Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lindy's first Easter

To many, Easter signifies new beginnings and new life. This year, it was impossible not to think about new life as we held our precious daughter in our arms. Although we did not give her physical life, we pray because we have brought her into our family that she will know Christ and have the gift of eternal life.

Lindy went to church for the very first time and was a good girl. She did get a little bit chatty, so Daddy took her out so she would not disturb everyone. For years I have reassured friends that people are forgiving when they hear babies make noise and not to feel too self-conscious about it...Well, as soon as Lindy started making noise, I felt like she was probably the noisiest kid ever. Now I know why my friends have looked at me like I'm crazy when I say, "Don't worry about it."

She met many new friends and looks forward to getting to know them better in the future.

Lindy took a few moments out of her busy schedule on Easter to have some photos taken. The chair is a gift from Aunt Michelle & Uncle Pat and her cousins in Arizona. I think cousin Brooke helped pick it out, because it is pink and purple!



Don, Lisa, & Lindy

Saturday, April 15, 2006

We're home!

After more hours of travel time than I can calculate, we landed safely in San Antonio on Thursday, April 13th before 11:00 pm--7.5 hours later than anticipated. Due to mechanical problems in Hong Kong, we were delayed by 2 hours and subsequently missed our connecting flight in San Francisco. The best they could do for us was get us home late in the evening. This was very disappointing news for all of us, because we were so ready to be home.

Despite our very late arrival, several special friends and Grandma & Grandpa Caples were at the airport to greet Lindy with a warm reception and lots of red, white, and blue for one of America's newest citizens. (She officially became a U.S. citizen when we landed in San Francisco.) She was a little apprehensive about all the attention at first, but did warm up some despite being so weary and sleep-deprived. She certainly was a trooper, considering April 13th was the longest day in history for her, as her day had begun at 5:00 am (China time).

When we got home, the patriotic fairies (G & G Caples) had decorated lots of balloons and welcome home banners throughout the house. What a special homecoming for all of us. Thank you so much for all of you who were at the airport to welcome us home. I know several people had wanted to be there but weren't able to because of the delays, but believe me--we felt your love and support, nontheless!

Although we had a wonderful trip to China and an experience of a lifetime, we are thrilled to be back home. Now our goal is to try to get Lindy into a normal routine and to catch up with family and friends. Oh, and maybe try to catch up on a little sleep, too...

Thank you for every prayer, encouraging word, and kind deed! We are truly blessed by all of you.

Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Thursday, April 13, 2006

On our way home

We've made it to Hong Kong and we're on our way home. Wish us luck on the long flight.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Red Couch photos at the White Swan

One of the traditions of staying at the White Swan is for the children to be photographed on the red couches near the song birds in the golden bird cages. Often, the children are dressed in traditional Chinese clothing of some sort.

Below are some pictures of Lindy and the girls in our travel group, as well as some internet friends I have made. As you can imagine, it is pretty hard to get them all happy and looking at the camera at once.


Monday, April 10, 2006

A day in Lindy's life

Hello everyone,

I didn't resize any pictures today for posting so I'll try to upload a couple of days worth tomorrow.

Some of you have asked what our typical day is like so here is a summary. Our days here in Guangzhou are a lot more relaxed than they were in Beijing or Changsha. Breakfast is included in each place and it's western style so we don't dare miss it. It's usually our biggest meal of the day. Lindy loves everything but we usually only give her eggs, white bread, bananas, watermelon, ham, and cheerios. I think the rule of thumb is to wait until after 1 year old to feed them eggs but she has been eating them for a while so we aren't sweating it. She doesn't care much for a bottle but we're making her drink Chinese formula mixed with Rice cereal. That's what she was on so we decided not to rock the boat. She has been drinking more of a bottle each day with meals. She loves watermelon but, like I mentioned earlier, I limit it so she doesn't pee all day. We've been adding in some prunes occasionally since she gets a little backed up every couple of days. It's probably all the rice she eats. In Beijing, all meals were included and planned out. In Changsha, there was one additional meal included with the group and a tour scheduled each day. Here in Guangzhou were doing a tour about every other day with most trips out for shopping. The tours kind of upset Lindy's schedule a little with naps but it is good to get out of the hotel room and do something each day. Lindy is extremely social so she loves going out in the Baby Bjorn - facing out of course so she can look at everyone and wave to them. She is such a hit with both the Chinese and the Americans. Here in Guangzhou things are very relaxed. In fact, we don't have to do anything on Tuesday other than shop and eat dinner on a river cruise on the Pearl River. It's the last night our group will be together so we're going to celebrate one last time. Most of the shopping here is about 50 feet from the hotel so it is very convenient.

