Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm so sorry!!

I really used to hate it when people came home from China and then apparently fell off the face of the earth. Well now I know why they do. Life is crazy!! Jillian is just an extra bonus to the craziness, but crazy it is. Things are going very well here. She is sleeping through the night, (most nights), and is adjusting beautifully!! We are back at work, church, school, etc. I am finding myself fairly emotionally exhausted, but physically, I seem to be ok. I am still full of uncertainties with Jillian. She is clearly around the other 3 children every afternoon and evening, so I cannot have different rules, but yet, I can't discipline her yet the way I do the other 3. I am trying to walk the fine line of discipline/bonding still. I'm not sure how long it will take me to feel comfortable, but I'm not there yet. Don't get me wrong...she has had her share of 'NO's, but I still question myself when I do it.

The pediatrician was very pleased with her progress. She is small, but we felt very accomplished yesterday, when she fit into a 12 month outfit. That's only 1 size behind. Madison was 1 size behind for most of her life. In fact, she still is....actually 2 sizes in most items. Once again, Jillian fits just fine in our family!! LOL!! She has yesterday started with the runny nose/cough. Living in Louisiana, weather is in question everyday. We go from hot to cold, then cold to hot. Chandler has terrible allergies, and I'm wondering if she might be following in his footsteps. It is prime time for runny noses, and I suppose she's no different, regardless of where she's from.

Yesterday we finally went and got her blood work done. I had been procrastinating dreading the finger prick. Well, if I had known what it was really going to be like, I don't know that I would have taken her at all!!! When I got there, they were laughing about how many tests the dr. ordered for her. I thought they were kidding. Not. They pulled her sleeve up, tied off her arm, and began searching for a vein. It was horrible. Then, they missed, prodded around, decided to stop, take a break, and try again. HORRIBLE!!!! Finally, they got a vein, drew a couple of things of blood, and let us leave. Jillian did much better than I expected...she screamed but then was laughing in the car on our way to get her some food. She then ate like a raging maniac!! I have no idea if that had anything to do with the blood that was taken, but she acted ravenous!!! Crazy!!

I will do everything I can to post more often! I don't think I have the new pictures on my computer, but I will post them as soon as I download them. Again, I'm sorry for not posting sooner!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

China time vs. USA time

Jet lag is tough. I'm not sure what technically 'jet lag' is...but the time change is tough. When we flew to Beijing, it was just Roy and I, and we had a free day before anything started. We were running on adrenaline, and had no problems with sleep deprivation whatsoever. We were tired, but so excited. It's not so much like that this time around. I think we have gotten our body clocks straight, but Jillian has absolutely not. Our first night home was pretty bad, as I mentioned before. Last night, she slept fairly well through until about 4:30, and then was up for the day. Because of the early start, she seemed fairly grumpy for most of the day. We have our doctor appt. tomorrow morning with our pediatrician. I'm hoping to get all kinds of information from her. Although, truthfully, I'm not sure what. I guess I've thought this entire time that she has had an ear infection, but the Chinese doctors didn't acknowledge that. It will be interesting to see what our Dr. says.

The other kids are still pretty much in fairy tale world with Jillian right now. If I've heard her name once, I've heard it a million times. Honestly, they won't let her breathe without someone being in her face. I told them we can do this for a day or two, but then we would have to settle it down a little bit. I'm afraid we could create a monster if we aren't careful. I really, really could not have asked for the transition to go better with them.

Well, we are off to bed. My goal for tonight is to sleep until 5:30. I'd be pleasantly surprised if we slept until 6:30, but my goal is 5:30!! I think we can, I think we can.....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Home at Last!!!

I can honestly say, I've never been so excited to see my house in my entire life!!! The travel was brutal, but when it got too much, I would just look at Jillian, and remember that the Lord had not gotten us this far to leave me now!! We definitely had His hand on us for all the flights. Every single flight was on time, and in fact, 2 of our flights landed early. Total, we shaved about 45 minutes off of our flights with early arrivals. The flight from Guangzhou to Tokyo was fine. Jillian slept for 2 out of the 4 hours. The next flight was fairly difficult. Jillian did as well as could be expected, but 11 hours on a plane just isn't easy. For anyone, especially a 17 month old. But, we made it through, and the final flight she slept all the way through. I dozed off for much of it as well.

That flight landed a little bit early, so mom and the kids weren't quite there yet. When I finally did see them, I thought I was going to lose it!! And I did, but just for a minute. Jillian instantly loved everyone, and we hit the road for home. I guess all the pressure, stress, etc. was finally lifted. I finally felt such a peace. So much so, that I could hardly stay awake heading home from Jackson to Monroe. Literally. I think I had been SO tense for SO long, that I was finally free. Once we got home though, I perked back up. When we pulled up in our driveway, some friends had hung a banner across the front of our house that said "Welcome Home Jillian!!". It was so amazing! We have been blessed with such amazing friends!! Roy's parent's came by to meet Jillian, and she "performed" nicely for them!! She really is such a funny baby!!!

After they left, I started feeling exhausted again. I bathed Jillian, and hit the bed. She went right to sleep, but unfortunately woke up at 1:00 am. She cried off and on, mostly on, until about 4:00 am. I got up, gave her a little advil in case she wasn't feeling good, and gave her a little bottle. She finally fell back asleep, but not for long. She really slept good from about 6:00 am until about 11:00 am when I got her up. Hopefully, we will be able to get into a routine soon. We knew it would be difficult, but it sure doesn't make it any easier I'll tell you that!!

She absolutely LOVES the kids!! In fact, last night, she wanted Madison to hold her more than me. That was a first. And she will crack up laughing at Chandler. Collin is feeling a touch left out, but I'm trying to tell him, it's not even been 24 hours yet. She will come around to him. In the mean time, say a little prayer for him. His feelings are a little hurt.

I will post more later, but for now, I just want to thank everyone that has been a part of this journey!! From the garage sale donations, raffle tickets help, financial help, encouraging talks, my baby shower, my clean house, etc. Everything you all have done is SO appreciated!! I can't imagine not having the prayer support that I've had!! I would have never made it through.

After I actually get dressed for the day, I will post some pictures of Jillian at home!! What a blessing to even be able to say that!! Praise the Lord!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007


Sister here: Jillian has officially set foot on American soil! I just checked their flight status and as I type, they are sitting in the plane on the runway in Detroit waiting to take off for Jackson. Their family will be reunited in two short hours!

