Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dinner Time in The White Swan

The past 3 nights the kids have eaten the same thing for dinner. Ramen Noodles, Tuna fish from home, and yogurt. How gross is that combo? They don't seem to mind. Thomas is living off of french toast and Bugga hasn't eaten in 2 years anyway.... At least I remembered vitamins.
Barb just discovered that we can get ice from the hall attendant. I'm much happier now. Icy Diet Coke is much better. I'm all caffeined-up.

Bliss' Medical Exam

Bliss passed her medical examination. It's a good thing she is healthy. The process that we went through today would not have brought me much comfort had she been ill. They weighed her, checked her ears and eyes, I think, and then tested her hearing with an electronic toy keyboard and a rattle. She was the only baby that didn't cry. She tolerated all the poking and prodding very well. She didn't even cry when the Doctor put the tongue depressor down her throat.
Today I went with 5 other women from our group to a Chinese foot massage. It was wonderful! It was 70 minutes long and it only cost $6 US dollars. They bring in big wicker baskets filled with hot water and while you soak your feet they give you a neck and back massage. They served Chinese Tea and Watermelon. It finishes with hot towels for your legs and feet. Pete and Barb are going to go tomorrow. I think this might have to become an everyday thing. Tomorrow we are going to a big outdoor mall.
I am over my stomach virus and feeling more relaxed now since we are over the hump.
The kids are settling into a great schedule now. They have been going to bed by 7pm everynight, just like when we are home. Bliss is sleeping better now too. Even I'm starting to feel like we live here. I'll try to post more pictures of the area tomorrow. The picture on the bottom is a typical scene around here. People are playing hackysack everywhere. As you can see everyone hangs their laundry out to dry. Nobody has dryers. I feel guilty as I am totally enjoying having someone else do my laundry. It comes back folded in perfect little squares, sealed in small plastic bags.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More pics for Grammy and Grampy

Not-so-exciting day

We didn't do much today. Barb and Pete toured a museum and another Temple. Tomorrow is the medical exam. We leave a week from tomorrow! Pete got Bliss to laugh from her belly today. I don't think she ever has. We had to teach her. She is relaxing more each day and coming out of her shell. This Coke-Light in a can and the lack of ice around here isn't working for me. I need the real thing. Thomas was so happy today when he received a message from his Teacher Miss Caren. He misses all his friends at pre-school. Glad to hear the Tropical Storm isn't going to bother you all too much. Thank you Mike Melton for the 5 updates!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Zoo

We went to the Zoo today. The kids had a great time. It was nice to see green plants. The animal environments probably wouldn't fly in the United States. We saw a giant Panda, tigers, elephants, and giraffes. Thomas and Madeline were quite the attention getters again today. People were sneaking pictures of Bugga with their cell phones. While we were sitting down eating a snack people kept coming up to her to take her picture. She finally started to get irritated. We told her... now you know what Jennifer Aniston feels like. Of course she didn't know what we meant. After the zoo, our guides took us all to a Latin/Brazilian Restaurant. It was great food. A big buffet and great music. The kids are starting to think that we live here. They ask if we can go "home" to the hotel. They both are learning a little bit of Chinese and know when to use it. Bugga only messed up once. She told the attendant Good Morning, last night. That's Okay, I still don't know what day it is. All I know is there is way to much time left. Tomorrow is another tour. A museum. Not for me. Barb will probably go and maybe Pete. Wednesday is Bliss' medical exam. I think it is an American Doctor. I caught a stomach virus or something. I accidently brushed my teeth with the hotel water. Pete drank it by accident the first day we were here so I figured it wouldn't bother me. Don't really know what it was but it hurts. Bliss is eating like a piglet now. She's ravenous. She can't get enough food and grunts for more. Jill, tell Kyle he has some competition arriving soon.
Oh I almost forgot.......Enjoy that hurricane. We are getting good at being out of town for them. Hopefully it stays weak. We miss everyone so much. Thanks again for all of your emails and comments. We love waking up and reading them.

