Sunday, June 29, 2008

Uncle Morgan with Andy

I love this picture- Andy with Papa

We finally get to see Daddy

Riley meeting Andy for the first time!

Our First Family Picture as the 6 of us!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our first Day at Home

We are all home and safe. Yesterday was so exciting and emotional for all of us. Words can never say how my heart felt to see them all and to finally see my boy. He is a bundle of energy and really a sweet child. He loves his Daddy and Mommy is working on it. He doesn't want me to hold him but will let me brush his teeth and I even got two kisses after lunch. He loves the kids. Riley is is buddy as they do "boy" stuff, and Brianna is a little mom to him. Katie is doing well with it as least for the first day. They had a little spat this morning which I know there is a lot more to come!! We were up at 4 and done sleeping this morning as we work on getting on American time. He is such a good eater and loves those bananas. We have had fun hearing all about the trip and hope to learn more each day. It feels a little overwhelming as we went from 3 to 4 esp when we were both changing one but each day we will figure it out a little better. We are so blessed to have Andy Xiao Tong in our life and I am so excited to learn more about his little charming personality. I will try to post picture soon. Haven't really found where the camera is yet!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Today is the Day

It is the dayI have waited for for the last 1 1/2 years. No matter how my kids have come to me each of these four days I hold close to my heart. I can't wait to see our little man and give him a kiss. We are all anxious to have our Daddy and husband back. I made it through 2 1/2 weeks of single parenting and Riley even wrote his Dad in China and told him he was having a great time! My heart thinks of all of those families in the military separated for long periods of time and the sacrifices this entails. Riley is ready to play with his brother, while Brianna would like to "mother him" . It is Katie I worry the most about. I used to worry about her attaching to me which seems frivolous now since attach may not even be the word for it. I pray for as I know this is going to be so hard. We are so ready to be whole and to love that little boy that God has worked into our hearts and souls. We will not forget the kids that were left behind and now that our adoption journey and family are complete we hope and pray that adoption moves quickly for those children who wait until their countries can take care of them. I will always be passionate about adoption and figure out ways to work for it in my life above and beyond my 4 (wow!) children.

Just a couple more hours!!! WE are waiting!!

I will post more as soon as I get my camera back and we are all home at last

Love Teri

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ready to Go

Chow Time

Official Business

One our way home

Well, today was our last full day in China. The big news from the day is that we went to the American Consulate in Guangzhou where we and about 50 other American families took an oath and received Visa's for our adopted kids. We also received the "brown envelope" that will be needed to get Andy through immigration tomorrow in San Fransisco. Other than that, we spent our time walking around the island in the rain finishing some last minute shopping. We had lunch at Lucy's again, where we were able to get some Western food. For dinner we went to a very nice restaurant that seemed to specialize in Italian and French food, but also had Chinese. We thought we would splurge a little for our last night in China, it was very good. Now we are just getting ready for the long day tomorrow which will start with a wake up call at 4:30 am local time and 24 hours later we will be least back in the state. It has been a wonderful trip and I can't wait to come back with the rest of the family!! I also can't wait for the rest of the family to meet little Andy, as you will see he has a VERY outgoing personality!! But everyone seems to instantly love him, I know I did. Well, I guess it's time to finish packing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Finally the let me play!

How much more shopping do we have??

Anyone up for turtle tonight?

Looks like we like Pizza

Wonder what we found??

Cards and Pizza

Today it has rained all day. The typhoon Fengshen has turned into a tropical storm that is hitting Hong Kong and Guangzhou today. I have never seen so much rain! Judy went to our consulate appointment this morning and told us to stay by our phones in case there was an issue with our paperwork. She called at 10:30 to tell us that our paperwork was fine...that was a relief. After we got the call we went for some shopping in the rain, it was coming down so hard that we were instantly soaked. We were able to seek refuge in the local Starbucks on the island. We ordered pizza from Papa John's for lunch and ate in the hotel room. See the picture of Andy enjoying his pizza! I guess that is the first step in his Americanization. Teri it is too bad that you were not here today, because we spent the afternoon playing cards...pitch of course. We all met up for a group dinner and went to a Chinese seafood restaurant. They had large aquariums as you go in with fish, lobster shrimp, snakes, turtles, worms, etc. We really didn't have any seafood but we did eat Pigeon, pork, chicken and eggplant. It is now 9:00 pm and the rain is still beating against the windows, I think it is supposed to continue through most of tomorrow. So far the wind has been pretty mild, so it's not too bad here. Tomorrow we will go to the Consulate to take our oath and get Andy's Visa...our last day in China!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thai Dinner with our friends from New Orleans.

