Olivia’s Adoption Diary

Thursday March 16, 2006

The loving words of a loving mother.

  • William Tell East.
  • Olivia making a meal of…something.
  • Never trust a country that doesn’t have an Irish pub.
  • This is the coolest tea pour ever.

Well I’m not sure who you people bribed, but apparently you must have done something right because Dorothy has decided to grace all of our presence with some of her observations as to how our trip is going thus far. I am sure that everyone will enjoy the respite from Mark’s incoherent ramblings and will embrace the chance to read some thoughtful and caring observations by a sensible and loving parent. I’ll just be in the back here pretending that I matter. So without further ado:

As I sit here in the hallway of our hotel, on the fifth floor that has a view of the lake and the mountains around us, I should be extremely happy and in awe. However I am not, as it is three in the morning and I cannot see a thing, the sounds of the birds are muffled with the snores of my husband coming from down the hall. I guess he is a little worn out with the stress of his computer, Internet, and web site issues. I think he has watched too many spy and Pink Panther movies. I am sure he is getting a little carried away with his thoughts on who, what, and why he is having problems with his site. Well it seems that since I have the time I decided to give a little of my input of our travel this far to get Little Miss Olivia (whom is very much asleep next to her snoring daddy right now). Go figure.

Although this is our third adoption and trip to China it has certainly been the most challenging for many reasons. Leaving Aelex and Matthew at home was a difficult decision, although we know they are being well taken care of, we miss them very much. They may not be missing us though as grandma and grandpa’s is a great place for them to hang out. Matthew refuses to talk to us on the phone and Aelex rushes through what she has to say to get off. We are taking this as a good sign that they are happy where they are.

On the other hand, Olivia is adjusting well to hanging out with us and although I am sure she is scared and unsure, she seems to be doing well. The language barrier is very difficult, and when we don’t get what she is telling us her voice gets louder and louder with frustration. She has no problem telling people off on the street or in the stores if they say something she does not like. We know when she is angry as her tone changes and Anna (our facilitator) has interpreted what she said. As we encounter other children along the way we are finding out more about Olivia. She does not like to share, and does not want people or children to touch her stuff. We are hoping she will warm up to her two younger siblings. She knows who they are by the photos we have brought, but only time will tell how she feels and does with them. For the most part she is very pleasant and has no problems going out or doing things with us. Like her sister Aelex, she likes clothes, pocketbooks, costume jewelry, stickers and money. Actually any toys we have given her she has liked except for the stuffed animals, unlike Aelex. When we get ready to go outside she packs as much into Mark’s backpack as possible, we think she thinks we are not coming back, or that we are going on the plane. She told Anna yesterday that she wants to go on the plane not in a taxi. It is very obvious that Olivia has spent time outside of the orphanage as she is very wise to how things work. It is hard to remember that she is six at times because of her height, however she lets us know it in her ability to do things.

We have met some other couples that have traveled with their other children and tell us they are having a difficult time. All I know is I wish Matthew and Aelex were here and if any of our friends see them, give them a lot of hugs and kisses from us.

The moronic ramblings of a moronic father.

Today we went to a true Chinese market which was the exact opposite of all of the stores we have been in so far here in Hangzhou. The weather decided to cooperate with us after all and we had a warm and sunny day to hit the streets with Anna as our guide. We went to Hefang Street which is a half mile strip of stalls and shops, all with authentic Chinese wares, sights and sounds. It was very entertaining and wallet lightening if you catch my drift.

Olivia was in heaven as she did nothing but eat for the 3 hours or so that we spent strolling the market. Ice cream, chicken satori, fried flat bread with vegetable filling, I do not think she was ever without some food in her hand all day. At one point, we stopped in an authentic Chinese tea house for a rest and some green tea and Olivia saw some of the workers eating their lunch and she threw a fit because she wanted their noodles. We are actually encouraging her gluttony for the time being since she is so thin, and she really has to put on weight. Don’t tell our other kids, but we even let her eat candy and lollypops whenever she feels like it. I am sure this will come back to haunt us once we get home but who has time to worry about things like complete familial discord when you’re a couple of thousand miles away from home.

I also engaged in a little street theater today. At one point, we came across a stall that had a bow and arrow shooting gallery game and Anna and Dorothy convinced me to give it a try. These were real Olympic type bows with sharp metal arrows right in the middle of the street. You could not possibly imagine a less safe game of chance, and since I had never even held a bow before in my life, the chance we were taking was with the onlookers’ lives. Once I picked up the bow, I immediately drew a crowd of interested, and very brave, onlookers. Unfortunately I failed to hit any of the targets but no one was killed in the process, so in that sense, everyone was a winner.

Eventually, it was time to return home, and as the shop keepers thanked us for helping to put their kids through college we hopped a cab back to the hotel. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, filled with catnaps and eating. Dorothy and I are on diametrically opposed sleep schedules right now. Every night one of us is up at 3AM and crashing by 6PM the next day. This is our first trip here that we did not arrive a few days early in order to mitigate the effects of the jet lag before we got our kid. Its been a little tough but, hey, they never said that traveling halfway around the world to adopt a six year old girl from a foreign country who doesn’t even speak your language would be easy, now did they?

Tomorrow will be a relatively free day for us as we have nothing to do but wait for Anna to deal with the provincial officials and get Olivia’s passport for us. Hopefully we will have another nice day so we can get out again and check out West Lake a little more thoroughly. So be sure to join us again tomorrow cyber-travelers…

Buying everything but time in China…