Monthly Archives: November 2012

Happy Birthday Carrie

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Happy Birthday Carrie

Due to the Guangzhou marathon, it was decided to chill out at the hotel in the morning. Traffic is bad enough without roads being closed. So when afternoon came, we headed out for a little tourist action which began with a trip to a historically important temple. To be more specific, this temple is where Buddhism was established within China.

There are incense sticks for sale to burn so that you can send your messages to Buddha…or something. Our guide told us that the sticks are kind of like cell phones. I suppose that means that people burn more than one to get a better reception.

Like any tourist type draw anywhere in the world, there are people looking to make easy money out of your apparent affluence. One of these are the fake monks we were warned about. They will give you something that is ‘free’ but then try to talk you into giving them money, that or offer to tell your fortune. The way you tell a real monk from a charlatan is that a real monk will never ask for money. One big theme of Buddism is to be free from want of anything so it follows that a real Buddish monk would not own anything nor desire to get anything other than food. I’m not sure if the monk in the photo is real or not but he didn’t ask any of us for money; I did see him playing with a cell phone so I would guess he is probably a phoney.

People pray to these dudes…presumably so that they don’t hurt them: They look well capable of harm and I want nothing to do with them thank you very much.

After the temple we went for a little shopping and gawking at a market where weird and wonderful things are sold and gawked at…

Ruth didn’t want to cooperate for the obligatory photo with statues.

George liked the thought of waking up to an alarm clock of the people. We think they were made out of tuna cans.

Dessicated sea horses are probably good for virility or something. On offer were also certain dried male organs from deer. In the interests of taste, those did not get photographed.

Scorpions don’t come much fresher than this.

Efficient family transportation is popular here and they still say that China is one of the worst offenders of pollution and emissions.

Efficiency is also very much on the mind of those with more commercial enterprises.

There is, of course, often a little trade off in terms of safety.

When we got back to the hotel I had planned on getting Carrie a birthday cake but the hotel had beaten me to it and made me look bad in the process.

It was a box made out of chocolate, containing a sponge cake with whipped cream.

All in all, a very successful day.

Medical Exam

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Saturday was the day for Ruth’s medical exam. As with the other official things we have had to attend, it seems that many other adoptive families were there doing the same thing at the same time. This was especially busy and was arranged as a kind of production line where you go from one station to the next for the various parts of what makes up the entire exam. I think that you only visit stations applicable to your child’s age and medical condition or special need. First was a photo which got attached to the paperwork that you took with you from area to area and after that was the general exam for an overall assessment.

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Next was the ENT doctor to test her 5 senses and then came a weighing followed by the cardiac examination so that the doctor could listen and deny that there was a murmur.

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Lastly was the TB test that Ruth took very well.

Today we have to go back and have it checked but we can already tell that it didn’t react.

As long as the day ends with smiles, all is well.

Shopping in China!

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I got the opportunity to go out shopping with Ann from Red Thread and had a great time and got amazing bargains – probably over $1,000 worth for $150. My goal is to get a small gift to give Ruth on every GotchaDay anniversary until she’s 18 and a set of pearls when she marries one day.

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Ann took me to a nice Chinese restaurant. Doesn’t this look yummy?

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On a sad note, Ruth had 2 seizures last night. She has been seizure free today (Sat). The USA is very picky about medical needs of adoptive children that haven’t been revealed in their referrals, so the potential is great to have a huge delay in the event she were to seize at her medical appt. It went well and we’ll post pics later.

Ruth and I had a long nap this afternoon. She loves mama snuggles.

One good advance – she swallows everything in her yoghurt now. Chunks and all instead of spitting it out at me.

Here are some likes:
1. Chewing on rice crackers
2. Strawberry Yoghurt
3. Rides in the stroller
4. Congee
5. Being thrown up in the air
6. Bubbles
7. Balloons
8. Mama hugs and snuggles
9. Putting things in and out of sacks, helping me clean up
10. Baths!!!!
11. Cell phones

Dislikes:
1. Being held by Daddy (unless he’s throwing her up in the air)
2. Anything being taken away
3. Plain water
4. Solid foods

Ok, good to see the likes list is longer!

