Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Paul William continues to amaze and entertain us. It has been 5 months today since we first met him. He is a different little boy than the one we saw in China in June. Yesterday for the first time he corrected Baba when Baba called him "Feng Feng", he looked at Baba and said "Paul William". He really has become Paul William. We will miss "Feng Feng".
It has been a few years since we experienced the fun and joy of Christmas morning with a little one. We are really looking forward to Christmas morning this year. We can't wait to watch him open presents. We wonder how he will react to Santa Claus. Mom's guess is that it won't be very well.
Paul William's favorite song to sing is B-I-N-G-O, except the dog has become a turtle. He is so funny! He also likes to sing She'll be Coming Round the Mountain.
When riding in the car he will sit in his car seat and have pretend conversations with Gege (big brother).
He still loves being held and snuggled. Especially when he wakes up in the morning. We hope that will continue for a long time.
We are sitting on the couch as we write this and just now he heard a train blowing it's horn near the house and he immediatley said "TRAIN"! It's really hard to describe just how much he loves trains. He's really almost obsessive compulsive about them. We have trains all over the house now. His other favorite things are a stuffed Curious George and Mickey Mouse that he calls "Shuma". That is apparently his Chinese word for Mickey Mouse or a stuffed animal. The only 2 Chinese words that he still uses are "Shuma" and "Baba" (daddy).
We are having a great time with him and still can't believe he's really here, although more and more it seems like he has always been here.
Here is Gege being a good sport and posing for a picture with Meg, Paul William, Nicolas, and Benjamin.
All I need is George, a bug box and 2 drinks!
Monday, October 22, 2007
On Sunday, he had a breakdown. Just like when we first came home. Long, LOUD, crying and screaming, run down the hall and hide from me crying and screaming. All I had done was tell him his cap was on the kitchen table. He thought he had left it in the car but the last time HE had seen it was at the grocery store earlier. He just collapsed and all I could think was We are back at square one. And I guess we will periodically have these type scenes until maybe one day they just go away.(that is my hope, anyway.)
Today, though we had a good day at school. I actually stood by while he told a first grader “an alligator bit my arm” and then he pointed to HIS LITTLE ARM!! Can you imagine?!! On the way home from school, he sang the “Toota Ta” song and could not stop talking about the train we saw on 4th Ave. He is train crazy, by the way. As we got home, our next door neighbor came out and gave him a picture she had taken of him. When asked who was in the picture, he replied, “Paul William”. This is one of the first times he has done that. When we got inside, he got out a yogurt, and of course, we have many spills because he carries so much under his little arm. Today tho’ he insisted that he clean it up and he got a paper towel and smeared it all around but he did a pretty decent job of cleaning. Then he fed the dog. He requested a peanut butter sandwich with his rice and soup. When I told him to be careful the soup was hot he said, “mine has cooled off.” Right now he is with me in GeGe’s room playing his xylophone and singing e i e i o very loudly. It is just amazing to me to see him grow. I hope this wasn’t tooo long or boring. I am really trying not to be an obnoxious parent but I don’t get to talk to any of you all near as much as I wish I could. Thank you for being such good friends. I love you all. Mary Louise
Monday, September 10, 2007
We have settled in at home with our new son. Greg Jr. is back at school in Tuscaloosa. Greg Jr. came home last weekend and he and Paul William were glad to see each other. We were afraid how Paul William would react when Greg Jr. left for college but it didn't seem to bother him although he did ask and look for him some. We were worried about his reaction when Greg Jr. left again but he seemed to take it in stride and has not seemed to miss him too much.
Paul William started attending the 3 year old program at his mom's school 3 weeks ago. He has stayed all day a few times and half the day most of the time. We are still working on getting on a better schedule for bedtime and getting up in the morning. Mom goes back to teaching next Monday and Paul William will be going to school all day with her. One funny thing that has been going on at school is that when nap time comes he refuses to lie down and instead sits quietly with one of the teachers. When one of the other children stirs or starts to wake up he tells them sshhhh and shakes his hand side to side indicating no to them. His teacher has dubbed him "the nap police".
