Friday, March 30, 2007

Chris & Stepanie in China ( 10) - Guangzhou

Hi All,

Chris here once again, sending our final email from Guangzhou; after today, we lose access to Samson's laptop & probably won't have access to the Internet until we arrive home. Both Stephanie & Sarah are feeling better than they were yesterday & we celebrated by taking a walk to the Toy Market (photo #1), where I found a sweet bargain on a Japanese robot for my collection.

Toy Market, where I found a sweet bargain on a Japanese robot for my collection.

On our way there, we stopped for lunch at Young World

a children's park with rides & an underground mall with a McDonalds

After our return & a nap for the ladies, we met up for dinner with Samson & the Bohans, another Gladney family that just arrived in Guangzhou after adopting their baby in Nanchang.

Afterwards, we all went back to Shamian Island, where Sarah posed unhappily on the famous red couch at the White Swan.

Finally, a Starbuck's nightcap for Mommy- adopting parents are very happy there is now a Starbuck's on the island.

Thanks for sharing our second China adoption journey with us- see you back in the States! --

Stephanie & Chris

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Chris & Stephanie in China ( 9 ) - Guangzhou

Samson at work

Physical Examination in a clinic on the Simian Island.

(This physical examination is a part of the U.S. visa application process in Guangzhou, China.)

In a Chinese temple, getting blessed.


Chris here,while Stephanie is taking a much-needed break. Sarah is suffering from a cold, making her cling even more tightly to Stephanie. In the morning, we went to the Six Bayan temple for a traditional blessing as can be seen in the first three photos attached to this message. Afterwards, we moved from the White Swan to the brand-new Holiday Inn Shifu Guangzhou, which is located in a lively shopping district, as can be seen in the fourth photo. -- Chris

Child Blessing by a Monk in a Temple

Bi Sheng Ke Happy Restaurant - as the Chinese characters read.

On the Simian Island


Chris here again, manning the computer while Stephanie & Sarah make an early night of it. Today was a quiet day by choice, since both ladies are feeling under the weather. The early afternoon was taken up by Sarah's health exam, as can be seen in the first photo. She received a clean bill of health, and although she did not care for the poking and prodding at all, she came through the exam with far fewer tears than her big sister did last year. Afterwards, our facilitator Samson accompanied us back to our room to help us complete some of the final paperwork of the trip. In the second photo, you can see him hard at work. The morning, and the remainder of the afternoon, were taken up with exploring the neighborhood surrounding our hotel, and making note of the many wonderfully strange and exotic choices a visitor has for dining in the area (see final two photos) -- Christopher

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chris & Stephanie in China ( 8 )

Hi All,

Today we went to Sarah Ji Ji's SWI. We couldn't go inside due to new rules and restrictions imposed by the province, but we were able to go into the courtyard and the nannies waved down.

The SWI was in Yang Dong County, which is around 250 KM from a lot of time in the car today! After we visited the SWI and her abandonment spot, we went to the neighboring city of Yangjiang where Chris fulfilled one of his goals of this trip...having a cup of corn at a McDonald's--a treat you will not find at any stateside McDonald's!

Tomorrow we will go to the blessing at the temple in the morning, then we are moving off Shamian Island to the brand new Holiday Inn just across the bridge in Guangzhou proper. In the afternoon we hope to do a little shopping.:-).

Sarah Ji Ji has been back in her crib the last 2 nights after spending one long night with Mama! Yeah!!! The key seems to be as little room time as possible. She just does not like hanging out in the hotel unless she is sleeping. Her sister Kathryn was the exact same way last year!! Is it bad feng shui??

The pictures are at the SWI, at McDonald's in Yangjiang, and at a nice lake on the way out of Yangjiang.

Love to all--especially you, James and Kathryn!!!

Steph and Chris

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou (7)

The carp in the garden fighting for food

A pretty view of part of the garden

Sarah Ji Ji contemplating a rose

Samson's wife Chrysan the mum with their baby Shi Pung, and yours truly with Sarah! Yes, their baby is absolutely adorable--and only about 6 weeks old!

Hi All,

Today we spent a nice day with Samson and his family. First we went to a restored Ming Dynasty garden outside Guangzhou, called Baomo Park. It was beautiful and we spent a few hours wandering around. Then we went back to Samson's home for a delicious dumpling dinner! We were honored to be invited to his home in this way!

Tomorrow we go to Yangjiang to see Ji Ji's SWI. We can't go inside, but will at least see the outside and the city of her birth.

Kathryn and James, we miss and love you very much!!!