Monday, August 28, 2006

More Orphanage Photos

Here is another picture of Bliss at the orphanage with her caretaker. The man in the photo with Pete is Director Han. He is the orphanage director. We found out today that Bliss weighed 22 pounds on August 17th. Look at her rolls! She is so chubby.

Orphanage Photographs

Today we had the film developed that I sent to the orphanage in Bliss' care package. Compared to some of the pictures I saw from other orphanages, Bliss came from a clean place. It is still hard to look at her in that bare crib. The cribs look like metal cages. No wonder she can fall asleep anywhere. She had a rough night last night. I think she finally realized what was happening. She woke up at 2AM with a stomach ache but then became inconsolable. She cried so hard for over an hour. She seemed scared and didn't even want me to hold her. She calmed down and eventually fell asleep on my chest. Today was a boring day. Not much to do. I have to fill out more paperwork at 3PM. It is about to rain. When it rains, the smog clears slightly and we can see mountains.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pete's Weekly Blogcast

We are finally settling in on some type of routine here. Wake up 5-6Am, Breakfast at 7, Playroom for an hour, some buss tour from 9:30 to around 12-1, whic is just right, lunch out in the neighborhood, pool for two hours, then back at the room for a movie, playtime, 5PM snack dinner and bath/bed at 6:30. I've been intrigued by some areas of this city as I look out my 26th floor window and decided to venture out a bit farther today on my run. It turned out to be a run-walk as it was so captivating, and crowded. Tomorrow I will bring the video, and hopefully talk Michelle into going into the "REAL" China. This neighborhood is about 1/2 mile from the hotel and I will bet no one goes there. It was a market full of hard working people selling everything, except there where no real businesses, just flea market type boths of too many things to describe. Things like buckets and cages of fish, crab, eel, snake, turtles, and chickens. I was intimidated to venture down the side streets , so I did. I wore my glasses so as to hide my wonder and curiosity from view. As much as I stuck out, no one really paid much attention, most of the glances were brief, and only a few out of every hundred stuck. It felt very safe after 15 minutes, people just surviving day to day strife. I've run in Manila, Tai Pei, and Hong Kong and this was just as different and wonderful. We all live in Disney World. I saw a very disturbing sight which has been haunting me since. On the walkway over the highway there was a man and his son. The boy was small and lying on cardboard, sleeping or just suffering I think. I can only quess he was suffering from leprosy. He had no fingers, the flesh on his legs was gone. His tendons were completely exposed, no blood or guts, just like dried up meat. I'm sorry for the gore. I put in the cup, what I had in my pocket, about 4 bucks, and continued on. On the way back I stopped again and tried to communicate, obviously with no effect. I didn't expect him to speak any English I just had to stop again at this unbelievable sight. The boy was obviously suffering badly. The Dad was eager to show me his wounds, I quess hoping for more money, and everyone was just passing on by. That was the most disturbing thing I think, and also that I was on my way back to a 6PM massage appointment.
It reminds me that there is massive suffering going on every day, everywhere. When I assume of how much better off Bliss will be in our family, I think she was one of the luckier children in this city. I've seen a lot of pathetic, dirty, crippled, homeless people in my life, but nothing even close to the degree of this boy. I'm going back tomorrow to look for them.

