Bree Mei age 4yr

Bree Mei    age 4yr







Thursday, August 28, 2008

OUR LAST DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally-our last night in China. We went to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to take our oath this afternoon. Cameras were not allowed. Pretty simple and anticlimatic experience actually considering all the other things we had to do on and before this trip.
We are packed and ready to go. Bags have to be out at 5a.m. and us at 5:20a.m. First flight to Tokyo (4hrs 55m) then rush to board the plane to Detroit (pray that we make the connection).
Had dinner with our friends the Dancy's and another wonderful family we just met.
The next time I post it will be from the U.S.A. Pray for a safe and uneventful flight for us. Can't wait to see you Brynn and Brooke at the airport. Hugs and kisses until then. We love you. Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DAY 10

ONE MORE DAY, ONE MORE DAY, ONE MORE DAY......That is our chant today! Our guides spent the morning at the U.S. Consulate obtaining all the official VISA and passport finalization papers. We had to stay in our rooms from 10a.m. until they called us in case of any questions. Thankfully, we got a call around 11a.m. saying all was a "go". Tomorrow we go and take our oath and we are signed, sealed and almost delivered (to the U.S.A.) I did a few more house calls at our hotel and the other one and then it was time for the infamous Red Couch Pictures. This is where everyone in your group gathers together for group pictures and mainly it's mayhem! Technically, our group had 13 families, but since 11 of them were gone for the first week, the Dancy's and us sort of considered our group to be just us. Bree was acting like a typical two year old from the minute she awoke from her nap, so we knew this would be challenging for us. We were lucky to get her into her dress without much trouble.

The pics above are of Bree and McKenna, The Dancy's and us, some of the babies and all 13 families. We also got a great picture of us and our phenomenal guide, Jocelyn

Jocelyn has taken such good care of us. On our gotcha day, the orphanage director told us we owed the orphanage $327 yuan for xrays we had requested. We had been told by our agency that they wouldn't do the xrays we had asked for, but since he had a copy of the xray report, we paid him. He told us our agency had a copy. Long story short, CCAI did not have the report, so Jocelyn took care of securing a copy of the xrays done (hip, spine, chest) and getting it to us, which we sent via fax to CCAI and they translated in English (all in <12hrs).>
Many thanks to all of you who have helped out on the homefront during our absence-words cannot express how thankful and peaceful it has been to know our girls have had such care and concern and prayers over the past two weeks. Mema-we love you for all you have and are doing to keep the girls lives as normal as possible and filling in for us.


Today (Tues) we ventured off the island without our guide with our friends the Dancy's. We went to what is called the Toy Market, a five story large building full of toys and such. Any flea market we have ever been too couldn't compare with this place. Got a few cute little things. It is amazing how far the U.S. dollar will go in China. While we have been here, the exchange rate has been $1=6.8yuan. We all four ate at a KFC for lunch today for $7.00 U.S. Sometimes I feel guilty trying to bargain with the vendors as anything you buy is so much less expensive then in the U.S. (except Evian water-only the best for Doug you know!) The last couple of days have been the hottest and muggiest weather we have had, basically since the typhoon.

Bree has had a lot of firsts this week. She had a strawberry sundae today that she just loved. I gave her the first bite and her eyes got real big and she began giving me kisses by the dozens. It was so cute. She is imitating everything we do. I am thinking she will do well on the plane as she absolutely loves to sit by herself in the taxi's and buses.

Tonight we went on a Pearl River Boat Cruise. They served a buffet dinner which was pretty good. We passed on a few things like the smelt and other unidentifiable items. I heard that there was steamed shrimp and got excited until I saw their beady little eyes looking up at me-just couldn't do it after that. We sure are spoiled Americans when it comes to our food preparations. The cruise really was beautiful though. Tonight was the first night I just didn't feel well-had a headache so I am eager to get to bed.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Bree sucking on a lemon!