The best improvements lately have been that he has been sleeping in the bed with us for just over a week now. That has really helped Mary Louise get better rest. He now seems happy about getting in our bed at night. The next step will be the transition to his own bed.
Food continues to be a challenge. Our pediatrician did say that no 3 year old eats real well. He definitely does not.
Over the last 10 to 14 days his language skills have REALLY kicked in. It almost seems like he just decided one day to start speaking English. He will repeat anything you say to him and picks up new words quickly. He is also beginning to string words together into simple sentences. We have taught him to ask for help instead of screaming at us. His comprehension of English is VERY good and his ability to speak English is improving daily. He is able to identify MANY different objects when he sees a picture of it in one of his books. It's really been fun to watch him develop. I feel like we are seeing development that with Greg Jr. happened over the first 3 years of his life compressed down into a few weeks. It is amazing to witness. Of course like any "new" parents we think he is VERY smart. He picks up on things and figures things out on his own very quickly.
Here is another funny story about Paul William and speaking English. While we were visiting her parents one of Mary Louise's aunts answered the phone. She handed the phone to Paul William and he said "hello". She then told him to "say hello in Chinese" and he promptly put the phone back to his ear and said, "hello in Chinese".
One thing that has not changed, and we hope it never does, is his dogged determination. He tries to do everything on his own before asking for help. He is also very adamant about how he wants things to be. Everyone must have the same food and utensils on the table at meal time. Never mind that most of the time he won't eat the food, he just wants to see it on his plate like mom and dad. Everything must be in its place and not changed.
This morning when dad was leaving for work dad asked for a hug and kiss, which he got, and when he started towards the front door Paul William became upset and then we realized he was telling dad that he forgot to hug and kiss mom too. Those are the things that make you realize how special this little guy is and how lucky we are to be his mama and baba.
The thing that is most encouraging at this point is not necessarily where we are in the adjustment process, but that progress and improvement happen on a daily basis. We still have our moments but all in all things are progressing nicely. We will have more issues to face in the future.
Thanks for checking in,
Greg, Mary Louise and Paul William
Monday, August 13, 2007
Paul William is adjusting wonderfully. We are truly blessed to be this little guy's parents. We stop and pinch ourselves every day asking, "did we REALLY go all the way to China and bring him home?". It truly has been an amazing journey and it just keeps getting better.
Paul William is now sleeping with Mama, loves to take a bath, likes to change clothes and wear new clothes and is just as happy as can be. He loves to play with all his new toys.
We recently had our first photo session with a professional photographer. Her name is Carla Blankenship. We did the session at the Green Mountain Nature Trail in Huntsville on Sunday afternoon August 5th. It was hot as blue blazes outside and Paul William was not wanting to cooperate. I can't believe that Carla was able to get the pictures of him that she did. Some of the photos are posted in an online gallery. Click the link below to take a look.
We will try to post more later as time permits. HAH!!!
Thursday, July 05, 2007
We took him to the grandparents pool for July 4th. He never got in but had a great time playing around the sides.
One happy family. This was taken on the "Red Couch" in the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou China on our last night there.
Below is a shot of the "North Alabama" encampment at the Detroit airport Wednesday June 27th. On the left is Monica Carter with new daughter Lily Mei, and son Landon.
Our little guy has more facial expressions than you would believe. Here he's copping an attitude with Baba in the kitchen pantry.
Wednesday July 4, 2007 was Paul William's 3rd birthday and 1st Independence Day as a new American citizen. He was automatically granted citizenship when he passed through immigration at the Detroit airport on June 27th. Below he is blowing out candles with the help of mom.
So far his favorite spot at home is on the couch. He even sleeps there at night. Here he's just chillin' out.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Mary Louise is at home with him by herself today for the first time. I am back at work for a while at least. We both are still feeling the effects of jet lag and lack of sleep, but things are improving.
