Tea Service and More Food

One of my favorite things so far was a tea service at Dr. Tea’s Tea House.  Jared says “It was neat”.

One of my favorite things was Hui saying “Hi, Baba (Daddy)”.

 

Another favorite was the “pee-pee boy”.  I’d tell you more, but I’d rather show you.  When you come for tea, remind me to show you.

We tried four teas.  First, a jasmine tea (my favorite).  It was light and fruity.  Second, an oolong tea, which was stronger, bolder.  Because the cup is very, very hot they showed us the proper way to hold our tea cups for this tea.  Also, you are supposed to slurp it because it is so hot.  Third, a black tea (my least favorite).  And finally, a (“pearl?”, “bird?”, “peal?” – we had such a hard time understand our guide on this one) Pu’re tea.  You were to “chew” this tea.  It can be a very expensive tea.  The people who grow this tea pick it and store it until their daughter marries and then sell it (so it is at least 18 years old) for the dowry.  Supposedly it improves with age.  We bought a “cake” of tea that was a year old.  We plan to keep it until Hui is 18 and then enjoy it with him.  It has “many benefits – it can help with cardiovascular disease, it helps to lose weight, it aids in digestion, and lowers cholesterol” according to our guide.

Another Sunita admirer.

For lunch we had mushroom hot pot.  I was not blown away.  I expected more mushroom flavor, plus they added all the leftover non-edible chicken parts that looked a lot like squid.  It somewhat took away from the experience.

On the left a bowl of the chicken leftovers.  On the right a chicken part that has no business ever showing up on a plate, even for very adventurous eaters (like Mark – hi Grampa!).

Orphanage Visit

The orphanage visit went mostly as expected.  The assistant director said there are about 100 kids in the orphanage and about 500 kids outside the orphanage in foster homes.  I didn’t feel like the orphanage was trying to hide anything, although they weren’t super forthcoming with information and we weren’t supposed to take any photos of the kids.  I guess I feel differently than many families who have visited this orphanage — it felt a little sterile and formal, but not cold or harsh.

This are the shoes the ayis (aunties) are to wear when entering the rooms.  Our guide said this orphanage is one of the top 10 orphanages in China.

It was for sure an orphanage.  A little baby cried with no one there to hold it.  The severe special need kids were in sad conditions.  There were no workers in the baby rooms.  It was sad, but not as sad as what we saw at Sunita’s orphanage.  This felt tame compared to that.  There weren’t a lot of kids to see, but there were a lot of buildings, and some kids are in school.  There isn’t much to show you of the orphanage since many of the rooms had children in them.

The trip was very fast and they didn’t really allow us to linger.  We weren’t allowed to play with the babies or toddlers.  We were allowed to interact with the severe special needs kids.  There is a family we have been traveling with quite a bit.  Their daughter is 13 and also lived at the Kunming orphanage.  She knew Hui from before (at what point before, we don’t know).  Anyway, the mom (Lora) works with special needs kids.  She was AMAZING with the kids.  One older boy, probably on the autism spectrum, was rocking, holding his ears, facing away, and looking so sad – Lora walked over to him and gave him a giant bear hug (deep pressure).  He lit up and smiled the most beautiful smile.  She did it several times, with the workers trying to hurry us along.  She had to pry his fingers off of her.  I wish I had the guts to be like her.  It was an image that will stay with all of us, probably forever.

We really didn’t find out anything new about Hui.  So far we know: he had been with a foster family for about a year, he had 3 older brothers in his foster family, his age was estimated by a doctor, his name means “brave” (Yong) “bright” (Hui), and he is “active and mischievous”.

I wish we could have interacted more with the kids.  I wish we could have gotten more information.  I wish we could feel more like we understood what Hui’s time there was like.  It left me wanting, although I was glad to be able to visit.

Paparazzi

 

Sunita is famous.  We had heard about how the people here might gravitate towards her (and us), but I have to admit the response has been more troublesome then I was prepared for.  People constantly want to touch her, talk to her, take her picture, and I think, take her home with them.  It’s incredible.

She stopped a tour bus.

 

The stalk.

The approach.  I really dig that he is smoking at the same time *note the sarcasm*.

 

 

Prayers

Thank you all for your prayers.  As I said, I think Hui is coming out of his shell and feeling better (Praise the Lord).  Sunita and Hui are beginning to play more, which has also been a blessing. Tomorrow we visit the orphanage, so please be praying for us.

thanks

#41 sleeping kids

#42 being done with paperwork in Kunming

#43 other adoptive families

#44 Hui warming up to us

#45 Hui laughing out loud with Sunita in the tub

#46 Ergos

#47 Increase in health and strength for Hui

#48 Cheerios

#49 Marsha

#50 Energy, even on a short night’s sleep (I know this came from God alone!)