Letter From Ruth’s Orphanage Mama

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Below is a letter given to us written by Ruth’s Chinese mama (nanny) to give to Ruthie as she gets older:

 

Dear Yufen (daughter),hello!
When you are able to read this letter, I believe you are a pretty big girl. That will be the most pleasant thing for me. Hope you will still remember me then. You spent your days here with me and the other nannies in the first two years of your life. You made us very happy. Your first smile, first step, first time eating congee, first time eating cake, We experienced all these first times in your life which made us understand how great life is.
Daughter, you were a naughty little one when you came. You were very weak. Each time there was some group illness in the CWI, you were one of them. I always hoped a nice family could come to adopt you, because I can always see miracles in you. Daughter, it was Aug.11,2012 when you could walk independently. I was very excited that day and took pictures. I’ve saved the pictures in the flash memory for your parents.
Daughter, your daddy and mommy are so great people and they adopted you. They will be with you forever.They will make more miracles happen to you. Remember to thank them when you grow up. Without their dedication, you will not have such shining tomorrow. I believe you will become a good girl.
Daughter, there are many children from our CWI in the US. I hope you can keep in touch. They all love you very much. Hua Xiaodong is your older sister. I heard you will live in the same town. She will go to the US soon. I’ve told her to take care of you. Hope you can become good friends. When you grow up, come back to China with your big sister to visit your Chinese “mama”.
Chen Min, your Chinese mama, 11/13/2012

 

Orphanage and Finding Spot

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Today was a very emotional day – both sad and happy. We were able to visit Ruth’s orphanage and go to her finding spot. We were picked up at 1:30 pm by Richard our guide, after Ruth had a 1 hour screaming fit. We were not quite sure how this visit would go. After surviving an hour in crazy Chinese traffic, we arrived to Huadu and the Huadu SWI (Social Welfare Institute) aka orphanage. On the way there we passed fields, ponds, both poor and nice housing – all high rises, and so much smog – the pollution in China is horrendous. The orphanage itself was nice in some places and sad in some. There was an open area with a play set and trampoline, few bouncy type toys you see in parks. The inside play area had several different ride on toys and there was a room attached with a small type classroom and small toys. Of course, a picture says a thousand words, so we’ll let a lot of that speak for itself.

Yep, it’s a squatty potty! (I now understand why she’s not potty trained)

We were able to meet the little lady going to be adopted soon by Angela from one of my China facebook groups. She was quite sweet, but very unsure of us. Here she is with Ruthie below.

We met a little firecracker little man who is 4 years old and is a boy version of Lucy I’m sure. He has a sad story – an Italian couple came to adopt him and brought him back 2 days later, because they said he has too much problems with his speech. He has a repaired cleft lip, but unrepaired palate, so of course he would have some problem with his speech. He craved the attention we gave him and was quite enamored by the videos of Lucy I showed him on my phone. And here is the little firecracker with me…and a tag along kiddo.

The hard part for me is seeing Ruth being torn away from one of the orphanage staff members that she was close to – Min Chen. She took her home with her at least 2x per week, took her out to eat, etc in order to help her develop a little more. Min has worked in the orphanage for 7 years now, so was there when Ruth arrived. She said she was absolutely tiny and only in the past 6 months has her development increased. In August – at age 2 ½ – she learned how to walk, so that’s why she’s so unsteady on her feet. We asked her if she takes any other children home with her and she said no, just her. She teared up on several occasions. I wonder if she could, if she would have adopted her. She told us at least 10 times to keep in touch and send lots of pictures. We could see that Ruth had this amazing bond with Min and wanted nothing to do with us when she was around. We didn’t push the issue during our visit and let them love on each other as much as they liked. Here they are together.

Min went with us to Ruth’s finding spot and also bought Ruth a kind of egg custard at a bakery just a few shops down from her finding spot. I became tearful when we reached the street she was found on – imagining what her mother felt leaving her there, probably because she felt she had no other choice. If you don’t have money, you simply don’t get healthcare, so many of these babies would die. She was in terrible condition when she was left at 3 months of age, so I feel that she was loved and wanted, but her mother or parents felt they had no other choice in order to give her a better life. Anyone who passed us could have been her mother, did she work at one of the shops nearby or live nearby?? I can’t imagine what her mother felt and how she still feels, but how a mother’s love can go as far as leaving your child in order for them to have a better life. Very sad.