I will try to post some new photos tonight when I get home from work.
More later . . .
Saturday, June 30, 2007
We were still pretty exhausted yesterday. Mary Louise got a few hours sleep Thursday night and got up and relieved me about 3:00 am. I tried to sleep but managed only 2 or 3 hours. Last night Mary Louise stayed up with him. They both eventually fell asleep on the couch. Today we all feel better and are up and at it with clean clothes and showers. We gave him his 3rd bath since we got him. Bathing him gives new meaning to the old cliche, "I have to wash my cat". It finally feels good to be here.
FengFeng is a typical 3 year old. He is exploring everything in the house and testing us to see what he can and can't get into. Overall he does pretty well. He has a STRONG will and when he makes his mind up about something he is very determined. We hope he holds onto that trait. It will serve him well in the future. He seems comfortable being here and being with us. He still wants sweets all the time and we are working on that. The sleep issues will take some time but we will eventually work that out as well.
We have never been so glad to be in our little house in Decatur.
More later . . .
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Somewhere about half way over the Northern Pacific Ocean, as our Boeing 747 cruised east, I thought; "this entire trip has gone perfectly. Not one single tiny glitch". OOOHH, I didn't think that. I really didn't think that. Please let me have that thought back!!! Too late.
We arrived in Detroit to rain and flight delays. The Huntsville flight is pushed back then pushed back again. Finally it is cancelled. Steve Carter and I descend upon a Northwest gate agent to find out what our options are. The next flight to Huntsville with seats for 4 or more people is not until Friday night!!! No way. Where else can we go close to Huntsville. The Carters opt for Nashville later in the evening and we opt for Birmingham a little earlier. Then it really started going downhill. Flights are being cancelled and pushed later right and left. The Carters finally depart Detroit around 11 pm or so and we are still being told the Birmingham flight will happen it will just be very late. I call and reserve a rental car at the Birmingham airport. I shouldn't have wasted a call. Around 1:30 am everyone waiting on the Birmingham flight notices that ALL the Northwest employees have disappeared and the flight has been taken off the status monitors. Until now we were just simply mad. Now everyone left waiting for the Birmingham flight are forming lynch mobs. We have to call the Northwest toll free number from cell phones to try to find out what's happening on the ground at THEIR hub!!!! Finally the annoucement that we all new was coming, flight cancelled. We have now been in the airport for over 12 hours. We have been traveling with a 3 year old for over 30 hours. We are exhausted, hot dirty, hungry and fuming. We are given vouchers for meals and rooms at the Ritz Carlton. Great hotel. It's a shame we only used the rooms for 4 hours. We were able to take a shower and put on the same dirty clothes we had been wearing for a day and a half and get in a short nap. Back to the airport and finally catch a flight to Nashville arriving at 10:30 am. Our friend Theresa was kind enough to pick us up at the airport and loan us her car to drive to Decatur. We finally arrived home today at 1:30 pm. 45 hours after leaving the hotel in Guangzhou. We have never felt this type of exhaustion. Paul William is going great guns tonight. We think it's just a 3 year old that is so tired he can't do anything but full speed. The 3 of us are walking (staggering) zombies.
We are so very disappointed that we missed one of the things we were so looking forward to, that being arriving at the Huntsville airport with our family and friends waiting to greet us. For that, Northwest Airlines will always hold a "special" place in our hearts. Particularly when we saw on the Detroit news this morning that the biggest cause for all the chaos yesterday was the Northwest employees who are apparently doing everything they can to destroy the very company that pays their salary. How stupid can people be? It's like they are saying "hey, I know how to get even with management. Let's make as many of our customers mad as we can. We don't have our luggage tonight. It was lost in the chaos. Northwest claims it is currently on a flight from Detroit to Nashville and will be delivered to us early Friday morning. We'll see.
We want to thank our friends and family for the food and gifts we found when we walked in the house today. Thank you so much. Driving down from Nashville we were dreading the prospect of having to go to the grocery store after what we have been through.
