Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday in Guangzhou

After another relatively sleepless night, we ended up having a great day with Daniel:) This morning, we attended a church service with our group, and then we decided to venture out to find the Catholic Church on the island. When we got there, mass was over and the church was locked. I found an elderly woman and asked if we could go inside. She walked me to the front door, opened the church's front door with a key and instructed me, in Chinese, to close the door when we were through. It was very cool. Jimmy and I went inside, all by ourselves, took some time to pray, and then locked up when we were done.

Luckily, Daniel fell asleep in his stroller. He has been protesting his nap lately. Life is just too much fun these days for napping! In the afternoon, we went to the jade and pearl markets for shopping--or just to look anyway. Daniel stuck like glue to Grandpa and to Daddy. We loved that he watched Jimmy put his sunglasses on his head and totally imitated him. He did a pretty good job too!

Tonight we went for Italian food. It was Daniel's first time eating non-Chinese noodles (that we know of), and he loved spaghetti with butter. Jimmy loved putting the napkin on his head (see photo). He was really good in the restaurant. He was just diggin' the quality time with all of us and the group that joined us.

And so the night was ended with a full belly, a full diaper, and hopefully a full night of sleep!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Goodbye Nanchang, Hello Paradise!

Last night, we arrived in paradise. We are so relieved to be here. We didn’t realize how much until we arrived at the White Swan Hotel. We were all totally “Nanchang-ed out”! Guangzhou is a coastal city that has a tropical climate, much like Florida. This is great for us, since Daniel’s body can acclimate to this weather before we even leave China. Our American Consulate is located here, so every adoptive family from the US ends their trip in Guangzhou. The White Swan Hotel is really set up for adoptive families. It is an inspirational sight. There are literally hundreds of American families, most of which have adopted special needs children to extend their biological families. Some have five, six, seven children—some biological, some adopted, some healthy, some with medical conditions. It is a humbling experience. As a society, America has sure responded to the call to help these beautiful and special children despite their medical conditions.

Daniel handled his first airline flight beautifully. He never really fussed, but his eyes were big as saucers as we trekked through the airport and got on the plane. He was thrilled with the big lollipop we brought him to help with the turbulence. Last night, we walked next door to Lucy’s Bar & Grill. A cheeseburger and french fries never tasted so good! The night’s sleep was bumpy. Daniel had trouble settling in for the night and whimpered throughout the night. He was in a twin size bed with Mommy, so maybe space was an issue, but I’m sure he was totally over stimulated by the change of scenery and the fact that he was introduced to more unfamiliar surroundings. We will be here for a week for visa processing, so it will be a nice transition for him here. He is being exposed to more and more American faces with Chinese children.

This morning we went to the local medical clinic where all the children over age two had to have TB tests, required by the US government. Grandpa held Daniel while we consoled him. Never fun getting shots, is it? The US also requires immunizations, which we must face on Monday. Some of the families who arrived in Guangzhou earlier took their children for immunizations yesterday. Some of the children needed up to 7 immunizations. We are not looking forward to that! We are hoping for at least a few less…

Another from Miss Madi

We picked 37 tomatoes, mommy and daddy. We might eat all the tomatoes, and everyone likes the tomatoes.

I’m going to the park with Sherrill and Juliana. I want to share my tomatoes with them.

Now send it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Happy Birthday for Mommy

The only thing missing is Madi. Daniel is on the mend, and he's a tornado! We are so thankful to see his bubbly, spicy side! We had a great morning of laying low and playing in the room. Mr. Daniel was all smiles and giggles all morning. He was totally enamored with Daddy's watch, which we borrowed from Grandpa Wharton for the trip. Jimmy let him wear it today, and he loved it! When we decided to venture out for shopping, his serious side came out again. At least now, we can read him pretty well and it's clear he doesn't like leaving the hotel, probably for fear that he'll be leaving us. Once again, more opportunities to show him he's staying with us. Daniel was very attached to Daddy today. I'm taking the back seat these days, and that's okay since he'll be getting lots of face time with Mommy when we get home.

Tonight our guide took us to another fabulous local restaurant. She surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake. We are ready to leave Nanchang. We've had a great stay, but we definitely feel ready to move on. Tomorrow we head for Guangzhou where the last leg of our trip will take place.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Belly Laugh

Another from the Big Sister

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

I love you. I hope you have a great trip home. I love Daniel.

I gave Bubba a great makeover. I got a brush for picture day at First United Methodist school. I got a brush, and when you open it, it is a comb.

I love you mommy and daddy. I love Daniel too. I love Grandpa too.

