Day 8, 9, and 10

By Kristin

Day 8

Wuhan, Hubei

Today, was our last day in Wuhan.  It was bitter sweet.  I think of Wuhan, the place of our daughter’s birth, the people and culture, and I wonder if she will grow to know it too.  I want to tell her about the little shops on the side of the streets, the whimsical fashion, or how the busy people of Wuhan couldn’t resist stopping and saying hello to her.  Her cuteness has that affect on everyone!!!

With our bags packed for Guangzhou, we headed to a nearby park called, Hongshan Square.  That’s where our Ladybug discovered steps.IMG_2984

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Throughout our trip we’ve been taking pictures of fun signs.  This sign in Hongshan Square is by far my favorite!!! 🙂

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Before heading to the airport, we stopped at the Civil Affairs Office to receive our adoption certificate and gather for a short ceremony.

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After a LONG wait in the airport, we’re off to Guangzhou!

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Day 9

Guangzhou

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Today, our Ladybug had her medical tests done for her Visa.  The medical test consists of a general screening, ears nose and throat, measurements, and since she’s over two a blood draw for TB.  Kyle and I dreaded this part of the day.  We were not allowed in the room during the blood draw.  She only cried a little.  Mama and Baby cried a bit more 🙂

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Day 10

Guangzhou: Shamian Island

Today is Easter and it’s hard to believe we’re celebrating it in China.  A small group of our friends got together in the hotel to celebrate.  It was a special experience.  We gathered to pray for our newly adopted family members, for each other, and our family and friends back home.  God has been ever present throughout our adoption journey and I am so thankful.

In the afternoon, many families went to Shamian Island.  We hopped in a cab and headed that way.  Shamian Island was beautiful and picturesque.  There are many statues on Shamian Island.  I really loved the statue representing the different generations of women in China.

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My goal at Shamian Island was to get a picture of our Lady Bug by this statue.  Our Lady Bug had other ideas.  Frankly, she didn’t like them at all.  Instant tears.

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Lady Bug is quite the character, when it’s picture time she doesn’t just smile, she giggles and laughs like it’s the best thing ever.  It’s impossible not to laugh with her.

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We decided to stop at Lucy’s bar for lunch.  It’s an American inspired restaurant complete with grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries.  I will point out that “American Inspired” isn’t exactly American, but it was good none the less.  Lady Bug couldn’t wait for lunch so Baba gave in and handed over some fruit snacks.  She had never eaten them before but quickly gave her nod of approval followed by a smile and clap.

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No explanation is really necessary for this photo.  She is just beautiful…and ours!!!

 

 

 

 

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Day 5-7

By Kyle:

I assumed that Gotcha Day would be the most amazing day of our lives and every day that follows would pale in comparison.  The reality…there is only a tiny bit of truth in that statement.  Ever since the morning of March 21, every minute, every hour, every moment of every day has been more amazing than the last.  Our lady bug’s personality is blooming more and more every day with her many facial expressions to her impromptu dancing and laughing while I walked her around the supermarket in the carrier.  Yes, she was dancing in a carrier, bobbing from side to side and shaking her head while letting out the most contagious laugh ever.  No not every single moment has been rainbows and daisies but none of that matters when I hear her laugh and see her smile.  Yes Gotcha day was great, the most amazing day of my life, but you should have seen her dancing to ACDC with her heart shaped sunglasses on!!!

On day five the adoption was truly finalized.  After a few documents were signed and finger prints were made we became official parents of our beautiful little girl.  We took a nap, ate the Chinese version of pizza hut, played with everything but the toys we brought her, discovered Lady Bug actually does like bath time and then spent well over an hour trying to get her to go to sleep!  She wanted to keep playing and I don’t blame her one bit.  It was a pretty fantastic day.

Day six gave us a little bit more time for fun.  Our tour guide took all of the families to Moshan Park.  This park is also called East Lake Park and is known for its Cherry Blossom Trees.  It is a beautiful park consisting of garden area and a playground.  We were only able to see a small portion of the park but what we did see was beautiful, even on a drizzly day.

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IMG_2429 We even had some fun on the slide!  I think this picture will be going in a frame and put in my office.  IMG_2865

And finally we ended our park adventure with nap time on Mama!

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Day seven was a trip to the only orphanage in the giant city of Wuhan and a tour of the facilities.  We were also fortunate enough to see the finding spot of our daughter, the metal gate at the entrance of the orphanage.  Somebody wanted her cared for, and as bittersweet as that is, we are thankful.

After some nap time, a group supper and a trip to the supermarket, we decided to have a dance party before bath time.  Once ACDC came on the radio little Lady Bug really started to liven’ up.  Jamming out to some classic rock n’ roll…Daddy approved.  She even figured out that she looks good in glasses.