I will post more late, including pictures and updates. I have to go now since I keep falling over the keyboard from lack of sleep.
More later . . . .
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Today we had a late start to the day after another hard night of not wanting to go to bed. Other than not wanting to go to bed or sleep, Paul William is a very happy little boy. He loves to laugh and play. Especially with his new big brother. After finally waking up and having a little breakfast we left the hotel and explored Shamian island where the hotel is located. To our friends who told us while we were in Wuhan to hang on that things are better once you get to Guangzhou, thanks, you were right. Things here have been much better and the adjustment has become smoother.
This afternoon we made the trip to the US Consulate Guangzhou. After having our identities checked we were given a brief talk and then took a short oath. We then picked up James Paul William's US immigration documents and his Chinese passport with US Visa. This marked the end of the "paperchase". All that is left is flying home tomorrow.
When we returned to the hotel we met up with our friends from Athens, the Carters. Above is the customary "Red Couch" photo of two sets of proud parents with their new children Lily Mei and James Paul William. It's been great to have friends here to share this experience with.
The "Red Thread" is now unraveled. We followed it through a maze of paperwork, waiting, and then half way around the world to an amazing place called China. We have seen and done things we never dreamed of. We have walked in Tian A Mein Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. We have walked on the Great Wall. We cruised through the 3 Gorges, and locked through the new 3 gorges dam project. We rode in "Pea Pod" boats, visited the "Ghost City" and strolled through the Chinese Herbal Medicine market. We have met and encountered an amazing nation of people. The Chinese are hard working, resilient, kind and open. We had a Chinese woman, a total stranger, that we shared an elevator with, say "Sweet boy, you do nice thing", then pat "Baba" on the shoulder. They know the children that are adopted will have a much better future than they would otherwise. They seem to appreciate what the adoptive families are doing and don't seem judgemental. For that we are thankful. But more than anything else we've done here, we have met a wonderful little guy named Wu JinFeng. What a personality! Strong willed, smart, and a great sense of humor.
Today in a little gift shop one of the sales girls began talking to him. After he said something to her she asked him to repeat it. She then looked at Baba with a suprised expression on her face and said, "He told me he wants to talk like his Baba." We can't wait for that to happen.
When we first came to China, I was so overwhelmed at how big it all was-the country, the culture, what we were doing. I started to have doubts about taking a child away from his culture, his heritage. I had thought about it before but being here really drove home how ancient this land is, the culture, the uniqueness of the people. It was all so different. The longer I traveled in the country, the more I found that we had much in common. Also, the more I learned about the life that my child would lead here, the more I realized God really did send him to us. We are more than ready to bring home this wonderful little boy and have everyone meet him. Be prepared for a little whirlwind!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Our friends from Athens, Monica and Steve Carter, arrived last night from Chongqing with their new daughter Lily Mei and her two older brothers. We think they will be on our flight home(they may regret that decision). :) They are right down the hall from us in our hotel. We "know" several families here who were with us in Wuhan. It is like a small support group, we are all encouraging each other and have empathy for each other when we tell our stories of how it is going. It is actually rather amazing.
It's hot here in Guangzhou so we are just hanging out at the hotel during the middle of the day. We did a little shopping this morning while it was just hot. Before it turned very hot.
Here are some more photos from Guangzhou. It's very hot here.
Actually this first photo was taken in Wuhan. It was taken in front of the gate at the hospital. This is the spot where Wu Jinfeng was left on July 8, 2004 four days after his birth.
Sunday we visited the Chinese Herbal Medicine Market in Guangzhou. It is the largest market of it's type in China. What you can find here is truly amazing. Roots, barks, mushrooms, fungi, dried sea creatures. The list goes on and on. It was very hot walking through the market.
Below are bags full of some of the offerings in the very hot market.
Below is a shot looking up the very hot street in the market.
