Journey to Lia

Monday, May 31, 2010

and again more Lia pics

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More Lia pics

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And finally.....

We meet Lia. After 6 hours if someone asked me to describe my daughter I would have to say a quirky little imp. We went to the Civil Affairs office this morning at 9am. She was already waiting for us there. When we walked in the nanny was very excited and as soon as she stood up with Lia, Lia started crying, really hard. She came over to Ami and I but the candy, stuffed animals or attentive big sister could not help. So after about 5 minutes we decided to just have her sit on her nannys lap and we just sat beside her, not really paying too much attention. She did stop crying after quite a while.
Brian went over after about another 20 minutes and was able to hold her in his arms. This was great. It was not in Ami's plan and she was quite concerned that this was not how it was supposed to be!!
The Director and Nanny loved the photos from the Jiande families.
We were there about 2 1/2 hours. We left quietly without anymore crying. She stayed in Brians arms while we walked back to the hotel. She settled in quite nicely playing ball and she loves Cheerios!!
She loves to walk. Her weight is less than her last update, she is 28 lbs, I think the same height 95cm. Her feet are tiny, she came with some squeeky shoes but she would walk on her tippy toes to get them to stop squeeking. She loves her new sunglasses!!
We have had lots of smiles to our suprise!! She laughed when Brian put her up on his shoulders. When she is doing things with Ami, we look over at her, she looks at us and gives the cutest little smile!!
It is 3pm and she is tired, she normally has a nap in the afternoon so she may be up a bit late with a later nap. Brian and I are both relieved the first meeting is over and we will deal with the next couple of days as things arise. Ami is over the moon and very happy Lia is calling her Jie Jie already.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 12

We are on day 12 of our trip and feeling anxious about the next couple of days. We went to the Great Wall yesterday. Ami has found a friend in our travel group and they have been together a lot over the last day. Its a nice break for her. We are off to Hangzhou today and tomorrow is supposed to be our big day with Lia. I have to add the supposed part as this trip has been a lot of change. Thanks for all the comments on our blog and to Karen for forwarding them. Another thanks to my Mom for helping with the delay changes. Off to pack!! 

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Time to get going!! I wish!!

We are all feeling like it is time to move on to Hangzhou. Not sure if we will ever feel completely ready for Lia but as ready as we will be.
Today we went to the Summer Palace which was beautiful. We did not go there on our last trip and am glad we got to see it this time. It has been a misty grey day and started pouring rain just as we left.
Ami is very defensive of her little sister already. We were in the lobby tonight when another family arrived back to the hotel with their new little one. Of course she was cute as a button and Ami was quite taken aback that I would think other children are cute besides her little sister. Several times on the trip she has made comments about others not gushing enough over her little sisters pictures. Today she told me her little sister is going to like her the best because they both have almond shaped eyes and they will both soon be Chinese Canadians and Brian and I are JUST Canadians. Its nice to see her proud of who she is!!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

