Hintons 2015

Hintons 2015

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Out & about in Nanchang

Now that the paperwork for the adoption has been completed, we have a few days to spend in Nanchang until we receive Maddy’s passport. We have been going out & about between nap time to visit the city. We have gone to the Teng Weng Pavilion that was originally built during the Tang Dynasty period. This has been rebuilt several times thru history. We also visited the local Walmart to stock up on a few supplies that the local grocery store does not have. There are not many westerners here so we tend to get quite a few stares when we are out around town. At the Pavilion there were several groups of school children visiting and our group got mobbed on various occasions by kids wanting to practice their English, see the baby or try to get in a few pictures.

Maddy is doing a little better each day & we get to see her personality come thru a little more every day. Matt & one of the other moms in the group got sick last night. Please keep them in your prayers. It seems that it was probably something they ate at a local restaurant yesterday so perhaps it will be short lived. We got her to sit in a high chair yesterday which let daddy’s arms get a rest for a while. Maddy is starting to warm up to me a little more & has actually let me hold her a few times for a short bit. We went out for our daily trip to the grocery store up the block & let me take her in the carrier without daddy being there. She loves getting outside so it really didn’t make much difference who carried her just as long as she could go. That was quite a victory.

We plan to visit a few more sites today & go do some shopping at a local porcelain store. One of the babies in the group turns one tomorrow so we will have a small party for her. Thanks to everyone for all of the kind words via posts & e-mails and especially for your prayers. I am having issues with uploading pictures so I will try later.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Officially a family of 3

On Monday the adoption was finalized. We prepared our paperwork ahead of time in a hotel conference room where we signed and put out thumb prints over our signature. We used a red ink that is used for official documents in China. We also had to put Maddy’s footprint in red on the paperwork. I guess that must be the Chinese way of having the child go along with the adoption. It turned out to be a long day as we headed back to the Civil Affairs office to file our paperwork and get an interview about why we wanted to adopt & what our plans for her future are. We must have answered the questions ok because about 30 minutes later we emerged with a red leather folder holding the official document stating that we are officially her parents. Jiangxi Province also gives each family a porcelain vase as a memento in a beautiful red box.
This province is famous for its porcelain so that was a nice keepsake to get.

In addition to the civil affairs office we made a stop at the notary office to have the paperwork approved and under go another series of questions. Thankfully our group got in just before 2 other groups with about 20 other families. Our guide told us that there are 80 families in town this week adopting babies. At our hotel we have seen families from Spain & France in addition to the US. It has been so fun to see all of the babies & hear them speaking to them in their own language. The third and final stop was to the local police station for an attempt to have the babies picture taken at the police department so they can start a file on her (maybe they think she will try to rob a bank or commit some other heinous crime and then flee the country over the course of the next several days...?). Apparently, the police never received the paperwork for any of the groups so we all will have to make appointments to go back tomorrow.

We came back even more exhausted than the day before and everyone was in bed by 9:00. Bonding with Maddy is progressing, although for a period each night she is almost inconsolable and in her crying she seems to be calling out mama. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence, but perhaps she is mourning the loss of her foster mother. Either way, we just hope that this part gets easier. We gave Maddy a bath tonight, she did not enjoy this very much, and we wonder if she’s ever had one before? Hope this gets easier as well. She has really bonded with daddy & will tolerate mommy for short time periods. She really does not like being in the hotel room so when she gets fussy a trip to the restaurant downstairs helps to calm her right down. Her paperwork said she loves to play outside & this is obvious as she just coos whenever we go out for walks.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Forever Family Day

Today was the most exhausting, yet fulfilling days of our life. We met our daughter for the first time. We flew from Beijing to Nanchang (our flight was late getting in) and went to the hotel with a half hour to get prepped to go get the babies. We went to our room to discover it had not been cleaned yet (& when I say not clean it was an absolute disaster from being someone’s honeymoon suite the night before). Thankfully Dan & Renee let us come into their room with our luggage & get ready to go.

While we were waiting in the lobby for the rest of our group, there was a van that showed up with babies for another group. We all got very excited & a bit choked up to see this reality right before our eyes. We headed to the Civil Affairs office at 4:00. This was one of the quietest rides are group has ever had as everyone contemplated the magnitude of what was about to happen. By the time we arrived at 4:30 the babies were already there. Our guide went in & came back out to inform us that they were ready & that all of the babies had on red outfits. In China red is the color of happiness. It was beautiful that the orphanage took the time to dress these babies so beautifully & with such love.