We assume this man was promoting some business or product. Or maybe he just likes to dress up like a chicken on Sunday afternoon when it's very hot. He didn't actually play music on his horn. He just blew it very loudly at random.Oh yeah. Did I mention that it's VERY hot here?
Saturday, June 23, 2007
This picture is a little out of focus but I couldn't resist a shot of our "little" boy asleep on our "big" boy.
Chinese Dragon Boats
Thursday, June 21, 2007
He slept all night again last night and woke up pretty happy and hungry! Our helpful Chinese waitress met us at the breakfast table with not one, but two, lollipops. I think that is what everyone needs to start their day, don't you? BTW, by the time we left the table he had 3 of them!! We are anxious to go on to Guangzhou and finish the final paperwork and head back home. He is very active and we want to get to our toys and yard!
When he is happy, he is very, very happy. He loves to play with the inflatable ball we brought. His first day he played with our deck of cards, and I told him they were Grandma's cards so he started saying "Grandma" when we get them out. He is sitting in GeGe's lap going to sleep right now and I guess it is poetic justice but he sucks his thumb. He is still Baba's boy and he likes to tell me to "go on", I just tell him to go on back and laugh at him. He has terrible table manners and Greg keeps saying he eats like a pig. He hated the bubbles I brought-at first. Now, we have to hide them. He truly hates water so we will really have to work to get him over it because we all love it so much.
I didn't know how ready I would be to come home after we picked him up on Monday but I am very ready!! Believe it or not, I even found myself saying "we can do that next time we come."
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Today at lunch the hotel wait staff "helped" us. He was being fussy and they began talking to him in Chinese. Very shortly one of the waitresses carried him to the buffet to let him show her what he wanted. Watermelon. After returning to the table with his watermelon he asked for something else in chinese. The waitress was happy to oblige. She returned shortly with a pack of SUGAR which she helped him cover his watermelon with!! This boy has a sweet tooth and then some! We were trying to hold off on the sweets until the end of the meal and put some "real" food in him first. Oh well, as they say "When in China . . .".
This morning we were allowed to visit the Wuhan Social Welfare Institute (SWI). Also referred to as an orphanage. We met one of the assistant directors and presented them with a gift of a rice cooker. We were then given a tour. We visited the 5th floor which is dedicated to Special Needs children. There we saw children from only a few days old to close to 5 or 6. There were a good number of caregivers/workers present. Some were simply spending time with the children and interacting with them. We also saw some that were providing physical therapy to others. We also visited the nursery. There appeared to be around 20 infants there. All had some type of special need. We saw several little girls, (almost newborn age) with heart defects. There were other children with various physical and/or mental special needs. It was one of the most moving things you can ever imagine experiencing. Some of these children would be in neo-natal ICU if they were in the U.S. Some of the problems would be pretty simple to solve in the U.S. These children just need someone to come and get them and give them that chance.
One of the earliest photos we recieved of Paul William was taken of him standing in front of a low iron fence in front of the SWI. The fence is heart shaped. Today we were able to take a family photo in front of the same fence. The small figure in the background to the left is a monkey. Paul William was born in the Chinese year of the monkey.
Early on during the adoption our agency sent us a DVD with Paul William and some other children playing together. One of the scenes in the video was of the children playing in a ball pit. Below is a picture of "Baba" and Paul William at the ball pit.
The man with us below is LiFeng, our facilitator and guide with Cradle of Hope Adoption Center. Lifeng has made our trip very enjoyable and easy. He knows and understands the process and takes care of all the paperwork and details for us.
Below is photo of the Wuhan SWI.
Greg Jr. came down with the sinus infection that Dad just finished getting over. We started him on a z-pack today. He is sleeping this afternoon as is his little brother.
Tomorrow it's a trip to the zoo. Mary Louise will finally get to see the Pandas she's been wanting to see for so long. Lifeng asked us yesterday if we wanted to go to the zoo. We asked him if they had pandas and when he said yes, we told him the zoo is a MUST DO stop.