She was left on the step of this optical store. Number 61.

Now, back to the orphanage…..we saw a mischievous little guy about 3 who had a huge scratch across his face. Apparently he got in a fight and it looks like he lost.He loved following us around.

At one point a downs syndrome little boy went and wrapped his arms around my legs and gave me the

biggest grin ever.

There is a small room where all the sick children are kept together and the orphanage doctor was there checking them out when we were there. Apparently due to low staff, the doctor does things that any other worker does – we saw her sweeping, dressing the kids, playing with them. When we came to drop Min off at the orphanage we saw her in her white coat playing badminton.

I knew to be prepared for some really sad cases, as most of China’s orphanages are filled with special needs children. There was a blind child, probably about 3, a child hooked up to an IV who has epilepsy and was leaving on a stretcher, a child with a port wine birth mark across more than half his face, an infant newly abandoned that appears to be in cardiac distress and probably has some kind of brain defect – I don’t imagine her being with us long – and many lying listlessly in their metal cribs. Some were very eager to see us! I went to every single crib and talked to every child that was awake. We were told that children often come to orphanages to die and that they are not listed for adoption, until it’s certain that they are stable and will survive. I wonder how many of these children would be ok today if there was the ability to have good healthcare, or is it better to let nature take its course and let them go to heaven where there is no pain or suffering? We could tell that the staff really did love these children, which was really comforting to see. They were always smiling while working with the children. One funny thing we saw is a big metal wagon – more of an industrial looking thing – with about 6 small children lying in it for transportation. Not sure what they were doing, but it looked hilarious. One little one was trying to climb out.

We have been told than 10% of Chinese couples are unable to have their own children, so they usually get the very healthy newborns found. They are pickier, so often children with easily repairable conditions get overlooked, and are listed for international adoptions. Speaking of international, other than Americans, we have seen an Irish and Italian family on this trip.

HERE WE ARE WITH ALL THE ORPHANAGE STAFF WORKING THAT DAY:

 

Right now Ruthie is in the tub – which she loves. Trying to get some bonding time in  with George, who she overall has not liked. I can tell that it’s really bothered him today, so I’m trying to provide some opportunity for them to spend time together. Besides, I will be drugged on the plane ride home and need her happy!

We had a terrible last night. She’s had diarrhea and we had to wake up 2-3x to take care of business. She only has had 1 bout today thank goodness!! We had a bit of progress in the eating category. She’s a stubborn little thing and insisted on feeding herself breakfast, but is unable to get the spoon straight into her mouth.

Tonight I was worried about bonding again after going to the orphanage, but she’s been the happiest she’s ever been giggling nonstop and even giving Daddy some grins and attention. When she give you’re a grin, she wrinkles her nose up too. Hilarious. What’s funny, is that when I was a baby I did the same thing. She stayed right outside the shower again this evening. Sounds like she’s giving Daddy grief right now so I better take care of our little Ruthie!

(It’s actually Friday morning that I’m posting this and again, a nightmare night – not sure if she is in pain, but after Tylenol she’s still sleeping from 2 AM til 7 AM)

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After a challenging day yesterday, we were rewarded with a smooth morning. Up until this morning, on awakening, Ruth would greet us with screaming. This morning, however, there was quiet and smiles. We took the opportunity to make a quick bottle of rice cereal and formula which she scarfed down in record time. She then had a quick bath to wash off the scabies treatment and got her skin moisturized before dressing. We then went for breakfast which was promising considering that yesterday she barely even ate from the bottle. She even actually fed herself a bite or two of scrambled egg but, probably due to the unusual texture, ended up back on the bib. We have been trying various soft options with varying degrees of success; it will be a slow process.

 

After breakfast we took a stroll in the garden where there is a waterfall and ponds with fish.

After that we went back to our room where Ruth quickly fell asleep.

She’s officially ours!

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We are now the legal parents of Ruthie! We went back to the Civil Affairs Center for adoption this morning, answered a few questions, handed over a few gifts and that was that.  Really quite simple.

