Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tried to post this last (Wednesday) night here but couldn't get through. It is now Thursday morning and I'm still having lots of difficulties with getting this sent. I wanted a lot more photos but I'm going to send now to make sure this gets out.

Hi, sorry so slow getting back, but we're pretty exhausted. First thing I want to say is THANK YOU for the comments that you sent. Really appreciate it. A special thanks to those that described similar experiences with their daughter and then said that it will get better. So it's Wednesday night and it has been 36 hours or so since I last wrote. At Nike we have a Maxim that reads "Do the Right Thing" - and after being with her over the last couple of days I know we are, but it has also been really tough. Over this period of time I've probably been able to hold her for a total of 10 minutes in little short bursts before she cries/screams. We have been able to play a little together but only if Deb is within sight. So it has been tough for me, but there have also been times when she's let her guard down and her personality has come out. Those times are just outstanding to watch (from a distance). She's said MaMa, Elmo and Bye-Bye so far. Unfortunately for me, Bye-Bye came when I left the hotel room for a bit. She turned to Deb and Janie and said Bye-Bye in a perfectly clear voice. I'm truly extremely happy that we have her and everything is now official, I'm just ready to join the fun. So again, for those that have been through it, thanks for the good words, thanks for listening to me ramble and thanks to everyone that has been following.
Now on to the good news...she's absolutely attached to Deb...extremely attached. Poor Deb can't get two seconds to herself and I'm not sure I'm exaggerating. The good news though is that it shows Audrey can and will attach. Deb has been fantastic and it is wonderful to see the two of them connect so well. Janie has been a trooper and every day amazes me. She's great with Audrey, great at trying all kinds of new foods in the restaurants and even a great sport at the non-Western toilets. She's very adaptable and get comfortable quickly in different environments.

I'm a little fuzzy and tired but here's what's happened since last post. We left Tuesday morning to go back to the Civil Affairs office. There we waited with a bunch of other adoptive parents and went through ceremonies to make things official. We then went to the governmental notary office for more questions and at that point everything was official. One great thing is that we received a little gift from the orphanage and in it contained a packet of photos of Audrey over the last 16 months. An unexpected treasure.

Tuesday afternoon was a big nap for Audrey and Deb. Janie and I went back to Wal Mart. I probably haven't been in a Wal Mart twice in the last 10 years but now I'm on back to back days. I also hit a Nike store and a Converse store so now I can expense the whole trip (just kidding Nancy if you're out there reading). Then Janie and I went swimming, sort of, because the pool was outdoors and the water temp was in the 60s Fahrenheit. We got mostly in but there were some guys a lot tougher than I am that were swimming laps. That night we had a celebration dinner and then tried a shower (didn't go well but the bath tonight didn't either).

We were up really early this morning and took a bus from Nanning to Guilin. It was about a 4.5 hour bus ride but I think it was worth it. We wanted to experience more of the country than just the large cities and the scenery was amazing. We then all went to Elephant Hill and then we dropped off one family at the orphanage and we went on to the Reed Flute Cave. We've been traveling with another family from Portland and their daughter is from the orphanage at Guilin. We chose ahead of time not to go to the orphanage and I think we made the right choice. It sounds like they had a good experience but I think it would have set Audrey back even more. Elephant Hill was great scenery and after that much time on the bus it was good to hike around. I've never seen anything like the cave. I'll just leave a couple of pictures below to show it off.
Tomorrow we're on a river cruise and we'll eventually end up in Nanning. We then leave Friday for Guangzhou. I should sleep.


Diogenes said...

Okay. So it's tough. But it's obvious that it worth every hour of sleep deprivation you are enduring! Not to mention those "non-Western" toilet facilities. Aren't they a hoot?

In May Charlie and I are flying to Beijing again. I'm sure Shuang will have stories for us!

But in December we get to meet Audrey Min Ann Howes and you'll get to see your father tear-up they way he did when the blond bombshell was born!

