Aelex’s Adoption Diary

Friday February 28, 2003

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my tou.

  • It’s not all sunshine and lollypops over here.
  • How cute is this?
  • Smiling for my daddy.
  • A lovely day at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum.
  • Mark, Aelex, and Mao.
  • Get up mommy!
  • Time to do the laundry. Dorothy is so creative.

Yet another rainy day here in Nanjing. After much debate, we all decided that it was better to get wet and get out of the hotel than to spend another day stuck inside. Dr. Hong came and picked us all up at around 12:30 and we loaded ourselves on the bus to do some sightseeing. On the agenda: the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum and the Yangtze River Bridge.

First off, I just want to let you all know that Aelex got hurt to the point of tears for the first time today when Dorothy was practicing headbutts on her this morning. They were both in bed and Dorothy was toughening Aelex up for her imminent hockey career by bashing their heads together. The 40th one must have hurt because Aelex cried for about 10 seconds after it. She recovered quickly however and was none the worse for wear. Soon she will be toughened up properly.

Back to our moist sightseeing trip. First we went to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum which is in an absolutely stunning country setting in a park on the northern outskirts of the city. The Chinese apparently feel that if a tourist attraction is worth seeing, it is worth putting at the top of a mountain that requires climbing approximately 12,000 steps to get to it. I felt that the majesty of the site was impressive however, so I was the lone soul to brave the rain and climb to the top. I could not reconcile making a trip to Nanjing and not visiting the final resting place of the father of modern China. Hey, anybody who was revered by both the Communists and the Guomandang (look it up) must be worth the trip. After reaching the top and seeing that yes, Dr. Sun Yat Sen is in fact laid to rest up there, I returned to the tour bus to rejoin the rest of the group and we were again off.

Next stop was the Yangtze River Bridge which, as the name suggests, spans the mighty Yangtze, 4589 meters (no I am not doing the conversion for you, suffice to say that the river is real, real wide) across. The reason that the Chinese are so proud of this bridge — which has some of the coolest Communist era sculpture that we have seen in China thus far — is that they built it as an “up yours” to the Soviet Union who had originally promised to help them build the bridge and then later reneged on that promise. Mao said “so what” and had construction continue anyway. It took 7 years to build but it got done and is pretty impressive to look at. Especially when you drive over it twice as we did today after missing the exit right before getting on the bridge that leads to the viewing area.

Since the weather was not cooperating, we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. The addition of our daughter to our nuclear family has added a new wrinkle to our sightseeing procedures. Whereas we used to be able to throw on our coats and go, it now takes us approximately 16 hours to get ready to do something as complex as say, go into the next room. We have been forced to hire a team of 16 sherpas from Tibet to carry all of our baby gear for us wherever we go because no two humans on earth could ever carry all of the stuff that Aelex requires without being forced to get a spinal realignment on a daily basis.

Once back in our room, we played with our daughter for a couple of hours before she fell into a fitful sleep. And when I say fitful, I of course mean tossing and turning and moving and flipping to the point that the only way you can tell the difference from Aelex asleep and Aelex awake is that her eyes are closed when she is sleeping and she is not eating. If you put our daughter on a bed the size of Rhode Island, she would have rolled over every square inch of bed space and placed her body in every known yoga position in the span of a 1 hour nap.

We are in Nanjing for another day before heading to Guangzhou and the final steps in the adoption of our daughter. We got her Chinese passport today and have completed all of our paperwork here in the province, and as far as China is concerned Aelex is our daughter. In Guangzhou we deal with the American consulate and finalize her status as an American citizen and as a member of our family in Uncle Sam’s eyes. Dorothy and I are having a great time but we are starting to look forward to returning home and getting on with our new lives.

Tomorrow, I am going to the Rape of Nanking Holocaust Museum. Surprisingly enough no one else was into this uplifting trip and I will be going it alone. Then tomorrow night: BEER PARTY! So return to your dreary lives dear readers as we live it up in Nanjing…