Saturday, March 31, 2012

End of March update

We've been home three weeks and we've already visited a sick doctor, a pediatrician, and an international adoptions pediatrician (as well as a visit by our social worker for our first post-adoption meeting). Henry is in good health and has a great appetite but he still has a lot of catching-up to do. I've been trying to come up with a variety simple kids' meals and creative activities (thanks to my RQ cyber buddies!) and... so far so good.

It was a little traumatic for the three of us today at the international adoptions clinic. We spent at least 4 hours at the hospital and everything was going well until we visited the lab for Henry's blood work. This was required to make sure our little boy is immune to the vaccinations he was given in China. The nurse's first attempt at drawing blood failed as she "blew a vein" on our buddy's little arm. I was in tears at this point as it was heartbreaking to watch Henry kicking and screaming on the bed (I've had my fair share of blood work and it's an unpleasant experience even for an adult let alone a small child). For the second attempt, there were four of us holding down our little boy and the nurse managed to draw only two (of four) vials of blood. :( My husband told her to stop and we explained we'd return another day. Henry was traumatized and I just wanted to take my boy home. If the pediatrician agrees, I'd rather them redo some of the vaccinations instead of reliving this trauma all over again! We'll see...poor little guy may wake up with night terrors tonight :(.

Anyway, here are some photos of Henry. We DO go out but I keep forgetting to take photos! (And, he's taken a liking to everyone who has met him so far!!! He sure is a ladies' man!)

Henry's new ride (only $79!) with Monty
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A spot of fencing, anyone?
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I love my choo-choo train!
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Another object heading in Henry's mouth
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Loving his plastic bottles
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Watch me put this in my mouth, mama!
(Visiting Miss Alice)
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Plastic, plastic, plastic (and, paper)!
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I need more plastic!
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Monty: "You still here, dude?"
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Just wanna be like his cousin singer Daley

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Home with our boy!

I am happy to report that Henry has settled in very well. Let me first share that we were very happy with our decision to purchase a seat for our little guy. He loved sitting in the seat by himself and playing with a few toys or with the entertainment control buttons. Although Henry napped for an hour on the 4-hour flight to Tokyo and only 3 hours towards the end of our long flight to Houston, he was able to sleep comfortably on his back with his legs over my lap. We also had extra leg room for our hand luggage, which was a plus. The few times he cried were when he was hungry or thirsty or wanted to stand in front of his seat, but overall it went quite well...except we didn't get much sleep ourselves. We were just exhausted.

I don't remember much of yesterday but our Shih-Tzu, Monty, is starting to warm up to Henry. Our little guy has probably never seen a dog in his life so he whined a bit and held onto me when he first met Monty. Now he's learning to pet Monty "gently" and allowing him to kiss his hand. We hope they will become the best of friends.

Today I felt pretty awful. My ticklish cough from Guangzhou turned into a full-blown cold and after lunch I decided to take another dose of NyQuil (the first one I took before bed last night). Well, what a huge mistake! A few hours later I could barely keep my eyes open so I texted my husband to ask if he could come home early. I even put my little boy in his crib for his safety while I laid on the nursery floor to rest my eyes for a few minutes. My little man was not happy so I let him join me on the floor and play with some toys while I watched over him with one eye. Thank goodness my husband came home early because as soon as he took care of Henry I headed straight for my bedroom and didn't come out until almost two hours later! Never again will I take NyQuil during the day -- all I read was "alcohol free" and not the small print "may cause marked drowsiness" and it didn't help that I have jetlag as well (btw, I did not experience the drowsy feeling last night when I needed it!). I will stick with DayQuil during the day from now on!!

Well, I had better get myself ready for bed as the little guy may wake up at midnight and again around 3am. When I go into his room to tell him it's okay, he tends to fall back to sleep but when he sees me walking away, he cries. When he's wide awake we both lay on his bedroom floor over a thick quilt, so for the last couple of nights I've slept on the nursery floor for an hour or so to help him go back to sleep (I don't have the energy to stand over his crib to wait for him to go to sleep). I've heard of moms who have moved the crib to the master bedroom or who have set up another mattress in the nursery so I hope this will work for the time being.

Looking forward to meeting with the doctors at the local International Adoption division of the Texas Children's hospital hopefully next week.

