Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Most parents take a picture of their baby taking their first steps on U.S. soil at the airport. P wanted something different and with more meaning to our family. Baby S took her first steps in the U.S. at 25th and Mission in San Francisco, in front of La Taqueria. J first ate here at 18 months old and Baby S beat him by 2 months.

Dianda's, the bakery next door, has the yummiest rum cake. We were very tired and skipped introducing baby S to their goodies. Next trip, hopefully with J along.

Alright, Mission District in San Francisco! Let's eat and party!

She's not having a seizure. :) Baby S really got into the Mexican music playing in La Taqueria.

Baby S grooving and laughing.

So, what are you having Baba? Baby S had a quesadilla, but that picture is in my phone and I'm too lazy to transfer it right now. She did enjoy her lunch.

Baby S's first taste of watermelon agua fresca. She loved it as much as she loves watermelon. The owner came by our table and could not believe that we had just arrived from China and made a stop at his place. Baby S's grooving and laughing really amused him.

Finally home, checking out a few of her toys.

Baby S's first bath in her tub. She looks disgustingly amazing after a trans-Pacific flight and three plus hour drive. At this point she had been on the go for well over 24 hours.

Somehow, Baby S still had energy to splash in the tub.

We are finally home and want to thank all of you for your positive thoughts and prayers. Our journey to meet Baby S won't be complete until next Monday, when J and his girlfriend S come to visit. We would have never undertaken this journey had it not been for J in the first place and can't wait for him and his baby sister to meet. The three of us have colds and are terribly jet lagged, hardly up for visitors. The beauty of having J and S over is that they can let themselves in and make themselves at home. Well, this is their home. Once J holds Baby S we can finally feel that we are really home.

We want to thank A and J for house sitting and for the decorations. Baby S loved them and is having a difficult time keeping away from the streamers. We do not want her to rip through them until you two are here to help her. Baby S recognized Snoopy right away! :) We'll call you later today.

Customs was not as horrible as we expected and probably went as well because we were not traveling with the rest of our group. There were a few questions but the agent appeared in good spirits and was very nice. We have had more difficulties at the Arcata airport.

We intend to post for about another month, to document Baby S's adjustment. We also have to post about many things we just did not have the time or energy to address while in China. Blogger is new to us, so we have to figure out how to edit existent posts and how to redate other posts.

Baby S was amazing during the flight home, even though she was sick and completely out of her element. We want to post about this, because we want a reminder for the future. You know, one of those times when we are certainly to gripe about some minor inconvenience. We want to always keep in mind how resilient our little girl is.

Not all is ladybug Kool Aid and roses. We have found out that when Baby S is out of the Ergo, she becomes a creature reminiscent of a cross between Tazmanian Devil and Linda Blair in The Exorcist. She can also scream high notes capable of shattering glass, can head butt, scratch and bite, and is a master manipulator. Still, we are blessed to have been entrusted with her care and are looking forward to what life with Baby S will bring our way.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pearl River Cruise


Today, Baby S is 16 months old. I had to leave her with P to meet with the other parents and fill out the paperwork for her US visa. As always, click on the picture to enlarge.

Baby S sporting some serious bed head.

She looks so cute when she crosses her legs at the ankles. We were impressed when we realized that she could sleep like that.

J, P spotted this from the bus, then jumped right out leaving us behind, because he wanted to capture it for you. I don't get the steroids part.

P decided to take a few self portraits, much to the amusement of the locals. Baby S and I pretended that we did not know him.

He does have a great smile.

We were seated on the second floor and scored a table by the window.

Humidity and my hair do not go well together.

Baby Drinking Game
Initially, it was Martin, P & B (with Baby J in the carrier). I handed Baby S to P so Baby J would not be alone. Martin then decided that a baby drinking game was in order and just went and scooped Baby K. That is Baby K's father peeking in between Martin and P. The babies were merely used for decorative purposes and did not participate in the drinking. When the girls turn into party animals in college, they can refer back to this picture and they can blame us for starting them in the wrong direction. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Answering Questions

Adding pictures, because Abuela R e-mailed to complain about my rambling without a glimpse of Baby S. BTW, we are going to be without phone service for a while. We brought our Vonage box and were able to call from here. Then two days ago, P needed to make a phone call, unplugged the laptop, plugged the Vonage box, and a short circuit fried the box. Better the V box than the laptop. P needs to purchase a new box once we get home, but given how hectic things are it may take a while. For those of you who have our alternate phone number (J, A&J, C, D and Michelle), we will turn on our phones once we arrive at SFO on Monday.

Yes, she is this happy in the morning. Her brother was the same way. What is it with me being "blessed" with morning children?

Three in, two to go.

Another one for our J.

Sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you.


We are staying at the Bai Yun Hotel in Guangzhou. Depending on whom you ask the pool is either under construction or just empty. One of our guides made arrangements with a nearby hotel for us to use their pool for a fee of $5 per person. BTW, they have construction going everywhere, including in the staircase next to our room. We are lucky that Baby S is a sound sleeper, or we’d be in trouble. The other babies are not faring as well. We are rather surprised at the lack of thought for the babies’ well being. A lot of us are very disappointed with our agency. For example, we were given written instructions regarding the payment for our in China travel. It clearly stated that we could use cash or travelers cheques. We decided to use the latter because we were already carrying over $6,000 cash and it made us uncomfortable. Once here, the China Team refused the traveler’s cheques and P has had to go to the bank (they will only cash $1,000 per day) and it takes over an hour to cash the money. The teller examines each cheque like it is a counterfeit, thus the delay. One couple who is on their fourth adoption trip (first with this agency) informed us that for their three previous trips, they were able to use credit cards for the China travel and asked their guide why cash only. They were told that Norman likes to use his credit card to earn points. Great, way to use our money to get frequent flyer miles. I hope that when it is your turn to travel things are much better than what we have experienced. We are definitely not using them when is time to return for Baby S’s little brother.

