This blog chronicles the miracles and struggles of our daughters, Emily and Olivia. Emily was born 15 weeks early and had many complications, but she continues to amaze us! Olivia, born in China with heart complications, is also beating the odds. She joined her forever family (us!) when she was four years old and has been doing wonderfully! UPDATE: We started homeschooling August 2009 :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Video: chatting on the phone

Playing in the neighbors' back yard.

I overheard Olivia chatting on this toy phone tonight while I was making dinner and was able to capture some of it before I burned it too much. Listen closely and you'll hear some English sprinkled into her conversation. There are some "um"s, "okay?"s, a "nope" and some "no"s mixed in there! She's a quick study and is picking up new words every day.

Can you believe it's been a month since Gotcha Day?! I'm amazed how much we've all attached in such a short amount of time! She is so sweet and lovable that it's still going extremely smoothly. We are so blessed with our two wonderful girls :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

What's in a name?

This is an interesting article about some changes in the way orphans are named in some parts of China. Orphans in Olivia's town were all given the name Rong after the town's name of RongXian, as is a common. Other towns historically named their orphans after the Communist Party or State. All these names clearly identify them as orphans so some orphanages are now changing their system to give them more common names.

China's orphans

Party girl
Mar 22nd 2007 BEIJING
From The Economist print edition

An orphan by any other name


LIFE in China's orphanages can be bad enough, but life thereafter can be tough too. In much of China, children in state care are given unusual surnames that clearly identify them as orphans. Common choices are Dang meaning “party” (the Communist one, naturally), or Guo meaning “country” or “state”. Those saddled with these names face a lifetime of funny looks, or a bureaucratic quagmire trying to change them.

In February last year, the north-eastern city of Dalian caused a nationwide stir when it announced that it would no longer give all girl orphans the surname Dang and boys Guo. This had been the city's practice for 30 years, the legacy of an era when being called Comrade Party or Comrade State blended in more with the Orwellian spirit of the time. Party and State are surnames with ancient origins (long before the Communist Party was founded Dang meant simply a faction). But they are rare outside orphanages. Dalian said that henceforth only common surnames would be used.

After the fanfare with which Dalian ditched the Party/State naming system, others have been changing their policies too. Early last year, the southern city of Guangzhou stopped giving its orphans the surname Guang (the first character of the city's name) and given names after the district where they were found. This year nearby Dongguan stopped calling its orphans Guan, the second character of its name. This followed a complaint about the naming system raised by an adviser to the city's legislature. In January the northern city of Taiyuan gave up its practice of calling all orphans Party.

But there are a few, at least, who still regard the names Party or State as badges of honour. Last year, on the 30th anniversary of an earthquake that killed perhaps 600,000 people in Tangshan, near Beijing, the official press reported (approvingly) that a quake orphan surnamed Party had just joined the party and would not dream of changing her name to the one she was born with. In February, the party chief of the southern city of Zhanjiang met a group of local orphans, all surnamed Guo. A photographer asked the name of one of them. “Guo Yuqun,” came the reply. Anxious to distinguish the surname from a more common one also pronounced Guo, the orphan went on: “that's Guo meaning state”. Proudly, of course.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Intro to BK

Emily and I introduced Olivia TanTan to Burger King! She loved the chicken nuggets and fries, but when I offered her dessert she declined and instead chose to eat the catsup! Maybe she doesn't realize we don't have to finish the condiments! After the meal, Emily had fun showing her the ropes in the climbing area and they both had a good time. Even though we missed her first four years, there are still a lot of fun "firsts" to watch her experience :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Okay, so they're not twins, but they sure look cute in matching clothes! These pix were taken Sunday when the girls got to play with their cousins, Mike, Brian & Sara. Olivia sure likes Uncle Ed's magic blanket rides!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Videos: Olivia speaking Chinese

We'd been trying to capture her speaking Chinese on video, but she'd always clammed up when the camera came out...but this morning, while we were trying to get ready for the day, she was talking up a storm in Chinese and didn't seem to care about the camera. We don't know what she was saying, but maybe something about Emily getting dressed??

Videos:Bonding over basketball!

