Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Just a few pics from Caitlin's first Halloween (she was a ladybug, of course- and so was Libby!)

Cute smiles for the camera!

Caitlin's first attempt at trick-or-treating produced 5 pieces of candy. (We only went to our 3 immediate neighbors!)
Eh- better luck next year! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Week Home

I can't believe it's been a week already! Seems like just yesterday; although, thinking back, a lot has happened since we got back...

Caitlin came home sneezing last week, and over the weekend it progressed into a full-fledged cold. She was pretty miserable. Then she got this ugly cough, so first thing Monday I called her new pediatrician to ask for an appointment. He was very busy that day, but he was so kind and worked us in over his lunch break. Caitlin took one look at the poor guy and started screaming! He couldn't really see much because she just wasn't cooperating, but since her cough sounded so bad and whooping cough and bronchitis are going around here, he went ahead and put her on an antibiotic. Poor thing! She is feeling much better now, although she still has that nasty cough.

Thursday to Sunday we pretty much laid low and hung around the house. Other than brief trips out to the grocery store, to church, or out to eat, we didn't really accomplish much!

On Monday Paul went back to school, and my mom, Caitlin and I stayed busy pretty much all day with taking Caitlin to the doctor, getting her set up for insurance, etc. Tuesday we went to the mall and did some clothes shopping for Caitlin. Since that went pretty well we decided to drive up to the outlets to pick out her baptism dress. Caitlin decided she did not want to try on dresses and threw a tantrum like you would not believe in the store! It was a little embarrassing, although everyone seemed to understand (ahhh- the joys of toddlerhood!). Wednesday I was not feeling well (Caitlin shared her cold with me) so, after taking my mom to the airport, we just hung around the house again.

Caitlin is doing great! I can't believe the difference a week makes! To think, just 2 and a half weeks ago we first met her; we were complete strangers to each other, and yet now she is already such a part of our lives! I was rocking her last night before bed and she kept looking up at me and just smiling. She seemed so content in my arms, and I realized how content I was with her in mine. I suddenly thought "I am holding MY DAUGHTER!" It sounds weird, but I think it is just now hitting me...

Caitlin seems very comfortable in the house, and is becoming more and more confident and independent each day. I am able to put her down while home for short periods of time so I can do laundry, wash dishes, etc. She will tolerate it for awhile, as long as I am always in eyesight. After awhile, however, she will come walking to me with a big smile and her arms out, hug my legs, and not let go until I pick her up. I have to admit, I love it when she does that (even if it does make it difficult to get anything done; who cares- these are the moments I've been dreaming of for so long, and I'm drinking them in)!!

She is sitting in high chairs now, both at home and in restaurants, without an argument (because she knows she is going to be eating- and she loves to eat!). She likes her stroller, as long as it is moving. If we stop (as in while shopping), she is not happy, but I'm so thrilled to be able to give my back a little break. And she LOVES her carseat! She never cries when I put her in it; only when the car stops and she knows she has to get out!

She is eating like a champ! She will eat pretty much anything I put in her mouth, other than apples. She does not seem to like apples for some reason, which is a bummer since I'd made a huge pot of applesauce for her before we left for China. Anyone want some homemade applesauce? I have a freezer full of it! She won't drink apple juice, either. In fact, we were having a problem getting her to drink anything but formula and soup broth, but we have found a juice that she tolerates, so I mix it with a bunch of water and try to get her to drink a certain amount each day. She is VERY strong willed, though. She has to drink it when she wants to- not when I ask her to. If I try to give it to her when she doesn't want it, she will spit it out!