Steph and Chris-- Stephanie

Friday, March 23, 2007

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou ( 6 )

Mommy and Sarah by the waterfall in the White Swan Hotel

Pictures of the White Cloud Mountain

Samson and Daddy comparing electronics prices in our hotel room

Today we went to White Cloud Mountain, a beautiful scenic area, and got some good exercise walking up part of it. Then after a delicious lunch which included beef with lily petals, we went to the notary to pick up some papers. This evening poor Sarah seems to have had enough of everything and has cried and cried. It's a lot for a little 18 month old baby to process! We think she might be grieving the loss of her old life and routine. Poor little one. But, we went through this with her big sister also and know that she will be fine in the long run...just takes lots of patience.

Steph-- PS: Chris just came back from walking JiJi around the hotel and she is asleep! Yeah!!Stephanie

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou ( 5 )

With our wonderful guide Samson

In the Guangzhou Zoo

Oyst Dish. Yum!!

Hi All,
Today we went to the Electronics Market (Chris has some internet price comparisons to do tonight!), and then to the Guanghzou Zoo. The pictures are mostly of the zoo, including a couple of Samson, our wonderful guide, and the final one is Sarah Ji Ji chomping on a cookie back in the hotel room.

Of course we also had another delicious authentic local meal--this time with a local oyster dish and wonderful meat balls. Yum!!

Steph and Chris-- Stephanie

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou ( 4 )

Hi All,

I realized I didn't send any gotcha pictures yet...a gotcha that Miss Sarah walked to. OK, she was unwillingly led. Still, we were very surprised to see her walking! She hasn't really walked since as she prefers to be held, but I've attached a few pictures of the moment we met Sarah.

Today was a "taking care of business"day. We moved to a room with the river view. In the afternoon we dealt with more adoption related business. In the evening Chris came back to the hotel because he is a little under the weather, and Samson, Po the driver and Sarah and I went to a restaurant famous for its sweet and sour pork. Delicious!!!

I've attached a picture of Sarah and I at breakfast with a view of the Pearl River in the background, and a couple of our goofy sleepy gir.:-).

Hope all is well with all of you! We will keep the updates coming.

Steph and Chris-- Stephanie

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou ( 3 )

Sarah Ji Ji asleep last night

This morning at the Guangdong Adoption Center with the staff from the Yang Dong SWI (Ji Ji's orphanage)

with the notary at the Adoption Center

After it was all over, stealing a sip of Mommy's soda at lunch time!

Hi Again All,

After this we will be caught up and I'll be able to just send a couple of pics each day.:-).

Ji Ji ate well for us today and just like her "big" sister, is happy to eat a lot of solid food. She has a mouthful of teeth already! She didn't drink much bottle and the orphanage staff said that she only drinks one in the morning. We also think we might have to cut a bigger hole in the bottle nipple for her.

We got a very nice stroller today at the Toy Market for just $20. She hated it at first but got used to it pretty quickly. She is not terribly heavy, but heavy enough to not be able to carry her all day!

Oh, and for those who will be traveling here in the future-- a couple of exciting new conveniences here on Shamian Island! First, there are a couple of new ATMs by the first floor entrance to the White Swan. Citibank and HSBC, especially for overseas card members. And, just as important--there is a Starbucks!!! A very nice one in one of the nice colonial buildings. I was very happy to finish off my authentic local delicious Chinese meal tonight with a Frappucino.:-).

Steph-- Stephanie

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou ( 2 )

Yu Garden in Shanghai

Yu Garden - Dumplin Shop

Hi All,
Guess what--we have a laptop! No, we didn't go crazy and buy one. Samson, the greatest guide ever, has lent us his old one while we are here! This is great because it means we can email from the room and inundate, er, send just a few pictures to you all very easily now.:-). So here are a few of the many pictures we took in Shanghai over the weekend. The first one is on the Bund Sat. evening, with the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in Pudong (economic development zone across the Huangpu river from the Bund) in the background. The second one is in the YuYuan Gardens, and the third is a shot taken while we were waiting in line to have the justifiably famous Shanghai dumplings, at a place right outside the YuYuan gardens.

In other news, Chris discovered the Guangzhou Toy Market this afternoon (Sarah and I were along to witness the experience of course!), and we had a delicious dinner across the bridge from Shamian Island at a real local restaurant Samson took us to. Unbelievably good!!

I'm going to send a few pictures from the adoption proceedings this morning in a separate email.

Oh, did I mention Sarah Ji Ji goes to sleep all by herself in her crib? And that she slept through the night until 7 AM last night? She is sleeping peacefully as I type. And, she is a thumb sucker. She is our third child and the first one to suck her thumb!!

As always, loads of hugs and kisses, and be good, James and Kathryn! xoxoxoxo

Steph and Chris and Sarah Ji Ji-- Stephanie

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou (1 - b)

Finally, here are some pictures.

Chris & Stephanie in China - Guangzhou (1 - a)

Hi Everyone,
Sorry no pics yet...the place we went to last year can't do it at least today.:-(. Hopefully we will be able to send some soon, if not we will have some for you when we get back!

