Month: March 2015

Guanzhou, China Marriott, 3-10-2015, 6:18 AM

As I am sure you can imagine we have enjoyed taking a number of photos of our little wonder. Going through them I came across these; a series that captures a memory I shall never forget. It was taken the first morning of the day after she was placed in our arms.

We have a busy day ahead of us with interviews, important papers to sign, and shopping to do. Lemondrop though doesn’t do mornings; besides yesterday had been an eventful day and it had left her exhausted.

01_Next Morning

While Lemondrop was still sleeping Sue lifted her up from the bed, placed her on her lap, and softly spoke  to her; gently encouraging her to wake up.

02_Next Morning

Slowly she began to stir from her slumber and open her eyes. At first they didn’t focus on anything really, she just stared out into space; trying in that fog of half awake & half asleep to get her bearings and remember where she was.

03_Next Morning

After a couple of moments her eyes focused; she saw me sitting beside her on the bed, that it was Sue holding her, and remembered yesterday……

04_Next Morning

She then realized that it hadn’t been just a dream; Mama & Baba were real. With a little sigh she snuggled in a little more.

05_Next Morning

To see photos from the day before, our Forever Family Day, click HERE

Have a Magical Day!

March 19, 2015, 3:18 am – Home

home at last

After 36 hours of traveling we finally made it Home.

Our flight from Guangzhou got off a little late but nothing we were worried about since we had a 3 or so hour layover in Beijing before we were to take our connecting flight back to the US. When we arrived in Beijing though we found that our connecting flight was delayed by 9 hours, then it took almost 2 hours after that before we were actually taking off.

Lemondrop had some ear issues on the flight from Guangzhou to Beijing and everybody on the flight knew about it. She did much better on the second leg from Beijing to Newark. She also had a ball waiting for our flights; the kid knows how to work the crowd; shaking hands and blowing kisses to the people she met. After that long of a trip I would have forgiven a meltdown but she was a champ.

I wanted to start posting as soon as we got back but this damn cold I got from her is kicking my butt and the jet lag is not helping matters; I am sleeping about 3 or 4 hours tops and dragging myself around the rest of the day.

Hopefully though I will dig the laptop out soon and start sharing pics from our adventure bringing Princess Lemondrop home.

Gluten Free Dining : China Marriott Hotel, Guangzhou China

Just a quick note.

One issue we anticipated was the selection of foods I would be able to safely eat. The Disney Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong was no real trouble at all; I mentioned the issue to one of the hostesses who led me to ‘Debbie” and she made sure I was comfortable with selections open to me. When we got to Guangzhou & the China Hotel it started off with a little more difficulty but help quickly arrived.

We chose to get the Executive Upgrade to our room which for, I think it was roughly $30 more a day ($15 each for Sue and I) this gives you a few extra perks; one of which is access to the Executive Lounge where there are various buffet style offerings from 6am – 12 midnight daily. Having most all our breakfasts there as well as a light night time meal more than made up for the additional cost compared to what we would have to pay finding someplace to eat outside or at the more expensive buffet restaurant in the hotel. You can read more about our experience with the Executive upgrade HERE. I highly recommend the upgrade.

Our first day at the hotel and breakfast in the lounge I just stuck with the breakfast basics; eggs, bacon, ham, and avoided anything else. That night, for the second meal, dinner, I ventured over to one of the chefs and tried to ask his help; the poor guy had no idea what I was trying to say and I could see he was sorry about that. He passed me on to one of the hostesses and that worked better but not great. I tried to explain things I had to avoid, she did sort of understand and brought me to the salad bar and gave me a salt & pepper shaker to use as an additional bonus. So I made a salad.

What she or someone else did do though, unbeknownst to me, was bring my issue to a manager. We had read that The Marriott’s made sure to have English speaking managers on hand and while I was returning to my table with the salad I was approached by the Assistant Executive Lounge Manager Yourick ‘t Gilde

Yourick_zpscc5dpen5

who asked me some questions, made note that Gluten Free offerings were generally difficult to accommodate in China because it isn’t a wide spread concern there, and offered to write something I could present to make my concerns known wherever we went to eat; it worked wonderfully. As it turns out Yourick is from Nederland and has a brother over there who is Gluten intolerant as well. In Nederland there is widespread knowledge and resources available to him but, when he has come to visit his brother in China it has been much more of a struggle. As such Yourick knows intimately well the issues involved and is perfectly aware of how to make others in China aware; this is what he gave me.