green does not always mean go

We had a great day today at the silk market, got some good bargins!! Although both Brian and I have noticed the starting prices seem much higher than when we were here 5 years ago. Ami got shoes, myself some jewellery and Brian got pulled pushed not as good bargains as I did!! Both the girls have new silk outfits, we just need Lia to try it on. Now we have a second shopping list for the dirt market.
We also saw the acrobats tonight. We were going to take a taxi, if we could get a taxi in the evening in the rain, no such luck. So we took the subway and got quite a bit of attention. Lots of stares and poor Faye seems to get the questions.
I am not sure what was my favourite part, the guy who balanced on his head on a loose rope (as opposed to the tight rope), the guy who climbed a 6 inch wide 20 foot tall pole with only his hands, body out from the pole or the 12 ladies riding one bicycle.
Brians favourite part was the green light. What is that you say, he he. There was a large group who came in 10 minutes late. They all got out their cameras and started taking pictures. Suddenly a green laser beam appeared and pointed at the cameras. You would think if this large laser beam hit the oculus of your camera you would stop and think maybe you should stop, but oh no, I guess here green always means go. Finally after do it yourself laser eye surgery did not work, a lady came out with a very angry face, not even one her mother would love, no words were needed!!
So, we are coming home on the 8th. Thanks to the Dallaways for helping to arrange Lia's ticket home. Why Air Canada could arrange ours but not hers shall remain an ancient Chinese secret. They now are granted honorary travel agent status.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today we went to see the Hutongs. We missed the tour in 2005 and it was an interesting place to visit. Our guide told us it is trendy to live there. Many of them are being fixed up. We were not able to go into the Hutongs as in the past, they no longer allow this. It was a trendy area with lots of shops and restaurants.
Ami was having her picture taken by a drum and this young couple wanted to take a picture of her. We have heard from other families that this is common that the Chinese like to take pictures of Chinese children who are now living abroad. Ami said it was ok and likes the thought she is famous!
We also had an interesting and delicious dessert. Our guide took us to a booth and ordered churros (long pastries, like donuts) then ice cream on top, drizzled with chocolate sauce in a large paper type funnel. Our guide commented how popular this dessert is and at times the line up to get them are very long. When we left with our order, I noticed a large lineup of about 30+ people down the corridor, but on the other side of the narrow pathway a ways down from the booth. You can see them in the picture. We finally clicked in that that was the line for the dessert, I suggested we leave the area immediately and avoid eye contact.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

?? for all you bloggers

Anyone know what the file size limit is for mobile posts?? Thanks!!

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Beihai Park Pics 4

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Beihai Park Pics 3

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Beihai Park pictures 2

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Beihai Park

We have a wonderful guide Faye who will be with us in Beijing. Today we went to Beihai Park. It was beautiful!!

We walked for hours around the park. We went to the top of a bell tower where we rang a bell 3 times for good luck, then we rang it 3 times for good luck for Lia. The park had lots of beautiful pagodas. There were some people who were dancing and of course Ami and Brian joined in, not exactly like Downtown Disney!! For most of the park, she held Fayes hand.
Ami loves Beijing. We had several conversations at home before the tip about people who will stare at her and she has not minded so far. She is enjoying the hotel, pool, not so much the food. It is nice to see her feel comfortable here, she has commented several times that everyone here "looks like her". Although our journey for a second daughter has taken us much longer than we thought, Ami is at a great age for a trip back to her homeland.
Right now Brian is playing with his new toy, an electronic helicopter.

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Blue Skies in Beijing Picture 2

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Blue skies in Beijing

(Sorry this post did not go through on Mon night as there were too many pics? I will sent one picture at a time until we figure out how to save them in a smaller size, if anyone has ideas please email them, thanks)
It was really nice to arrive in Beijing and have someone waiting for us!! After the craziness of the last couple of days we could use some TLC. Beijing is HOT, Shanghai was 20 degrees, grey and very damp. It is nice to see the blue sky. 

We met some of our fellow group members and had dinner together. It is too bad they all flew out this am to meet their children, so we are all alone again as far as other families go. We will see them again on Saturday to go to the Great Wall.

We did some exploring today and ended up by mistake at a crazy flea market. The outside was covered with santa statues and other animal/people statues. I thought it was a toy store. 

Brian and Ami also went swimming this morning, which I figure we will be doing everyday to keep Ami happy. And yes, you need to wear swim caps!!
We had dinner tonight with Yulin and it was so touching to see her walking down the street holding Ami's hand. The 4 of us ate some great Korean food for about $12.00. We have some plans for this week to visit Beihai Park, Silk Market, Summer Palace and maybe the acrobats if we can get tickets. We are not sure when we will be home, either Tues June 8 or Thurs June 10 depending on flights. We are still supposed to meet Lia on May 31 and will be flying to Hangzhou on Sun May 30!!

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jetlag sucks!!

