Journey to Zoe

Saturday, July 30, 2005

We made it home - Yeah!

The long journey home was not bad at all. For those of you reading this who are preparing for your trip to get your little one this is what I did:

Night before our flight I gave Zoe a tiny bit (1/8 milligram) of melatonin. She was asleep within five minutes (6:45pm). Bill and I got up at 3:30am. I woke Zoe at 4:30am. We left for the airport just before 6. Zoe took her morning nap on the first flight. She did fall asleep during the short layover (unplanned, but ok). She was awake for the first 2 hours of our long flight - Tokyo to PDX. I gaver her the same amount of melatonin and she slept until 40 minutes before we were to land (8:30am). We had bulkhead seats in business class and they set up a bassinet for us. This was great, because both Bill and I could rest and try to sleep and eat our meals without any problem. When we got home all the kids went down for a nap after lunch - no problem and Bill and I slept. We all slept for 2.5 hours and got up for play, dinner and and then back to bed. Jack and Maddy went down at 8, Zoe went down at 8:45 - I did the melatonin again - probably the last time as it is 7am and she is still sleeping. Bill and I were not very tired so we stayed up later than we should have, but both got at least 6.5 hours of sleep. Praise God, looks like we will not have a huge jet lag problem!

Overall, the trip was great. I would highly recommend buying things you like from the Friendship store in Beijing. There were two things there that I did not buy, as it was our first real buying stop and I didn't want to spend too much too early. But unfortunately, I was unable to find similar items at other locations. Also note, we only had 20 min to shop here and there is a ton to see. This is the only Friendship store this large with this kind of selection. DON'T buy from the Jade factory - WAY overpriced. You can indeed find real jade for much less all over in Guangzhou. There is a small gem store with jade down the street from the McDonalds across from the Garden hotel - I got a great oval bangle bracelet for Zoe when she is older and lots of jade chopsticks for gifts on the island. (Jade factory wants 2-6 thousand Yuan for bracelets, I was able to barter mine down at the local shop for 600 Yuan - yes it is real. The pearl factory is worth is, but the real nice stuff is alot of money. The back wall of the pearl factory is a sale section - we got all of our stuff along this wall. The island has a ton of shops, we had great deals on Sunday - not as many people buying - during the week, we could hardly barter at all - alot of people shopping, shops not willing to come down. You will start to notice that most the shops have the exact same items in many cases. Our whole group found Jennifer's place to be way overpriced and unwilling to make a half way decent deal. Lucy's was great for food. If you don't want to use a squatty potty - go to the bathroom at the White Swan before hitting the shops. Also, the map you receive in your brown envelope to take with you for medical info lists a toy market, jade market, etc. These places are hard to find, the Chinese characters on the map are for local landmarks, not the places you want to go and they are wholesale anyway - not many willing to sell one pieces - only large orders, wouldn't waste the time trying to find. We tried, got lost - did however see alot of the local life of China - that was fun. Our best meals in Guangzhou were at a place called The Italian Restaurant - very affordable and VERY good. It is around the corner from Starbucks near the Garden hotel, just over the foot bridge. They do deliver!

Our agency AWAA was great, the guides were wonderful - truly cared about you and the kids, very helpful and willing. Every step of the way we took their lead, but were also given the freedom to do our own thing. Fantastic agency! I wish they did adoptions in Africa or Haiti (where we are considering our next adoption). I would recommend them without hesitation!

Zoe is adjusting, still wants just me, but will play with Bill if I hold her. She is quite overwhelmed by her loving brother and sister. I am looking forward to her dr apt on 8/12.

This is probably our last entry. Please feel free to email any questions about Zoe or our trip/agency at

Thursday, July 28, 2005

We leave for home today!

Yesterday was the swearing in appointment with the US consulate. Now, as soon as Zoe hits US soil, she is an American citizen. We finished up our shopping yesterday and went to bed early. We all had melatonin, Zoe had a tiny tiny amount, was asleep within 10 minutes and is still sleeping 9 hours later. Bill and I didn't take our full dosage and we both had trouble falling asleep, the excitement of going home and the massive construction right outside our window. Oh well. We should still be tired enough to sleep on the long flight.

Today - Guangzhou to Tokyo, Tokyo to Portland. We will leave at 8:20am Friday morning and home just 30 minutes later on the same day.