Hard to believe that just one week ago today we held Bree in our arms for the first time. We often wonder what, if anything, she remembers from the orphanage. When she awakens from her naps and nights, if she expects to see us or her nanny?
Today one parent had to spend 2 hours doing VISA paperwork with our guide. Doug and Grandma and Bree went to the playroom for that time. In the afternoon we went to have her VISA picture taken and then to the dreaded medical exam. It was during this that we finally found someone that annoys her more than Doug (see above pic)-the doctors! Good thing we don't wear white coats at P. Peds. Of course since she was only one of two out of 13 babies that were special needs, our appointment took longer. I was just as spent as she was following her exam. Doug said that my body language was "unprofessional" during the exam-but really! when they asked me to have her walk on a metal grated bench I just about became unglued. I had our guide tell them "no her ankles are calloused enough" and they let it go.
We ate dinner at Doug's favorite restaurant La Dolce Vita (Italian) with our friends the Dancys (who have been the only other couple that has stayed with us in GZ the entire time). Doug has gotten the same 12 inch pizza 4 times now (see pic). I must say it is some of the best pizza we have tasted. The Dancy's are from NC and are a hoot, we have had so much fun with them. They don't like any kind of exotic food, even Chinese, so eating out with them has been a riot. Their daughter McKenna is 14 months old and has a VSD heart lesion-cute as a button. She has given her daddy a run for his money as well. The funny things is, both girls go to the other father without any problem! We moms just laugh and fortunately both dads have been good sports about this temporary rejection. Bree has been saying more phrases the last couple of days. We have heard her repeat "I want that", "I love you" and "your welcome". Other times she can be heard rambling in Cantonese and how we would love to know what she is saying. Well, it's lights out for Bree and time for me to sign off. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is is Heaven" Mathew 5:16

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Whew-we survived the weekend! No planned activities kind of scared us for these past two days-but we managed to whittel the days away. Attended the local Christian church again this a.m. amidst a downpour. The skies then opened up to sunshine. This Shamian Island really is beautiful. Many bride and grooms come to have their wedding photography done. On any given day we will see 5-10 couples having their photo shoots. We had another group dinner this evening at a Tai restaurant. We welcomed back all the couples from our agency who have been in other provinces for the past week. It has been nice to reunite with them and meet their new little ones-most of which are non-special needs and very young (many 8-10 month olds). I must say it has made me appreciate having a toddler who can feed herself and tell me what is wrong when she is upset. Didn't do any shopping today. There are probably 30+ stores on the island-most of which we have hit once if not twice. We did get our disposable camera film that we had sent to Bree's orphanage developed. They took 27 pictures of Bree-judging by her outfit being the same-all in the same day! But it still is nice to see more of what her surroundings have been for the past two years. As I write this, Doug is doing bath duty again-we have such a routine going for her that she is becomming a creature of habit. Four more days girls and we will be flying the friendly skies! Love you

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Today was the first day of rain we have had. We pretty much stayed inside for the morning. In the afternoon we had the wonderful opportunity to meet with a Chinese couple and their 4 year old daughter who are from Meizhou but live here in GZ now. They have been to Bree's orphanage many times and were last there three months ago. They clearly remembered Bree and Bree clearly remembered the mother. She went easily to her and let her hold her. We learned much about the orphanage and about how well they took care of Bree and the other children. They taught us many phrases in Bree's dialect and it is amazing how she responds to us now that we can ask her certain things in her language! After this we "snuck" into the White Swan hotel playroom for a bit then out to dinner at Lucy's (western fare). But since Doug saw a dog, quite larger than any others that we have seen, prior to going into the restaurant, he decided his hamburger didn't sit as well with him tonight-he he!
Word has gotten out that I am a pediatrician and people have been asking for "consults" which I am honored to do. Tonight while I was making a "house call", Bree stayed with Daddy for quite a while. When I returned, she actually allowed him to bathe her! Major strides are occurring - Doug keeps telling her that she loves him, she just doesn't know it yet :) Blessings to all.