Last night Andy was watching Illini basketball and Olivia Tan Tan was having fun imitating all of Daddy's "Yeahs" and "woo hoos" (before they lost, that is) and was really bonding with him over basketball, of all things! She was luke warm with him before, but last night something clicked and Daddy was suddenly the funniest person alive--even when he wasn't trying to be!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gotcha Day photo

Within an hour or so of getting Olivia, we had to get an official adoption picture taken. We were so impressed with how well it turned out that we ordered a copy for ourselves!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Impromptu photo shoot

Olivia cuddled up with a teddy bear and it struck me as a Kodak moment so I grabbed the camera and asked her if I could take her picture. She immediately hopped up and walked away so I took that as a "no," but what she was really doing was going to get the sunglasses she'd been photographed in earlier! Once she found her props, she nestled back in for a serious photo shoot. Although she didn't smile much, she kept telling the bear to!

Our super models

I know I already included some these photos in the previous slide show, but I thought I'd give them more air time. Olivia smiles and laughs a lot, but usually clams up once she sees a camera. However, she likes looking at herself on the computer and is slowly coming around to this whole photography concept :)

Happy at home

Aside for a bit of jet lag, we're all doing really well and adjusting smoothly to being a family of four. We expected Olivia to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated, but she appears to be taking everything in stride and is such a joyful little girl. It helps having a big sister to show her the ropes and make her feel comfortable. She'd apparently never been in a swing before and resisted with some tears until Emily demonstrated and then she wasn't so scared and quickly learned to love it, as the pictures show. You can also see that she's interacting more and more with Daddy and initiating it herself :)

Olivia Tan Tan is very good at communicating with words and motions and is picking up English quickly. She's a little parrot and is learning new words every day. Some words are harder than others and it's so cute to hear her practice saying them, trying to get them just right. Like "school." When we dropped Emily off at school, she tried over and over to get the "L" ending and watched how I used my tongue and eventually got it! For "whoops," it still sounds like "whoosh," but we know what she's saying! Other words she's mastered are:

Hi, hello, bye-bye, Emily, Chelsea, come, come on, milk, juice, thank you, whoa, yeah, good girl, shoes, no, go potty, all done, wash hands, dry, hot, all gone, night-night, shhh...

Emily also agrees that it's fun to have a sister and someone to share a room with. This morning she asked Andy why it took so long to adopt and why there was so much paperwork. Good questions, Emily! But we all agree she was well worth the wait!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Home Sweet Home

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We arrived home safely late last night. It's was so nice to have a nice welcome banner, balloons, and decorations thanks to the girls' Aunt Laurie & Uncle Ed and cousins Brian & Sara...and some FOOD from Grandpa Ploessl!

We didn't know how Olivia (who still answers to "Tan Tan")would react to our dog Chelsea, but so far so good! At first she laughed and laughed when she first met her, but asked to be picked up if I set her down with Chelsea around. This morning, both are on the loose and they both seem fine with each other. She's already mimicking us and saying, "Chelsea, SHHH" when she barks, and not showing any fear.

The girls were up bright and early at 4 am having a tea party and bringing me endless dishes of imaginary we are up, too, even though we didn't get as much sleep on the plane as they did. We may be crashing later, but I feel okay right now :) It's just so nice to be home!!

Hong Kong with Olivia

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We returned to Hong Kong on Saturday and spent the night before flying home from there on Sunday. The girls had a nice time at Kowloon Park which was just down the street from our hotel.

Tip for the next adoption group flying out of Hong Kong: When we used the (very nice) airport train from Kowloon, we noticed they had remote airline check-in counters right near where you purchase the train tickets and we were able to check in our luggage with United right there without having to lug our stuff on the train to the airport. It was a very nice feature that nobody ever mentioned, but I thought I'd pass it on.


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Friday, March 09, 2007

Farewell from China

We have to be out of our room by 8:30 am tomorrow to catch our train to Hong Kong. We'll spend one night there, but we already found out that it costs $25/day for internet access and we're not making that mistake twice. So, I'm signing off here and now and don't plan to post again until we're home safe and sound. We should land at O'Hare about 6:45 pm Sunday. I hear it's cold in Chicago, so I'm putting our request in now for spring weather!

We've had a great trip and now we're ready to settle in for real at home. Olivia probably thinks we live in hotels!

Last Supper

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Tonight is our last night in mainland China. We tried to hail a taxi to go someplace different, but gave up and ended up walking to Pizza Hut again. Really daring, huh? Although the pizza tasted the same, there is a cultural difference when it comes to the salad bar! In fact, there is quite an art we've witnessed both here and in Nanning to getting the most out of the ONE trip salad bar! It's fascinating to watch everyone load up their bowl as high as possible in such an artistic way! Seven people shared one of these tall bowls!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Squeaky Shoes

Here in China they sell squeaky baby shoes, presumably to encourage babies who are just learning to walk to take more steps. Since Olivia's not a baby or new to walking, I didn't really plan to buy her any. However, since she's so tiny--most of the 2T clothes I brought are a tad big--it's hard to find any shoes her size here that don't squeak! Since they were only a couple bucks AND the squeakers can be removed (see the removable plug in the heel?), I bought her some squeakers after all.