Now……we’re having a really hard time. Our sweet little bundle has started grieving terribly and we aren’t sure if she’s in pain or just grieving. She had night terrors on and off all last night and nothing we did comforted her. She woke up screaming this morning, but finally we managed to give her a bottle and she drank about 4 oz. At breakfast she continued to push everything away, but took a few bites of strawberry yoghurt and drank a little apple juice from an open cup. There are lots of adoptive families here and it’s comforting to see the ones who’ve had their children for a week doing fairly well. They give you the look of sympathy and the “it’ll get better”  look, but when you’re in the middle of this, it’s absolutely terrible. Ruth and I both cried together this afternoon (this is Carrie by the way). I knew this would be a reality with the adoption process, but its heart wrenching to go through this. We want her to be happy and when the screaming goes on for 45 minutes straight, it’s hard. We’ve given her Tylenol twice now and she seemed to calm down about 30 minutes later. She’s sleeping right now. When she’s in a good mood I’ll try to take a peek in her ears to see if she has an ear infection. One of the orphanage workers who came yesterday said she just started getting a cold and that she gets sick easily. I haven’t seen real evidence of a cold.

 

 

AND, the fun part (not)…..is that she has scabies and what’s the one thing we forgot? Yep, scabies medication. Thank goodness for wonderful adoptive families who are so sharing and we have our hands on cream now. It looks very toxic, but we need to get rid of those suckers. So, we’ll have a Tucker scabies slathering party later this evening. You have to leave in on for 8-12 hours and then rinse off. So, tomorrow we’ll be sending our clothes off to be washed and getting new bedding.

From me, the medical person, here are some real concerns we’ll be addressing at home: she’s probably never had her teeth brushed and her gums are so swollen and inflamed. We attempted brushing her teeth today and you can imagine what it was like. Due to her ventral septal defect, she’s always been a slow eater and due to lack of staffing (per the orphanage staff yesterday), no one has had the time to work with her to learn to chew. She gets 5-6 bottles of formula with rice cereal daily, along with congee (like a rice, meat soup) and other soft things like egg. She regurgitates everything she does eat – possibly from habit of hunger in the orphanage?? We attempted giving her banana last night and although it was just about pureed, she vomited it up (at least she was in the tub!). She has a grade 3/6 diastolic heart murmur, which is louder than I expected considering her heart defect was supposed to be quite small. I’m concerned that it’s worse than originally thought. However, she is developmentally behind for several other reasons – institutionalization, nutritional deficit, lack of love/attention. She followed this one nanny (or maybe she’s the assistant director??) around throughout the orphanage and she even took her home on occasion. So, it is reassuring that she’s made some bonds and hope she can do that with us too. Its heart breaking that she was in this condition for so long before we were able to come get her. She also is not talking, but she can hear. Of course the worried parents we are we did the clapping thing behind her back to see if she’d turn around. J All in all, she’s about the stage of a 10-12 month old. She toddles like a new walker.

On a better note, she has started bonding with me. She was not happy when I took a shower last night and tried with all her might to get in the shower with me. George had to hold her up to the glass so she could see me and then she was happy. I left the room earlier (to hunt down that scabies cream) and she went to the door apparently and plopped down. Hopefully she’ll start bonding more with George soon – after all he’s the goofy guy who doesn’t stop blowing bubbles for her. Yesterday evening she was soooo sweet, playing with her toys and balloon.

We went grocery shopping after the Civil Affairs Center at “Trust Mart” (really a kind of Wal-Mart) to get diapers that fit (nope, she’s not potty trained), diapers for the orphanage, more formula and rice cereal, snacks and more water. The kinds of food in the stores are quite unbelievable to a Westerner. I think we’ll bring some things back for the shock value and to show we’re not full of bologna. I saw a lady dip a live fish out of the water with a net and they butchered if for her on the spot.

It is apparently safe to brush your teeth with the water here, but I am still using the bottled water. George has used the tap for brushing his teeth twice (I know Patty from church is cringing reading this! J )

Tomorrow we’ll go apply for her passport at the police, but for now we’re sticking close to the hotel and trying to not cause her to be overwhelmed.

Our Cantonese Princess is awake!!!!!  Please pray everything will get better! Bonding, health, and for our sanity.