Hintons 2015

Hintons 2015

Sunday, November 18, 2007

3 weeks today since we met Maddy

It was 3 weeks ago today that our daughter forever came into our lives. Last night we were watching the video from that day & are amazed at how much has changed in 3 short weeks. The video showed a scared little girl that was unsure of these 2 people making a fuss over her compared to today where she just expects it from us & makes quite a stink if she doesn't have our undivided attention. We are able to make her laugh now where as that night she really didn't even want to crack a smile. We are amazed every day at this beautiful blessing that God has bestowed on us.

We have pretty much gotten over the jet lag but are still working getting a little more sleep at night. Hopefully that will come in time. Maddy has picked up crawling like a pro and is getting herself into all kinds of stuff. She is a great eater & loves mashed potatoes. In fact she likes them so much when we ran out the other night we had a major dinner time melt down! She has really taken to the cat & dog, both of which have been great sports when it comes to her going after them with a vengeance.

There is a family which many of you may have heard about in Michigan that I ask you to keep in your prayers. The husband died while they were in China shortly after the adoption of their daughter was finalized. She is now faced with coming home & not only burying her husband but also starting life with a new baby alone. This couple had been married for 19 years & had been wanting for a child for a long time. Our hearts & prayers truly go out to this family.

I am attaching a few pictures of visitors & life @ home (including a new use daddy found for the recalled Bumbo).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Back Home & a few pictures from the last day in China

We made it back in 1 piece & have been starting to slowly adjust to the time change. The 3 plane rides home weren't too bad, the worst part was going thru all of the security checkpoints in each country. There is not a whole lot of consistency in what can fly in each country & that was frustrating. Matt got his hand sanitizer confiscated in Tokyo after having gone thru several checkpoints previously (including Tokyo on the way to China).

Our last day in China consisted of getting an additional suitcase to haul all of the purchases we managed to accumulate, taking the oath of citizenship @ the US Consulate & the infamous Red Couch photo at the White Swan Hotel. The oath 'ceremony' at the consulate consisted of 85 families total with cranky kids that had waited for about 30 minutes only to take a total of 5 minutes to get instructions and take the actual oath. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside but there were several teary eyed parents. I think for us it was overwhelming to think that the final official step in the process was finally done & this was the ending of a 2 + year journey to get there.

Life at home has been going pretty well. We have both finally gotten over our colds & are starting to get back to normal in the digestive tract. Our last major hurdle is getting our body clocks (& Maddy's) on the right time zone. We are doing a little better each day, but I am thankful to still have a bit of time off to ease the transition. I have a lot of respect for those who have to return to work right away after this process. We are attaching a slide show of some pictures showing the red couch & other misc. photos.

~Maddy's Mom

Wow, our whirlwind tour of the orient is complete, we have our daughter and now real life begins again...managing the duties of everyday life are certainly more challenging with a munchkin added to the mix. Having jet lag and being sleep deprived doesn't help either.

I would like to share a few funny moments from the trip that we didn't post earlier due to the hoops we had to go through to post while in China. Our red couch experience was a bit comical, Maddy (the youngest of the girls in our group) did surprisingly well, she didn't cry at all. She even appeared to be comforting the more stressed of the group sitting around her, that was until we noticed that our darling little girl was in fact not comforting them, but was pinching them. I am beginning to think our little girl might me a bit mischievous. She certainly has been entertaining us with her funny faces, and her sound effects. Her cooing and laughing make it that much easier to get through the fussy times. I about died laughing the first time she made her "mad face" (see the photo's), or how well the smallest stacking cup, fits on her cute little ears and how she just kept playing with that little cup stuck to the side of her head...

Travel Tips: When in Beijing, beware of the English speaking art students. When walking outside your hotel, you will also be approached by DVD and sock peddlers. Be aware that sales tactics are very different in China. On several occasions I witnessed "sales personnel" chase down a perspective client, and grab them or use the merchandise in an intimidating fashion. On one occasion I witnessed a luggage sales person chasing a man in the basement of the silk market (Beijing) with a roller bag, or as I mentioned in a nearlier post I saw a poor man held at "sock-point" on the street near our hotel. Do yourself and your digestive tract a favor and avoid eating soups in China, which are most likely made with tap water and not brought to a boil (we learned this the hard way).

Well, its getting hard to keep my thoughts straight, and keep my eyes open, I'll post more later...

~Maddy's Daddy

Monday, November 5, 2007

Lunch @ Lucy’s & a river boat cruise….last post from China

Yesterday we met Tracy & Adam along with their daughter Charlotte from back home at Lucy’s for lunch. Lucy’s serves both Chinese & American food which is a nice option to have when you’ve been eating so much Chinese food. I know before I came to China I read on other blogs of family’s who travelled about how they got so sick of eating Chinese food. I used to think ‘Wow, I love Chinese food, how can that happen?’ But now I understand completely what they meant.

In the evening our guide arranged for a boat cruise for the group along the Pearl River. This is the river that the hotel sits on & at night everything is all lit up. It is really beautiful. It’s beautiful to see the old & new parts of Guangzhou at night.

Maddy does better & better each day. Today she let me feed her 2 bottles & is now napping peacefully (none the wiser that daddy is out of the room for a while). It’s just amazing to see her little personality come through so much. She does have a bit of a spicy streak in her too, which is funny because all of the vendors on the island call her a spicy girl when they find out she is from Jiangxi province,

Well, it’s almost time for us to get ready for our Consulate Oath Ceremony. We have an early flight in the morning with a 4:30 am wake up call. Thanks to everyone who followed on our journey, we will post again once we are back home & over our jet lag.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday on Shamian Island

For those of you who don’t know what Shamian Island is, it’s a beautiful little piece of land carved out by the Pearl River that originally was part of colonial Britain’s territory. The colonial influence is very apparent in the architecture. The hotel we are staying at is on the island. It is so different from the rest of China, in fact when you are walking around you tend to forget for a moment that you are in China.

