Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Circus fun

Tuesday night, after our trip to Shamian Island, we went to the Chimelong International Circus. It was 1 1/2 hours of non-stop entertainment. We had a blast.

Jude seemed captivated by it. He couldn't take his eyes off what was going on, although his expression hardly changed. We figure he might have been overwhelmed by all the sound and lights, but he did clap often and smiled some.

That's an elephant balancing on one leg on a stool and spinning around. Amazing.

Watching in awe and amazement.

The opening act.

Six motorcycles in the Sphere of Death. 

More sightseeing

On Tuesday, we went to Shamian Island for shopping. The island has changed a lot since we were there in 2008. The White Swan hotel is closed for remodeling, and we've heard when it reopens it won't cater to adoptive families. Many of the shops are still open, but some aren't around anymore. Lucy's still is there, offering American food.

On Wednesday, we had our consulate appointment. Everything is done, we get Jude's Chinese passport with his visa to enter the United States on Thursday, before we head out of Guangzhou and to Beijing for our quickie trip to the Great Wall on Friday before our trip home.

Also Wednesday, we visited Yuntai Garden in Guangzhou, our last sightseeing trip.

Here are some pics:
The White Swan hotel. Our home in Guangzhou in 2008 when we adopted Jake.


Fidding around with one of the fiddler statues on Shamian Island.

Yuntai Garden in Guangzhou.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cruisin' on a ... Monday night

We went on a dinner cruise along the Pearl River in Guangzhou on Monday night.

It was a fun experience. Many of the buildings along the river are lit up brightly and quite colorful. Plus, Jake and Jude had a blast.

Here are a bridge and the Canton Tower all lit up. The Canton Tower was - and maybe still is - the tallest structure in China at more than 1,960 feet tall.

Here is another of our traditional family self-portraits.

Jake and Jude had fun on the cruise, playing with balloons the woman who entertained handed out. Jake also got to spin a soccer ball on his finger, but I missed the shot and got the smiling aftermath. ... Kevin


Sunday, December 1, 2013

An easy day

Our second day in Guangzhou was an easy day.

We finished all of our paperwork for the U.S. Consulate and now just await our appointment to get Jude's visa.

We went to a park today and went shopping.

Here is Jude feeding the fish in the pond at our hotel, the Garden Hotel.

Here's a view from our hotel room of the hotel's waterfall.

Here's another view of the city outside our hotel window.

This statue of 5 goats symbolizes the city of Guangzhou. It's in the park we visited today.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Saturday was medical exam day for Jude.

Violet took him through the various stages of it while I waited with Jake.

Checking his ears, throat, etc. — good. Stripping down to check him all over — not as good. Drawing blood for the TB test — what do you think? Jake and I both heard this loud crying and looked at each other, practically saying at the same time "That sounds like Jude."

Then we turned and saw him coming out of the room to mommy's waiting arms. Poor little guy. It's amazing, though, how soon he forgot about the pain when he took my iPhone to make some cupcakes on the Easy Bake Oven app.

Here are some pics Violet took of Jude getting checked out:

Meeting an old friend

Five years ago, a wonderful woman served as our guide in Xi'an and Guangzhou when we were adopting Jake.

We know her as Kelly. She lives in Guangzhou and works as a guide for Great Wall China Adoptions. Her trip to Xi'an to serve as our guide in 2008 was her second time ever in the city, but she did a great job leading us through the paperwork and showing us the sites of the city that always will hold a special place in our hearts. She was even more valuable during our time in Guangzhou.

On Saturday, we were going through Jude's medical exam in Guangzhou. Violet was taking Jude through the various stages while I waited with Jake. He and I were playing games when this woman came up and spoke to us. I looked up and saw the same smile I saw so much 5 years ago. It was Kelly. Violet had seen her while standing in line and they chatted. Although it took a bit for her to recall, Kelly quickly remembered the important details about us.

Jake didn't really have much recollection of Kelly, but Kelly remembered him. She was happy to see him and to see how much he had grown in the past 5 years. We were happy to see her, too. Violet and I had remarked to each other before we even go to Guangzhou that it would be nice if we were able to run into Kelly again.