Once again I am late in my entry. I am so tired in the evenings I fall asleep before I can blog. The transformation with Bree is just wonderful to watch and experience. She has quite the personality-sensitive, stubborn, comical and so very sweet. She loves to give kisses (see pics above). Daddy and Grandma are growing on her as long as I am nearby. She is totally fine to play with them if I am busy doing other things. She has the most wonderful laugh. She is becomming more active-all over the hotel room with her toys, recognizes her new name as Bree and is very vocal! If mommy tells her "no" she pouts until I give her a kiss. If daddy tells her "no" she ignores him. Brynn and Brooke-you are going to have so much fun playing with her! We went to the Pearl Market and the Jade Market on Friday. Amazing places. The sheer number of stores and shops selling the same things is mind boggling. We saw a Kentucky Fried Chicken that had a local favorite - chicken feet. Not legs, but feet. Fried chicken feet. None of us seemed to be hungry at the time. Or guide, Jocelyn, assured us that they were very good. The weather was overcast with a cooler breeze today. Nice break from the intense heat. Our friends Rina, Hank and Myah should be hitting home today. We hope they had safe and uneventable flights.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Today we took a tour of The Banyan Temple, The Chinese Folk Art Museum and The Provincial Arts and Crafts store. Saw many elaborate carvings of wood, ivory and jade as well as beautiful pottery and silk stitchings. The monks were having a ceremony at the temple. They had 10 containers full of eel-like creatures they were blessing and then releasing into the river (I'll be checking the toilet well before sitting down after today!)Bree was such an angel. We cannot get over how much she enjoys being in a stroller. Now she complains though if I am not the one pushing it. She speaks a Cantonese dialect called Hakka. Between her and Myah we have learned that "meh" means "no". She uses "meh" frequently with Doug-like whenever he kisses her or tries to get close to her. However, Daddy is good for taking her garbage or picking up things she has dropped! He keeps telling her that someday she is going to enjoy spending time with him as he is the fun one. Whenever we leave somewhere, Bree waves and says "thank you, bye bye" (in English)and blows them kisses. It is amazing how much she has learned in just four days. Here are the top 10 other things we have learned about Bree:

1. She is very sharing with her food
2. She enjoys her baths
3. Daddy annoys her when he kisses her
4. She LOVES bananas
5. She is very ticklish
6. Daddy annoys her when he holds her
7. She sucks her left thumb
8. She is a great sleeper (praise God)
9. Daddy annoys her when he pushes her stroller
10.She can sit forever playing with toys

Today has been a week since we have left home. While it has gone fast, it has not gone fast enough. We miss everyone dearly and so enjoy any correspondence we have had with you all. God Bless


Today, August 21st is our beautiful daughter Brynn's 9th Birthday. We are so sad to be missing this event, but know that Mema and Brooke will make her feel special. Daddy and I could not ask for a more wonderful daughter. We are so proud of the special, compassionate young girl you have become. Remember you still have one more gift from us to open! "Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all" Proverbs 31:29. WE LOVE YOU BRYNN


I am writing this Thurs. a.m because I fell asleep Wed pm before i could blog!
Today (Wed) we had the morning off so we relaxed a bit in the hotel. Bree loves to eat-she tries everything and likes most of it. We went to the hotel play room for a while then out shopping. Went to a wonderful store called A Gift From China (recommended by my friend Donna-thank you!) All the proceeds go to orphanage charities. Girls, we got some nice stuff for you there! In the afternoon we took a van to downtown GZ to have Bree's passport picture taken. Then we hit a mall-very similar to ours except each brand of something had its own store. Then we went to a grocery store to stock up on diapers etc. Bree is so content to sit in her stroller and loves to wear her hat and sunglasses. All the locals comment she "is cool". We definitely get some stares-they look directly at her legs/feet. While at the grocery store a woman told our guide that these girls "just stepped into Heaven" because they were being adopted and going to the United States. Although we have only had her for three days, we cannot imagine life without her.
We also want to thank Donna and Patrick for letting us borrow their Panda phone. We have called the girls two times a day since being in China and really helps our aching for them. They started school today and we are so eager to talk to them and hear how things went. We love you Brynn and Brooke and we show Bree pictures of you everyday. Love Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Today was a busy day. All went well with our appointments. Bree is officially ours according to the Chinese government as of this morning. When the orphanage brought her to us they said she had a runny nose for which they were giving her antibiotics. They gave us the meds which I thanked them for and told Doug we won't be using these as in USA we don't treat colds with antibiotics. After her first bath last night, there was still a distinctive odor from her breath-at least I thought it was from her mouth. Long story short I got out my otoscope and low and behold there was a foreign body in her left nare. So after two unsuccessful attempts by me to remove with a curette, we let it go. After our appt. our guide first took us to the hotel clinic where two female doctors couldn't see it and wouldn't let me use their equipment (citing legal concerns -ha!)So off to the local hospital to see an ENT. What an experience this was. Took longer to secure a cab coming and going then to be in the hospital. There must have been 500 people in the lobby, we thought we would be there all day. The ENT took one look and said "yes-foreign body-and I said "I know" He got it out quickly (some piece of guaze looking thing the size of my thumb nail)and we were on our way-only 10yuan ($1.33) poorer.(see pic above of ENT dr.)
Bree took a three hour nap upon returning. We then went over to the White Swan hotel and let Bree and Myah have a reunion-that was precious. Bree kept feeding Myah cheerios and Myah kept getting toys and bringing them back to Bree. What an awesome experience it was for Rina and Hank and our family. Rina leaves this Friday-her blog is definitely entertaining and should be viewed