Stone Forest

I’m going to try and limit my words (HA!) and give you mostly pictures tonight.  We visited the stone forest today.  It was beautiful and peaceful.  It also had much fresher air, which was a nice change from the constant smog.

Before you walk into the stone forest there were many “shops” lined up, like this fruit vendor.

A family of four!

These spiders were hanging around everywhere.  They were big and skinny.

We’ve seen a couple really beautiful butterflies.  This one happens to be a little less beautiful, but I liked the picture.

All the rocks are limestone.  It really is a breath-taking place.

There were pools of water throughout.  This one was tucked back in and filled with this vibrant green algae.

We saw more of Hui’s personality today and it was (overall) a good day.  I think he is going to be quite the silly boy.  I also think he, like Sunita, will get overstimulated by attention quickly.  He also, like many Chinese boys, seems to have not heard the word “no” much.  Not getting to do ANYTHING he wants, might be a hard lesson for him to learn.

This was about half our lunch.  There is always way too much food.  It was scrumptious!

This is a Chinese rice beer.  It tasted much like beer at home.

This is a sweet and sour pork and shrimp.  Both were wonderful.  We’ve been eating such big lunches that we haven’t been going out for dinner – just getting some food for the kids.

My beautiful kids!

After lunch we visited a silk factory.  The stuff there was beautiful, but expensive.  It was stunning handiwork.  A tiny square (maybe 8×8) takes eight and a half hours to create.  I wish we could have bought some things there, but they were out of our price range.

Hui

As of now, I only call him Hui, or Hui Hui.  I haven’t really started to add “Titus” onto the beginning, and even when I do it will probably be Titus Hui, not Titus Yonghui.  He knows this name, and although I think we will eventually use Titus, it won’t happen overnight (neither literally or figuratively).

Hui (sounds like a cross between way and hoi – like koi) reminds me so much of Sunita when we first met her.  We see glimpses of his personality, but between being sick and scared (although, I don’t think he is still terrified), we only catch shadows of who he is.  He is smart, he already picked up the word for bus and motorcycle, and the sign for all done.  He loves all things with wheels and his favorite book is the bus book, a book with wheels and pictures of vehicles inside.  He reminds me a lot of the little guy I watch (Hi Finn, Amy misses you!!).  I think with time they will be great friends.  Every single bus we go by he excitedly says “bus!” “bus!”.  He has very good motor control.  He eats and eats.  Once he is upset, he seems to cry for longer then necessary, but I don’t know if that is him or being sick/scared/etc.  He likes bath time and tonight he and Sunita were laughing out loud dumping water.  It brought joy to my heart.  I love FINALLY getting the chance to get to know him.  He was much happier today.  There were fewer tears and some spontaneous laughter.  Thank you again for your prayers.  I believe they make the difference.  With much love from our family to you – goodnight.

And the Days Go By

And then there was the second day. Today was a day (well, half day) of appointments.  We began by going to the civil affairs bureau (at least, I think that is what they are called) and signed papers that were all in Chinese.  We have no idea what they said.  Hui (Titus) was asleep for most of it.  It was a bit crazy and hectic as there were four other families there.

Having my mother-in-law, Marsha, here has been such a BLESSING!  Here she is playing with two big sisters to newly adopted siblings while we were signing papers.  It helped a lot!

 

Next we were off to the passport issuing office.  It will take until Friday to get Hui’s passport.  Again, having Marsha here was awesome.  Hui did not want to be woken up but he had to be for his passport picture.  They would not take it if he was crying so we tried three or four times before they finally got one.  Then they almost didn’t accept it because of the way he head is bent.  They wanted him looking “straight” at the camera.  I told our guide there was no way to straighten out his neck.  It was very frustrating.  Finally they Photoshopped it until it really looked less like him than if they had just allowed for his bent neck.  I’ll try to post those pictures tomorrow.  They look weird, just weird.  By then the kids were hungry and tired.  So we fed them snacks and finally got to go to lunch.

We ate hot pot!  It was delicious and there was way too much food.  We had duck, pig, fish, beef, cauliflower, shrimp rolls, mushrooms, bean sprouts, potatoes, and much more.  For dessert there were these sweet potato pancakes and dumplings, both plain and fried, with a frosting you could dip them in.  The yellow and red dishes are full of personalized sauces.  When our guide said we needed to go get our own “sausages” we were very confused.  We didn’t figure out he meant “sauces” until we all looked like idiots.  The picture above was taken about 5 minutes before Hui fell asleep.  He couldn’t keep his eyes open.