Grandma Rita and I love you all so much!

Ye ye.

Sue said...

OH My Gosh!! It is all worth it. And every day will get better and before you know it she will be saying daddy, mommy, Janie, no, why, and all the other good stuff!!
Wish we could hug you all!!!I called your answering machine today just to hear Deb's voice!
Oh man, crying at the computer again. Love, hugs and prayers sent to you all.
Auntie Sue

Amy said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to post. I know you are all so tired and you know how demanding Deb's sisters are to know everything that is going on. :) Seriously, this has to be one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever witnessed. I was not expecting it to be this much. I'm so happy that she is able to attach to Deb and I know that she will have her Daddy wrapped around her little finger (just like big sis) in time. And it is great to see the other comments from those that have been through this before and how that attachment comes.
I love you all and am so, so happy for you. Can't wait to talk to you. This happiness has been a long time coming! :)
Auntie Amy

Amy said...

(this is from your 4 year-old cousin Sophia and 6 year-old cousin Sam)
Sam says, "I love you, I hope our new cousin is happy and I hope you are having a good time."
Sophia says, "I love you, I like Janie's hair in the picture. I wish you could ride a horse with me. I miss you."

IKE said...

It is truly amazing that over such a great distance such a perfect match can be made. We are shedding tears of joy for you as we look at pictures of you together at last. We love seeing the blog - when we traveled 4 years ago, we were lucky to have an internet connection consistent enough to send an email with a photo or two!

Janie, you are obviously a fabulous big sister, and we can't wait to meet your new baby when you come back to school. Chuck and I had to laugh when we read of Audrey's 'preference' for her mom. We had the same experience, and I'm pretty sure I didn't put her down except to use the bathroom for a couple months! It is tiring, but it helps that your heart is as full as your arms.

Travel safe,

The Eichtens

Kathleen said...

Thanks for taking the time to share so much with everyone! We look so forward to hearing about all your experiences. You will have to put it all in a book for both girls someday...."Janie and Audrey's Excellent Adventure" Volume 1 :)

I have finally stopped crying...
Kathleen and Co.

Christa Paulson Lovato said...

Congrats to all of you! Chris just showed me your blog - I've read the whole thing and ended up in tears. Love the stories, love the pictures, love the love comin' from the comments of your family and friends. Audrey is beautiful! Janie (equally as gorgeous) looks like she is doing a fabulous job in her new big sister role. John & Deb - all the best to you as you continue your journey as a family of 4! The term 'gottcha' has an entirely new meaning in our house. Wishing you many, many memories filled with happiness and bliss,
The Paulson Lovato Family

Aus said...

Morning Guys - since it's Friday morning here - you are probably on your way to GZ. Lots in that post!

Janie - sounds to me like you are a GREAT JeiJei - kinda cool having a Meimei eh? Glad that you can experience that!

Mama - based on this post - hang in there but make sure that you rest pretty much when ever you can!

Baba - BTDT - it took about 3 months - but when I get home from work these little feet come running across the floor and I'm hearing squeals and "baba baba". Just be there - and take care of Mama and the Jeijei. Audry Min will see that (make sure she does), and come to expect that from you....the rest will fall in place! You want to e-mail me off list I'll be happy to share some other ideas!

While all that stuff is 'going on' - it still looks VERY COOL to me! And thanks for sharing your lives with us!

aus and family

Sue said...

We have been thinking about you so much! So anxious for you to get home so we can hear all your voices!! Many prayers, thoughts and hugs from Michigan!
Love you all!!
Auntie Sue

MzzCandy said...

OMGoodness...she is beautiful! Looks older then in the past photos of the ones they sent you...It's so exciting to see her with you all...and talking about older; Janie definitely looks like a big sister...Everything is great here in the 'hood...Cherish this time with your family and your other "family" here on Robinia Lane is here for you when you return...

The Thompson's