Thanks for checking in on us. We enjoy your comments. Keep them coming.
More later . . .
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Thanks to all who have emailed and left comments on our blog. We have really enjoyed reading them.
Not much to report today. We made a short trip to the Civil Affairs office this morning to complete the adoption paperwork. It only took about an hour. Other than that we've just been hanging out in our hotel room getting to know one another. We took Paul William down to the hotel restraunt for breakfast and lunch today. It went very well. All in all the transition continues to be pretty smooth. Generally he's a happy boy. Every now and then something we do will set him off for a few minutes but he usually gets over it pretty quickly.
We are going to the store to buy a few supplies later and then dinner here at the hotel and that's pretty much it for the day. Tomorrow we visit the orphanage.
the Ogle family
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
A few tears were expected. (And recieved.)
But things turned around pretty quickly.
Then we started getting real laughs and smiles and pretty soon there was a full blown soccer game in the room with big brother.
We've done all we can do now. We will finally do what we set out to do last year tomorrow morning at 9:30. Are we anxious? Sure. Are we nervous? Definitely. Are we excited? Absolutely. Are we prepared? Who knows?
We can't help but wonder what he's doing tonight. Packing? Probably not. We don't think he has anything to pack. They tell us we get him with the clothes on his back and maybe the few personal items we sent him. Not much packing required. Saying goodbye to everyone he's ever known? We doubt it. We don't think he can comprehend the fact that he will most likely never see the people and children he knows again.
What We do know is that tomorrow morning around 9:30 am he will be handed to 3 strange looking people he's never seen before. Will he be frightened? Definitely. Will he be sad? Absolutely. Will he cry for his friends and everything he knows in his life? We're sure he will. Will he get over it and become a member of our family? With time, yes. Will we have the patience to give him time to grieve? Yes. Will we be there for him when he's sad? Yes.
In your excitement for our family please remember that there's a 3 year old that's about to have his life turned upside down. It's time for us to change gears from the excitement of finally bringing James Paul William into our family and get down to the business of caring for a 3 year old that needs a lot of love and understanding. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers for the next few hours, days, weeks, and months. He has a tough road ahead. We think we're ready to show him the way.
The Ogle family
Saturday, June 16, 2007
On the second day we traveled through the gorges. I have never seen such views. In the river between the gorges one seems very small. We traveled by ferry boat to a tributary of the Yangtze, Shennong Stream. We rode in "pea pod boats" up the tributary and a local guide told us of many of the Tujia customs ( the Tujia are a minority people who live there). The "trackers" who paddled our boat also pulled us over some very shallow shoals with beautiful rocks in the stream. The trackers are famous here and in ages past (and really just a few years ago) they pulled many boats upstream in the Shennong and on the big river. Otherwise the boats could not have gone upstream. The Tujia men were very wiry and strong but not very big. They speak their own dialect and cannot speak English or Mandarin. The water was very clear and they gave us some of the colorful rocks. This boat trip was the neatest thing I think I have ever done. Oh yes, we passed the boundary, it is actually a tributary, that begins Hubei province. I made Greg take a picture of it. He thinks his mom is nuts anyway but I thought we needed to have a picture of it since it was our first "step" into Hubei province.
On Friday we actually toured the Three Gorges Dam. It is big and it will produce massive amounts of hydroelectric power but compared to some of the sights we had already seen it did seem to pale in comparison. We have seen and learned so much, I have tried to write it all down. I want to be able to talk someday with James Paul William about the country of his birth.
Life in the 3 Gorges
Greg and Mom at the Ghost City at Fengdhu
Entering the double 5 step ship locks at the 3 Gorges Dam. The lock on the right is for downstream traffic and the lock on the left is for upstream traffic. Each side is actually 5 separate locks in stair step formation. Traffic goes directly from one lock into the next until passing through all 5. The total vertical distance will be over 300 feet when the river reaches final pool level in 2009. We had dinner while passing thru the 3rd lock on the downstream side.