Friday, August 29, 2008

We are home!!

We made it home!! Our flights fabulous. Savannah did a great job and we were able to get seat for her on our long flight rather than having her on our lap. The flight wasn't full, so they made sure that we could get three seats.

It's wonderful to be home and reunited with Aiden and Shelby.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Mother's Final Thoughts

As I type my final blog entry, Savannah starts screaming. Why should I expect anything else? Especially given how that last few days have gone. Despite the nature of motherhood, I also have one at home who has the stomach flu and another one who started kindergarten this week. Both of them are terribly missed and I can't wait to see them Friday.

As I ponder these few weeks and the weeks ahead, I can't help to be reminded that five years ago God took me down a path that I had not planned on taking. That day is the day that I realize now that God gave me my life, a daughter and plans for a second daughter. I did not see it all at that time. That day, was the day that my doctor told me that I had cervical cancer and that the child I was pregnant with would be my last one. As devastating as it was, we knew God had something planned. We just didn't know exactly what it was. It was the beginning of the crazy road to adoption.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Thank you all for allowing me to tell our story and share it with all of you. I know that many have looked forward to my posts and have felt like they have taken the journey with us. I have enjoyed reading the comments and also the emails many have sent. Our next post will not be until we get home and our little sister is united with her big sister and brother.

Please keep us in your prayers as we ensure a long flight with a baby in our lap.

For those of you at home, I will be at church on Sunday. Be there to meet Savannah.

God Bless!!

P.S.-She is still screaming!

McManus Takes Home The Gold!

Do I need to say anything more?

She is more precious that gold.

It's A Brand New Day!

Last night was a very difficult night. Savannah was up at 2 am with a 101.6 fever and screaming. We finally calmed her down and switched from Motrin to Tylenol. We all fell asleep and woke up around 7 am. She felt so much better today. We just keep her on Tylenol and she's good. She must be feeling normal because, she would not take a nap today. Below are some pictures of our final day at the White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island in Guangzhou, China.

Feeling much better this morning!

She smiles again!!

On our way to the US Consulate to take the oath. The oath is 1 sentence. It is us as parents swearing that the information on Savannah's visa application is true and correct to the best of our knowledge. Savannah is to small to take the oath herself since she did not complete the paperwork. It was a big ordeal for something that took 30 seconds. We were then handed her visa and a brown envelope that we hand over to the immigration officials at the airport in the US. It was the final step before going to home. She becomes a US citizen when we land on US soil.

Here are our friends Jenny & Susan. Jenny and her husband own a little shop called Jenny's Place on Shamian Island. They let us use a stroller for the week for free, they did our laundry for us and we of course bought a bunch of souvenirs, dresses and squeaky shoes. They were the nicest girls and gave us great prices. They gave us the best prices from the beginning, so it was so easy for us. For those of you still waiting to travel, please visit their store.

Our final dinner was again at the Italian restaurant. I ordered the same as I had last night. I needed another great meal for the dreaded flight home tomorrow. Savannah was still doing much better this evening. She crashed when we got back to the hotel room.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A few more photos before we leave China

Lord give us the strength!

Last night was a night to remember. After the projectile vomit, was another incident. Not so bad, but enough to call housekeeping again. Savannah whined like a puppy the whole night. She's had a fever that will not let up.

When we woke up this morning, we had a late breakfast and decided to keep her in all day. She took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon and has been on Motrin the whole day. We are hoping that she is just teething. While she napped, we worked on our luggage situation. We were going to buy another suitcase to bring home all our goodies, but we decided to just ship it home. So we spend the day sorting our stuff and packing up. This will make it easier tomorrow.

Right now, we just want to go home. Our hotel room is caving in on Mike & I. There's no where to hide. We miss Aiden and Shelby!! This is Shelby's first week of kindergarten. We are just homesick. We could also go for some great food. I'm dying for a salad with a grilled chicken breast. Food has been a challenge. The Chinese we had in Nanning was great. I even tried alligator. In Guangzhou, there nothing quick and easy. The hotel restaurants are very expensive and not necessarily good. A lot is lost in translation. You wonder what the beef and chicken really are. Someone ordered something with Pate and it looked and smelled like cat food. Things don't quite taste or look right. Not even McDonald's. Yes, I broke down and had McDonald's. Mike refused! The french fries were amazing.