Another group was already in the room that had gotten their babies before us. So babies were everywhere crying. Our babies sat quietly with their escorts (at least for the time being). One by one we were called forward & given our babies. We spotted Madison right away & began snapping pictures of here & the other babies going to their new parents in our group. One by one there quite little cuties began to wail as they realized they were with strangers.

Our turn came fourth in the group. Madison was handed to me & didn’t cry right away & actually reached for Matt. I let him hold here for a little while but then it hit her that she didn’t know us. Between the strangers, hotness of the room & other crying babies, that was enough to make anyone cry. Our group had 3 little peanuts & 2 bigger babies. One of the babies has the cutest, chubbiest cheeks I have ever seen.

It took several attempts to capture Madison’s passport picture since she was crying so hard. We just felt awful for her. We also had our ‘first family picture’ that will be used for filing the paperwork in China.

As soon as we left the building, the fresh air made the babies stop crying for the time being. The van ride back was fairly crying with a few minor outbursts here & there. Some of the group was nice enough to share their Cheerios which Maddy really liked. We saw a little bit of her personality come through on this ride. She started to make a few funny faces.

From the time we got on the elevator at the hotel she started to cry again. The crying continued for the next 2+ hours as we tried everything to help her out. We tried a bottle, toys, we changed her diaper, walked around but to not avail. Our hearts just broke her for as she looked at us, these strangers she did not know. She was apparently with her foster mother likely up until this morning. It has been a long day for these precious little ones. Finally around 8:00 she wore herself out & fell asleep.

We are in absolutely amazement at this beautiful bundle of joy that God has bestowed upon us. Once I realized that she was finally in our care & just looking at her, I cried tears of joy in the hotel room. We are so blessed & so thankful today, this day of days.

At the beginning of the day today, there was a small part that was sorry to say goodbye to Beijing. There is certainly more to see there, things that will just have to wait until we visit again.

The Beijing airport is a real zoo! We were berated by one of the airport staff to move to another line, and didn’t seem to care that we were travelling as a group. The flight to Nanchang was a bit of a throw back to the 80’s complete with retro styled meals with the hot part coming in a little tin tray covered in foil. Chicken, rice and vegetables (mmmm… good).
Nanchang is worlds apart from Beijing. With a population of only 4 million it pales by comparison to Beijing with its 14 million. This is quickly apparent in the quality of the public roads, the cars that travel them and the driving ability of those on the roads (the lane markers appear to be suggestions only as drivers rarely stay in their lanes and the horn gets more use than turn signals or brakes (at one intersections cars from all directions were crisscrossing the intersection at the same time not for the faint of heart.

Upon our arrival, we were told we only had about 30 minutes to get settled into our rooms and prepare the necessary paperwork and then go and get our daughters. As soon as we got to our hotel, we made our way to our floor, as we approached the door to our suite, we discovered that it had been decorated (for a moment we thought that this was some gesture of goodwill to adoptive families staying in the hotel, but upon closer inspection it was wedding decorations). Upon opening the door, we were welcomed by an enormous mess. The suite had apparently been used by a newlywed couple the night before, and the room had not been cleaned, and was a complete disaster (Like Axel Rose and stayed here sans the broken furniture and tv). We stood there stunned for a few moments, almost expecting the couple to emerge from the suite’s master bath… It was at this point that shock turned to anger and Tanya looked like she was ready to throw down Hong Kong style. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and Tanya held back the roundhouses and crane technique in favor of calling our guide. Michelle our guide entered the room and it was “go-time”, she immediately got on the phone and laid down the law, or at least I think it was the law, judging by the rate and tone of her Chinese. Let’s just say I was just glad to be on this end of the conversation. The hotel sent a squad from housekeeping, who were quickly scolded for not having the room prepared. Despite the drama, the Hoy’s (one of the other families in our travel group) were kind enough to let us get ready to get the baby while our suite was cleaned.

We got our paperwork and camera’s ready and went to the lobby. While we were waiting for the rest of the group, about a dozen babies were carried passed us. Seeing these babies raised everyone’s anxiety levels as we knew that in less than 30 minutes we would be handed our own babies. The trip to the Adoption office is blurry, even the elevator ride up to the 26th floor seemed to happen in an instant and we found ourselves standing in a hallway greeted by the sound of crying babies perhaps 30 feet away. I remember some of the group asking if there was a restroom and joking about how everyone was so stricken with anxiety that we all had to pee.