Well we ended up having a quiet day yesterday as it was raining, which was ok. At 5pm I had 2 choices, 1 go to sleep or 2 throw up, so having spent some time on our last trip to China throwing up I chose option 1. The time change is crazy, we are all up at different times of the night.
The last 2 months since we told Ami about her sister, we have multiple daily conversations about Lia. So, it is no surprise that Ami was talking about her sister in her sleep last night. But then she proceeded to announce all our ages, including the cats in some conversation with who knows. I laughed so hard I woke her up!!
We are off to Beijing today and I am sure the flight will be interesting. Ami had fun on Skype yesterday with her cousins, Emily, Maegan and Melissa. Good luck Emily with your soccer tournament!!!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Another change of plans

Ami is sound asleep as we all woke up this am at 3:00am. She has been great. We had quite an adventure this evening trying to catch a cab at 6:00pm, I guess it was like trying to catch a cab in downtown TO during rush hour. Finally I spotted a cab stopped at a red light and we ran like the wind, got in and then told him where we wanted to go just as the light turned green and everyone started honking. I guess we have mastered catching a cab Shanghai style.
And that was going to be our big news for the day, note the WAS. We got an urgent email from our wonderful agency, remember... we are at a new hotel since last night and this leg of the journey we are managing ouselves until Hangzhou.
Unfortunately with the quick time of our travel there has been a snag at the provincial level where Lia lives. Someone is on holidays and her paperwork cannot be completed until that person returns. So, we will not be able to meet her until May 31. Change of plans, once again our motto is go with the flow. We are disappointed but this process is not something we have control over, whether its the stopover in Japan, no hotel when we arrive or did I mention Brian had to give directions to the cab driver on our way back from downtown tonight!! I nearly burst out laughing as the very nice driver kept shouting out OK, OK, OK and only 1 wrong turn (it was the drivers fault Brian motioned go right and he went left). The hard part will be explaining to Ami she has to wait one more week. We will meet with Yulin in Beijing and we completely trust in her to take care of us and figure out what we need to do.
The good news is we did bring emergency money and Brian is excited about another week of not cooking.  We will go to Beijing on Sunday and take it from there with a new itinerary. We are going to go out tomorrow (weather permitting) to Yu Yuen garden and make the best of our extended time here!!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ami's new job!!

She is much better than us at this time change!!

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Going with the flow should not include the screaming section or Japan!!

We have been saying this trip is all about going with the flow, but we really did not think we would be tested quite this soon!!
The flight from Toronto to Shanghai is 14 hours. I guess when we had to book last minute they did not tell us the few seats left were in the families with screaming children section. Screamers in front and to the side. We ended up leaving 20+ minutes late as we also had the joy of sitting behind a family (with 2 screaming kids) who decided they did not have to follow any of the usual rules, put your seatbelt on, hold onto your kids during take off etc. so they could not leave the gate as this family kept getting up when the flight attendants were belted in.
Ami was a great traveller, she slept for about 3 1/2 hours until we hit turbulance (poor Brian!!) Unfortunately soon after this they announced the plane had to land in Japan as the toilets were full!! 3 1/2 hours was too long for everone to hold their legs crossed until Shanghai. So that added another 2 hours to our flight.
Ami had a fun moment when she gave our pilot a thank-you card and he took her up to the cockpit and let her sit in the pilots seat with his pilot hat on. We got cute pictures!!
When we got to Shanghai and finally to our hotel at 7:30pm, we discovered they had given away our room at 6pm. What happened to check-in anytime after 4pm. So we got into another taxi to another hotel. So, now we have no idea where we are in Shanghai!!
But, we have a bed, are going down for breakfast soon and we are done with the long plane ride. Can someone email us at or to let us know the blog post came through, thanks!!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

test post via email

Blogger/blogspot is blocked in China so I have set up a back door email to post to our blog. We are bringing our netbook with an external hard drive.
Our luggage is almost packed. It looks like we have a lot but I think we packed light??. 1 suitcase is the girls clothes, 1 suitcase is Brian and my clothes along with the medicines, 1 suitcase mostly food with a few toys and the duffle bag is toys for kids at the orphanage and gifts for the nannies/director.  
We have packed according to the weight allowance for our in-China flight which is less than Air Canada. Now I just need to stop thinking of more things we need to bring.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Look who wants to come too!!!

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

What we have been told....

Here is what we have been told about our little Lia.

She was born June 16, 2006.