One Please??

Papa fixing stuff in China:)

Day in Guanzhou

Today was another tourist day, we didn't have any official business to attend to. Judy took Andy and I and the other families on a sightseeing tour that included a Buddhist Temple and an ancient tomb. The day was very hot with 100% humidity, at lease it felt that way. At the temple a monk gave a blessing to each of the adopted kids. The tomb was very interesting also, it is thought to be over 2,000 years old and was only recently discovered when they went to build a hotel on the site. Andy decided that it was a good opportunity for a nap, so when he wasn't pushing the stroller he was sleeping. I sure am glad we had that stroller for him to push!! Lynn and Carla stayed back on the island to take care of some laundry and shopping. For dinner we met up with Trish and Andy from New Orleans that adopted little Henry from the same orphanage as Andy. We had a wonderful dinner at the Thai restaurant. While we were there a large group of 10 plus CCAI families also came to the restaurant, so it was mostly Americans in there tonight. The trip has been wonderful, but we are all starting to get a little tired and ready to come home. I am anxious to introduce Andy to his mom, brother's and sisters. I know his mom and anxious to meet this little guy also!! Tomorrow is the consulate appointment which Judy will take care of for us, and Thursday we should get Andy's Visa. Yeah!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mom Getting Outfits Made

I am done with that medical exam!

I love this picture-I could use this idea

Paperwork and Shopping

Today kind of felt like back to work after a few days of just being a tourist. We met up with Judy (local guide) and the other AAC families after breakfast this morning. It turned out that one of the families is from Grand Junction, what a small world. I'm glad we got to meet in China! Our first stop was to get the pictures taken for the Visa's, that didn't take too long. They just shuffled us in and out in under 10 minutes. The next stop was the physical examination. There was a lot of adoptive families there, but it went just fine. Andy weighed in at almost 26 lbs. He was very good at the appointment, he didn't give the doctors or nurses too much trouble. After the health examination, Lynn, Carla and Andy went back to the room for a rest while I went with the other Father's to complete the paperwork. There were all kind of forms to fill out and it was a little stressful trying to make sure you had everything you needed, but we did. I think everything is in order for our Consulate appt on Wednesday. This afternoon we spent shopping! Judy took us to a wholesale marked off the island in Guangzhou, the first floor was mostly pearls and the second floor mostly Jade. It was amazing, just like a mall with nothing but stones and pearls. After shopping, we all went to dinner at a Guangdong restaurant on Shamian Island. The food was great, almost more of a Western Style such as Sweet and Sour pork, beef, and very spicy green beans. Carla and I went out to a few more stores after we got Andy in bed, we were able to get some good last minute deals for the day. Tomorrow Judy has lined up some sightseeing, so we will meet her at 10:00. Plus we will need to take care of some laundry...again.

That's all for today, only a few more days and we will be coming home

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Who knew??

Mom and Dad

What a great pool to swim in

Guangzhou, China

Hello from Shamian Island, Guangzhou! We had a very nice are relaxing day today. We had a nice "Western" breakfast at the hotel and met a few other families that were there. We then went on a walk around the island. The island is about 1/2 mile across from what I can tell. It is full of little shops and restaurants. After turning the wrong way initially, we eventually found the White Swan Hotel, which was a very nice hotel. We did a little shopping and found a store called "Andy's Store". We had lunch at Lucy's where we all had a hamburger with fries. In the afternoon we went swimming at the hotel pool. The pool is located on the roof, so in addition to swimming we had a nice birds eye view of the area. Andy loved swimming! He really wasn't very scared and he dipped his face in a few times. I think we have another fish on our hands. For dinner we had intended to eat at the dinner buffet at the White Swan, but when we arrived we learned that the buffet costs 338 Yuan per person (roughly $50). We decided that was a bit much so we headed down the street and found a very popular Chinese food restaurant. We had noodles, vegetables and grilled chicken with a curry flavor to it, it was very good and our total bill was 124 yuan ($18). The island is quaint with many old British and French buildings, most of which were built in the late 1800's. We have run into a number of adoption families, but perhaps not as many as I expected. Almost every family we see has asked how old Andy is, when we say he will be 2 in August, they always reply that he appears to be a very "healthy" boy. Tomorrow we will meet Judy at 9:30 am for paperwork and meet up with the other AAC families. Then off for shopping at the Pearl market.