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Did I mention her many facial expressions?  I know this picture is blurry but it is one of my favorites.  Sometimes the looks that she gives just crack me up.

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Caption: “Really? You can’t be serious.”

That’s all for now.  Tomorrow night we board a plane and head to Guangzhou.  Hoping we can entertain LB for a smooth flight!

Zàijiàn

 

Day 4

By Kristin

Family Day/Gotcha Day

I don’t ever want to forget a single moment from today.

The hotel lobby was a buzz with excitement and nerves.  All eight families gathered in the lobby, all preparing for the addition of one more.  This is the day we have been waiting for, Family Day.

On the bus ride to the Civil Affairs office, Echo, our Holt representative, began telling us what to expect for the day.  Since we have a large group, all the children would be brought out and placed in the play area with their nannies.  Each family would take turns meeting their child for the first time.  We were sixth on the list.

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We pulled up to the Civil Affairs office and started walking toward it.  I realized land and sea no longer separated us from our daughter.  She was just inside this building, and in mere minutes I would be holding her.  I felt calm with maybe a  butterfly or two.

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Inside the Civil Affairs office, we all sat down to fill out a 24 hour temporary custody form.  As the last form was being signed, in came the children with their nannies and I saw a familiar face, one my heart knows all too well.  And that’s when I lost it.  I saw my daughter’s face up close for the first time.  The same face I’ve studied in photographs and videos.

The nanny placed her in the play area on a toy scooter.  No list or order could keep me from her, I was drawn to her like a magnet.  I walked over and sat down in front of her, tears streaming down my face.  She looked at me curiously and reached out for me.  The nanny lifted her off the scooter, and she walked toward me reaching out her hands. Holding her was heaven.

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Kyle knelt to the ground and picked up his girl, and that’s when her personality began to shine.  She started imitating our facial expressions and throwing us huge grins.  We also heard her little voice say Baba.  One of the nannies came up to us gesturing and saying in mandarin that our new lil family was a good match with similar facial features.

 

 

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We took our first family photo used to finish up some paperwork, and then off we went.  All eight families, plus eight new little ones, loaded up the bus and headed back to the hotel.  Family Day is an amazing, exhausting, emotional and for some a traumatic day.  The morning began to wear on our little ladybug as she drifted off to sleep in her Baba’s arms.

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We are so blessed!

 

Day 3

By Kyle

Wuhan, Hubei

Today was a pretty uneventful day, and to be honest, was a little needed with Gotcha Day right around the corner.  We had been go-go-go the last two days that a short travel day was welcomed.  There were nine adopting couples in Beijing yesterday, three of those couples branched off and went to different provinces and six of us all boarded a plane together and flew to Wuhan, Hubei.  Once we landed in Wuhan we met two more adopting couples.  Eight couples are hopping on a bus tomorrow morning at 9am and heading to the Civil Affairs Office to finally hold their child for the first time.  Three girls and five boys are going home with their new families.  To say that I am excited is a bit of an understatement.

We were shown where the supermarket is for supplies and where a small square (flower park) is so that our children can play outside.  It is still quite smoggy here just like in Beijing but in many places it is much prettier.  There is foliage and color that Beijing just doesn’t have in the city.  Being able to see green grass and pink flowered trees reminds us a little of home and for me at least, takes away a small part of the nervousness.

Speaking of nervousness, walking into our hotel room yesterday made everything that we have been waiting for feel so very, very real.  We are staying in the Wuhan Poly Hotel and upon walking into the lobby you can tell that this is a five star hotel.  No complaints here!! Kristin and I are already feeling the pre-game jitters of getting to see our little lady bug. Walking into our room on the 17th floor was just like our names being announced over the loudspeaker.  Now batting fourth…Mr. and Mrs. Nadrchal.  No turning back now.  We walked into our room and the first thing our eyes catch is a tiny little potty training toilet in front of the big one. Awww… yes I awww’ed.  Just next to it inside the white porcelain bath tub sat a smaller blue toddler size tub.  And to top off the cuteness, next to the bed is a small wooden crib, complete with bed sheet, blanket, and pillow.  Somebody may have had their eyes water up just a tiny bit at that moment, but I won’t reveal any names.  It didn’t take long for me to call shotgun for the side of the bed next to the crib.  I am willing to bet Kristin will be fighting me for that spot at some point.  In the end, I’m sure our lady bug will be in the bed between us, just like we have been dreaming of these past two years.

IMG_2809Twelve hours between us and our lady bug.  Tomorrow is the day!!!!!