Half a world away from home and we still can rekindle an old friendship, even if it was only briefly. ... Kevin

Kelly was kind enough to pose for a photo with Jake.
And, here they were 5 years ago when we visited the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

We have one of THOSE children ... and thankful for it

With all the official ceremonies and most paperwork behind us, today we visited Chongqing Zoo, which went pretty much worse than we'd feared. We're not huge fans of zoos anyway, but it was on the itinerary, so of course we had to go, and you never know when that magical moment of attachment will happen, and you should just make the best of seeing everything in China you can.
So this is how it went down.
We step off the bus and immediately Little Bit runs to the hawkers and grabs a pinwheel and some bubbles. The women hand more of the same to Jake, who has no clue and I'm sure thinks they are giving it to him. After all, how many times at parades and other fun events does that happen?
So we shell out the 5 yuan each for the stuff, but Kevin apparently paid the wrong woman for something, and the other one gets mad and tries to take the bubbles from Jake!!
Really!!? I know you need the money and this is how you make a living, but to thrust it at my son then try to take it away. I got pretty firm with my Bu (no!) at that point and we managed to disengage and let them fight it out.
But Jude threw a tantrum when the bubbles got packed away and only had just calmed down when we entered a place where you can get refreshments and we would not get him more toys and drinks (we offered him water which we had in our bag, to no avail).
Yes, we have one of THOSE children. AND we love every inch of him, but it will make for interesting times.
He did pretty well after that, so maybe we made strides.
After the zoo it was onto an ancient structure that was like a temple but really was only a place where royalty resided. It was more than 300 years old and beautiful.
At that point it was into the afternoon, so we missed the photo op at the river convergence (way more cooler sounding than the zoo in my opinion) and headed back to the hotel. We ate nearby (Jude's first Happy Meal!) and were checking out a kids' store for a size 2T (yes, you read it right) pants for the 4-year-old when Mr. Bull in a China Shop (aka Jude) starts making messes and being his grabby, wonderful self.
So Kevin and I decided he would take the boys back to the hotel so I could shop in peace.
Well, Little Bit has been attached to me today, so you can imagine how that went down.
Kevin was grateful no one called the authorities about the man carrying the child who was screaming for his mama and whatever else in Chinese.
Back in the room, safe and sound, the little stinker decided to push the boundaries some more by pulling down his pants in the main part of our hotel room instead of using the bathroom (which he knows perfectly well how to do) smiling the whole time. He was only faking us out, though. Then he went to two trashcans and did the same thing before finally going to the toilet and doing the real thing.
But he settled down and we ended up having a pretty good family bonding moment with Jude's first pillow fight. He was laughing the entire time. It was wonderful to see.
Then we decided to get brave again and venture to the very fancy hotel restaurant with our kids for turkey dinner, which was not on the menu but they would "figure something" as the waiter said.
Jude dived into his fried rice with pork and some kind of tart fruit. Rice was going everywhere.
Kevin and I got our turkey, complete with a little gravy boat, so when I poured some gravy over my turkey, Jude picked up his mango juice and poured half in his rice!! And then he ate it! Rice flew some more. He then climbed on my lap and started to feed me ... an entire roasted small potato. Then before I could hardly get it in my mouth he tried to give me another. I was laughing so hard I nearly choked on a potato. It made Jake laugh, until he worried I was choking to death (I wasn't I was just really cracking up!) He came over with his spaghetti sauce-stained face to make sure I was OK.
We felt like country bumpkins bumbling into a 5-star restaurant, but we wouldn't have had it any other way.
Day ends with room service ice cream, baths and bedtime. The boys fell asleep immediately. Oh, and Jude LOVES his footed pajamas (will try to get pics of him tomorrow).
Jake, as usually, took things in stride and was a good big brother to his headstrong DiDi. We owe him some major reward one-on-one time with Mom or Dad when we get home.
Oh, and did I mention, we have one of THOSE children. AND we love every inch of him, but it will make for interesting times.
We have rest tomorrow until we leave for Guangzhou in the afternoon to get Jude's Visa and medical checkup in the next few days. Happy Thanksgiving from China everyone! We are blessed beyond measure by our family, friends and our wonderful Lord.
~ Violet

The Huguang Guild Hall, more than 300 years old

 Jake and Jude monkeying around at Chongqing Zoo

 First Happy Meal!

