!"

Mia , in her sweetness, chooses another toy while the others still look for the elusive Snicker's wrapper.

Traditionally, all the adopted children get into a group photo at the White Swan on the "Red Couch". There are actually many red couches here, but we cose this one for our group photo. In all the adoptive photos, there is rarely a picture without at least one baby crying, one trying to get down, and many not looking at the camera. You wuld think with a group of 5 this should be eaiser. Well, indeed our photos were no exception.

Just the babes! Mia is not happy. Hannah wants to go over and take a look!

Mia is better, Adrianna is still checking on her. Kambry is just hanging out, and Hannah is ready to move on!

Kai joins the group and no one is crying!!
This afternoon, we went to the US consulate for our swearing in ceremony and to receive our US visa for Hannah. There are no cameras allowed in the consulate, therefor, there are no photos...
Usually the swearing in ceremony is quick, sweet, and goes without a hitch. However, today, due to some computer problems, the US consulate was only able to issue about 1/2 of the visas applied for. Our group was the only group to receive all of their visas. What a blessing. We had two families leaving this afternoon and 2 families leaving first thing in the morning, and we needed Hannah's passport back for our appointment with the German consulate tomorrow. Unfortuanletly, not every family in the other groups was as fortunate, and many were scrambling to make plans to rearrange flights and book additional nights at the hotel.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Medical exam day

Today Hannah underwent a medical exam for her visa. She was none too thrilled, but it went rather quickly. We didn't tell her that once she gets home that she has to go though another one :). Tomorrow we will be going to our US consulate oath taking ceremony, then she will have her US visa. One down, one to go!

Height 74.5 cm, or 30.4 inches and 20.7 pounds! What a big girl!

Everything is great, but Hannah thinks undressing is the hardest part of the exam!

All Done!!!

On the way back from the exam, we passed a school where they were having their morning announcements. They also participated in group exercise before school.

Nearby, the adults were also participating in a group exercise. It looked like line dancing to Chinese music. There was also a playground for adults. Everyone was working out this morning!

Tomorrow is the swearing in ceremony at the US consulate, where we promise (again) to care for and never abandon our new baby. After that, Hannah will have her US visa!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Can we say busy?

Life is certainly busier now that it has been in recent times. I had these idyllic dreams of posting every day and letting everyone back home follow along in our journey. Obviously that has not happened. It is not that I do not think of you all the time, but getting a moment in front of the computer is a whole 'nother thing. It seems that we are up early, off to go to an appointment, sightseeing, or paperwork, late home and exhausted at the end of the day.

On Thursday, we took a trip to the new Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing. It has only been open for a few months. There were many interesting exhibits on Chinese life, currency, wars, and the building of the Three Gorges Dam. We did not get to see it all in our short trip, but it was really nice. After the museum, we went out to dinner for Chongqing "hot pot". This is usually a very spicy dish, but they took it easy on us. It was quite good, but it did take us a little while to master the cooking.

Us in front of the 3 Gorges Museum

Famous hot pot dinner. The pots in the middle of the table are boiling. The outer pot is mild, and the inner pot is VERY spicy. You dip raw food in the boiling soup, then take it out and eat it once it is cooked.

Hanna sleeping through the hot pot.
Friday, we did paperwork...lots of it. Then Friday afternoon, we went to the Liberation Square in Chongqing. We at at McDonald's and it was the absolute highlight of the day. It is not that we do not like Chinese food, but that we are just missing home. We did a little bit of shopping, then had to catch a taxi home. That was interesting. We are not seasoned taxi riders, and flagging a taxi is not as easy as it seems. We were able to get them to stop, but when we showed them our hotel card, they would wave us away. Thank God for the bellboy at a hotel on the square. He came to our defense and got us a taxi. Seems that our trip was not short enough, nor long enough to be profitable to the taxis, so they were refusing to take us. Of course, they are not allowed to do this, but we were gullible tourists. We didn't know that you should get into the taxi and THEN tell them where you want to go. Lesson learned!!