And more sleeping.  It reminds me so much of Sunita when we first got her.  She slept and slept.  I can only imagine how much energy and mental effort being adopted takes.

When we got back to the hotel, since neither kid ate much for lunch (due to pre-lunch snacking) they polished off the rest of the Cheerios (thank God for cheerios, and I’m not kidding!).  They also ate some of our peanut cracker/cookie things and these meat-on-a-stick flavored potato chips.  I liked them, they tasted like BBQ chips.  Hubby agreed they tasted like BBQ chips, adding “bad ones”.

After that we walked about a half hour to do some grocery shopping, so we stopped to get the über cheap ice cream.  I love getting the different flavors.  Mine today was something like a green tea with purple stuff inside.  I’ll try to get a picture later (I plan on making that a daily stop).  It was good, but I prefer the coconut.  Sunita was totally shot by this point in the day so I put her in the Ergo.  Then Hui was ready for sleeping again so I carried him.  Just call me Sherpa.  By the way, thanks Misty for running with me every morning; I couldn’t have packed them both without it!

When we got to the shopping area I sat and let my legs go to sleep with Sunita in the Ergo and Hui on my lap while Hubby and Marsha did the hour long shopping trip.  It took an hour because Carrefour (the equivalent to Walmart) is HUGE.  Hopefully more on that later.  Finally we grabbed dinner at McDonalds (thought Sunita might eat more there) and came back to the hotel.  We bathed the kids then put them in bed.  They are asleep now and I need to head that way too.  Good night everyone.  I truly can’t thank you enough for your prayers and comments.  We feel bathed in love.

Scrambled Heart

I write this as both kids are tucked in next to each other.  I could just die from the sweetness.  For all the sweetness, it is a heavy day for me.  Oh, how my heart aches for our new son.  And how my heart rejoices for our new son.  As I was tucking him in he slid his arm onto my chest and curled up beside me; it was the most bittersweet thing.  Tonight, he could have curled up with his foster mother, as he has hundreds of times before and felt safe and secure.  Tonight he curled up with me and probably felt bewildered, sick, and heartsore.

He is truly sick, with a fever of around 100ºF.  He was taking a Chinese herbal medication, but we opted for tylenol.  He has been sick the last couple of days (found out through our guide).  He also appears to have something going on with his left leg.  It doesn’t feel right to me.  The bones seem wrong.  Not that it matters.  I’d move Heaven and Earth for him.  He seems to be doing alright, but we could use your prayers.  I wish it could be less painful for him, but this is part of the process.  He is small (not a surprise) and not all that sure if he wants me (or anyone else) to touch him, especially on the bare skin.  He is my joy.  When he smiles, he gets a dimple high in his cheek.  I’m totally smitten.  He is covered with what looks like old bug bites.  He is my baby.  All of everything is so much.  Thank you all for your prayers.  I think I will head to bed now, next to my babies and my Husband.  I thank the Lord for all of it and I’m so glad He is the healer of hearts.

Without Further Ado…

Hey all… Jared here.  Amy’s a little preoccupied for some reason.  And now for what you’ve all been waiting for:

The endless wait

The call

First meeting

Big sister approves

Back to the hotel room.  Family++

NOT a happy boy.  He didn’t want to be touched, talked to, held, pretty much anything.

Thank you God for Cheerios, the great ice breaker

…and Amy, the best mom ever!  (Sorry all you other moms, I’m biased)

We can’t thank you all enough for your prayers and support.  Please continue to pray for the coming days and weeks ahead, as the bonding has only just begun.  I think we’re off to a good start though!

Food!

The food has been terrific and not that different than the Chinese we get at home.

Breakfast in Beijing.  Clockwise starting at 12:00 – orange & kiwi, a green date (the brown thing – they were very good), butter & jam, sausages, some red beans and garbanzo beans in a dressing, chicken wings (above is a jicama-type salad), noodles, a type of baked beans, a hot hard-boiled egg, dragonfruit (the white and black fruit).  In the middle of the plate is some “bacon” which was more like ham but still good, and watermelon.  The fresh fruit was great.

The desserts at breakfast.  Yum!

Lunch after touring the cloisonne factory (metalwork).  There was so much food.  We shared with another adoptive family and there was enough for 16 people.

There was a beef soup, fish, noodles, sweet and sour chicken, pork dumplings, pea pods, broccoli, rice and more.  I liked everything.

Except this.  This is a rice liquor.  It was served in little shot-like glasses (below).  It was 56% alcohol.

Marsha almost fell off the stairs checking out this painting.  (It was on the wall coming down from the restaurant).

The shrimp roll pizza from Pizza Hut.