Below is Leslie's last post from China. I had intended to post it first thing this morning, but the day got away from me...I apologize.

I thought I would post a few final tidbits about China before I leave this country. It really is a fascinating country, with a fascinating culture. Roy and I came to this country for the sole purpose of adopting our daughter. Nothing more. We looked forward to going to the Great Wall, but really just from a historical perspective. I didn’t appreciate China for what it is. Don’t get me wrong. There are still some policies and traditions in China that I find horrific. But I have a much better appreciation for what the average China citizen has to go through. And for the most part….their life is unbelievably hard. These are a few things I have learned. Some are interesting, and some are just funny facts…..

  • There really seems to be no middle class here. I’m sure there is, but it is certainly NOT our middle class. The apartment buildings here are either shack like, or high rises. And even the nice apartments aren’t very nice. One of our guides told us that the average apartment in China is about 900 square feet. That holds 4 adults and 1 baby. The mom, dad, dad’s parents, and the one baby. I really can’t even imagine!!
  • Only the RICH people have dryers to dry their clothes. We noticed that EVERYWHERE you look, there are clothes hanging to dry outside of the apartment windows. We had sent our clothes out to be laundered a couple of times, and realized we had the little puffs in our shirt shoulders where they were hung to dry. So, even the launders don’t have dryers. What a convenience that we take for granted!!!
  • Funny fact: There is NO Dr. Pepper in China. The Chinese think it tastes like medicine, and don’t want it here. But, they think fried ostrich intestine with a side of fried chicken feet is just fine.
  • This country is where so many of the high tech products are born, but the everyday advances here are so backwards. We passed several buildings that had bamboo scaffolding. Literally. And then in several shops, they pulled out bamboo ladders to get up into the loft of the store. I may have mentioned before the brooms that they ladies sweep the streets with. A bamboo stick, with limbs of dead leaves duct taped to the bottom. There is their broom. There are older ladies sweeping everywhere!! Why not just get a street sweeper?? Backbreaking labor!!
  • I have only seen 2 wild animals since I’ve been here. They were 2 birds at the park today. The first two I’ve seen. I heard them at the Great Wall, but haven’t seen any. Our guide laughed when I asked about it, and he said that there were no wild animals in China. If anyone found them, they would catch them, and eat them. I’m not sure how much of that was a joke.
  • The poverty in this country is overwhelming. Poor, poor people…working for pennies to the dollar. Women riding bicycles stacked HIGH with boxes….or people walking the streets with so much fruit hanging around their shoulders to sell. Men walking the street pulling a primitive wheel barrow filled with hand carved buddha’s. Such hard work.
  • I haven’t seen the lack of girl’s that everyone predicted I would. I see girl’s everywhere. Clearly, there is a gap….but I’ve been thankful to see lots of girl’s Chandler’s age, and younger around. I look at them and imagine Jillian in a few years. Honestly though, I look at Madison, and think of Jillian in a few years.
  • Funny fact – Karate Kid has come on HBO about a million times. Is tv here regulated?? We think so, but we can’t guarantee it. We think that the Asian influence in Karate Kid is positive, so they play it constantly. Interestingly enough though…while we have been here, the National Geographic Channel, and the Discovery Channel have both had many, many specials, several times a day on China. I mean lots. I don’t even know if it’s possible to regulate that…but it is a funny coincidence if not. On the opposite note of that…the first few days we were in Beijing…we saw specials on Katrina victims. And then a special on the Great Wall. I thought that was a funny coincidence too.
  • Strange fact – when I walked down to Starbucks this morning to send this to my sister in law…there was a Chinese Santa greeting me. The whole place is totally decorated for Christmas. I didn’t think the Chinese celebrated Christmas….clearly I am wrong. There is even a “countdown to Christmas”!!

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Say a prayer for us. This will probably be my last post before we leave!! Blessings!!!

a man working on bamboo scaffolding

Roy and me on the Great Wall

A view of the Great Wall

the beautiful fall color on the mountains right off of the great wall...it was breathtaking!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A few pictures

Jillian and me by the pool

Jillian playing peep eye with Roy under her legs, backwards....silly girl

an even fatter lady statue on Shamian Island

the Starbucks on Shamian Island....was so pretty!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Feeling surreal

After such a melancholy day yesterday, my mood picked up a bit today. Today was our consulate appointment. This meant we had to sit in our room from 10:00 – 11:30 am waiting for the call that we had no problems with our paperwork. Well, 11:30 came and went without a phone call, so finally at 11:45, I called our guide, and he gave us the all clear. He wasn’t sure why our other guide hadn’t called, but there were no problems with our paperwork. Thank the Lord for that, as over the last 2 years, and 6 months especially, paperwork has been all consuming. If you are not an adoptive parent, or friends with an adoptive parent, you have no comprehension how much paperwork is inv olved. We have traveled to New Orleans, Ruston, and Jackson, MS. just to gather paperwork. And now that part is over!! Woohoo!! Now, we are required to wait 24 hours from our consulate appt. before we can leave the country. We pick up Jillian’s visa tomorrow afternoon at 3:00. (Tomorrow is Thursday afternoon. I’m not sure when I will actually get this emailed, and posted….so it might even be today...Thursday afternoon). We then are ready to fly out first thing Friday morning. We leave at 8:30 am China time, and after 24 hours of travel, we will arrive at our home about 6:45 on Friday evening. I was so overwhelmingly joyful when I arrived in Beijing, I can only imagine how excited I will be when we land in Jackson, and I see my babies waiting for me!!!! The anxiety about the flights is definitely still there. Actually, it’s not necessarily anxiety, it is full blown fear, but that’s ok. I knew once I got here, I was only half way done, and that I had to get on that plane to get back home. I just can’t believe it’s already here!! These 2 ½ weeks have gone by much faster than I ever expected them to!

After we got the all clear from the consulate appointment, we headed back to Shamian Island for the afternoon and evening. We ate again at Lucy’s, (didn’t run into any high school friends this time!), and then went shopping. I really wanted to get a few more items from China before we left. I know I’m going to regret not getting more, but frankly, we don’t have the luggage space for anything else. The weight limits on the flights have been very restrictive in terms of our shopping!! LOL!!! Thankfully, we have no more in country flights, only international, so the 44 pound rule shouldn’t apply any longer.

