Monday, June 30, 2008

We Have A Daughter

Please join us in welcoming Miaya to our family.

It was the longest day of our lives, the waiting all day was horrible! Then the moment almost came too quickly, as the babies were swiftly passed out to the waiting parents. Jin Yu Zhu, now to be known as Miaya has been a "perfect baby". Our guide/facilitator has repeatedly warned us that we may not get a "perfect baby", and that there may be issues to face. It has only been a few hours, but so far it has only been smiles, giggles and laughs. She has eaten well and enthusiastically, and enjoyed her bath. Oh, we know there will be some rough times ahead, but so far it has been great.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

This is where Miaya will be soon!

We walked into our room in the Majestic Hotel in Nanning, and there it was -- The Crib. Ordinarily not an imposing sight, but in this case a glimpse of things to come. It hit us both hard, tomorrow night this simple crib will be occupied by OUR daughter!

At 3:30 pm tomorrow June 30, we will be at the Ministry of Civil Affairs office where we will meet Miaya for the first time. She will arrive from the orphanage in Guiping (guay-peeng) where she has been living,in the company of three other girls, several nannies, and the orphanage director. Tuesday, we return to the office where we will file the papers to permanently adopt Miaya, after that, under Chinese law, she will then be ours forever.

Up Against The Wall

The Great Wall.

And it sure is just that. It would be hard not to be impressed by the defensive wall that surrounded much of China's heartland. Never really tested in battle, the wall was was eventually overcome by changes within in China.

Still, when climbing the steps on top of the Wall near Beijing, it is hard to ignore the sheer physical effort it took to construct that section on a near vertical mountainside. The steps are small, and intentionally uneven to impede any invading force that might try to use the top of the wall as a pathway for troops. No records were kept of the human toll of building the wall, but thousands of workers were driven to total physical exhaustion to complete the project.

I started the climb with unclear intentions of high I might climb, and soon began to wonder about why I should do it at all. After pausing a few times to rest, the grade actually became a little less punishing, and I pressed on. At the first tower, there is a small shop to one side where you can have your picture taken with the Wall in the background and have it printed on a plastic card for 40 Yuan, about $6. So, I have photographic proof that I am a "Hero Of The Great Wall", or as I prefer to say, "Proof That I Am An Idiot!". I did climb further on, reaching the second battle tower before turning back. The descent was as I had feared, even more difficult! Finally I discovered that faster was the easier way to travel, using the handrail for assistance, and keeping a sharp lookout for those uneven steps. With a serious case of "Jelly Legs", and soaking wet from the heat/humidity of the day, I successfully reached the bottom. Others in our group climbed much farther, but I was satisfied.

The views were fantastic, and I got a lot of great pictures along the way up and down. Yes it was worth it, and although I dreaded the sore muscles I anticipated for the next day, they never really appeared.

It's Forbidden

The City, that is. Today we toured the Forbidden City, the huge complex that was home to numerous Chinese Emperors for many years.

The day began with at Tienanmen Square, then directly into the Forbidden City. I won't try to describe it in detail other than to say that it seems to go on forever and is extremely impressive. The film "The Last Emperor" was set there, and is the only motion picture filmed inside the actual Forbidden City. The outer sections served as places for various government functions, with increasing levels of privacy until the actual residence of the Emperor and his immediate family was reached. The outer semi-public areas and plazas are devoid of all trees and bushes that might give cover to a potential assassin. Only when the most private area is reached are gardens and trees to be found.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 2 - Beijing Sightseeing

After not really enough sleep, we were up and ready for the first tour of Beijing. After the bus driver successfully threaded his way through the chaotic traffic, our first stop was the Beijing Zoo, and the Panda Exhibit, especially the new Olympic Panda House, the 8 Giant Pandas brought in especially for the exhibit.

The next stop was the Summer Palace of the Chinese emperors. A very serene place overlooking a man made lake constructed to look like a real lake in western China.

Our final stop was the Temple of Heaven, a large complex dedicated to prayers for various things, including the Hall Of Praying For A Good Harvest.