We were a bit nervous about last night. We stayed in and ordered Papa Johns pizza which Bree seemed to like. Hard to know what to feed her but thus far she hasn't refused anything. Adhering to her orphanage schedule of feeds will be impossible due to appointments. At 8:30 we put her in her PJ's and turned off the lights and I held her with a bottle of milk. When she seemed like she was done (only took 2oz) I put her in her crib. She fussed for about 5 minutes and then she was out. She slept all the way until 4a.m. and then we she fussed I picked her up and put her in bed with us, where she still is sleeping peacefully. Hard to know as both a mother and pediatrician if I am doing the right things with Bree. Feel free to comment those of you who have been through this. I just want her to know how much we love her and make her feel secure. Have appt. this a.m. back down at Civil Affairs Office, then we need to do some shopping for Bree. Thank you again to everyone who has commented and read this blog, although it makes us miss home, your love and support mean the world to us.

Monday, August 18, 2008

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We praise God for this day. At 2:30 this afternoon, He placed our third daughter into our forever arms. We were at the Civil Affairs office with the other couple in our group and at least 15+ couples from Holt Intnl. Agency. It was mass chaos, with babies being brought out one by one. We were the second family to recieve ours. It was to say the least a rocky start. Bree cried for the first 45 minutes, making us all sweat mongruls. We tried to talk to the male vice director of the orphanage (who brought her with a nanny), but her cries outweighed all! Finally, the last paper was signed and we left to return to the hotel. Once in the van Bree was either too exhausted to cry anymore or she was just better getting her away from her orphanage staff. She was actually reaching for the v. director and calling him "ba ba" (which means da da). It was heartwrenching. Once back in the hotel we gave her a nice bath and then have played since. She is so smart! She repeats all kinds of words in English (mama, dada,ball,bye bye, thank you hello,puppy). She loves playing with balls-has an awesome throw, knows exactly what to do with a play phone, and shares anything with you. We fed her cheerios and puffs and then made some rice cereal, which she devoured -actually fed herself with the spoon. Then I offered her a banana and she ate the entire thing! When Doug left to go pick up some laundry, she waved and said bye bye and then leaned toward him and gave him a kiss!! It was so precious and awesome.
As far as her physical state-her hands look great, she can do anything with them. Her left leg is fine except for the foot of course. Her right leg however does not bend at the knee, when she crawls she swings her entire right leg outward. She prefers to scoot on her bottom and will even bear weight and take steps holding onto you. The rest of her exam is absolutely perfect. She comes to all three of us without any problem. We are so blessed to have this beautiful child and cannot wait for everyone to meet her.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Church, Myah, Tea, school kids and American food

We started the morning by having breakfast at the hotel. It was a "western" style breakfast but had authentic food as well. I couldn't put enough cream or suga r in my coffee to weaken it! Starbucks will be seeing a lot of me I think. After breakfast we attended a church service at the Shamian Christian Church. It was lead by a Chinese pastor and translated in English. Awesome service where we heard two local people give their witnesses. Rina and Hank and Myah attended with us and we were able to catch up a bit. We then sauntered around the island, checking out the locals and their stores. Came upon many groups of school aged Chinese children who wanted us to write in their books as they were learning English (see pic above). Had tea with a local store owner named Dong (Susan's Place)-very friendly and informative on the area. Most of the stores all have the same things (squeaky shoes, ornaments, silk clothing, jade jewelry, fans etc.) Dropped off some laundry at one store as that gave us a stoller to rent for free. Ate dinner at a place called Lucy's, another western restaurant. Doug got his hamburger he has been craving since we left home. They even let us pay in U.S. money. Tomorrow we have a meeting with our guide in a.m., then we go to the Civil Affairs Office to get Bree. Please say a prayer that the Lord has warmed her heart to us and the transition won't be very traumatic. Thank you to all that have posted comments, it means so much to us to hear your encouraging and loving words.
Dear Family and Friends
We are so happy to share with you this wonderful journey we are taking to bring home our daughter

Those beautiful rosebud lips!