Eating a snack (I just love her expression in this pic, and if you look closely you can see the yogurt all over her mouth!):

Caitlin and Paul are getting along much better as well! She doesn't scream now when he tries to hold her, although if I'm around she still tries to get to me and will eventually cry if she does not get her way. But she will play with Paul some, and she even flashes him some adorable smiles from time to time!
Playing with her Daddy:

She and Libby are getting along great! I am very relieved because I was worried about how that would go, but I think they will eventually become great friends. There is a definite "sibling rivalry" going on, on Libby's end; she's very used to being an only child. But she is very sweet with Caitlin and is very curious about her. She thinks that she and Caitlin are equals, so she does not understand why Caitlin is allowed in the kitchen and she is still not (I have a "no dogs in the kitchen" rule), and if Caitlin gets Cheerios she thinks she should get them, too. I keep trying to tell her that the rules are different for children with 4 legs than those with 2, but she just doesn't seem to want to listen!
Caitlin trying to get Libby to give her a kiss (gross, I know, but it was kind of cute, and they were happy so I let it go!):
Me and my girls- snuggling before bed!

My mom just left yesterday morning. It was so wonderful to have her here our first week back. She even cooked for us- she made chicken soup that Caitlin is just crazy about! She eats it for dinner every night and still eats it like it's going out of style! Thank you, Mom, for everything!
Eating sizzling rice soup with Nana:

Here are a few more cute pics from this week:
Trying on Mommy's slippers (all by herself!):

Opening a gift from our friend Rebecca in Hawaii (she just kept saying "WOW!"):

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Videos from China

I had these 2 videos that I wanted to post last week, but Mandi and I just could not make it work. So I'll post them now!

The first one is of Caitlin just being silly. It was so cute!

This one is of Caitlin's medical exam. This was long before the shots; they were just trying to measure and weigh her! (They never did succeed, by the way!)

Her "hearing exam" went about as well; they snapped their fingers, clapped, played instruments, made noises, but all she would do was look straight ahead and SCREAM. They finally just looked at me and asked "Can she hear?," to which I answered "We think so," and that was the end of her hearing exam!

We Are Home!

We made it! The LOOOOONG flight was, well, long, but it really wasn't too bad. In fact, the first 8 hours went by pretty fast. Caitlin slept a good deal of the way, but by the last 3 hours I was getting restless, especially with her being on my lap the whole way, and Caitlin was having a hard time getting comfortable so she was getting restless as well. She wanted to get down on the floor, but we were going through some turbulence at the time so she had to stay on my lap. She threw a few little tantrums, but eventually went back to sleep.

As we were descending she suddenly woke up, sat straight up, and started screaming. I guess her ears were bothering her. I gave her some Cheerios, and luckily that seemed to do the trick because the screaming immediately stopped.

Once we landed, we went through Immigration and Customs. We took some pictures of Caitlin touching U.S. soil (she is officially now a U.S. Citizen!!),
then met up with our good friend Avril (who flew back from Georgia, landed late last night, didn't get home until 2 AM, then turned around and drove the 2 hours back up to the airport early this morning to be there when we got back), and my mom (who also flew in from Georgia yesterday, took the bus down to our town, then got up early this morning to drive the 2 hours back up to the airport with Avril).It was so great to have familiar faces to greet us- and it was so wonderful to see them both!
As expected, Caitlin did not think too much of her carseat at first. She screamed bloody murder for a half hour or so. It was also the middle of the night her time, and the poor kid was exhausted! I was afraid she would scream the whole way home (2+ hours), but she did eventually settle down; she even seems to enjoy her carseat now!

We got home, and Avril's husband, Matt, had put a stork and balloon in our yard:It was so cute! He and baby Isabella were here to greet us. We got to talk for a little bit, then Matt, Avril and Isabella headed home and we settled in. Since it was still only about noon, we had a lot of time to kill before we could go to bed! Caitlin took a nap, and Paul and I snoozed a little, but we didn't want to sleep too much. It was a long afternoon, but we made it!

Caitlin seemed to relax more and more as the day went on. She definitely seems to know the difference between her home and a hotel room! She played with some of her toys, and even let me put her in her high chair to eat dinner! Now I can eat without little fingers grabbing at my food, my fork, my glass...