I got M&Ms at school today at Banyan Creek.

The cats all missing you. Grandpa and Bubba feed me junk food. They give me lots of salami. I’m been poopin’ good.

We are going to the Library to return the books and movies, and we’re going to get some movies and books.

Now send it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Are bring received in China via email and are very much appreciated. To quote:

Hi Andrew, would you please post on the blog that we are receiving everyone's comments. We sure can feel the love half a world away, and it is truly very comforting. Thanks to everyone for sharing in this wonderfully blessed journey with us:)

The Smile

And so we have it--the smile, the laugh, a spunky little two year-old boy. Granted, it involved throwing chopsticks across the table--but who's counting???!!! Daniel was a different child tonight when we ventured out for dinner. He was teasing and playing. He fed himself a bowl of noodles. We feel like we're getting somewhere, and now we know he's going to keep us very, very busy!

Daniel's Buddy

Our guide recognized this little girl from the group home in Daniel's orphanage. They are staying in our same hotel and turns out they shared a bed together in the orphanage! What are the chances! Her name is Clara and her forever family lives in Spain. She was so excited when she saw Daniel. She pointed him out to her new brother, and she even tried to 'mother' him a little bit. Daniel seemed to be a bit confused by the reunion. Shortly after seeing her, we got on the bus to go to the park. He looked a little sad, and he fell asleep on the bus. When we arrived, he didn't want to get off. We wonder if he thought he was going back to the orphanage. We wonder what was happening in that little, vulnerable mind. It was an opportunity to show him that he's with us now and he's not going anywhere.

Daddy's Boy

My five minutes of fame are over. We now officially have a Daddy's Boy (& Grandpa's too:)

As of yesterday afternoon at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Daniel belongs to us legally!

And if we couldn't report more good news, Daniel was teasing Mommy & Daddy at breakfast this morning with a piece of bread. Not only did we get some smiles, but we even received a little of that belly laugh we've been waiting for.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Health update on Daniel

Our wonderful guide, Lisa, arranged for a pediatrician to come to our room yesterday and check out Daniel. He has bronchitis. Luckily, we brought along some antibiotic and we've been in touch with the cardiologist via email. He helped us out with dosage, and we started administering the medicine yesterday. Daniel was great with the pediatrician and he's been great taking his medicine. He is also on a Chinese herbal cough medicine. He already looks and sounds much better this morning.

He really is a good little boy. We are seeing him become a little more playful and he is now bonding very well with all of us. We are still working on the smiling, though we are even seeing glimpses of that too. I guess we're holding out for a good old-fashioned belly laugh. Baby steps...

A communique from Madi

Hi Daniel,

I love you, Daniel. I’m going to make you laugh. Let’s do knock-knock jokes. I hope you have a great trip when you go to the airport. I love you, Daniel.

I went to the mall to play. I had ice cream there. I have three pairs new shoes. The school liked my mushrooms. My Hello Kitty shoes broke at school.

Now send it

Finally, a picture...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guest Blogger Note

I have to travel to Helsinki, Finland for business. But they have wifi! I will be posting regular updates as soon as I arrive.

Our Little Hero

This little guy is serious. He's had a lot to be serious about, for sure. The pictures we received a couple days ago gave us warning. We have yet to see him smile, but the Good Lord put him in the right family. We are confident he will be smiling, hopefully even laughing, very soon.

Jimmy and Daniel have come a long way during the night. Initially, he was not sure of Daddy or Grandpa and even cried when they came near. I felt Jimmy's pain, but thankfully he's wise enough to know that it's temporary. Jimmy's been great at allowing Daniel to bond on his terms, not on ours. He's such an awesome Dad.

It is about 3am and Jimmy and I are up with Daniel. Since he passed on dinner, he is obviously very hungry. He is snacking on Cheerios and water. He has been coughing throughout the night, but he doesn't feel feverish right now. We will try to see a pediatrician tomorrow.

I am thrilled to report that he seems to love his Juice Plus gummies. Any of you who know my passion for Juice Plus know that it thrills me for him to get that added nutrition, especially since his paperwork indicated that he's not fond of fruits and veggies. We'll work on that one, but for now--we got back up!

We promise pictures will come in the next couple of days.

He is Ours

All day long, I was asking myself wrenching questions like, "What if he rejects me?" If I remember correctly, that's a pretty normal thought process. We arrived in Nanchang, which means 'Hero', at approximately 3:30pm. Our guide, Lisa, told us that we should come up to the meeting room on the 20th floor at 4:30. For the hour in between, we were busy unpacking, trying to get the computer going, packing our diaper bag, assembling gifts, anything to keep busy!