Seat padded with pillows for
side-ways tantrums
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Napping on Tokyo flight
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Play time with daddy

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Finally leaving Asia!

Well, tonight (Sat. 03.10.12) is our last night in Hong Kong after a four-day trip extension since leaving Guangzhou on Wednesday. Most of the families from our adoption group are already home on US soil so we are looking forward to going home with our little boy and introducing him to his new house-pet, Monty. We have enjoyed every moment of our China trip as well as our short stay in Hong Kong with family, but we are very READY to go home! :)

Early tomorrow, we are taking a taxi all the way to the airport, which should take roughly 30 minutes. We thought about taking the train to the airport but we've already done that from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, which was pretty straight-forward (our guide had a porter take us to the railway station and check in our luggage!). We are slightly nervous about the second-leg of our flight from Tokyo to Houston as it will be a 12-hour flight and we're worried about Henry making his debut screaming performance. Our little guy has been sleeping really well for the last few nights and banking 10 hours of sleep without a murmur in the middle of the night -- wouldn't it be fabulous if he sleeps 10 hours out of the 12-hour flight? Wish us luck!! :D

Thank you to those who have followed us and commented on our posts; it has been quite a blast. If time permits, I will probably blog every so often to post updates on our little fella.

As always, here are some photos. Take care for now...

Our happy chappy waiting for breakfast
at the fabulous China Hotel
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Clearly no trumpet-playing at the local park
in Guangzhou
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Very cool outdoor "24-hour" fitness area at the park
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The Hulk usually comes out after 45 minutes
in the stroller
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Family photo day on the stairs of China Hotel
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First day in Hong Kong (Butterfly on Prat Hotel)
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"I just wanna play!"
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Henry with his grandparents
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A much happier Henry with his Auntie Michelle
and great-cousin Jo (Auntie Lisa is hiding)
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Jealous of my boy's eye lashes
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Henry with his 88-year old great-grandmother

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Venturing out to the Carrefour

After feeding Henry his crushed tablet with the Mucosolvan this morning (Sun. 03.04.12), he coughed and threw it up again. We decided not to join the rest of the group for the optional City Tour (Buddhist Temple, Old Chen House, and Guangdong Art & Craft Shopping Center). Instead, we took a taxi to Carrefour, which was like a small Wal-Mart (our guide wrote down the name in Chinese but one of the bell hops just told the driver where to go). We took our time looking around and bought a few things for Henry. We decided to check out the department store next door but we saw nothing. The kids' clothing was on the fifth floor but it was all high-end boutique pricing. Aside from Dave meeting our guide with the group to prepare paperwork for our Consulate Appointment tomorrow, we stayed in the room to get Henry back on his schedule and back to good health.

We've really seen Henry come out of his shell. He laughs easily at our silly gestures and clowning around, but he's also discovered the art of whining and crying...and, of course, throwing stuff on the floor to be picked up multiple times.

Tomorrow (Mon. 03.05.12), we're heading over to the US Consulate to take the oath and to be "interviewed" as part of Henry's visa process (the US Consulate will be moving to a new building in 2013). On Tuesday, we will receive Henry's US visa, and on Wednesday morning, we'll be leaving Guangzhou for Hong Kong. We will be taking the train and hoping to travel smoothly to the Butterfly Hotel in Hong Kong for a few more days (it was a good idea at the time; we are soooo ready to go home!).

Carrefour store
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David Beckham endorsing something?!
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L-R: fruit drinks for Henry (diluted with warm water);
strawberry-flavored Monmilk for lunch; and baby food
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Formula from orphanage (left), and formula we bought
today (right) but one family gave us their formula so
we won't need the new one now
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Our kids seem to love this stuff
(finger snacks)! Take this picture
with you if you run out of snacks! :)
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Taken a few days ago, my friend sent this handsome
sweater especially made for Prince Henry :)
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Henry does not like hats (yet)

Medical Exam + Happy Birthday to New Dad!

It was Dave's birthday on Saturday (03.03.12). He loved his birthday card from his new son, which I had customized at (Henry scribbled a little something on his dad's card last night). We were running late and had only 20 minutes for breakfast and to hand over our large bag of laundry before heading over to the medical clinic for Henry's visa photo and his medical examination. This medical clinic is a brand new facility and our group was the first for our agency to set foot in the clinic so we were to expect a little chaos and confusion.