On May 4th, her height was 95cm and her weight 30lbs (with clothes and shoes on). She is about 10th percentile for height and weight. This may make it a bit easier if we end up carrying her around.

She lives in Jiande Social Welfare Institute, Zhejiang Province. She had surgey when she was a very young which was successful. With strangers at the beginning she is a little shy, but with the people she knows she can have conversations and talks well. She likes to play with other children, and wants to be with the nanny/ nannies. On her file from Dec 2008, it mentioned she likes sweets!!

In April we sent her a care package through a company in China called Red Thread China. We sent a photo album with pictures of us and her new home, a small blanket, candies for her friends and nannies and a letter. We hope the SWI will spend some time looking through the photos with her but we will not know for sure until we meet her. We had planned on sending more care packages but luckily we will get to deliver the next one ourselves!!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Question of the day.....

Do you think we have enough food (he he)??. We still have to add Cheerios, noodles, Gatorade and Smartfood.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Itinerary and Ami's new do

First off, I took Ami to Melon Heads yesterday for a haircut, she got 3 inches cut off and looks sooo cute!!

Our travel package was coming through Canada Post yesterday and we missed it in the time Ami was getting her haircut and it was not going to be avail for pick up until today after 1 pm, I was disappointed we had missed it. We heard a knock on the door and our fantastic Canada Post carrier came by for the second time. She said she was driving by and noticed us home so came by again. She rocks!!! We always say hi when she comes by and Ami loves going out to get the mail from her. I told her what was in the package and she shared with me she was adopted.

Here is our Itinerary for the trip

Wed May 19-3 pm fly from Toronto to Shanghai
Thurs May 20-afternoon, arrive in Shanghai
Fri May 21 to Sunday May 23-Stay at the H Hotel, ? Yu Yuan Park, acrobats, aquarium, depending on the jet lag
Sun May 23-Train to Hangzhou, Zhejiang
Mon May 24-Meet Lia early in the afternoon
Tue May 25-family picture, paperwork at the provincial office
Wed May 26-sightseeing
Thurs May 27-sightseeing and receive documents
Fri May 28- Fly from Hangzhou to Beijing
Sat May 29-Children's pictures at the hotel, group picture, Canadian Embassy documents, Beijing Zoo
Sun May 30-The Great Wall
Mon May 31-Summer Palace
Tues June 1-Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City
Wed June 2-Silk Store, Goodbye China party
Thurs June 3-Fly Beijing to Toronto, arrive home 6:45 pm

Of course, all depends on how the little ones are doing and our plan is to take it day by day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day and Counting Down

This Mother's Day I am truly blessed. One wonderful daughter who gave me lots of hugs and kisses, breakfast in bed and Swiss Chalet for dinner. And one daughter whose picture I look at 100 times a day,  wonder what she is doing and hopes she knows her family is coming soon. We got a wonderful surprise this week of new pictures of our little Lia.

Today I am  thankful to those who have helped on the way to my becoming a Mom for the second time.

For our family and friends who have stood by us in our journey.

For our wonderful Social Worker Bonnie, who since I told her our plans to change our request for an older child from China's Waiting Child Program, has been very supportive and has believed in our strength as a family to take this new path.

For our awesome new agency Family Outreach International who has gone above and beyond in helping us to get to our daughter as fast as we can. And for always making yourself available, especially when we called at 9:30pm the night we saw a photo of Lia.

For my Mom, Happy Mother's Day!! Who has over the years oh so gently asked how things are going in our second adoption and been a great listener. I love you!!

And last but not least, my husband Brian. Who did not turn and run the other direction when in the middle of H1N1 clinics I hit the wall waiting for our second child. For working through the options and figuring out together how to get through. Love you xoxo

When we started gathering our paperwork in December 2005 to adopt again, never did we anticipate it taking this long. It has been a rough wait. And now we sit, leaving in 10 days and my heart is torn. I am so excited to meet Lia, yet I am terrified for her being given to strangers for the second time in her life. This time the strangers are us.

As I sit here listening to Ami chatter away, soon there will be a little chatter in English (make that a lot!) and a little chatter in Mandarin, and it warms my heart. My two little girls!!