Our group got up fairly early for a tour so we opted to sleep in & meet up with the group later. We had a nice leisurely breakfast & went out for a walk around the island afterwards. It was so beautiful to see all of the families out in the parks & squares that grace the island. People were playing badminton, hacky sack (the Chinese have this different kind of hacky which is a stack of discs & has a feather in the middle) and the little ones just running around. We also saw about 5 bridal couples donning their apparel & getting their pictures taken. The island has beautiful old trees that are draped with Spanish Moss. It just has such a different feeling from the rest of the city.

We also came across an old church that was having service. We were welcomed in & sat for a few minutes to listen into the music. There were just starting their English service so it was nice to hear what they had to say. I can certainly say the same God we serve in the US is alive & moving in China. I have heard so many things in the past about religious repression that it brought me to tears sitting there in this church listening to them praise the Lord. Maddy was a little restless so we didn’t stay long, but as we continued on our walk you could hear the music from pretty far away.

In the afternoon we hired Ann from Red Thread (who did our care package) to take us shopping. She took us into some of the back alleys & places that rarely see foreigners to get us some of the best deals. We got a boatload of stuff for a fraction of what it would cost us on the island. We were pretty impressed about how she had taught herself English & Spanish from the 4 years that she did work on the island. She now has a partnership with an American that runs a web site sending care packages to China & also getting various items that people may have wanted to buy here but forgot or their child has grown out of from previous visits.
It was another rough night for me again as I was pretty sick. I am feeling better today & thankfully it was not as bad as before. We are now just 1 ½ days from coming home!
~Maddy’s Mom

It’s been a few days since I (Matt) last wrote something, so I thought I would pipe in this morning and say a few things. First, getting sick is the pits, but getting sick while traveling in a foreign country where English barely spoken makes it worse. I hope that the worst is behind us. It wouldn’t be quite so terrible if it was just the two of us, but with Maddy to take care of it makes things extra challenging. Having taken Maddy to breakfast a couple times alone I found it nearly impossible to manage carrying a baby and trying to juggle a plate at the buffet. After these experiences, I have a great deal of respect for single parents who are able to manage tasks like these on a daily basis.

Second, Maddy is doing great! We are constantly amazed at how quickly Madison is developing, it seems like everyday she makes a new sound or expression. She is tons of fun at play time and has provided some very entertaining moments as she makes new discoveries, or does something new, or just does something hilarious. We are so blessed!!!

Guangzhou is an amazing place! I would like to echo what Tanya has already said about this being a magical place. The architecture reminds me a bit of Sydney, Australia except that the streets have Chinese names and the inhabitants are all Chinese. This place is beautiful and the weather in very comfortable for shorts and t-shirts. This would be a great place to come for a vacation and to get a taste for Asian culture and not be overwhelmed by it like we were in Nanchang. This place seems to cater to westerners and has just enough of a feeling of home to keep you comfortable.

Finally, yesterday as Tanya stated we made a haul in our shopping excursion, and bought so much stuff we now find ourselves in need of another suitcase in order to haul it all home. Our shopping guide (Ann from Red Thread) saved us a small fortune in Yuan by getting us some great prices. A quick story about our experience yesterday… While visiting one of the markets where I was looking at a mahjong set, there was a street beggar going from store to store begging for money from the shopkeepers. One shopkeeper who in his mind was particularly stingy by his standard got a stern cussing out. A few shops down the way and the man met his match when a woman shopkeeper started taking a swing at him with a wooden stool. It was quite a site.

Great news! We just received word that are documents are in order and have been accepted by the US Consulate! Tomorrow, we will be sworn in and Maddy will officially become a US Citizen!

~Maddy's Daddy

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Made it to Guangzhou

Well our last day or so in Nanchang found us taking turns being sick. We are both better now & in the balmy city of Guangzhou. Maddy’s first flight really well with no major breakdowns. We were pleasantly surprised at how well she handled take off & landing.
We found some very beautiful porcelain in Nanchang (I sent Matt with a list since I was sick – he did very well on picking out pieces). It was a little sad leaving her province since it will likely be a while before we return. We are hopeful to one day come back though when she is a little older so she can get so know her home province & specifically Leping (the city where she came from).

Our first night was very rough as it was a new place for the little peanut. We got awoken to a crabby baby every couple of hours. We had medical exams & visa pictures at 8:30 am so the morning came very early today on little sleep. The good news is the exams went well for all of the babies in the group with very little crying. Some of the hygienic nightmares we had heard about from other blogs were not found to be true in the clinic we went.

Today we explored the island & made some notes about which shops have what items at what prices. It’s funny how in some places where the competition is nearby, they punch the price into a calculator so as not to tip their hand to the other vendors. We were able to find something that started at 30 Yuan (about 4 USD) in one place & ended up to be 15 Yuan at another place.

While we are enjoying our stay in China, we are getting very anxious to get home & get everyone into a routine. Tonite we are going with our group to the infamous Lucy’s for dinner. I have run into one person I know that I used to work with, she is baby for her second baby. We are hoping to run into some of our RQ buddies & hopefully Tracy & Adam.