We did try a new Thai place tonight that I had read about on Becky’s blog. It was very good, but we found them to be a little sneaky. They offered you things like chips, or even a hand wipe. Of course, we thought they were complimentary, but they weren’t!! They instantly pick up a ticket and mark what you accepted. They gave NO napkins, and then charged us for a wipe to wipe our hands on. We were very surprised. At one point, the 6 year old of the couple we were with spilled his drink. We asked for a napkin, and they picked up the ticket to write down how many napkins we needed to c lean up the spill. The mom said forget it, and we were about to push it onto the floor when they came with “complimentary” napkins. A very interesting experience indeed. Unfortunately, because of that, I don’t think we will be going back, and the food was very good!!!

We started getting things packed up today while we were sitting in the room. I know I said it yesterday, but it is really just so surreal. This whole experience is. We have a new daughter that my children haven’t even met yet. We are about to travel all the way around the world to get home. And in just a few days, I will be back in my own home. Wow, what a whirlwind couple of days we have ahead.

Keep praying!! I’ll try to post pics in the morning!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A little anxiety is creeping back in

Well today was exhausting. Wait, I think I’ve said that before from China!! LOL!! Fascinating, but exhausting. Roy did have to go the consulate this morning to correct the piece of paperwork I messed up. Thankfully, he wasn’t the only one. While he was gone, I took Jillian to breakfast, changed out our last bit of money, and then headed to 7-11. It is so nice to have one next door to our hotel that has Coke Light.& nbsp; There is no Diet Coke here, but there is Coke Light. There is a definite difference, but I can’t really explain what it is. My fountain Diet Coke from Exxon with .53 refills is SO calling my name. I really can’t believe we are almost to the end of our journey. I personally have been researching this trip to China for 2 years now. And Friday it will be over. I must say, I have radically mixed feelings about it. I miss my children at home desperately, and I am SO ready to see them. I think the reality of the flight with a baby is scari ng me….ALOT. (Of course, the flight without a baby scares me A LOT….but now I won’t be able to take an ambien!! L) And taking Jillian out of her birth country gives me a little bit of sadness. But the joy Jillian has already added to our lives is immeasurable. I truly feel like she has always been mine. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, she fits our family perfectly. The Lord has had His hand on this in so many clear ways. We are so very blessed.

Sorry, I have gotten off of the subject…..this afternoon, Jillian and I headed out with a local guide to take us shopping with several other ladies in the group. It was such an experience. The shopping wasn’t as good as I had hoped, but the experience was amazing. She took us on backways, and alleys to get the best deals. Jillian unfortunately decided to pick today to get a little diarrhea, so she got the honor of being laid on the floor of all these tiny little huts that were selling jade, silk, etc. She was such a trooper through the entire process though. In fact, our guide kept saying how happy she was and what big eyes she had, and how cute her curly hair is. In one of the ‘shops’, she evidently told the vendor that I had just adopted Jillian. The vendor absolutely didn’t believe her. The vendor said, “NO…biological….big eyes like mom, curly hair like mom….biological”. I have just been blown away with how many people REFUSE to believe she is Chinese. Not that I really care honestly, but it does surprise me. Whether she looks like it or not, my baby girl was in fact born in China. Regardless of who says what. And thankfully, once we get home to the US, we just might not have as many weird looks as I expected. I probably should take this time to mention again….how perfectly she fits in our family!!! Everybody already thinks it too!!!

Please keep us in your prayers over the next few days. The anxiety is building as we prepare to begin our journey home. I think we are all (the other families as well) going through the same anxieties. I think we are all worried about the flight with our babies. Ready to get back to our normal lives. But yet, a little saddened that this amazing journey of our life is ending. Not really a little even, quite a lot. I know so many others that have been around me for the last 6 months are probably thrilled that it’s over!! LOL!!! Howeve r, I must warn you, I doubt the emotional roller coasters are going to stop here……

I’m sending a few pictures as well. My dear sister in law is back at work for me now. Blogger is not accessible here in this hotel at all. Thanks Laura for all you’re doing, all you’ve done, and will do over the next few days!!!!

I hope you enjoy!!

Jillian and I are playing patty cake

Jillian at the folk art museum

the prawn at the Japanese restaurant....(giant shrimp)

Jillian crawling from under a table

Jillian and me at the physical exam

Jillian and a nurse at the physical exam

Playing with her new shoes

A statue on Shamian Island of adoptive parents with their new chinese baby

Monday, November 12, 2007

The last couple of days have certainly been a whirlwind.

We had to get up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning to head into Guangzhou. The flight was only 45 minutes or so, and Jillian fell asleep before take off, and only woke up when I was standing up to get off the plane. I SO hope that's an indication of how well she will sleep on our journey home at the end of the week. When we got to Guangzhou, we came straight to our hotel. Normally, all adoptive parents stay on Shamian Island. I must say, I was rather disappointed we were not, but our hotel makes up for it a little bit I suppose. We are at the China Hotel, a Marriott Hotel. They just went through a renovation, and we are the first people to stay in the renovated rooms. It's probably the nicest hotel room I have, and ever will stay in, in my life. It's an amazingly beautiful hotel. However, the tradition of the White Swan Hotel for China adoptive parents, is one I'm really disappointed to miss out on. There is, as my sister in law has posted, a starbucks in the hotel, which is nice. But even nicer, McDonald's is right next door. Since we are not eating with our guides any more, Roy and I are just too nervous to branch out to some of the Chinese restaurants. And for some reason, the granola bars that we packed are just not calling our name. I guess it's that 'we're on vacation' mentality or something.