On the fifth floor, I lined up with Henry in my arms while waiting for his visa picture to be taken. If I had realized it would take quite awhile, I would have asked Dave to queue up with Henry (our little guy weighs about 21 lbs)! Of course, by the time we put Henry in the high chair for his photo, he decided not to cooperate and kept leaning to one side to let me know he was about to cry (he's getting quite good at this). Eventually, I had to lift him up in the air while the photographer took several shots of him and making sure he was facing forward showing both ears! No wonder it took so long!!

We went back to the sixth floor and joined Dave and the others in the crowded waiting area. Dave filled out some forms and we had to check into three "stations" for: 1) Henry's body weight, height and temperature; 2) a general medical check-up, and 3) a quick ENT (ear, nose and throat). It was during the general medical exam when the doctor diagnosed Henry with bronchitis :(. Our little guy has been congested and coughing occasionally but so did the rest of the children in our group so we thought this was normal. Our guide, Jason, searched for the chief doctor to have him write a prescription for us.

Jason brought us Henry's medication, which included Zithromax (antibiotics), Mucossolvan, and Prednisone Acetate tablets (only 94 RMB or $15!). We were surprised at the number of medication we had to give Henry, but we obviously want our little man to recover quickly before his first long trip to the US! Jason also arranged for the hotel to deliver a birthday cake for Dave -- so sweet!!!

In the evening (okay, more like 5pm since we now have children in our little gang!), our group walked over to the Macao Street restaurant for some yummy dinner. The weather here is much warmer than in Zhengzhou. We haven't worn our jackets yet but I keep Henry's jacket and blanket nearby to ward off the "clothes police"!

New medical clinic
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Waiting for general check-up and ENT
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Henry and dad
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Birthday cake from China Hotel :)

Leaving Zhengzhou for Guangzhou

On Friday (03.02.12) we were given Henry's passport in the morning, and we were so happy with Henry's little passport photo! He looks so cute but we don't know when they took the photo (looks pretty recent). While we were packing for Guangzhou, my cousin and her friend Lily paid us a quick visit. Our group left around 2pm for the airport. During take-off, we were anticipating Henry's reaction and keeping him busy, but he was totally oblivious. When we landed -- about an hour and a half later -- Henry decided to join in the chorus of crying babies. I'm pretty sure it was the worst flight ever for most of the passengers on that flight!

We were greeted by our reps, Maggie and Jason, and I remember Jason talking on the bus on our way to the hotel but I was shattered. Thank goodness Dave was paying attention! We checked in at the China Hotel around 8pm and Henry decided to go to sleep around 10pm!!

Although I was like a walking zombie, I did notice the elegance and size of the hotel (it's like a maze), the contemporary and timeless feel of the room, and the amazing overhead shower. A crib was left in our room with a small complimentary basket for the baby. :D

Spacious room
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Love the back wall. You can close the motorized blinds
as you can see straight into the toilet from the bedroom!
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Love the shower! Notice Henry's
duck bath tub?! :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Xuchang orphanage visit and day-off

(Again, sorry for errors!)

Yesterday (Wed. 02.29.12), our rep's assistant, Vivian helped us arrange an orphanage visit and hired a driver (of a large minivan). It took about 1.5 hours to drive there, which was a little nerve-wracking as we didn't have seat belts or a car seat for Henry. Our driver was not afraid to overtake slower traffic and was flashed a couple of times by oncoming traffic. I just wanted to close my eyes.

The Xuchang orphanage was very clean. When we parked up, I had to change Henry's diaper in the van because he had leaked. So glad I took a spare pair of pants with me! I'm not sure if this is the first or second time his diaper had leaked but they were the Pampers I had bought at the Lotus Center here in Zhengzhou. I've been told that the American brands are much better but I only brought enough for bedtime and for flights (more about diapers below). Anyway, we were greeted by the director or manager and were taken to the room where Henry stayed.

The room was much smaller than I had imagined and I had seen pictures by previous visitors. There were 8 metal cribs, some with 2 kids sharing. I started taking pictures of all the kids like crazy, in particular two boys for my friends. I also asked a bunch of prepared questions, which I wanted Henry's main nanny to answer but the manager stepped in most of the time. I then handed my friend's little boy his gifts from his mommy and asked questions for her as well. It was very kind of the staff there to allow us to visit their facility and to take so many pictures and ask lots of questions. We didn't even have time to visit other parts of the orphanage but I also didn't want to push it.

