Saturday, December 15, 2007

December 15, 2006

“God sets the lonely in families.”
Psalm 68:6

AnnaClaire had a good day today which of course means we all had a good day today. Our day started off early as always… We all played with AnnaClaire for awhile. It was fun! She was walking ALL over! Did I tell you this girl can WALK? Oh yeah, she’s a walker alright! Mom and I played with her a long time before she realized Dad was in the other room and she wanted to say hi to him! But before then, she reached for me and snuggled with me. That made my dad. We danced to “jingle bells” for awhile. It was such fun! We all packed a little and then went down for breakfast. Mom stayed behind to get ready. I fed AnnaClaire while she sat on Dada. I’m glad we are finally done with that buffet! It’s not HORRIBLE but I’m pretty sick of hash browns, pound cake, croissants and watermelon for breakfast every single day! (haha I’m not so daring and so I stick with the American food!) We met Amy at breakfast. I took AnnaClaire on a walk around the lobby and then we went to the room. Dad and Amy followed soon after. AnnaClaire and I had a blast on our walk, like always. We danced to the music, we jumped, we skipped, we walked, we looked at the Christmas decorations… we got back to the room and I practically had to shut the door so I wouldn’t see her because I needed to finish packing! I finally finished and then had some more AnnaClaire time. We were soon all ready so we went back to the lobby and took taxis to Yeulu Academy. It is a university here in Changsha. Amy graduated from there! It was SO cool and we had so much fun. AnnaClaire was such a good girl and let any of us (as in Mom, Dad, Will, or me) hold her. She made it very easy that she didn’t JUST want to be with dada. We got some great pictures and the university was gorgeous! AnnaClaire and I walked across stones on a river and looked at the fishies. She loved that and was all smiles! Of course the minute the camera came out, the smile vanished… She only smiles for the camera for me! After looking all around, we went to the shop. It’s not a university shop even though it’s at the university. It is a shop that had all kinds of Hunan stuff. We got a few more gotcha presents for AnnaClaire, bringing our total to 8. We need to find 10 in Guangzhou. After shopping, we went next door to a room where there were a few ladies and a man dressed in traditional Chinese clothing putting on a bell music performance. It was great! AnnaClaire LOVED it. She loves all music. She just stood there and watched. We all liked it and it was the best part of the “tour”. We bought the c.d. of it as well. Amy showed us up close all the instruments. They were awesome! One instrument was all these stones handing on string. Then they would bang the stones with sticks, it made a beautiful sound. They even let us try. The other instrument was a “qin”. It was kind of like a huge violin that sat on a table. The man played the “yu” which was kind of like a very large flute. It was a very old instrument and made a very nice sound. And lastly were these bell type things hanging all around the stage that another lady banged. It was an absolutely beautiful performance and AnnaClaire LOVED it! After the bell performance, we went out and around to a beautiful yellow part of the university. It was very pretty!!! We especially enjoyed it on this sunny day in Changsha City! As we were leaving, we saw a family who was finalizing their adoption when we got AnnaClaire! Such a small world! They couldn’t believe that this was the same baby (remember, AnnaClaire SCREAMED on gotcha day!) We enjoyed talking to them and seeing their sweet Mia Isabel!

From the university, we went to the hotel for 15 minutes. AnnaClaire had a poopy diaper (for the 2nd time of the day) so Mom changed that. We then went out to lunch. The lunch place was across the street and down a block. I held AnnaClaire so that we could bound down the stairs again. She LOVED it just like yesterday. The lunch was fabulous! Every meal has been amazing in Changsha!!! Amy asked for a private room which was nice~it’s nice not to have everyone staring at us! It is also nice not hearing loud Chinese and smelling smoke!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amy knows exactly what we like and ordered us delicious dishes. My favorite was the wild mushroom fried with egg. AnnaClaire loved it too. It was a favorite all around! There was beef too which everyone loved except me, of course (I hate beef.) There was chicken, which Amy asked for them to de-bone (all the chicken comes with bones here). That was SO yummy. There was delicious spinach, celery, and rice. Oh and green tea. It was a yummy meal and we even got AnnaClaire to wear a bib!!!!!!! (She pulls have her bib and this was the first time we REALLY got it to stay on). AnnaClaire also kept her bow in! WOOHOO! She’s progressing with the hair bow thing! We could tell she was getting really tired by the end of lunch…