That's about it for today!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Teri's thoughts

My thoughts are on my family coming home, but my mind is also having other thoughts. As I posted the picture of Andy on the plane it made me sad in some way to think of him leaving a place that are his roots and home. It is a place that his parents had to leave him due to reasons we can guess but not really answer. It is a place that people took good of care of him. It is a place that is so different than where he is coming to. I SO want him home and to be our son, I do understand that adoption is a word that carries a lot of loss with it as well as a hope for a new beginning. I understand this and probably will more in days to come as our kids ask the questions we are not entitled to answer. I hope that Brian and I understand that we have a responsibility to honor cultures rather they be made by biology or adoption. So from the home front I am excited but posting that picture really made me think!!

My First Flight

They all look good.

The Last Stretch

Hello from Guanghzou! Today we travelled from Lanzhou to Xian to Guangzhou. This morning in Lanzhou our guides took us to the riverwalk where they have a waterwheel display. They also have a statue called the Yellow River Mother, our guide said until you have your picture with the statue you have not really been to Lanzhou. After the riverwalk we left for the airport. We left Lanzhou at 4:10 pm and landed in Xian (the home of the Terra Cotta warriers). We had about an hour layover before heading to Guangzhou. Andy did pretty well on the plane, he cried pretty hard at first but then settled down. He did not like the baby seatbelt he had to wear for takeoff and landing. We arrived in Guangzhou at about 9:00 pm, and met with Judy, our local guide. She brought us to the Victory Hotel on Shamain Island in Guangzhou. I haven't had a chance to see much of it yet, but from what we have seen it looks very nice. More to come tomorrow. Guangzhou looks like a very modern city similiar to Beijing, quite a contrast from Lanzhou and Pingliang. Well, it's bedtime here...more to come tomorrow. Tomorrow is a free day to walk around the island and do some shopping. On Monday we will meet Judy and the other AAC families.

Someone sleeps!!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Rest Day

Today was a day of rest after our trip to Pingliang. We didn't have any plans except to meet the guide around noon. It was very nice to have a day with a little more downtime. The breakfast buffet at this hotel is pretty good, we usually get fried eggs, ham, potatoes, orange juice and coffee. Or any number of Chinese dishes. The four of us went for a long walk through the streets of Lanzhou this morning. It was a nice day and Andy was willing to ride in the stroller today. We stopped at a few stores and bought a couple of cokes from one. We ended up in a residential neighborhood that was just lined with apartment complexes. After a few dead end roads we ended up at a middle school, Carla just had to get a picture of the kids playing basketball. We came to another dead end and an old lady who was sitting outside showed us this back alley that led through the maze and right back to our hotel. We met the guides at noon and they gave us Andy's passport and the official papers from the notary office. That pretty much wraps up the business in Lanzhou. Now we are just tourist until tomorrow when we fly out. In the afternoon we went to the Gansu Provincial Museum. The exhibits centered around the silk road, which came through Lanzhou. They also had a very nice dinosaur exhibit with numerous skeletons of some very large dinosaurs. Riley would have loved it, Andy did really good at the museum. He just looked around mostly at the other people in the museum. The other people will often stop to talk to him. After the museum we took a taxi to a store and bought some gifts, and then to the Lanzhou version on Walmart. The store was three floors with grocery, clothing, shoes, just about anything you would need. They have escalators to take you from floor to floor with your grocery cart. We bought some basics like diapers, baby toothpaste, deodorant, and more bottled water. We then went to the Chinese version of fast food, noodles. Our guide Jack ordered a plate of beef, green beans, tofu and cow ears to go with the noodles. Yes, I tried the cow ears and no they were not very good. After that, back to the hotel for Mr. Andy's bath which he loves and bed. Tomorrow afternoon we leave for Guangzhou!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Too Cute!

Not Mom's favorite part of the trip!!!

This is a picture for my book club!

History and Travel Day

Not too much new today. We traveled from Pingliang to Lanzhou which took about 5 hours. Andy was enjoying his freedom of sitting on my lap and playing in the backseat, I don't think he is going to like a car seat! They are building an expressway so there is a lot of construction and the roads are pretty broken up, it will be nice when it is finished. We stopped for lunch is a small town along the way. Apparently the town in known for it's chicken so the guides stopped and bought three cooked full chickens, heads, feet and all. We had some with our lunch and it was pretty good. After lunch we toured a museum for the Red Army. It was about the great march that Mao led from 1934 to 1936. It was interesting to see. I think Lynn was disappointed because he couldn't read any of the descriptions at the exhibits but the guides gave us the short version. Carla was less than impressed (see picture). We got back to Lanzhou at about 5:00 and just had dinner at the hotel, it was kind of nice to relax after the long drive. Tomorrow Jack (one of our guides) is going to pick up Andy's passport! We have the morning free and will meet them around noon. That was about all from today.