Our guide went to check and see about the babies as we all just stood there sort of dumbstruck. Soon our guide came back and said that our girls were just inside, we would just have to get our passports ready to show. The next part is fuzzy, I just remember watching the others get their babies through the little screen on my camcorder, like I was a watching someone’s Gotcha Day video playing on YouTube. The next thing I know, my wife is asking me for my passport, which incidentally, was still conveniently tucked away in a secure and undisclosed location (No that ‘s not where I keep my passport! Shame on you for thinking that, I mean who would put their passport there… actually, it was in a pouch under my shirt… I had to fumble around for a few moments trying to retrieve it because the pouch was between my undershirt and my polo shirt and I was reaching all the way in (all this while everyone looked at me like I just left the dog in the hot car with the windows rolled up or something dramatically less serious). That’s when they handed us our little girl…

At this point I suppose I could describe in lurid detail how she cried almost non-stop for the next three hours, however, during that time I also got to feed her for the first time… When we finally got her calmed down she made some absolutely delightful sounds that I will remember forever. I will also never forget the way my heart melted when this precious little girl stared curiously into my eyes, or watching her drift off to sleep for the first time while in our care. What more can I say, I am in love with my little girl, Tanya and I couldn’t be happier with this precious gift that we have been given, she’s perfect!!!
~Maddy’s Daddy

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Our Last Day in Beijing

Our stay in Beijing has been very interesting. We were awakened by the sounds of thunder this morning, and the day looked to be dark and gloomy. We decided to visit the Capitol Museum (art and cultural exhibits) with Mike and Sue. The weather improved steadily and by the time we exited the museum, the sun was beginning to shine through the deep layer of smog that seems to persist here. Since the threat of rain lifted, we headed to Tiananmen Square.

The square is enormous, and despite a crowd of tens of thousands, there was still enough room for a few Beijingers to fly their kites. Lucky for us Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum had been closed for a couple of hours so the enormous crowd that typically gathers for that had dispersed. As has been the case we were approached countless times by peddlers trying to convince us that small Chinese flags, socks, wristwatches with Chairman Mao depicted on the face were necessary for our very survival. In one such case I saw a man accosted by one peddler who appeared to be holding him at sock-point until he might agree to buy. I didn’t see the outcome of this stand-off as my attention was diverted by the cries of “DVD, Sir, DVD!” I laugh about it now, but when you are approached like this every 30-50 feet it gets bit ridiculous… Despite all that, this is a pretty amazing place, and it’s a small price to pay for the little blessing that awaits us.

After our little sight-seeing trip, the two of us decided to get a few gifts from the Friendship Store. Along the way we talked about how we were feeling a little overwhelmed that in little more than 24 hours we would be new parents holding and caring for our daughter.
We returned to our room just with just enough time to get ready for dinner & our trip to see the Chinese Acrobats. We tried a few new dishes that were quite tasty, including chicken-feet which someone of our group ordered (the menu said chicken legs…not so tasty).
At dinner, the subject of tomorrow’s events got everyone talking. Everyone seemed to share the same feelings of excitement and anticipation, but also the fear of the unknown. We quickly finished our dinner and returned to the hotel just in time to meet our guide for the trip to see the acrobats.

The Acrobats are absolutely incredible, and a must see when traveling to Beijing. We just spent the last hour and a half packing our bags for tomorrow mornings flight to Nanchang (the emotions are running high knowing that in less than 24 hours the moment we have been waiting for as a couple will soon be here, our wait is drawing to a close and tomorrow Tanya becomes a mother and I become a father! Tomorrow there will be tears of joy!

~Maddy’s Daddy

Friday, October 26, 2007

Beijing Day 3

Today was our Great Wall adventure. The whole group went on the trip to see this work of magnificence. It is so hard to describe what it’s like to not only be in China, but to stand on this marvel of human engineering that runs about 1500+ miles. It was a little foggy so it was hard to see very far, but what we could see was absolutely breath taking.

We also made a few stops at the Jade Factory & a Tea Room for a tea ceremony/teaching. It was very interesting to learn about the different types of teas & what each type helps with physically. Being the land of tea, China offers so many different varieties that it is hard to choose which ones to take home. Since our baggage space is limited & we are already overweight for our in-country flight on Sunday we will have to defer that choice until we reach Guangzhou.

As a way to recover from the hike up to & on the wall, we had a foot massage tonite at a place about a block from the hotel. The was quite an experience! We are now fully relaxed & ready to go to bed.

I had some time alone on the wall today to reflect on the upcoming event & the impact that is will have on my life. It is so unreal that after all of these years we are finally becoming parents. I try to imagine how things will be but it is just so hard to fathom at times. We are so excited to meet Maddy & are counting the hours now until that blessed event happens. The countdown has begun & we are under 48 hours now!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beijing Day 2

Today we took a Hutong Tour thru old Beijing in a rickshaw. The Hutongs are old houses that were created during the Yuan, Ming, & Qing dynasties. They are basically courtyard houses that have 4 sections that were divided by a person’s importance in the family. It was fun to be part of the rickshaw traffic jam that happened at a few points.