Lisa called us at 4:15 to say he had arrived and we should come up. And so the nerves set in. We went upstairs to hear lots of crying. Fortunately for us, it was the twin girls in our group. We walked in the room and laid eyes on him approaching very cautiously. He was being held by the orphanage Director. We spoke to him a little bit and then she held him out to me. Initially, it seemed he was frightened. Tears streamed down his little face. I reassured him that everything would be okay. And he held on tight. We now have a Momma's boy on our hands. The poor little guy was burning up. They told us he had a cough, but when I put my lips to his forehead it was evident he had a fever. We brought him back to the room, and I continued to hold him and talk to him. The guys went to find a straw for him, since his update indicated he likes straws and he wasn't keen on his sippy cup. That allowed us some alone time to bond. His Chinese nickname is Wei Feng, so we will call him that until he's a little more comfortable.

Jimmy ordered some room service, which Daniel refused to eat. Everytime I offered it to him, he would turn away as if to say, "No thankyou, I'm not staying!" Bless his little heart. It's been a tough day for him. He's now sound asleep in our bed. We will sleep with him tonight. we are concerned about his fever and his cold, so we feel it's best to keep him close.

Let the bonding begin...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Way to Start the Day!

We had heard there was a Catholic Church about five minutes away that I've wanted to see since we arrived. We were ahead of schedule this morning before checkout, so we decided to head over just to pop in and say a quick prayer, if nothing else. When we entered the church, there was a Mass taking place--in Mandarin! It was beautiful! The congregation sounded like angels. We were there in time to do the peace. In China, everyone bows to each other. It was really cool. We were also there to take communion. Oh, what a joyous way to start such a special day. We were obviously meant to take that walk this morning:)

Good news today

Yes, we were one of the couples lucky enough to receive a book of updated information about Daniel in our meeting today! You can imagine we were overjoyed. First of all, he looks great! We received about four new photos of him. He looks very full and well fed. The information indicates that his height and weight are pretty good too. We received one bit of surprising information about his care. We were under the impression that he's been in the orphanage this whole time. Apparently, he's been in a Holt-sponsored group home since August 2009, and before that he was in a Half the Sky care center! Half the Sky is an awesome charity that helps orphans in China. We have donated to them in the past and here they helped our own little boy! It seems like he's been in very good care.

Today was a day full of touring. It was total deja vu from our last trip. As we walked around the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square, I found it very difficult to concentrate on anything but our big day tomorrow. Our emotions are swinging like a pendulum. It was exactly how we felt right before we were united with Madi. We are hoping for a good night's sleep tonight. Our flight departs Beijing at 11:30 and arrives in Jiangxi province tomorrow at 2pm. We are supposed to be united with Daniel at 4pm in our hotel. Will keep you posted...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tomorrow is Gotcha Day

Here it is. We've almost arrived at the moment we've been waiting for. Tomorrow is Gotcha Day. Tomorrow they place Daniel in our arms, and he'll be ours forever. Our family will be one family member richer. How did we get here? Wow. We started the process two years ago. We waited. We trusted God. And here we are. Yes, this is happening tomorrow and our hearts feel fuller every minute closer we get to meeting him.

This morning is our 3-hour orientation meeting with Holt. We found out there will be 63 attendees, so our group is larger than we thought! We were told that some of us will receive updates on our children and sadly, some of us will not. We hope to be amongst the lucky so we can see how our little guy is doing. After our meeting we are going to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City for touring. We have decided to hit Beijing's Irish Pub tonight. These guys want a t-shirt! Our flight leaves tomorrow morning. I will try to post again this evening depending on our timing.

A Few Laughs at Each Other's Expense

We have definitely enjoyed quite a few laughs already on our trip.

The night we arrived was Papa's night. We went to the restaurant and that's when he realized that they use chopsticks here. He looked like a deer in the headlights. That was an "oops" moment...maybe we should have practiced that with him!! He was a little frustrated but took on the challenge and rose to the occasion. Yesterday morning, we noticed his turtleneck shirt was on backwards because we could clearly see the tag on his throat:) Then last night, he wasn't moving quickly enough and got pinched in the elevator doors. Thankfully, we were the only three there to see it!

Jimmy miscalculated the revolving door and slammed himself into one of the glass panels before he exited. He later hit the glass window with his face trying to window shop. We need to keep him away from glass!

My "thing" has been my hair because of this bone-dry air in Beijing. There are no words to describe what I look like after a long day of touring with a hat on. The second I peel the hat off, my super-thin hair is either sticking straight up or glued to my head or both. It is truly bizarre. No, I will not post a picture!