Caitlin was fascinated with Libby from the very beginning. As long as Libby kept her distance, she was not afraid at all. I'd worked a lot with her to try to prepare her; I'd sent lots of pictures of Libby to her in the orphanage, and we went through them a lot while still in China. And every time we saw a dog in China we'd talk about it. Anyway, as long as Libby didn't come close to her (which would cause a tantrum), she would laugh at Libby- and even try to bark at her! I'm so relieved! I was so afraid they would not get along, but so far, so good!

A neighbor brought us dinner (thank you Nohemi!), then we headed to bed. Caitlin woke up crying at 10:15, 10:45, then woke up screaming at 11:45, 12:15, 12:45, and so on. Finally, at 2:15, it became apparent that she was not going to sleep, so I took her downstairs, made her a bottle, let her watch Libby for awhile (Libby was all too happy to put on a show for her newest fan; it would have been really cute, had it not been almost 3:00 in the morning!), then I finally managed to rock her back to sleep. She slept until 9:30 AM from there!

I wanted to take a minute to thank my good friend Mandi for all that she did to help keep my blog going while we were gone. I would not have been able to do it without her! I could post from my e-mail, but it wouldn't let me add pictures, and I know that the pictures were really what everyone wanted! Mandi is in the middle of moving to a new house, yet she took time every day to take my entries and pictures, which I would e-mail to her, then post them all to the blog, even inserting the pictures in the appropriate places. Mandi, you are AMAZING! Thank you so much!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leaving Guangzhou for Hong Kong

This morning Susan took us to the purse market for some more shopping. We should have taken some pictures, because words simply cannot describe this place! It was absolutely huge, and a maze; we just kept walking and walking, and each corridor led to several more corridors, full of shops... and there were 3 levels of this! The shops actually all had purses, wallets, leather items, and the like. There were real brand names, as well as copies of brand names, and so much to choose from! It was actually pretty overwhelming. We all gave up about 30 minutes before we were supposed to meet back; it was just too much. But we had a lot of fun, and Paul even found a Hello Kitty purse for Caitlin!

We got back to the hotel with only a little over an hour for lunch and to pack. We tried to grab a quick bite in the hotel restaurant, but service was extremely slow and we wound up having to leave. We ran back to the room to pack, then met Susan down in the lobby to head back to the Consulate to pick up Caitlin's Visa and paperwork.

We had to wait over an hour at the Consulate. Susan went inside for us so that we could sit in the car and let Caitlin nap. As soon as she came back with all of Caitlin's paperwork, the driver hit the road for Hong Kong.

It was a very long ride. We hit a lot of traffic and, counting the hour we spent in the car waiting at the Consulate, we wound up being in the car for over 5 hours. Thankfully Caitlin slept for most of the way, so it was not too bad.

Crossing the border was interesting! It took a very long time, and they were very thorough- both on the China side and the Hong Kong side.

Crossing the border; Caitlin's first time outside China:
We passed inspection, of course, and drove straight for our hotel, which was located right at the airport. Unfortunately we did not get to see the city, except for in the distance, but what I saw of Hong Kong I really liked! All the bridges and buildings were big, sleek and modern, and in the dark with the lights it all just looked so pretty and exciting! I would love to go back some day and explore Hong Kong some more!

It killed me to be so close to both a Hard Rock Cafe and a Disney park, but alas, we were not able to visit either. We didn't get to the hotel until after 7 PM; we checked in, then headed straight to dinner. Caitlin and I went back up to the room as soon as we were done eating so I could get her showered and in bed. I wanted her to get as much sleep as possible, knowing how bad tomorrow is going to be for her.

Tomorrow we head home! I can't wait to be home; there are just so many things that will be easier once we're there. And I seriously hope that Caitlin will relax at home, since she still is not crazy about hotel rooms! And I can't wait to see Libby, and to introduce her to her new sister! I Hope that goes well...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Last Post From China

Tomorrow afternoon we leave for Hong Kong, so this will be my last post from China. I can't believe the trip is actually almost over! Two weeks ago I thought it would never end, but now I feel a little sad- although I'm completely happy to be going home!