We also ventured out to the Summer Palace which was much further than we thought. We were pleasantly surprised by this attraction and spent a couple of hours walking around looking at the beautiful lake. This palace was built by the royal family as a get away. It is situated on Kumming Lake & is beautiful. There is so much beautiful art work is incorporated into the walk ways & buildings. The whole place would take at least a day or more to see as it is 290 hectares.

Our whole group is now here & tomorrow is the first time we will all do something together. Only 3 more sleeps until we see Maddy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beijing Day 1

We arrived safely in Beijing & have been out seeing the sites. We are having issues with posting to our blog so hopefully we will be able to find an internet cafĂ© where we will be able to upload information. Today we ventured on the Beijing Subway to see the Forbidden City. Seeing the city was fun but I think getting around & seeing the day to day life in the city is even more fun. We had a laugh at a sign on the metro that showed a bloody finger as a warning sign not to get too close the door as it closes. I have taken a picture of this. We have also been hit up by ‘art students’ who are looking to hawk their art & their professors’ art. It seems legit, but after being hit up 3 times & looking at 2 ‘galleries’ we decided that it seemed a little too good to be true. The last one we went to we really got the high pressure sales pitch along with an offer to write our names in Chinese calligraphy.

The rest of our group is arriving tonight so hopefully we can all meet up tomorrow for dinner. We are planning to do a Hutong Tour tomorrow & visit the Great Wall on Friday. Only 4 more nights until we get to Maddy. It seems so unreal that we are so close!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ready to go!

We have less than 48 hours before we leave on our trip of a lifetime. Let me say that travel by itself is not for the faint of heart, but preparing to travel to bring a baby home is way more work than I ever imagined. I have been recording 'Survivor China' & have only had a chance to see one episode but I am imagining us in our own 'Survivor' type situation. Can 2 adults survive 2 + weeks in China lugging 90 pounds of luggage around adding a baby to the mix all while staying in 4-5 star hotels? I mean really, how much stuff do 2 big people & 1 little person need?

We packed only to weigh our suitcase & discover we were over in one bag & quite under in another. We had to shuffle everything around & try it all over again. The net result is that we are still over by Chinese intra-country standards but we are hoping to beg for mercy at the airport in Beijing when we leave for Maddy's province. Maybe showing them her picture will help our plight.

Our itinerary is here: http://meetthehintons.blogspot.com/2007/09/we-have-travel-dates22-day-count-down.html

We are not sure how successful blogger will work in China, so please visit our main website: www.meetthehintons.com & hopefully between the 2 we can keep a log of our journey. Thank you in advance to all the people who have said they will be praying for us. Also keep the other 4 families in our group and Tracy & Adam in your prayers too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Showers of Blessings

The weekend of October 5th we had 2 baby showers. One was Saturday with the family and the other on Sunday with our church family. Both showers had a bit of an Asian flair to it and it was fun to see the creativity at work.

At our family shower, each guest got a book mark on it with the Chinese Red Thread saying that reads: "An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.” This poem has become so real to us as we get closer to leaving for China & bringing Maddy into our family forever.

At our church family shower there was a matching game where each guest had to match the Chinese character to the English word. It was fun to see the guests look at the characters and find how the meanings of the words are actually incorporated into the character drawings.

My work mates also gave me a shower on 10/17, it was a Red Egg & Ginger Party themed after the Chinese tradition done at one month old for the child. The family usually hosts a party when the child turns one month & announces the baby's name along with giving gifts to the attendees. My shower featured a Red Egg shaped cake along with red boxes that had gifts for the attendees (red jelly beans).

We are so blessed to get so much support from so many people. We got some beautiful gifts, but more importantly we felt so much love from so many people. We are constantly amazed at how God shows His love for us through so many people and in so many ways.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Maddy is 8 months old today

Madison is 8 months old today. This should be the last milestone that she hits without her forever family. We found this poem somewhere & thought that it was appropriate for this very occasion.

Kisses in the wind
We hold you in our hearts and touch you in our dreams.
You are here each day with us, at least that’s how it seems.
We know you wonder where we are... what’s taking us so long.
But remember child, We love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, We blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hands until we can be with you.
We promise you, our darling, We're doing all that we can do.

Very soon, you’ll have family of real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, We blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And the angels bring the kisses that we send to you each night.
--Author unknown