We did have a great dinner tonight. An Italian restaurant with a real Italian chef. It was great! Fattening!! I think I've gained 10lbs during these 2 weeks. That is really bad news! Off to WW as soon as I get home. I don't remember the last time I ate a cucumber. Tonights dinner was worth it. We needed something to pick us up.

Tomorrow is the home stretch. We are scheduled to go to a zoo to see 1 Panda, but I don't think we are going to go. After the zoo, we spend the afternoon traveling to the US Consulate to take the Oath and get Savannah's visa and passport. That is the last of it. Then we leave the hotel Friday morning at 5:50AM That is an early day for us and hours on a plane.

To end our Wednesday Night, we came home to a clean room and Going Home Barbie. What girl doesn't have the Going Home Barbie? It is a free gift from the hotel, sponsord by Mattel. I'm not a Barbie fan, but I will keep this one. (I just lost the photo)

Have a great day everyone as we are sleeping.

PS- Sorry about all typos in my posts. I'm usually working on my posts at the end of the day and am whiped out. I know that many of you at home are anxiously waiting for something new. I told myself that I would post each day regardless of how tired I am.

Our Red Couch Photos!

It is tradition that adoptive families have their photos taken with their babies on the red couch at the White Swan Hotel. Enjoy!

The whole group. It was pretty chaotic during this one.

Our Chinese Princess!

This is our attemp to get a photo of all the babies in our group. It was a disaster. We tried later to get a group of only the 7 babies from Beiliu, but that wasn't any better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From Pearls to Projectile Vomit!!

You are all probably wonder what happened today. Well our day started out pretty well. Other than a fussy Savannah. We just assumed that she was teething based on all the drool yesterday. So, we gave her some Motrin this morning before our shopping trip.

When we got back she decided to take a 2 hour nap! Horray!!!

Here she is during her 2 hour nap. We were both soo happy to see her finally get some good rest.

We went out later in the afternoon to get our laundry, go to starbucks and look for a suitcase. She was fussy, but it was time to eat and her motrin wore off. This photo is of her drinking her bottle after we gave her more motrin. Not more than 2 minutes after I took this photo, did the entire bottle come up out of her nose and mouth all over Mike, herself and the bed. It was a scene!

Savannah and Mike had to take a bath. Housekeeping had to come and change the sheets and get new pillows. I washed clothes in the bathroom sink. Mike & I were not happy with each other dealing with this situation.

This is after all the clean up. She was very comfy with her Mama and cracked a smile for the camera. Shortly after the photo she fell asleep and we had Papa Johns Pizza for dinner. We hoped to go to an Italian Restaurant we heard was really good and had a real Italian chef. It wasn't Chinese trying to do Italian.

Hopefully, we'll figure out what is going on and it won't turn into anything serious.

Good Night!!

The Pearl Factory

This is a photo of the inside of the mall. There are stores and stores selling all kinds of gems, crystals, rocks, quartz and Pearls. We were recommended two stores that had the best quality and prices. There are stores that will show you great pearls, but will switch then with bad ones.

I'm busy at working looking for Mom's earings that she requested to match a necklace at home. It's kinda hard when you don't have the necklace with you. I think I made some good choices.

Here is the strand of Pearls that we got for one of the girls being knotted for us.

A smiley mommy! This is after I figured out what I wanted and was on a mission.

While I was working on our Pearls, daddy was on deck with our Savannah. She was hungry and then fell asleep in her Baba's arms. She LOVES her Baba!!!

Mom, It's Shopping Day!

Today we are all off to buy some Pearls. This is the day we've been waiting for.

Mama and Savannah outside the mega shopping center on our way to the Pearl Factory.

This is the shopping mall that we have to pass through to get to the shopping mall that the Pearl Factory is in.

Here's a view of the mall's height. In all the malls and stores you go up and in the little hallways there are more stores. There's a store in every nook and cranny.

This is a view of the shopping center that the 2 malls are in. Jocelyn said that it was 9 blocks, but that doesn't mean it is only 9. 9 means many blocks. It was soo crazy! By the time we left, there were people everywhere and it was even hotter than when we got there.

Monday, August 25, 2008

SPIDERS!! This is for Aiden!