Our last full day in China was pretty uneventful. This morning Susan took all the Mommies to the pearl market, which was AWESOME!! We had no idea what to expect, but the prices were amazing and we had so much fun designing our own jewelry! Susan found us a vendor who she'd never met before, and the lady was so excited when Susan told her we were adoptive families- she was so sweet! She gave us amazing deals, extra stuff, and kept throwing in more stuff!

We first chose the pearls we wanted; they were on strands, and you bought the pearls by the strand. They had tons of pearls! I've never seen so many! Here is a picture of all of the strands of pearls, separated in groups by color, size, and quality:

Susan gave us a little crash-course on pearls: what to look for, what determines price, what determines quality, etc. I then picked out the pearls I wanted for Caitlin, and bought 2 strands: one to make her a necklace, and the other they split in half to make her a bracelet, then they made me a bracelet with the other half. We will give Caitlin the pearls when she is older. Then I picked out some beautiful
black pearls to make a necklace for me, and some other pearls for some gifts.

The ladies took the pearls off the strand and put them on better quality string, then they did this cool string trick to put a knot between each pearl. I took some pictures of them doing it because it was so fascinating!
While the Mommies were shopping, the Daddies got to babysit! Unfortunately Caitlin was not feeling very well today so she gave her Daddy some trouble. She was not very cooperative, and Paul was exhausted by the time I got back. Poor guy!

Tomorrow morning we're going on one last shopping trip to a purse market, then after lunch we will take a van to Hong Kong. We're spending the night there, then flying home
Thursday morning. I am SOOOOO dreading that LONG flight, but at least it will be over soon and we will be home! I don't know if you've heard about the mega-typhoon heading straight for Guangdong Province (where we are right now), but it's supposed to hit Friday or Saturday so we are very happy to be getting out on Thursday. I worry about our other friends who are supposed to leave later, though. I hope they can get out before it hits!

I don't know what our internet capabilities will be like in Hong Kong, but there is a good chance I won't be able to post from there. That means this may be my last post from our trip! I will post as soon as possible once we're home to tell about our flight. I really hope it goes well! Like any toddler, Caitlin does not like to sit still, but she also does not like for me to sit down at all. It's going to be interesting to see what she's going to do when we HAVE to sit still for 12 hours; I cannot stand and hold her for the entire flight! And we didn't buy her a seat, not that it matters; she wouldn't sit in it anyway. She will be in my lap the whole way either way! And since we are flying during the day, she will likely not sleep, other than a nap. Yes, this will be a LONG flight indeed!

Our journey is almost over, and what a ride it has been! Thank you again for all of your thoughts, prayers, e-mails, well-wishes, and words of support and encouragement. You have no idea how much they have helped us along the way!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Red Couch and Oath Ceremony

I have a bunch of pictures from today! First off, here is a family shot from when we were out shopping around the island. There are these bronze statues all over the island, and I think this one is supposed to be an American family who adopted a Chinese baby, so we took our picture with them:

Then we headed back to the White Swan hotel to get the girls dressed in their silk dresses for the Red Couch photos. This is a tradition with adoptive families; since most stay at the
White Swan, everyone always takes pictures of the babies sitting on the red velvet couches in the lobby. The other little girl in our group decided she did not want to participate, so we just took pictures of Caitlin and Samantha.

First we took some with the Mommies and babies (we were not quite on the red couches yet because they were all occupied; then Susan asked someone to move so we could have one!):

(I especially love the one with Caitlin and Sammy looking at each other, and the other one that has them both sucking their fingers!)

Then we tried the babies by themselves on the couch. Caitlin, of course, cooperated completely (not), which in turn upset Samantha. I think the pictures are pretty funny, though!

We decided to try to get a shot of Caitlin standing up so we could really see her dress. She still doesn't want me to put her down, so we had to trick her! I threw my Coke bottle down on the floor and tempted her to go get it. She stood there and thought about it for the longest time, all the while Paul was snapping pictures. She just couldn't decide if she wanted to wander that far from me (it was a whole 2 steps)! She finally went for it, then came right back to me- very proud of herself! And we got some good shots of her in her pretty dress!