Zàijiàn

Day 2

By Kristin and Kyle

Beijing

Tiananmen Square

Today, we met up with the same Holt families as yesterday, and gained two more families to the group.  Both of which, are adopting from our daughter’s city, Wuhan, Hubei.  Our group was led by Alan our tour guide and Celine our Holt representative.  We started off the day by visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City located in the center of Beijing.  Tiananmen Square can hold up to 1 million people.  The literal translation of Tiananmen is:  Gate of Heavenly Peace.  Below is a picture of one of the buildings located at the entrance of Tiananmen Square.  It was built to protect the Forbidden City.

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Tiananmen Square was VERY busy, as well as the Forbidden City.

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The soldiers below were guarding China’s flag in Tiananmen Square.

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Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty.

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If you look at the building in the picture you can tell it is rather large.  I can tell you that in person the physical scale of this city, the statues, the artwork and the buildings for something that was built over 600 years ago is mind boggling.  We almost went straight to our daughter’s province instead of going to Beijing first.  We sure are glad we came to Beijing.  The amount of history we have learned is wonderful.  It is all fantastic information that we can pass down to our lady bug. IMG_0916

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After The Forbidden City and lunch we had a tour of the Silk Factory.  Being able to see how the silk is derived from the silk worm and then used to make large silk quilts was quite a treat.  Every silk quilt and pillow is handmade.  The only machine used is the machine that unravels the silk from the silk worm and weaves it together with seven other silk threads.  It was really amazing to see how strong silk actually is.

We did get to walk around the store for a bit and marvel at all the amazing silk pieces.  Silk pieces from rugs, duvet’s, robes, pajamas and of course quilts and pillows.  We decided to buy two silks for our lady bug to wear, or at least hang in her closet as a memento.

Tomorrow, we fly to our ladybug’s province.  Wish us luck!!!

Day 1

By Kristin and Kyle

Beijing

Today, we woke up feeling rested from our previous day of travels.  It has been easy getting on China time.  Although, we did wake up earlier than normal (4:30a.m). Our hotel has a beautiful view and a great breakfast.  At breakfast, Kyle and I set our coats and backpacks on the extra chairs by us, and someone immediately came to cover them up with a seat cover.  We both got a good laugh out of that.

After breakfast, we met up with, Alan, our tour guide and other Holt families.  There are five other families adopting, and one of them is adopting from the same province as us.

Our first stop of the day was visiting the Great Wall of China.  As our tour bus took us towards the outskirts of Beijing, we began to see some mountains and then our first glimpse of the Great Wall.  It was really quite incredible!  The section of the Great Wall we saw was over 600 years old.  Some areas have been dated as 1000-2000 years old.

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There was a small gift shop half way up our climb, and I was so grateful it sold water.  Kyle and I were very thirsty, climbing the steep steps of the Great Wall was more challenging than we thought it would be.  Kyle decided to also buy a Chinese Red Bull.  He is bound and determined to try as many Chinese energy drinks as he can find.

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Hanging inside the gift shop window, were these beautiful chimes.

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We then loaded up our tour bus, and started traveling back into Beijing.  We we’re going to tour a government owned jade factory.  Our tour guide explained that jade is a very precious stone to the Chinese people.  It is often given as a gift at the arrival of a new baby.  It is thought to keep the wearer protected.  We bought our little lady bug a pendant with her Chinese Zodiac on it.

 

Next stop, the Hutong District.  The Hutong District has a great amount of history in Beijing.  It is said that the real culture of Beijing stems from this district and its courtyards.  Beginning in the Yuan dynasty these courtyards grew in number until there were a few thousand of them in Beijing surrounding The Forbidden City.  Now, unfortunately, there are only 100 left.

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This is the first gate into the courtyard.  Typically there would be statues on the sides depending on social status i.e., army general, or civil official.  The pillars at the top of the door, or “stars” as they were referred as, were another marking of social status.  A normal person had no stars.  Officials could have either two or four.

IMG_0827Getting pulled around in the rickshaw.

IMG_0842Center of the courtyard and the four houses.  There is so much history about these courtyards it would be impossible to write it all down and not forget vital information so you will just have to believe me when I say that it was really interesting.

IMG_0859IMG_0852After the presentation by our gracious host he pulled us aside and said he wanted to take a picture of us under the fan.  Not exactly sure whey he singled us out but I am honored none the less.

This day was really a fantastic experience.  The pictures and words truly fail to put into perspective the amount of history that we took in.

So Surreal

By Kyle

It is currently 11:07am in Detroit, we board our plane for Beijing in less than two hours and we are FINALLY updating our blog.  We haven’t updated since we were matched and we apologize.  We have been distracted with work and preparing for our little ladybug that we didn’t give our blog a second thought.  So, the plan is to put more effort into the blog and update it as many days as possible while we are in China.  I can’t promise anything for once we are home but hey, that’s a start right?