This post is totally out of order. Aiden loves spiders and we told him about this one we saw on our way up to the Pagoda in Nanning. This spider is the size of Mike's hand. That is big!! we promised that we would post it, so he could see it.

Top Side

Monday Wrap Up!

Here's a wrap up of the days events or happenings.

We had a breakthrough in Savannah's eating. Yesterday, she had 6 bottles. That is just crazy for a baby 9 months old. So today, we tried some new things. First, we tried some congee at breakfast. Congee is a rice & chicken type of hot cereal. I can't really explain it. She actually took a few bites of it. That is huge. She has just been spitting everything out or tightening her lips so we can't get the spoon in. Later she also had 3 cheerios. She usually pushes it out with her tongue. This time she gummed it and swallowed. Now later today, we did not has a much luck with it as this morning, but it is a start. Still, no naps!! She constantly needs our entertainment. I don't know what we are going to do when we get home.

7 Eleven is across the street from our hotel. That's where we get our bottled water.

This was her tonight after we tried more cheerios. She just was not going to have it. She looked like a plane ready to take off.

Look at this mess!! Mike was feeding Savannah and the nipple was just to fast for her. It must have stretched, so I grabbed another nipple. I was standing over the night stand trying to take the nipple of the bottle to replace it with another one. Well one thing lead to another and I dropped the bottle. It could have been worse, if I dropped it on the laptop. We both were not really in laughing moods, but I took a picture and thought it make a great photo for you all to see.

Physical Examination Day

This afternoon was Savannah's Physical Exam. She weighed in at 16.4 pounds and almost 27 inches long. Everything checked out normal.

This is the entrance to the main examination room and waiting area.

Waiting for things to get rolling. We have not had lunch yet and it is after 3:00.

Take a look at this photo. The looks on our faces tell it all. The examinations were broken down into 3 stations. (1) Weight and length, (2) Ear, Nose & Throat, and (3) Skin, joints, general overall. So, you waited in line for each one and moved to all three with your exam papers in your hand. We had to do some waiting because, we took visa photos right before. They wanted to develop them and have them on our physical papers to make sure we had the right baby. At least that's what I think happened.

Not a peep from our Savannah. Babies were screaming and crying at every station.

Still a happy baby!!! Now it's time to eat!!!

Monday Morning

Today we have a more leisurely day. I've been waiting for today. We have been so busy, I'm looking forward to not doing much. I sent Mike to do the Visa paperwork. That will be for about 2 hours. I just can't bear to do anymore paperwork. The paperwork to adopt internationally is grueling.

While Daddy was working on that we did a little photo shoot in the room, did a little laundry, went to Jenny's to take more laundry and did some shopping. In the middle of our shopping, we stopped at Starbucks and got a Venti Black Iced Tea. It was just like home! I even got the jitters from the caffeine, just like home. That is the only thing that reminds me of home other than Mike.

Always giving a smile!

More Smiles!

This was the smile she gave as Mike walked through the door. I just happened to click as he walked in. She was sooo excited.

These are my finds from today. There are a few from yesterday, but most of them are from today. These ladies in the shops are tough bargainers. I always feel ripped off when I leave a store. Except for the three silk dresses I bought for Shelby to wear as PJ's, I got them for 20 yuan ($3.00ea). I went to other stores and they were 70 to over 100 yuan. I saw one of them online for $30. Most stores have the same things, but a little different. You will pay more for one item or less for others depending on the store. I found that you are better checking every store first and then deciding. That can also cause you to go crazy.

I still haven't bought more shoes, I will. I just don't know how to work the sizing. They are only 24 yuan, which is approx $3.75. They are very cute.

I NEED a few more things so that Savannah and Shelby will have them as they grow. The next time we are in China will not be anytime soon. To buy these outfits in the US or online would be $35-$50.

Tomorrow, we are off to the Pearl Market!! I hope they take VISA!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Todays Tours in Guangzhou

Here are a few pictures of todays activities. I'm not going to say to much because I'm really tired and Savannah is not napping very well. I'm also tired because they are keeping us very busy for being new parents again.

This is a Pagoda at the Six Banjan Trees Temple. This Pagoda is 1000 years old. It is also leaning to the left and back a little. Mike went to the top. It was quite scary if you are afraid of heights. Savannah and I just stayed on the ground until the incense started burning my eyes and we decided it was time to go.