GF note_zps6mbgzfun

Click HERE for a larger version to save to your device or print up

A couple days later we were in their Cafe Veranda, a buffet style restaurant, and presented the note to one of the hostesses. She immediately understood and called someone over who guided me easily through their selections. And again an English speaking Manager, David Nebehay, came over to me afterwards eager to help in any way I needed; even went so far as to place a order with a supplier for some gluten free goods for me during our stay.

Today we made a trip to Lemondrops former home, the Bao’on Orphanage, where they had prepared quite the feast for us to enjoy. I knew looking at it though that there wouldn’t be much I would feel brave enough to just try my luck. I gave the note from Yourick to our guide who showed the note to their cook and she confirmed my suspicions; Out of everything the white rice, soup and Bok choy were all I could have – all tasty I might add, and I didn’t have to chance it and get sick or do totally without and starve!

So, if you find yourself in China and need to make someone aware of your gluten free needs, please feel free to save a copy of this image and print it up.

Oh, and if you ever get to the Executive Lounge at the China Marriott, thank Yourick and give him my best.

Have a magical Day!

And now we are family.

It was an emotional trip today to the Guangzhou Civil Affairs office. After a wait of only 15 minutes or so Lemondrop was placed in our arms. As expected she was none to pleased and cried quite bit; pointing at the area from where she had been and also at the young lady from the orphanage who had placed her in Susan’s arms; indicating that she wanted to go back.

After a while she calmed down in Susan’s arms, then was placed in mine and started up again. She did though calm down again; I hope she remains as comfortable with both of us. She also bonded quite well with the two boys; holding both their hands simultaneously at one point.

She still didn’t look very happy, until we made our way out of the room and towards the elevator, then, like in videos we have watched on youtube she came to life and smiled.

One of the most precious things though was when at one point Sue pointed to the boys, then me, then herself, explaining Ge Ge. Ba Ba, Ma Ma; and hearing Lemondrop repeat the words.

The ride back to the hotel was great, she smiled and was quite happy. We washed her up a bit when we got to the room; that took some time because she resisted being undressed; even crying when we tried to take off her obviously brand new shoes. Eventually, little by little we got it done; we let her hold the shoes to assure her that we weren’t trying to take them away from her.

After we finished cleaning her up Sue brought out 2 pairs of shoes we had brought with us and she relaxed her grip on the shoes she came with and let us dress her without a fuss; choosing a pretty dress and the pair of pink shoes Sue bought.

Then it was off to dinner, she remained animated and happy; even playing ‘keep away’ with me by holding out one of her utensils then pulling it away when I tried to reach for it.

Then she was off to bed; Sue made her some formula she gave her in a bottle. They snuggled up on the bed and pretty quickly Lemondrop was asleep.

IMG_20150309_080233150A long day draws to a close. She woke up today a ward of the state; an orphan with no home or family to call her own.

She will wake up tomorrow in a whole new world.

Made it to Guangzhou!

After a long and eventful trip (more on that later) we have arrived in Guangzhou China.

It is midnight, local time; we are just finishing unpacking and then Sue is having some oatmeal, the first thing she has had to eat since around 8am this morning.  We have a very limited supply of bottled water at the moment; I don’t want to finish the last one so I’m noshing on a couple pieces of beef jerky and a granola bar.

The lady from the adoption agency met us at the train station and she and the van driver brought us to the hotel. They will be picking us up in the morning around noon to run a couple errands, pick up the family adopting a little girl who will be called Ellorey & who incidently Sue met on Facebook when she contacted Sue to say that she had spotted her little one in the video we have Lilah. Then head over to the orphanage to take possession of Lemondrop.
Btw, driving in China, is not for amateurs; holy cow it is crazy here; I’m glad we had a driver who knows how to get through it.

Greetings from Hong Kong!

image

We made it to Hong Kong, the first leg of our trip in this long journey to bring Lemondrop home!

It was a very long flight, 16 hours non stop, and it was in the late evening local time when we got here – morning for our bodies though. With all our luggae we had to split up and take two taxis to the Hong Kong Disney Hollywood Hotel, which was an adventure on its own.

While it is 4:30 pm for us right now it is 5:30 am local time and we’re getting ready now to start our day – first stop Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, then off to the park for the day.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be a more relaxing day with us off to the mainland in the afternoon. Monday we finally hold Lemondrop.