(This is what a Coke bottle looks like here. I had thought that the Coke symbol was universal, but apparently not in Chinese!):

I just threw this one in because Caitlin was smiling; I was bouncing down the steps and she really thought that was fun!:

The White Swan has a beautiful waterfall in the lobby, and HUGE koi fish swimming around. It's really very beautiful, so we took a family shot in front of the waterfall:

Afterwards we headed back to our hotel for very quick naps, then we went to the American Consulate for Caitlin and Samantha's Oath Ceremony. They are both now sworn in, and they will get their Visas
on Wednesday! We were not allowed to take pictures inside, so Susan took us to a sign in the downstairs lobby so we could take pictures there. The first one is of both the families and Susan (it is the only picture of Susan that I have so far!):

Then Paul, Caitlin and I caught a cab back to the island to meet up with a friend of mine that I only knew through e-mail. They are another Navy family and we have been e-mailing back and forth for weeks now. They are here at the same time, adopting an adorable little girl who happens to be exactly one day younger than Caitlin! We finally got to meet in person, and we enjoyed a lovely dinner with them and another family at Lucy's. OK, the meal wasn't that great (it was pretty bad, actually), but the company was wonderful!

Then the 3 of us did some more shopping before heading back to the hotel. Caitlin actually stopped crying in the bath tonight and I got her to play/splash in the water! She wouldn't smile (in fact, she stuck out her lip and pouted the whole time!), but she was clearly having a good time. I decided not to wash her hair, though. Didn't want to spoil a good thing!

Tomorrow Susan is taking the Mommies in our group to the pearl market! That should be fun!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Caitlin's First Church Service

Today (after sleeping 12-1/2 hours last night; poor kid- those shots really took a toll on her), Caitlin attended her very first church service! It was interesting; it was a non-denominational, Christian, bi-lingual service. It was pretty cool, although there was definitely more Chinese spoken than English. There was only one English song, but it was one of my favorites so I was pretty excited! It was just very long- almost 2 hours! Caitlin really did great, but I spent the entire 2 hours holding, shushing, bouncing, entertaining, and just generally trying to keep her from annoying those around us. I was exhausted by the time it was over!

Caitlin really loves music, though! I would sway or bounce to the songs, and she would just laugh! She really enjoyed that part! And she has made friends with another baby in our group, Samantha, who is 13 months old. She and Caitlin have very similar personalities. Our families sat together in church and the 2 kids had a great time annoying each other. Really, it was very cute!

After church we went to lunch at a Thai restaurant with Susan and our group. It was fantastic! We all ordered a dish, then when it came they put it on a big lazy susan in the middle of the table so everyone could taste everything. Susan says the Chinese tradition is that each person gets to finish the dish that he or she ordered, but by the end my dish was gone so there was nothing left for me to finish. Susan also said that whoever's dish is finished first, ordered best, so I guess I won! It was really fun and the food was excellent!

On the way back to the vans after lunch we passed by several brides getting their bridal portraits taken. They were all exquisite, but my favorite was the couple dressed in traditional clothing. They were even holding a "red thread" for the picture (I have the legend of the red thread posted on the right side of my blog). Susan said that the brides here usually have 3 dresses: one traditional dress,
one "Western" white dress, and one suit.
In the van on the way back to the hotel I tried with all my might to keep Caitlin from falling asleep so as not to mess up her nap, but she just could not keep her eyes open. Paul took this picture before I finally gave in and let her sleep.