Yesterday, we got up and headed to a local Folk Art museum. Roy and I aren't huge on Chinese history, but several of these attractions have really been fascinating. I really enjoyed it, and did a little bit of shopping in the gift shops. So much here is SO cheap. But, then again, so many of the vendors see that we are caucasian, and the prices instantly go up. I guess it all evens out. After that, we headed to a department store, much like Dillard's. Of course, everything here is multi story. That was another adventure. You went to each department, they gave you a ticket for the items you wanted to purchase, and then you went to one central place to pay, and then you had to take your tickets that you had paid, back to each department to show that you had paid for it, and then they would give the products to you. Sound confusing enough?? We wondered if our guides might get a commission off of some of thes e things. While it is fascinating learning how this culture does things, it isn't very practical when there is a group of 18 families trying to do it. We then came back to the hotel to have our 'paperwork party'. This is the last bit of paperwork, hopefully, for our trip. It was about 2 1/2 hours of paperwork with our guide. Of course, the pressure of it all got to me, and I made a mistake on one of the 'crucial' pieces of paperwork. I couldn't believe it. I really do cave under pressure, and I wrote Jillian's name wrong. I have NEVER done it before, and I doubt I will do it again, but we are in a wait and see stage to see if I have to go to the American consulate myself to correct it on this ever so important document. Hopefully, our guides were just trying to put the fear of God in me, and another member of our group, and it will be just fine. Regardless, we are leaving Friday to come home, with Jillian, we just might ha ve a few extra steps on Thursday. We then headed to a Japanese restaurant which was very overrated, but again, it was part of the experience.

Today, we got up and went to the medical exam. This is part of Jillian's visa application process. We had to go to 3 different rooms to have her poked and prodded. She did amazingly well. Most babies scream through the entire experience, but she only cried when they put the tongue depressor in her mouth. I was so very impressed, and you could tell the nurses were too. They kept saying, "happy baby!!!". And I said yes she absolutely is!! She was said to have weighed 16.5 pounds in August, and I had been told to expect her to weigh the same now. That generally, they are weighed with crazy amounts of layers on, and then they exaggerate the weights sometimes. I am proud to say my little girl weighed 18.4 pounds today!! Woohoo!!!! I felt so accomplished, after all, she has been eating like a horse the last week!!!

The medical exam office is actually on Shamian Island. It is an absolutely beautiful place. It is evidently designed in a European fashion. There are LOTS of shops, and you do lots of bargaining. It was an experience to say the least. There is also an American style cafe...Lucy's. Almost all adoptive parents have been there a time or two during their stay. We went today, and got a cheeseburger and french fries. It was just like back home. Delicious!!! While we were sitting there eating, Roy leaned over and said, "Leslie, is that xxx". I thought he was kidding, but walking towards us, was a guy that we went to high school with. He has moved to Baton Rouge, but was in China now adopting their first child. What on earth are the chances of that?????? So, we sat with them for a little while talking about West Monroe. His in laws, who were with him, still live there, and it was just surreal. ; We are in China, and sat down at the same restaurant with someone else who lives in our little town. I still just can't believe it!!! After that, we did more shopping, and then headed to the starbucks on the island to use the restroom. I can't describe how pretty this place is, and pictures really don't do it justice. But, it was so pleasant, that we decided to get a coffee and just sit on the porch. I felt like i was in the British Isles or something. I really, really, really wish we were staying on the Island. But, the White Swan is being renovated, and there aren't enough hotel rooms any longer for the amount of adoptive parents that are coming through. We have no plans for tonight, but tomorrow afternoon is our power shopping trip. We actually have a guide taking us around to the wholesalers where she does the bargaining for us. We pay her $7.50 per hour, but will save TONS of money. And, we don't have to barga in....thank goodness. I really don't enjoy that part. I know that's the game, but I feel bad trying to get people to come down.

I will come back later to download more pictures. When we got back to our hotel, Jillian had already fallen asleep, and I SO wanted to get a post in. I will try to do another later too, with just some tidbits about China that I am finding fascinating. With maybe some pics of China, and not just Jillian. It really is a fascinating country, and I can really see how world travelers do it. I am just so surprised how easy it is, for the most part, to maintain our normal lives. The world wide web has sure made a difference in everyone's lives!!!

I'll be back later with pics!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Not enough hands...

Sister here: Leslie is having trouble sending us pictures or newsy updates because Jillian doesn't want to let go of her. If any of you have tried to type while holding a squirmy toddler, you will understand the problem. Hopefully she will be able to run down to Starbucks while Jillian is napping or let Roy download pictures for us sometime soon...I know I can't get enough! In the meantime, just keep checking and I'll post news and pictures as soon as I get them.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We made it to Guangzhou.

Internet here is not as friendly. To pay for it in our room is $14.00 a day, but in the Starbuck's it's free. That is where we are now. Jillian is having her first tastes of foam from my latte. I must say, I think she likes it!! :)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Our last day in Nanning.

Today was our last day in Nanning. We are to meet in the lobby of our hotel at 6:00 am. I'm a little concerned about Jillian's lack of breakfast, but the flight is very short, so hopefully it won't be too bad.

We landed on Monday full of so many questions. We are leaving tomorrow with more answers than I ever would have imagined. We have learned so much about her little life in the short 4 days that we have known her. She has completed or family. I know she was meant to be ours, and I am so incredibly thankful to have her as my daughter. You all are going to be over the moon when you meet her. Her little personality is so contagious!! I can see we have a few challenges ahead, but her cuteness makes up for it all!!! She is also so amazingly smart. Tonight in the bathtub, she put the washrag on her head, (all by herself), then pulled it off, and said "Pie"!! She has already learned our version of pea-pie. Or peek a boo as you may call it. We call it pea-pie. There is so much she does that reminds us of our kiddos back home. I can't even stress how well she blends into our family.

Today, we went drove to the top of the tallest mountain in Guangxi Province. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, it apparently was the field trip spot for every child in Nanning. They were everywhere!!!! And quite a few times, they swarmed our group. Roy and I eventually headed out on our own, and we got swarmed by ourselves. The first group really scared me how crazy enthusiastic they were about Jillian. All in her face, and then grabbing her. I took their picture, and grabbed her back. Then, another group of girls swarmed the stroller so much that we couldn't even push it. They weren't as aggressive, but one of the girl's tried to feed Jillian her juice. Again, we had to grab at it quickly. It's peculiar to me how they are here. I can't see Collin on a field trip with his friends running over to a couple with a baby. But, maybe they don't see babies very often.