The director, manager, and another staff member took us all out to a local "traditional" restaurant for lunch, which was a very nice gesture. I felt quite bad because I hardly ate a thing as the dishes were a little suspicious-looking and I'm not an adventurous eater. I was grateful I had Henry to distract me :). Still, it was very sweet of them.

Today (Thu. 03.01.12), we decided to skip the optional Aquarium visit. We had a long day yesterday and we just wanted a day off. It was really nice to wake up later than usual, go down for breakfast without rushing, and just hang out. It was a cold drizzly day today but we still headed out to Wal-Mart. Henry was well-wrapped and I made sure his legs were covered with a fleece blanket as he wasn't wearing the "required" Chinese pants the thickness of ski pants. The other day at the Lotus Center, we were stopped by the "clothes police" -- the old ladies who openly call you out for not covering up your child properly according to their standards. This time, I was prepared. However, we were about half-way there when Henry started fussing. He did not enjoy the spitting rain on his face as the umbrella (hood) on the stroller didn't quite cover his entire body. His fussing became full-blown crying with tears. His cries are so cute that we sometimes imitate him "aaaaaiiieeee.... aaaaaiiieeee" :). As soon as daddy carried him, he was a happy chappy again but we decided to go home. Btw, if you walk on the sidewalk in Zhengzhou, you have to share it with motorized bikes and bicycles; today, we shared the pathway with moving cars! Even with a baby stroller, these folks here did not care who was in their way -- they were simply on the sidewalk to avoid the heavy traffic!

Dave stayed behind with Henry while another dad and I made our way to Wal-Mart. We bought most items on our lists but here are some thoughts:
  • Pampers "Premium Care" diapers, which was pricier than the regular Pampers: I decided to buy a size down in Medium (6-11 kg or 13-24 lbs) as the Large (9-14 kg or 20-31 lbs) was too big. The Medium seemed to be equivalent to the US Size 3 Pampers. However, having used one already, Henry leaked again. I've become paranoid about leakage as I'm constantly checking his diaper every 10 minutes; I just don't want to keep changing his pants as I didn't bring many! Hopefully it was a one-off (he drank a lot of diluted juice!)...but if you want to be safe and you have space, you may just want to bring your trusted brand!
  • My friend bought some trash liners for dirty diapers. I've been saving all my small grocery bags at the supermarket produce section so I brought a bunch of them with me for Number Two diapers. A friend of mine had a great idea about saving your bread bags as well.
  • I wanted to buy more formula but Wal-Mart didn't carry my particular brand and we don't know if they'll sell the same stuff in Guangzhou either. If you are given formula by your orphanage and you brought only the To-Go sachets for transitioning, make sure you buy two boxes! We did not realize our son drinks 10 oz of formula 3 times a day. We are weaning him down to 8 oz and 2 bottles a day with more food in between.
  • Bring a mixture of Cheerios AND flavored Little Puffs. Henry does not care for Cheerios (other kids do) but he LOVES the banana-flavored Puffs!! Unfortunately, I only brought one carton and it's running low. I've been mixing the two together but he's not dumb :).
  • Bring your own instant coffee or tea bags (or tea leaves).
  • Definitely bring assorted Ziploc bags! Love them!
Tomorrow (Fri. 03/02/12) we are receiving Henry's passport and leaving early afternoon for Guangzhou! Looking forward to some yummy Cantonese food and easy shopping. Oh, before I forget, my cousin lives in Hong Kong and she visited us at the hotel tonight with her friends who live here in Zhengzhou. I mentioned to them that it has been really hard finding good baby clothes such as onesies and PJs. She asked if I had visited H&M!!! WHAT??? I love H&M!!! Apparently, it's not far from here as it's closer to the city. Hopefully, someone else will check it out and report one's experience in the land of blogs in the near future!

See you in Guangzhou! Some photos below:

Henry learning to hit us!
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Dave was told the center tablet says "Home"
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Henry's old room with his buddies
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Henry playing with his former nanny
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Henry with the orphanage director
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"Traditional" Xuchang dishes