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It's been pretty chilly the last couple days--as low as the 40s--with rain added to the usual grayness here due to pollution. I'm sure those back home would have no sympathy, but this is supposed to be a subtropical place and we didn't pack for this weather. I'm looking forward to seeing a bright, sunny, cheery day again, even if it comes with snow!

This morning we ventured to the "toy market," which is basically a street full of multi-storied building with flea market type stall after stall of trinkets and toys. Nothing very exciting though we did have to laugh at the plastic Pizza Hut toys that were labeled, "Pizza Roof!" We spent more on the taxi ride there and back than we did on toys, since we only ended up buying two light-up tops for about $2. The guys also checked out the "electronic market," but came back empty handed.

After I got Olivia settled down for an afternoon nap, Caroline and I went to Shamian Island to get hour massages for about US$10. We were surprised that they had us leave all our clothes on and then did the massage through towels that were on top of our clothes! I think my girl was digging in with her elbows, so it actually was still effective through all those layers!

Tomorrow afternoon (Friday) we'll drive about an hour to go to the visa ceremony at the US Consulate where we'll swear that the information we've given on all the documents is true...and then we'll get Olivia's travel visa, the last requirement before we can go home! Then Saturday morning we'll catch a train back to Hong Kong...and fly home Sunday :) Not looking forward to the long flight, but we are looking forward to being home!! This has all been an interesting experience, but living out of a suitcase gets old really quick. We're also looking forward to a bigger variety of familiar food choices besides Pizza Hut, McDonalds or KFC.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Playing in the hotel room with Emily & Jack

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Thanks to Olivia's three hour nap, I'm getting caught up with some pictures. I hope it's not too overwhelming to view so many at one time, but I didn't want to get too far behind. Our bed time routine is taking longer than I'm used to and I'm running out of free time to blog!

We're all doing very well, but bedtime seems to be an emotional time for Olivia and the last few nights she's cried pretty hard. Fortunately it's never lasted more than about 10 minutes, but then, after be soothed, she switches gears and wants to play! Even after she settles down and stays in bed, she'll play with her hands for an eternity before falling asleep. I suppose she's spent a lot of time in a crib and has had to come up with ways to entertain herself! I've been staying with her until she falls asleep and it's been taking a while until I get to sneak out. Hopefully it'll get easier in time. But again, if that's the worst of our problems, we can handle it :)

Benign Girl

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We bought the girls toy cell phones and they're not Barbie, but "Benign Girl!" These are just some pix we took hanging out in our hotel room. In some of the poses, Olivia's pretending to take pictures with her phone, saying "sha-mile," and in others she's kept doing some palms up thing that Daddy tried to copy. She's a fun little girl :)

Monday's trek to Shamian Island

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On Monday we went to Shamian Island for Olivia's visa medical exam. She did pretty well, but didn't care for the tongue depressor or for the part where we had to remove some clothes to be examined. Noting that Olivia had already had corrective heart surgery, the doctor was surprised--and so were we--that she still has a heart murmur. Hopefully it's not anything that will require more surgery. We also asked about a lump on her forehead, but after getting a second opinion from a surgeon, the doctor said it feels like bone, not a wound. They suggested getting a CT scan at home, so hopefully that's not a big deal either...

After getting through the medical exam, we let the girls play at a park to help Olivia relax again. She's really enjoyed the slide and the girls had fun playing together. The hard part was dragging her away to eat lunch at a restaurant called Lucy's. Later we found out that others had been warned not to eat there due to families getting sick, but two days later, we're still fine.

Since all American adoptive families have to go through Shamian Island for the medical exam, quite a niche market for adoptive families has built up there! It's kind of a neat place and it's fun to run into so many other families with their newly adopted children. Not only is Shamian Island unique in it's clientele, it also looks very different than the "real" China since it was once a British colony and has British architecture.

Our hotel is about a 10 minute walk from Shamian Island, away from the tourist shops, but right on a pedestrian street with modern shops for the locals. In order to get to Shamian Island, we walk through a pet market and a Chinese medicine market, all of which are just tiny storefronts that overflow into an alley. As always, we draw quite a bit of attention as we traipse through.