One other interesting thing happened. The three of us, (Roy, Jillian, and I), were standing aside with our guides today, when a tall Chinese gentlemen passed and mumbled something. One of our guides instantly told us he said, "that baby is a foreigner". Meaning.....we were with a group of Chinese babies, but ours wasn't a Chinese baby....in his opinion. So, i began to ask him about the minority possibilities for Jillian. We had already known her area was known to have a large majority of minorities, but technically, legally, minorities are not allowed to be adopted out of the country. In fact, minorities do not even have to abide by the one child policy. However, we have had SO many people tell us that she didn't look Chinese, that I was really starting to wonder. Long story short....both of our guides feel like Jillian is from a minority ethnicity. There are so many minorities, there is no way to know which one....but we all feel like she is probably from the Zheung minority. Not for sure, but probably. She is from a town called Guiping City, and there, there are many of the Zheung people. That is one question that we will never know the answer to. Anyway, that all probably means nothing to you, but it was fascinating to me.

We fly to Guangzhou, Guangdong tomorrow. This is the last leg of our trip. We will be leaving one week from tomorrow to come home. We are very much enjoying our journey, but we are missing our babies at home!!!! We have really expected this to be more difficult, in terms of food, and everyday conviences, but it hasn't been too bad at all. In fact, I think both of us have gained weight because we have enjoyed our breakfast buffets way too much. And now that we're in a town with Mcdonald's and Pizza Hut, we've been in trouble!!! And our next place has a Starbuck's. We'll really be in trouble then.

I've posted a few pictures already below this post. I hope you enjoy them. A few of the swarming kids, and just a couple of us.

Thanks for following our journey....see you next time in Guangzhou!!

Pictures from our last day in Nanning...

Day Two of sleeping through the tourist spots.She woke up, but just wasn't quite herself for the morning.
Looking at the lake on top of the highest mountain in Guangxi province.
We got swarmed a couple of times today. These guys made me nervous!! They literally just took Jillian from Roy wanting a picture with her. I took it, and then grabbed her back!!!
Second swarm of people.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This and that.....

The past 2 days have been relatively uneventful. Yesterday, (Wednesday Nov. 6th), Jillian had her first fussy day. We are learning that she was the princess of her house. She really, really knows what she wants, and expects it. It's been difficult for me to find the line between discipline and bonding. It is so painfully hard for me to let her cry, or tell her no, since she's only known me for 4 days now,but I know I have to. And today has been much better in that area. I think she needed to test her waters a little, and hopefully, that will stick for a day or two....or at least until we get home. Anyway, yesterday morning she woke up very clingy. She absolutely does not like our room. I'm not sure why, but when we get half way down the hall she starts crying. After having a wonderfully long conversation with my kiddos back home, we hit the road. We decided it would be best to get out as much as we could yesterday, so we headed down the streets to a local park. It was beautifu l!!!! A huge lake surrounded by lush greenery and a walkway filled with people doing Tai Chi, and playing music. The schedule here is evidently much more relaxed. Our guide told us today that at 3:00 in the afternoon, people get tired, and need to go home and take a nap. We got tickled at that. Jillian became quite fussy while we were there, and it was really hot, and she was in the hip hammock. We came back, ate lunch, and she crashed for the first time really. She took a great nap, and we then headed out Pizza Hut, and a quick run to Wal Mart for some more baby food. We tried her in a stroller for the first time, and she loved it!! Finally, my arms can get a rest!!! I was beginning to think I should have started lifting weights a month or two ago to get myself prepared!! She did very good, until we got back to the room. She finally gave up the fight, after crying for awhile and fell asleep.

This morning, we got up leisurely and headed to the zoo with our group. We rented a stroller from our hotel, and she again did fantastic. At the zoo for the first time since Gotcha Day, she wanted her Daddy. I think I took a million pictures wondering how long it would last. At one point, he even tried to put her back in the stroller, and she wouldn't have it!! I was SOO excited!!! I really think she is making strides with us. I can only imagine what is going through her mind. In China, when you have a foster family, they will take you from your foster family anywhere from a week to a month before you come to pick them up. They then go back to the orphanage that they left. I get so sad for her when I think of what all she's been through in the last few months. We also today got the picture packet that her orphanage gives the parents. When we got her, they gave us the wrong packet, so we had to wait to get them switched out. Looking through the pictures was quite emotional for me. There was a picture in there evidently from the day she was found. She was bundled up and tied with a blue string around her waist. It really broke my heart. I wonder what she will think one day when she sees it. I will have to do alot more reading to find out how to handle that.

She is napping right now. When she wakes up, we are going BACK to Wal Mart. I had gotten her a few little outfits that are miraculously too small. I didn't pack very many clothes for her, so I have to go get new ones. I'm tickled at her size. I brought 9 - 12 month onesies, and when I got her, I thought they would swallow her whole, but they fit just fine!!! She eats like a horse, so I can't imagine that she won't have gained weight by the time we get home!!!! She usually eats 2 eggs, 3 pieces of ham, a croissant, and some noodles for breakfast. Yes, all of that!!! And sometimes she'll eat a little bit of congee too. Then an hour or two later, she wants a bottle, and then about an hour later, she wants lunch. In between, she wants gerber puffs.

I'm posting quite a few pictures from the last day or two. I think they loaded a bit out of order, but that's ok. So, enjoy!!!

These are out of order, but look at that smile at the zoo!!
Classic Chinese working lady.
I almost knocked people down to get these pictures.
Sharing her Gerber Puffs with Daddy.
What a happy girl.
Hearing Grandma's voice for the first time.
Loving the headphones.
Walking in the park in Nanning.
Hey Cool!!
She just couldn't hang on at the zoo!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Today has been amazing!!!

Last night, we discovered that Jillian was totally addicted to tv. We couldn't figure out how to get her to sleep, so we finally just put it on the Chinese Opera channel. She sat on the bed, sucking her thumb, until she literally fell over asleep. Crazy girl!!! We got up this morning, and went down to the breakfast buffet. Again, 99% Chinese buffet at home food. Broccoli, congee, soup, eggs, etc. Jillian ate like a horse!! It quickly became a joke among several of the parents in our group how much she was actually eating. And attempting to feed herself. We then headed off to our civial affairs appointment where we got interviewed regarding our night with Jillian last night. After promising never to abandon or abuse Jillian, it was determined that we were qualified to become her parents. So, now it's official. We are Jillian's parents. They took our family picture, asked us to make sure everything on her certificate was correct, and then it was done. I could have cried the entire time, but nobody else was, so I desperately tried to hold back. The emotions were overwhelming. I remember when I first held Chandler in the hospital, and wondered how anybody could abandon or abuse such an innocent being. My heart was full then, just as it is now.