Thomas and Madeline are Celebrities here

Today we toured YunTai Gardens. It was a beautiful, perfectly manicured park. It looked like the entrance to Disney world. People were crowding around Thomas and Madeline. They wanted to take their pictures with them and touch their hair. Bugga tolerated it well but Thomas didn't want to be bothered. People were coming up to us and trying to communicate. You could tell that they wanted to practice their English. The man you will see in the pictures was so friendly. He and his wife loved Madeline and kept taking photographs of her. He did not speak English well so we handed him the card the agency gave us that explains the adoption. He looked at us and said "Thank you, friend". People were very inquisitive about us and why we had an Asian baby. We could not communicate and that was frustrating. I was sitting on a bench and a young man walked up to the stroller that Bliss was sleeping in. He knelt down next to her and stared at her for about 30 seconds. His back was to me. He rubbed her cheek with his hand and then walked away. He never looked at me. I wonder what he was thinking. I wonder if he had to abandon a baby girl. Another young man stopped to ask us how old Bliss was. While I was sitting on the bench a little old lady kept talking to me. She was talking away. I am sure it was obvious to her that I didn't speak Chinese, but she kept talking.
I went for a run outside today. After 4 miles I had to go inside and use the treadmill. The smog was hurting my throat and my eyes were bloodshot. It is never sunny here. The sky is never blue. You can't even see stars at night. It is depressing. I have been told that the smog is the worst in the summer. I hope they get to see some blue skies in the winter. My run was a memorable experience, though. Everyone was staring at me. I crossed a bridge and there were no Americans anywhere. Swarms of people surrounded me. On my left mopeds and on my right bikes and walkers. There are bikes everywhere. I was making eye contact with each person I passed. It was a unique experience. It looked as though the people in that part of the city had never seen someone run before. I probably did look funny with my big GPS watch and IPOD on my arm. Al and Susan at Fleet Feet would be proud. I was wearing my Fleet Feet jersey. Don't worry Dad, I had my Mace.
Bliss is doing great. She is so easy. She just fell asleep on the floor without anyone holding her. All she wants is her blankie. Noise doesn't seem to bother her either. Both kids were running around yelling and she hasn't moved. The hard floor is probably more comfortable than the plywood she was sleeping on in the orphanage. I ran into a woman fro our group in the lobby yesterday afternoon and she was crying. She had just got back the roll of film she had sent to the orphanage and asked them to take photos of her daughter. The pictures were so sad. Her baby was sleeping on a piece of dirty plywood. The surrounding literally looked like a dog pound. I am so glad that Bliss came from such a good orphanage. We know it was very clean and the Director does the best he can for the babies. The 2 babies that came from SuiXi were the healthiest. She is so much more lively than the others. Some of the babies still look comatose. A man in the play room today told us his daughter(older) is afraid of stuffed animal because of the rats in the orphanage. I met another couple last night that had a baby the same age as Bliss. She was so malnourished. She only weighed 13 pounds. She looked terrible. We have been very fortunate. She is doing great and very well fed. She like Golden Grahams and French Toast!

YunTai Garden

Thanks for all the comments and emails everyone has been sending us. We are glad everyone is following along and enjoying our pictures. Thomas and Bugga are eating cold Chef-Boy-ardee for dinner, Mmmmmmmm. NO Microwave. Pete is out for a run in the Smog and Barb is resting. Barb has been so helpful, without her I am sure that we would be missing some family members by now. Probably Thomas...

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Mom and Dad,
Here is the picture you have been waiting to see. I put the bracelet on Bliss but it was too big. I had to take it off. I took a picture so you could see. For those of you that don't know the story....... The bracelets the girls are wearing were purchased from the same jewelry store/same person that my Dad purchased a ring he gave my Mom when they were 15 and 16 years old.