Lindy was awesome today. She only cried a few times during the day and usually because she was getting bored or we weren't feeding her fast enough. She wakes up at about 7:30 or 8 and plays in her crib for 30 minutes. Then we get her out, eat a bottle of formula and rice cereal, and then get dressed. We head to breakfast at about 8:30. She seems to want a map by 10:30 but only sleeps for 30-45 minutes. She's eating table food for all meals. She seems to want another nap at about 2-3 but tours have been interrupting that one. If she weren't so nosy she would fall asleep in the Baby Bjorn but she usually stays awake to watch everything all afternoon. If we ride around in the bus she will fall asleep for 15-20 minutes. We've been eating dinner at about 6pm and it usually lasts until 7:30. We take baths from 7:30 to 8 and then drink a bottle before bed. She usually goes to sleep by 8:30-8:45. The only hard part of the day is between bath and sleep. Today she finally went to sleep with no fuss. We then repeat each day.

She's really funny to watch and her personality is really coming out. Today, while Lisa was in the store, Lindy was in the Bjorn yelling at everyone. (She's going to interrupt church with that voice.) She loves birds, lights, elevator buttons, mirrors, and babies. She loves to look at herself in the mirror and waves to me when she sees me in the mirror. When I pull out my wallet to purchase things she want to look at my drivers license. I show it to her, she points to my picture, looks up at me, and then kisses my pictures. She's definitely a daddy's girl and I'm not doing anything to stop that!! Mommy will get her turn when I go back to work.

Well that's about all for now. We'll try to post 1 or 2 more times before we head home. Thanks again for all your prayers, emails, and comments (which I still can't read.) We'll enjoy them when we get home.

Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Killing time

We've completed one day at the White Swan. There were a lot of babies at the hotel in Changsha but this is unbelievable. There are babies everywhere. Lindy loves the breakfast buffet which features Western-style food. We're trying to get in fruits for breakfast since the other meals are usually light on fruits and veggies. She loves watermelon but Dad has to limit the intake unless he wants to change diapers all day.

Today we completed all the paperwork we need for tomorrow's medical exam, Tuesday's consulate appointment, and Wednesday's Oath ceremony. Lindy was happy all day - until the end of bath time. For some reason she just hates getting out of the bath, getting in her jammies, and getting ready for bed. She woke up playful and enjoyed playing with mommy all morning. In the afternoon we went to a local mall. It was six stories tall and seemed to have shop after shop. It was similar to putting a thousand Sam Moons into a mall. We topped off the evening with a Dim Sum dinner at Don's request.

Happy Birthday to my Dad.

Here are some pictures of Lindy today.


Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Saturday, April 08, 2006

We made it to the White Swan

The Guangzhou airport

I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Guangzhou next to a guy from Sweden, sipping a cup of coffee, and blogging. I'm finally able to post pictures without waiting 10 minutes for a page to load and then erroring out. Lisa's in the room with Lindy who's sound asleep by now. The pages on this site are in Chinese so I'm trying to hit buttons and hyperlinks from memory. I can't remember which one is the spell check so my apologies for any mistakes on any of the postings.

The coffe shop where we blog

We left Changsha today around 2pm. It was a little sad in that we aren't sure if we'll ever make it back to Lindy's hometown. On the other hand, leaving Changsha means the process is complete on the Chinese side and it's in the hands of the US Consulate.

We are staying at the famous White Swan Hotel. It is much, much nicer than I imagined. Lindy has only stayed in 5 star hotels so we'll have to work on lowering her expectations in the future. Shamian Island is beautiful, and seems like a quaint neighborhood in Charleston rather than a city in China with 12 million people. We don't have much to do until Monday when we go see the doctor for a mandated check. Until then, Lisa plans to help the local economy while outfitting Lindy with stuff and collecting trinkets to take home. I don't have pictures available today but I was able to add them to previous blogs.

I still can't view our blog or the comments but my some of the emails we've received I gather that there are a few. The weather is much warmer than any weatherman forecasted so I wear whatever is clean and best matches the day's temps. Lisa continues to "happen" to match outfits with Lindy. We tried to pack light so tomorrow we going to have some laundry done again. Reminds me of the "ancient Chinese secret" commercial of the 70s and 80s.

The food has been awesome and Lindy still has not not met a spoon of food that she doesn't like. On the way to the airport, we stopped by McDonalds and introduced her to french fries. They're just as popular here.

Thanks to everyone for the emails. We think of you often and are starting to get anxious to head home. We'll post more pictures each day with the improved connectivity.


Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Friday, April 07, 2006

Last day in Changsha

This is our last day in Changsha. Today it was amazing to see the changes in Lindy. She wakes up each morning, looks at us, and seems to say, "You're still here??" She still eats a ton of table food. She doesn't care for a bottle much and we heard that a lot of the babies in foster care are fed everything with a spoon so that seems to make sense. She won't drink water from a bottle or sippy cup but she will from a spoon or a glass. Maybe we'll try a straw soon. The Chinese give the babies here egg at every meal so we hope her cholesterol isn't through the roof by the time we get home. Today, we went to the Hunan Embroidery Institute. The Hunan people are famous for their embroidery and it was really amazing.