While we were waiting our turn in the civil affairs office, Jillian became quite the social butterfly. When it's just us, she won't even let me 2 feet from her without bursting our in tears. But, when we are with all the babies in our group, she is back to her old self apparently. She was crawling around, playing, making friends. I think if I had shoes that fit her, she would feel more comfortable walking. When I get to Guangzhou, we will stock up for sure.

We did get to talk to the head of her orphanage today, and did find out she was indeed in foster care since last November. Which is probably why she is so crazy attached to me now. And why she has had several bursts of crying for no apparent reason. She is evidently grieving her foster parents. Yesterday she would cry mama, and baba, and I couldn't figure out why if she had never had a mama and baba before. Now we know.

She is continuing to be very silly. She'll do something funny, and wait for my expression before she cracks herself up. This afternoon she started to take her diaper off, and when I told her no no, she looked up and then threw her head back laughing. Evidently she has played this game before!! LOL!!! I'm so happy that in the midst of her grief, she is certainly still finding lots of joy in her little life.

After we left the civil affairs office, we headed to Wal Mart, (a true Wal Mart), and grabbed McDonald's to go. I must say, I've never ever had a double cheeseburger before, but that was probably the best thing I've eaten in days. Not at all that the food has been bad, I just feel like I've eaten the same things over and over and over again. Broccoli and croissants for breakfast, and then lots and lots of rice the rest of the day. And I've enjoyed it very much. But change is good!!!!! Roy even branched out and got the filet of fish. He said it was EXACTLY like back home. We are so thankful to know that!!

We are now about to head out to the notary's office. I have no idea what we are really even doing there, I just know exactly how much money I'm supposed to be taking!! After that, I imagine we'll grab dinner, and then head back to the room for bed. Pray that we can figure out how to get Jillian to sleep. I don't know what we'll do when we get home with no Chinese Opera available. And I'm really not sure how much Chinese opera Roy and I can take!!!! LOL!!

Here's some pics from the day (Jillian is in pink).

Monday, November 5, 2007

More tidbits about Jillian

Here are some more of our early impressions of Jillian. I'll put together something more cohesive later:

  • Her little personality is SUPER funny. She already is definitely giving Collin a run for his money on the silliness. She makes funny faces, and then cracks herself up. She has even belly laughed a few times. We feel very blessed as this doesn't often happen for the first week or so.
  • They still say her favorite food is rice and fruit, which can hardly help for growth. All the babies here seem to be on the petite side. Certainly not as small as Jillian, but definitely smaller than average.
  • I've had several of the people in the group look at her and with amazement say how she doesn't even look Chinese. I think she does, but I do think she will definitely blend with Madison wonderfully!!
  • We were told her bedtime was 10:00 and she would sleep until 8:00. So that 's definitely a good thing.

We have our sweet Jillian!

We are so unbelieveably tired, but I know I had to post...so I'm sending some pictures, and basics from yesterday and today. Obviously, the biggest news is we got Jillian. Pics are attached.

Yesterday, we got up early, headed out for church, the jade factory, the Great Wall, and the Chinese acrobat show. I hate to skip the details of all these, but for now, I just have to. Hopefully, over the next few days I will catch up on some sleep, and give more details. Needless to say they were all amazing!!!Nevertheless, we are exhausted from 2 solid days of going non stop. This morning, the alarm went of at 4:30. We had to be on the bus at 5:30 to catch a 7:30 flight to Nanning. I really didn't want to fly the day we got Jillian, I knew my emotions would be quite frazzled, and they were. It was a 3 hour flight, and I listened to praise music on the ipod, and prayed. On the plane, I was wondering how far Jillian had to come. I couldn't remember exactly how far her orphanage was. I knew her entire life was about to change, and if she was distraught, there would be little I could do to comfort her. We arrived at 10:45, checked into the hotel about 11:30. We met at 1:30 to fill out paperwork, boarded the bus at 3:00, and got Jillian at about 3:45. She was amazing at the hotel we got her. She was funny on the bus, making faces at everyone, etc. However, when we walked into our hotel room, and the door shut, she realized this was not a fun playdate with lots of people anymore. She cried, and cried. I finally put her in my hip hammock, and hit the road. We walked several blocks down the street to a local grocery store. I got her some food, and some cokes for us. When we got back to the room, she ate both jars of food that I got, drank the juice, and was a happy camper. She has had crying spells off and on ever since. I know she is so confused, but is being such a trooper about it. She is addicted to the tv, evidently she watched lots of it. She also is a thumb sucker. She even has a boy bite on her thumb from sucking it so much. Tomorrow is our more official meeting with the nannies, and orphanage directors, so hopefully, I'll find out a little more. There even was a little bit in her info today that leads us to believe she was indeed in foster care. But, again we'll know more tomorrow. I know ya'll are all wanting pics...so here are a few. I'll write more tomorrow, when we aren't so pooped!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Well, thanks to our incredibly helpful new friend, we have figured out our electrical issues. There are basically 2....the first is...hair equipment is always tricky. We figured that out when I melted my straightening iron, and then almost blew up my hair dryer. Thankfully, I didn't blow up my hair dryer, but that is what caused the power to blow in our room. The second is.....we don't need a voltage converter for our computer or camcorder. I had read/heard so much about the voltage converter, that it never crossed my mind NOT to use one. Hopefully, we will be smooth sailing from here on out. I have no idea what the internet situation is in Nanning though. I had a hard time finding translated information regarding the details of our stay there. I know we can post because I've seen several blogs of people that post while they are there, I just don't know how often, etc. We fly out tomorrow morning to go there. The schedule will be to fly out in the morning, check into our hotel, get situated and then go get Jillian. We were all discussing the details last night and my stomach just dropped. I really can't believe we are one day away from meeting her. So many questions are going through my mind. Oddly, the main one is what on earth does she look like now. We are going with a group of people that received referrals for Non Special Need children. They all have pictures from 2 months ago. The picture I have of Jillian is 1 year old. My bio children changed SO much in that period of time that I can't even imagine what she is going to look like.