Here is our current home away from home at Guangzhou's Holiday Inn Shifu. It's very new, nice and spacious!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Olivia and Jack's home town: RongXian, Guangxi

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Mouse over for captions. Click "view show" for a new window with identical, but larger slideshow.

I'm glad we went to Olivia's town and saw her orphanage, but at least in the short term, it wasn't as momentous or impacting as I thought it might be. I'd had some apprehension about the visit, wondering how Olivia (or I) would react. Would she be scared, thinking we were returning her...or would she be happy to be back "home" and want to stay? In the end, she seemed to have neither reaction and for the most part seemed content to be securely held in her baby carrier on my hip. I was kind of surprised by how nonchalant she was during the visit and we were relieved that, at least for us, it wasn't the emotional turmoil we'd tried to prepare for.

We had gotten permission to visit the town, but were not be allowed inside the SWI (Social Welfare Institute--hers is home for both orphans and the elderly). Shortly after Mandy called to alert the SWI that we'd arrived in town, quite to our surprise, the man from the SWI that we'd met on Gotcha Day just happened to be standing right outside our van as we drove through a busy street! After a brief word with Mandy and the driver, he hopped in his truck and led our van through town straight to where Olivia and Jack had lived! Our driver wasn't familiar with the area at all, so it was nice to have a guided tour!

It was interesting to see where Olivia lived for over three years, but it was hard to get a real feel for what life there is like since we couldn't see inside and never saw any residents. I did note however that we didn't see any play equipment or toys outside, though there was a basketball court. There were no indications that kids lived there at all, but Mandy, who has seen other SWIs said it seemed like a pretty good place.

In spite of visits being officially prohibited, the staff was very gracious and offered to lead our van to the town's famous temple. There we said our good-byes and thought we wouldn't see the staff again, but they kept popping up again and again, so I guess they weren't really ready to see us off!  While we were at the temple, two ladies from the orphanage even delivered a bag of bakery goods and milk boxes because they knew we hadn't had lunch yet! It was such a humbling thing to see how generous they were to us "rich" Americans when they have so little!

Around the temple area there was a park that Olivia didn't seem familiar with, but Jack clearly was as he led his parents around. There were some elderly people that obviously knew Jack and were calling him by name and they found out that his foster family lives near the park and he was a frequent visitor! The short term effect of the visit was much more traumatic for Caroline, Craig & Jack than us (he cried and wanted to go to some of the people who called out to him), but I think they'll be glad to have that extra knowledge of his former life. They also got to go away with memories and pictures with them all together in Jack's park. When we left the temple area several elderly people he knew crowded around our van to say some teary-eyed good byes to Jack and wish him well.

After leaving the park all sweaty, we loaded up to head out of town only to have our the SWI director stop at another important spot in town, a governmental building. We all piled out again for another photo op (and another good-bye) in front of the building while all the passersby gawked, surprised to see westerners and doubly surprised to see us carrying Chinese kids! Here, the staff took note of our girls' bare arms and pointed to their own long sleeves and sweaters! They were being good natured about it, but I felt like I was busted AGAIN for not dressing our new daughter warmly enough! Oh well. In one of the pictures you'll see the director trying to warm Emily up because she was surely cold in the 70+ weather :)

Overall my impression was that the staff was happy to see us and that they really care about our kids. One of the ladies kept getting choked up around Olivia, even though Mandy said none of them were direct care givers. It was hard to watch her get teary eyed, but it was comforting to know that there was enough connection there to even get choked up. I've only heard good things about this place from other adoptive families so I wasn't surprised to see such caring staff. Before we left the SWI, one of the staff ladies went to the garden to get some rocks for the kids to keep. I appreciate her thoughtfulness and hope the two stones will mean something to Olivia someday.

From the staff we learned that RongXian has about a million people--not the small town I once thought!! Still not sure if something was lost in the translation though??  They thanked us for our orphanage donation, saying it will help to cover future surgeries &/or hospital transportation for other special needs kids, just as previous adoption donations had been used to help ours. Some of it also might just go to help them make ends meet since they said that the government only gives them 135 RMB (about $20) per child per month. That's not much to work with, but they somehow seem to to a good job. Olivia is a pretty happy kid and that surely didn't just start a week ago when we met her. We will be forever grateful that she had such good care.

