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March 2, 2013

Today was the dreaded day on our itinerary. It was the Chinese medical appointment for all adoptive families here. We probably should have taken advantage of this strategically located vending machine on our way into the doctor’s office: we certainly could have used it!


Modern medicine.

8 new families joined us today as they have just returned from picking up their children in other provinces. We have stayed in Guangzhou the entire trip because Charlotte’s orphanage is in Guangdong province (where Guangzhou is)- the same province as the U.S. Consulate that all adoptive families have to visit before they can return home with their children. Charlotte spent the entire morning being poked a prodded and having her blood tested. Remember the Passport picture? That’s the face we saw most of the first half of this day. Poor baby! I had to hand her over to some nurses at one point and they took her from me and closed the door to draw her blood. She was so terrified and I hated having to let her go after she’s just learned to trust me, but I had no choice. She recovered quickly, though! I am so glad that is over! The only good thing that came out of the visit was finding out that neither Griffin nor Charlotte has an ear infection, despite their colds. That is such a relief- the plane ride home will be bad enough as it is!


Charlotte looking healthy and fabulous.

One of the other families we met here is adopting their 8th and 9th children (3 biological teens, and 5th and 6th adoptions)- two little boys who both have the special need of dwarfism. One of their daughters whom they adopted in 2008 is from Suixi, the same orphanage as Charlotte! They are the second family we know who has a child from Suixi, and the interesting thing is that both have been reading this blog and they both said it was like reading about their own child and reliving the same experiences they had- the crumb concern, sensory issues, sleep issues, etc. The lady today assured me that it was good we did not go to the orphanage. She said it was a really bad place (sad) and that we saved ourselves some heartache.

Thank you all for praying for better nights and naps for Charlotte. Today she barely fussed at naptime and she slept for two hours! Tonight again, she cried for a few short minutes then stopped and played in her crib and went to sleep. I didn’t even have to sit by her bed tonight. I think she is learning that we are here to stay! She has had something in her hand since we got her on Monday. Usually it’s some kind of snack cup or bottle or cracker. In our adoption training we were told that in order to help her feel secure, we should always make sure she knows that she will not go hungry- so if she wants to hold on to her snack, we should let her so she knows she will never be deprived or go to bed hungry again. She has fallen asleep with a cracker in her hand and with a snack cup of poufs, and tonight with her bottle with the rest of her milk she wouldn’t finish when I fed it to her. We realize that parenting her is going to look a lot different than it does with our other children, so that is going to be a challenge.


So happy to know she can eat when she wants!


This next “adventure” deserves a separate post because it is just so incredibly nuts.  You can watch the video here, or read below.  The first few seconds of the video didn’t convert well on Vimeo or Goole Video, even though it looks good on our computer, but watch the whole thing – it’s a riot!

Let me just preface this with a little information about the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, cut and pasted straight from Wikipedia:

Canton Tower, formerly known as Guangzhou TV Astronomical and Sightseeing Tower and also known as Guangzhou Tower is a 600 m-high (2,000 ft) multi-purpose Chinese observation tower. The tower briefly held the title of tallest tower in the world, replacing the CN Tower, before being surpassed by the Tokyo Skytower in 2011. It is the tallest structure in China and the fourth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. The tower has the highest observation deck in the world, having a height of 488 m (1,601 ft) above ground level.







Let me also remind you that I am very afraid of heights. So, I have no idea why I thought visiting this would be a good plan. But, it does look very cool in the pictures and when you’re on the ground looking up at it, it’s easy to feel brave. We bought our tickets to go up to the observation deck, but for just a little bit more you can ride a “bubble tram” at the top to get a better 360 view. By the time we rode the glass elevator that goes up the outside of the structure, I was already weak in the knees and told Joey I didn’t want to go up from the 111th floor of the observation deck 6 MORE floors to get on the bubble tram. In fact, I didn’t even want to go stand right up against the window to “observe”. I really just wanted to take the stairs back down if they had any, and not even have to get back on that elevator. Joey talked me into it, since we’d already paid, and some talk of getting some Chinese ladies to go with him if I was too scared, so I relented. We rode the additional 6 floors up and were given a form to sign that we couldn’t read since it was all in Chinese. I told Joey he probably just signed our lives away, but he was confident this was a good plan. We boarded the bubble tram and hopes were high and fears were being conquered.


Brave and smiley!

I actually was very calm and even enjoyed the beauty of seeing the entire city that high above it. I was happy standing in the middle of the tram since the floor was solid and the rest of the bubble around it was all glass. I told Joey it would have been neater to see it in the dark with everything all lit up, and how proud I was of myself for being so brave when I had really been afraid to get on this. I pointed out the rails along the side where some poor soul who works there has to actually walk on for maintenance, and how I would really freak out if I had to stand on those laddered open grates that you can see straight through to the ground 2,000 feet below.


Sure would be a bummer if we had to be out there…

As we’re enjoying the ride, about halfway through, two cars away from the highest point and furthest from the loading dock…a jerk and a dead stop. At first we just joked a little and laughed, waiting for it to re-start as the lights inside it kept coming on, then going out again. Surely they’d get it up and running in no time. We saw some Chinese official-looking armed guards come out to the entrance area, and then a man harness up and start coming around to each car, including ours, and give the “a-okay” sign- he spoke some broken English and told us we were “very safe inside!”   About 20 minutes later, we notice a team of “adventure directors” (that’s what their name tags said) all harness up, and then start making their way to the tram next to us, and that’s right, start harnessing people up.


“Adventure directors” inbound.

No joke. Three Chinese men came to our tram with harnesses and Chinese guard coats for us to wear, because by this point, it is starting to get dark and at that altitude, it was very chilly and a windy day, as well. At this point I’m starting to freak out. Literally laughing and crying at the same time. I had just said to Joey there is no way in hell they are getting me to walk on that ledge out of here, but I had no choice. I had a toddler strapped to my chest and Joey had no carrier for Griffin, so he had to hold Griffin with one hand and carry him out. Once I got harnessed up, coat on and a 90 pound Chinese man to escort me out, I had to slowly climb down the path, gripping this poor man’s neck for dear life, while Madonna’s “Who’s That Girl” is playing in the background. Oh, yeah, that girl was me.


Slightly less brave and smiley.

I gripped the railing so tight that my hands were literally black when I joined Joey and Gaige in the “staff only” room they took us to calm us all down (of course, Joey thought this was high times, being a parachute jumper and all). By the time I saw Joey, all he could say to me was “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE?” I had no idea what I looked like, but with wiping away my tears with black hands I now had black ink stuff all over my eye and cheek. I was escorted to the restroom by another Chinese man who was the manager, and assured us that this never happens and we would get a full refund and that we would “never forget this experience”- that’s for sure! He offered for us to come back during our stay here and go again. Seriously? You have got to be kidding me. We were literally escorted out of the tower, probably because they didn’t want us warning any other patrons on our way out to steer clear of the bubble tram and run for their lives! The Victoria Peak bus ride was a cake walk compared to this!


The end result of China thrills – big grins and black eyes!

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