To be continued...

Another Priceless Email Message from Madi

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

I miss you very much. I hope you have a great landing. I hope D. J. is safe. I hope Daniel likes his cake. We will plan a party and I hope Daniel likes it.

Bubba and I played in the Fort yesterday. I climbed the rope up the slide 7 times. We might eat all the tomatoes. They are way good. They are sweet 100.

You’re welcome back. We will have a very good dinner because we will celebrate Daniel. I ate chicken pot pie and lima beans last night. Why did you not buy corn. That’s so funny :-) We might have flowers. And we will have decorations and balloons. I’m helping Bubba a lot making the beds. I’m having a great time with Bubba.

Now send it.

We Made it! (now with pictures!)

We arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon. The flight was smooth; albeit a long one at 13:45 hours! Our hotel is surprisingly nice, nicer than our last trip to China in fact. We met up with our tour guide and four other adoptive families, who are all adopting boys with medical conditions too. Once we checked in to our hotel, we decided to jump right in and venture out for a Peking Duck dinner in the middle of downtown, which is very safe. Thank goodness our dear friends lent us some warm accessories because it's freezing here! A warm and satisfying dinner was precisely the medicine we needed (and Mommy needed an Ambien:) to acclimate to the time change, which by the way is 13 hours ahead of most of you. Yes, I am writing to you from tomorrow!

This morning we woke up very early and went downstairs for a breakfast of dumplings, noodles & a few other interesting things. Nothing like starting the day the Chinese way! Then our tour bus took us to the Great Wall of China. They've obviously cleaned things up around here because we've had blue skies so far. On our last trip, all we saw was smog. We were very proud of Papa, who climbed the Wall without much of a struggle at all. After lunch, they took us to Hutong Lane, which are the oldest communal living spaces in Beijing. We toured on rickshaws! You should see what 3.5 million buys you here. Not even a toilet in the place! The homeowner was really kind and gracious to take us in and show us where her family was raised for many generations. They truly are kind people here. It wouldn't be a Murphy day without something crazy happening. Our rickshaw bumped into the rickshaw in front of us--twice! They were yelling at each other like crazy. No whiplash to report:)

Now we are back at the hotel sipping a cold beer and complating dinner plans. We were told about a good restaurant next door to the hotel that serves really spicy food. In fact, so spicy that they won't serve some of it to tourists! We also plan to hit the open-air food market, with no plans to eat the scorpion skewers, of course.

We miss Madi tremendously already. Mom has been so wonderful to keep us updated on her, and she is handling everything like a champ as usual. Here is an email Mom sent in Madi's words. I don't have to tell you I was a sobbing mess when I read it:

Dear Mommy,

I miss you. I hope I see you. I know I am going to be a big sister, and I hope you come home soon. I really want to see my little brother. I know I won’t see him very soon, but wish I could see him tomorrow.

I really miss you, Mommy and Daddy. I hope Daniel will be safe. And I hope you have a great trip.

I give you hugs and kisses, dear Mommy, Daddy and DJ

That’s all. Now send it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guest Blogger

I am going to be the guest blogger while the Murphys are off on their (next) big adventure. Apparently, nobody mentioned to my sister about China's onerous internet censorship and what that means for blogs. Oops.

Anyway, she is going to send me the updates via email and I will post them here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Family Night

Last weekend, we decided to have a special family night with Madi. We cooked a nice steak dinner and the three of us ate dinner by candlelight. After dinner, we made s'mores by the chiminea and watched a movie together. We also let her sleep with us that night knowing it would be our last weekend to snuggle as a family of three.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Mei Mei Send-Off

Our dear Mei Mei friends and families treated us to a sweet send-off party this week. We went for dinner and fun to talk about the trip and the joy that lies ahead. The girls had a blast ripping around together. That restaurant will never be the same! Thank you Mei Mei Families! We are so blessed to have you in our lives!

Madi goes ice skating

Last weekend, we went to the birthday party of our Mei Mei, Amelie. It was an ice skating party, and it was Madi's first time on the ice. She used a chair (I think that's what they call it) to help her out, but took more than a few opportunities to skate to Mommy and Daddy without assistance--little daredevil. She loved the ice and loved doing it all with her Mei Meis! Happy 3rd birthday, Amelie!

Madi goes bowling

For the first time, over the holidays, we went bowling with Madi and the Mom's Club kids. It was a lot of fun and Madi loved it. At first, we let her try using the ramp for the ball, but after a couple of times, we encouraged her to try rolling the ball on her own, and she did great! She bowled better than her Mother...not a big surprise!