I'm sure the visit would have been harder if she weren't such a carefree, happy kid or if she hadn't already started attaching to us. But, fortunately, she seems happy to be with us and often wails for me if I go out of her sight. As we were standing around with the orphanage staff, the ladies were obviously discussing us as she imitated Olivia's "" as they chuckled, taking note (I think) that Olivia definitely knows who her Mama is!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Many faces of Olivia

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Here are some shots of Olivia we managed to capture today while waiting at the airport. Today's flight was only an hour, but she was great! While we were in the air, Emily was making funny faces trying to get her sister to smile for the camera when Olivia got such a kick out of Emily sticking her tongue out! The whole plane could probably hear her yelling excitedly for me to look at how silly Emily was and then laughing hysterically! You can see that captured, too..minus the sound effects of a child shrieking, "Mama...Mama...Mom...Mom!!" It was very cute to see them enjoying each other so much :) I'm so glad they really like being together!

Farewell, Nanning

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Farewell, Nanning. All the pix except the one of Olivia are shots I took from the taxi on the way to the airport today.

I'm happy to report that Olivia was a lot easier to redirect today and much better about accepting "no" without an attitude as well. She's also getting better about sharing as we try to teach her to ask instead of grabbing things from Emily. She still has her moments when she wants what she wants when she wants it, but I am happy to see that the "easy" child has made a reappearance. She may have just had a bad day yesterday since it was such a long trip and her nap was pushed way back. I doubt she knew where we were heading yesterday, but she may have sensed something was up. Whatever the case, yesterday I was afraid the honeymoon was over, but I'm glad that today she was really good in spite of our air travel and missing a nap. I imagine new frustrations and behavior issues will crop up, but we're still VERY fortunate that things are going so well.

She's also doing really well with Daddy :) Tonight she let him carry her around in the baby carrier/Hip Panda and they shared an ice cream cone as we walked around our Guangzhou Holiday Inn. He also gave them a bath AND put them both to bed (previous attempts resulted in wailing for Mama). She still smiles and laughs a lot, but it's hard to capture that because she still doesn't like the camera. I've been trying to coach her into smiling for the camera and now she imitates what I first showed her by putting her fingers to the corners of her smiling lips as she says, "shamile!" She does this readily as long as there is no black box aimed at her. She enjoys looking at her pictures on the camera's display so maybe enventually she'll like hamming it up in front of the camera. Hopefully.

Our new hotel in Guangzhou is quite an upgrade from the one in Nanning, but we don't have the comeraderie of too many other adoptive families here like we had in Nanning where there were several on our floor. Aside from our travel mates, we haven't seen any other caucasians since arriving. Tomorrow we'll visit Shamian Island where most adoptive families stay, but we agreed to stay a 15 minute walk away from the touristy area in favor of roomier, newer and cheaper digs. And boy is this suite spacious and nice!! We have a HUGE living room that's bigger than ours at home that has a plasma TV, an ultra modern bathroom. We paid extra to be on the executive floor to be away from construction noise so we have the perk of having access to the executive lounge with it's refreshments. It's all pretty swanky and nice.

I still have to sort through pix and post about RongXian, but it's late and that will have to wait for another day. Andy and mom are happy to have found English TV and are watching Jim Carey in "Bruce Almighty." Inside this hotel we could think we're back in the states...until we look out the window!

Tomorrow morning (Monday) we'll get Olivia's visa photo taken and have her visa medical check-up. Our next appointment isn't until Friday when we have the visa ceremony, so we'll have three free days to do whatever we want to do :) Not sure yet if we'll want to take any little field trips to sites out of town or if we'll just stay nearby.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Nanning Zoo

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Here are some pix from yesterday (Friday) when we went to the zoo. Today was a long day traveling to the kids' hometown and then when we got back we had to pack up to leave early tomorrow. Mandy was able to get Olivia's passport yesterday (instead of Monday) so we're flying out earlier than originally planned. It doesn't mean we'll be home any earlier, but we'll have more time to spend in Guangzhou.

Today I found out why all the updates had "sometimes obstinate" checked. Our little angel isn't always so angelic. Actually that applies to both our girls...both can be sweet most of the time, but they both can have an obstinate, feisty side! Olivia had been endearing herself to me and hadn't really showed me her other personality until today... Most of the time she was still her happy giggly self, but today I saw that she can be quite a challenge when she wants to be. When I stopped her from playing with the AC dial in the van, she tried to let me know that she was the boss! I didn't back down and neither did she. She didn't win, but a few minutes later she had a beef with Emily and swatted Emily's face before also hitting mine. Lovely. I was afraid it was too good to be true. She's also now decided that she wants anything and everything that poor Emily is playing with and is determined to get it by whatever means necessary. She's not doing anything I didn't originally expect, but now it looks like I'm not going to escape the typical behavior of institutionalized kids after all. Things are still good most of the time, just not as easy as it first appeared.