Liberation Square is quite busy and full of shopping centers, most of which were quite expensive. We managed to find a bargain or two.

Hannah's first taste of McDonald's. Yum!!!

Saturday was spent at the airport and flying to Chongqing. Hannah screamed through taxiing the aircraft, but then slept through takeoff, flight and landing. I had forgotten what it is like to take a baby on a plane. Looks like we will get some more practice later this week, when we go home. We are staying on Shamian Island off the southern coast of China and our hotel looks over a harbor that is better lit than Vegas!!

Today is Easter. We really wanted to go to church today, and there is a Christian church on the island, but we did not find out about it until later in the morning. It was cool and cloudy, and we spent the majority of the day walking around the shops. Everyone here is happy to help us spend our hard-earned dollars. The shop owners are well versed in what to say to get you to stop in and shop at their stores. Everyone wants to give you a "discount - only for you". Yeah, we know...but it doesn't keep us from buying it anyway. You can go broke saving money here, so we have tried to be careful. :)

Hannah after her morning bath...isn't she a doll??

Hannah's favorite activity...eating!! She loves to eat everything, and all the time!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sorry we didn't post

Yesterday...Hannah officially became a member of our family. Not that she has not always been a member, but now China recognizes it officially. It was a very busy day. Hannah had her first bath with us, had her first hairbow, changed clothes 3 times while Mommy tried to decide what to she should wear and what would fit, ate her first breakfast with us, went with Mommy and Daddy to fill out a ton of paperwork, changed clothes again, went to the civil affairs office, saw her Nanny, posed for pictures, watched Mommy and Daddy put their thumbprint on their signatures, and then went to a celebratory dinner. What a day!!!

Hannah's first bath. She LOVED it, and didn't even cry when we washed her hair.

First hairbow, then Mommy changed her clothes! Mommy is so silly!

Hannah's nanny from the orphanage.

Hannah was helping Mommy eat at the celebratory dinner.

But what she really wanted was her own bite!!

Daddy's girl!!

Today...We all went to the zoo to see the Pandas. Hannah was not too impressed, and fell asleep. Daddy held her the whole time. We did a fair amount of walking around the zoo, and looked at some animals. The girls got plenty of attention from the locals! We gave them a good looking at too, especially when we saw a set of twins, who were happy to pose for a picture for me. later, we went to an art gallery and picture museum for the Flying Tigers. We had a picture of Hannah's name in Chinese made and purchased a famous Chongqing leaf painting. After that, we went back to the hotel for a rest and some lunch. Lastly, we too another trip to Wal-Mart for some necessities followed by a Pizza Hut picnic in the Johnson's room. Another busy day!


Daddy and Hannah at the Pandas

Hannah loves being held by Daddy. Mommy is OK, too, but Daddy is better!

Twin girls

Panda embroidery at the art gallery/Flying Tigers Museum

Rice paper paintings
Tomorrow we are off to the Three Gorges Museum, and possibly a trip the the city square, and a famous Chongqing hot pot dinner.
Life is a little busier now that we have Hannah. She is a little fireball! For a 10 month old, she is into everything! She loves her toys, her Daddy, Mommy and her brothers. We got her first smile, hug and laugh in the first few minutes of receiving her, and it hasn't stopped! She has her moments, but for the most part, she is just a happy go lucky, curious, active baby. She stands, crawls forward a little bit, wants to eat what you have, sleeps all night, takes her bottle well, makes kissy faces. She is an absolute doll and we are totally in LOVE with her. We can't wait to get her home and share her with everyone. For now, I am off to bed. Love to you all!!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hannah is here!!

She's here! She's here!

I'd give you the rundown, but instead for now, i will just post pictures. Maybe later I will write about our day.

Waiting families

We were first!

Beautiful baby girl!!

Proud parents

Family photo

Group photo