Lunch time- Is Papa using chop sticks :)

Buying Fruit

Daddy Moments

Andy's Home Town

Today we visited Kong Tong Mountain, which is only about 10 miles from Pingliang. There is a monastery on the top of the mountain with about 80 monks. We took a tram to the middle of the mountain and walked a series and walkways and steps to reach the top of the mountain. The view was incredible but the stairs were grueling. When we arrived the monks were doing their morning prayers/readings, it was very interesting to watch. We also bought some souvenirs including wooden swords, bracelets, and wooden clickers. We had lunch on top of the mountain which included wild rabbit, whole wheat noodles, mushrooms and herbal tea. Andy didn't want anybody but me today so I carried him all over that mountain, I am going to be sore tomorrow!! After lunch we went pack to Pingliang to rest at the hotel. Pingliang is a nice city, from what I can tell it is probably about as big as Fort Collins, except the population is about 2 million. Everybody lives in apartments so the density is much greater in the cities. For dinner we had western food, which was a welcome break from noodles and rice. We had spaghetti and pizza and it was actually pretty good. I will include a few picture from the city of Pingliang. We went to some local food stand to get some fruit (watermelons and bananas). It was pretty funny to watch the guides, first he would pick up some fruit to taste it before buying any. Then he would carefully double check the scales to make sure they were accurate, and last he would negotiate with the owner for some time until they agreed on a suitable price. It was pretty funny to watch.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Do you have more money Papa???

Shoes for the orphange

This Traveling makes me tire Papa

My Nanny loves me so much

Writing my Mom!!

Andy's Home Town

Hello from Pingliang,

Today was a day of travel from Lanzhou to Pingliang. The trip was about 200 miles and we by van with our two guides and the driver (of course). The ride through the countryside was fairly slow but the roads were not too bad. All of the hillsides have been terraced and are being used to grow crops. Mostly wheat, corn and potatoes from what we could tell. On the way we stopped for lunch and met with Andy's nanny and orphanage director, Mrs. Yang. It was nice to see Andy with them again and a good opportunity to ask her questions about Andy and the orphanage. She said Andy is the most active boy in the orphanage, I can believe it! We asked Mrs.Yang what the orphanage needs so we can buy the gifts with the donated money, and she said they need shoes. We arrived around 3:30 pm and checked in to the Pingliang Hotel. It has two buildings, a main hotel and a VIP building, the guides set us up in the VIP building. We had dinner at the hotel restaurants just the four of us, the guides ordered our food and then left to go get their own dinner. We had rice, chicken, tofu, beef and mutton. Andy usually eats the rice with some of the meats and vegetables mixed in. He is still a very good eater, but high maintenance at mealtimes because he will grab and throw anything he can reach. To give you an idea, dinner for the four of us cost 118 yuan which is about $17. After dinner the guides took us to a little children's store along the street to buy the gifts for the orphanage. It was quite a circus, the women at the store were grabbing shoes of all sizes and colors for girls and boys. We also bought socks, blankets, toys for all ages and formula. The little store owner was so appreciative for the business they gave us a pair of shoes and socks for Andy at no charge. The store also paid for Andy to ride the little rides in front of the store so he would be occupied while we were trying to checkout. Lynn did a great job of keeping the rides going for him, since the whole event took quite a while. Tomorrow we will see more of the town and go to the very popular mountain nearby, I don't remember the name of it.

Mommy's favorite email

To my mommy,

]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]\ bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,/,,,,,,,,,,,,m.

Love Andy

(daddy had to put the back space key back on because I pulled it off)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Boys Hanging Out

Looks like we are enjoying our bath better

Brian said Mrs Yang liked the hats and looked through all of them!