We went from lunch back to the hotel. AnnaClaire and I did our “bound down the stairs and skip through the tunnel” thing. AnnaClaire took a nap for an hour while Mom, Amy, and I looked at websites. We showed Amy our website and then we were showing her some other ones when we found one of a girl named “Mia Isabel”! This name sounded familiar! We clicked on it and low and behold, it was the website of the family we had seen on gotcha day and seen again at the university! How funny is THAT? AnnaClaire was fast asleep the whole time. At 10 till 3, it was time to get AnnaClaire up. We tried not to wake her and just put her right in the Ergo, but she woke up… yikes. She went in the Ergo and was sweet but you could tell she was still VERY tired which caused for a little grump! We drove to the Civil Affairs Office where we got our adoption certificate and AnnaClaire’s passport. We waited in the car while Amy got it. AnnaClaire was still pretty grumpy and by now was out of the Ergo. Dad, AC, and I walked around a little because AC loves it outside. We then got back in the car just as Amy walked out. AnnaClaire’s passport is very cool! It looks so different from a US passport. Her little mug shot on it is very cute although since the orphanage took it, she wasn’t dressed so cutely…. The adoption certificate was also really cool and the picture was SO cute!!!

We are now in the car on the way to the airport; it was very trafficy until we got on the highway. AnnaClaire is way less grumpy now and has woken up quite a bit. She was so cute waving goodbye to Changsha. HAVE I MENTIONED SHE IS THE CUTEST THING EVER??????? I know I’m a little biased………….. Anyway, she waved and waved and then we taught her high fives. She gives the cutest high fives EVER. She looks so proud of herself after she does them!!! It’s the cutest thing. We then played her favorite, “jiang” (pee-a-boo). She always plays it with Amy in the taxi behind the seat, but Amy taught us all how to say it so we can play it with her. She is SOOOOOOOOOOO cute saying it! She goes “jiang, jiang” in the sweetest voice in the world!!!! AWW! I’m going to get a video of it and try (if only I knew…) to post it on the website. It really is the cutest thing. Well, we are here at the airport! More later…

We are on our flight to Guangzhou! Once we got to the airport, Amy brought us to the check baggage place. We checked most of our bags and still had kilos to spare!!! WOOHOO, go us! Of course, we had to carry on 2 suitcases plus all our carry ons to do this. We carried both of the smaller suitcases (AnnaClaire’s). We were getting ready to walk through security when it dawned on us that we had way to many carry ons! Amy said to go ahead and try doing them all. They let us, which was nice. We said goodbye to Amy. I LOVE Amy. It’s not the Amy most of you AWAAers are thinking of. This Amy only guides in Hunan. She is the sweetest guide. I’m going to miss her . AnnaClaire waved bye-bye to Amy and we hugged her and we went through security. We got everything through except we got some scissors taken away… whoops, forgot to take those out of the carry on bag!

We got to our gate over 2 hours early. AnnaClaire was in the Ergo, so Mom and I decided to keep her in and walk around the airport. The airport is VERY small. We did the whole thing twice. We then went back and sat down. AnnaClaire actually didn’t go right to dada, she let Mom and I dote on her a little first. Then she went to Will. I went over and hugged Dad and AnnaClaire got jealous! Then she wanted to come to Dad. I put her on his lap with me and she pushed me away... spicy girl, she is! We got a cute picture of Daddy and his girls and then AnnaClaire was ready to walk around! She walked and walked and walked and slipped and fell and plopped on her cute little behind. We were like the only people at the terminal. All of a sudden, another adoptive family walked up! I recognized them as the people who finalized their adoption right after us. We talked awhile. Their Lucy is SO cute. She is 27 months old and AnnaClaire had a lot of fun trying to keep up with her! LOL! After talking awhile, we looked up and about 10 more adoptive families walked in! So we have a flight of babies! We put AnnaClaire in the Ergo again right before we boarded to make it easier. She is squirmy! Anyway, she cried a little and then got used to the fact. There are lots of babies in snugglies on the flight. We walked through the jet way and AC was smiling. We got on the plane and after a tiny bit of crying, she was fast asleep!!! That’s our girl! She didn’t wake up for another 55 minutes at landing (short flight, I know!). She was by far the best baby on the flight! I know I’m biased… I know, I know! She is pretty darn cute……..