After naps, we caught a cab with Samantha's family back to the island to do some shopping. We bought a bunch of stuff for Caitlin, including a traditional silk dress (pink, of course!), which she will wear tomorrow for the Red Couch photos. Then we ate dinner at the White Swan Hotel (where Caitlin and Samantha again enjoyed antagonizing each other, stealing each other's Puffs, throwing napkins on the floor, etc. They had a blast!) before heading back to our hotel. It was a late evening and Caitlin was wide awake and acting silly as can be! It was cute, but I didn't get her to sleep until almost
10 PM. I really hope she sleeps late or she's going to be one tired and cranky little girl tomorrow!

we have our Consulate Appointment when Caitlin will be
sworn in as an American citizen. I've heard it's pretty anticlimactic, but I still think it's cool!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Torture Day

We had Caitlin's medical appointment today, which, as I said, I've been dreading. I'd heard about kids having to get 7 shots, 2 in each leg, 2 in one arm and one in the other. I just couldn't imagine anyone doing that to a poor child, especially one who's already been through as much as these kids have been through. We got Caitlin's shot record from her orphanage, and although it was in Chinese, there was a good deal of writing in it so I had hoped that meant she'd had all her shots...

I was wrong.

Guess how many shots Caitlin got today? You guessed it: Seven. Poor kid's got band-aids all over her little body.

It was awful. She cried; I cried. Actually, let me rephrase that: she SCREAMED (bloody murder); I cried. I never again wish to have to sit by and watch my child being treated as a pin cushion. And they made me hold her down! So then I had to worry that she was going to blame me for all the pain and agony. Happily, that does not seem to be the case. She seems to have forgotten the whole ordeal, although she clearly does not feel good. I finally just put her down to sleep at
7 PM, one hour early, because she needed it. Hopefully she'll sleep through the night and with a good night's rest she'll feel good as new in the morning- I hope.

And now I have to worry about putting her through the surgery she's going to have to have to repair her palate. If just getting 7 shots was that hard, what will it be like to put her through major surgery?

We also had to get Caitlin's Visa picture taken today. She had to sit in a chair (by herself) so they could take her picture. Being as attached to me as she is, you can imagine how well that went over. I'm including a picture of her picture for you to see the results.
Yep, that's our girl!

Anyway, after the torture session, we got to walk around the island a little. There are TONS of cool shops, and the prices seem to be really great! We didn't have enough time to look at much, but we (I) can't wait to go back and look some more! Everyone usually ends up buying an extra suitcase in Guangzhou for the trip home to carry all the stuff they buy here. And fortunately for us, they just so happen to have lots of nice suitcases here for a great price, as well!

After "window shopping" for a bit we met back up with our group for lunch. Susan took us to a
Cantonese restaurant near the White Swan hotel. It was very nice, and the food was excellent! It was great to get to spend time with our group again, and get to know the new kiddos! Then we headed back to the hotel for more paperwork and naps. After Caitlin woke up, she was very grumpy (I would be too if someone held me down and treated me like a voodoo doll!), so we decided to play it low and just hang out around here. We explored our hotel a little (which, by the way, is AMAZING!!! This is by far the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at. And it's huge! Lots to explore!), then walked around outside for awhile. We found a nice park with a big lake and walked around there, but Caitlin was obviously uncomfortable so we decided it would be best to just eat an early dinner and get her to bed. Since she was not in a mood to even think about trying a sit-down meal, we settled on McDonald's across the street from our hotel. Caitlin tried to steal her first french fry... No, she did not succeed. I'm not going to risk her choking for a french fry!
Tomorrow we are going to a church service, then to lunch with Susan. I think she said Thai food this time! Yum!

One last story: I tried to order a
Diet Coke this morning at breakfast. The server did in fact bring a can of Pepsi Light (usually I get a regular Coke; they don't seem to worry much about diets around here), but the glass he brought had ice and a lemon, neither of which are we supposed to consume.

I asked for a plain glass: No ice, no lemon.

The server seemed to understand; he repeated "Yes, yes. No ice, no lemon"... Then proceeded to bring me another glass with ice and TWO lemons!

I asked again: No ice, no lemon; just a plain glass.

He again repeated, this time sounding a bit frustrated, "Yes, yes. No ice, no lemon"... Then brought me a glass with ice (no lemon, though).

I decided that I would just drink my Coke out of the can, but the next thing I knew, and before I could stop him, the very helpful server poured my Coke for me- in the glass with the ice.