Passport and Civil Affairs Office

Today was a big day! Our first stop was the passport photo office, the guides had only Andy and I go while Lynn and Carla stayed at the hotel. Andy did very well with the pictures. After that we went straight to the Civil Affairs office for the "official paperwork". I met Trish and Andy from New Orleans, their daughters and new son Henry. There were three families in the room while we were their along with the Provincial director, Mrs. Yang and the Notary. We inked Andy's right foot with red ink and placed his footprint into the official paperwork. I had to place thumbprints over my signature in several places also. We had a slight glitch when they wanted a copy of Teri's passport and I explained that Teri does not have a passport, and to use the copy of the Drivers License. We eventually worked it out. After the paperwork I presented Mrs. Yang with the gifts we brought for her. She was very appreciative of the knit hats, clothes and blankets we brought for her. She kept saying "Shi shi" which is thank you. She did not open the bracelet in front of us but I had the guide tell her that Teri made the gift by hand. After the meeting we went shopping at the local grocery store/shopping mall. The guides (both male) were working very hard to find us the correct diaper sizes, formula, baby food etc. We walked through the rest of the mall which is 6 stories high, but similar to the malls in the US. We took the rest of the afternoon to rest and the guide made the trip to the Notary Public office, which turned out to be almost 3 hours. For dinner the guide took us to a place to get "famous Lanzhou noodles". It was noodles in a soup, but was excellent. Andy is starting to show us his very outgoing personality!! He is always on the go and he knows what he wants. He has been a great eater and a great sleeper so far, let's hope that continues. Tomorrow we are off to Pingliang for two nights.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

They are doing good


I talked to Brian this morning. They got Andy about 4 their time. They said he is doing very well. He was sad of course when Mrs. Yang and his nanny left. I am sure his little heart was very sad and will be off and on as he figures out his new family. Brian said they gave him a bath which he wasn't too fond of and then took him to eat. They said he ate like a champ. And he drank milk from his bottle. Brian said he is loving the toys we sent and just playing with Grandma and Papa. They had him in his pj's when we called and were getting ready for bed. Tomorrow they will do the Chinese side of the adoption. What a blessing to see Mrs Yang and his nanny who he is very close to. I am anxious to hear about their night and see more pictures of my new little angel. By the way Brian says he is a good size boy and loves to be cuddled!!

What we have waited for :)

Mamma knew those cherios would help!

Andy's Angel his Nanny

Is he not the cutest!!!

The Day had Come- Andy is ours Enjoy!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thoughts on Andy

I couldn't sleep last night and tonight may be impossible. Our son is so close to meeting his Dad and Grandparents. My mind cannot comprehend what his little mind will feel as he leaves his orphanage family and the only place he has ever known. What a shock it must be to be suddenly left with these people who act so crazy over you. I always think of all these months we have fallen in love with a picture and realizing that is a one way street. I am praying and hoping that the transition is as easy as possible. We have so many people to thank who have cared for him. Somewhere there are Andy's birth parents and they are always close to my heart and prayers. It is the amazing day we have waited and hoped for ever since I convinced Brian that 4 really was a good number of children to have !! So I am hoping that the phone rings very early in the morning as this Mom is sure wishing she was there and hoping to get all the little details of her son!! Watch for pictures of Andrew Xiao Tong soon.

Happy Fathers Day Brian!

Looks like we are all eating good!!

An Olympic note : It starts on our 10 year anniversary..we think that is cool!

Mom and Dad

Another Great Day in Beijing

Today was a very busy day. Our first stop was Tiananmen Square, it was surprising how large the square is. Apparently it can hold up to 1 million people. The buildings are very majestic looking when you are up close. Security is very tight in and around the square. The day was rainy and cool all day, so many of the pictures are a little hazy. From the Tiananmen Square we walked into the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was built in 1420 and is where the Emperor's lived until 1924. It was huge, approximately 3/4 miles long and 1/2 miles wide with 9,999 rooms inside. It probably took us 3 hours to get all the way through it. After lunch we took a tour of the Hutong neighborhoods. They drove us around in Pettycabs which are bicycles with a two person cab on the back. The alleys of the Hutong are too small for a vehicle tour. The Hutongs are the old living areas in Beijing. They are essentially squares with rooms around the outside and a courtyard in the center. You may have a dozen families living in one Hutong. They are very quaint little neighborhoods, but they are not very convenient to live in. Most do not have running water, or heat. They have a central stove area for cooking and community (public restrooms) for them to use. It is mostly the older people that live in the Hutongs now. Most of the young people live in the apartments. After the Hutong tour we drove by the Olympic venue. The new stadium is called the "Birds Nest" and when you see the picture you will know why. We then went to an acrobat show. They were amazing!! The funniest part was when the three of us sat down next to probably 10 older Chinese women. They just kept looking at us and laughing. I said Nihao (hello) and she must of though I was fluent in Chinese because the asked me all kinds of questions. Our guide was not with us at the time to the communication was not good but everybody had a good laugh. Dinner was excellent, just down the street from the hotel. Our favorite so far is the chicken dishes, they are good at every restaurant. Well, tomorrow we catch a plane to Lanzhou and get Andy...Gotcha Day. We are very excited.

More to come..

Friday, June 13, 2008

A true beautiful sign of the country our son is from...
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