The pagoda is in the middle of the temple area and this is one of the rooms where you enter and see all the buddah's. I don't know the correct name for it.

Here's information about the temple

It started to poor down rain while we were on the bus. We are on our way to the Old Chen house.

This is the entrance to the Old Chen House. Take a look at the roof. This is roughly 150 years old. It was a temple built for the Chen Family to worship it was their own school and a place to deal with family affairs. The gov't has taken it over and it is now a folk arts museum.

This is outside the museum. Savannah had a tight grip on the umbrella. I liked the tree with the lanterns. Sorry about the garbage cans. Why did they have to have those there?

After this we went to an arts and crafts store to do a little shopping. I totally think we got ripped off but we got some nice things that I hope people will like.

Tomorrow we start Savannah's visa paperwork in the morning. Later in the afternoon, we will be going to get her physical examination. This is where we get her measurements and specifics about her health. I guess as good as we can get when we don't know Chinese.

Have a great day!!

Not Much!

She's loving her bottle. She was not eating very much the first few days that we had her. She was supposed to be taking 5 thick bottles of Formula and Rice cereal. Instead she was only taking 3 bottles and not saying a word. The first night was a little challenging because we did not realize how huge the hole needed to be in the nipple.

She has now worked herself to 5 bottles a day and lets us know when its time. She's not a good napper at all. She take little cat naps in the baby bjorn and that is about all. She fights them until she passes out for the night. The problem is that last night she went to bed around 6:30pm and got up at 2:00am. This is not going to work long term. We are in for a surprise when we get home.

This time around, we have a river view from our room. This is what it looks like outside our window at night. It is beautiful with all the lights and the boats are all lit up.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Savannah's First Airplane Ride

This morning was a whirl wind trying to get ourselves packed and ready to head for the airport. I'm sorry for those friends and family members that could not get hold of us this morning. The housekeepers knocked on our door twice to see if we checked out yet. I guess they were anxious to get us out of there.

Savannah and Mama outside the airport. Ready to head for Guangzhou.

Relaxed with Daddy as we begin down the runway.

Getting even more comfortable as we ascend into the air.

Now she is out like a light. This is after a very stressful morning getting from the bus to the airplane. We were the last ones to board the plane. Literally the last people. The plane was waiting for us.

Here's the story.....
As we entered the airport, all eleven families and their baby's, we got in line like everyone else. There is a computer problem and involves not being able to issue the correct tickets for our babies with the correct parents. So the line to get through all us parents moves really slow, because they are issuing new tickets rather than the ones that were already purchased. To make a long confusing story short, we were the last family that still needed boarding passes. As we moved forward in the line, the line for security kept growing. It was also time for Savannah to eat, but we can't have any liquid in our carry on. So, we were waiting for our passes, I quickly made a bottle. I feed her as I waited in line and were off. Luckily, we went to another security line for airport staff as they were holding the plane for us. Of course, I had a water bottle in my backpack and they had to open it. Still feeding Savannah her bottle. We then walked very fast to our gate. Back to the ticket problem, our boarding passes were for Mike, Jennifer and Kelly. Yup, that's right Kelly. They really had things messed up. When they scanned our passes, they beeped. After they did their little chatting in Chinese, they finally let us board.

There were quite a few families happy to see us board the plane. Of course the seats available were center seats. A very nice Chinese man gave up his aisle so we could be together.

We were so happy to be on this plane!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Last Day In Nanning!

Today is our last day in Nanning. After breakfast we took a group photos and then reviewed our final adoption paperwork. We still are waiting for her passport. After that we went to a museum store. The funny thing is that we bought souvenirs, but did not go to the museum.

Later in the day we went to the Open Market. That was in the previous post. Tonight we are celebrating the 1 year birthday of Ella. Enjoy our last day!

Another photo of Savannah and mommy in our hotel lobby.

Our CCAI travel group 1396.

More paperwork. This is the final paperwork that we will be taking to the US Consulate in Guangzhou.

This is a photo of Nancy. She worked in the restaurant downstairs. She spoke some English and loves to help foreigners. She told me that she loves to serve us. She was sooo sweet.
It was amazing to have some actually say they wanted to serve us.

This is Hanna. She is one of the CCAI guides that is helping Michael. She took us to the open market and has been absolutely wonderful.