We purchased Baby S’s pink and orange Chucks almost three years ago in Santa Rosa at a store called Shoe City. It was the day we got our first set of fingerprints for immigration. Wow, that was November 2005. There are a lot of stores here that sell Nikes and Chucks, but they do not carry baby sizes.

We LOVE the food and have yet to have a bad meal. The cuisine in Baby S’s province was delicious (and spicy) and although I am not normally as adventurous as P, I ate everything that was offered. I am not big on pork or shellfish, as I have had some nasty reaction to both. However, I decided that I would try whatever was offered, and so far have not had any problems. Chances are that I won’t be having prawns or pork again until we return, but for now, if Baby S can eat it, so can her mama. It is a given that P eats anything. BTW, last night we had dinner while cruising the Pearl River and we had shark fin soup. It was awesome. Baby S polished a bowl by herself.

One of the fathers goes around asking everyone if they have lost weight and keeps complaining about the food. P and I, as well as B & J (another couple) keep complaining about gaining weight. Really, it’s kind of embarrassing. That same dad overheard me state that we ordered ice from room service in Kunming (no ice machines like at home) and he was horrified. He asked, “You don’t eat it, do you?” Well, you know me well enough to know what’s coming. I calmly responded, “No, we use the ice to reenact 9 ½ Weeks.” Heh

We also have ice with our drinks and have had tap water with no ill effects. I do not recommend that for everyone, but it suits us well. We are also using tap water to brush our teeth, while most of our travel mates use bottled water. Again, if it is good enough for Baby S, it is good enough for us. This reminds me of a hilarious picture I saw on a blog a few years ago. The mom was so terrified of the water that she wore goggles in the shower and duct taped her mouth as well. We are too darn lazy to go through all that effort.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saludable (Healthy) S


Today the babies had their physical exam, required for entry into the U.S. Like everything else so far it was a blur. They did not even check Baby S's hearing, which is fine with us, because we know she can hear just fine. But like her brother, she has selective hearing. Baby S weights 17 pounds and we have no idea how long she is, because they did not tell us.

Jen, one of the moms, has nicknamed Baby S The Urchin and The Barnacle, because she is so content in the Ergo.

Doc, nice smile and everything, but this blog is about ME.

No baba, you may not suck on my Baby Snoopy pacifier.

P & R got Slurpees at 7 Eleven.

We have seen many pictures of these statues over the past three years. No one mentioned that it's within walking distance of the White Swan Hotel (where we would be if our agency was not so cheap). So this is the Chinese impression of American adoptive parents (the old dude looks like my Papi). I dubbed the lady Ms. Saggy Boobs, and I finally got to take my picture with her.

A sign for J.

Baby S and J at Lucy's, an American Cafe. They were in the same orphanage.

P wanted to sit next to Baby S. She is usually between us or next to me, but in the spirit of sharing I said OK. This is his idea of feeding a 16 month old, a heavy plate full of food, easily within her reach. Baby S had a grilled cheese and fries.

Mmmm, I love French fries, but I heard the mom person and dad person talking about not allowing me to have such a delicacy when I get home. Must stuff my face as much as possible. J's mother chose the bracelet that Baby S is wearing, and so far she has not ripped it off.

The dos amigos at the White Swan Hotel lobby.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blessing S.



We had the babies blessed in a Budhist temple.

Incense offering. Grandpa A, the family in the pic reside in your island.

P followed this guy around to get a picture of the turtles.

She cracks herself up.

Super S

Being blessed is tiring stuff.

Alcohol flambe.

With Martin and Norman, the director of U$$A.

Baby S and Grace, one of the China Team guides. I had to allow her to hold S for a while because I hurt her feelings earlier. Baby S is very friendly and would go to almost anyone. Her brother J was the same way and I always worried about his safety. Let's face it, it takes just seconds for someone to cart your kid away. So we are trying to work with her in terms of recognizing with we are her mom and dad and we are here to meet her basic needs. Once she has that down, then we won't mind her being with others. When I mentioned this to Grace, it really hurt her feelings as well as Sarah (another guide). We know they mean well, but we have waiting for so long to hold our daughter and it does not go over well when they want to hold her for long periods of time.

I must admit that I could have avoided the situation by placing Baby S in her carrier. However, this was the first opportunity our travel group had to mingle after receiving our children. I wanted Baby S to meet her brothers and sisters (we have three boys in our group) and play with them. After the guide incident, P went to fetch the carrier and we kept her in it most of the night, except for the photo ops.

Since we are addressing the subject, please do not be offended when we do not initially allow you to hold Baby S. For the first month or two, we are only going to allow her nuclear family to hold her. That is mama, baba, brother J and J's girlfriend S.

Martin always finds and excuse to break out the rice wine. P & B do not mind and are such great sports by following along. Heh

Baby S playing with Baby S.

Jack Daniels shot. P just informed me that B returned after putting J to bed. They then had push ups and jumping drinking games.

I can't believe that he is doing so well after that many shots. He did sleep soundly.

P wants people to know that he IS wearing shorts.