1 hour and 40 minutes, the countdown to Beijing is winding down.  Last night, after the luggage was topped off and the house was cleaned, I kept thinking, “we go to China tomorrow, I can’t believe we go to China tomorrow.”  Now it is tomorrow and we are going to China and I still can’t believe it.  I know we are going, I can see my boarding pass, I can see my carry-on luggage, I know we are not in Omaha anymore.  I know all of these things but it still doesn’t seem possible, like I am waiting to wake up from my dream.  It’s just so surreal.  I heard a small child yell “Baba! Baba!” (Daddy! Daddy!), just like I imagine hearing from my daughter in the future.  My wife is sitting next to me and she is as cool as a cucumber, calm as can be, now I know this can’t be real.  It is still so hard to grasp but maybe I will finally believe it is real at our next stop…BEIJING!  1 hour 29 minutes.  Almost there, until then…Zàijiàn.

 

Countdown: Ladybug Landing-5 days, 1 hour, 2 minutes, 24 seconds.

 

Special Delivery + Sent with Love

By Kristin

We’re able to send our daughter one small lovey and a photo album.  These items help prepare her for the transition during the adoption process.  Our agency advised us to get two lovies, just in case the first one is kept at the orphanage or foster home for other children. 

In two weeks, her lovey will be in her arms and she’ll be flipping through her photo album.  I couldn’t resist hugging the lovey we sent, knowing she’ll soon be hugging it back.  It’s crazy to think, our daughter will see us for the first time in this photo album.  Her forever family.  Her Mama!  Her Baba!

Registering

By Kristin

I’ve been making a lot of lists lately trying to stay organized and prepare for the arrival of a two year old at our house!  The thought of a two year old running around our house still boggles my mind! 🙂 🙂 🙂

One of my lists includes registering for a two year old.   Being first time parents, we wanted the advise of an expert, so we asked my sister, Amber, mom of three.  She’s our Baby Guru!

We registered at Target and Babies R Us.

We had so much fun!  Thank you, Amber for walking us through everything!

I loved watching Kyle navigate Babies R Us like a pro!  He was good at picking out the carseats and strollers, go figure. 🙂


Also, baby registering with an Auntie = one spoiled lil girl.  Thank You, Aunt Amber!

The Call

By Kristin

While waiting to be matched with a child from China, about once a month an email is sent out stating that the CCWA was releasing children’s files to the shared list.  The emails are usually sent out a week prior to the list being released.  This means once the list is released there is a greater chance that we will be matched.  The week prior we received another one of those emails from our agency stating the list would be released on Tuesday October 20, 2015.  If a match is made our agency or social worker calls us.  No call means no match 😦

Kyle and I have received several of these emails before but we never got our hopes up because we haven’t been waiting that long.

As I drove home that Tuesday, I remembered the email and thought, “I guess today wasn’t the day.”  I even text Kyle when I got home:

 

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Based on my Star Wars comment, I didn’t give it a second thought, and moved on with my night.  I was fighting a bad sinus infection which zapped all of my energy, so I went to bed early and took some NyQuil.  Just as I was falling asleep the phone rang.

It was our Social Worker.  She apologized for calling so late but she had some news that couldn’t wait.  We received our match!  A twenty month old girl that our Social Worker said was adorable!!!  Our Social Worker said she would be emailing us the file of the little girl as soon as she hung up and that she couldn’t wait to hear what we thought.  I think she was as excited as we were.

Meanwhile, in my NyQuil haze, I realized Kyle was still working out at the gym.  I immediately called him with the news and proceeded to pace for twenty minutes while I waited for him to drive home.  I was so anxious! Those twenty minutes felt like an eternity.

By Kyle

When we received THE CALL I wasn’t at home.  It was nine o’clock at night and I wasn’t expecting our agency to be contacting us anymore that day.  To be honest I assumed we would be waiting another month or two.  But then my phone rang and when I answered Kristin’s voice sounded both anxious and excited.  She immediately said, “Come home, we got the call.”  I couldn’t believe it, heck I wasn’t even sure if it was real.  I thought I might have been dreaming.  I quickly got in my car and drove home as fast as I could.  I had a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat.

Kristin and I had promised each other early on that if we received the call we would wait to view the file together.  Now the moment was here and I couldn’t wait for Kristin to open the email so we could see our baby girl for the first time.  I was very excited and nervous.  I was going to be a father,  I was going to have a daughter to take care of, protect, and to watch grow into a young woman.  Kristin opened the email and I saw her pictures and immediately knew, that’s her, that is my daughter, our daughter!  My eyes watered up and my heart grew.

We were going to be parents of this beautiful little girl!

I didn’t sleep much that night.  I had so much on my mind.  I told Kristin she’s already keeping me up at night 🙂

I can’t stop thinking about her.  I wonder what she’ll be like.  Will she be outgoing or shy?  Will she like dolls?  Will she like sports?  Or will she like music?

Either way, I know that we will love her!

We already do!