6 Banyan Tree Tour

Today we toured an ancient Buddhist Temple. It was over 1000 years old. We took a short bus ride and arrived in an the most poverty stricken/run down place I've seen yet. When we exited the bus there were beggers everywhere. Most where handicapped, missing limbs. We entered a court yard and it was very beautiful. There were many people there to worship. In the entrance there was a huge golden statue of Buddha. The tour guide was describing to us why The Buddha's belly was so big. She said it is there that he holds the weight/burdens of the world. He carries the burdens so that others can feel happiness. I liked that. We went inside the temple and we were all blessed by a Buddhist Monk. It was a beautiful ceremony. The Monk began by chanting and tapping a small wooden instrument. He finished by dipping a leaf in water and sprinkling the water on the children. The amazing thing is that Thomas and Madeline sat quietly through the whole thing. After we left we went to a jade and porcelain market. Everywhere we went today Madeline was a celebrity. All the Chinese women wanted to touch her and talk to her. She was a good sport about it. She must have passed out about ten hugs to complete strangers today. Thomas carried around 2 wooden snakes and was scaring everyone.
This afternoon I had the chance to go shopping, alone. I am on a mission to find 18 small gifts that I can give to Bliss on each of her birthdays. I am amazed at how the area around the hotel has capitalized on the adoption industry. Everywhere you look there are small shops that cater to the adopting families. The women that run the shops will literally come out on the street and try to convince you to come in. Most of them speak English fairly well. I took this opportunity to ask them questions about how they felt about all the Chinese girls being adopted by Americans. I don't think that this culture permits women to speak freely about how they really feel, in fact I don't think they even know how they really feel. Both women that I spoke to gave me answers that they think I wanted to hear. For example... "We think Americans are wonderful and very caring people". When I questioned her further about how she felt about women having to abandon babies, she said "that's just the way it is here. The men want boys and at least the babies are safe and going to have a better life". The women here just don't know anything different. When I imagine bringing Bliss back here in 10 years I feel sad for her. I wonder if she will feel proud of where she came from or if she will feel shame.

HI Grammy and Grampy

Friday, August 25, 2006

Welcome to my life.......

I need sleep. We are becoming known as "the loud family" around the hotel.

Good Morning or Night, whatever it is.......

Well, it's 5:30AM and Thomas has been awake for almost 2 hours now. I finally let him get up. He's watching Chicken Little and eating Lucky Charms. What a healthy breakfast. We still haven't adjusted to the time change yet. Bugga was up from 4-5AM and for some reason "had" to go to the bathroom like 20 times. At least Bliss slept all night. She hasn't figured out that Weiler children do not sleep!
Yesterday was busy. In the morning we took a walk and found a park. It was a short walk from the hotel, but we were the only Americans around. It was a interesting experience. Thomas and Madeline both found children to play with. They had a great time. They figured out how to communicate without speaking to each other, it was nice to see. There were people exercising everywhere you looked, so different from home. The park was filled with strange exercise equiptment I didn't know existed. Upon first glance, it looks like children's toys , but adults were using it. A small track encircled the playground/gym. Men, women, and children were running and walking. I guess it's normal to walk backwards here as a form of exercise. I saw that a few times. People exercise in regular clothing. Women were running in dresses, sandals, and pants. They were clearly "out for a run" ,not running somewhere. I guess they don't know about yet........ just kidding. There were different exercise groups everywhere you looked. I love watching the Tai Chi. Some form of Hackysack is really common also. It's like hackysack with a feather on it. Even really old people play. Everyone seems so healthy, physically. There are not very many overweight people here. Too bad the smog is going kill them.... It's so thick you can look directly at the sun in the middle of the day. I had to run on the treadmill. You can actually taste it. It's gross. I here that it is worse here in the summer. People were staring at us with curiosity since we were carrying around an Asian baby. Our agency gave us a card to carry around that explains that we are here from the United States to adopt a baby. Too bad I forgot to bring it with me, kinda like the grocery list.
Later in the afternoon we had to go back down to the civil affairs office to pick up the official adoption certificate. We are getting sick of going to The civil affairs office. Hopefully that was the last time. It's becoming known as the big, smelly, hot building, filled with swarms of Americans and their cranky babies. There is no AC. We then had to take the adoption certificate to apply for her passport. It was like a huge Chinese Department of Motor Vehicles, not fun either. There were signs in English everywhere that read "be quiet". That was quite comical since the room was filled with 50 screaming babies. Not ours though, she's so mellow. She just woke up. She slept for 12 hours! I am learning how to type with one hand again.
Today there is a tour of some park. We are not going. We are sending Barb to give her a break. She needs one after being locked in the hotel room with Thomas and Bugga for 4 hours!
I'll post some photos of the town later today.