Today we will be heading out to church, then the Jade Factory, then the Great Wall, then lunch, then a break, then dinner, then the Chinese Acrobat Show. I imagine it will be another exhausting day, but it sure is helping us sleep at night....mostly. Both of us are still waking up wide awake at 2:15 or so. Thankfully, we did go back to sleep last night until about 5:30. Maybe after today, we will be able to sleep all the way to 5:30!! What a treat that would be!!

On a side note...our guide, Sherry, is Chinese. She had mentioned that translating meanings of our daughter's names is not really what we thought it was. She said, while Yu may mean rain, and Lu may mean rain, the chinese characters for Yulu may not mean rain at all. I happened to have Jillian's paperwork with me and asked her to look at the Chinese characters for her name. She said "oh yes, Yulu....those characters, (she actually said the Chinese word for them which has left me right now), means Beautiful Jade Pendant. Interesting. I thought all this time, her name meant rain. I like beautiful jade pendant much better!!

Here are some pictures from yesterday! I hope you enjoy! It really was a spectacular day!!!

Here we are in the Forbidden City

A beautiful roofline

The Marble Boat in the Summer Palace. This entire thing is made out of marble and they built it facing the dock instead of ready to leave to symbolize the power of the emperor. I even got to use my very first squatty potty!!

Day 2 - A day of learning about Chinese heritage and electricity!

I'm writing quickly, as I have blown another voltage converter. This time though, when it blew, it blew a fuse in our room. So now, for the second time today, we have no electricity, and it's very difficult to get the concierge to understand what we're saying. So...I have no idea how long my computer battery will last. For now, I'm just giving the basics, and hopefully, pictures will come tomorrow.

Today was a wonderful, yet exhausting day. We began our day at 8:30 in the morning heading out to Tianemen Square. We walked around that for a bit, and then headed into the Forbidden City. It was unbelieveably overwhelming. So huge. I won't get into it, but the history of it is definitely worth looking into. We were stunned at how old and original so many parts of it were. The tiles on the roofs were 600 years old!! Unbelieveable. We know that part of this tour is to inform us of the Chinese heritage of our daughters, and we have certainly learned alot. After that, (which was hours of walking), we went and had a traditional Chinese lunch at a local restaurant. I must say it was quite good. There were a couple of items I wasn't brave enough to try, but that is the way it is for me at Peking in Louisiana. After lunch, we headed out for the Summer Palace. This is a place that isn't a palace at all . It's where the emperor recreated his favorite parts of China, all in one place. Again, I would bore you with meaningless details, but it is worth the time to google it I'm sure. We then headed to the silk factory to find out how they spin their traditional silk outfits. It is truly an art. After that, we headed out to another traditional Chinese dinner. The Peking Duck dinner. Not my favorite, but still ok.

My battery is bleeping at me that it's about to die. So that's it for now. More later!!

Note from the sister: This is truly a whirlwind tour they were on today. When we were in Beijing, we spent a day and a half at the Forbidden City which is just off Tianemen Square, and a day at the Summer Palace which is quite a drive from there (I don't remember how long, but it's outside of Beijing which is a huge city). The traditional meals also take 1-2 hours each. I can't believe how much they were able to cram into their day. They must be exhausted. I agree with her that the history of these places is really interesting and worth looking up, you can probably also find pictures of them online.

Let's pray they get the computer glitches worked out. I'm worried that if they are having trouble with it in Beijing, it might be a much bigger problem when they get to the smaller cities. I know a lot of us will be disappointed if they can't send updates!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day 1 - Rest a lot, venture out a bit

We got up this morning and headed down for our breakfast buffet that is here at the hotel. We had been told it was very nice, so we were very much looking forward to it. I don't really know why, they fed us like crazy on the flights. We really got tickled about how busy those stewardess' were for the entire 13 hours. Anyway, when we walked into the room, we noticed ALOT of food. The typical croissants, etc., but many, many closed containers that we had to look in to find out what it was. One was bacon, one was sausage, and then they started getting weird. Next was fried rice, steamed broccoli, sauteed mushrooms in some kind of sauce, etc. Like it was lunch, or supper. We really tried to stick to the breakfast foods, but they weren't very good. So, we branched out, and had the fried rice, and broccoli. It was so delicious!! And I'm sure much healthier than that french toast that was hard as a br ick!! After that, we had to head to Wal Mart to get a new voltage converter, and bottled water. Our voltage converter from Radio Shack lasted all of 12 hours. Thankfully, we weren't in a rush, and could walk the aisles at Wal Mart, (actually it's called Carrefour) to find exactly what we needed. Once we found the water, and the converter, we just walked around for awhile. I was surprised at how many items in the store were American/English. Notebooks with Tigger, written in English. Day planners all written in English. The meat market is hysterical!! People yelling out non stop. I assume they are just yelling what great deals and meats they have. We couldn't figure out what quite alot of the meat actually was. Big fish were flopping out of tanks around peoples feet. And they just left them there. Crazy!! I know people have talked about how crazy it is, but we really enjoyed our t ime there. It's fascinating to watch people and realize how much alike we are to the rest of the world. They were all in there looking for shoes, bottles, etc. just like we were. After that we were able to come back to our room to call back home on Skype. It is so hard for me to believe we are really here, since I've been emailing, and even talking to my family back home. After sitting in our room for awhile, feeling very cowardly, we decided to just branch out and go walk the streets of Beijing. We needed lunch, so off we went. We walked in KFC, and realized nothing looked normal, so we walked a little further out of my comfort zone to McDonald's. Since we haven't seen our guide yet, we are just not knowledgeable enough about the local spots to go to them. Even at McDonald's we only got fries and a coke. I just can't make myself eat any meat here. Not yet anyway. So now we are back at our room. It's about 3:00 in the afternoon here, and we really have nothing to do for the rest of the day. I'm not quite sure what we will end up doing. Maybe head back to Carrefour to watch the meat market!!!
Here are some pictures:
our plane that we flew to Beijing on

roasted quail, with the heads on

feet from some sort of poultry that was sold by the pound in Wal Mart

there are rows and rows of bicycles everywhere

Thursday, November 1, 2007

We finally made it!!