 Watching one of the pandas at the zoo.

 Jake on Dad's shoulders and Jude on Mom's!

Huge Christmas tree at hotel

 First pillow fight

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's official, we are Jude's parents

We've had a busy couple of days.
On Tuesday, we went back to the Chongqing adoption center to make things official. We officially are Jude's parents now. They had a ceremony, too, unlike when we adopted Jake. A woman conducted the ceremony while a man took photos. She handed us our adoption certificate, then we posed for a family photo, our first official photo of us as a family of 4.

After that, we spent a little time in a park on top of a mountain around a pagoda. Jake and I were the adventurous ones, we climbed the eight flights of stairs to the top of the pagoda and looked down on those below. Jude wanted to go, too, Violet said, but his little legs would have given out, mine just about did.

On Wednesday, we spent the day going to the two orphanages where Jude stayed. Both are quite a drive from our hotel and in opposite directions. We visited Love Manor first. It's atop a mountain in a forest park. It's a pretty setting. We got to walk around and see the places where Jude stayed. We also found out he was not always with a foster family there, like we had thought. We got to see the crib where he slept until the end of his stay there.

After Love Manor, we drove the other way to Jiangjin Social Welfare Institute, where Jude first stayed. We got to see the new facility, which opened last year. Jude never stayed there, as he moved to Love Manor in 2011. We then drove to the old Jiangjin SWI, which was abandoned last year and is scheduled to be demolished. The director of the orphanage pointed out Jude's finding spot, which was just outside the gate to the old orphanage. We took some photos and posed as a family on the spot, and we toured the old facility. As we were when we visited Jake's orphanage and finding spot, we're not ready to post photos. It was a pretty emotional day, and seeing all that hit me hard.

It was interesting, Jude got upset as Violet was carrying him up the stairs at the old orphanage, so she took him out of the building to calm him down. He refused to go back into it, but came running to me when I came out of the building. We're making strides in our attachment, but it's going to be a slow process as he accepts us as parents and not just as two more caretakers. ... Kevin

Here we are, officially a family of 4.

Jude loves to ride on escalators.

Hi everyone!

The pagoda.

See how high we were!

This was breakfast Wednesday. He can get messy. He was being a fussy eater but decided he liked the chocolate-covered doughnut.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gotcha Day! He was the first one through the door

We were one of two families that were waiting for our children at the adoption office Monday afternoon, and we all were pacing the floor, ready for the moment to happen.
We were early, the children were late, and nerves were in abundance.
Eyes were glued to the doors, but as the minutes stretched we would glance away or pay attention to our children, who were alternately waiting for their siblings and playing to pass the time.
Then … a little whirlwind rounded the corner, and there he was, our son!! Jin Fuzhi was here and nothing else for the next 30 minutes mattered.
We have learned several things since that time. Our son is smart!! He is extremely headstrong! And he is very curious!
He does mind, but he will let you know that he is not liking what you are telling him to do. At first he wanted nothing to do with us, but soon he was holding my hand and following us, though he was not happy about it.
After the ride to the hotel, he looked at Violet and said very happily Bye, Bye, as he sat in the van. But he came with us when Violet remembered to unlock his seatbelt!!
We got to our room, and the first thing he did was grab the TV remote, turn on the television and start changing channels.
Did we mention our son was SMART?!
He also knows how to work our cameras, Jake's iPod and the computer.
We showed him his suitcase and he quickly showed us how he works the toothbrush, complete with motions of swishing and spitting.
He is not fond of Sprite and seems to favor french fries. He is into EVERYTHING!
He talks and talks, and is very independent. While he seems to share it must be his idea to do so.
We think he is seeing Jake as a rival right now and not as a brother. While we are certain this will improve in time, it is hard on Jake right now. So please pray for him.
The transition has gone pretty smooth. Jude had a hard time falling asleep, and we think the time he is really feeling the pain of loss is when we don't understand him.
But again we know this will get better.
Keep us all in your prayers!!

This was our first photo of Jude. No warning, just one second no one was there, and the next there he was, so the photo isn't the best.

And, here are more from our first day as a family of 4:

Our first family self-portrait with the 4 of us.