Catching Up - The Flight Over

The flight was long, and at times tedious, the leg from Des Moines to Minneapolis was smooth and ahead of schedule. The next part, from Minneapolis to Tokyo was 11 1/2 hours, and got tedious at times, but was overall a very smooth trip. The seats were good, but the cabin was on the 747 quite warm at times. We flew far enough north to see the icepack on the Arctic Ocean.

The final leg was the exciting one, it took much longer to load the plane, then we were in a long line to take off. Storms all along the route from Tokyo to Beijing caused route changes, and headwinds slowed us as well. Thunderstorms along the final 300 miles made for a very bumpy ride the whole way. We arrived in Beijing 45 minutes late, and finally got to the Poly Plaza Hotel about 11:30pm.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We Are In China!!

Long Flight, Very Tired-Must Sleep Now!

More Later

Michael And Kimberly

-- It's getting REAL now!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Getting There, And Back

Our itinerary looks like this:

6/25 Depart Des Moines ---> Minneapolis ---> Tokyo ---> Beijing
6/27 Tour Beijing, travel group has Peking Duck dinner
6/28 Tour Beijing - Tienanmen Square, Forbidden City and Great Wall
6/29 Fly to Nanning, Guangxi Province
6/30 Gotcha Day - We are united with Miaya!!!
7/1 File adoption papers - in China's eyes Miaya is ours Forever - We are a Family at last!!!!
7/2 Shopping
7/3 Sightseeing
7/4 Sightseeing, get Miaya's passport
7/5 Fly to Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
7/6 Sightseeing trip
7/7 Miaya's visa picture and medical exam for entry to USA
7/8 American Consulate paperwork
7/9 American Consulate for Swearing In Ceremony
7/10 8:20 AM (local) Depart Guangzhou ---> Tokyo ---> Detroit- Arrive 1:45 PM, Miaya touches American soil and becomes US Citizen! --> Champaign, ILL - Arrive 5:31 PM CST July 10.
7/10, 9:12 PM CST - Collapse completely due to total exhaustion.
7/11-12 Visit Michael's family and friends.
7/13 Board Amtrak at Rantoul, ILL for return trip to Creston, Iowa, arriving at 8:41 PM CST.

(Please pray that the Mississippi River floodwaters recede and Amtrak resumes service on the line across southern Iowa, or this whole thing falls apart!)

Eight Days -- Again!

E i g h t D a y s until we hold Miaya for the first time. Eight days till we become a family. Eight days till we hold and look upon our daughters face. Eight days till we are complete. The schedule says we will get our daughter at 2:30 pm on June 30, about 1:30 am CST.

In a few days we will board the first of several airplanes that will carry us to our daughter's homeland. We are looking forward to the trip, not only to be united with her, but to also learn about and experience some of the culture of her land. There is also an element of fear as we face the responsibility we are about to assume.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Packing Dilemma

It looks like a lot of stuff, but after the packaging is off, it gets smaller, and not all of everything goes. But, still it's a challenge deciding what goes and what stays.

But, we have it easier than the adoptive parents went to China 10 or more years ago, proliferation of WalMart across China, as well expansion of local retailers have made finding baby needs much easier than it was then. I read of one family's experience some years ago where no disposable diapers were to be found because the previous wave of adoptive families had bought the entire supply! We are going prepared, but realize we cannot possibly anticipate everything.

Our Motto: "Pack Light - Pack Smart - Be Prepared"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gotcha Day

Gotcha Day is how many people refer to the day their adopted child was place in their arms. "The day we got you".

Well, ours has been scheduled for Monday June 30, at 2:30 pm in Nanning, the capital of Quangxi province.


Sunday, June 01, 2008


We got our TA - or Travel Approval late Friday!!!!

That means our referral acceptance document has been processed, and that Jin Yu Zhu is still there, healthy, and available. Just one more step, we are now awaiting confirmation of our appointment at the American Consulate in Guangzhou. After that, our agency will backtrack to determine our departure date.