We got off the plane and it didn’t connect to the airport so we had to take a bus. The people on the bus were SO nice and let all the mothers with babies sit in the seats. AnnaClaire was so sweet with her Mama. All our luggage arrived... (YES!) And we saw Rosa in the hall. All of the families who flew today were there and it was so much fun seeing all the families with their newest additions. They are all just darling. We all talked and talked and go on the bus to head back to the hotel. By now I had taken AnnaClaire out of the Ergo so I could hold her. I couldn’t resist! We came to the hotel. OH IT IS SO NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s not the White Swan, but it’s a NICE hotel. It’s modern and beautiful with a Starbucks attached! My stomach felt wet and I put AC down and she was soaking. She had a soaking wet AND poopy diaper. Mama changed her and I had to wait for my suitcase to get to the room so I could change. Mama bathed AnnaClaire while Will, Dad, and I went to Starbucks. YUMMMM! It was amazing!!! Will and I had hot chocolate, Dad coffee, Will and I muffins, and Dad cheesecake. It was so good!!! We came back to the hotel and AnnaClaire was sound asleep. Mom said she sung to her and she fell right asleep. Oh, I love this baby! God is so amazing!! He picked the most perfect and sweet baby for our family!

Today has been SUCH a good day. AnnaClaire is really going to everyone easily now. We are just eating her up; she is the cutest thing ever. We LOVEEEEEE Guangzhou!!!

Love to all,
Mom, Dad, Will, and AnnaClaire
I can't believe it's now been a year since we went to the University. That is such a neat place. If you are ever in Changsha, don't miss out. It was absolutely beautiful. After a fun day there, we went back to the hotel. I remember on the ride back, AnnaClaire played jiang over the taxi seat with Amy. Jiang is Chinese for "peek a boo". AnnaClaire still loves playing peek a boo, but now she uses the English word. We packed up and got in the van and picked up AC's passport before heading onto Guangzhou. I remember the traffic was terrible. But we made it to the airport. Sweet Amy, got us off and we waited awhile for the plane. We met a family, Lucy, there. AnnaClaire and Lucy loved playing together. They were so cute! We enjoyed talking to Lucy's family and walking around the airport. I remember AC was so entertained by a water bottle the whole time we were there. She did great on the flight and soon we landed and met up with the rest of our travel group in Guangzhou. It was so fun to see everyone again, now with there new additions! Out hotel had a Starbucks in it, so we made a tradition that after AC went to bed, Dad, Will, and I went to Starbucks for hot chocolate/coffee. Every night from the first night on, we did that. It was great. A year ago was such a special/emotional day. For the first time in her life, AnnaClaire left Hunan, as she made her was to Guangzhou. Now, she has been an American citizen almost a year!!! God is SO good!!

Sweet AnnaClaire,
how is it that a year ago we went to the University. What a beautiful place it was! You were so good the whole time! You loved being carried around in your Ergo! You were so cute playing peek a boo with Amy in the taxi. You loved playing "jiang" so much. I remember you were always content eat Ritz crackers throughout that day. Finally you were opening up a little more to the family. Each day you got better. I remember how sweet you were at the airport. You walked around everywhere and loved playing with little Lucy! You were so good on your first plane flight, and were asleep within minutes! Finally we got to Guangzhou. It was so exciting to see everyone again! All you girls were just so sweet and adorable! I can't believe it's been a year... I love you, precious!
Love, Sissy!

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