It only took about 27 hours from start to finish!!! The flights were long and bumpy, so I was very thankful for the xanax my friend was able to get me! We are staying right next door to Wal Mart and KFC. Tomorrow we are without a guide, so I'm thankful to be able to walk to Wal Mart to get some bottled water for the room. We will only be here for 3 days, but we can't even brush our teeth with the water, so it is a must to get! We will probably take advantage of having nothing to do, and rest most of the day. The days following are filled from start to finish with visiting the Great Wall, Tianemen Square, the jade factory, and pearl factory!! Fun, fun, fun...but busy, busy, busy!! And then the day we have waited all this time for!! Jillian day!! I'll keep you posted as I can!!

I believe the saying is "God's Speed"

According to the airline website, they arrived in Tokyo for a brief layover. They are back in the air now and should arrive in Beijing in just over an hour. Then they have to get their luggage, go through customs, meet up with their guide, get to the hotel...and collapse into bed for a good nights rest (hopefully!)!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bon Voyage

Hello everyone,
I'm the sister-in-law and I'll be updating the blog while they're gone. They are in the air at this moment. I've checked their flight and it's on schedule (according to the airline website...anyone who's flown much knows how accurate that is!). They will arrive in Beijing tomorrow morning CT. She's asked me to post something everyday whether I've heard from her or not, so I'll update you tomorrow. Good night and may your dreams be of fair skies and no turbulance!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The sun will come out.....TOMORROW!!!

My next post will be from China. I can't really even believe that I'm typing that!!! I've only had a couple of fleeting panic attacks today. I've been much better than I expected. I've had so many encouraging phone calls, and emails. I guess, in a strange way, I'm thankful to know I'm not the only one that has gone through this experience and been scared. But, as I said in the last post....I can get as scared as I want to, but I'm going to do it anyway!!!

We fly out of Jackson tomorrow morning, and will arrive in China approximately 23 hours later. We have a free day in Beijing, and then we will have 2 very busy "touristy" days. Then we fly down to Jillian's province. We spend the night, get up, relax, and prepare to meet our daughter!! I keep thinking "there really is a child at the end of this rainbow"!!! I don't think I will believe it until I'm actually there. Holding her.

If I don't post for a day or two, it's because, number 1: we'll be on a plane for about 23 hours...and then number 2: we may have trouble with the internet. I will be posting ASAP, and as often as possible. Just keep checking back!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Again, be calm o my soul.

I was doing ok. Really I was. I promise. A little nervous....maybe. However, at church tonight, obviously, everyone was asking if we were excited, nervous,etc. And then I would get the random, "oh my gosh, that flight is going to be miserable!!". Not often, but in my mental state right now, one or two of those comments has really made me on edge. I keep telling myself, that not everyone knows my extreme phobia of flying. Not everyone knows that I'm not kidding when I tell them I have my xanax and ambien packed in my carry on first and foremost. Clearly they think I am the most amazing faithful person there is. I so wish I was. My son got a new bible yesterday. He is reading it like nothing I've ever seen. He came to me when he got to the part about Noah being drunk. Does everyone out there remember that???!!! Very awkward discussion to have with my 11 year old. However, it became the perfect opportunity to remind him, and myself, that God chooses those that are not capable in and of themselves to do what He has called them to. He chose me to adopt Jillian. Why did He call me to something that is stretching every ounce of my being just to get through everyday?? I don't know. But He did. And I am not going to let Him down. When I get back from China, I will post how Jesus Himself had to get me through this journey. Don't get me wrong....I want Jillian... desperately. She is already my daughter, and has been for quite some time now. I just want someone to bring her to me!! :) But the Lord doesn't work that way, and I've known that for some time now also. As I go into the next couple of days, I am praying for God's peace to cover me from head to toe. I know I'm doing His will. I know it. Faith is not not being afraid....it's being afraid and doing it anyway.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weight Loss Program...

So I'm talking with some friends last night. Somehow we got to talking about weight loss, and looking 'gaunt'. I told them all what a wonderful diet plan an adoption is. I have NEVER been so stressed I didn't want to eat....until now. Nothing sounds good. Then my friends says, "you can sell that program....how to lose weight and your mind all at the same time!!" I cracked up!! I really, really feel like it's true. Anybody want to join???? It's only 3 easy payments of $39.95. (that's just for you alisha!!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

For all my travel friends....

I really absolutely do not like this picture....but it's the only one of my husband and I that was on my computer. At least now we might be able to find each other in Beijing!! I'll start checking the other blogs. 8 days and counting!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


So I'm searching for a good 'backpack carry on' for the trip. My family and I went and ran some errands tonight...exchanged some clothes for Jillian, etc. I didn't find the backpack, so I came home and looked online. I saw one at target.com that I really, really liked. I noticed that it was not available in stores, and was online only. It only then occurred to me that I am really, really, absolutely for real, no kidding real, going to China....and SOON. Like a week and a half. I can't have that backpack, because by the time it comes in, I'll be gone to China. What's up with that??!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Be Calm, O My Soul!!

I am feeling slightly better today than I have in the past day or two. Tuesday I was a nervous wreck. My husband was in an incredibly important meeting at work, I was at work by myself, and I needed the Lord's guidance desperately. I was very upset about the extra 2 days, and then the longer flight. We are on the 17 hour flight from Detroit to Beijing. However, right before I left work yesterday I got my in country itinerary. When I saw: "Monday, Nov. 5 Afternoon - Meet Jillian YuLu Duffey!!" , I realized what this is all about. Not that I didn't know before, but I have a meeting Jillian date. While you are all sound asleep in your beds during the wee hours of Monday morning, I will be meeting my daughter. I will finally see what she actually looks like now. I will finally be able to see how many of my prayers have been answered, and which ones I need to kick into high gear. I will finally be holding the child that the Lord put in my heart so long ago. I WILL BE HOLDING HER!!! I know for all of you adoptive parents out there, you can imagine what is going through my mind. With my biological children, I was holding them from the day I found out about them. I could rub my pregnant belly, and feel them. I was connected with them instantly. With Jillian, I didn't feel connected instantly. The Lord has worked on my heart, while looking at that little picture, and she has become mine. I love her, and grieve for her. I grieve for the fact that everything she knows now, will totally be gone from her life in a few weeks. She knows nothing of what's coming. Please be praying for her. That the Lord gives her comfort. I have had months to become so attached to her....she doesn't have that option. She meets us, and leaves with us. Regardless of whether or not she likes us.