Sarah Ji Ji is soft, lovely, and more self-contained and quiet than her sister was, although definitely still scared and crying sometimes. She sort of shut down after we got back to the hotel yesterday and curled up with her blanket and slept through the night! This morning she ate a bowl of congi though, and some French toast, and she just had some rice for lunch. We are going through the adoption process with Samson yesterday, today and tomorrow, and will then have time for sightseeing in earnest starting on Thursday. Samson as usual is wonderful, and the White Swan is just as always--we don't have a river view right now but we are switching rooms tomorrow so we will get one.

More later! Kathryn and James, we are thinking about you all the time and miss you very much!!! Big kisses.

Steph and Chris-- Stephanie

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Chris and Stephanie in China - Shanghai (2)

HI All,

The internet is much cheaper at this hotel than usual, so taking advantage of that to send another email. Speaking of the hotel, we really like it (the Panorama in Shanghai). We have a suite complete with large living room , and the restaurant on the 30th floor not only has a good breakfast buffet but also spectacular views of the Bund and Pudong!

Last night we enjoyed strolling along the Bund with the spectacular views of Pudong across the river.

Today was very busy and we saw the old, new and future Shanghai. We started with the Yu Gardens (begun in the Ming dynasty) and surrounding bazaar. Chris and I waited in line for 45 minutes to have dumplings at a shop right by the Yu Gardens that is very popular with the Shanghainese, and recommended by our guide Jane. It was worth every minute of the wait! Then we went to the Jade Buddha Temple, had a delicious dim sum lunch (yes, we are enjoying the food!!!) and went off to see the future vision of Shanghai at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. From there we went to Xin Tiandi and saw the Shikumen (Shanghai style architecture) Museum. Xin Tiandi is a new shopping , restaurants, bars, coffee shop etc. center fashioned from old Shikumen houses.

Finally we drove by the Shanghai LIbrary, the largest in Asia, so we could take a picture!!

Tomorrow we leave very early for the airport to catch our flight to Guangzhou. By 4 pm China time we should have our Ji Ji! We have really enjoyed our time in Shanghai and our guide Jane was great.

We will try to email again as soon as we can after we have Ji Ji, and hopefully include a picture!

James and Kathryn, lots of love and kisses!! Be good.

Steph and Chris-- Stephanie

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chris and Stephanie in China - Shanghai

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hi Everybody!

We arrived Friday night after the usual grueling 13 1/2 hour flight to Beijing, made longer by the fact that the plane was delayed by an hour because someone canceled their trip at the last minute! However, they made up the time in the air pretty well and we made our connecting flight to Shanghai without any problems. We arrived at our hotel around midnight Shanghai time and were awake again by 6 am! Gotta love jetlag. We pushed through the jetlag all day today though with a full day of sightseeing--the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which has great views (it was clear and sunny today) and also a Shanghai history museum, the silk factory (we got your scarf Mom), a delicious sweet and sour pork lunch, and then the Shanghai Museum this afternoon! We'll go up to the room in a few hours and rest up before heading out to the Bund this evening, but wanted to send this quick email first.

James and Kathryn, we miss you very much and hope you are having lots of fun with Nanny, Grandma and Big T. Don't forget to do your homework James, and you have Spanish class on Monday. See Mommy still reminds you even when I'm in China! Kathryn, you be a good girl.

Tomorrow we have another full day of sightseeing and then Monday morning we are off to Guangzhou. We should have our Ji Ji (Sarah) in the afternoon on Monday, and will try to email with a picture or two shortly after that!

Hope you are all well!

That's all for now--

Steph and Chris-- Stephanie

Monday, March 12, 2007

Katie Xing Xing Goes To Chinatown For Gladney's CNY Celebration!!

Mom Monica and Dad Paul brought Katie Xing Xing for her big reunion with two roommates from Chongquing! Here are some pictures from Katie's exciting Chinese New Year celebration at the Jing Fong Restaurant in NYC's Chinatown!

In the first picture, Mom Monica is trying to distract Katie from joining the performers on the stage by dancing with her!
Roommates Reunited--Katie, Hayli and Valerie--Chongqing girls together again!
Mom Jodi with Hayli, Dad Peter with Valerie, and Dad Paul with Katie!
Mom Sue and Dad Peter with Valerie and her mei mei, Victoria!
And finally, a girl can only take so much excitement....tired out after the big day!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Gracie Turns 5!!!!

Mom Robin writes:

Gracie will be 5 on Wed and she had her b-day party this weekend. Of
course, in pure Skip style, he posted the pic's first thing this a.m.

She had the party at a place call "outrageouhiss pets"... really cool;
all these different animals; snakes, bugs, turtles. My little girly
girl loves bugs and animals.... go figure!!!