Now we're at that tricky stage when we're still trying to get her to bond with us, but we can't afford to give into bad behavior as she tests the waters. And we need to teach both girls how to share Mommy and toys! I'm not discouraged though because Olivia's still doing much better than I expected and better than most others we've encountered here :)

Tomorrow I'll try to post about our journey to RongXian.

Friday, March 02, 2007


We discovered that Olivia can eat with chopsticks and it's so cute to watch her use them! Today at the zoo we stopped for drinks and popcorn and after we'd eaten them, she got up from the table with some urgency and pulled me back to the vendor. She then patted a bowl of instant ramen noodle-in-the-cup and handed them to me with some insistance before dragging me further down to the line to where the man poured the hot water in the noodle cups. She knew exactly what she wanted and she let me know it! They seem to be very popular because we see people eating them everywhere. This video shows her eating those noodles at the zoo with chopsticks. She is not real keen about being photographed yet (better get used to it, kid!) and you can see her expressing her displeasure.

At about 6:00 tonight she brought me a similar cup of noodles that we'd bought at Wal-Mart the other day and again let me know that she wanted them NOW. She could hardly wait for the water to heat up and was in heaven when she finally got to slurp them up. I guess I know what we'll be buying at home! Thankfully it's a lot easier to make than other things she might have picked, like sticky rice.

Baba (Daddy) is now giving the girls a bath before bedtime and I'm glad Olivia's "allowing" him to do it :) I hear her giggling, so apparently it's going well! Earlier she played catch with him, let him take her (and Emily) for a little walk to the gift shop and...drum roll please.... she even put up her arms asking him to pick her up for the first time :) Progress!!

Tomorrow (Sat.) we are leaving bright and early for a long road trip to see Olivia and Jack's home town. It's 3.5 hours by van each way so it'll be a long day. We're not allowed to visit the orphanage, but did get permission from civil affairs to visit the town. It's a small town that doesn't see many westerners, so we've been told to expect even more stares than usual. We're also supposed to be low-key so we don't ruin it for future parents who might want permission to visit. I'm not sure exactly how to be low-key when we stand out like sore thumbs, but we'll try not to draw attention to ourselves. I hope Olivia doesn't think we're taking her back when she sees the outside of her orphangage...

Oh, and by the way, I've asked Mandy to tell the driver not to pick Olivia up. I don't suppose he's read up on attachment theories to know any better, and probably thinks he's being helpful, but it undermines our efforts to get her to bond with us. I hope he gets it without being offended. I'm confident that Olivia will bond with Andy sooner or later, but it's just a little hard to watch her resist her new dad and then see her reaching for this strange man that's been picking her up. The strange man does look and talk more like her so it makes sense, but it's just hard to swallow at times.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Day #3 Green Mountain

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I've added captions to today's slideshow pix, so mouse over an image if you want to read it. To make the pix larger, you can click on "view show" right beneath the pictures and it'll open a new window with an identical, but larger slideshow.

I've posted some pix from our little field trip to Green Mountain which overlooks the city of Nanning. I believe this city has about 6 million people, so it's no little town though we'd never heard of it before this trip!

Olivia (Tan Tan) continues to be an extremely easy child! We never dreamed she'd be the easy one of our girls so early on. She is such a happy little girl, but she is making her preference for Mama known and now resists letting Baba (Daddy) do things for her. This is pretty normal so we're not too concerned, but I imagine it must hurt Daddy's feelings a bit though he's taking it all in stride.

All of the adoption attachment/bonding advice says not to let others hold or care for our child as we try to teach her that we are the parents and the go-to people...and to ask friends and family NOT to pick her up or feed her even if she asks, but to refer her to the parents to meet her needs until she learns that WE are her family and her source for getting needs met (vs. what she grew up with having various staff members meet her needs)., I'm not appreciating our Chinese driver's affection for Olivia as he tries to pick her up every chance he can. Whenever he is around I make sure I'm holding her, but the minute I set her down to rest my arms, he materializes and swoops her up :( Yesterday, she nestled into his lap and was so content she almost fell asleep until I insisted that he give her to Mama. Though she is attaching to me, it's obvious she would be just as happy to be with him. We've only had her a few days so her reaction is perfectly normal, I just wish he'd get my not-so-subtle hints and gestures to cut it out. I really shouldn't be complaining though because that's pretty minor (and we don't see him every day) and if it's that's my biggest gripe, it shows that things are going extremely well :)