Our adoptions documents were ready this afternoon so now the adoption is official in China. We received her Chinese passport which will allow us to go to Guangzhou to process through US Immigration at the US Consulate. Our Consulate appointment is on Tuesday at 10:30. We leave for Guangzhou tomorrow afternoon. We finally were able to access email today but it isn't allowing replies. We're also still not able to upload pictures to the blog. Hopefully, Guangzhou will have much better connectivity. We'll post more pictures when we are able. I am posting really low res images so if you try to print them, they may not look too good. We'll make them all available when we get home. Lindy sleeping

Spurs fan with his mom trying to remove his cigarette for the photo

Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Visit to the orphanage

Today our morning tour was to the Changsha #1 Social Welfare Institute. This is the orphanage where Lindy first lived. She was there for about 2 months before she went into foster care. It was surprising to us that it was about an hour out of town. The orphanage was responsible for her while in foster care so the foster family had to periodically drive all that distance. We saw two ox plaowing along the way and some interesting form of plaowing the rice fields.

We didn't get to see much of the orphanage but it was nice to be able to look around. Many of the doors had Disney characters on them which helps to explain Lindy's fascination with Mickey Mouse. Looks like we know where we will be headed on vacations. They wouldn't let us take pictures of the babies so we were unable to get early pictures of some future family's children. The nannys recognized one of the 3 year olds in our group but not the babies. Overall, it was a nice place and is considered a model SWI in China.

Lindy loves to ride around in the bus and usually falls asleep after taking everything in. Following an afternoon nap, we headed to Walmart. It was interesting to see the similarities and the differences. The greeters are about 50 years younger here than in the States. It was a 2 story store in the middle of a mall. We get quite a few stares walking around in the crowded places but Lindy usually just waves to everyone.

Today, Lindy started to be a little more pleasant to Mom. She has been warm to Dad since he carries her around quite a bit in the Baby Bjorn. She started giving kisses and we found her tickle spots.

The computer is not allowing us to upload pictures so we'll insert them as soon as we are able.

Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Getting the hang of it

We're starting to get the hang of this parent thing. Lindy is fun but also a lot of work. She sleeps well, eats like her father (very well), and loves to walk around in the Baby Bjorn. She loves to look around at people on the street. She also loves to look at babies - whether they are the other babies here or pictures of babies on her cereal box or clothing tags. She likes books and kisses the girl in the picture every time. In between the fun events, it's a little bit of a battle. She hates getting dressed or undressed, diaper changes, pre-bath, post-bath, etc... She definitely has the "Spicy" personality of a Hunan girl.

Today, we visited the Hunan Provincial Museum. They have the body of the minister's wife from 2100 years ago on display. They found her in the 1970s while excavating for new construction. There were a lot of well preserved items in her coffin along with her body. Some in our group called her the "2100 year old dead lady." Ahhh, what fun.


Don, Lisa, and Lindy

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Adoption Day

Today we returned to the adoption center to make it official. We finalized the adoption, and our Fan Xiao Jia is now Lindy Li-Xiao Osborn. We promised we would take care of her and never abandon or abuse her. We signed several papers and had our first family photo taken.

We have spent the afternoon in our room playing with her (in between naps), and trying to get to know her and understand what makes her tick. She waves and plays peekaboo. She cries whenever one of us leaves her sight. Things are going as well as I think they can.

It is hard to believe we have been gone almost a week, and how much our lives have changed. We are enjoying China, getting as much rest as we can, and have stayed well.

We must sign off for now and go get some dinner. We don't know when we'll be able to post again, but will try as soon as we can.

Thanks for all the wonderful emails. They are a source of encouragement to us.

D, L, & L

Monday, April 03, 2006

Here she is

Well we finally had some success with a computer. Thanks to everyone who is checking this blog daily and patiently waiting. The Great Firewall is alive and well!!

On Monday morning we went to the provincial adoption center with the others in our group. We were supposed to get them at 9:30, but they were a little late. The waiting seemed endless. Finally, at around 10:00, they brought the girls in and the waiting was finally over. We received Lindy in an event that lasted less than five minutes, and a process that took almost two years. The crying started soon after as this was a very traumatizing event for them. Lindy looked as sweet as her pictures but cried for the next several hours. She was really tired, and finally went down for a nap. She seems to be a good sleeper and a good eater. It seems like she is recognizing us. We think she is teething, and believe she is constipated, but other than that she seems fine. We are a little overwhelmed as most first-time parents are. You know they really don't come with instructions, and the ones we got were in Chinese. :o)

Here are some pictures of our long-awaited arrival...

Sending our love,
Don, Lisa & Lindy

Sunday, April 02, 2006

In Changsha


We've been busy sightseeing and have had no access to the hotel computer. We flew to Changsha (Lindy's hometown) on Sunday afternoon and are now at the Dolton Hotel. There was a chance that we would get Lindy today but that fell thru. We're bummed but will be able to get her on Monday morning at 9:30am. Hopefully in the next day or so we can add some backdated info and post some pictures. The hotel computer is 1 Yuan per minute (12 cents) and it takes about 2 minutes for a simple page to load. (Remember dial-up - it's worse!!) We can't view our blog which means we can't yet see the comments that you post. The best way to reach us right now is to send an email to our Yahoo address listed on our blog. Thanks for the encouraging emails you've sent. We'd like to respond to everyone but haven't been able to yet. Keep praying for us and for Lindy.

Love Don