Thursday, June 15, 2006

Finding Ad

Today we received Qiu Ju's finding ad. Pictures of abandoned babies are required to be run in the local papers in an attempt to locate birth parents. A man in Utah, Brian Stuy, who has himself adopted three daughters from China, collects the provincial papers and can send adoptive parents a copy of this important part of their daughter's story. This is usually the baby's earliest picture.

When we opened the package today, Lyle, Adam, and I first saw a blown up image of just our Qiu Ju, so we didn't have a chance to see if we could pick her out from among the little faces. When Madeline came into the room, we asked her to guess which was Qiu Ju. She looked for all of about 2 seconds and said, "Of course, that's her right there." Can you all pick her out?

Well, Madeline was right! Our little Qiu Ju is the third baby over on the top row. Her ad translates to: "Finding date: 9/3/05. Found at the gate of the Guiping City Orphanage. A baby girl. Birth date: 9/2/05 (estimated). We don't know what her name was when she arrived in the orphanage, but her orphanage given name is Jin Qiu Ju."

Orphanages are required to run these ads quarterly. This one was dated December 16, 2005. Eleven abandoned baby girls were found in Guiping just in the month of September. It's amazing to think that there are over twenty other orphanages just in the province of Guangxi, all running these ads. China estimates that about 100,000 baby girls are abandoned every year, but other estimates put the number much higher. Seeing these little faces definitely makes it more real.

This week we've been concerned with news reports of flooding and landslides in the Guangxi province. Thankfully we haven't heard the city of Guiping mentioned, but neighboring cities have been evacuated and some small villages have been destroyed. Qiu Ju is definitely in our thoughts and prayers and we want so badly to get on a plane to China. There's a slim chance that we might get to go in July, but I'm trying not think about that because I don't want to get too disappointed. I'd be happy with going in August. I just don't want to go when school has already started.

This wait has been so much harder than the wait for a referral. Now that we have a name and face, we all feel like time is just creeping along!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Abby Turns Five!

On Sunday our little girl turned five! It's hard to believe! She enjoyed her day and expected all sorts of special privileges which kept the rest of us on our toes. I think it was Julie who used the term, "birthday diva", and that was certainly what we had on June 11th!

Abby is such a fun girl. You can never be sure what might come out of her mouth. She's started producing and starring in her own plays--very LONG productions that feature a character named "Jimmy". Jimmy seems to be a bit of a redneck and she cracked us all up the other night when in her play she said with a southern drawl, "Jimmy, I think you gotta' come kill somethin'!"

Abby has always loved blankies. No matter how hot it may be outside, she is always huddled in several blankets every night. One morning the kids found her like this. They swear that they didn't do this turban look, that she was just like that!

One of the things we love about Abby is that despite her fireball personality, she is also so snuggly and loving. I'll never forget how amazingly patient she was with her 3 times a week blood tests during her ITP episodes. We're so thankful that she's such a healthy little gal.

Adam and Madeline always need Abby for some activity. Abby isn't always game, but thankfully she can often be persuaded. Here, Abby is Adam's model for some trick photography.

Abby has grown up so much in the last few months. Six months ago, I couldn't even imagine her going to kindergarten in the fall, but now, she seems more than ready. She's gone from sounding out words, to reading quite fluently. She gets very frustrated with her little speech impediment that keeps her from saying the "ch" sound correctly. It comes out as "sh" and when she reads a word like "chair" as "share" and the big kids correct her, she gets furious. "Those sounds are the SAME!"

Abby will be a wonderful big sister. She has very much been the baby of the family up until now, so I'm sure there will be a bit of an adjustment, but I think Abby will love having someone younger than her.

One issue will be sleeping arrangements. Abby has never needed much sleep and can often be heard singing in her room at midnight. We've told her that will have to change when she shares a room with her baby sister. She claims that when Maya comes home she'll only sing lullabies!

Happy birthday Abby, we love you!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Guiping Information

We were thrilled to learn that a new Guiping orphanage was built less than 2 years ago! The pictures that I previously saw of the dilapidated building were actually taken at the old orphanage. This looks like a beautiful facility.

The inside of the orphange looks very clean and new. I've heard that families that visit are rarely allowed to take pictures inside the orphanage, so I haven't seen any pictures of the baby room at this new facility. There are several families that we've heard from who got back from picking up their daughters from Guiping just a couple of months ago. They most likely saw our daughter.

This picture really pulls at our heart strings. This is the entrance to the orphanage where Maya was found as a newborn. From this and other photos I've seen, it looks like quite a long dirt road leading to the gate. So soon after giving birth, I wonder if it was Maya's mother who brought her here or another family member. Although it's sad, we are happy that we'll be able to tell our daughter that her mother absolutely wanted her found and wanted her to be adopted and to have a family. Her intention was clear. In China, there is no legal way for a mother to give her baby up for adoption. This is as close to an adoption plan as it gets. This is not a road any American woman ever has to take and for that I'm so thankful.

The nannies are said to be warm and caring. Here are 2 nannies visiting with a little baby who had been adopted by a Canadian family just days before. It's so comforting to know that the babies are getting loving care.

Here is a map of the Guangxi province, in the southern part of China, bordering Vietnam. Apparently it's known for its dramatic landscape and green countryside. We will be flying into and staying in the capital of Nanning. The orphanage is 3 1/2 hours away by bus and the babies will be brought to us in Nanning. Hopefully at some point in time during the 5 days that we're in the province we'll be able to visit Guiping City.