No Coke for me! Bummer. That probably did not help my mood at the medical exam. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not responsible for anything that happens before I've had my caffeine in the morning! Oh well, in 5 days I'll be back in the U.S. with my true drink of choice (Dr. Pepper!).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Leaving Fuzhou

We spent our last day in Fuzhou today. We let Caitlin sleep late, then Skyped with our family and friends. Afterwards we met Helen downstairs to go over some paperwork, and to pick up Caitlin's birth certificate and adoption finalization paperwork. Then we decided to enjoy our last meal in Fuzhou at a nice restaurant instead of the hotel restaurant, so Helen suggested a place down the street from the hotel. She stopped by and took care of everything for us, ordering our food and setting everything up since none of them spoke any English. We went with the other family and had our own personal room! The food was really great; I said that it was by far the best meal I'd had since I got here!

Caitlin, however, did not agree. She started to pitch a fit and would not allow me to eat. Every time I tried to put a bite in my mouth, or even take a sip of my drink, she would start to scream. I had already missed breakfast and was not going to miss lunch as well (especially with how good everything looked and smelled!), so as soon as Paul was finished eating he had to take Caitlin outside so I could eat.

When we got back to the room we had only a little over an hour and a half until we had to check out, so I got Caitlin down for a nap, then we started packing. At 2:15 the hotel decided we had overstayed our welcome and it was time to go! They literally kicked us out; the head maid came in and asked if we were still using the baby bed (um, duh, do you see the baby sleeping in it? Yes, we're still using it!), then another maid came in and started stripping our bed and a bell boy came and started taking our luggage, even though I was still trying to stuff things in! It was insane. Paul was downstairs checking out, so I finally had to just close up the suitcases, put the leftover stuff in a paper bag (we had to finish finding places for it all at the airport), grab Caitlin (who was still sleeping and did not appreciate being awaken so abruptly one bit!), and run out the door. Caitlin was grumpy, I was flustered, and I'm still not sure what all we left behind in our hurry to get out.

We then headed up to our "ceremony" to get the babies' passports. It wound up not being so much of a ceremony, but it was nice. The police officer who did the final checking-out was very friendly, and excited to practice his English. He even asked to pose for a picture with all of us afterwards- and asked Helen to take a picture with his camera as well!

Then we headed to the airport. We checked in, got our seat assignments, then decided to eat at KFC (in the airport) for dinner. We got to our gate to discover that our flight had been delayed. We were supposed to take off at 7:30, but now we weren't taking off until 8:45 (PM). We were supposed to be landing at 8:45, and I was worried enough about how little sleep Caitlin was going to get. We had gotten to the airport at around 4 PM, so we had almost 5 hours to kill. All of us adoptive families settled down in one area together and just let the kids play while we talked. Caitlin all of a sudden came out of her shell like you wouldn't believe! I guess she was just so happy to be leaving that horrible hotel room for good so she figured she could finally relax! She was walking, making funny noises, playing with me and even one of the other children. She was so cute and it was just so fun to watch her little personality! She was entertaining everyone!
We finally got on the plane and as soon as we started moving, Caitlin passed out. Thankfully she slept through her first flight. I was concerned about what the pressure was going to do to her ears, but she did not seem to notice. She woke up as we were getting off the plane, and did not want to go back to sleep. There was just too much excitement and those big eyes of hers had to take everything in! We had to wait forever to get our luggage, then met back up with Susan, then had a long drive to the hotel. By the time we finally got here, checked in, and got to the room, it was after midnight. I got Caitlin to sleep pretty quickly, then we still had to unpack and get organized and ready for bed so we didn't go to bed until after 1 AM. I'm worried about tomorrow with so little sleep. We have Caitlin's medical appointment, and she may be getting a bunch of shots. She really needed a good night's sleep for what she's about to have to go through.
There have been 2 things about this trip that I have been dreading: the medical appointment and the 12-hour flight home. At least one of the 2 will be out of the way by tomorrow afternoon!