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


Team Robichaux said...

Hmm, I am not sure what H&M is, but when we go maybe we can check it out :) Thank you so so so much for bringing the hats, taking pictures, and telling my little one that we are coming! Henry looks like he is having fun with his Dad :) I am taking notes on what to bring: lots of diapers, lots of puffs, extra pants, and some thick articles of clothing to ward off the clothes police. ;)
Wishing you safe travels to Guangzhou!!

PinkDevora said...

Yes, we ended up at H&M! And it was a lifesaver! All the pants I had for my little guy were too big, and it was the only place selling non-padded pants in December. The prices were affordable too (about 79 RMB). The stuff in Guangzhou was more expensive.

Your son is adorable. Hope the rest of your trip is smooth.

Tony and Sue said...

I love to see what you are learning. Maybe we should get together and post suggestions on what to bring.

American diapers are WAY better. I didn't even use the 2 that the orphanage sent along! Guangzhou has Enfagrow formula for toddlers age 1-3. One of our agency gals got 2 boxes for us and that got us home.


Anne Pitts said...

bread bags, produce bags, they all work wonders; I'm loving reading up on your first family adventure