Can't wait to see everyone. Unsure yet whether or not we will be at church Sun - I hope so, although I probably won't be leaving Zoe in the nursery yet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tuesday - Temple Visit, shopping and baby shower

Well, Zoe is having a bit of a better day today, still not back to where she was with Bill, but we are working on it. Part of the problem, is she does not know how to play, we have to work at showing her what to do with toys, then she enjoys it.

On our drive to the temple we saw some locals working on the grounds of the temple, laying bricks for walking paths - their only tool was a stick. There is a lot of construction work in all the cities we have been in, hardly any machinery tools are used. We did however see a jack hammer here in Guangzhou.

The temple had alot of amazing pieces of hand carved art wood, ivory and jade, as well as additional embroidery pieces.

We went shopping to a wholesale children's clothing market. It was just like going to a trade show, but specific to children's clothing and everyone spoke Chinese. We were able to buy a few things, but not everyone was selling samples, and we were able to barter pretty well here.

Later in the afternoon we had a baby shower for our 15 families. That was fun. We also said goodbye to two great couples that we met on the trip that will be leaving early in the morning. We hope to stay in touch with them.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Medical Exam today

Well we had her medical, everything checked out fine - really just a formality. However, the scales at the hotel are way off - when she was weighed at the clinic she only weighed 11.9 pounds (with clothes and a wet diaper on). She was 11.2 pounds at five months. Wow! she has alot of growing to do.

Went shopping some more. Bill has some paperwork to do tonight for the adoption and tomorrow we go to a museum and more shopping.

Zoe is really attached to me. Really need help in allowing that bond to strengthen, without having to carry her ALL THE TIME - the screams are deafening when I put her down.

That is it for now.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Yummy Italian Food

We ate dinner at this super yummy place last night - The Italian Restaurant. Must go there again. Then we did more shopping, street vendors here by the hotel. Got some great stuff!

Here are some great pictures of Zoe during dinner.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Shopping in Guangzhou

Wow! Lots to buy, many places to buy from, and much bartering to do. This was the first day - I would say we did soso at the bartering thing - Bill was surprised since I do it well for business. But this just felt different. I see these people's apartments and know the average income, it just makes it harder. Tomorrow is another shopping day, so maybe I will do better.

This is a very busy city, seems to be the fashion capital of China, clothing and shoes EVERYWHERE! The island we go to for many of our appointments is very catered to the adoptive families, all girl items for sale.

Bill bought a Batman Returns DVD, really excited to watch it, but when we put it in, it was in Russian - oops! There went a whole $1.50.

Zoe has her medical exam tomorrow - pretty much just a formality, but I am anxious to see her weight.

Looking forward to coming home soon. We really miss Jack and Maddy and of course our family and friends.

Zoe's first plane ride

All 15 familys stop for a photo op as we get ready to go to the airport.

Today we flew from Changsha to Guangzhou, just an hour flight. Zoe did great! She didn't cry at all and was a very happy baby. Made Bill and I very proud, as many of the other babies were quite unhappy.

We arrived to our hotel - very snazzy! So far great food!

Bill has had a bit of the traveler's gut, but so far I have been doing well. He is just about over it now.

Zoe is eating more, playing more and learning to cry for attention.

Friday 21st

The embroidery museum, although sounds like a bore, was really amazing.

Many pieces of work that, unless you were to look closely, they look like paintings. It ispired me to consider my needle work again.
I was talking with one of the other Dad's today. We were talking about how amazing this whole adoption thing is re feelings, etc. Personally, I expected to love Zoe from the beginning - as I have loved her and prayed for her for more than a year now. However, I expected the kind of love that I feel for Jack and Maddy would develop over time for Zoe - I was completely wrong, it was immediate from the moment she was in my arms - now that is GOD!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Getting Ready for our next flight

Well, Thursday was a free day. We started the day late and went to McDonald's. Played some cards, watched a movie, got foot massages ( 80 min for 7 US dollars - gotta love it) and went too dinner. Bill tried snake - yuck!
He said it tasted like chicken, but he only took one bite. Later we met up with another couple and played table tennis.

We are meeting some wonderful people that I hope to maintain contact with, this is truly a unique experience to go through with other like minded people and creates a great connection.

I spent much of Zoe's nap time packing for the morning, as we leave for the airport at 6am for a one hour flight to Guangzhou. This is where we will do all of the US paperwork.

Today we are off to an embroidery factory - one of Changsha's famous industries.